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laws (books 1 - 6)   


I imagine that all this language of conciliation, which the legislator
has been uttering in the preface of the law, was intended to create
goodwill in the person whom he addressed, in order that, by reason
of this good-will, he might more intelligently receive his command,
that is to say, the law. And therefore, in my way of speaking, this is
more rightly described as the preamble than as the matter of the
law. And I must further proceed to observe, that to all his laws,
and to each separately, the legislator should prefix a preamble; he
should remember how great will be the difference between them,
according as they have, or have not, such preambles, as in the case
already given.
Cle. The lawgiver, if he asks my opinion, will certainly legislate
in the form which you advise.
Ath. I think that you are right, Cleinias, in affirming that all
laws have preambles, and that throughout the whole of this work of
legislation every single law should have a suitable preamble at the
beginning; for that which is to follow is most important, and it makes
all the difference whether we clearly remember the preambles or not.
Yet we should be wrong in requiring that all laws, small and great
alike, should have preambles of the same kind, any more than all songs
or speeches; although they may be natural to all, they are not
always necessary, and whether they are to be employed or not has in
each case to be left to the judgment of the speaker or the musician,
or, in the present instance, of the lawgiver.
Cle. That I think is most true. And now, Stranger, without delay let
us return to the argument, and, as people say in play, make a second
and better beginning, if you please, with the principles which we have
been laying down, which we never thought of regarding as a preamble
before, but of which we may now make a preamble, and not merely
consider them to be chance topics of discourse. Let us acknowledge,
then, that we have a preamble. About the honour of the Gods and the
respect of parents, enough has been already said; and we may proceed
to the topics which follow next in order, until the preamble is deemed
by you to be complete; and after that you shall go through the laws
themselves.
Ath. I understand you to mean that we have made a sufficient
preamble about Gods and demi-gods, and about parents living or dead;
and now you would have us bring the rest of the subject into the light
of day?
Cle. Exactly.
Ath. After this, as is meet and for the interest of us all, I the
speaker, and you the listeners, will try to estimate all that
relates to the souls and bodies and properties of the citizens, as
regards both their occupations and arrive, as far as in us lies, at
the nature of education. These then are the topics which follow next
in order.
Cle. Very good.

BOOK V

Athenian Stranger. Listen, all ye who have just now heard the laws
about Gods, and about our dear forefathers:-Of all the things which
a man has, next to the Gods, his soul is the most divine and most
truly his own. Now in every man there are two parts: the better and
superior, which rules, and the worse and inferior, which serves; and
the ruling part of him is always to be preferred to the subject.
Wherefore I am right in bidding every one next to the Gods, who are
our masters, and those who in order follow them [i.e., the demons], to
honour his own soul, which every one seems to honour, but no one
honours as he ought; for honour is a divine good, and no evil thing is
honourable; and he who thinks that he can honour the soul by word or
gift, or any sort of compliance, without making her in any way better,
seems to honour her, but honours her not at all. For example, every
man, from his very boyhood, fancies that he is able to know

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