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be willing to leave this service in which they are ruled by the gods

who are the best of rulers is not reasonable, for surely no wise man

thinks that when set at liberty he can take better care of himself

than the gods take of him. A fool may perhaps think this-he may

argue that he had better run away from his master, not considering

that his duty is to remain to the end, and not to run away from the

good, and that there is no sense in his running away. But the wise man

will want to be ever with him who is better than himself. Now this,

Socrates, is the reverse of what was just now said; for upon this view

the wise man should sorrow and the fool rejoice at passing out of


The earnestness of Cebes seemed to please Socrates. Here, said he,

turning to us, is a man who is always inquiring, and is not to be

convinced all in a moment, nor by every argument.

And in this case, added Simmias, his objection does appear to me

to have some force. For what can be the meaning of a truly wise man

wanting to fly away and lightly leave a master who is better than

himself? And I rather imagine that Cebes is referring to you; he

thinks that you are too ready to leave us, and too ready to leave

the gods who, as you acknowledge, are our good rulers.

Yes, replied Socrates; there is reason in that. And this

indictment you think that I ought to answer as if I were in court?

That is what we should like, said Simmias.

Then I must try to make a better impression upon you than I did when

defending myself before the judges. For I am quite ready to

acknowledge, Simmias and Cebes, that I ought to be grieved at death,

if I were not persuaded that I am going to other gods who are wise and

good (of this I am as certain as I can be of anything of the sort) and

to men departed (though I am not so certain of this), who are better

than those whom I leave behind; and therefore I do not grieve as I

might have done, for I have good hope that there is yet something

remaining for the dead, and, as has been said of old, some far

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