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