been the chief concern of you and me in our past lives. And now that
the hour of departure is appointed to me, this is the hope with
which I depart, and not I only, but every man who believes that he has
his mind purified.
Certainly, replied Simmias.
And what is purification but the separation of the soul from the
body, as I was saying before; the habit of the soul gathering and
collecting herself into herself, out of all the courses of the body;
the dwelling in her own place alone, as in another life, so also in
this, as far as she can; the release of the soul from the chains of
Very true, he said.
And what is that which is termed death, but this very separation and
release of the soul from the body?
To be sure, he said.
And the true philosophers, and they only, study and are eager to
release the soul. Is not the separation and release of the soul from
the body their especial study?
That is true.
And as I was saying at first, there would be a ridiculous
contradiction in men studying to live as nearly as they can in a state
of death, and yet repining when death comes.
Then, Simmias, as the true philosophers are ever studying death,
to them, of all men, death is the least terrible. Look at the matter
in this way: how inconsistent of them to have been always enemies of
the body, and wanting to have the soul alone, and when this is granted
to them, to be trembling and repining; instead of rejoicing at their
departing to that place where, when they arrive, they hope to gain
that which in life they loved (and this was wisdom), and at the same
time to be rid of the company of their enemy. Many a man has been
willing to go to the world below in the hope of seeing there an