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from fear, and because he is a coward, is surely a strange thing.

Very true.

And are not the temperate exactly in the same case? They are

temperate because they are intemperate-which may seem to be a

contradiction, but is nevertheless the sort of thing which happens

with this foolish temperance. For there are pleasures which they

must have, and are afraid of losing; and therefore they abstain from

one class of pleasures because they are overcome by another: and

whereas intemperance is defined as "being under the dominion of

pleasure," they overcome only because they are overcome by pleasure.

And that is what I mean by saying that they are temperate through


That appears to be true.

Yet the exchange of one fear or pleasure or pain for another fear or

pleasure or pain, which are measured like coins, the greater with

the less, is not the exchange of virtue. O my dear Simmias, is there

not one true coin for which all things ought to exchange?-and that

is wisdom; and only in exchange for this, and in company with this, is

anything truly bought or sold, whether courage or temperance or

justice. And is not all true virtue the companion of wisdom, no matter

what fears or pleasures or other similar goods or evils may or may not

attend her? But the virtue which is made up of these goods, when

they are severed from wisdom and exchanged with one another, is a

shadow of virtue only, nor is there any freedom or health or truth

in her; but in the true exchange there is a purging away of all

these things, and temperance, and justice, and courage, and wisdom

herself are a purgation of them. And I conceive that the founders of

the mysteries had a real meaning and were not mere triflers when

they intimated in a figure long ago that he who passes unsanctified

and uninitiated into the world below will live in a slough, but that

he who arrives there after initiation and purification will dwell with

the gods. For "many," as they say in the mysteries, "are the thyrsus

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