be born and die again and again, and that there is a natural
strength in the soul which will hold out and be born many times-for
all this, we may be still inclined to think that she will weary in the
labors of successive births, and may at last succumb in one of her
deaths and utterly perish; and this death and dissolution of the
body which brings destruction to the soul may be unknown to any of us,
for no one of us can have had any experience of it: and if this be
true, then I say that he who is confident in death has but a foolish
confidence, unless he is able to prove that the soul is altogether
immortal and imperishable. But if he is not able to prove this, he who
is about to die will always have reason to fear that when the body
is disunited, the soul also may utterly perish.
All of us, as we afterwards remarked to one another, had an
unpleasant feeling at hearing them say this. When we had been so
firmly convinced before, now to have our faith shaken seemed to
introduce a confusion and uncertainty, not only into the previous
argument, but into any future one; either we were not good judges,
or there were no real grounds of belief.
Ech. There I feel with you-indeed I do, Phaedo, and when you were
speaking, I was beginning to ask myself the same question: What
argument can I ever trust again? For what could be more convincing
than the argument of Socrates, which has now fallen into discredit?
That the soul is a harmony is a doctrine which has always had a
wonderful attraction for me, and, when mentioned, came back to me at
once, as my own original conviction. And now I must begin again and
find another argument which will assure me that when the man is dead
the soul dies not with him. Tell me, I beg, how did Socrates
proceed? Did he appear to share the unpleasant feeling which you
mention? or did he receive the interruption calmly and give a
sufficient answer? Tell us, as exactly as you can, what passed.
Phaed. Often, Echecrates, as I have admired Socrates, I never
admired him more than at that moment. That he should be able to answer