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phaedo   


to be persuaded of the truth, but if there be nothing after death,

still, during the short time that remains, I shall save my friends

from lamentations, and my ignorance will not last, and therefore no

harm will be done. This is the state of mind, Simmias and Cebes, in

which I approach the argument. And I would ask you to be thinking of

the truth and not of Socrates: agree with me, if I seem to you to be

speaking the truth; or if not, withstand me might and main, that I may

not deceive you as well as myself in my enthusiasm, and, like the bee,

leave my sting in you before I die.

And now let us proceed, he said. And first of all let me be sure

that I have in my mind what you were saying. Simmias, if I remember

rightly, has fears and misgivings whether the soul, being in the

form of harmony, although a fairer and diviner thing than the body,

may not perish first. On the other hand, Cebes appeared to grant

that the soul was more lasting than the body, but he said that no

one could know whether the soul, after having worn out many bodies,

might not perish herself and leave her last body behind her; and

that this is death, which is the destruction not of the body but of

the soul, for in the body the work of destruction is ever going on.

Are not these, Simmias and Cebes, the points which we have to

consider?

They both agreed to this statement of them.

He proceeded: And did you deny the force of the whole preceding

argument, or of a part only?

Of a part only, they replied.

And what did you think, he said, of that part of the argument in

which we said that knowledge was recollection only, and inferred

from this that the soul must have previously existed somewhere else

before she was enclosed in the body? Cebes said that he had been

wonderfully impressed by that part of the argument, and that his

conviction remained unshaken. Simmias agreed, and added that he

himself could hardly imagine the possibility of his ever thinking

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