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phaedrus   



you made me utter one as bad.

Phaedr. How so?

Soc. It was foolish, I say,-to a certain extent, impious; can

anything be more dreadful?

Phaedr. Nothing, if the speech was really such as you describe.

Soc. Well, and is not Eros the son of Aphrodite, and a god?

Phaedr. So men say.

Soc. But that was not acknowledged by Lysias in his speech, nor by

you in that other speech which you by a charm drew from my lips. For

if love be, as he surely is, a divinity, he cannot be evil. Yet this

was the error of both the speeches. There was also a simplicity

about them which was refreshing; having no truth or honesty in them,

nevertheless they pretended to be something, hoping to succeed in

deceiving the manikins of earth and gain celebrity among them.

Wherefore I must have a purgation. And I bethink me of an ancient

purgation of mythological error which was devised, not by Homer, for

he never had the wit to discover why he was blind, but by Stesichorus,

who was a philosopher and knew the reason why; and therefore, when

he lost his eyes, for that was the penalty which was inflicted upon

him for reviling the lovely Helen, he at once purged himself. And

the purgation was a recantation, which began thus,-



False is that word of mine-the truth is that thou didst not embark

in ships, nor ever go to the walls of Troy;



and when he had completed his poem, which is called "the recantation,"

immediately his sight returned to him. Now I will be wiser than either

Stesichorus or Homer, in that I am going to make my recantation for

reviling love before I suffer; and this I will attempt, not as before,

veiled and ashamed, but with forehead bold and bare.

Phaedr. Nothing could be more agreeable to me than to hear you say

so.

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