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phaedrus   



Phaedr. Not upon your view; for according to you he would be casting

a slur upon his own favourite pursuit.

Soc. Any one may see that there is no disgrace in the mere fact of

writing.

Phaedr. Certainly not.

Soc. The disgrace begins when a man writes not well, but badly.

Phaedr. Clearly.

Soc. And what is well and what is badly-need we ask Lysias, or any

other poet or orator, who ever wrote or will write either a

political or any other work, in metre or out of metre, poet or prose

writer, to teach us this?

Phaedr. Need we? For what should a man live if not for the pleasures

of discourse? Surely not for the sake of bodily pleasures, which

almost always have previous pain as a condition of them, and therefore

are rightly called slavish.

Soc. There is time enough. And I believe that the grasshoppers

chirruping after their manner in the heat of the sun over our heads

are talking to one another and looking down at us. What would they say

if they saw that we, like the many, are not conversing, but slumbering

at mid-day, lulled by their voices, too indolent to think? Would

they not have a right to laugh at us? They might imagine that we

were slaves, who, coming to rest at a place of resort of theirs,

like sheep lie asleep at noon around the well. But if they see us

discoursing, and like Odysseus sailing past them, deaf to their

siren voices, they may perhaps, out of respect, give us of the gifts

which they receive from the gods that they may impart them to men.

Phaedr. What gifts do you mean? I never heard of any.

Soc. A lover of music like yourself ought surely to have heard the

story of the grasshoppers, who are said to have been human beings in

an age before the Muses. And when the Muses came and song appeared

they were ravished with delight; and singing always, never thought

of eating and drinking, until at last in their forgetfulness they

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