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phaedrus   



the son of Cephalus. Alas! how inferior to them he is! But perhaps I

am mistaken; and Lysias at the commencement of his lover's speech

did insist on our supposing love to be something or other which he

fancied him to be, and according to this model he fashioned and framed

the remainder of his discourse. Suppose we read his beginning over

again:

Phaedr. If you please; but you will not find what you want.

Soc, Read, that I may have his exact words.

Phaedr. "You know how matters stand with and how, as I conceive,

they might be arranged for our common interest; and I maintain I ought

not to fail in my suit because I am not your lover, for lovers

repent of the kindnesses which they have shown, when their love is

over."

Soc. Here he appears to have done just the reverse of what he ought;

for he has begun at the end, and is swimming on his back through the

flood to the place of starting. His address to the fair youth begins

where the lover would have ended. Am I not right, sweet Phaedrus?

Phaedr. Yes, indeed, Socrates; he does begin at the end.

Soc. Then as to the other topics-are they not thrown down anyhow? Is

there any principle in them? Why should the next topic follow next

in order, or any other topic? I cannot help fancying in my ignorance

that he wrote off boldly just what came into his head, but I dare

say that you would recognize a rhetorical necessity in the

succession of the several parts of the composition?

Phaedr. You have too good an opinion of me if you think that I

have any such insight into his principles of composition.

Soc. At any rate, you will allow that every discourse ought to be

a living creature, having a body of its own and a head and feet; there

should be a middle, beginning, and end, adapted to one another and

to the whole?

Phaedr. Certainly.

Soc. Can this be said of the discourse of Lysias? See whether you

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