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phaedrus   



speech, or a terrible, or threatening speech, or any other kind of

speech, and in teaching this fancies that he is teaching the art of

tragedy-?

Phaedr. They too would surely laugh at him if he fancies that

tragedy is anything but the arranging of these elements in a manner

which will be suitable to one another and to the whole.

Soc. But I do not suppose that they would be rude or abusive to him:

Would they not treat him as a musician would a man who thinks that

he is a harmonist because he knows how to pitch the highest and lowest

notes; happening to meet such an one he would not say to him savagely,

"Fool, you are mad!" But like a musician, in a gentle and harmonious

tone of voice, he would answer: "My good friend, he who would be a

harmonist must certainly know this, and yet he may understand

nothing of harmony if he has not got beyond your stage of knowledge,

for you only know the preliminaries of harmony and not harmony

itself."

Phaedr. Very true.

Soc. And will not Sophocles say to the display of the would-be

tragedian, that this is not tragedy but the preliminaries of

tragedy? and will not Acumenus say the same of medicine to the

would-be physician?

Phaedr. Quite true.

Soc. And if Adrastus the mellifluous or Pericles heard of these

wonderful arts, brachylogies and eikonologies and all the hard names

which we have been endeavouring to draw into the light of day, what

would they say? Instead of losing temper and applying

uncomplimentary epithets, as you and I have been doing, to the authors

of such an imaginary art, their superior wisdom would rather censure

us, as well as them. "Have a little patience, Phaedrus and Socrates,

they would say; you should not be in such a passion with those who

from some want of dialectical skill are unable to define the nature of

rhetoric, and consequently suppose that they have found the art in the

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