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preliminary conditions of it, and when these have been taught by

them to others, fancy that the whole art of rhetoric has been taught

by them; but as to using the several instruments of the art

effectively, or making the composition a whole,-an application of it

such as this is they regard as an easy thing which their disciples may

make for themselves."

Phaedr. I quite admit, Socrates, that the art of rhetoric which

these men teach and of which they write is such as you

describe-there I agree with you. But I still want to know where and

how the true art of rhetoric and persuasion is to be acquired.

Soc. The perfection which is required of the finished orator is,

or rather must be, like the perfection of anything else; partly

given by nature, but may also be assisted by art. If you have the

natural power and add to it knowledge and practice, you will be a

distinguished speaker; if you fall short in either of these, you

will be to that extent defective. But the art, as far as there is an

art, of rhetoric does not lie in the direction of Lysias or


Phaedr. In what direction then?

Soc. I conceive Pericles to have been the most accomplished of


Phaedr. What of that?

Soc. All the great arts require discussion and high speculation

about the truths of nature; hence come loftiness of thought and

completeness of execution. And this, as I conceive, was the quality

which, in addition to his natural gifts, Pericles acquired from his

intercourse with Anaxagoras whom he happened to know. He was thus

imbued with the higher philosophy, and attained the knowledge of

Mind and the negative of Mind, which were favourite themes of

Anaxagoras, and applied what suited his purpose to the art of


Phaedr. Explain.

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