have assaulted a strong man like him?" The complainant will not like
to confess his own cowardice, and will therefore invent some other lie
which his adversary will thus gain an opportunity of refuting. And
there are other devices of the same kind which have a place in the
system. Am I not right, Phaedrus?
Soc. Bless me, what a wonderfully mysterious art is this which
Tisias or some other gentleman, in whatever name or country he
rejoices, has discovered. Shall we say a word to him or not?
Phaedr. What shall we say to him?
Soc. Let us tell him that, before he appeared, you and I were saying
that the probability of which he speaks was engendered in the minds of
the many by the likeness of the truth, and we had just been
affirming that he who knew the truth would always know best how to
discover the resemblances of the truth. If he has anything else to say
about the art of speaking we should like to hear him; but if not, we
are satisfied with our own view, that unless a man estimates the
various characters of his heaters and is able to divide all things
into classes and to comprehend them under single ideas he will never
be a skilful rhetorician even within the limits of human power. And
this skill he will not attain without a great deal of trouble, which a
good man ought to undergo, not for the sake of speaking and acting
before men, but in order that he may be able to say what is acceptable
to God and always to act acceptably to Him as far as in him lies;
for there is a saying of wiser men than ourselves, that a man of sense
should not try to please his fellow-servants (at least this should not
be his first object) but his good and noble masters; and therefore
if the way is long and circuitous, marvel not at this, for, where
the end is great, there we may take the longer road, but not for
lesser ends such as yours. Truly, the argument may say, Tisias, that
if you do not mind going so far, rhetoric has a fair beginning here.
Phaedr. I think, Socrates, that this is admirable, if only