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Pages of republic (books 6 - 10)



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republic (books 6 - 10)   


And that others should approve, of what we approve, is no
miracle or impossibility?

I think not.

But we have sufficiently shown, in what has preceded, that
all this, if only possible, is assuredly for the best.

We have.

And now we say not only that our laws, if they could be en-
acted, would be for the best, but also that the enactment of
them, though difficult, is not impossible.

Very good.

And so with pain and toil we have reached the end of one
subject, but more remains to be discussed; how and by what
studies and pursuits will the saviours of the constitution be
created, and at what ages are they to apply themselves to their
several studies?

Certainly.

I omitted the troublesome business of the possession of
women, and the procreation of children, and the appointment
of the rulers, because I knew that the perfect State would be
eyed with jealousy and was difficult of attainment; but that
piece of cleverness was not of much service to me, for I had
to discuss them all the same. The women and children are
now disposed of, but the other question of the rulers must be
investigated from the very beginning. We were saying, as
you will remember, that they were to be lovers of their country,
tried by the test of pleasures and pains, and neither in hard-
ships, nor in dangers, nor at any other critical moment were to
lose their patriotism--he was to be rejected who failed, but he
who always came forth pure, like gold tried in the refiner's fire,
was to be made a ruler, and to receive honors and rewards in
life and after death. This was the sort of thing which was
being said, and then the argument turned aside and veiled her
face; not liking to stir the question which has now arisen.

I perfectly remember, he said.

Yes, my friend, I said, and I then shrank from hazarding
the bold word; but now let me dare to say--that the perfect
guardian must be a philosopher.

Yes, he said, let that be affirmed.

And do not suppose that there will be many of them; for the
gifts which were deemed by us to be essential rarely grow to-
gether; they are mostly found in shreds and patches.

What do you mean? he said.

You are aware, I replied, that quick intelligence, memory,
sagacity, cleverness, and similar qualities, do not often grow
together, and that persons who possess them and are at the same
time high-spirited and magnanimous are not so constituted
by nature as to live orderly and in a peaceful and settled man-
ner; they are driven any way by their impulses, and all solid
principle goes out of them.

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