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Pages of republic (books 6 - 10)



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republic (books 6 - 10)   


seus having yet to make a choice, and his lot happened to be
the last of them all. Now the recollection of former toils had
disenchanted him of ambition, and he went about for a consid-
erable time in search of the life of a private man who had no
cares; he had some difficulty in finding this, which was lying
about and had been neglected by everybody else; and when he
saw it, he said that he would have done the same had his lot
been first instead of last, and that he was delighted to have it.
And not only did men pass into animals, but I must also men-
tion that there were animals tame and wild who changed into
one another and into corresponding human natures--the good
into the gentle and the evil into the savage, in all sorts of com-
binations.

All the souls had now chosen their lives, and they went in
the order of their choice to Lachesis, who sent with them the
genius whom they had severally chosen, to be the guardian of
their lives and the fulfiller of the choice: this genius led the
souls first to Clotho, and drew them within the revolution of
the spindle impelled by her hand, thus ratifying the destiny of
each; and then, when they were fastened to this, carried them
to Atropos, who spun the threads and made them irreversible,
whence without turning round they passed beneath the throne
of Necessity; and when they had all passed, they marched on
in a scorching heat to the plain of Forgetfulness, which was a
barren waste destitute of trees and verdure; and then toward
evening they encamped by the river of Unmindfulness, whose
water no vessel can hold; of this they were all obliged to drink
a certain quantity, and those who were not saved by wisdom
drank more than was necessary; and each one as he drank for-
got all things. Now after they had gone to rest, about the
middle of the night there were a thunderstorm and earthquake,
and then in an instant they were driven upward in all manner
of ways to their birth, like stars shooting. He himself was
hindered from drinking the water. But in what manner or by
what means he returned to the body he could not say; only, in
the morning, awaking suddenly, he found himself lying on the
pyre.

And thus, Glaucon, the tale has been saved and has not per-
ished, and will save us if we are obedient to the word spoken;
and we shall pass safely over the river of Forgetfulness, and
our soul will not be defiled. Wherefore my counsel is that we
hold fast ever to the heavenly way and follow after justice and
virtue always, considering that the soul is immortal and able
to endure every sort of good and every sort of evil. Thus shall
we live dear to one another and to the gods, both while remain-
ing here and when, like conquerors in the games who go round
to gather gifts, we receive our reward. And it shall be well
with us both in this life and in the pilgrimage of a thousand
years which we have been describing.


End

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