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statesman   


passed through the like changes, and in a few days were no more seen.
Y. Soc. Then how, Stranger, were the animals created in those
days; and in what way were they begotten of one another?
Str. It is evident, Socrates, that there was no such thing in the
then order of nature as the procreation of animals from one another;
the earth-born race, of which we hear in story, was the one which
existed in those days-they rose again from the ground; and of this
tradition, which is now-a-days often unduly discredited, our
ancestors, who were nearest in point of time to the end of the last
period and came into being at the beginning of this, are to us the
heralds. And mark how consistent the sequel of the tale is; after
the return of age to youth, follows the return of the dead, who are
lying in the earth, to life; simultaneously with the reversal of the
world the wheel of their generation has been turned back,
and they are
put together and rise and live in the opposite order, unless God has
carried any of them away to some other lot. According to this
tradition they of necessity sprang from the earth and have
the name of
earth-born, and so the above legend clings to them.
Y. Soc. Certainly that is quite consistent with what has preceded;
but tell me, was the life which you said existed in the reign of
Cronos in that cycle of the world, or in this? For the change in the
course of the stars and the sun must have occurred in both.
Str. I see that you enter into my meaning;-no, that blessed and
spontaneous life does not belong to the present cycle of the world,
but to the previous one, in which God superintended the whole
revolution of the universe; and the several parts the universe were
distributed under the rule. certain inferior deities, as is
the way in
some places still There were demigods, who were the shepherds of the
various species and herds of animals, and each one was in
all respects
sufficient for those of whom he was the shepherd; neither was there
any violence, or devouring of one another or war or quarrel among
them; and I might tell of ten thousand other blessings,
which belonged
to that dispensation. The reason why the life of man was, as
tradition
says, spontaneous, is as follows: In those days God himself was
their shepherd, and ruled over them, just as man, over them,
who is by
comparison a divine being, still rules over the lower animals. Under
him there were no forms of government or separate possession of
women and children; for all men rose again from the earth, having no
memory, of the past. And although they had nothing of this sort, the
earth gave them fruits in abundance, which grew on trees and shrubs
unbidden, and were not planted by the hand of man. And they dwelt
naked, and mostly in the open air, for the temperature of their
seasons, was mild; and they had no beds, but lay on Soft couches of
grass, which grew plentifully out of: the earth. Such was the life
of man in the days of Cronos, Socrates; the character of our present
life which is said to be under Zeus, you know from your own
experience. Can you, and will you, determine which of them you deem
the happier?
Y. Soc. Impossible.
Str. Then shall I determine for you as well as I can?
Y. Soc. By all means.
Str. Suppose that the nurslings of Cronos, having this boundless
leisure, and the power of holding intercourse, not only with men,
but with the brute creation, had used all these advantages
with a view
to philosophy, conversing with the brutes as well as with
one another,

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