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statesman   


and learning of every nature which was gifted with any special
power, and was able to contribute some special experience to
the store
of wisdom there would be no difficulty in deciding that they would
be a thousand times happier than the men of our own day. Or,
again, if
they had merely eaten and drunk until they were full, and
told stories
to one another and to the animals-such stories as are now attributed
to them-in this case also, as I should imagine, the answer would be
easy. But until some satisfactory witness can be found of the love
of that age for knowledge and: discussion, we had better let the
matter drop, and give the reason why we have unearthed this tale,
and then we shall be able to get on.
In the fulness of time, when the change was to take place, and the
earth-born race had all perished, and every soul had completed its
proper cycle of births and been sown in the earth her
appointed number
of times, the pilot of the universe let the helm go, and retired to
his place of view; and then Fate and innate desire reversed
the motion
of the world. Then also all the inferior deities who share
the rule of
the supreme power, being informed of what was happening, let go the
parts of the world which were under their control. And the world
turning round with a sudden shock, being impelled in an opposite
direction from beginning to end, was shaken by a mighty earthquake,
which wrought a new destruction of all manner of animals.
Afterwards, when sufficient time had elapsed, the tumult and
confusion
and earthquake ceased, and the universal creature, once more at
peace attained to a calm, and settle down into his own orderly and
accustomed course, having the charge and rule of himself and of all
the creatures which are contained in him, and executing, as far as
he remembered them, the instructions of his Father and Creator, more
precisely at first, but afterwords with less exactness. The reason
of the falling off was the admixture of matter in him; this was
inherent in the primal nature, which was full of disorder, until
attaining to the present order. From God, the constructor; the world
received all that is good in him, but from a previous state came
elements of evil and unrighteousness, which, thence derived, first
of all passed into the world, and were then transmitted to the
animals. While the world was aided by the pilot in nurturing the
animals, the evil was small, and great the good which he
produced, but
after the separation, when the world was let go, at first all
proceeded well enough; but, as time went there was more and more
forgetting, and the old discord again held sway and burst forth in
full glory; and at last small was the good, and great was the
admixture of evil, and there was a danger of universal ruin to the
world, and the things contained in him. Wherefore God, the orderer
of all, in his tender care, seeing that the world was in great
straits, and fearing that all might be dissolved in the storm and
disappear in infinite chaos, again seated himself at the helm; and
bringing back the elements which had fallen into dissolution and
disorder to the motion which had prevailed under his dispensation,
he set them in order and restored them, and made the world
imperishable and immortal.
And this is the whole tale, of which the first part will suffice
to illustrate the nature of the king. For when the world turned
towards the present cycle of generation, the age of man again stood
still, and a change opposite to the previous one was the result. The
small creatures which had almost disappeared grew in and stature,
and the newly-born children of the earth became grey and

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