died and sank
into the earth again. All things changed, imitating and following
the condition of the universe, and of necessity agreeing with that
in their mode of conception and generation and nurture; for
was any longer allowed to come into being in the earth through the
agency of other creative beings, but as the world was ordained to be
the lord of his own progress, in like manner the parts were ordained
to grow and generate and give nourishment, as far as they could, of
themselves, impelled by a similar movement. And so we have arrived
at the real end of this discourse; for although there might
be much to
tell of the lower animals, and of the condition out of which they
changed and of the causes of the change, about men there is not
much, and that little is more to the purpose. Deprived of the care
of God, who had possessed and tended them, they were left
defenceless, and were torn in pieces by the beasts, who were
naturally fierce and had now grown wild. And in the first ages they
were still without skill or resource; the food which once grew
spontaneously had failed, and as yet they knew not how to procure
it, because they-had never felt the pressure of necessity. For all
these reasons they were in a great strait; wherefore also the gifts
spoken of in the old tradition were imparted to man by the gods,
together with so much teaching and education as was indispensable;
fire was given to them by Prometheus, the arts by Hephaestus and his
fellow-worker, Athene, seeds and plants by others. From these is
derived all that has helped to frame human life; since the
care of the
Gods, as I was saying, had now failed men, and they had to
course of life for themselves, and were their own masters, just like
the universal creature whom they imitate and follow, ever
he changes, and ever living and growing, at one time in one manner,
and at another time in another. Enough of the story, which may be of
use in showing us how greatly we erred in the delineation of the
king and the statesman in our previous discourse.
Y. Soc. What was this great error of which you speak?
Str. There were two; the first a lesser one, the other was an
error on a much larger and grander scale.
Y. Soc. What do you mean?
Str. I mean to say that when we were asked about a king and
statesman of the present; and generation, we told of a shepherd of a
human flock who belonged to the other cycle, and of one who was a
god when he ought to have been a man; and this a great error. Again,
we declared him to be, the ruler of the entire State, without,
explaining how: this was not the whole truth, nor very intelligible;
but still it was true, and therefore the second error was not so,
great as the first.
Y Soc. Very good.
Str. Before we can expect to have a perfect description of the
statesman we must define the nature of his office.
Y. Soc. Certainly.
Str. And the myth was introduced in order to show, not
only that all
others are rivals of true shepherd who is the object of our search,
but in order that we might have a clearer view of him who is alone
worthy to receive this appellation, because, he alone of
herdsmen, according to the image which we have employed, has the
care of human beings.
Y. Soc. Very true.
Str. And I cannot help thinking, Socrates, that the form of the