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partisans-upholders of the most monstrous idols, and
themselves idols;
and, being the greatest imitators and magicians, they are also the
greatest of Sophists.
Y. Soc. The name of Sophist after many windings in the argument
appears to have been most justly fixed upon the politicians, as they
are termed.
Str. And so our satyric drama has been played out; and the troop
of Centaurs and Satyrs, however unwilling to leave the stage, have
at last been separated from the political science.
Y. Soc. So I perceive.
Str. There remain, however, natures still more troublesome,
because they are more nearly akin to the king, and more difficult to
discern; the examination of them may be compared to the process of
refining gold.
Y. Soc. What is your meaning?
Str. The workmen begin by sifting away the earth and stones and
the like; there remain in a confused mass the valuable clements akin
to gold, which can only be separated by fire-copper, silver,
and other
precious metals; these are at last refined away by the use of tests,
until the gold is left quite pure.
Y. Soc. Yes, that is the way in which these things are said to be
Str. In like manner, all alien and uncongenial matter has been
separated from political science, and what is precious and of a
kindred nature has been left; there remain the nobler arts of the
general and the judge, and the higher sort of oratory which
is an ally
of the royal art, and persuades men to do justice, and assists in
guiding the helm of States:-How can we best clear away all these,
leaving him whom we seek alone and unalloyed?
Y. Soc. That is obviously what has in some way to be attempted.
Str. If the attempt is all that is wanting, he shall certainly be
brought to light; and I think that the illustration of music may
assist in exhibiting him. Please to answer me a question.
Y. Soc. What question?
Str. There is such a thing as learning music or handicraft arts in
Y. Soc. There is.
Str. And is there any higher art or science, having power to
decide which of these arts are and are not to be learned;-what do
you say?
Y. Soc. I should answer that there is.
Str. And do we acknowledge this science to be different from the
Y. Soc. Yes.
Str. And ought the other sciences to be superior to this, or no
single science to any other? Or ought this science to be the
overseer and governor of all the others?
Y. Soc. The latter.
Str. You mean to say that the science which judges whether we
ought to learn or not, must be superior to the science which is
learned or which teaches?
Y. Soc. Far superior.
Str. And the science which determines whether we ought to persuade
or not, must be superior to the science which is able to persuade?
Y. Soc. Of course.
Str. Very good; and to what science do we assign the power of
persuading a multitude by a pleasing tale and not by teaching?
Y. Soc. That power, I think, must clearly be assigned to rhetoric.
Str. And to what science do we give the power of
determining whether
we are to employ persuasion or force towards any one, or to refrain

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