Str. Then I must describe the nature of the royal web, and show
how the various threads are woven into one piece.
Y. Soc. Clearly.
Str. A task has to be accomplished, which although difficult,
appears to be necessary.
Y. Soc. Certainly the attempt must be made.
Str. To assume that one part of virtue differs in kind
is a position easily assailable by contentious disputants, who
appeal to popular opinion.
Y. Soc. I do not understand.
Str. Let me put the matter in another way: I suppose that you
would consider courage to be a part of virtue?
Y. Soc. Certainly I should.
Str. And you would think temperance to be different from courage;
and likewise to be a part of virtue?
Y. Soc. True.
Str. I shall venture to put forward a strange theory about them.
Y. Soc. What is it?
Str. That they are two principles which thoroughly hate one
another and are antagonistic throughout a great part of nature.
Y. Soc. How singular!
Str. Yes very-for all the parts of virtue are commonly said to be
friendly to one another.
Y. Soc. Yes.
Str. Then let us carefully investigate whether this is universally
true, or whether there are not parts of virtue which are at war with
their kindred in some respect.
Y. Soc. Tell me how we shall consider that question.
Str. We must extend our enquiry to all those things which we
consider beautiful and at the same time place in two
Y. Soc. Explain; what are they?
Str. Acuteness and quickness, whether in body or soul or in the
movement of sound, and the imitations of them which painting
supply, you must have praised yourself before now, or been present
when others praised them.
Y. Soc. Certainly.
Str. And do you remember the terms in which they are praised?
Y. Soc. I do not.
Str. I wonder whether I can explain to you in words the thought
which is passing in my mind.
Y. Soc. Why not?
Str. You fancy that this is all so easy: Well, let us
notions with reference to the opposite classes of action under which
they fall. When we praise quickness and energy and acuteness,
whether of mind or body or sound, we express our praise of
which we admire by one word, and that one word is manliness or
Y. Soc. How?
Str. We speak of an action as energetic and brave, quick and
manly, and vigorous too; and when we apply the name of which I speak
as the common attribute of all these natures, we certainly praise
Y. Soc. True.
Str. And do we not often praise the quiet strain of action also?
Y. Soc. To be sure.
Str. And do we not then say the opposite of what we said of the
Y. Soc. How do you mean?
Str. We exclaim How calm! How temperate! in admiration of the slow