Euclid and Terpsion meet in front of Euclid's house in Megara; they
enter the house, and the dialogue is read to them by a servant.
Euclid. Have you only just arrived from the country, Terpsion?
Terpsion. No, I came some time ago: and I have been in the Agora
looking for you, and wondering that I could not find you.
Euc. But I was not in the city.
Terp. Where then?
Euc. As I was going down to the harbour, I met Theaetetus-he was
being carried up to Athens from the army at Corinth.
Terp. Was he alive or dead?
Euc. He was scarcely alive, for he has been badly wounded; but he
was suffering even more from the sickness which has broken out in
Terp. The dysentery, you mean?
Terp. Alas! what a loss he will be!
Euc. Yes, Terpsion, he is a noble fellow; only to-day I heard some
people highly praising his behaviour in this very battle.
Terp. No wonder; I should rather be surprised at hearing anything
else of him. But why did he go on, instead of stopping at Megara?
Euc. He wanted to get home: although I entreated and advised him
to remain he would not listen to me; so I set him on his way, and
turned back, and then I remembered what Socrates had said of him,
and thought how remarkably this, like all his predictions, had been
fulfilled. I believe that he had seen him a little before his own
death, when Theaetetus was a youth, and he had a memorable
conversation with him, which he repeated to me when I came to
Athens; he was full of admiration of his genius, and said that he
would most certainly be a great man, if he lived.
Terp. The prophecy has certainly been fulfilled; but what was the
conversation? can you tell me?
Euc. No, indeed, not offhand; but I took notes of it as soon as I
got home; these I filled up from memory, writing them out at
leisure; and whenever I went to Athens, I asked Socrates about any
point which I had forgotten, and on my return I made corrections; thus
I have nearly the whole conversation written down.
Terp. I remember-you told me; and I have always been intending to
ask you to show me the writing, but have put off doing so; and now,
why should we not read it through?-having just come from the
country, I should greatly like to rest.
Euc. I too shall be very glad of a rest, for I went with
Theaetetus as far as Erineum. Let us go in, then, and, while we are
reposing, the servant shall read to us.
Terp. Very good.
Euc. Here is the roll, Terpsion; I may observe that I have
introduced Socrates, not as narrating to me, but as actually
conversing with the persons whom he mentioned-these were, Theodorus
the geometrician (of Cyrene), and Theaetetus. I have omitted, for
the sake of convenience, the interlocutory words "I said," "I
remarked," which he used when he spoke of himself, and again, "he
agreed," or "disagreed," in the answer, lest the repetition of them
should be troublesome.
Terp. Quite right, Euclid.
Euc. And now, boy, you may take the roll and read.
Euclid's servant reads.
Socrates. If I cared enough about the Cyrenians, Theodorus, I
would ask you whether there are any rising geometricians or
philosophers in that part of the world. But I am more interested in
our own Athenian youth, and I would rather know who among them are
likely to do well. I observe them as far as I can myself, and I
enquire of any one whom they follow, and I see that a great many of
them follow you, in which they are quite right, considering your
eminence in geometry and in other ways. Tell me then, if you have
met with any one who is good for anything.