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Solon   


Now Solon, having begun the great work in verse, the history or fable
of the Atlantic Island, which he had learned from the wise men in
Sais, and thought convenient for the Athenians to know, abandoned
it; not, as Plato says, by reason of want of time, but because of
his age, and being discouraged at the greatness of the task; for that
he had leisure enough, such verses testify, as-
"Each day grow older, and learn something new;" and again-
"But now the Powers, of Beauty, Song, and Wine,
Which are most men's delights, are also mine." Plato, willing to improve
the story of the Atlantic Island, as if it were a fair estate that
wanted an heir and came with some title to him, formed, indeed, stately
entrances, noble enclosures, large courts, such as never yet introduced
any story, fable, or poetic fiction; but, beginning it late, ended
his life before his work; and the reader's regret for the unfinished
part is the greater, as the satisfaction he takes in that which is
complete is extraordinary. For as the city of Athens left only the
temple of Jupiter Olympius unfinished, so Plato, amongst all his excellent
works, left this only piece about the Atlantic Island imperfect. Solon
lived after Pisistratus seized the government, as Heraclides Ponticus
asserts, a long time; but Phanias the Eresian says not two full years;
for Pisistratus began his tyranny when Comias was archon, and Phanias
says Solon died under Hegestratus, who succeeded Comias. The story
that his ashes were scattered about the island Salamis is too strange
to be easily believed, or be thought anything but a mere fable; and
yet it is given, amongst other good authors, by Aristotle, the philosopher.
THE END

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