Symposium by Plato
The

Diotima Symposium

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[Symposium] [2] PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE:
[Symposium] [3] Apollodorus, who repeats to his companion the dialogue which he had heard
[Symposium] [8] SCENE: The House of Agathon.
[Symposium] [11] Concerning the things about which you ask to be informed I believe that I
[Symposium] [12] am not ill-prepared with an answer. For the day before yesterday I was
[Symposium] [13] coming from my own home at Phalerum to the city, and one of my
[Symposium] [15] playfully in the distance, said: Apollodorus, O thou Phalerian (Probably a
[Symposium] [18] that I might ask you about the speeches in praise of love, which were
[Symposium] [20] Phoenix, the son of Philip, told another person who told me of them; his
[Symposium] [22] you would give me an account of them. Who, if not you, should be the
[Symposium] [23] reporter of the words of your friend? And first tell me, he said, were you
[Symposium] [27] you imagine that the occasion was recent; or that I could have been of the
[Symposium] [35] and does. There was a time when I was running about the world, fancying
[Symposium] [40] Well, he said, jesting apart, tell me when the meeting occurred.
[Symposium] [42] In our boyhood, I replied, when Agathon won the prize with his first
[Symposium] [43] tragedy, on the day after that on which he and his chorus offered the
[Symposium] [49] No indeed, I replied, but the same person who told Phoenix;--he was a
[Symposium] [50] little fellow, who never wore any shoes, Aristodemus, of the deme of
[Symposium] [53] Moreover, I have asked Socrates about the truth of some parts of his
[Symposium] [54] narrative, and he confirmed them. Then, said Glaucon, let us have the tale
[Symposium] [55] over again; is not the road to Athens just made for conversation? And so
[Symposium] [56] we walked, and talked of the discourses on love; and therefore, as I said
[Symposium] [59] speak of philosophy always gives me the greatest pleasure, to say nothing
[Symposium] [60] of the profit. But when I hear another strain, especially that of you rich
[Symposium] [65] certainly know of you what you only think of me--there is the difference.
[Symposium] [67] COMPANION: I see, Apollodorus, that you are just the same--always speaking
[Symposium] [69] mankind, with the exception of Socrates, yourself first of all, true in
[Symposium] [71] acquired, of Apollodorus the madman; for you are always raging against
[Symposium] [74] APOLLODORUS: Yes, friend, and the reason why I am said to be mad, and out
[Symposium] [79] you would repeat the conversation.
[Symposium] [81] APOLLODORUS: Well, the tale of love was on this wise:--But perhaps I had
[Symposium] [82] better begin at the beginning, and endeavour to give you the exact words of
[Symposium] [85] He said that he met Socrates fresh from the bath and sandalled; and as the
[Symposium] [86] sight of the sandals was unusual, he asked him whither he was going that he
[Symposium] [96] Follow then, he said, and let us demolish the proverb:--
[Symposium] [98] 'To the feasts of inferior men the good unbidden go;'
[Symposium] [102] 'To the feasts of the good the good unbidden go;'
[Symposium] [104] and this alteration may be supported by the authority of Homer himself, who
[Symposium] [105] not only demolishes but literally outrages the proverb. For, after
[Symposium] [106] picturing Agamemnon as the most valiant of men, he makes Menelaus, who is
[Symposium] [107] but a fainthearted warrior, come unbidden (Iliad) to the banquet of
[Symposium] [108] Agamemnon, who is feasting and offering sacrifices, not the better to the
[Symposium] [109] worse, but the worse to the better.
[Symposium] [112] and that, like Menelaus in Homer, I shall be the inferior person, who
[Symposium] [114] 'To the feasts of the wise unbidden goes.'
[Symposium] [122] by the way (Iliad).
[Symposium] [124] This was the style of their conversation as they went along. Socrates
[Symposium] [126] waiting, to go on before him. When he reached the house of Agathon he
[Symposium] [127] found the doors wide open, and a comical thing happened. A servant coming
[Symposium] [128] out met him, and led him at once into the banqueting-hall in which the
[Symposium] [129] guests were reclining, for the banquet was about to begin. Welcome,
[Symposium] [137] to the supper.
[Symposium] [145] Aristodemus, meanwhile take the place by Eryximachus.
[Symposium] [147] The servant then assisted him to wash, and he lay down, and presently
[Symposium] [149] into the portico of the neighbouring house. 'There he is fixed,' said he,
[Symposium] [160] to the servants, he added, 'Let us have supper without waiting for him.
[Symposium] [163] that you are our hosts, and that I and the company are your guests; treat
[Symposium] [165] but still no Socrates; and during the meal Agathon several times expressed
[Symposium] [166] a wish to send for him, but Aristodemus objected; and at last when the
[Symposium] [167] feast was about half over--for the fit, as usual, was not of long duration
[Symposium] [168] --Socrates entered. Agathon, who was reclining alone at the end of the
[Symposium] [169] table, begged that he would take the place next to him; that 'I may touch
[Symposium] [170] you,' he said, 'and have the benefit of that wise thought which came into
[Symposium] [171] your mind in the portico, and is now in your possession; for I am certain
[Symposium] [175] could be infused by touch, out of the fuller into the emptier man, as water
[Symposium] [177] how greatly should I value the privilege of reclining at your side! For
[Symposium] [181] in all the splendour of youth the day before yesterday, in the presence of
[Symposium] [185] to determine who bears off the palm of wisdom--of this Dionysus shall be
[Symposium] [186] the judge; but at present you are better occupied with supper.
[Symposium] [188] Socrates took his place on the couch, and supped with the rest; and then
[Symposium] [189] libations were offered, and after a hymn had been sung to the god, and
[Symposium] [190] there had been the usual ceremonies, they were about to commence drinking,
[Symposium] [192] injury to ourselves? I can assure you that I feel severely the effect of
[Symposium] [194] most of you are in the same predicament, for you were of the party
[Symposium] [195] yesterday. Consider then: How can the drinking be made easiest?
[Symposium] [201] I think that you are right, said Eryximachus, the son of Acumenus; but I
[Symposium] [207] Then, said Eryximachus, the weak heads like myself, Aristodemus, Phaedrus,
[Symposium] [208] and others who never can drink, are fortunate in finding that the stronger
[Symposium] [211] as of none of the company seem disposed to drink much, I may be forgiven
[Symposium] [214] least of all to any one who still feels the effects of yesterday's carouse.
[Symposium] [217] physician, rejoined Phaedrus the Myrrhinusian, and the rest of the company,
[Symposium] [218] if they are wise, will do the same.
[Symposium] [220] It was agreed that drinking was not to be the order of the day, but that
[Symposium] [224] voluntary, and that there is to be no compulsion, I move, in the next
[Symposium] [225] place, that the flute-girl, who has just made her appearance, be told to go
[Symposium] [226] away and play to herself, or, if she likes, to the women who are within
[Symposium] [231] I will begin, he said, after the manner of Melanippe in Euripides,
[Symposium] [233] 'Not mine the word'
[Symposium] [237] whereas other gods have poems and hymns made in their honour, the great and
[Symposium] [238] glorious god, Love, has no encomiast among all the poets who are so many.
[Symposium] [239] There are the worthy sophists too--the excellent Prodicus for example, who
[Symposium] [240] have descanted in prose on the virtues of Heracles and other heroes; and,
[Symposium] [242] which the utility of salt has been made the theme of an eloquent discourse;
[Symposium] [248] him a contribution; also I think that at the present moment we who are here
[Symposium] [249] assembled cannot do better than honour the god Love. If you agree with me,
[Symposium] [252] Love. Let him give us the best which he can; and Phaedrus, because he is
[Symposium] [253] sitting first on the left hand, and because he is the father of the
[Symposium] [260] any one disagree of those whom I see around me. The proposal, as I am
[Symposium] [262] contented if we hear some good speeches first. Let Phaedrus begin the
[Symposium] [263] praise of Love, and good luck to him. All the company expressed their
[Symposium] [268] remembrance, and what the chief speakers said.
[Symposium] [271] gods and men, but especially wonderful in his birth. For he is the eldest
[Symposium] [272] of the gods, which is an honour to him; and a proof of his claim to this
[Symposium] [277] The everlasting seat of all that is,
[Symposium] [280] In other words, after Chaos, the Earth and Love, these two, came into
[Symposium] [283] 'First in the train of gods, he fashioned Love.'
[Symposium] [285] And Acusilaus agrees with Hesiod. Thus numerous are the witnesses who
[Symposium] [286] acknowledge Love to be the eldest of the gods. And not only is he the
[Symposium] [287] eldest, he is also the source of the greatest benefits to us. For I know
[Symposium] [289] virtuous lover, or to the lover than a beloved youth. For the principle
[Symposium] [290] which ought to be the guide of men who would nobly live--that principle, I
[Symposium] [292] to implant so well as love. Of what am I speaking? Of the sense of honour
[Symposium] [298] one else. The beloved too, when he is found in any disgraceful situation,
[Symposium] [299] has the same feeling about his lover. And if there were only some way of
[Symposium] [301] loves (compare Rep.), they would be the very best governors of their own
[Symposium] [304] overcome the world. For what lover would not choose rather to be seen by
[Symposium] [307] than endure this. Or who would desert his beloved or fail him in the hour
[Symposium] [308] of danger? The veriest coward would become an inspired hero, equal to the
[Symposium] [310] Homer says, the god breathes into the souls of some heroes, Love of his own
[Symposium] [311] nature infuses into the lover.
[Symposium] [314] well as men. Of this, Alcestis, the daughter of Pelias, is a monument to
[Symposium] [317] the tenderness of her love so far exceeded theirs, that she made them seem
[Symposium] [319] and so noble did this action of hers appear to the gods, as well as to men,
[Symposium] [320] that among the many who have done virtuously she is one of the very few to
[Symposium] [321] whom, in admiration of her noble action, they have granted the privilege of
[Symposium] [322] returning alive to earth; such exceeding honour is paid by the gods to the
[Symposium] [323] devotion and virtue of love. But Orpheus, the son of Oeagrus, the harper,
[Symposium] [328] afterwards caused him to suffer death at the hands of women, as the
[Symposium] [329] punishment of his cowardliness. Very different was the reward of the true
[Symposium] [331] (the notion that Patroclus was the beloved one is a foolish error into
[Symposium] [332] which Aeschylus has fallen, for Achilles was surely the fairer of the two,
[Symposium] [333] fairer also than all the other heroes; and, as Homer informs us, he was
[Symposium] [334] still beardless, and younger far). And greatly as the gods honour the
[Symposium] [335] virtue of love, still the return of love on the part of the beloved to the
[Symposium] [336] lover is more admired and valued and rewarded by them, for the lover is
[Symposium] [341] only in his defence, but after he was dead. Wherefore the gods honoured
[Symposium] [342] him even above Alcestis, and sent him to the Islands of the Blest. These
[Symposium] [343] are my reasons for affirming that Love is the eldest and noblest and
[Symposium] [344] mightiest of the gods; and the chiefest author and giver of virtue in life,
[Symposium] [347] This, or something like this, was the speech of Phaedrus; and some other
[Symposium] [348] speeches followed which Aristodemus did not remember; the next which he
[Symposium] [349] repeated was that of Pausanias. Phaedrus, he said, the argument has not
[Symposium] [350] been set before us, I think, quite in the right form;--we should not be
[Symposium] [354] be the theme of our praises. I will amend this defect; and first of all I
[Symposium] [355] will tell you which Love is deserving of praise, and then try to hymn the
[Symposium] [359] Loves. And am I not right in asserting that there are two goddesses? The
[Symposium] [360] elder one, having no mother, who is called the heavenly Aphrodite--she is
[Symposium] [361] the daughter of Uranus; the younger, who is the daughter of Zeus and Dione
[Symposium] [362] --her we call common; and the Love who is her fellow-worker is rightly
[Symposium] [363] named common, as the other love is called heavenly. All the gods ought to
[Symposium] [365] and therefore I must try to distinguish the characters of the two Loves.
[Symposium] [366] Now actions vary according to the manner of their performance. Take, for
[Symposium] [369] this or that way according to the mode of performing them; and when well
[Symposium] [372] worthy of praise. The Love who is the offspring of the common Aphrodite is
[Symposium] [373] essentially common, and has no discrimination, being such as the meaner
[Symposium] [375] the body rather than of the soul--the most foolish beings are the objects
[Symposium] [377] accomplishing the end nobly, and therefore does good and evil quite
[Symposium] [378] indiscriminately. The goddess who is his mother is far younger than the
[Symposium] [379] other, and she was born of the union of the male and female, and partakes
[Symposium] [380] of both. But the offspring of the heavenly Aphrodite is derived from a
[Symposium] [381] mother in whose birth the female has no part,--she is from the male only;
[Symposium] [382] this is that love which is of youths, and the goddess being older, there is
[Symposium] [384] the male, and delight in him who is the more valiant and intelligent
[Symposium] [385] nature; any one may recognise the pure enthusiasts in the very character of
[Symposium] [387] reason is beginning to be developed, much about the time at which their
[Symposium] [391] the fool with them, or run away from one to another of them. But the love
[Symposium] [394] noble enthusiasm may be thrown away upon them; in this matter the good are
[Symposium] [395] a law to themselves, and the coarser sort of lovers ought to be restrained
[Symposium] [397] affections on women of free birth. These are the persons who bring a
[Symposium] [398] reproach on love; and some have been led to deny the lawfulness of such
[Symposium] [399] attachments because they see the impropriety and evil of them; for surely
[Symposium] [401] here and in Lacedaemon the rules about love are perplexing, but in most
[Symposium] [403] countries having no gifts of eloquence, they are very straightforward; the
[Symposium] [405] old, has anything to say to their discredit; the reason being, as I
[Symposium] [406] suppose, that they are men of few words in those parts, and therefore the
[Symposium] [407] lovers do not like the trouble of pleading their suit. In Ionia and other
[Symposium] [408] places, and generally in countries which are subject to the barbarians, the
[Symposium] [409] custom is held to be dishonourable; loves of youths share the evil repute
[Symposium] [411] tyranny; for the interests of rulers require that their subjects should be
[Symposium] [415] experience; for the love of Aristogeiton and the constancy of Harmodius had
[Symposium] [416] a strength which undid their power. And, therefore, the ill-repute into
[Symposium] [417] which these attachments have fallen is to be ascribed to the evil condition
[Symposium] [418] of those who make them to be ill-reputed; that is to say, to the self-
[Symposium] [419] seeking of the governors and the cowardice of the governed; on the other
[Symposium] [420] hand, the indiscriminate honour which is given to them in some countries is
[Symposium] [421] attributable to the laziness of those who hold this opinion of them. In
[Symposium] [422] our own country a far better principle prevails, but, as I was saying, the
[Symposium] [424] held to be more honourable than secret ones, and that the love of the
[Symposium] [426] is especially honourable. Consider, too, how great is the encouragement
[Symposium] [427] which all the world gives to the lover; neither is he supposed to be doing
[Symposium] [429] is blamed. And in the pursuit of his love the custom of mankind allows him
[Symposium] [432] pray, and entreat, and supplicate, and swear, and lie on a mat at the door,
[Symposium] [436] charge him with meanness or flattery; the actions of a lover have a grace
[Symposium] [440] the gods will forgive his transgression, for there is no such thing as a
[Symposium] [441] lover's oath. Such is the entire liberty which gods and men have allowed
[Symposium] [442] the lover, according to the custom which prevails in our part of the world.
[Symposium] [447] cast in their teeth anything of the sort which they may observe, and their
[Symposium] [448] elders refuse to silence the reprovers and do not rebuke them--any one who
[Symposium] [449] reflects on all this will, on the contrary, think that we hold these
[Symposium] [450] practices to be most disgraceful. But, as I was saying at first, the truth
[Symposium] [454] dishonourably. There is dishonour in yielding to the evil, or in an evil
[Symposium] [455] manner; but there is honour in yielding to the good, or in an honourable
[Symposium] [456] manner. Evil is the vulgar lover who loves the body rather than the soul,
[Symposium] [458] itself unstable, and therefore when the bloom of youth which he was
[Symposium] [460] and promises; whereas the love of the noble disposition is life-long, for
[Symposium] [461] it becomes one with the everlasting. The custom of our country would have
[Symposium] [462] both of them proven well and truly, and would have us yield to the one sort
[Symposium] [463] of lover and avoid the other, and therefore encourages some to pursue, and
[Symposium] [464] others to fly; testing both the lover and beloved in contests and trials,
[Symposium] [465] until they show to which of the two classes they respectively belong. And
[Symposium] [466] this is the reason why, in the first place, a hasty attachment is held to
[Symposium] [467] be dishonourable, because time is the true test of this as of most other
[Symposium] [468] things; and secondly there is a dishonour in being overcome by the love of
[Symposium] [470] into surrender by the loss of them, or, having experienced the benefits of
[Symposium] [471] money and political corruption, is unable to rise above the seductions of
[Symposium] [475] the beloved, and this is the way of virtue; for as we admitted that any
[Symposium] [476] service which the lover does to him is not to be accounted flattery or a
[Symposium] [477] dishonour to himself, so the beloved has one way only of voluntary service
[Symposium] [481] to another under the idea that he will be improved by him either in wisdom,
[Symposium] [483] not to be regarded as a dishonour, and is not open to the charge of
[Symposium] [484] flattery. And these two customs, one the love of youth, and the other the
[Symposium] [486] then the beloved may honourably indulge the lover. For when the lover and
[Symposium] [487] beloved come together, having each of them a law, and the lover thinks that
[Symposium] [489] and the other that he is right in showing any kindness which he can to him
[Symposium] [490] who is making him wise and good; the one capable of communicating wisdom
[Symposium] [491] and virtue, the other seeking to acquire them with a view to education and
[Symposium] [492] wisdom, when the two laws of love are fulfilled and meet in one--then, and
[Symposium] [493] then only, may the beloved yield with honour to the lover. Nor when love
[Symposium] [496] For he who is gracious to his lover under the impression that he is rich,
[Symposium] [498] disgraced all the same: for he has done his best to show that he would
[Symposium] [499] give himself up to any one's 'uses base' for the sake of money; but this is
[Symposium] [500] not honourable. And on the same principle he who gives himself to a lover
[Symposium] [501] because he is a good man, and in the hope that he will be improved by his
[Symposium] [502] company, shows himself to be virtuous, even though the object of his
[Symposium] [506] than which there can be nothing nobler. Thus noble in every case is the
[Symposium] [507] acceptance of another for the sake of virtue. This is that love which is
[Symposium] [508] the love of the heavenly godess, and is heavenly, and of great price to
[Symposium] [509] individuals and cities, making the lover and the beloved alike eager in the
[Symposium] [510] work of their own improvement. But all other loves are the offspring of
[Symposium] [511] the other, who is the common goddess. To you, Phaedrus, I offer this my
[Symposium] [514] Pausanias came to a pause--this is the balanced way in which I have been
[Symposium] [515] taught by the wise to speak; and Aristodemus said that the turn of
[Symposium] [517] cause he had the hiccough, and was obliged to change turns with Eryximachus
[Symposium] [518] the physician, who was reclining on the couch below him. Eryximachus, he
[Symposium] [524] breath, and if after you have done so for some time the hiccough is no
[Symposium] [527] the most violent hiccough is sure to go. I will do as you prescribe, said
[Symposium] [533] informs me that the double love is not merely an affection of the soul of
[Symposium] [534] man towards the fair, or towards anything, but is to be found in the bodies
[Symposium] [535] of all animals and in productions of the earth, and I may say in all that
[Symposium] [536] is; such is the conclusion which I seem to have gathered from my own art of
[Symposium] [537] medicine, whence I learn how great and wonderful and universal is the deity
[Symposium] [540] in the human body these two kinds of love, which are confessedly different
[Symposium] [542] and the desire of the healthy is one, and the desire of the diseased is
[Symposium] [544] honourable, and bad men dishonourable:--so too in the body the good and
[Symposium] [545] healthy elements are to be indulged, and the bad elements and the elements
[Symposium] [546] of disease are not to be indulged, but discouraged. And this is what the
[Symposium] [547] physician has to do, and in this the art of medicine consists: for
[Symposium] [548] medicine may be regarded generally as the knowledge of the loves and
[Symposium] [549] desires of the body, and how to satisfy them or not; and the best physician
[Symposium] [551] the other; and he who knows how to eradicate and how to implant love,
[Symposium] [552] whichever is required, and can reconcile the most hostile elements in the
[Symposium] [554] the most hostile are the most opposite, such as hot and cold, bitter and
[Symposium] [555] sweet, moist and dry, and the like. And my ancestor, Asclepius, knowing
[Symposium] [556] how to implant friendship and accord in these elements, was the creator of
[Symposium] [557] our art, as our friends the poets here tell us, and I believe them; and not
[Symposium] [558] only medicine in every branch but the arts of gymnastic and husbandry are
[Symposium] [559] under his dominion. Any one who pays the least attention to the subject
[Symposium] [560] will also perceive that in music there is the same reconciliation of
[Symposium] [561] opposites; and I suppose that this must have been the meaning of
[Symposium] [562] Heracleitus, although his words are not accurate; for he says that The One
[Symposium] [563] is united by disunion, like the harmony of the bow and the lyre. Now there
[Symposium] [567] disagreed once, but are now reconciled by the art of music; for if the
[Symposium] [573] accordance, as in the former instance, medicine, so in all these other
[Symposium] [575] thus music, too, is concerned with the principles of love in their
[Symposium] [576] application to harmony and rhythm. Again, in the essential nature of
[Symposium] [579] the composition of songs or in the correct performance of airs or metres
[Symposium] [580] composed already, which latter is called education, then the difficulty
[Symposium] [581] begins, and the good artist is needed. Then the old tale has to be
[Symposium] [582] repeated of fair and heavenly love--the love of Urania the fair and
[Symposium] [583] heavenly muse, and of the duty of accepting the temperate, and those who
[Symposium] [585] preserving their love; and again, of the vulgar Polyhymnia, who must be
[Symposium] [586] used with circumspection that the pleasure be enjoyed, but may not generate
[Symposium] [588] the desires of the epicure that he may gratify his tastes without the
[Symposium] [593] The course of the seasons is also full of both these principles; and when,
[Symposium] [594] as I was saying, the elements of hot and cold, moist and dry, attain the
[Symposium] [597] whereas the wanton love, getting the upper hand and affecting the seasons
[Symposium] [598] of the year, is very destructive and injurious, being the source of
[Symposium] [600] plants; for hoar-frost and hail and blight spring from the excesses and
[Symposium] [601] disorders of these elements of love, which to know in relation to the
[Symposium] [602] revolutions of the heavenly bodies and the seasons of the year is termed
[Symposium] [603] astronomy. Furthermore all sacrifices and the whole province of
[Symposium] [604] divination, which is the art of communion between gods and men--these, I
[Symposium] [605] say, are concerned only with the preservation of the good and the cure of
[Symposium] [606] the evil love. For all manner of impiety is likely to ensue if, instead of
[Symposium] [607] accepting and honouring and reverencing the harmonious love in all his
[Symposium] [608] actions, a man honours the other love, whether in his feelings towards gods
[Symposium] [609] or parents, towards the living or the dead. Wherefore the business of
[Symposium] [610] divination is to see to these loves and to heal them, and divination is the
[Symposium] [611] peacemaker of gods and men, working by a knowledge of the religious or
[Symposium] [612] irreligious tendencies which exist in human loves. Such is the great and
[Symposium] [613] mighty, or rather omnipotent force of love in general. And the love, more
[Symposium] [614] especially, which is concerned with the good, and which is perfected in
[Symposium] [615] company with temperance and justice, whether among gods or men, has the
[Symposium] [616] greatest power, and is the source of all our happiness and harmony, and
[Symposium] [617] makes us friends with the gods who are above us, and with one another. I
[Symposium] [620] now supply the omission or take some other line of commendation; for I
[Symposium] [621] perceive that you are rid of the hiccough.
[Symposium] [623] Yes, said Aristophanes, who followed, the hiccough is gone; not, however,
[Symposium] [624] until I applied the sneezing; and I wonder whether the harmony of the body
[Symposium] [625] has a love of such noises and ticklings, for I no sooner applied the
[Symposium] [633] you please not to watch me, as I fear that in the speech which I am about
[Symposium] [634] to make, instead of others laughing with me, which is to the manner born of
[Symposium] [635] our muse and would be all the better, I shall only be laughed at by them.
[Symposium] [644] at all understood the power of Love. For if they had understood him they
[Symposium] [647] be done: since of all the gods he is the best friend of men, the helper
[Symposium] [648] and the healer of the ills which are the great impediment to the happiness
[Symposium] [649] of the race. I will try to describe his power to you, and you shall teach
[Symposium] [650] the rest of the world what I am teaching you. In the first place, let me
[Symposium] [651] treat of the nature of man and what has happened to it; for the original
[Symposium] [652] human nature was not like the present, but different. The sexes were not
[Symposium] [654] and the union of the two, having a name corresponding to this double
[Symposium] [655] nature, which had once a real existence, but is now lost, and the word
[Symposium] [656] 'Androgynous' is only preserved as a term of reproach. In the second
[Symposium] [657] place, the primeval man was round, his back and sides forming a circle; and
[Symposium] [660] members, and the remainder to correspond. He could walk upright as men now
[Symposium] [663] all, like tumblers going over and over with their legs in the air; this was
[Symposium] [664] when he wanted to run fast. Now the sexes were three, and such as I have
[Symposium] [665] described them; because the sun, moon, and earth are three; and the man was
[Symposium] [666] originally the child of the sun, the woman of the earth, and the man-woman
[Symposium] [667] of the moon, which is made up of sun and earth, and they were all round and
[Symposium] [669] strength, and the thoughts of their hearts were great, and they made an
[Symposium] [670] attack upon the gods; of them is told the tale of Otys and Ephialtes who,
[Symposium] [671] as Homer says, dared to scale heaven, and would have laid hands upon the
[Symposium] [672] gods. Doubt reigned in the celestial councils. Should they kill them and
[Symposium] [673] annihilate the race with thunderbolts, as they had done the giants, then
[Symposium] [674] there would be an end of the sacrifices and worship which men offered to
[Symposium] [675] them; but, on the other hand, the gods could not suffer their insolence to
[Symposium] [680] this will have the advantage of making them more profitable to us. They
[Symposium] [685] after another, he bade Apollo give the face and the half of the neck a turn
[Symposium] [686] in order that the man might contemplate the section of himself: he would
[Symposium] [688] wounds and compose their forms. So he gave a turn to the face and pulled
[Symposium] [689] the skin from the sides all over that which in our language is called the
[Symposium] [690] belly, like the purses which draw in, and he made one mouth at the centre,
[Symposium] [691] which he fastened in a knot (the same which is called the navel); he also
[Symposium] [692] moulded the breast and took out most of the wrinkles, much as a shoemaker
[Symposium] [693] might smooth leather upon a last; he left a few, however, in the region of
[Symposium] [694] the belly and navel, as a memorial of the primeval state. After the
[Symposium] [695] division the two parts of man, each desiring his other half, came together,
[Symposium] [697] longing to grow into one, they were on the point of dying from hunger and
[Symposium] [699] of the halves died and the other survived, the survivor sought another
[Symposium] [700] mate, man or woman as we call them,--being the sections of entire men or
[Symposium] [702] them invented a new plan: he turned the parts of generation round to the
[Symposium] [703] front, for this had not been always their position, and they sowed the seed
[Symposium] [704] no longer as hitherto like grasshoppers in the ground, but in one another;
[Symposium] [705] and after the transposition the male generated in the female in order that
[Symposium] [706] by the mutual embraces of man and woman they might breed, and the race
[Symposium] [708] and go their ways to the business of life: so ancient is the desire of one
[Symposium] [710] of two, and healing the state of man. Each of us when separated, having
[Symposium] [711] one side only, like a flat fish, is but the indenture of a man, and he is
[Symposium] [715] the women who are a section of the woman do not care for men, but have
[Symposium] [716] female attachments; the female companions are of this sort. But they who
[Symposium] [717] are a section of the male follow the male, and while they are young, being
[Symposium] [718] slices of the original man, they hang about men and embrace them, and they
[Symposium] [719] are themselves the best of boys and youths, because they have the most
[Symposium] [724] these only, which is a great proof of the truth of what I am saving. When
[Symposium] [726] to marry or beget children,--if at all, they do so only in obedience to the
[Symposium] [730] with his other half, the actual half of himself, whether he be a lover of
[Symposium] [731] youth or a lover of another sort, the pair are lost in an amazement of love
[Symposium] [732] and friendship and intimacy, and one will not be out of the other's sight,
[Symposium] [733] as I may say, even for a moment: these are the people who pass their whole
[Symposium] [735] For the intense yearning which each of them has towards the other does not
[Symposium] [736] appear to be the desire of lover's intercourse, but of something else which
[Symposium] [737] the soul of either evidently desires and cannot tell, and of which she has
[Symposium] [739] instruments, to come to the pair who are lying side by side and to say to
[Symposium] [746] after your death in the world below still be one departed soul instead of
[Symposium] [749] the proposal would deny or would not acknowledge that this meeting and
[Symposium] [750] melting into one another, this becoming one instead of two, was the very
[Symposium] [751] expression of his ancient need (compare Arist. Pol.). And the reason is
[Symposium] [752] that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire
[Symposium] [753] and pursuit of the whole is called love. There was a time, I say, when we
[Symposium] [754] were one, but now because of the wickedness of mankind God has dispersed
[Symposium] [755] us, as the Arcadians were dispersed into villages by the Lacedaemonians
[Symposium] [756] (compare Arist. Pol.). And if we are not obedient to the gods, there is a
[Symposium] [758] the profile figures having only half a nose which are sculptured on
[Symposium] [760] men to piety, that we may avoid evil, and obtain the good, of which Love is
[Symposium] [761] to us the lord and minister; and let no one oppose him--he is the enemy of
[Symposium] [762] the gods who opposes him. For if we are friends of the God and at peace
[Symposium] [766] Agathon, who, as I suspect, are both of the manly nature, and belong to the
[Symposium] [771] would be best of all, the best in the next degree and under present
[Symposium] [772] circumstances must be the nearest approach to such an union; and that will
[Symposium] [773] be the attainment of a congenial love. Wherefore, if we would praise him
[Symposium] [774] who has given to us the benefit, we must praise the god Love, who is our
[Symposium] [776] and giving us high hopes for the future, for he promises that if we are
[Symposium] [779] although different to yours, I must beg you to leave unassailed by the
[Symposium] [781] rather either, for Agathon and Socrates are the only ones left.
[Symposium] [785] in the art of love, I should be really afraid that they would have nothing
[Symposium] [786] to say, after the world of things which have been said already. But, for
[Symposium] [793] You want to cast a spell over me, Socrates, said Agathon, in the hope that
[Symposium] [794] I may be disconcerted at the expectation raised among the audience that I
[Symposium] [797] I should be strangely forgetful, Agathon replied Socrates, of the courage
[Symposium] [799] be exhibited, and you came upon the stage with the actors and faced the
[Symposium] [803] Do you think, Socrates, said Agathon, that my head is so full of the
[Symposium] [810] their opinion much more than for that of the many. But then we, having
[Symposium] [811] been a part of the foolish many in the theatre, cannot be regarded as the
[Symposium] [812] select wise; though I know that if you chanced to be in the presence, not
[Symposium] [818] But before the many you would not be ashamed, if you thought that you were
[Symposium] [823] looking one, he will no longer care about the completion of our plan. Now
[Symposium] [824] I love to hear him talk; but just at present I must not forget the encomium
[Symposium] [826] he have paid your tribute to the god, then you may talk.
[Symposium] [832] The previous speakers, instead of praising the god Love, or unfolding his
[Symposium] [833] nature, appear to have congratulated mankind on the benefits which he
[Symposium] [834] confers upon them. But I would rather praise the god first, and then speak
[Symposium] [835] of his gifts; this is always the right way of praising everything. May I
[Symposium] [836] say without impiety or offence, that of all the blessed gods he is the most
[Symposium] [837] blessed because he is the fairest and best? And he is the fairest: for,
[Symposium] [838] in the first place, he is the youngest, and of his youth he is himself the
[Symposium] [839] witness, fleeing out of the way of age, who is swift enough, swifter truly
[Symposium] [841] and love live and move together--like to like, as the proverb says. Many
[Symposium] [844] him to be the youngest of the gods, and youthful ever. The ancient doings
[Symposium] [845] among the gods of which Hesiod and Parmenides spoke, if the tradition of
[Symposium] [847] those days, there would have been no chaining or mutilation of the gods, or
[Symposium] [849] the rule of Love began. Love is young and also tender; he ought to have a
[Symposium] [854] Not on the ground but on the heads of men:'
[Symposium] [857] the hard but upon the soft. Let us adduce a similar proof of the
[Symposium] [858] tenderness of Love; for he walks not upon the earth, nor yet upon the
[Symposium] [859] skulls of men, which are not so very soft, but in the hearts and souls of
[Symposium] [860] both gods and men, which are of all things the softest: in them he walks
[Symposium] [863] dwells; and nestling always with his feet and in all manner of ways in the
[Symposium] [864] softest of soft places, how can he be other than the softest of all things?
[Symposium] [865] Of a truth he is the tenderest as well as the youngest, and also he is of
[Symposium] [869] universally admitted to be in an especial manner the attribute of Love;
[Symposium] [870] ungrace and love are always at war with one another. The fairness of his
[Symposium] [871] complexion is revealed by his habitation among the flowers; for he dwells
[Symposium] [873] else, but in the place of flowers and scents, there he sits and abides.
[Symposium] [874] Concerning the beauty of the god I have said enough; and yet there remains
[Symposium] [880] agreement, there, as the laws which are the lords of the city say, is
[Symposium] [882] is the acknowledged ruler of the pleasures and desires, and no pleasure
[Symposium] [884] conquers them he must be temperate indeed. As to courage, even the God of
[Symposium] [885] War is no match for him; he is the captive and Love is the lord, for love,
[Symposium] [886] the love of Aphrodite, masters him, as the tale runs; and the master is
[Symposium] [887] stronger than the servant. And if he conquers the bravest of all others,
[Symposium] [888] he must be himself the bravest. Of his courage and justice and temperance
[Symposium] [889] I have spoken, but I have yet to speak of his wisdom; and according to the
[Symposium] [890] measure of my ability I must try to do my best. In the first place he is a
[Symposium] [891] poet (and here, like Eryximachus, I magnify my art), and he is also the
[Symposium] [893] poet. And at the touch of him every one becomes a poet, even though he had
[Symposium] [894] no music in him before (A fragment of the Sthenoaoea of Euripides.); this
[Symposium] [895] also is a proof that Love is a good poet and accomplished in all the fine
[Symposium] [897] teach that of which he has no knowledge. Who will deny that the creation
[Symposium] [898] of the animals is his doing? Are they not all the works of his wisdom,
[Symposium] [899] born and begotten of him? And as to the artists, do we not know that he
[Symposium] [900] only of them whom love inspires has the light of fame?--he whom Love
[Symposium] [901] touches not walks in darkness. The arts of medicine and archery and
[Symposium] [902] divination were discovered by Apollo, under the guidance of love and
[Symposium] [903] desire; so that he too is a disciple of Love. Also the melody of the
[Symposium] [904] Muses, the metallurgy of Hephaestus, the weaving of Athene, the empire of
[Symposium] [905] Zeus over gods and men, are all due to Love, who was the inventor of them.
[Symposium] [906] And so Love set in order the empire of the gods--the love of beauty, as is
[Symposium] [907] evident, for with deformity Love has no concern. In the days of old, as I
[Symposium] [908] began by saying, dreadful deeds were done among the gods, for they were
[Symposium] [909] ruled by Necessity; but now since the birth of Love, and from the Love of
[Symposium] [910] the beautiful, has sprung every good in heaven and earth. Therefore,
[Symposium] [911] Phaedrus, I say of Love that he is the fairest and best in himself, and the
[Symposium] [913] into my mind a line of poetry in which he is said to be the god who
[Symposium] [915] 'Gives peace on earth and calms the stormy deep,
[Symposium] [916] Who stills the winds and bids the sufferer sleep.'
[Symposium] [921] discourtesy, who gives kindness ever and never gives unkindness; the friend
[Symposium] [922] of the good, the wonder of the wise, the amazement of the gods; desired by
[Symposium] [923] those who have no part in him, and precious to those who have the better
[Symposium] [925] regardful of the good, regardless of the evil: in every word, work, wish,
[Symposium] [928] his honour and joining in that sweet strain with which love charms the
[Symposium] [929] souls of gods and men. Such is the speech, Phaedrus, half-playful, yet
[Symposium] [931] dedicate to the god.
[Symposium] [934] cheer; the young man was thought to have spoken in a manner worthy of
[Symposium] [935] himself, and of the god. And Socrates, looking at Eryximachus, said: Tell
[Symposium] [940] The part of the prophecy which concerns Agathon, replied Eryximachus,
[Symposium] [941] appears to me to be true; but not the other part--that you will be in a
[Symposium] [946] especially struck with the beauty of the concluding words--who could listen
[Symposium] [947] to them without amazement? When I reflected on the immeasurable
[Symposium] [950] the end of his speech I fancied that Agathon was shaking at me the
[Symposium] [951] Gorginian or Gorgonian head of the great master of rhetoric, which was
[Symposium] [955] master of the art, when I really had no conception how anything ought to be
[Symposium] [956] praised. For in my simplicity I imagined that the topics of praise should
[Symposium] [957] be true, and that this being presupposed, out of the true the speaker was
[Symposium] [958] to choose the best and set them forth in the best manner. And I felt quite
[Symposium] [959] proud, thinking that I knew the nature of true praise, and should speak
[Symposium] [960] well. Whereas I now see that the intention was to attribute to Love every
[Symposium] [962] without regard to truth or falsehood--that was no matter; for the original
[Symposium] [966] you say that 'he is all this,' and 'the cause of all that,' making him
[Symposium] [967] appear the fairest and best of all to those who know him not, for you
[Symposium] [969] praise have you rehearsed. But as I misunderstood the nature of the praise
[Symposium] [970] when I said that I would take my turn, I must beg to be absolved from the
[Symposium] [972] (Eurip. Hyppolytus)) was a promise of the lips and not of the mind.
[Symposium] [974] indeed, I cannot. But if you like to hear the truth about love, I am ready
[Symposium] [977] like to have the truth about love, spoken in any words and in any order
[Symposium] [978] which may happen to come into my mind at the time. Will that be agreeable
[Symposium] [981] Aristodemus said that Phaedrus and the company bid him speak in any manner
[Symposium] [984] admissions as the premisses of my discourse.
[Symposium] [986] I grant the permission, said Phaedrus: put your questions. Socrates then
[Symposium] [989] In the magnificent oration which you have just uttered, I think that you
[Symposium] [990] were right, my dear Agathon, in proposing to speak of the nature of Love
[Symposium] [993] ask you further, Whether love is the love of something or of nothing? And
[Symposium] [994] here I must explain myself: I do not want you to say that love is the love
[Symposium] [995] of a father or the love of a mother--that would be ridiculous; but to
[Symposium] [997] you would find no difficulty in replying, of a son or daughter: and the
[Symposium] [1002] And you would say the same of a mother?
[Symposium] [1031] not rather the word. The inference that he who desires something is in
[Symposium] [1050] is. I give the example in order that we may avoid misconception. For the
[Symposium] [1052] respective advantages at the time, whether they choose or not; and who can
[Symposium] [1056] and health and strength, want to have the continuance of them; for at this
[Symposium] [1059] want to have what you now have in the future?' He must agree with us--must
[Symposium] [1065] preserved to him in the future, which is equivalent to saying that he
[Symposium] [1073] of which he is in want;--these are the sort of things which love and desire
[Symposium] [1078] Then now, said Socrates, let us recapitulate the argument. First, is not
[Symposium] [1084] will remind you: you said that the love of the beautiful set in order the
[Symposium] [1085] empire of the gods, for that of deformed things there is no love--did you
[Symposium] [1090] Yes, my friend, and the remark was a just one. And if this is true, Love
[Symposium] [1091] is the love of beauty and not of deformity?
[Symposium] [1095] And the admission has been already made that Love is of something which a
[Symposium] [1113] one small question which I would fain ask:--Is not the good also the
[Symposium] [1118] Then in wanting the beautiful, love wants also the good?
[Symposium] [1123] Say rather, beloved Agathon, that you cannot refute the truth; for Socrates
[Symposium] [1128] this and in many other kinds of knowledge, who in the days of old, when the
[Symposium] [1129] Athenians offered sacrifice before the coming of the plague, delayed the
[Symposium] [1130] disease ten years. She was my instructress in the art of love, and I shall
[Symposium] [1131] repeat to you what she said to me, beginning with the admissions made by
[Symposium] [1132] Agathon, which are nearly if not quite the same which I made to the wise
[Symposium] [1133] woman when she questioned me: I think that this will be the easiest way,
[Symposium] [1135] you, Agathon, suggested (supra), I must speak first of the being and nature
[Symposium] [1136] of Love, and then of his works. First I said to her in nearly the same
[Symposium] [1146] the truth), but is clearly something which is a mean between ignorance and
[Symposium] [1156] replied; 'for you yourself would acknowledge that the gods are happy and
[Symposium] [1158] 'Certainly not,' I replied. 'And you mean by the happy, those who are the
[Symposium] [1163] deny the divinity of Love.'
[Symposium] [1166] the former instance, he is neither mortal nor immortal, but in a mean
[Symposium] [1167] between the two.' 'What is he, Diotima?' 'He is a great spirit (daimon),
[Symposium] [1168] and like all spirits he is intermediate between the divine and the mortal.'
[Symposium] [1170] gods and men, conveying and taking across to the gods the prayers and
[Symposium] [1171] sacrifices of men, and to men the commands and replies of the gods; he is
[Symposium] [1172] the mediator who spans the chasm which divides them, and therefore in him
[Symposium] [1173] all is bound together, and through him the arts of the prophet and the
[Symposium] [1176] Love all the intercourse and converse of God with man, whether awake or
[Symposium] [1177] asleep, is carried on. The wisdom which understands this is spiritual; all
[Symposium] [1181] 'The tale,' she said, 'will take time; nevertheless I will tell you. On
[Symposium] [1182] the birthday of Aphrodite there was a feast of the gods, at which the god
[Symposium] [1183] Poros or Plenty, who is the son of Metis or Discretion, was one of the
[Symposium] [1184] guests. When the feast was over, Penia or Poverty, as the manner is on
[Symposium] [1185] such occasions, came about the doors to beg. Now Plenty who was the worse
[Symposium] [1186] for nectar (there was no wine in those days), went into the garden of Zeus
[Symposium] [1190] of the beautiful, and because Aphrodite is herself beautiful, and also
[Symposium] [1192] his parentage is, so also are his fortunes. In the first place he is
[Symposium] [1193] always poor, and anything but tender and fair, as the many imagine him; and
[Symposium] [1194] he is rough and squalid, and has no shoes, nor a house to dwell in; on the
[Symposium] [1195] bare earth exposed he lies under the open heaven, in the streets, or at the
[Symposium] [1198] plotting against the fair and good; he is bold, enterprising, strong, a
[Symposium] [1199] mighty hunter, always weaving some intrigue or other, keen in the pursuit
[Symposium] [1206] and knowledge. The truth of the matter is this: No god is a philosopher
[Symposium] [1208] wise seek after wisdom. Neither do the ignorant seek after wisdom. For
[Symposium] [1209] herein is the evil of ignorance, that he who is neither good nor wise is
[Symposium] [1211] feels no want.' 'But who then, Diotima,' I said, 'are the lovers of
[Symposium] [1212] wisdom, if they are neither the wise nor the foolish?' 'A child may answer
[Symposium] [1213] that question,' she replied; 'they are those who are in a mean between the
[Symposium] [1215] is of the beautiful; and therefore Love is also a philosopher or lover of
[Symposium] [1216] wisdom, and being a lover of wisdom is in a mean between the wise and the
[Symposium] [1217] ignorant. And of this too his birth is the cause; for his father is
[Symposium] [1219] is the nature of the spirit Love. The error in your conception of him was
[Symposium] [1221] confusion of love and the beloved, which made you think that love was all
[Symposium] [1222] beautiful. For the beloved is the truly beautiful, and delicate, and
[Symposium] [1223] perfect, and blessed; but the principle of love is of another nature, and
[Symposium] [1227] such as you say, what is the use of him to men?' 'That, Socrates,' she
[Symposium] [1229] spoken; and you acknowledge that love is of the beautiful. But some one
[Symposium] [1230] will say: Of the beautiful in what, Socrates and Diotima?--or rather let
[Symposium] [1231] me put the question more clearly, and ask: When a man loves the beautiful,
[Symposium] [1232] what does he desire?' I answered her 'That the beautiful may be his.'
[Symposium] [1233] 'Still,' she said, 'the answer suggests a further question: What is given
[Symposium] [1234] by the possession of beauty?' 'To what you have asked,' I replied, 'I have
[Symposium] [1235] no answer ready.' 'Then,' she said, 'let me put the word "good" in the
[Symposium] [1236] place of the beautiful, and repeat the question once more: If he who loves
[Symposium] [1237] loves the good, what is it then that he loves?' 'The possession of the
[Symposium] [1238] good,' I said. 'And what does he gain who possesses the good?'
[Symposium] [1240] question.' 'Yes,' she said, 'the happy are made happy by the acquisition
[Symposium] [1242] the answer is already final.' 'You are right.' I said. 'And is this wish
[Symposium] [1244] or only some men?--what say you?' 'All men,' I replied; 'the desire is
[Symposium] [1247] always loving the same things.' 'I myself wonder,' I said, 'why this is.'
[Symposium] [1248] 'There is nothing to wonder at,' she replied; 'the reason is that one part
[Symposium] [1249] of love is separated off and receives the name of the whole, but the other
[Symposium] [1253] the processes of all art are creative; and the masters of arts are all
[Symposium] [1255] not called poets, but have other names; only that portion of the art which
[Symposium] [1256] is separated off from the rest, and is concerned with music and metre, is
[Symposium] [1257] termed poetry, and they who possess poetry in this sense of the word are
[Symposium] [1258] called poets.' 'Very true,' I said. 'And the same holds of love. For you
[Symposium] [1259] may say generally that all desire of good and happiness is only the great
[Symposium] [1261] path, whether the path of money-making or gymnastics or philosophy, are not
[Symposium] [1262] called lovers--the name of the whole is appropriated to those whose
[Symposium] [1266] I say that they are seeking neither for the half of themselves, nor for the
[Symposium] [1267] whole, unless the half or the whole be also a good. And they will cut off
[Symposium] [1270] what belongs to him the good, and what belongs to another the evil. For
[Symposium] [1271] there is nothing which men love but the good. Is there anything?'
[Symposium] [1272] 'Certainly, I should say, that there is nothing.' 'Then,' she said, 'the
[Symposium] [1273] simple truth is, that men love the good.' 'Yes,' I said. 'To which must
[Symposium] [1274] be added that they love the possession of the good?' 'Yes, that must be
[Symposium] [1275] added.' 'And not only the possession, but the everlasting possession of
[Symposium] [1276] the good?' 'That must be added too.' 'Then love,' she said, 'may be
[Symposium] [1277] described generally as the love of the everlasting possession of the good?'
[Symposium] [1280] 'Then if this be the nature of love, can you tell me further,' she said,
[Symposium] [1281] 'what is the manner of the pursuit? what are they doing who show all this
[Symposium] [1282] eagerness and heat which is called love? and what is the object which they
[Symposium] [1286] you:--The object which they have in view is birth in beauty, whether of
[Symposium] [1287] body or soul.' 'I do not understand you,' I said; 'the oracle requires an
[Symposium] [1289] say, that all men are bringing to the birth in their bodies and in their
[Symposium] [1292] this procreation is the union of man and woman, and is a divine thing; for
[Symposium] [1293] conception and generation are an immortal principle in the mortal creature,
[Symposium] [1294] and in the inharmonious they can never be. But the deformed is always
[Symposium] [1295] inharmonious with the divine, and the beautiful harmonious. Beauty, then,
[Symposium] [1296] is the destiny or goddess of parturition who presides at birth, and
[Symposium] [1297] therefore, when approaching beauty, the conceiving power is propitious, and
[Symposium] [1298] diffusive, and benign, and begets and bears fruit: at the sight of
[Symposium] [1301] is the reason why, when the hour of conception arrives, and the teeming
[Symposium] [1303] approach is the alleviation of the pain of travail. For love, Socrates, is
[Symposium] [1304] not, as you imagine, the love of the beautiful only.' 'What then?' 'The
[Symposium] [1306] she replied. 'But why of generation?' 'Because to the mortal creature,
[Symposium] [1308] has been already admitted, love is of the everlasting possession of the
[Symposium] [1313] remember her once saying to me, 'What is the cause, Socrates, of love, and
[Symposium] [1314] the attendant desire? See you not how all animals, birds, as well as
[Symposium] [1315] beasts, in their desire of procreation, are in agony when they take the
[Symposium] [1316] infection of love, which begins with the desire of union; whereto is added
[Symposium] [1317] the care of offspring, on whose behalf the weakest are ready to battle
[Symposium] [1318] against the strongest even to the uttermost, and to die for them, and will
[Symposium] [1323] ever to become a master in the art of love, if you do not know this?' 'But
[Symposium] [1324] I have told you already, Diotima, that my ignorance is the reason why I
[Symposium] [1325] come to you; for I am conscious that I want a teacher; tell me then the
[Symposium] [1326] cause of this and of the other mysteries of love.' 'Marvel not,' she said,
[Symposium] [1327] 'if you believe that love is of the immortal, as we have several times
[Symposium] [1328] acknowledged; for here again, and on the same principle too, the mortal
[Symposium] [1331] leaves behind a new existence in the place of the old. Nay even in the
[Symposium] [1332] life of the same individual there is succession and not absolute unity: a
[Symposium] [1333] man is called the same, and yet in the short interval which elapses between
[Symposium] [1336] bones, blood, and the whole body are always changing. Which is true not
[Symposium] [1337] only of the body, but also of the soul, whose habits, tempers, opinions,
[Symposium] [1338] desires, pleasures, pains, fears, never remain the same in any one of us,
[Symposium] [1340] still more surprising to us mortals, not only do the sciences in general
[Symposium] [1341] spring up and decay, so that in respect of them we are never the same; but
[Symposium] [1343] in the word "recollection," but the departure of knowledge, which is ever
[Symposium] [1345] to be the same although in reality new, according to that law of succession
[Symposium] [1346] by which all mortal things are preserved, not absolutely the same, but by
[Symposium] [1347] substitution, the old worn-out mortality leaving another new and similar
[Symposium] [1348] existence behind--unlike the divine, which is always the same and not
[Symposium] [1349] another? And in this way, Socrates, the mortal body, or mortal anything,
[Symposium] [1350] partakes of immortality; but the immortal in another way. Marvel not then
[Symposium] [1351] at the love which all men have of their offspring; for that universal love
[Symposium] [1352] and interest is for the sake of immortality.'
[Symposium] [1355] Diotima?' And she answered with all the authority of an accomplished
[Symposium] [1356] sophist: 'Of that, Socrates, you may be assured;--think only of the
[Symposium] [1357] ambition of men, and you will wonder at the senselessness of their ways,
[Symposium] [1358] unless you consider how they are stirred by the love of an immortality of
[Symposium] [1361] even to die, for the sake of leaving behind them a name which shall be
[Symposium] [1363] Achilles to avenge Patroclus, or your own Codrus in order to preserve the
[Symposium] [1364] kingdom for his sons, if they had not imagined that the memory of their
[Symposium] [1366] 'I am persuaded that all men do all things, and the better they are the
[Symposium] [1367] more they do them, in hope of the glorious fame of immortal virtue; for
[Symposium] [1368] they desire the immortal.
[Symposium] [1370] 'Those who are pregnant in the body only, betake themselves to women and
[Symposium] [1371] beget children--this is the character of their love; their offspring, as
[Symposium] [1372] they hope, will preserve their memory and giving them the blessedness and
[Symposium] [1373] immortality which they desire in the future. But souls which are pregnant
[Symposium] [1375] their bodies--conceive that which is proper for the soul to conceive or
[Symposium] [1377] And such creators are poets and all artists who are deserving of the name
[Symposium] [1378] inventor. But the greatest and fairest sort of wisdom by far is that which
[Symposium] [1379] is concerned with the ordering of states and families, and which is called
[Symposium] [1380] temperance and justice. And he who in youth has the seed of these
[Symposium] [1384] the beautiful rather than the deformed body; above all when he finds a fair
[Symposium] [1385] and noble and well-nurtured soul, he embraces the two in one person, and to
[Symposium] [1386] such an one he is full of speech about virtue and the nature and pursuits
[Symposium] [1387] of a good man; and he tries to educate him; and at the touch of the
[Symposium] [1391] and have a closer friendship than those who beget mortal children, for the
[Symposium] [1395] in the creation of children such as theirs, which have preserved their
[Symposium] [1397] children as Lycurgus left behind him to be the saviours, not only of
[Symposium] [1398] Lacedaemon, but of Hellas, as one may say? There is Solon, too, who is the
[Symposium] [1400] places, both among Hellenes and barbarians, who have given to the world
[Symposium] [1401] many noble works, and have been the parents of virtue of every kind; and
[Symposium] [1402] many temples have been raised in their honour for the sake of children such
[Symposium] [1403] as theirs; which were never raised in honour of any one, for the sake of
[Symposium] [1406] 'These are the lesser mysteries of love, into which even you, Socrates, may
[Symposium] [1407] enter; to the greater and more hidden ones which are the crown of these,
[Symposium] [1413] should create fair thoughts; and soon he will of himself perceive that the
[Symposium] [1414] beauty of one form is akin to the beauty of another; and then if beauty of
[Symposium] [1416] that the beauty in every form is and the same! And when he perceives this
[Symposium] [1417] he will abate his violent love of the one, which he will despise and deem a
[Symposium] [1418] small thing, and will become a lover of all beautiful forms; in the next
[Symposium] [1419] stage he will consider that the beauty of the mind is more honourable than
[Symposium] [1420] the beauty of the outward form. So that if a virtuous soul have but a
[Symposium] [1422] out and bring to the birth thoughts which may improve the young, until he
[Symposium] [1423] is compelled to contemplate and see the beauty of institutions and laws,
[Symposium] [1424] and to understand that the beauty of them all is of one family, and that
[Symposium] [1426] to the sciences, that he may see their beauty, being not like a servant in
[Symposium] [1427] love with the beauty of one youth or man or institution, himself a slave
[Symposium] [1428] mean and narrow-minded, but drawing towards and contemplating the vast sea
[Symposium] [1431] and at last the vision is revealed to him of a single science, which is the
[Symposium] [1435] 'He who has been instructed thus far in the things of love, and who has
[Symposium] [1436] learned to see the beautiful in due order and succession, when he comes
[Symposium] [1437] toward the end will suddenly perceive a nature of wondrous beauty (and
[Symposium] [1438] this, Socrates, is the final cause of all our former toils)--a nature which
[Symposium] [1439] in the first place is everlasting, not growing and decaying, or waxing and
[Symposium] [1443] others, or in the likeness of a face or hands or any other part of the
[Symposium] [1448] to the ever-growing and perishing beauties of all other things. He who
[Symposium] [1449] from these ascending under the influence of true love, begins to perceive
[Symposium] [1450] that beauty, is not far from the end. And the true order of going, or
[Symposium] [1451] being led by another, to the things of love, is to begin from the beauties
[Symposium] [1452] of earth and mount upwards for the sake of that other beauty, using these
[Symposium] [1455] fair notions, until from fair notions he arrives at the notion of absolute
[Symposium] [1456] beauty, and at last knows what the essence of beauty is. This, my dear
[Symposium] [1457] Socrates,' said the stranger of Mantineia, 'is that life above all others
[Symposium] [1458] which man should live, in the contemplation of beauty absolute; a beauty
[Symposium] [1459] which if you once beheld, you would see not to be after the measure of
[Symposium] [1464] the true beauty--the divine beauty, I mean, pure and clear and unalloyed,
[Symposium] [1465] not clogged with the pollutions of mortality and all the colours and
[Symposium] [1466] vanities of human life--thither looking, and holding converse with the true
[Symposium] [1468] beauty with the eye of the mind, he will be enabled to bring forth, not
[Symposium] [1470] reality), and bringing forth and nourishing true virtue to become the
[Symposium] [1474] Such, Phaedrus--and I speak not only to you, but to all of you--were the
[Symposium] [1476] of them, I try to persuade others, that in the attainment of this end human
[Symposium] [1479] walk in his ways, and exhort others to do the same, and praise the power
[Symposium] [1480] and spirit of love according to the measure of my ability now and ever.
[Symposium] [1482] The words which I have spoken, you, Phaedrus, may call an encomium of love,
[Symposium] [1485] When Socrates had done speaking, the company applauded, and Aristophanes
[Symposium] [1486] was beginning to say something in answer to the allusion which Socrates had
[Symposium] [1487] made to his own speech, when suddenly there was a great knocking at the
[Symposium] [1488] door of the house, as of revellers, and the sound of a flute-girl was
[Symposium] [1489] heard. Agathon told the attendants to go and see who were the intruders.
[Symposium] [1491] that the drinking is over.' A little while afterwards they heard the voice
[Symposium] [1492] of Alcibiades resounding in the court; he was in a great state of
[Symposium] [1494] Agathon,' and at length, supported by the flute-girl and some of his
[Symposium] [1496] at the door crowned with a massive garland of ivy and violets, his head
[Symposium] [1501] head, I may crown the head of this fairest and wisest of men, as I may be
[Symposium] [1503] very well that I am speaking the truth, although you may laugh. But first
[Symposium] [1504] tell me; if I come in shall we have the understanding of which I spoke
[Symposium] [1508] The company were vociferous in begging that he would take his place among
[Symposium] [1509] them, and Agathon specially invited him. Thereupon he was led in by the
[Symposium] [1511] Agathon, he took the ribands from his own head and held them in front of
[Symposium] [1513] and Alcibiades took the vacant place between Agathon and Socrates, and in
[Symposium] [1514] taking the place he embraced Agathon and crowned him. Take off his
[Symposium] [1515] sandals, said Agathon, and let him make a third on the same couch.
[Symposium] [1517] By all means; but who makes the third partner in our revels? said
[Symposium] [1523] joker or lover of jokes, like Aristophanes, but by the fairest of the
[Symposium] [1527] Agathon; for the passion of this man has grown quite a serious matter to
[Symposium] [1536] for the present I will defer your chastisement. And I must beg you,
[Symposium] [1537] Agathon, to give me back some of the ribands that I may crown the
[Symposium] [1539] me for crowning you, and neglecting him, who in conversation is the
[Symposium] [1540] conqueror of all mankind; and this not only once, as you were the day
[Symposium] [1541] before yesterday, but always. Whereupon, taking some of the ribands, he
[Symposium] [1545] be endured; you must drink--for that was the agreement under which I was
[Symposium] [1546] admitted--and I elect myself master of the feast until you are well drunk.
[Symposium] [1547] Let us have a large goblet, Agathon, or rather, he said, addressing the
[Symposium] [1548] attendant, bring me that wine-cooler. The wine-cooler which had caught his
[Symposium] [1550] and bade the attendant fill it again for Socrates. Observe, my friends,
[Symposium] [1553] being drunk. Socrates drank the cup which the attendant filled for him.
[Symposium] [1561] The same to you, said Eryximachus; but what shall we do?
[Symposium] [1565] 'The wise physician skilled our wounds to heal (from Pope's Homer, Il.)'
[Symposium] [1571] a one as he could: the turn was passed round from left to right; and as
[Symposium] [1576] That is good, Eryximachus, said Alcibiades; and yet the comparison of a
[Symposium] [1579] just now saying; for I can assure you that the very reverse is the fact,
[Symposium] [1586] whom I will praise when you are of the company.
[Symposium] [1591] inflict the punishment before you all?
[Symposium] [1594] expense? Is that the meaning of your praise?
[Symposium] [1596] I am going to speak the truth, if you will permit me.
[Symposium] [1598] I not only permit, but exhort you to speak the truth.
[Symposium] [1602] my intention is to speak the truth. But you must not wonder if I speak any
[Symposium] [1603] how as things come into my mind; for the fluent and orderly enumeration of
[Symposium] [1609] for the truth's sake. I say, that he is exactly like the busts of Silenus,
[Symposium] [1610] which are set up in the statuaries' shops, holding pipes and flutes in
[Symposium] [1611] their mouths; and they are made to open in the middle, and have images of
[Symposium] [1612] gods inside them. I say also that he is like Marsyas the satyr. You
[Symposium] [1617] Marsyas. He indeed with instruments used to charm the souls of men by the
[Symposium] [1618] power of his breath, and the players of his music do so still: for the
[Symposium] [1622] the soul and reveal the wants of those who have need of gods and mysteries,
[Symposium] [1623] because they are divine. But you produce the same effect with your words
[Symposium] [1624] only, and do not require the flute: that is the difference between you and
[Symposium] [1626] absolutely no effect upon us, or not much, whereas the mere fragments of
[Symposium] [1628] amaze and possess the souls of every man, woman, and child who comes within
[Symposium] [1630] hopelessly drunk, I would have sworn as well as spoken to the influence
[Symposium] [1633] tears when I hear them. And I observe that many others are affected in the
[Symposium] [1636] stirred by them, nor was I angry at the thought of my own slavish state.
[Symposium] [1638] if I could hardly endure the life which I am leading (this, Socrates, you
[Symposium] [1640] and fly as from the voice of the siren, my fate would be like that of
[Symposium] [1642] For he makes me confess that I ought not to live as I do, neglecting the
[Symposium] [1643] wants of my own soul, and busying myself with the concerns of the
[Symposium] [1645] is the only person who ever made me ashamed, which you might think not to
[Symposium] [1646] be in my nature, and there is no one else who does the same. For I know
[Symposium] [1648] I leave his presence the love of popularity gets the better of me. And
[Symposium] [1654] And this is what I and many others have suffered from the flute-playing of
[Symposium] [1655] this satyr. Yet hear me once more while I show you how exact the image is,
[Symposium] [1658] he is of the fair? He is always with them and is always being smitten by
[Symposium] [1660] is the appearance which he puts on. Is he not like a Silenus in this? To
[Symposium] [1661] be sure he is: his outer mask is the carved head of the Silenus; but, O my
[Symposium] [1663] within! Know you that beauty and wealth and honour, at which the many
[Symposium] [1665] regards not at all the persons who are gifted with them; mankind are
[Symposium] [1669] in a moment whatever Socrates commanded: they may have escaped the
[Symposium] [1673] of the attractions of my youth. In the prosecution of this design, when I
[Symposium] [1674] next went to him, I sent away the attendant who usually accompanied me (I
[Symposium] [1675] will confess the whole truth, and beg you to listen; and if I speak
[Symposium] [1676] falsely, do you, Socrates, expose the falsehood). Well, he and I were
[Symposium] [1678] hear him speak the language which lovers use to their loves when they are
[Symposium] [1679] by themselves, and I was delighted. Nothing of the sort; he conversed as
[Symposium] [1680] usual, and spent the day with me and then went away. Afterwards I
[Symposium] [1681] challenged him to the palaestra; and he wrestled and closed with me several
[Symposium] [1688] he did, however, after a while accept the invitation, and when he came the
[Symposium] [1690] had not the face to detain him. The second time, still in pursuance of my
[Symposium] [1691] design, after we had supped, I went on conversing far into the night, and
[Symposium] [1692] when he wanted to go away, I pretended that the hour was late and that he
[Symposium] [1693] had much better remain. So he lay down on the couch next to me, the same
[Symposium] [1694] on which he had supped, and there was no one but ourselves sleeping in the
[Symposium] [1696] follows I could hardly tell you if I were sober. Yet as the proverb says,
[Symposium] [1699] in concealing the lofty actions of Socrates when I come to praise him.
[Symposium] [1700] Moreover I have felt the serpent's sting; and he who has suffered, as they
[Symposium] [1702] likely to understand him, and will not be extreme in judging of the sayings
[Symposium] [1706] any serpent's tooth, the pang of philosophy, which will make a man say or
[Symposium] [1709] I need not say Socrates himself, have had experience of the same madness
[Symposium] [1711] doings then and my sayings now. But let the attendants and other profane
[Symposium] [1712] and unmannered persons close up the doors of their ears.
[Symposium] [1714] When the lamp was put out and the servants had gone away, I thought that I
[Symposium] [1718] replied, 'that of all the lovers whom I have ever had you are the only one
[Symposium] [1722] friends have, in the hope that you will assist me in the way of virtue,
[Symposium] [1726] you, than of what the world, who are mostly fools, would say of me if I
[Symposium] [1727] granted it.' To these words he replied in the ironical manner which is so
[Symposium] [1733] greatly the advantage of me; you will gain true beauty in return for
[Symposium] [1735] sweet friend, and see whether you are not deceived in me. The mind begins
[Symposium] [1736] to grow critical when the bodily eye fails, and it will be a long time
[Symposium] [1741] fancied that he was smitten, and that the words which I had uttered like
[Symposium] [1743] throwing my coat about him crept under his threadbare cloak, as the time of
[Symposium] [1744] year was winter, and there I lay during the whole night having this
[Symposium] [1749] the haughty virtue of Socrates--nothing more happened, but in the morning
[Symposium] [1750] when I awoke (let all the gods and goddesses be my witnesses) I arose as
[Symposium] [1751] from the couch of a father or an elder brother.
[Symposium] [1754] the thought of my own dishonour? And yet I could not help wondering at his
[Symposium] [1762] he and I went on the expedition to Potidaea; there we messed together, and
[Symposium] [1763] I had the opportunity of observing his extraordinary power of sustaining
[Symposium] [1768] was the only person who had any real powers of enjoyment; though not
[Symposium] [1772] cold was also surprising. There was a severe frost, for the winter in that
[Symposium] [1775] and had their feet swathed in felt and fleeces: in the midst of this,
[Symposium] [1776] Socrates with his bare feet on the ice and in his ordinary dress marched
[Symposium] [1777] better than the other soldiers who had shoes, and they looked daggers at
[Symposium] [1783] 'Of the doings and sufferings of the enduring man'
[Symposium] [1785] while he was on the expedition. One morning he was thinking about
[Symposium] [1788] thought; and at noon attention was drawn to him, and the rumour ran through
[Symposium] [1789] the wondering crowd that Socrates had been standing and thinking about
[Symposium] [1790] something ever since the break of day. At last, in the evening after
[Symposium] [1792] in winter but in summer), brought out their mats and slept in the open air
[Symposium] [1794] he stood until the following morning; and with the return of light he
[Symposium] [1795] offered up a prayer to the sun, and went his way (compare supra). I will
[Symposium] [1797] battle; for who but he saved my life? Now this was the engagement in which
[Symposium] [1798] I received the prize of valour: for I was wounded and he would not leave
[Symposium] [1799] me, but he rescued me and my arms; and he ought to have received the prize
[Symposium] [1800] of valour which the generals wanted to confer on me partly on account of my
[Symposium] [1802] but he was more eager than the generals that I and not he should have the
[Symposium] [1804] remarkable--in the flight of the army after the battle of Delium, where he
[Symposium] [1805] served among the heavy-armed,--I had a better opportunity of seeing him
[Symposium] [1807] comparatively out of danger. He and Laches were retreating, for the troops
[Symposium] [1810] you describe (Aristoph. Clouds), just as he is in the streets of Athens,
[Symposium] [1814] resistance; and in this way he and his companion escaped--for this is the
[Symposium] [1817] Laches in presence of mind. Many are the marvels which I might narrate in
[Symposium] [1822] Pericles; and the same may be said of other famous men, but of this strange
[Symposium] [1825] already suggested of Silenus and the satyrs; and they represent in a figure
[Symposium] [1827] you before, his words are like the images of Silenus which open; they are
[Symposium] [1829] like the skin of the wanton satyr--for his talk is of pack-asses and smiths
[Symposium] [1830] and cobblers and curriers, and he is always repeating the same things in
[Symposium] [1831] the same words (compare Gorg.), so that any ignorant or inexperienced
[Symposium] [1832] person might feel disposed to laugh at him; but he who opens the bust and
[Symposium] [1833] sees what is within will find that they are the only words which have a
[Symposium] [1834] meaning in them, and also the most divine, abounding in fair images of
[Symposium] [1835] virtue, and of the widest comprehension, or rather extending to the whole
[Symposium] [1840] the son of Glaucon, and Euthydemus the son of Diocles, and many others in
[Symposium] [1841] the same way--beginning as their lover he has ended by making them pay
[Symposium] [1844] experience, as the proverb says.'
[Symposium] [1848] said Socrates, or you would never have gone so far about to hide the
[Symposium] [1850] ingenious circumlocution, of which the point comes in by the way at the
[Symposium] [1853] ought to love Agathon. But the plot of this Satyric or Silenic drama has
[Symposium] [1858] he shall gain nothing by that move; for I will go and lie on the couch next
[Symposium] [1861] Yes, yes, replied Socrates, by all means come here and lie on the couch
[Symposium] [1865] the better of me at every turn. I do beseech you, allow Agathon to lie
[Symposium] [1869] praise my neighbour on the right, he will be out of order in praising me
[Symposium] [1872] the youth.
[Symposium] [1877] The usual way, said Alcibiades; where Socrates is, no one else has any
[Symposium] [1878] chance with the fair; and now how readily has he invented a specious reason
[Symposium] [1881] Agathon arose in order that he might take his place on the couch by
[Symposium] [1882] Socrates, when suddenly a band of revellers entered, and spoiled the order
[Symposium] [1883] of the banquet. Some one who was going out having left the door open, they
[Symposium] [1887] himself fell asleep, and as the nights were long took a good rest: he was
[Symposium] [1888] awakened towards daybreak by a crowing of cocks, and when he awoke, the
[Symposium] [1892] only half awake, and he did not hear the beginning of the discourse; the
[Symposium] [1893] chief thing which he remembered was Socrates compelling the other two to
[Symposium] [1894] acknowledge that the genius of comedy was the same with that of tragedy,
[Symposium] [1895] and that the true artist in tragedy was an artist in comedy also. To this
[Symposium] [1896] they were constrained to assent, being drowsy, and not quite following the
[Symposium] [1897] argument. And first of all Aristophanes dropped off, then, when the day
[Symposium] [1899] depart; Aristodemus, as his manner was, following him. At the Lyceum he
[Symposium] [1900] took a bath, and passed the day as usual. In the evening he retired to