translated by Benjamin Jowett
PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE:
SCENE: Under a plane-tree, by the banks of the Ilissus.
[Socrates] My dear Phaedrus, whence come you, and whither are
[Phaedrus] I come from Lysias the son of Cephalus, and I am
going to take a walk outside the wall, for I have been sitting
with him the whole morning; and our common friend Acumenus tells
me that it is much more refreshing to walk in the open air than
to be shut up in a cloister.
[Soc.] There he is right. Lysias then, I suppose, was in the
[Phaedr.] Yes, he was staying with Epicrates, here at the
house of Morychus; that house which is near the temple of
[Soc.] And how did he entertain you? Can I be wrong in
supposing that Lysias gave you a feast of discourse?
[Phaedr.] You shall hear, if you can spare time to accompany
[Soc.] And should I not deem the conversation of you and
Lysias "a thing of higher import," as I may say in the
words of Pindar, "than any business"?
[Phaedr.] Will you go on?
[Soc.] And will you go on with the narration?
[Phaedr.] My tale, Socrates, is one of your sort, for love was
the theme which occupied us -love after a fashion: Lysias has
been writing about a fair youth who was being tempted, but not by
a lover; and this was the point: he ingeniously proved that the
non-lover should be accepted rather than the lover.
[Soc.] O that is noble of him! I wish that he would say the
poor man rather than the rich, and the old man rather than the
young one; then he would meet the case of me and of many a man;
his words would be quite refreshing, and he would be a public
benefactor. For my part, I do so long to hear his speech, that if
you walk all the way to Megara, and when you have reached the
wall come back, as Herodicus recommends, without going in, I will
keep you company.
[Phaedr.] What do you mean, my good Socrates? How can you
imagine that my unpractised memory can do justice to an elaborate
work, which the greatest rhetorician of the age spent a long time
in composing. Indeed, I cannot; I would give a great deal if I
[Soc.] I believe that I know Phaedrus about as well as I know
myself, and I am very sure that the speech of Lysias was repeated
to him, not once only, but again and again;-he insisted on
hearing it many times over and Lysias was very willing to gratify
him; at last, when nothing else would do, he got hold of the
book, and looked at what he most wanted to see,-this occupied him
during the whole morning; -and then when he was tired with
sitting, he went out to take a walk, not until, by the dog, as I
believe, he had simply learned by heart the entire discourse,
unless it was unusually long, and he went to a place outside the
wall that he might practise his lesson. There he saw a certain
lover of discourse who had a similar weakness;-he saw and
rejoiced; now thought he, "I shall have a partner in my
revels." And he invited him to come and walk with him. But
when the lover of discourse begged that he would repeat the tale,
he gave himself airs and said, "No I cannot," as if he
were indisposed; although, if the hearer had refused, he would
sooner or later have been compelled by him to listen whether he
would or no. Therefore, Phaedrus, bid him do at once what he will
soon do whether bidden or not.
[Phaedr.] I see that you will not let me off until I speak in
some fashion or other; verily therefore my best plan is to speak
as I best can.
[Soc.] A very true remark, that of yours.
[Phaedr.] I will do as I say; but believe me, Socrates, I did
not learn the very words-O no; nevertheless I have a general
notion of what he said, and will give you a summary of the points
in which the lover differed from the non-lover. Let me begin at
[Soc.] Yes, my sweet one; but you must first of all show what
you have in your left hand under your cloak, for that roll, as I
suspect, is the actual discourse. Now, much as I love you, I
would not have you suppose that I am going to have your memory
exercised at my expense, if you have Lysias himself here.
[Phaedr.] Enough; I see that I have no hope of practising my
art upon you. But if I am to read, where would you please to sit?
[Soc.] Let us turn aside and go by the Ilissus; we will sit
down at some quiet spot.
[Phaedr.] I am fortunate in not having my sandals, and as you
never have any, I think that we may go along the brook and cool
our feet in the water; this will be the easiest way, and at
midday and in the summer is far from being unpleasant.
[Soc.] Lead on, and look out for a place in which we can sit
[Phaedr.] Do you see the tallest plane-tree in the distance?
[Phaedr.] There are shade and gentle breezes, and grass on
which we may either sit or lie down.
[Soc.] Move forward.
[Phaedr.] I should like to know, Socrates, whether the place
is not somewhere here at which Boreas is said to have carried off
Orithyia from the banks of the Ilissus?
[Soc.] Such is the tradition.
[Phaedr.] And is this the exact spot? The little stream is
delightfully clear and bright; I can fancy that there might be
maidens playing near.
[Soc.] I believe that the spot is not exactly here, but about
a quarter of a mile lower down, where you cross to the temple of
Artemis, and there is, I think, some sort of an altar of Boreas
at the place.
[Phaedr.] I have never noticed it; but I beseech you to tell
me, Socrates, do you believe this tale?
[Soc.] The wise are doubtful, and I should not be singular if,
like them, I too doubted. I might have a rational explanation
that Orithyia was playing with Pharmacia, when a northern gust
carried her over the neighbouring rocks; and this being the
manner of her death, she was said to have been carried away by
Boreas. There is a discrepancy, however, about the locality;
according to another version of the story she was taken from
Areopagus, and not from this place. Now I quite acknowledge that
these allegories are very nice, but he is not to be envied who
has to invent them; much labour and ingenuity will be required of
him; and when he has once begun, he must go on and rehabilitate
Hippocentaurs and chimeras dire. Gorgons and winged steeds flow
in apace, and numberless other inconceivable and portentous
natures. And if he is sceptical about them, and would fain reduce
them one after another to the rules of probability, this sort of
crude philosophy will take up a great deal of time. Now I have no
leisure for such enquiries; shall I tell you why? I must first
know myself, as the Delphian inscription says; to be curious
about that which is not my concern, while I am still in ignorance
of my own self, would be ridiculous. And therefore I bid farewell
to all this; the common opinion is enough for me. For, as I was
saying, I want to know not about this, but about myself: am I a
monster more complicated and swollen with passion than the
serpent Typho, or a creature of a gentler and simpler sort, to
whom Nature has given a diviner and lowlier destiny? But let me
ask you, friend: have we not reached the plane-tree to which you
were conducting us?
[Phaedr.] Yes, this is the tree.
[Soc.] By Here, a fair resting-place, full of summer sounds
and scents. Here is this lofty and spreading plane-tree, and the
agnus cast us high and clustering, in the fullest blossom and the
greatest fragrance; and the stream which flows beneath the plane-tree
is deliciously cold to the feet. Judging from the ornaments and
images, this must be a spot sacred to Achelous and the Nymphs.
How delightful is the breeze:-so very sweet; and there is a sound
in the air shrill and summerlike which makes answer to the chorus
of the cicadae. But the greatest charm of all is the grass, like
a pillow gently sloping to the head. My dear Phaedrus, you have
been an admirable guide.
[Phaedr.] What an incomprehensible being you are, Socrates:
when you are in the country, as you say, you really are like some
stranger who is led about by a guide. Do you ever cross the
border? I rather think that you never venture even outside the
[Soc.] Very true, my good friend; and I hope that you will
excuse me when you hear the reason, which is, that I am a lover
of knowledge, and the men who dwell in the city are my teachers,
and not the trees or the country. Though I do indeed believe that
you have found a spell with which to draw me out of the city into
the country, like a hungry cow before whom a bough or a bunch of
fruit is waved. For only hold up before me in like manner a book,
and you may lead me all round Attica, and over the wide world.
And now having arrived, I intend to lie down, and do you choose
any posture in which you can read best. Begin.
[Phaedr.] Listen. You know how matters stand with me; and how,
as I conceive, this affair may be arranged for the advantage of
both of us. And I maintain that I ought not to fail in my suit,
because I am not your lover: for lovers repent of the kindnesses
which they have shown when their passion ceases, but to the non-lovers
who are free and not under any compulsion, no time of repentance
ever comes; for they confer their benefits according to the
measure of their ability, in the way which is most conducive to
their own interest. Then again, lovers consider how by reason of
their love they have neglected their own concerns and rendered
service to others: and when to these benefits conferred they add
on the troubles which they have endured, they think that they
have long ago made to the beloved a very ample return. But the
non-lover has no such tormenting recollections; he has never
neglected his affairs or quarrelled with his relations; he has no
troubles to add up or excuse to invent; and being well rid of all
these evils, why should he not freely do what will gratify the
If you say that the lover is more to be esteemed, because his
love is thought to be greater; for he is willing to say and do
what is hateful to other men, in order to please his beloved;-that,
if true, is only a proof that he will prefer any future love to
his present, and will injure his old love at the pleasure of the
new. And how, in a matter of such infinite importance, can a man
be right in trusting himself to one who is afflicted with a
malady which no experienced person would attempt to cure, for the
patient himself admits that he is not in his right mind, and
acknowledges that he is wrong in his mind, but says that he is
unable to control himself? And if he came to his right mind,
would he ever imagine that the desires were good which he
conceived when in his wrong mind? Once more, there are many more
non-lovers than lovers; and if you choose the best of the lovers,
you will not have many to choose from; but if from the non-lovers,
the choice will be larger, and you will be far more likely to
find among them a person who is worthy of your friendship. If
public opinion be your dread, and you would avoid reproach, in
all probability the lover, who is always thinking that other men
are as emulous of him as he is of them, will boast to some one of
his successes, and make a show of them openly in the pride of his
heart;-he wants others to know that his labour has not been lost;
but the non-lover is more his own master, and is desirous of
solid good, and not of the opinion of mankind. Again, the lover
may be generally noted or seen following the beloved (this is his
regular occupation), and whenever they are observed to exchange
two words they are supposed to meet about some affair of love
either past or in contemplation; but when non-lovers meet, no one
asks the reason why, because people know that talking to another
is natural, whether friendship or mere pleasure be the motive.
Once more, if you fear the fickleness of friendship, consider
that in any other case a quarrel might be a mutual calamity; but
now, when you have given up what is most precious to you, you
will be the greater loser, and therefore, you will have more
reason in being afraid of the lover, for his vexations are many,
and he is always fancying that every one is leagued against him.
Wherefore also he debars his beloved from society; he will not
have you intimate with the wealthy, lest they should exceed him
in wealth, or with men of education, lest they should be his
superiors in understanding; and he is equally afraid of anybody's
influence who has any other advantage over himself. If he can
persuade you to break with them, you are left without friend in
the world; or if, out of a regard to your own interest, you have
more sense than to comply with his desire, you will have to
quarrel with him. But those who are non-lovers, and whose success
in love is the reward of their merit, will not be jealous of the
companions of their beloved, and will rather hate those who
refuse to be his associates, thinking that their favourite is
slighted by the latter and benefited by the former; for more love
than hatred may be expected to come to him out of his friendship
with others. Many lovers too have loved the person of a youth
before they knew his character or his belongings; so that when
their passion has passed away, there is no knowing whether they
will continue to be his friends; whereas, in the case of non-lovers
who were always friends, the friendship is not lessened by the
favours granted; but the recollection of these remains with them,
and is an earnest of good things to come.
Further, I say that you are likely to be improved by me,
whereas the lover will spoil you. For they praise your words and
actions in a wrong way; partly, because they are afraid of
offending you, and also, their judgment is weakened by passion.
Such are the feats which love exhibits; he makes things painful
to the disappointed which give no pain to others; he compels the
successful lover to praise what ought not to give him pleasure,
and therefore the beloved is to be pitied rather than envied. But
if you listen to me, in the first place, I, in my intercourse
with you, shall not merely regard present enjoyment, but also
future advantage, being not mastered by love, but my own master;
nor for small causes taking violent dislikes, but even when the
cause is great, slowly laying up little wrath-unintentional
offences I shall forgive, and intentional ones I shall try to
prevent; and these are the marks of a friendship which will last.
Do you think that a lover only can be a firm friend? reflect:-if
this were true, we should set small value on sons, or fathers, or
mothers; nor should we ever have loyal friends, for our love of
them arises not from passion, but from other associations.
Further, if we ought to shower favours on those who are the most
eager suitors,-on that principle, we ought always to do good, not
to the most virtuous, but to the most needy; for they are the
persons who will be most relieved, and will therefore be the most
grateful; and when you make a feast you should invite not your
friend, but the beggar and the empty soul; for they will love
you, and attend you, and come about your doors, and will be the
best pleased, and the most grateful, and will invoke many a
blessing on your head. Yet surely you ought not to be granting
favours to those who besiege you with prayer, but to those who
are best able to reward you; nor to the lover only, but to those
who are worthy of love; nor to those who will enjoy the bloom of
your youth, but to those who will share their possessions with
you in age; nor to those who, having succeeded, will glory in
their success to others, but to those who will be modest and tell
no tales; nor to those who care about you for a moment only, but
to those who will continue your friends through life; nor to
those who, when their passion is over, will pick a quarrel with
you, but rather to those who, when the charm of youth has left
you, will show their own virtue. Remember what I have said; and
consider yet this further point: friends admonish the lover under
the idea that his way of life is bad, but no one of his kindred
ever yet censured the non-lover, or thought that he was ill-advised
about his own interests.
"Perhaps you will ask me whether I propose that you
should indulge every non-lover. To which I reply that not even
the lover would advise you to indulge all lovers, for the
indiscriminate favour is less esteemed by the rational recipient,
and less easily hidden by him who would escape the censure of the
world. Now love ought to be for the advantage of both parties,
and for the injury of neither.
"I believe that I have said enough; but if there is
anything more which you desire or which in your opinion needs to
be supplied, ask and I will answer."
Now, Socrates, what do you think? Is not the discourse
excellent, more especially in the matter of the language?
[Soc.] Yes, quite admirable; the effect on me was ravishing.
And this I owe to you, Phaedrus, for I observed you while reading
to be in an ecstasy, and thinking that you are more experienced
in these matters than I am, I followed your example, and, like
you, my divine darling, I became inspired with a phrenzy.
[Phaedr.] Indeed, you are pleased to be merry.
[Soc.] Do you mean that I am not in earnest?
[Phaedr.] Now don't talk in that way, Socrates, but let me
have your real opinion; I adjure you, by Zeus, the god of
friendship, to tell me whether you think that any Hellene could
have said more or spoken better on the same subject.
[Soc.] Well, but are you and I expected to praise the
sentiments of the author, or only the clearness, and roundness,
and finish, and tournure of the language? As to the first I
willingly submit to your better judgment, for I am not worthy to
form an opinion, having only attended to the rhetorical manner;
and I was doubting whether this could have been defended even by
Lysias himself; I thought, though I speak under correction, that
he repeated himself two or three times, either from want of words
or from want of pains; and also, he appeared to me ostentatiously
to exult in showing how well he could say the same thing in two
or three ways.
[Phaedr.] Nonsense, Socrates; what you call repetition was the
especial merit of the speech; for he omitted no topic of which
the subject rightly allowed, and I do not think that any one
could have spoken better or more exhaustively.
[Soc.] There I cannot go along with you. Ancient sages, men
and women, who have spoken and written of these things, would
rise up in judgment against me, if out of complaisance I assented
[Phaedr.] Who are they, and where did you hear anything better
[Soc.] I am sure that I must have heard; but at this moment I
do not remember from whom; perhaps from Sappho the fair, or
Anacreon the wise; or, possibly, from a prose writer. Why do I
say so? Why, because I perceive that my bosom is full, and that I
could make another speech as good as that of Lysias, and
different. Now I am certain that this is not an invention of my
own, who am well aware that I know nothing, and therefore I can
only infer that I have been filled through the cars, like a
pitcher, from the waters of another, though I have actually
forgotten in my stupidity who was my informant.
[Phaedr.] That is grand:-but never mind where you beard the
discourse or from whom; let that be a mystery not to be divulged
even at my earnest desire. Only, as you say, promise to make
another and better oration, equal in length and entirely new, on
the same subject; and I, like the nine Archons, will promise to
set up a golden image at Delphi, not only of myself, but of you,
and as large as life.
[Soc.] You are a dear golden ass if you suppose me to mean
that Lysias has altogether missed the mark, and that I can make a
speech from which all his arguments are to be excluded. The worst
of authors will say something which is to the point. Who, for
example, could speak on this thesis of yours without praising the
discretion of the non-lover and blaming the indiscretion of the
lover? These are the commonplaces of the subject which must come
in (for what else is there to be said?) and must be allowed and
excused; the only merit is in the arrangement of them, for there
can be none in the invention; but when you leave the
commonplaces, then there may be some originality.
[Phaedr.] I admit that there is reason in what you say, and I
too will be reasonable, and will allow you to start with the
premiss that the lover is more disordered in his wits than the
non-lover; if in what remains you make a longer and better speech
than Lysias, and use other arguments, then I say again, that a
statue you shall have of beaten gold, and take your place by the
colossal offerings of the Cypselids at Olympia.
[Soc.] How profoundly in earnest is the lover, because to
tease him I lay a finger upon his love! And so, Phaedrus, you
really imagine that I am going to improve upon the ingenuity of
[Phaedr.] There I have you as you had me, and you must just
speak "as you best can." Do not let us exchange "tu
quoque" as in a farce, or compel me to say to you as you
said to me, "I know Socrates as well as I know myself, and
he was wanting to, speak, but he gave himself airs." Rather
I would have you consider that from this place we stir not until
you have unbosomed yourself of the speech; for here are we all
alone, and I am stronger, remember, and younger than you-Wherefore
perpend, and do not compel me to use violence.
[Soc.] But, my sweet Phaedrus, how ridiculous it would be of
me to compete with Lysias in an extempore speech! He is a master
in his art and I am an untaught man.
[Phaedr.] You see how matters stand; and therefore let there
be no more pretences; for, indeed, I know the word that is
[Soc.] Then don't say it.
[Phaedr.] Yes, but I will; and my word shall be an oath.
"I say, or rather swear"-but what god will be witness
of my oath?-"By this plane-tree I swear, that unless you
repeat the discourse here in the face of this very plane-tree, I
will never tell you another; never let you have word of another!"
[Soc.] Villain I am conquered; the poor lover of discourse has
no more to say.
[Phaedr.] Then why are you still at your tricks?
[Soc.] I am not going to play tricks now that you have taken
the oath, for I cannot allow myself to be starved.
[Soc.] Shall I tell you what I will do?
[Soc.] I will veil my face and gallop through the discourse as
fast as I can, for if I see you I shall feel ashamed and not know
what to say.
[Phaedr.] Only go on and you may do anything else which you
[Soc.] Come, O ye Muses, melodious, as ye are called, whether
you have received this name from the character of your strains,
or because the Melians are a musical race, help, O help me in the
tale which my good friend here desires me to rehearse, in order
that his friend whom he always deemed wise may seem to him to be
wiser than ever.
Once upon a time there was a fair boy, or, more properly
speaking, a youth; he was very fair and had a great many lovers;
and there was one special cunning one, who had persuaded the
youth that he did not love him, but he really loved him all the
same; and one day when he was paying his addresses to him, he
used this very argument-that he ought to accept the non-lover
rather than the lover; his words were as follows:-
"All good counsel begins in the same way; a man should
know what he is advising about, or his counsel will all come to
nought. But people imagine that they know about the nature of
things, when they don't know about them, and, not having come to
an understanding at first because they think that they know, they
end, as might be expected, in contradicting one another and
themselves. Now you and I must not be guilty of this fundamental
error which we condemn in others; but as our question is whether
the lover or non-lover is to be preferred, let us first of all
agree in defining the nature and power of love, and then, keeping
our eyes upon the definition and to this appealing, let us
further enquire whether love brings advantage or disadvantage.
"Every one sees that love is a desire, and we know also
that non-lovers desire the beautiful and good. Now in what way is
the lover to be distinguished from the non-lover? Let us note
that in every one of us there are two guiding and ruling
principles which lead us whither they will; one is the natural
desire of pleasure, the other is an acquired opinion which
aspires after the best; and these two are sometimes in harmony
and then again at war, and sometimes the one, sometimes the other
conquers. When opinion by the help of reason leads us to the
best, the conquering principle is called temperance; but when
desire, which is devoid of reason, rules in us and drags us to
pleasure, that power of misrule is called excess. Now excess has
many names, and many members, and many forms, and any of these
forms when very marked gives a name, neither honourable nor
creditable, to the bearer of the name. The desire of eating, for
example, which gets the better of the higher reason and the other
desires, is called gluttony, and he who is possessed by it is
called a glutton-I the tyrannical desire of drink, which inclines
the possessor of the desire to drink, has a name which is only
too obvious, and there can be as little doubt by what name any
other appetite of the same family would be called;-it will be the
name of that which happens to be eluminant. And now I think that
you will perceive the drift of my discourse; but as every spoken
word is in a manner plainer than the unspoken, I had better say
further that the irrational desire which overcomes the tendency
of opinion towards right, and is led away to the enjoyment of
beauty, and especially of personal beauty, by the desires which
are her own kindred-that supreme desire, I say, which by leading
conquers and by the force of passion is reinforced, from this
very force, receiving a name, is called love."
And now, dear Phaedrus, I shall pause for an instant to ask
whether you do not think me, as I appear to myself, inspired?
[Phaedr.] Yes, Socrates, you seem to have a very unusual flow
[Soc.] Listen to me, then, in silence; for surely the place is
holy; so that you must not wonder, if, as I proceed, I appear to
be in a divine fury, for already I am getting into dithyrambics.
[Phaedr.] Nothing can be truer.
[Soc.] The responsibility rests with you. But hear what
follows, and Perhaps the fit may be averted; all is in their
hands above. I will go on talking to my youth. Listen:
Thus, my friend, we have declared and defined the nature of
the subject. Keeping the definition in view, let us now enquire
what advantage or disadvantage is likely to ensue from the lover
or the non-lover to him who accepts their advances.
He who is the victim of his passions and the slave of pleasure
will of course desire to make his beloved as agreeable to himself
as possible. Now to him who has a mind discased anything is
agreeable which is not opposed to him, but that which is equal or
superior is hateful to him, and therefore the lover Will not
brook any superiority or equality on the part of his beloved; he
is always employed in reducing him to inferiority. And the
ignorant is the inferior of the wise, the coward of the brave,
the slow of speech of the speaker, the dull of the clever. These,
and not these only, are the mental defects of the beloved;-defects
which, when implanted by nature, are necessarily a delight to the
lover, and when not implanted, he must contrive to implant them
in him, if he would not be deprived of his fleeting joy. And
therefore he cannot help being jealous, and will debar his
beloved from the advantages of society which would make a man of
him, and especially from that society which would have given him
wisdom, and thereby he cannot fail to do him great harm. That is
to say, in his excessive fear lest he should come to be despised
in his eyes he will be compelled to banish from him divine
philosophy; and there is no greater injury which he can inflict
upon him than this. He will contrive that his beloved shall be
wholly ignorant, and in everything shall look to him; he is to be
the delight of the lover's heart, and a curse to himself. Verily,
a lover is a profitable guardian and associate for him in all
that relates to his mind.
Let us next see how his master, whose law of life is pleasure
and not good, will keep and train the body of his servant. Will
he not choose a beloved who is delicate rather than sturdy and
strong? One brought up in shady bowers and not in the bright sun,
a stranger to manly exercises and the sweat of toil, accustomed
only to a soft and luxurious diet, instead of the hues of health
having the colours of paint and ornament, and the rest of a
piece?-such a life as any one can imagine and which I need not
detail at length. But I may sum up all that I have to say in a
word, and pass on. Such a person in war, or in any of the great
crises of life, will be the anxiety of his friends and also of
his lover, and certainly not the terror of his enemies; which
nobody can deny.
And now let us tell what advantage or disadvantage the beloved
will receive from the guardianship and society of his lover in
the matter of his property; this is the next point to be
considered. The lover will be the first to see what, indeed, will
be sufficiently evident to all men, that he desires above all
things to deprive his beloved of his dearest and best and holiest
possessions, father, mother, kindred, friends, of all whom he
thinks may be hinderers or reprovers of their most sweet
converse; he will even cast a jealous eye upon his gold and
silver or other property, because these make him a less easy
prey, and when caught less manageable; hence he is of necessity
displeased at his possession of them and rejoices at their loss;
and he would like him to be wifeless, childless, homeless, as
well; and the longer the better, for the longer he is all this,
the longer he will enjoy him.
There are some soft of animals, such as flatterers, who are
dangerous and, mischievous enough, and yet nature has mingled a
temporary pleasure and grace in their composition. You may say
that a courtesan is hurtful, and disapprove of such creatures and
their practices, and yet for the time they are very pleasant. But
the lover is not only hurtful to his love; he is also an
extremely disagreeable companion. The old proverb says that
"birds of a feather flock together"; I suppose that
equality of years inclines them to the same pleasures, and
similarity begets friendship; yet you may have more than enough
even of this; and verily constraint is always said to be grievous.
Now the lover is not only unlike his beloved, but he forces
himself upon him. For he is old and his love is young, and
neither day nor night will he leave him if he can help; necessity
and the sting of desire drive him on, and allure him with the
pleasure which he receives from seeing, hearing, touching,
perceiving him in every way. And therefore he is delighted to
fasten upon him and to minister to him. But what pleasure or
consolation can the beloved be receiving all this time? Must he
not feel the extremity of disgust when he looks at an old
shrivelled face and the remainder to match, which even in a
description is disagreeable, and quite detestable when he is
forced into daily contact with his lover; moreover he is
jealously watched and guarded against everything and everybody,
and has to hear misplaced and exaggerated praises of himself, and
censures equally inappropriate, which are intolerable when the
man is sober, and, besides being intolerable, are published all
over the world in all their indelicacy and wearisomeness when he
And not only while his love continues is he mischievous and
unpleasant, but when his love ceases he becomes a perfidious
enemy of him on whom he showered his oaths and prayers and
promises, and yet could hardly prevail upon him to tolerate the
tedium of his company even from motives of interest. The hour of
payment arrives, and now he is the servant of another master;
instead of love and infatuation, wisdom and temperance are his
bosom's lords; but the beloved has not discovered the change
which has taken place in him, when he asks for a return and
recalls to his recollection former sayings and doings; he
believes himself to be speaking to the same person, and the
other, not having the courage to confess the truth, and not
knowing how to fulfil the oaths and promises which he made when
under the dominion of folly, and having now grown wise and
temperate, does not want to do as he did or to be as he was
before. And so he runs away and is constrained to be a defaulter;
the oyster-shell has fallen with the other side uppermost-he
changes pursuit into flight, while the other is compelled to
follow him with passion and imprecation not knowing that he ought
never from the first to have accepted a demented lover instead of
a sensible non-lover; and that in making such a choice he was
giving himself up to a faithless, morose, envious, disagreeable
being, hurtful to his estate, hurtful to his bodily health, and
still more hurtful to the cultivation of his mind, than which
there neither is nor ever will be anything more honoured in the
eyes both of gods and men. Consider this, fair youth, and know
that in the friendship of the lover there is no real kindness; he
has an appetite and wants to feed upon you: As wolves love lambs
so lovers love their loves. But I told you so, I am speaking in
verse, and therefore I had better make an end; enough.
[Phaedr.] I thought that you were only halfway and were going
to make a similar speech about all the advantages of accepting
the non-lover. Why do you not proceed?
[Soc.] Does not your simplicity observe that I have got out of
dithyrambics into heroics, when only uttering a censure on the
lover? And if I am to add the praises of the non-lover, what will
become of me? Do you not perceive that I am already overtaken by
the Nymphs to whom you have mischievously exposed me? And
therefore will only add that the non-lover has all the advantages
in which the lover is accused of being deficient. And now I will
say no more; there has been enough of both of them. Leaving the
tale to its fate, I will cross the river and make the best of my
way home, lest a worse thing be inflicted upon me by you.
[Phaedr.] Not yet, Socrates; not until the heat of the day has
passed; do you not see that the hour is almost noon? there is the
midday sun standing still, as people say, in the meridian. Let us
rather stay and talk over what has been said, and then return in
[Soc.] Your love of discourse, Phaedrus, is superhuman, simply
marvellous, and I do not believe that there is any one of your
contemporaries who has either made or in one way or another has
compelled others to make an equal number of speeches. I would
except Simmias the Theban, but all the rest are far behind you.
And now, I do verily believe that you have been the cause of
[Phaedr.] That is good news. But what do you mean?
[Soc.] I mean to say that as I was about to cross the stream
the usual sign was given to me,-that sign which always forbids,
but never bids, me to do anything which I am going to do; and I
thought that I heard a voice saying in my car that I had been
guilty of impiety, and. that I must not go away until I had made
an atonement. Now I am a diviner, though not a very good one, but
I have enough religion for my own use, as you might say of a bad
writer-his writing is good enough for him; and I am beginning to
see that I was in error. O my friend, how prophetic is the human
soul! At the time I had a sort of misgiving, and, like Ibycus,
"I was troubled; I feared that I might be buying honour from
men at the price of sinning against the gods." Now I
recognize my error.
[Phaedr.] What error?
[Soc.] That was a dreadful speech which you brought with you,
and you made me utter one as bad.
[Phaedr.] How so?
[Soc.] It was foolish, I say,-to a certain extent, impious;
can anything be more dreadful?
[Phaedr.] Nothing, if the speech was really such as you
[Soc.] Well, and is not Eros the son of Aphrodite, and a god?
[Phaedr.] So men say.
[Soc.] But that was not acknowledged by Lysias in his speech,
nor by you in that other speech which you by a charm drew from my
lips. For if love be, as he surely is, a divinity, he cannot be
evil. Yet this was the error of both the speeches. There was also
a simplicity about them which was refreshing; having no truth or
honesty in them, nevertheless they pretended to be something,
hoping to succeed in deceiving the manikins of earth and gain
celebrity among them. Wherefore I must have a purgation. And I
bethink me of an ancient purgation of mythological error which
was devised, not by Homer, for he never had the wit to discover
why he was blind, but by Stesichorus, who was a philosopher and
knew the reason why; and therefore, when he lost his eyes, for
that was the penalty which was inflicted upon him for reviling
the lovely Helen, he at once purged himself. And the purgation
was a recantation, which began thus,- False is that word of mine-the
truth is that thou didst not embark in ships, nor ever go to the
walls of Troy; and when he had completed his poem, which is
called "the recantation," immediately his sight
returned to him. Now I will be wiser than either Stesichorus or
Homer, in that I am going to make my recantation for reviling
love before I suffer; and this I will attempt, not as before,
veiled and ashamed, but with forehead bold and bare.
[Phaedr.] Nothing could be more agreeable to me than to hear
you say so.
[Soc.] Only think, my good Phaedrus, what an utter want of
delicacy was shown in the two discourses; I mean, in my own and
in that which you recited out of the book. Would not any one who
was himself of a noble and gentle nature, and who loved or ever
had loved a nature like his own, when we tell of the petty causes
of lovers' jealousies, and of their exceeding animosities, and of
the injuries which they do to their beloved, have imagined that
our ideas of love were taken from some haunt of sailors to which
good manners were unknown-he would certainly never have admitted
the justice of our censure?
[Phaedr.] I dare say not, Socrates.
[Soc.] Therefore, because I blush at the thought of this
person, and also because I am afraid of Love himself, I desire to
wash the brine out of my ears with water from the spring; and I
would counsel Lysias not to delay, but to write another
discourse, which shall prove that ceteris paribus the lover ought
to be accepted rather than the non-lover.
[Phaedr.] Be assured that he shall. You shall speak the
praises of the lover, and Lysias shall be compelled by me to
write another discourse on the same theme.
[Soc.] You will be true to your nature in that, and therefore
I believe you.
[Phaedr.] Speak, and fear not.
[Soc.] But where is the fair youth whom I was addressing
before, and who ought to listen now; lest, if he hear me not, he
should accept a non-lover before he knows what he is doing?
[Phaedr.] He is close at hand, and always at your service.
[Soc.] Know then, fair youth, that the former discourse was
the word of Phaedrus, the son of Vain Man, who dwells in the city
of Myrrhina (Myrrhinusius). And this which I am about to utter is
the recantation of Stesichorus the son of Godly Man (Euphemus),
who comes from the town of Desire (Himera), and is to the
following effect: "I told a lie when I said" that the
beloved ought to accept the non-lover when he might have the
lover, because the one is sane, and the other mad. It might be so
if madness were simply an evil; but there is also a madness which
is a divine gift, and the source of the chiefest blessings
granted to men. For prophecy is a madness, and the prophetess at
Delphi and the priestesses at Dodona when out of their senses
have conferred great benefits on Hellas, both in public and
private life, but when in their senses few or none. And I might
also tell you how the Sibyl and other inspired persons have given
to many an one many an intimation of the future which has saved
them from falling. But it would be tedious to speak of what every
There will be more reason in appealing to the ancient
inventors of names, who would never have connected prophecy (mantike)
which foretells the future and is the noblest of arts, with
madness (manike), or called them both by the same name, if they
had deemed madness to be a disgrace or dishonour;-they must have
thought that there was an inspired madness which was a noble
thing; for the two words, mantike and manike, are really the
same, and the letter t is only a modern and tasteless insertion.
And this is confirmed by the name which was given by them to the
rational investigation of futurity, whether made by the help of
birds or of other signs-this, for as much as it is an art which
supplies from the reasoning faculty mind (nous) and information (istoria)
to human thought (oiesis) they originally termed oionoistike, but
the word has been lately altered and made sonorous by the modern
introduction of the letter Omega (oionoistike and oionistike),
and in proportion prophecy (mantike) is more perfect and august
than augury, both in name and fact, in the same proportion, as
the ancients testify, is madness superior to a sane mind (sophrosune)
for the one is only of human, but the other of divine origin.
Again, where plagues and mightiest woes have bred in certain
families, owing to some ancient blood-guiltiness, there madness
has entered with holy prayers and rites, and by inspired
utterances found a way of deliverance for those who are in need;
and he who has part in this gift, and is truly possessed and duly
out of his mind, is by the use of purifications and mysteries
made whole and except from evil, future as well as present, and
has a release from the calamity which was afflicting him. The
third kind is the madness of those who are possessed by the
Muses; which taking hold of a delicate and virgin soul, and there
inspiring frenzy, awakens lyrical and all other numbers; with
these adorning the myriad actions of ancient heroes for the
instruction of posterity. But he who, having no touch of the
Muses' madness in his soul, comes to the door and thinks that he
will get into the temple by the help of art-he, I say, and his
poetry are not admitted; the sane man disappears and is nowhere
when he enters into rivalry with the madman.
I might tell of many other noble deeds which have sprung from
inspired madness. And therefore, let no one frighten or flutter
us by saying that the temperate friend is to be chosen rather
than the inspired, but let him further show that love is not sent
by the gods for any good to lover or beloved; if he can do so we
will allow him to carry off the palm. And we, on our part, will
prove in answer to him that the madness of love is the greatest
of heaven's blessings, and the proof shall be one which the wise
will receive, and the witling disbelieve. But first of all, let
us view the affections and actions of the soul divine and human,
and try to ascertain the truth about them. The beginning of our
proof is as follows:-
The soul through all her being is immortal, for that which is
ever in motion is immortal; but that which moves another and is
moved by another, in ceasing to move ceases also to live. Only
the self-moving, never leaving self, never ceases to move, and is
the fountain and beginning of motion to all that moves besides.
Now, the beginning is unbegotten, for that which is begotten has
a beginning; but the beginning is begotten of nothing, for if it
were begotten of something, then the begotten would not come from
a beginning. But if unbegotten, it must also be indestructible;
for if beginning were destroyed, there could be no beginning out
of anything, nor anything out of a beginning; and all things must
have a beginning. And therefore the self-moving is the beginning
of motion; and this can neither be destroyed nor begotten, else
the whole heavens and all creation would collapse and stand
still, and never again have motion or birth. But if the self-moving
is proved to be immortal, he who affirms that self-motion is the
very idea and essence of the soul will not be put to confusion.
For the body which is moved from without is soulless; but that
which is moved from within has a soul, for such is the nature of
the soul. But if this be true, must not the soul be the self-moving,
and therefore of necessity unbegotten and immortal? Enough of the
Of the nature of the soul, though her true form be ever a
theme of large and more than mortal discourse, let me speak
briefly, and in a figure. And let the figure be composite-a pair
of winged horses and a charioteer. Now the winged horses and the
charioteers of the gods are all of them noble and of noble
descent, but those of other races are mixed; the human charioteer
drives his in a pair; and one of them is noble and of noble
breed, and the other is ignoble and of ignoble breed; and the
driving of them of necessity gives a great deal of trouble to him.
I will endeavour to explain to you in what way the mortal differs
from the immortal creature. The soul in her totality has the care
of inanimate being everywhere, and traverses the whole heaven in
divers forms appearing--when perfect and fully winged she soars
upward, and orders the whole world; whereas the imperfect soul,
losing her wings and drooping in her flight at last settles on
the solid ground-there, finding a home, she receives an earthly
frame which appears to be self-moved, but is really moved by her
power; and this composition of soul and body is called a living
and mortal creature. For immortal no such union can be reasonably
believed to be; although fancy, not having seen nor surely known
the nature of God, may imagine an immortal creature having both a
body and also a soul which are united throughout all time. Let
that, however, be as God wills, and be spoken of acceptably to
him. And now let us ask the reason why the soul loses her wings!
The wing is the corporeal element which is most akin to the
divine, and which by nature tends to soar aloft and carry that
which gravitates downwards into the upper region, which is the
habitation of the gods. The divine is beauty, wisdom, goodness,
and the like; and by these the wing of the soul is nourished, and
grows apace; but when fed upon evil and foulness and the opposite
of good, wastes and falls away. Zeus, the mighty lord, holding
the reins of a winged chariot, leads the way in heaven, ordering
all and taking care of all; and there follows him the array of
gods and demigods, marshalled in eleven bands; Hestia alone
abides at home in the house of heaven; of the rest they who are
reckoned among the princely twelve march in their appointed order.
They see many blessed sights in the inner heaven, and there are
many ways to and fro, along which the blessed gods are passing,
every one doing his own work; he may follow who will and can, for
jealousy has no place in the celestial choir. But when they go to
banquet and festival, then they move up the steep to the top of
the vault of heaven. The chariots of the gods in even poise,
obeying the rein, glide rapidly; but the others labour, for the
vicious steed goes heavily, weighing down the charioteer to the
earth when his steed has not been thoroughly trained:-and this is
the hour of agony and extremest conflict for the soul. For the
immortals, when they are at the end of their course, go forth and
stand upon the outside of heaven, and the revolution of the
spheres carries them round, and they behold the things beyond.
But of the heaven which is above the heavens, what earthly poet
ever did or ever will sing worthily? It is such as I will
describe; for I must dare to speak the truth, when truth is my
theme. There abides the very being with which true knowledge is
concerned; the colourless, formless, intangible essence, visible
only to mind, the pilot of the soul. The divine intelligence,
being nurtured upon mind and pure knowledge, and the intelligence
of every soul which is capable of receiving the food proper to
it, rejoices at beholding reality, and once more gazing upon
truth, is replenished and made glad, until the revolution of the
worlds brings her round again to the same place. In the
revolution she beholds justice, and temperance, and knowledge
absolute, not in the form of generation or of relation, which men
call existence, but knowledge absolute in existence absolute; and
beholding the other true existences in like manner, and feasting
upon them, she passes down into the interior of the heavens and
returns home; and there the charioteer putting up his horses at
the stall, gives them ambrosia to eat and nectar to drink.
Such is the life of the gods; but of other souls, that which
follows God best and is likest to him lifts the head of the
charioteer into the outer world, and is carried round in the
revolution, troubled indeed by the steeds, and with difficulty
beholding true being; while another only rises and falls, and
sees, and again fails to see by reason of the unruliness of the
steeds. The rest of the souls are also longing after the upper
world and they all follow, but not being strong enough they are
carried round below the surface, plunging, treading on one
another, each striving to be first; and there is confusion and
perspiration and the extremity of effort; and many of them are
lamed or have their wings broken through the ill-driving of the
charioteers; and all of them after a fruitless toil, not having
attained to the mysteries of true being, go away, and feed upon
opinion. The reason why the souls exhibit this exceeding
eagerness to behold the plain of truth is that pasturage is found
there, which is suited to the highest part of the soul; and the
wing on which the soul soars is nourished with this. And there is
a law of Destiny, that the soul which attains any vision of truth
in company with a god is preserved from harm until the next
period, and if attaining always is always unharmed. But when she
is unable to follow, and fails to behold the truth, and through
some ill-hap sinks beneath the double load of forgetfulness and
vice, and her wings fall from her and she drops to the ground,
then the law ordains that this soul shall at her first birth
pass, not into any other animal, but only into man; and the soul
which has seen most of truth shall come to the birth as a
philosopher, or artist, or some musical and loving nature; that
which has seen truth in the second degree shall be some righteous
king or warrior chief; the soul which is of the third class shall
be a politician, or economist, or trader; the fourth shall be
lover of gymnastic toils, or a physician; the fifth shall lead
the life of a prophet or hierophant; to the sixth the character
of poet or some other imitative artist will be assigned; to the
seventh the life of an artisan or husbandman; to the eighth that
of a sophist or demagogue; to the ninth that of a tyrant-all
these are states of probation, in which he who does righteously
improves, and he who does unrighteously, improves, and he who
does unrighteously, deteriorates his lot.
Ten thousand years must elapse before the soul of each one can
return to the place from whence she came, for she cannot grow her
wings in less; only the soul of a philosopher, guileless and
true, or the soul of a lover, who is not devoid of philosophy,
may acquire wings in the third of the recurring periods of a
thousand years; he is distinguished from the ordinary good man
who gains wings in three thousand years:-and they who choose this
life three times in succession have wings given them, and go away
at the end of three thousand years. But the others receive
judgment when they have completed their first life, and after the
judgment they go, some of them to the houses of correction which
are under the earth, and are punished; others to some place in
heaven whither they are lightly borne by justice, and there they
live in a manner worthy of the life which they led here when in
the form of men. And at the end of the first thousand years the
good souls and also the evil souls both come to draw lots and
choose their second life, and they may take any which they please.
The soul of a man may pass into the life of a beast, or from the
beast return again into the man. But the soul which has never
seen the truth will not pass into the human form. For a man must
have intelligence of universals, and be able to proceed from the
many particulars of sense to one conception of reason;-this is
the recollection of those things which our soul once saw while
following God-when regardless of that which we now call being she
raised her head up towards the true being. And therefore the mind
of the philosopher alone has wings; and this is just, for he is
always, according to the measure of his abilities, clinging in
recollection to those things in which God abides, and in
beholding which He is what He is. And he who employs aright these
memories is ever being initiated into perfect mysteries and alone
becomes truly perfect. But, as he forgets earthly interests and
is rapt in the divine, the vulgar deem him mad, and rebuke him;
they do not see that he is inspired.
Thus far I have been speaking of the fourth and last kind of
madness, which is imputed to him who, when he sees the beauty of
earth, is transported with the recollection of the true beauty;
he would like to fly away, but he cannot; he is like a bird
fluttering and looking upward and careless of the world below;
and he is therefore thought to be mad. And I have shown this of
all inspirations to be the noblest and highest and the offspring
of the highest to him who has or shares in it, and that he who
loves the beautiful is called a lover because he partakes of it.
For, as has been already said, every soul of man has in the way
of nature beheld true being; this was the condition of her
passing into the form of man. But all souls do not easily recall
the things of the other world; they may have seen them for a
short time only, or they may have been unfortunate in their
earthly lot, and, having had their hearts turned to
unrighteousness through some corrupting influence, they may have
lost the memory of the holy things which once they saw. Few only
retain an adequate remembrance of them; and they, when they
behold here any image of that other world, are rapt in amazement;
but they are ignorant of what this rapture means, because they do
not clearly perceive. For there is no light of justice or
temperance or any of the higher ideas which are precious to souls
in the earthly copies of them: they are seen through a glass
dimly; and there are few who, going to the images, behold in them
the realities, and these only with difficulty. There was a time
when with the rest of the happy band they saw beauty shining in
brightness-we philosophers following in the train of Zeus, others
in company with other gods; and then we beheld the beatific
vision and were initiated into a mystery which may be truly
called most blessed, celebrated by us in our state of innocence,
before we had any experience of evils to come, when we were
admitted to the sight of apparitions innocent and simple and calm
and happy, which we beheld shining impure light, pure ourselves
and not yet enshrined in that living tomb which we carry about,
now that we are imprisoned in the body, like an oyster in his
shell. Let me linger over the memory of scenes which have passed
But of beauty, I repeat again that we saw her there shining in
company with the celestial forms; and coming to earth we find her
here too, shining in clearness through the clearest aperture of
sense. For sight is the most piercing of our bodily senses;
though not by that is wisdom seen; her loveliness would have been
transporting if there had been a visible image of her, and the
other ideas, if they had visible counterparts, would be equally
lovely. But this is the privilege of beauty, that being the
loveliest she is also the most palpable to sight. Now he who is
not newly initiated or who has become corrupted, does not easily
rise out of this world to the sight of true beauty in the other;
he looks only at her earthly namesake, and instead of being awed
at the sight of her, he is given over to pleasure, and like a
brutish beast he rushes on to enjoy and beget; he consorts with
wantonness, and is not afraid or ashamed of pursuing pleasure in
violation of nature. But he whose initiation is recent, and who
has been the spectator of many glories in the other world, is
amazed when he sees any one having a godlike face or form, which
is the expression of divine beauty; and at first a shudder runs
through him, and again the old awe steals over him; then looking
upon the face of his beloved as of a god he reverences him, and
if he were not afraid of being thought a downright madman, he
would sacrifice to his beloved as to the image of a god; then
while he gazes on him there is a sort of reaction, and the
shudder passes into an unusual heat and perspiration; for, as he
receives the effluence of beauty through the eyes, the wing
moistens and he warms. And as he warms, the parts out of which
the wing grew, and which had been hitherto closed and rigid, and
had prevented the wing from shooting forth, are melted, and as
nourishment streams upon him, the lower end of the wings begins
to swell and grow from the root upwards; and the growth extends
under the whole soul-for once the whole was winged.
During this process the whole soul is all in a state of
ebullition and effervescence,-which may be compared to the
irritation and uneasiness in the gums at the time of cutting
teeth,-bubbles up, and has a feeling of uneasiness and tickling;
but when in like manner the soul is beginning to grow wings, the
beauty of the beloved meets her eye and she receives the sensible
warm motion of particles which flow towards her, therefore called
emotion (imeros), and is refreshed and warmed by them, and then
she ceases from her pain with joy. But when she is parted from
her beloved and her moisture fails, then the orifices of the
passage out of which the wing shoots dry up and close, and
intercept the germ of the wing; which, being shut up with the
emotion, throbbing as with the pulsations of an artery, pricks
the aperture which is nearest, until at length the entire soul is
pierced and maddened and pained, and at the recollection of
beauty is again delighted. And from both of them together the
soul is oppressed at the strangeness of her condition, and is in
a great strait and excitement, and in her madness can neither
sleep by night nor abide in her place by day. And wherever she
thinks that she will behold the beautiful one, thither in her
desire she runs. And when she has seen him, and bathed herself in
the waters of beauty, her constraint is loosened, and she is
refreshed, and has no more pangs and pains; and this is the
sweetest of all pleasures at the time, and is the reason why the
soul of the lover will never forsake his beautiful one, whom he
esteems above all; he has forgotten mother and brethren and
companions, and he thinks nothing of the neglect and loss of his
property; the rules and proprieties of life, on which he formerly
prided himself, he now despises, and is ready to sleep like a
servant, wherever he is allowed, as near as he can to his desired
one, who is the object of his worship, and the physician who can
alone assuage the greatness of his pain. And this state, my dear
imaginary youth to whom I am talking, is by men called love, and
among the gods has a name at which you, in your simplicity, may
be inclined to mock; there are two lines in the apocryphal
writings of Homer in which the name occurs. One of them is rather
outrageous, and not altogether metrical. They are as follows:
Mortals call him fluttering love, But the immortals call him
winged one, Because the growing of wings is a necessity to him.
You may believe this, but not unless you like. At any rate the
loves of lovers and their causes are such as I have described.
Now the lover who is taken to be the attendant of Zeus is
better able to bear the winged god, and can endure a heavier
burden; but the attendants and companions of Ares, when under the
influence of love, if they fancy that they have been at all
wronged, are ready to kill and put an end to themselves and their
beloved. And he who follows in the train of any other god, while
he is unspoiled and the impression lasts, honours and imitates
him, as far as he is able; and after the manner of his god he
behaves in his intercourse with his beloved and with the rest of
the world during the first period of his earthly existence. Every
one chooses his love from the ranks of beauty according to his
character, and this he makes his god, and fashions and adorns as
a sort of image which he is to fall down and worship. The
followers of Zeus desire that their beloved should have a soul
like him; and therefore they seek out some one of a philosophical
and imperial nature, and when they have found him and loved him,
they do all they can to confirm such a nature in him, and if they
have no experience of such a disposition hitherto, they learn of
any one who can teach them, and themselves follow in the same way.
And they have the less difficulty in finding the nature of their
own god in themselves, because they have been compelled to gaze
intensely on him; their recollection clings to him, and they
become possessed of him, and receive from him their character and
disposition, so far as man can participate in God. The qualities
of their god they attribute to the beloved, wherefore they love
him all the more, and if, like the Bacchic Nymphs, they draw
inspiration from Zeus, they pour out their own fountain upon him,
wanting to make him as like as possible to their own god. But
those who are the followers of Here seek a royal love, and when
they have found him they do just the same with him; and in like
manner the followers of Apollo, and of every other god walking in
the ways of their god, seek a love who is to be made like him
whom they serve, and when they have found him, they themselves
imitate their god, and persuade their love to do the same, and
educate him into the manner and nature of the god as far as they
each can; for no feelings of envy or jealousy are entertained by
them towards their beloved, but they do their utmost to create in
him the greatest likeness of themselves and of the god whom they
honour. Thus fair and blissful to the beloved is the desire of
the inspired lover, and the initiation of which I speak into the
mysteries of true love, if he be captured by the lover and their
purpose is effected. Now the beloved is taken captive in the
As I said at the beginning of this tale, I divided each soul
into three-two horses and a charioteer; and one of the horses was
good and the other bad: the division may remain, but I have not
yet explained in what the goodness or badness of either consists,
and to that I will proceed. The right-hand horse is upright and
cleanly made; he has a lofty neck and an aquiline nose; his
colour is white, and his eyes dark; he is a lover of honour and
modesty and temperance, and the follower of true glory; he needs
no touch of the whip, but is guided by word and admonition only.
The other is a crooked lumbering animal, put together anyhow; he
has a short thick neck; he is flat-faced and of a dark colour,
with grey eyes and blood-red complexion; the mate of insolence
and pride, shag-eared and deaf, hardly yielding to whip and spur.
Now when the charioteer beholds the vision of love, and has his
whole soul warmed through sense, and is full of the prickings and
ticklings of desire, the obedient steed, then as always under the
government of shame, refrains from leaping on the beloved; but
the other, heedless of the pricks and of the blows of the whip,
plunges and runs away, giving all manner of trouble to his
companion and the charioteer, whom he forces to approach the
beloved and to remember the joys of love. They at first
indignantly oppose him and will not be urged on to do terrible
and unlawful deeds; but at last, when he persists in plaguing
them, they yield and agree to do as he bids them.
And now they are at the spot and behold the flashing beauty of
the beloved; which when the charioteer sees, his memory is
carried to the true beauty, whom he beholds in company with
Modesty like an image placed upon a holy pedestal. He sees her,
but he is afraid and falls backwards in adoration, and by his
fall is compelled to pull back the reins with such violence as to
bring both the steeds on their haunches, the one willing and
unresisting, the unruly one very unwilling; and when they have
gone back a little, the one is overcome with shame and wonder,
and his whole soul is bathed in perspiration; the other, when the
pain is over which the bridle and the fall had given him, having
with difficulty taken breath, is full of wrath and reproaches,
which he heaps upon the charioteer and his fellow-steed, for want
of courage and manhood, declaring that they have been false to
their agreement and guilty of desertion. Again they refuse, and
again he urges them on, and will scarce yield to their prayer
that he would wait until another time. When the appointed hour
comes, they make as if they had forgotten, and he reminds them,
fighting and neighing and dragging them on, until at length he,
on the same thoughts intent, forces them to draw near again. And
when they are near he stoops his head and puts up his tail, and
takes the bit in his teeth. and pulls shamelessly. Then the
charioteer is. worse off than ever; he falls back like a racer at
the barrier, and with a still more violent wrench drags the bit
out of the teeth of the wild steed and covers his abusive tongue
and-jaws with blood, and forces his legs and haunches to the
ground and punishes him sorely. And when this has happened
several times and the villain has ceased from his wanton way, he
is tamed and humbled, and follows the will of the charioteer, and
when he sees the beautiful one he is ready to die of fear. And
from that time forward the soul of the lover follows the beloved
in modesty and holy fear.
And so the beloved who, like a god, has received every true
and loyal service from his lover, not in pretence but in reality,
being also himself of a nature friendly to his admirer, if in
former days he has blushed to own his passion and turned away his
lover, because his youthful companions or others slanderously
told him that he would be disgraced, now as years advance, at the
appointed age and time, is led to receive him into communion. For
fate which has ordained that there shall be no friendship among
the evil has also ordained that there shall ever be friendship
among the good. And the beloved when he has received him into
communion and intimacy, is quite amazed at the good-will of the
lover; he recognises that the inspired friend is worth all other
friends or kinsmen; they have nothing of friendship in them
worthy to be compared with his. And when his feeling continues
and he is nearer to him and embraces him, in gymnastic exercises
and at other times of meeting, then the fountain of that stream,
which Zeus when he was in love with Ganymede named Desire,
overflows upon the lover, and some enters into his soul, and some
when he is filled flows out again; and as a breeze or an echo
rebounds from the smooth rocks and returns whence it came, so
does the stream of beauty, passing through the eyes which are the
windows of the soul, come back to the beautiful one; there
arriving and quickening the passages of the wings, watering. them
and inclining them to grow, and filling the soul of the beloved
also with love. And thus he loves, but he knows not what; he does
not understand and cannot explain his own state; he appears to
have caught the infection of blindness from another; the lover is
his mirror in whom he is beholding himself, but he is not aware
of this. When he is with the lover, both cease from their pain,
but when he is away then he longs as he is longed for, and has
love's image, love for love (Anteros) lodging in his breast,
which he calls and believes to be not love but friendship only,
and his desire is as the desire of the other, but weaker; he
wants to see him, touch him, kiss him, embrace him, and probably
not long afterwards his desire is accomplished. When they meet,
the wanton steed of the lover has a word to say to the
charioteer; he would like to have a little pleasure in return for
many pains, but the wanton steed of the beloved says not a word,
for he is bursting with passion which he understands not;-he
throws his arms round the lover and embraces him as his dearest
friend; and, when they are side by side, he is not in it state in
which he can refuse the lover anything, if he ask him; although
his fellow-steed and the charioteer oppose him with the arguments
of shame and reason.
After this their happiness depends upon their self-control; if
the better elements of the mind which lead to order and
philosophy prevail, then they pass their life here in happiness
and harmony-masters of themselves and orderly-enslaving the
vicious and emancipating the virtuous elements of the soul; and
when the end comes, they are light and winged for flight, having
conquered in one of the three heavenly or truly Olympian
victories; nor can human discipline or divine inspiration confer
any greater blessing on man than this. If, on the other hand,
they leave philosophy and lead the lower life of ambition, then
probably, after wine or in some other careless hour, the two
wanton animals take the two souls when off their guard and bring
them together, and they accomplish that desire of their hearts
which to the many is bliss; and this having once enjoyed they
continue to enjoy, yet rarely because they have not the approval
of the whole soul. They too are dear, but not so dear to one
another as the others, either at the time of their love or
afterwards. They consider that they have given and taken from
each other the most sacred pledges, and they may not break them
and fall into enmity. At last they pass out of the body,
unwinged, but eager to soar, and thus obtain no mean reward of
love and madness. For those who have once begun the heavenward
pilgrimage may not go down again to darkness and the journey
beneath the earth, but they live in light always; happy
companions in their pilgrimage, and when the time comes at which
they receive their wings they have the same plumage because of
Thus great are the heavenly blessings which the friendship of
a lover will confer upon you, my youth. Whereas the attachment of
the non-lover, which is alloyed with a worldly prudence and has
worldly and niggardly ways of doling out benefits, will breed in
your soul those vulgar qualities which the populace applaud, will
send you bowling round the earth during a period of nine thousand
years, and leave, you a fool in the world below.
And thus, dear Eros, I have made and paid my recantation, as
well and as fairly as I could; more especially in the matter of
the poetical figures which I was compelled to use, because
Phaedrus would have them. And now forgive the past and accept the
present, and be gracious and merciful to me, and do not in thine
anger deprive me of sight, or take from me the art of love which
thou hast given me, but grant that I may be yet more esteemed in
the eyes of the fair. And if Phaedrus or I myself said anything
rude in our first speeches, blame Lysias, who is the father of
the brat, and let us have no more of his progeny; bid him study
philosophy, like his brother Polemarchus; and then his lover
Phaedrus will no longer halt between two opinions, but will
dedicate himself wholly to love and to philosophical discourses.
[Phaedr.] I join in the prayer, Socrates, and say with you, if
this be for my good, may your words come to pass. But why did you
make your second oration so much finer than the first? I wonder
why. And I begin to be afraid that I shall lose conceit of
Lysias, and that he will appear tame in comparison, even if he be
willing to put another as fine and as long as yours into the
field, which I doubt. For quite lately one of your politicians
was abusing him on this very account; and called him a "speech
writer" again and again. So that a feeling of pride may
probably induce him to give up writing speeches.
[Soc.] What a very amusing notion! But I think, my young man,
that you are much mistaken in your friend if you imagine that he
is frightened at a little noise; and possibly, you think that his
assailant was in earnest?
[Phaedr.] I thought, Socrates, that he was. And you are aware
that the greatest and most influential statesmen are ashamed of
writing speeches and leaving them in a written form, lest they
should be called Sophists by posterity.
[Soc.] You seem to be unconscious, Phaedrus, that the "sweet
elbow" of the proverb is really the long arm of the Nile.
And you appear to be equally unaware of the fact that this sweet
elbow of theirs is also a long arm. For there is nothing of which
our great politicians are so fond as of writing speeches and
bequeathing them to posterity. And they add their admirers' names
at the top of the writing, out of gratitude to them.
[Phaedr.] What do you mean? I do not understand.
[Soc.] Why, do you not know that when a politician writes, he
begins with the names of his approvers?
[Phaedr.] How so?
[Soc.] Why, he begins in this manner: "Be it enacted by
the senate, the people, or both, on the motion of a certain
person," who is our author; and so putting on a serious
face, he proceeds to display his own wisdom to his admirers in
what is often a long and tedious composition. Now what is that
sort of thing but a regular piece of authorship?
[Soc.] And if the law is finally approved, then the author
leaves the theatre in high delight; but if the law is rejected
and he is done out of his speech-making, and not thought good
enough to write, then he and his party are in mourning.
[Phaedr.] Very true.
[Soc.] So far are they from despising, or rather so highly do
they value the practice of writing.
[Phaedr.] No doubt.
[Soc.] And when the king or orator has the power, as Lycurgus
or Solon or Darius had, of attaining an immortality or authorship
in a state, is he not thought by posterity, when they see his
compositions, and does he not think himself, while he is yet
alive, to be a god?
[Phaedr.] Very true.
[Soc.] Then do you think that any one of this class, however
ill-disposed, would reproach Lysias with being an author?
[Phaedr.] Not upon your view; for according to you he would be
casting a slur upon his own favourite pursuit.
[Soc.] Any one may see that there is no disgrace in the mere
fact of writing.
[Phaedr.] Certainly not.
[Soc.] The disgrace begins when a man writes not well, but
[Soc.] And what is well and what is badly-need we ask Lysias,
or any other poet or orator, who ever wrote or will write either
a political or any other work, in metre or out of metre, poet or
prose writer, to teach us this?
[Phaedr.] Need we? For what should a man live if not for the
pleasures of discourse? Surely not for the sake of bodily
pleasures, which almost always have previous pain as a condition
of them, and therefore are rightly called slavish.
[Soc.] There is time enough. And I believe that the
grasshoppers chirruping after their manner in the heat of the sun
over our heads are talking to one another and looking down at us.
What would they say if they saw that we, like the many, are not
conversing, but slumbering at mid-day, lulled by their voices,
too indolent to think? Would they not have a right to laugh at
us? They might imagine that we were slaves, who, coming to rest
at a place of resort of theirs, like sheep lie asleep at noon
around the well. But if they see us discoursing, and like
Odysseus sailing past them, deaf to their siren voices, they may
perhaps, out of respect, give us of the gifts which they receive
from the gods that they may impart them to men.
[Phaedr.] What gifts do you mean? I never heard of any.
[Soc.] A lover of music like yourself ought surely to have
heard the story of the grasshoppers, who are said to have been
human beings in an age before the Muses. And when the Muses came
and song appeared they were ravished with delight; and singing
always, never thought of eating and drinking, until at last in
their forgetfulness they died. And now they live again in the
grasshoppers; and this is the return which the Muses make to them-they
neither hunger, nor thirst, but from the hour of their birth are
always singing, and never eating or drinking; and when they die
they go and inform the Muses in heaven who honours them on earth.
They win the love of Terpsichore for the dancers by their report
of them; of Erato for the lovers, and of the other Muses for
those who do them honour, according to the several ways of
honouring them of Calliope the eldest Muse and of Urania who is
next to her, for the philosophers, of whose music the
grasshoppers make report to them; for these are the Muses who are
chiefly concerned with heaven and thought, divine as well as
human, and they have the sweetest utterance. For many reasons,
then, we ought always to talk and not to sleep at mid-day.
[Phaedr.] Let us talk.
[Soc.] Shall we discuss the rules of writing and speech as we
[Phaedr.] Very good.
[Soc.] In good speaking should not the mind of the speaker
know the truth of the matter about which he is going to speak?
[Phaedr.] And yet, Socrates, I have heard that he who would be
an orator has nothing to do with true justice, but only with that
which is likely to be approved by the many who sit in judgment;
nor with the truly good or honourable, but only with opinion
about them, and that from opinion comes persuasion, and not from
[Soc.] The words of the wise are not to be set aside; for
there is probably something in them; and therefore the meaning of
this saying is not hastily to be dismissed.
[Phaedr.] Very true.
[Soc.] Let us put the matter thus:-Suppose that I persuaded
you to buy a horse and go to the wars. Neither of us knew what a
horse was like, but I knew that you believed a horse to be of
tame animals the one which has the longest ears.
[Phaedr.] That would be ridiculous.
[Soc.] There is something more ridiculous coming:-Suppose,
further, that in sober earnest I, having persuaded you of this,
went and composed a speech in honour of an ass, whom I entitled a
horse beginning: "A noble animal and a most useful
possession, especially in war, and you may get on his back and
fight, and he will carry baggage or anything."
[Phaedr.] How ridiculous!
[Soc.] Ridiculous! Yes; but is not even a ridiculous friend
better than a cunning enemy?
[Soc.] And when the orator instead of putting an ass in the
place of a horse puts good for evil being himself as ignorant of
their true nature as the city on which he imposes is ignorant;
and having studied the notions of the multitude, falsely
persuades them not about "the shadow of an ass," which
he confounds with a horse, but about good which he confounds with
evily-what will be the harvest which rhetoric will be likely to
gather after the sowing of that seed?
[Phaedr.] The reverse of good.
[Soc.] But perhaps rhetoric has been getting too roughly
handled by us, and she might answer: What amazing nonsense you
are talking! As if I forced any man to learn to speak in
ignorance of the truth! Whatever my advice may be worth, I should
have told him to arrive at the truth first, and then come to me.
At the same time I boldly assert that mere knowledge of the truth
will not give you the art of persuasion.
[Phaedr.] There is reason in the lady's defence of herself.
[Soc.] Quite true; if only the other arguments which remain to
be brought up bear her witness that she is an art at all. But I
seem to hear them arraying themselves on the opposite side,
declaring that she speaks falsely, and that rhetoric is a mere
routine and trick, not an art. Lo! a Spartan appears, and says
that there never is nor ever will be a real art of speaking which
is divorced from the truth.
[Phaedr.] And what are these arguments, Socrates? Bring them
out that we may examine them.
[Soc.] Come out, fair children, and convince Phaedrus, who is
the father of similar beauties, that he will never be able to
speak about anything as he ought to speak unless he have a
knowledge of philosophy. And let Phaedrus answer you.
[Phaedr.] Put the question.
[Soc.] Is not rhetoric, taken generally, a universal art of
enchanting the mind by arguments; which is practised not only in
courts and public assemblies, but in private houses also, having
to do with all matters, great as well as small, good and bad
alike, and is in all equally right, and equally to be esteemed-that
is what you have heard?
[Phaedr.] Nay, not exactly that; I should say rather that I
have heard the art confined to speaking and writing in lawsuits,
and to speaking in public assemblies-not extended farther.
[Soc.] Then I suppose that you have only heard of the rhetoric
of Nestor and Odysseus, which they composed in their leisure
hours when at Troy, and never of the rhetoric of Palamedes?
[Phaedr.] No more than of Nestor and Odysseus, unless Gorgias
is your Nestor, and Thrasymachus or Theodorus your Odysseus.
[Soc.] Perhaps that is my meaning. But let us leave them. And
do you tell me, instead, what are plaintiff and defendant doing
in a law court-are they not contending?
[Phaedr.] Exactly so.
[Soc.] About the just and unjust-that is the matter in
[Soc.] And a professor of the art will make the same thing
appear to the same persons to be at one time just, at another
time, if he is so inclined, to be unjust?
[Soc.] And when he speaks in the assembly, he will make the
same things seem good to the city at one time, and at another
time the reverse of good?
[Phaedr.] That is true.
[Soc.] Have we not heard of the Eleatic Palamedes (Zeno), who
has an art of speaking by which he makes the same things appear
to his hearers like and unlike, one and many, at rest and in
[Phaedr.] Very true.
[Soc.] The art of disputation, then, is not confined to the
courts and the assembly, but is one and the same in every use of
language; this is the art, if there be such an art, which is able
to find a likeness of everything to which a likeness can be
found, and draws into the light of day the likenesses and
disguises which are used by others?
[Phaedr.] How do you mean?
[Soc.] Let me put the matter thus: When will there be more
chance of deception-when the difference is large or small?
[Phaedr.] When the difference is small.
[Soc.] And you will be less likely to be discovered in passing
by degrees into the other extreme than when you go all at once?
[Phaedr.] Of course.
[Soc.] He, then, who would. deceive others, and not be
deceived, must exactly know the real likenesses and differences
[Phaedr.] He must.
[Soc.] And if he is ignorant of the true nature of any
subject, how can he detect the greater or less degree of likeness
in other things to that of which by the hypothesis he is
[Phaedr.] He cannot.
[Soc.] And when men are deceived and their notions are at
variance with realities, it is clear that the error slips in
[Phaedr.] Yes, that is the way.
[Soc.] Then he who would be a master of the art must
understand the real nature of everything; or he will never know
either how to make the gradual departure from truth into the
opposite of truth which is effected by the help of resemblances,
or how to avoid it?
[Phaedr.] He will not.
[Soc.] He then, who being ignorant of the truth aims at
appearances, will only attain an art of rhetoric which is
ridiculous and is not an art at all?
[Phaedr.] That may be expected.
[Soc.] Shall I propose that we look for examples of art and
want of art, according to our notion of them, in the speech of
Lysias which you have in your hand, and in my own speech?
[Phaedr.] Nothing could be better; and indeed I think that our
previous argument has been too abstract and-wanting in
[Soc.] Yes; and the two speeches happen to afford a very good
example of the way in which the speaker who knows the truth may,
without any serious purpose, steal away the hearts of his hearers.
This piece of good-fortune I attribute to the local deities; and
perhaps, the prophets of the Muses who are singing over our heads
may have imparted their inspiration to me. For I do not imagine
that I have any rhetorical art of my own.
[Phaedr.] Granted; if you will only please to get on.
[Soc.] Suppose that you read me the first words of Lysias'
[Phaedr.] "You know how matters stand with me, and how,
as I conceive, they might be arranged for our common interest;
and I maintain that I ought not to fail in my suit, because I am
not your lover. For lovers repent-"
[Soc.] Enough:-Now, shall I point out the rhetorical error of
[Soc.] Every one is aware that about some things we are
agreed, whereas about other things we differ.
[Phaedr.] I think that I understand you; but will you explain
[Soc.] When any one speaks of iron and silver, is not the same
thing present in the minds of all?
[Soc.] But when any one speaks of justice and goodness we part
company and are at odds with one another and with ourselves?
[Soc.] Then in some things we agree, but not in others?
[Phaedr.] That is true.
[Soc.] In which are we more likely to be deceived, and in
which has rhetoric the greater power?
[Phaedr.] Clearly, in the uncertain class.
[Soc.] Then the rhetorician ought to make a regular division,
and acquire a distinct notion of both classes, as well of that in
which the many err, as of that in which they do not err?
[Phaedr.] He who made such a distinction would have an
[Soc.] Yes; and in the next place he must have a keen eye for
the observation of particulars in speaking, and not make a
mistake about the class to which they are to be referred.
[Soc.] Now to which class does love belong-to the debatable or
to the undisputed class?
[Phaedr.] To the debatable, clearly; for if not, do you think
that love would have allowed you to say as you did, that he is an
evil both to the lover and the beloved, and also the greatest
[Soc.] Capital. But will you tell me whether I defined love at
the beginning of my speech? for, having been in an ecstasy, I
cannot well remember.
[Phaedr.] Yes, indeed; that you did, and no mistake.
[Soc.] Then I perceive that the Nymphs of Achelous and Pan the
son of Hermes, who inspired me, were far better rhetoricians than
Lysias the son of Cephalus. Alas! how inferior to them he is! But
perhaps I am mistaken; and Lysias at the commencement of his
lover's speech did insist on our supposing love to be something
or other which he fancied him to be, and according to this model
he fashioned and framed the remainder of his discourse. Suppose
we read his beginning over again:
[Phaedr.] If you please; but you will not find what you want.
Soc, Read, that I may have his exact words.
[Phaedr.] "You know how matters stand with and how, as I
conceive, they might be arranged for our common interest; and I
maintain I ought not to fail in my suit because I am not your
lover, for lovers repent of the kindnesses which they have shown,
when their love is over."
[Soc.] Here he appears to have done just the reverse of what
he ought; for he has begun at the end, and is swimming on his
back through the flood to the place of starting. His address to
the fair youth begins where the lover would have ended. Am I not
right, sweet Phaedrus?
[Phaedr.] Yes, indeed, Socrates; he does begin at the end.
[Soc.] Then as to the other topics-are they not thrown down
anyhow? Is there any principle in them? Why should the next topic
follow next in order, or any other topic? I cannot help fancying
in my ignorance that he wrote off boldly just what came into his
head, but I dare say that you would recognize a rhetorical
necessity in the succession of the several parts of the
[Phaedr.] You have too good an opinion of me if you think that
I have any such insight into his principles of composition.
[Soc.] At any rate, you will allow that every discourse ought
to be a living creature, having a body of its own and a head and
feet; there should be a middle, beginning, and end, adapted to
one another and to the whole?
[Soc.] Can this be said of the discourse of Lysias? See
whether you can find any more connexion in his words than in the
epitaph which is said by some to have been inscribed on the grave
of Midas the Phrygian.
[Phaedr.] What is there remarkable in the epitaph?
[Soc.] It is as follows:- I am a maiden of bronze and lie on
the tomb of Midas; So long as water flows and tall trees grow, So
long here on this spot by his sad tomb abiding, I shall declare
to passers-by that Midas sleeps below. Now in this rhyme whether
a line comes first or comes last, as you will perceive, makes no
[Phaedr.] You are making fun of that oration of ours.
[Soc.] Well, I will say no more about your friend's speech
lest I should give offence to you; although I think that it might
furnish many other examples of what a man ought rather to avoid.
But I will proceed to the other speech, which, as I think, is
also suggestive to students of rhetoric.
[Phaedr.] In what way?
[Soc.] The two speeches, as you may remember, were unlike-I
the one argued that the lover and the other that the non-lover
ought to be accepted.
[Phaedr.] And right manfully.
[Soc.] You should rather say "madly"; and madness
was the argument of them, for, as I said, "love is a madness."
[Soc.] And of madness there were two kinds; one produced by
human infirmity, the other was a divine release of the soul from
the yoke of custom and convention.
[Soc.] The divine madness was subdivided into four kinds,
prophetic, initiatory, poetic, erotic, having four gods presiding
over them; the first was the inspiration of Apollo, the second
that of Dionysus, the third that of the Muses, the fourth that of
Aphrodite and Eros. In the description of the last kind of
madness, which was also said to be the best, we spoke of the
affection of love in a figure, into which we introduced a
tolerably credible and possibly true though partly erring myth,
which was also a hymn in honour of Love, who is your lord and
also mine, Phaedrus, and the guardian of fair children, and to
him we sung the hymn in measured and solemn strain.
[Phaedr.] I know that I had great pleasure in listening to you.
[Soc.] Let us take this instance and note how the transition
was made from blame to praise.
[Phaedr.] What do you mean?
[Soc.] I mean to say that the composition was mostly playful.
Yet in these chance fancies of the hour were involved two
principles of which we should be too glad to have a clearer
description if art could give us one.
[Phaedr.] What are they?
[Soc.] First, the comprehension of scattered particulars in
one idea; as in our definition of love, which whether true or
false certainly gave clearness and consistency to the discourse,
the speaker should define his several notions and so make his
[Phaedr.] What is the other principle, Socrates?
[Soc.] The second principle is that of division into species
according to the natural formation, where the joint is, not
breaking any part as a bad carver might. Just as our two
discourses, alike assumed, first of all, a single form of
unreason; and then, as the body which from being one becomes
double and may be divided into a left side and right side, each
having parts right and left of the same name-after this manner
the speaker proceeded to divide the parts of the left side and
did not desist until he found in them an evil or left-handed love
which he justly reviled; and the other discourse leading us to
the madness which lay on the right side, found another love, also
having the same name, but divine, which the speaker held up
before us and applauded and affirmed to be the author of the
[Phaedr.] Most true.
[Soc.] I am myself a great lover of these processes of
division and generalization; they help me to speak and to think.
And if I find any man who is able to see "a One and Many"
in nature, him I follow, and "walk in his footsteps as if he
were a god." And those who have this art, I have hitherto
been in the habit of calling dialecticians; but God knows whether
the name is right or not. And I should like to know what name you
would give to your or to Lysias' disciples, and whether this may
not be that famous art of rhetoric which Thrasymachus and others
teach and practise? Skilful speakers they are, and impart their
skill to any who is willing to make kings of them and to bring
gifts to them.
[Phaedr.] Yes, they are royal men; but their art is not the
same with the art of those whom you call, and rightly, in my
opinion, dialecticians:-Still we are in the dark about rhetoric.
[Soc.] What do you mean? The remains of it, if there be
anything remaining which can be brought under rules of art, must
be a fine thing; and, at any rate, is not to be despised by you
and me. But how much is left?
[Phaedr.] There is a great deal surely to be found in books of
[Soc.] Yes; thank you for reminding me:-There is the exordium,
showing how the speech should begin, if I remember rightly; that
is what you mean-the niceties of the art?
[Soc.] Then follows the statement of facts, and upon that
witnesses; thirdly, proofs; fourthly, probabilities are to come;
the great Byzantian word-maker also speaks, if I am not mistaken,
of confirmation and further confirmation.
[Phaedr.] You mean the excellent Theodorus.
[Soc.] Yes; and he tells how refutation or further refutation
is to be managed, whether in accusation or defence. I ought also
to mention the illustrious Parian, Evenus, who first invented
insinuations and indirect praises; and also indirect censures,
which according to some he put into verse to help the memory. But
shall I "to dumb forgetfulness consign" Tisias and
Gorgias, who are not ignorant that probability is superior to
truth, and who by: force of argument make the little appear great
and the great little, disguise the new in old fashions and the
old in new fashions, and have discovered forms for everything,
either short or going on to infinity. I remember Prodicus
laughing when I told him of this; he said that he had himself
discovered the true rule of art, which was to be neither long nor
short, but of a convenient length.
[Phaedr.] Well done, Prodicus!
[Soc.] Then there is Hippias the Elean stranger, who probably
agrees with him.
[Soc.] And there is also Polus, who has treasuries of
diplasiology, and gnomology, and eikonology, and who teaches in
them the names of which Licymnius made him a present; they were
to give a polish.
[Phaedr.] Had not Protagoras something of the same sort?
[Soc.] Yes, rules of correct diction and many other fine
precepts; for the "sorrows of a poor old man," or any
other pathetic case, no one is better than the Chalcedonian
giant; he can put a whole company of people into a passion and
out of one again by his mighty magic, and is first-rate at
inventing or disposing of any sort of calumny on any grounds or
none. All of them agree in asserting that a speech should end in
a recapitulation, though they do not all agree to use the same
[Phaedr.] You mean that there should be a summing up of the
arguments in order to remind the hearers of them.
[Soc.] I have now said all that I have to say of the art of
rhetoric: have you anything to add?
[Phaedr.] Not much; nothing very important.
[Soc.] Leave the unimportant and let us bring the really
important question into the light of day, which is: What power
has this art of rhetoric, and when?
[Phaedr.] A very great power in public meetings.
[Soc.] It has. But I should like to know whether you have the
same feeling as I have about the rhetoricians? To me there seem
to be a great many holes in their web.
[Phaedr.] Give an example.
[Soc.] I will. Suppose a person to come to your friend
Eryximachus, or to his father Acumenus, and to say to him: "I
know how to apply drugs which shall have either a heating or a
cooling effect, and I can give a vomit and also a purge, and all
that sort of thing; and knowing all this, as I do, I claim to be
a physician and to make physicians by imparting this knowledge to
others,"-what do you suppose that they would say?
[Phaedr.] They would be sure to ask him whether he knew "to
whom" he would give his medicines, and "when," and
[Soc.] And suppose that he were to reply: "No; I know
nothing of all that; I expect the patient who consults me to be
able to do these things for himself"?
[Phaedr.] They would say in reply that he is a madman or
pedant who fancies that he is a physician because he has read
something in a book, or has stumbled on a prescription or two,
although he has no real understanding of the art of medicine.
[Soc.] And suppose a person were to come to Sophocles or
Euripides and say that he knows how to make a very long speech
about a small matter, and a short speech about a great matter,
and also a sorrowful speech, or a terrible, or threatening
speech, or any other kind of speech, and in teaching this fancies
that he is teaching the art of tragedy-?
[Phaedr.] They too would surely laugh at him if he fancies
that tragedy is anything but the arranging of these elements in a
manner which will be suitable to one another and to the whole.
[Soc.] But I do not suppose that they would be rude or abusive
to him: Would they not treat him as a musician would a man who
thinks that he is a harmonist because he knows how to pitch the
highest and lowest notes; happening to meet such an one he would
not say to him savagely, "Fool, you are mad!" But like
a musician, in a gentle and harmonious tone of voice, he would
answer: "My good friend, he who would be a harmonist must
certainly know this, and yet he may understand nothing of harmony
if he has not got beyond your stage of knowledge, for you only
know the preliminaries of harmony and not harmony itself."
[Phaedr.] Very true.
[Soc.] And will not Sophocles say to the display of the would-be
tragedian, that this is not tragedy but the preliminaries of
tragedy? and will not Acumenus say the same of medicine to the
[Phaedr.] Quite true.
[Soc.] And if Adrastus the mellifluous or Pericles heard of
these wonderful arts, brachylogies and eikonologies and all the
hard names which we have been endeavouring to draw into the light
of day, what would they say? Instead of losing temper and
applying uncomplimentary epithets, as you and I have been doing,
to the authors of such an imaginary art, their superior wisdom
would rather censure us, as well as them. "Have a little
patience, Phaedrus and Socrates, they would say; you should not
be in such a passion with those who from some want of dialectical
skill are unable to define the nature of rhetoric, and
consequently suppose that they have found the art in the
preliminary conditions of it, and when these have been taught by
them to others, fancy that the whole art of rhetoric has been
taught by them; but as to using the several instruments of the
art effectively, or making the composition a whole,-an
application of it such as this is they regard as an easy thing
which their disciples may make for themselves."
[Phaedr.] I quite admit, Socrates, that the art of rhetoric
which these men teach and of which they write is such as you
describe-there I agree with you. But I still want to know where
and how the true art of rhetoric and persuasion is to be acquired.
[Soc.] The perfection which is required of the finished orator
is, or rather must be, like the perfection of anything else;
partly given by nature, but may also be assisted by art. If you
have the natural power and add to it knowledge and practice, you
will be a distinguished speaker; if you fall short in either of
these, you will be to that extent defective. But the art, as far
as there is an art, of rhetoric does not lie in the direction of
Lysias or Thrasymachus.
[Phaedr.] In what direction then?
[Soc.] I conceive Pericles to have been the most accomplished
[Phaedr.] What of that?
[Soc.] All the great arts require discussion and high
speculation about the truths of nature; hence come loftiness of
thought and completeness of execution. And this, as I conceive,
was the quality which, in addition to his natural gifts, Pericles
acquired from his intercourse with Anaxagoras whom he happened to
know. He was thus imbued with the higher philosophy, and attained
the knowledge of Mind and the negative of Mind, which were
favourite themes of Anaxagoras, and applied what suited his
purpose to the art of speaking.
[Soc.] Rhetoric is like medicine.
[Phaedr.] How so?
[Soc.] Why, because medicine has to define the nature of the
body and rhetoric of the soul-if we would proceed, not
empirically but scientifically, in the one case to impart health
and strength by giving medicine and food in the other to implant
the conviction or virtue which you desire, by the right
application of words and training.
[Phaedr.] There, Socrates, I suspect that you are right.
[Soc.] And do you think that you can know the nature of the
soul intelligently without knowing the nature of the whole?
[Phaedr.] Hippocrates the Asclepiad says that the nature even
of the body can only be understood as a whole.
[Soc.] Yes, friend, and he was right:-still, we ought not to
be content with the name of Hippocrates, but to examine and see
whether his argument agrees with his conception of nature.
[Phaedr.] I agree.
[Soc.] Then consider what truth as well as Hippocrates says
about this or about any other nature. Ought we not to consider
first whether that which we wish to learn and to teach is a
simple or multiform thing, and if simple, then to enquire what
power it has of acting or being acted upon in relation to other
things, and if multiform, then to number the forms; and see first
in the case of one of them, and then in. case of all of them,
what is that power of acting or being acted upon which makes each
and all of them to be what they are?
[Phaedr.] You may very likely be right, Socrates.
[Soc.] The method which proceeds without analysis is like the
groping of a blind man. Yet, surely, he who is an artist ought
not to admit of a comparison with the blind, or deaf. The
rhetorician, who teaches his pupil to speak scientifically, will
particularly set forth the nature of that being to which he
addresses his speeches; and this, I conceive, to be the soul.
[Soc.] His whole effort is directed to the soul; for in that
he seeks to produce conviction.
[Soc.] Then clearly, Thrasymachus or any one else who teaches
rhetoric in earnest will give an exact description of the nature
of the soul; which will enable us to see whether she be single
and same, or, like the body, multiform. That is what we should
call showing the nature of the soul.
[Soc.] He will explain, secondly, the mode in which she acts
or is acted upon.
[Soc.] Thirdly, having classified men and speeches, and their
kinds and affections, and adapted them to one another, he will
tell the reasons of his arrangement, and show why one soul is
persuaded by a particular form of argument, and another not.
[Phaedr.] You have hit upon a very good way.
[Soc.] Yes, that is the true and only way in which any subject
can be set forth or treated by rules of art, whether in speaking
or writing. But the writers of the present day, at whose feet you
have sat, craftily, conceal the nature of the soul which they
know quite well. Nor, until they adopt our method of reading and
writing, can we admit that they write by rules of art?
[Phaedr.] What is our method?
[Soc.] I cannot give you the exact details; but I should like
to tell you generally, as far as is in my power, how a man ought
to proceed according to rules of art.
[Phaedr.] Let me hear.
[Soc.] Oratory is the art of enchanting the soul, and
therefore he who would be an orator has to learn the differences
of human souls-they are so many and of such a nature, and from
them come the differences between man and man. Having proceeded
thus far in his analysis, he will next divide speeches into their
different classes:-"Such and such persons," he will
say, are affected by this or that kind of speech in this or that
way," and he will tell you why. The pupil must have a good
theoretical notion of them first, and then he must have
experience of them in actual life, and be able to follow them
with all his senses about him, or he will never get beyond the
precepts of his masters. But when he understands what persons are
persuaded by what arguments, and sees the person about whom he
was speaking in the abstract actually before him, and knows that
it is he, and can say to himself, "This is the man or this
is the character who ought to have a certain argument applied to
him in order to convince him of a certain opinion"; -he who
knows all this, and knows also when he should speak and when he
should refrain, and when he should use pithy sayings, pathetic
appeals, sensational effects, and all the other modes of speech
which he has learned;-when, I say, he knows the times and seasons
of all these things, then, and not till then, he is a perfect
master of his art; but if he fail in any of these points, whether
in speaking or teaching or writing them, and yet declares that he
speaks by rules of art, he who says "I don't believe you"
has the better of him. Well, the teacher will say, is this, and
Socrates, your account of the so-called art of rhetoric, or am I
to look for another?
[Phaedr.] He must take this, Socrates for there is no
possibility of another, and yet the creation of such an art is
[Soc.] Very true; and therefore let us consider this matter in
every light, and see whether we cannot find a shorter and easier
road; there is no use in taking a long rough round-about way if
there be a shorter and easier one. And I wish that you would try
and remember whether you have heard from Lysias or any one else
anything which might be of service to us.
[Phaedr.] If trying would avail, then I might; but at the
moment I can think of nothing.
[Soc.] Suppose I tell you something which somebody who knows
[Soc.] May not "the wolf," as the proverb says,
claim a hearing"?
[Phaedr.] Do you say what can be said for him.
[Soc.] He will argue that is no use in putting a solemn face
on these matters, or in going round and round, until you arrive
at first principles; for, as I said at first, when the question
is of justice and good, or is a question in which men are
concerned who are just and good, either by nature or habit, he
who would be a skilful rhetorician has; no need of truth-for that
in courts of law men literally care nothing about truth, but only
about conviction: and this is based on probability, to which who
would be a skilful orator should therefore give his whole
attention. And they say also that there are cases in which the
actual facts, if they are improbable, ought to be withheld, and
only the probabilities should be told either in accusation or
defence, and that always in speaking, the orator should keep
probability in view, and say good-bye to the truth. And the
observance, of this principle throughout a speech furnishes the
[Phaedr.] That is what the professors of rhetoric do actually
say, Socrates. I have not forgotten that we have quite briefly
touched upon this matter already; with them the point is all-important.
[Soc.] I dare say that you are familiar with Tisias. Does he
not define probability to be that which the many think?
[Phaedr.] Certainly, he does.
[Soc.] I believe that he has a clever and ingenious case of
this sort:-He supposes a feeble and valiant man to have assaulted
a strong and cowardly one, and to have robbed him of his coat or
of something or other; he is brought into court, and then Tisias
says that both parties should tell lies: the coward should say
that he was assaulted by more men than one; the other should
prove that they were alone, and should argue thus: "How
could a weak man like me have assaulted a strong man like him?"
The complainant will not like to confess his own cowardice, and
will therefore invent some other lie which his adversary will
thus gain an opportunity of refuting. And there are other devices
of the same kind which have a place in the system. Am I not
[Soc.] Bless me, what a wonderfully mysterious art is this
which Tisias or some other gentleman, in whatever name or country
he rejoices, has discovered. Shall we say a word to him or not?
[Phaedr.] What shall we say to him?
[Soc.] Let us tell him that, before he appeared, you and I
were saying that the probability of which he speaks was
engendered in the minds of the many by the likeness of the truth,
and we had just been affirming that he who knew the truth would
always know best how to discover the resemblances of the truth.
If he has anything else to say about the art of speaking we
should like to hear him; but if not, we are satisfied with our
own view, that unless a man estimates the various characters of
his heaters and is able to divide all things into classes and to
comprehend them under single ideas he will never be a skilful
rhetorician even within the limits of human power. And this skill
he will not attain without a great deal of trouble, which a good
man ought to undergo, not for the sake of speaking and acting
before men, but in order that he may be able to say what is
acceptable to God and always to act acceptably to Him as far as
in him lies; for there is a saying of wiser men than ourselves,
that a man of sense should not try to please his fellow-servants
(at least this should not be his first object) but his good and
noble masters; and therefore if the way is long and circuitous,
marvel not at this, for, where the end is great, there we may
take the longer road, but not for lesser ends such as yours.
Truly, the argument may say, Tisias, that if you do not mind
going so far, rhetoric has a fair beginning here.
[Phaedr.] I think, Socrates, that this is admirable, if only
[Soc.] But even to fail in an honourable object is honourable.
[Soc.] Enough appears to have been said by us of a true and
false art of speaking.
[Soc.] But there is something yet to be said of propriety and
impropriety of writing.
[Soc.] Do you know how you can speak or act about rhetoric in
a manner which will be acceptable to God?
[Phaedr.] No, indeed. Do you?
[Soc.] I have heard a tradition of the ancients, whether true
or not they only know; although if we had found the truth
ourselves, do you think that we should care much about the
opinions of men?
[Phaedr.] Your question needs no answer; but I wish that you
would tell me what you say that you have heard.
[Soc.] At the Egyptian city of Naucratis, there was a famous
old god, whose name was Theuth; the bird which is called the Ibis
is sacred to him, and he was the inventor of many arts, such as
arithmetic and calculation and geometry and astronomy and
draughts and dice, but his great discovery was the use of letters.
Now in those days the god Thamus was the king of the whole
country of Egypt; and he dwelt in that great city of Upper Egypt
which the Hellenes call Egyptian Thebes, and the god himself is
called by them Ammon. To him came Theuth and showed his
inventions, desiring that the other Egyptians might be allowed to
have the benefit of them; he enumerated them, and Thamus enquired
about their several uses, and praised some of them and censured
others, as he approved or disapproved of them. It would take a
long time to repeat all that Thamus said to Theuth in praise or
blame of the various arts. But when they came to letters, This,
said Theuth, will make the Egyptians wiser and give them better
memories; it is a specific both for the memory and for the wit.
Thamus replied: O most ingenious Theuth, the parent or inventor
of an art is not always the best judge of the utility or
inutility of his own inventions to the users of them. And in this
instance, you who are the father of letters, from a paternal love
of your own children have been led to attribute to them a quality
which they cannot have; for this discovery of yours will create
forgetfulness in the learners' souls, because they will not use
their memories; they will trust to the external written
characters and not remember of themselves. The specific which you
have discovered is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, and
you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of
truth; they will be hearers of many things and will have learned
nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally
know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of
wisdom without the reality.
[Phaedr.] Yes, Socrates, you can easily invent tales of Egypt,
or of any other country.
[Soc.] There was a tradition in the temple of Dodona that oaks
first gave prophetic utterances. The men of old, unlike in their
simplicity to young philosophy, deemed that if they heard the
truth even from "oak or rock," it was enough for them;
whereas you seem to consider not whether a thing is or is not
true, but who the speaker is and from what country the tale comes.
[Phaedr.] I acknowledge the justice of your rebuke; and I
think that the Theban is right in his view about letters.
[Soc.] He would be a very simple person, and quite a stranger
to the oracles of Thamus or Ammon, who should leave in writing or
receive in writing any art under the idea that the written word
would be intelligible or certain; or who deemed that writing was
at all better than knowledge and recollection of the same
[Phaedr.] That is most true.
[Soc.] I cannot help feeling, Phaedrus, that writing is
unfortunately like painting; for the creations of the painter
have the attitude of life, and yet if you ask them a question
they preserve a solemn silence. And the same may be said of
speeches. You would imagine that they had intelligence, but if
you want to know anything and put a question to one of them, the
speaker always gives one unvarying answer. And when they have
been once written down they are tumbled about anywhere among
those who may or may not understand them, and know not to whom
they should reply, to whom not: and, if they are maltreated or
abused, they have no parent to protect them; and they cannot
protect or defend themselves.
[Phaedr.] That again is most true.
[Soc.] Is there not another kind of word or speech far better
than this, and having far greater power-a son of the same family,
but lawfully begotten?
[Phaedr.] Whom do you mean, and what is his origin?
[Soc.] I mean an intelligent word graven in the soul of the
learner, which can defend itself, and knows when to speak and
when to be silent.
[Phaedr.] You mean the living word of knowledge which has a
soul, and of which written word is properly no more than an
[Soc.] Yes, of course that is what I mean. And now may I be
allowed to ask you a question: Would a husbandman, who is a man
of sense, take the seeds, which he values and which he wishes to
bear fruit, and in sober seriousness plant them during the heat
of summer, in some garden of Adonis, that he may rejoice when he
sees them in eight days appearing in beauty? at least he would do
so, if at all, only for the sake of amusement and pastime. But
when he is in earnest he sows in fitting soil, and practises
husbandry, and is satisfied if in eight months the seeds which he
has sown arrive at perfection?
[Phaedr.] Yes, Socrates, that will be his way when he is in
earnest; he will do the other, as you say, only in play.
[Soc.] And can we suppose that he who knows the just and good
and honourable has less understanding, than the husbandman, about
his own seeds?
[Phaedr.] Certainly not.
[Soc.] Then he will not seriously incline to "write"
his thoughts "in water" with pen and ink, sowing words
which can neither speak for themselves nor teach the truth
adequately to others?
[Phaedr.] No, that is not likely.
[Soc.] No, that is not likely-in the garden of letters he will
sow and plant, but only for the sake of recreation and amusement;
he will write them down as memorials to be treasured against the
forgetfulness of old age, by himself, or by any other old man who
is treading the same path. He will rejoice in beholding their
tender growth; and while others are refreshing their souls with
banqueting and the like, this will be the pastime in which his
days are spent.
[Phaedr.] A pastime, Socrates, as noble as the other is
ignoble, the pastime of a man who can be amused by serious talk,
and can discourse merrily about justice and the like.
[Soc.] True, Phaedrus. But nobler far is the serious pursuit
of the dialectician, who, finding a congenial soul, by the help
of science sows and plants therein words which are able to help
themselves and him who planted them, and are not unfruitful, but
have in them a seed which others brought up in different soils
render immortal, making the possessors of it happy to the utmost
extent of human happiness.
[Phaedr.] Far nobler, certainly.
[Soc.] And now, Phaedrus, having agreed upon the premises we
decide about the conclusion.
[Phaedr.] About what conclusion?
[Soc.] About Lysias, whom we censured, and his art of writing,
and his discourses, and the rhetorical skill or want of skill
which was shown in them-these are the questions which we sought
to determine, and they brought us to this point. And I think that
we are now pretty well informed about the nature of art and its
[Phaedr.] Yes, I think with you; but I wish that you would
repeat what was said.
[Soc.] Until a man knows the truth of the several particulars
of which he is writing or speaking, and is able to define them as
they are, and having defined them again to divide them until they
can be no longer divided, and until in like manner he is able to
discern the nature of the soul, and discover the different modes
of discourse which are adapted to different natures, and to
arrange and dispose them in such a way that the simple form of
speech may be addressed to the simpler nature, and the complex
and composite to the more complex nature-until he has
accomplished all this, he will be unable to handle arguments
according to rules of art, as far as their nature allows them to
be subjected to art, either for the purpose of teaching or
persuading;-such is the view which is implied in the whole
[Phaedr.] Yes, that was our view, certainly.
[Soc.] Secondly, as to the censure which was passed on the
speaking or writing of discourses, and how they might be rightly
or wrongly censured-did not our previous argument show?-
[Phaedr.] Show what?
[Soc.] That whether Lysias or any other writer that ever was
or will be, whether private man or statesman, proposes laws and
so becomes the author of a political treatise, fancying that
there is any great certainty and clearness in his performance,
the fact of his so writing is only a disgrace to him, whatever
men may say. For not to know the nature of justice and injustice,
and good and evil, and not to be able to distinguish the dream
from the reality, cannot in truth be otherwise than disgraceful
to him, even though he have the applause of the whole world.
[Soc.] But he who thinks that in the written word there is
necessarily much which is not serious, and that neither poetry
nor prose, spoken or written, is of any great value, if, like the
compositions of the rhapsodes, they are only recited in order to
be believed, and not with any view to criticism or instruction;
and who thinks that even the best of writings are but a
reminiscence of what we know, and that only in principles of
justice and goodness and nobility taught and communicated orally
for the sake of instruction and graven in the soul, which is the
true way of writing, is there clearness and perfection and
seriousness, and that such principles are a man's own and his
legitimate offspring;-being, in the first place, the word which
he finds in his own bosom; secondly, the brethren and descendants
and relations of his others;-and who cares for them and no others-this
is the right sort of man; and you and I, Phaedrus, would pray
that we may become like him.
[Phaedr.] That is most assuredly my desire and prayer.
[Soc.] And now the play is played out; and of rhetoric enough.
Go and tell Lysias that to the fountain and school of the Nymphs
we went down, and were bidden by them to convey a message to him
and to other composers of speeches-to Homer and other writers of
poems, whether set to music or not; and to Solon and others who
have composed writings in the form of political discourses which
they would term laws-to all of them we are to say that if their
compositions are based on knowledge of the truth, and they can
defend or prove them, when they are put to the test, by spoken
arguments, which leave their writings poor in comparison of them,
then they are to be called, not only poets, orators, legislators,
but are worthy of a higher name, befitting the serious pursuit of
[Phaedr.] What name would you assign to them?
[Soc.] Wise, I may not call them; for that is a great name
which belongs to God alone,-lovers of wisdom or philosophers is
their modest and befitting title.
[Phaedr.] Very suitable.
[Soc.] And he who cannot rise above his own compilations and
compositions, which he has been long patching, and piecing,
adding some and taking away some, may be justly called poet or
speech-maker or law-maker.
[Soc.] Now go and tell this to your companion.
[Phaedr.] But there is also a friend of yours who ought not to
[Soc.] Who is he?
[Phaedr.] Isocrates the fair:-What message will you send to
him, and how shall we describe him?
[Soc.] Isocrates is still young, Phaedrus; but I am willing to
hazard a prophecy concerning him.
[Phaedr.] What would you prophesy?
[Soc.] I think that he has a genius which soars above the
orations of Lysias, and that his character is cast in a finer
mould. My impression of him is that he will marvelously improve
as he grows older, and that all former rhetoricians will be as
children in comparison of him. And I believe that he will not be
satisfied with rhetoric, but that there is in him a divine
inspiration which will lead him to things higher still. For he
has an element of philosophy in his nature. This is the message
of the gods dwelling in this place, and which I will myself
deliver to Isocrates, who is my delight; and do you give the
other to Lysias, who is yours.
[Phaedr.] I will; and now as the heat is abated let us depart.
[Soc.] Should we not offer up a prayer first of all to the
[Phaedr.] By all means.
[Soc.] Beloved Pan, and all ye other gods who haunt this
place, give me beauty in the inward soul; and may the outward and
inward man be at one. May I reckon the wise to be the wealthy,
and may I have such a quantity of gold as a temperate man and he
only can bear and carry.-Anything more? The prayer, I think, is
enough for me.
[Phaedr.] Ask the same for me, for friends should have all
things in common.
[Soc.] Let us go.
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