Lysis or friendship by Plato. - HTML preview

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“Lysis, or Friendship” - Plato Whereupon he blushed more and more.

commonly called by his own name; but, although Ctesippus said: I like to see you blushing, you do not know his name, I am sure that you must Hippothales, and hesitating to tell Socrates the know his face, for that is quite enough to distin-name; when, if he were with you but for a very short guish him.

time, you would have plagued him to death by talk-But tell me whose son he is, I said.

ing about nothing else. Indeed, Socrates, he has lit-He is the eldest son of Democrates, of the deme erally deafened us, and stopped our ears with the of Aexone.

praises of Lysis; and if he is a little intoxicated, there Ah, Hippothales, I said; what a noble and really is every likelihood that we may have our sleep mur-perfect love you have found! I wish that you would dered with a cry of Lysis. His performances in prose favour me with the exhibition which you have been are bad enough, but nothing at all in comparison making to the rest of the company, and then I shall with his verse; and when he drenches us with his be able to judge whether you know what a lover poems and other compositions, it is really too bad; ought to say about his love, either to the youth and worse still is his manner of singing them to his himself, or to others.

love; he has a voice which is truly appalling, and we Nay, Socrates, he said; you surely do not attach cannot help hearing him: and now having a ques-any importance to what he is saying.

tion put to him by you, behold he is blushing.

Do you mean, I said, that you disown the love of Who is Lysis? I said: I suppose that he must be the person whom he says that you love?

young; for the name does not recall any one to me.

No; but I deny that I make verses or address com-Why, he said, his father being a very well-known positions to him.

man, he retains his patronymic, and is not as yet He is not in his right mind, said Ctesippus; he is 14

“Lysis, or Friendship” - Plato talking nonsense, and is stark mad.

poses and repeats. And there is greater twaddle still.

O Hippothales, I said, if you have ever made any Only the day before yesterday he made a poem in verses or songs in honour of your favourite, I do which he described the entertainment of Heracles, not want to hear them; but I want to know the who was a connexion of the family, setting forth purport of them, that I may be able to judge of how in virtue of this relationship he was hospitably your mode of approaching your fair one.

received by an ancestor of Lysis; this ancestor was Ctesippus will be able to tell you, he said; for if, himself begotten of Zeus by the daughter of the as he avers, the sound of my words is always din-founder of the deme. And these are the sort of old ning in his ears, he must have a very accurate knowl-wives’ tales which he sings and recites to us, and we edge and recollection of them.

are obliged to listen to him.

Yes, indeed, said Ctesippus; I know only too well; When I heard this, I said: O ridiculous and very ridiculous the tale is: for although he is a Hippothales! how can you be making and singing lover, and very devotedly in love, he has nothing hymns in honour of yourself before you have won?

particular to talk about to his beloved which a child But my songs and verses, he said, are not in honour might not say. Now is not that ridiculous? He can of myself, Socrates.

only speak of the wealth of Democrates, which the You think not? I said.

whole city celebrates, and grandfather Lysis, and Nay, but what do you think? he replied.

the other ancestors of the youth, and their stud of Most assuredly, I said, those songs are all in your horses, and their victory at the Pythian games, and own honour; for if you win your beautiful love, your at the Isthmus, and at Nemea with four horses and discourses and songs will be a glory to you, and single horses—these are the tales which he com-may be truly regarded as hymns of praise composed 15

“Lysis, or Friendship” - Plato in honour of you who have conquered and won such Yes.

a love; but if he slips away from you, the more you And now reflect, Hippothales, and see whether have praised him, the more ridiculous you will look you are not guilty of all these errors in writing po-at having lost this fairest and best of blessings; and etry. For I can hardly suppose that you will affirm a therefore the wise lover does not praise his beloved man to be a good poet who injures himself by his until he has won him, because he is afraid of acci-poetry.

dents. There is also another danger; the fair, when Assuredly not, he said; such a poet would be a any one praises or magnifies them, are filled with fool. And this is the reason why I take you into my the spirit of pride and vain-glory. Do you not agree counsels, Socrates, and I shall be glad of any fur-with me?

ther advice which you may have to offer. Will you Yes, he said.

tell me by what words or actions I may become And the more vain-glorious they are, the more endeared to my love?

difficult is the capture of them?

That is not easy to determine, I said; but if you I believe you.

will bring your love to me, and will let me talk with What should you say of a hunter who frightened him, I may perhaps be able to show you how to away his prey, and made the capture of the animals converse with him, instead of singing and reciting which he is hunting more difficult?

in the fashion of which you are accused.

He would be a bad hunter, undoubtedly.

There will be no difficulty in bringing him, he Yes; and if, instead of soothing them, he were to replied; if you will only go with Ctesippus into the infuriate them with words and songs, that would Palaestra, and sit down and talk, I believe that he show a great want of wit: do you not agree.

will come of his own accord; for he is fond of listen-16

“Lysis, or Friendship” - Plato ing, Socrates. And as this is the festival of the opposite side of the room, where, finding a quiet Hermaea, the young men and boys are all together, place, we sat down; and then we began to talk. This and there is no separation between them. He will attracted Lysis, who was constantly turning round be sure to come: but if he does not, Ctesippus with to look at us—he was evidently wanting to come to whom he is familiar, and whose relation Menexenus us. For a time he hesitated and had not the courage is his great friend, shall call him.

to come alone; but first of all, his friend Menexenus, That will be the way, I said. Thereupon I led leaving his play, entered the Palaestra from the court, Ctesippus into the Palaestra, and the rest followed.

and when he saw Ctesippus and myself, was going Upon entering we found that the boys had just to take a seat by us; and then Lysis, seeing him, been sacrificing; and this part of the festival was followed, and sat down by his side; and the other nearly at an end. They were all in their white array, boys joined. I should observe that Hippothales, and games at dice were going on among them. Most when he saw the crowd, got behind them, where he of them were in the outer court amusing themselves; thought that he would be out of sight of Lysis, lest but some were in a corner of the Apodyterium play-he should anger him; and there he stood and lis-ing at odd and even with a number of dice, which tened.

they took out of little wicker baskets. There was I turned to Menexenus, and said: Son of also a circle of lookers-on; among them was Lysis.

Demophon, which of you two youths is the elder?

He was standing with the other boys and youths, That is a matter of dispute between us, he said.

having a crown upon his head, like a fair vision, And which is the nobler? Is that also a matter of and not less worthy of praise for his goodness than dispute?

for his beauty. We left them, and went over to the Yes, certainly.