« PreviousContinue »
They, who had best
directed to the ends of virtue. succeeded in them before his time, owed (as he thought) their success rather to a lucky hit, to some gleam 1 of truth, as it were providentially, breaking in upon their minds, than to those fixed and unerring 2 principles which are not to be erased from a soul, which has once
1 Such as Plato calls Ορθη Δοξα,—Αληθης Δοξα. (This is explained in the Meno, p. 97.) or in the language of irony, Θεία Δύναμις, θεῖα μοιρα, κατακωχη. (Ibid. p. 99.) and De Legib. L. 3. p. 682.
2 Το which he gives the name of Φρόνησις, Επιστημη, ου δραπετεύουσα, αλλα δεδεμενη αιτιας λογισμω διαφερει γαρ δεσμω επιστημη ορθης δοξης (Meno, ubi supra) and on this only he bestows the name of Texvn. (Vid. Gorgiam, and in Sophista,
p. 253.) Η των ελευθερων επιστημη, and p. 267. ἱστορικη μιμησις, opposed to ή Δοξομιμητικη. Vid. et Symposium, p. 202. De Republ. L. 5. p. 477. and L. 7. p. 534.
P. 533. The verses of Euripides are in his Oeneus, a drama now lost;
Γνωμας σκοπησας, ώστε Μαγνητις λιθος,
Την δοξαν έλκει και μεθίστησιν παλιν·
he gave it the name probably from the city of Magnesia ad Sipylum, where it was found. It is remarkable, that Mr. Chishull tells us, as they were ascending the castle-hill of this city, a compass, which they carried with them, pointed to different quarters, as it happened to be placed on different stones, and that at last it entirely lost its virtue; which shews that hill to be a mine of loadstone. Its power of attracting iron and of communicating its virtue to that iron, we see, was a thing wellknown at that time, yet they suspected nothing of its polar qualities.
534. AρUTTOVтaι.] Vid. Phædrum, p. 253, and Euripides in Bacchis, v. 142. and 703.
been thoroughly convinced of them.
Their conduct therefore in their actions, and in their productions, has been wavering between good and evil, and unable to reach perfection. The inferiour tribe have caught something of their fire, merely by imitation, and form their judgments, not from any real skill they have in these
P. 534. Oi Пointai.] Such expressions are frequent in Pindar : he calls his own poetry, Νεκταρ χυτον, Μοισᾶν δοσιν, γλυκυν καρπον φρενος, and he says of himself, Εξαιρετον Χαριτων νεμομαι кâπоν, (Olymр. Od. 9) and Meλɩti evavoра πоλiv ẞpexw. (Olymp. 10.) &c. &c.
Ib. 'O de eyкwma.] Of this kind are all the odes remaining to us of Pindar, as the expressions in Olymp. Od. 4, Od. 8, 10, and 13, and in many other places, clearly shew.
Ib. 'Tπopxnμaтa.] Pindar was famous for this kind of compositions, though we have lost them, as well as his dithyrambicks. Xenodemus also, Bacchylides, and Pratinas the Phliasian, excelled in them; Athenæus has preserved a fine fragment of this last poet. L. 14, p. 617. These compositions were full of description, and were sung by a chorus who danced at the same time, and represented the words by their movements and gestures. Tynnichus of Chalcis, whose paan was famous, and indeed the only good thing he ever wrote.
535. ET TOν ovdov.] See Hom. Odyss. X. v. 2. Αλτο δ' επι μεγαν ουδον, &c.
Ib. АTо тоν ẞnuaтos.] The Rhapsodi, we find, were mounted on a sort of suggestum, with a crown of gold (See p. 530. and 541. of this dialogue) on their heads, and dressed in robes of various colours, and after their performance was finished, a collection seems to have been made for them among the audience.
536. 'O KоρußaνTI@VTES.] This was a peculiar phrenzy supposed to be inspired by some divinity, and attended with violent motions and efforts of the body, like those of the Corybantes attendant on Cybele: (Strabo, L. 10. p. 473.) they believed that they heard the sound of loud musick continually in their
arts, but merely from (what La Bruyere calls) a gout de comparaison. The general applause of men has pointed out to them what is finest; and to that, as to a principle, they refer their taste, without knowing or inquiring in what its excellence consists. Each Muse 1 (says Plato in this dialogue) inspires and holds sus
1 Ο δε θεός δια παντων τούτων έλκει την ψυχην, όποι αν βουληται, των ανθρωπων, ανακρεμαννυς εξ αλληλων την δυναμιν· και ώσπερ εκ της λιθου (της Ηρακλείας) όρμαθος παμπολυς εξηρτηται χορευτώντε, και διδασκαλων, και ὑποδιδασκαλων εκ πλαγιου εξηρτημενων, των της Μουσης εκκρεμαμενων δακτυλιων. p. 536.
ears, and seem, from this passage, to have been peculiarly sensible to some certain airs, when really played, as it is reported of those who are bitten by the tarantula. As these airs were pieces of musick usually in honour of some deities, the ancients judged thence by what deity these demoniacks were possessed, whether it were by Ceres, Bacchus, the Nymphs, or by Cybele, &c. who were looked upon as the causes of madness.
P. 541. 'H yap ημетeρа πоλis.] The time therefore of this dialogue must be earlier than the revolt of the Ionian cities, which happened Ol. 91. 4, and it appears from what Ion says in the beginning, that it must be later than Ol. 89. 3, since before that year the communication between Epidaurus and Athens was cut off by the war. Apollodorus of Cyzicus, Phanosthenes of Andrus, and Heraclides of Clazomena were elected by the Athenians into the Erparniai, and other magistracies, though they were not citizens. See Athenæus, L. 11. p. 506. It is plain that Athenæus saw the irony of this dialogue, for, if it be literally taken, there is nothing like abuse in it either on poets or on statesmen.
542. Θειον ειναι και μη τεχνικον.] Hence we see the meaning of Socrates, when he so frequently bestows the epithet of Occos on the sophists and poets, &c. &c. See also Plato's Meno, p. 99, which is the best comment on the Io which can be read.
pended her favourite poet in immediate contact, as the magnet does a link of iron, and from him (through whom the attractive virtue passes and is continued to the rest) hangs a long chain of actors, and singers, and criticks, and interpeters1 of interpreters.
1 Ερμηνεων ἑρμηνεῖς. p. 535.
Ol. 95. 1.
Platon. Op. Serrani, Vol. 1. p. 142.
TERPSION meeting Euclides at Megara, and inquiring where he has been, is informed that he has been accompanying Theætetus, who is lately come on shore from Corinth, in a weak and almost dying condition upon his return to Athens. This reminds them of the high opinion which Socrates had entertained of that young man, who was presented to him (not long before his death) by Theodorus1 of Cyrene, the geometrician. The conversation, which then passed between them, was taken down in writing by Euclides who, at the request of Terpsion, orders his servant to read it to them.
The Abbé Sallier (Mém. de l'Academie des Inscriptions, V. 13, p. 317.) has given an elegant translation of the most shining part of this 2 dialogue; and also in vol. 16. p. 70. of the Mém. de l'Acad. des Inscript. he
1 Theodorus was celebrated also for his skill in arithmetick, astronomy, and musick. (p. 145.) He had been a friend of Protagoras, who was dead about ten years before the time of this dialogue, and had left his writings in the hands of Callias, the son of Hipponicus.
2 P. 172 of this dialogue. See also Gorgias, p. 484.