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HEADS OF THE TENTH DIALOGUE.
P. 595. Plato's apology for himself. His reasons for banishing all imitative 1 poetry from his republick: 1. because it represents things not as they really are, but as they appear; 2. the wisdom of the poets is not equal to their reputation; 3. there is no example of a state having been better regulated, or of a war better conducted, or of an art improved, by any poet's instructions; and 4. there is no plan of education laid down, no sect, nor school founded, even by Homer and the most considerable of the poets, as by the philosophers. 1 V. L. 3. p. 392.
NOTES ON THE GREEK TEXT.
P. 595. Plato professes a great admiration, even from a child, for Homer, but yet is forced to exclude him from his commonwealth, ου γαρ προ γε της αληθείας τιμητέος ανηρ. The Greeks had carried their admiration for Homer to a high pitch of enthusiasm in Plato's time: it was he (they said) who first had formed Greece to knowledge and humanity; (weπaidevкe Tη 'EXλada, p. 606.) and that in him were contained all the arts, all morality, politicks, and divinity. p. 578.
599. Χαρωνδαν μεν.] Charondas was of Catana in Sicily, and gave his laws to that city, and to others of Chalcidick foundation in the island, and also to Rhegium in Italy; (see Bentley on Phalaris, p. 364, &c.) these laws were calculated for an aristocracy.
P. 602. Their art concurs with the senses to deceive us and to draw off the mind from right reason, it excites and increases the empire of the passions, enervates our resolution, and seduces us by the power of ill example.
P. 604. The passions and vices are easy to imitate by reason of their variety; but the cool, uniform, and simple character of virtue is very difficult to draw, so
P. 600. Els Texvas.] Thales is said to have discovered the annual course of the sun in the ecliptick, and to have made several improvements in astronomy and geometry. To Anacharsis is ascribed the invention of anchors, and of the potter's wheel. See Diog. Laertius.
Ib. IIv@ayopeιov.] The Pythagorean sect was in high repute in Plato's time, while Archytas, Philolaus, Lysis, Echecrates, and others, supported it; but it seems to have declined soon after, for Aristoxenus mentions these latter, whom he remembered, as the last of any note. Vid. Diog. Laert. L. 8. sect. 46.-Aristoxenus flourished about thirty years after Plato's death.
Ib. Tov ovoμaтos.] The name signifies a lover of flesh-meat: but Callimachus (Epig. 6.) and Strabo (L. 14.) and Eustathius (ad Hom. Il. B. p. 250.) write it Creophylus. He was a Samian, who entertained Homer at his house; and wrote a poem, called Οιχαλίας άλωσις, which some attributed to Homer himself.
607. 'H λaкepuša, &c.] Fragments of poets against philosophy. 608. Εμβλέψας μοι και θαυμασας ειπε, Μα Δι' ουκ εγωγε.] Is it possible that the immortality of the soul should be a doctrine so unusual, and so little known at Athens, as to cause this surprise in Glauco?-In the Phædo too, Cebes treats this point in the same manner: Τα δε περι της ψυχης πολλην απιστίαν παρέχει τοις ανθρωποις, μη, επειδαν απαλλαγῃ του σωματος, ουδαμου ετι n' &c. Ουκ ολιγης παραμυθιας δειται και πιστεως, ώς εστι ψυχη αποθανοντος του ανθρωπου, και τινα δυναμιν έχει και φρονησιν. p. 70.
as to touch or delight a theatre, or any other mixed assembly of men.
P. 607. The power of numbers and of expression over the soul is great, which renders poetry more particularly dangerous.
P. 608. Having shewn that virtue is most eligible on its own account, even when destitute of all external rewards, he now comes to explain the happiness which
Ρ. 611. Ωσπερ οἱ τον θαλαττιον Γλαυκον ὁρωντες.] He speaks as if this divinity were sometimes actually visible to seafaring men, all covered with sea-weed and shells.
Ib. Пavтi μaλov Onpiw.] And so he is described by Ovid, who says of Scylla,
Tuta loco, monstrumne, deusne,
Ille sit, ignorans, admiraturque colorem,
Cæsariemque humeros subjectaque terga tegentem,
And he tells her;
Metam. L. 13. v. 913.
Non ego prodigium, non sum fera bellua, Virgo,
613. Аπо тWν катw.] end of the stadium: Ta back again.
From the place of starting at the lower avw, the upper end, whence they ran
Ib. Tа wrα eπι тWV wμwv.] A metaphor, taken from horses, and other animals, which let their ears drop, when they are tired, and over-driven.
614. The story of Er, the Pamphylian, who, when he had lain twelve days dead in appearance on the field of battle, and was placed on the funeral pile, came to life again, and related all he had seen in the other world. The judgment of souls, their progress of a thousand years through the regions of bliss or of misery, the eternal punishment of tyrants, and of others guilty of enormous crimes, in Tartarus, the spindle of Necessity, which turns the eight spheres, and the employment of her
waits upon it in another life, as well as in the present. The immortality of the soul and a state of future rewards and of future punishments are asserted.
three daughters, the Fates, are all described, with the allotment and choice of lives (either in human bodies, or in those of brute animals) permitted to those spirits, who are again to appear on earth; as of Orpheus who chooses that of a swan, Ajax of a lion, Thersites of a monkey, Ulysses that of an obscure private man, &c. their passage over the river Lethe is also mentioned. The whole fable is finely written.
Milton alludes to the spindle of Necessity in his entertainment called the Arcades. Virgil has also imitated many parts of the fable in his sixth Æneid, and Tully in the Somnium Scipionis. See Macrob. L. 1. c. 1.
P. 614. Tov Apμeviov.] It appears from Plutarch that the right reading is 'Apμoviov, the son of Harmonius. Plut. Sympos. L. 9. Probl. 7.
616. Ηλακατην τε και το αγκιστρον. ] Vid. P. Bellonium Lat. Reddit. a C. Clusio, L. 1. c. 46. where he describes the Greek manner of spinning, which seems to be the same exactly that it was of old. "Attractilis herba (quæ ex usu nomen habet) fusi vicem illis præbet; ejus enim caulis rectus est et lævis, tanquam arte expolitus esset. In ejus penuriâ bacillo minimi digiti crassitiem non æquante, æqualis ubique crassitudinis, utuntur, cui ferrum hamuli piscatorii modo efformatum infigunt, ut filum comprehendat, e quo fusus dependeat. Verticillum (opovduλos) solummodo excogitatum est, ad fila commodius ducenda, atque ut fuso pondus addat; dimidiato pyro in binas partes per medium secto simile est, per medium perforatum est: hoc superiori fusi parti infigunt, inferiore fusi parte deorsum propendente."
621. Περιαγειρομενοι.] Read, Περιαγομενοι.
THE END OF THE TENTH AND LAST BOOK.
Plat. Op. Serrani, Vol. 2. p. 624.
THE persons of the dialogue are Clinias, a Cretan of Gnossus, and two strangers, who are his guests, the one a Lacedæmonian, called Megillus, the other an Athenian, who is not named, but who appears by the character and sentiments, to be Plato himself. (See Diog. Laert. L. 3. sect. 52.)
They are, all three, men far advanced in years, and as they walk or repose themselves in the fields under the shade of ancient cypress trees, which grew to a
1 As Cicero had taken Plato for his model in his books de Republicâ, so he had also in those De Legibus. "Visne igitur, ut ille Crete cum Cliniâ et cum Lacedæmonio Megillo æstivo, quemadmodum describit, die in cupressetis Cnossiorum et spatiis sylvestribus crebrò insistens, interdum acquiescens, de institutis rerum publicarum et de optumis Legibus disputat: sic nos inter has procerissimas populos in viridi opacâque ripâ inambulantes, tum autem residentes, quæramus iisdem de rebus aliquid uberius quam forensis usus desiderat." L. 1. c. 5. (N. B. The Gnossians put the cypress tree, which was a principal ornament of their country, on the reverse of their silver coins. See Fulv. Ursinus.) Tully also confines his discourse to the length of a summer's day, in imitation of Plato. See De Legib. L. 2. c. 27. V. Platon. de Legib. L. 3. p. 653. and L. 4. p. 722.