« PreviousContinue »
methods, by the slow and secret arts of gain : his rational faculties and nobler passions will be subjected to his desire of acquisition, and he will admire and emulate others only in proportion as they possess the great object of his wishes : his passion for wealth will keep down and suppress in him the love of pleasure and of extravagance, which yet, for want of philosophy and of a right education, will continue alive in his heart and exert itself, when he can find an opportunity to satisfy it by some secret injustice at the expense of others.
P. 555. The source of a democracy: namely, when the meaner sort, increasing with a number of men of spirit and abilities, reduced to poverty by extravagance and by the love of pleasure, begin to feel their own strength, and compare themselves to the few wealthy persons who compose the government, whose body and
P. 553. Xaual ev@ev.] An allusion to those statues or basreliefs, where some king, or conqueror, is represented with captive nations in chains sitting at his feet; as in that erected to the honour of Justinian in the Hippodrome at Constantinople. See Antholog. L. 4. Tit. 4. Epigr. 2.
Ib. Trapas te.] The usual dress of the king and nobility of Persia. So Cyrus (in Xenoph. Anab. p. 147.) presents to Syennesis king of Cilicia, ιππον χρυσοχαλινον, και στρεπτον χρυσούν, και ψελλια, και ακινακης χρυσούν, και στολην Περσικην, δωρα α νομιζεται παρα βασιλευσι τιμια. . The tiara was a cap, like the Phrygian bonnet (Herodot. Polymn. C. 61.) common to all the Medes and Persians; the royal family (Xenoph. Cyropæd. L. 8. p. 127.) alone wore a sash or diadem wreathed round it, which formed a sort of turband; the king himself was distinguished by the top or point of his tiara which was upright, whereas all others had it bending down.
mind are weakened by their application to nothing but to the sordid arts of lucre. The change of the constitution. The way to the magistracy laid open to all, and decided by balloting. A lively picture of the Athenian commonwealth.
P. 558. The distinction between our necessary and unnecessary desires, is stated; when the latter prevail over the former by indulgence, and by keeping bad company, they form a democratick mind. The description of such a soul, when years have somewhat allayed the tumult and violence of its passions; it is the sport of humour and of caprice, inconstant in any pursuit, and incapable of any resolution.
P. 562. When liberty degenerates into extreme license and anarchy, the democracy begins to tend towards tyranny. The picture of the Athenian government and manners is continued with great force and severity : where youth assumes the authority and decisiveness of age, and age mimicks the gaiety and pleasures of youth; where women and slaves are upon the same footing with their husbands and masters; and where even the dogs and horses march directly onwards, and refuse to give way to a citizen.
The common mutation of things from one extreme to another.
Ρ. 563. Οι εωνημενοι.] Των δουλων δ' αυ και των μετοικων πλειστη εστιν Αθηνησιν ακολασια, και ουτε παταξαι εξεστιν αυτοθι, ουτε ÚTEKOTNOETAL 001 ó dolllos. (Xenoph. Athen. Respubl. p. 403.)
565. Ως αληθως ολιγαρχικοι.] Εστι δε παση γη το βελτιστον EVAVTLOV TV Onuospatia. Xenoph. ut supra.
Ib. Alos Tou Aukalov.] Pausanias speaks of this mysterious solemnity performed on the most ancient altar in Greece.
P. 564. The division of those who bear sway in a democracy into three kinds : 1. the busy, bold, and active poor, who are ready to undertake and execute any thing; 2. the idle and insignificant poor, who follow the former, and serve to make a number and a noise in the popular assemblies; and 3. the middling sort who earn their bread by their labour, and have naturally little inclination to publick affairs, nor are easily brought together, but when allured by the hopes of some gain, yet, when collected, are the strongest party of all. The conversion of a demagogue into a tyrant, from necessity and from fear, the steps which he takes to attain the supreme power, the policy of tyrants, and the misery of their condition, are excellently described.
P. 568. The accusation of the tragick poets, as inspiring a love of tyranny, and patronized by tyrants ; they are encouraged also in democracies, and are little esteemed in better governments.
P. 566. Tov K polow.] See Herodotus, L. 1. c. 55.
567. Ews av urte piawv.] Compare this description with the Hiero of Xenophon ; it is, in almost every step, a picture of the politicks and way of life of the elder Dionysius.
568. OUK etos Ý te Tpaywdia.] This is spoken ironically. Ib. Eopol Tupavvou.] A line from the Antigone of Euripides.
569. Meyas meya.woti.] Alluding to Homer, Odyss. 8. v. 40. speaking of Achilles :
Συ δε στροφαλιγγι κονιης
HEADS OF THE NINTH DIALOGUE.
P. 571. The worst and most lawless of our unnecessary desires are described, which are particularly active in sleep, when we go to our repose after drinking freely, or eating a full meal.
P. 572. The transition of the mind from a democratick to a tyrannical constitution. Debauchery and (what is called) love are the great instruments of this change. Lust and drunkenness, names for two different sorts of madness, between them produce a tyrant.
P. 573. Our desires from indulgence grow stronger and more numerous. Extravagance naturally leads to want, which will be supplied either by fraud or by violence.
P. 575. In states, in which there are but a few persons of this turn, and the body of the people are uncorrupted,
NOTES ON THE GREEK TEXT. P. 571. TyleLwS TIS exn.] Cicero cites and translates this whole passage, De Divinatione, L. 1. c. 30. these notions seem borrowed from the Pythagoreans.
575. Mntpis.] A Cretan expression, meaning the country of one's mother.
they usually leave their own country, and enter into the guards of some foreign prince, or serve him in his wars : or, if they have not this opportunity, they stay at home and turn informers, false evidences, highway. men, and housebreakers, cut-purses, and such characters; but, if they are numerous and strong, they form a party against the laws and liberties of the people, set at their head commonly the worst among them, and erect a despotick government.
The behaviour of a tyrannical nature in private life; unacquainted with friendship, always domineering over, or servilely flattering, his companions.
P. 577. The comparison between a state enslaved, and the mind of a tyrant. The servitude, the poverty, the fears, and the anguish of such a mind are described ; and it is proved to be the most miserable of human creatures.
P. 579. The condition of any private man of fortune, who has fifty or more slaves. Such a man with his effects, wife and family, supposed to be separated from the state and his fellow-citizens (in which his security consists), and placed in a desert country at
P. 577. 'Os av durntai in diavolą.] Plato himself is doubtless the person ; and qualified for the office by his intimate acquaintance with the younger Dionysius.
578. 'Os av tupavvikos wv.] Have a care of inserting any negative particle here, as H. Stephanus would do, which would totally destroy the sense. Plato's meaning is, that a tyrannical mind, when it has attained to the height of power, must make its possessor worse, and consequently more miserable, than while he remained in a private condition.