︎ Prev          Current Issue          Next ︎

Eric Bayless-Hall

A Translation Followed by a Retelling of the Myth of the Soul in Plato’s Phaedrus

[Translation begins: 242c]

Socrates: My good Phaedrus, as I was about to cross the river just now a god and his accustomed sign came to me—as I’m often held when about to act—and some sound I seemed to hear, which moves me now to go back until I am forgiven. For I have done something wrong by the gods. I am in this wise a prophet, but think me not good, but just as crude as the words I find it fit to speak. I know clearly then, by this sign, I’ve done wrong, because—and know this, my companion—the soul is a prophetic thing. For something disturbed me, even before delivering my speech, and I felt shame, lest, in the words of Ibycus,

Bringing harm to gods I turn for the honor of men.

I see now my mistake.

Phaedrus: What are you saying?

Socrates: Fearful, O Phaedrus! fearful was the speech I just spoke, as was my carrying it and being forced to speak it.

Phaedrus: How do you mean?

Socrates: It was too simple and impious. And what could be more fearful?

Phaedrus: Nothing, if what you say is true.

Socrates: How could it not be? Don’t you believe Eros to be the son of Aphrodite and thus one of the gods?

Phaedrus: As you say, indeed!

Socrates: Not according to Lysias, nor to your speech, which through my lips was spoken when I was under your spell.  But if it is, as we said, some god or divinity, love can in no way be bad; but both of these speeches spoke as though it were. They’ve thus done wrong by Eros. They were both simple-minded, though charming; saying nothing sound, nor exalting truth as truth should be exalted, rather trying to deceive some humans and to be held in high esteem by them. I must thus be purified, my friend... There was once a cleansing rite for those who erred, long ago, which Homer didn’t see, but Stesichorus did. Robbed of his eyes because he slandered Helen, he did not fail, as Homer had, to know the cause. Being a votary of the muses, he knew the cause and straightaway composed the follow lines:

This account is not genuine,
Nor did you set sail on the well-benched ships,
Nor did you reach Troy’s high citadel.

And composing this, which he called his Palinode, he immediately regained his sight. I will become wiser than both of these men—in this way only: before I suffer something for my slander of Eros, I will attempt to give him the Palinode he is due, and with a naked head, not as before when for shame I covered it.

Phaedrus: Nothing, Socrates, would be more pleasing to me than for you to do what you say.

Socrates: For in fact, good Phaedrus, you know both speeches were spoken shamelessly, mine and the one from Lysias’ book. If some noble and gentle person should happen to have heard us speaking of the lover and the beloved, how on account of small things lovers take great offense and that they harm and enfeeble their beloveds—don’t you think he would believe he was listening to men raised among sailors, who had never seen free love? He could not agree with our censure of Eros.

Phaedrus: Certainly, by Zeus, Socrates!

Socrates: Fearing this, and fearing also Eros himself, I desire by the clear words of this river to wash away the briny words first heard. And my advice to Lysias is swiftly to write that one must oblige the lover more than the non-lover for the same reasons.

Phaedrus: You know well that he will do this. For if you speak and praise the lover, Lysias will be positively forced by me to write again on this topic.

Socrates: This I trust, until you are not who you are.

Phaedrus: Now speak, taking courage.

Socrates: Where is the boy I was speaking to, so he may hear this and not go obliging non-lovers before having heard me out?

Phaedrus: He is at your side, always near, whenever you need him.

Socrates: Know now this, beautiful child, that first speech was from Phaedrus, son of Puthokles, from the deme of Murrhinous in Athens, but that which I’m about to say belongs to Stesichorus, son of Euphemos, from Himera. This must be said: it is untrue, the speech which says one must oblige the non-lover more than the lover on account of his constancy and soundness of mind. If it were utterly evil to be mad, that speech would have been spoken well, but, as it is, the greatest goods come to us on account of madness, by divine charity, being given. The prophetess at Delphi and the priestesses at Dodonna, when they’re mad, do many beautiful things for Greece, in private and public matters, but when they are of sound mind, the work they do is little or nil. And if we speak of the Sibyl and the others who, enthused and prophetic, see much in experience to foretell for many and set many on the straight path—speaking to each of these, we would dwell too long on clear matters.

        But this it is worthy to witness: those of the ancients who instated our language believed madness neither shameful nor a matter for disgrace. For they would not have interwoven the word for madness (mania) with that of the most beautiful of arts, by which one judges the future (the manic art). But knowing how beautiful madness is when the divine plays a part, they gave it this name, while men today, not knowing the experience of beauty, throw in a “τ” and call it mantic, the prophetic art. And when men in their right minds looked for the future in the actions of birds and other signs, the ancients called this the oionoistic art, since from thought (dianoia) it uses mind (nous) and inquiry (historia) with human intelligence (oiesis). But now the young exalt the “ο” into an “ω” and call it the oionistic art, the art of omens. To as many as “mantic” is more complete and honorable than “oionistic,” both in name and deed, to so many do the ancients testify that beautiful madness is more complete and honorable than soundness of mind, and that madness which comes from a god is more complete and honorable than that which arises from humans.

        Further, for the greatest sicknesses and suffering which for some families come from ancient wrath, there is a madness, inborn and prophetic, from which one may find release, fleeing for refuge from the gods into prayers and services to them, where a newfound health cleanses him, initiates him into sacred mysteries, and resolves his suffering hereafter, having discovered a release from evil by a good restraint and madness of another sort.

        The third type of possession and madness is that which comes from the muses: taking a tender and untrodden soul, waking and filling her with Bacchic frenzy toward songs and other arts, ordering the many deeds of ancients, it edifies posterity. Whosoever without the madness of the muses arrives at the door of poetry, convinced that craft alone will be sufficient, will remain unsatisfied and uninitiated; his poems vanish behind those of the enmaddened.

        Such are some of the beautiful works of madness sent from the gods—and there are more I could tell you. So let us not fear madness itself, nor let us be confused by a speech that tries to scare us into thinking that we should choose one in their right mind over one who is moved by madness as our friend. But let that argument hold sway when first it has been shown that love has not been sent from the gods to the lover and the beloved for their benefit. The case appears to us, again, as quite the opposite, that it is the greatest luck for madness to be given from the gods. This statement will be untrusted by the clever, but by the wise it can’t but be trusted.

        We must first of all consider the truth of the nature of the soul—in its divine and human forms—seeing her passions and works. The demonstration is as follows.

        The soul is wholly immortal, for what is eternally in motion is immortal. What moves other things and by others is moved, having an end to its movement, has an end to its life. Only that which moves itself, since it cannot leave itself, never leaves off being moved—also for other things, as many as are moved, it is the stream and source of motion.

        A beginning is unborn. For from a beginning all that is born must be born, but it itself comes from nothing. For if a beginning should come from something, it would not be a beginning at all. And since it is unborn, of necessity it will never decay. For should a beginning be destroyed, neither will it nor anything else from it be born (since everything from a beginning must come to be). Thus, a beginning of motion moves its own self and neither decays nor becomes, else all of heaven and everything that ever was born should fall still and never again be moved.

        But since what’s immortal reveals itself by moving itself, one may speak the nature and logic of the soul without shame: every body moved by an outside source is soulless, and a body moved from within itself is ensouled (since to move from within is the nature of soul). And if the soul is thus, and no other thing moves the soul itself, save the soul itself, the soul must be, of necessity, unborn and immortal.

        Concerning its immortality, that’s sufficient; but as to its form, more must be said. What its form is would take a god and long time to explain; but what it is like—this takes a human and a shorter time. Let us then speak to this.

        Let the soul resemble the innate power of winged horses and a charioteer. The horses and charioteers of the gods are fully themselves and good and from good stock; those of other beings are mixed. The ruler of our soul holds the reins of two horses, and of his horses one is beautiful and good and of like stock, while the other is of an opposite stock and sort: difficult, therefore, and unsatisfying is the steering of our team.

        In what way an animal is called both mortal and immortal, we must endeavor to say.

        A soul manages all that is soulless, and traverses heaven, at different times appearing in different shapes. Being complete and winged she soars and makes the cosmos her home; but as she begins to lose her wings, she suffers, until she is thrown into something stiff, some earthly body, which she makes her heavy home. It seems to move itself, this earthly body, on account of her powers, and the two together, soul and body fastened together, we call an animal, and it derives from this mixture the name mortal. What is immortal is not of any calculable cause, nor can we see or conceive of a god adequately, so we fashion it as some immortal animal, having a soul and a body, and always and eternally having these by nature. But let these things be, and be said, however pleases the gods.

        Let us take up next the cause of the soul’s losing her wings, on account of which a soul falls. It is something like this.

        It is the potential of feathers by nature to lead heavy things upwards, to roam where the race of gods dwells—most of all bodily things the wing shares in the divine and is godly, beautiful, wise, good and everything of that sort. To these things the winged potential of the soul turns and by them it is strengthened; but by shame and evil and otherwise opposite things it pales and is destroyed.

        The great leader in heaven is Zeus, driving his winged chariot, ordering and taking charge of all, and with him one sees an army of gods and daemons, being ordered in eleven parts (for Hestia remains in the house of the gods alone). The rest of the gods, having been arranged in a group of twelve, march in their order. There are many blessed views and pathways through heaven, which the race of happy gods turns toward. Each turns to gaze upon these sights in a manner unique to each. Always wishing to turn and look, they are always able—for envy stands outside the chorus of the gods. And, in fact, when they go to feast, they march uphill to the summit of heaven’s arch, to which the equable and obedient steeds of the gods ascend with ease, while other souls climb with great difficulty. For heavy is the horse of bad stock, whose charioteer’s training is poor—so his team is weary and tends earthward. To such a soul comes strife and pain, but the souls we call immortal ascend to the summit, and once there, they stand upon the edge of heaven, they are lead around the periphery, and they gaze on things which lie beyond the heavens.

        About the place beyond the heavens no poet has yet sung; nor will any ever sing worthily of this subject. But we must endeavor to speak truth, else we speak only about true things. It is colorless, shapeless and untouchable, being that which really is, the place in which knowledge of truth is born, seen only by the soul’s helmsman, the mind.

        The intelligence of a god, and that of every soul willing to receive what is fitting, turning itself to reason and knowledge unmixed, sees Being through time and loves it, and seeing the truth, turns toward it and is contented, until, by the cycle of the periphery, it is carried again to the same place. There, on the periphery, she sees justice itself, moderation itself, and knowledge—not that by which the origin comes to us here, nor surely the knowledge which is different in different circumstances—not knowledge of what we call knowledge, but the knowledge which in all circumstances truly is. And the others who likewise see the Being which truly is and are received at the hearth of knowledge, they enter again into their houses within the heavens. Their charioteers put their horses in the manger, and give them ambrosia and nectar to drink.

        Such is the life of the gods. As to the other souls—the best sees the god, and likening herself to him, lifts the head of her charioteer into the outer edges of the heavens, and is carried around the periphery. In spite of an uproar on behalf of his horses, he sees those things which truly are. Others lift up and then fall back, restraining their horses. And, of these, some see, while others don’t. Those who wish to see will all try to follow upwards; and those who are unable, their horses pull one another down and buck each other off, each trying to get atop the other. There is thus uproar, competition and sweat as horses by bad training make one another lame, and tear to pieces every one of the soul’s feathers. They endure terrible suffering and unsatisfied leave the sight of Being; and leaving, must look to conjectural nourishment, not knowing what truly is. On account of this there is great zeal among human souls to learn the state of things on earth—the plains of what exists:—the winged nature, by which the soul is redeemed, defeated, turns to this.

        Now, the law of the Inevitable. Whatever soul becomes a companion of a god sees clearly the truth of what is; and so long as one walks behind a god, one is unharmed, and if always able to walk thus, one is thus always free from injury. A soul incapable of following does not see, and is by this misfortune filled with forgetfulness and deficiency, and, weighed down, sheds her feathers and falls to the earth. To such a soul the following law applies. In its first birth, a soul shall not be planted into an animal, but the soul that has seen the most of what is will be planted in the seed of someone who will become a lover of wisdom or of Beauty or of the muses or of Eros; the second best soul will be planted into the seed of a lawful king or military leader; third best, into that of a politician or a manager of a household or a businessman; the fourth best, into that of a lover of labor or a gymnast or a healer of bodies; the fifth best, into the seed of a prophet or of a mystic. The sixth best soul is that of a poet or someone concerned with imitation; the seventh, a craftsman or a farmer; the eighth, a sophist or a demagogue; and the ninth, a tyrant. Every soul who passes life justly shares in a better portion; and those who conduct themselves unjustly, a worse portion.

        To that place whence each soul comes she does not return for myriad years, for so long she hasn’t regained her wings, unless for three successive cycles one lives honestly the life of a lover of wisdom—or of one who loves a child and philosophy at once. If thrice one chooses this same life, in the three thousandth year she regains her wings and departs. The rest, when their first lives are finished, they are judged, and some are arraigned in the tribunal beneath the earth, while others, having lived worthily in this their human form, are lifted up by justice to the heavens. In the thousandth year, both arrive to a place of allotments and choose their next lives according to their wishes. A human soul may live next a life of a creature, or a soul from an animal may again become human, provided it was once human before, for a soul can never take this form which has never seen the truth. To grasp a reference to a form, gathering by reason many perceptions to a single idea, is essential to humans, for this is a reminiscence of those forms which our souls saw when walking with a god, raising our heads to gaze on what truly is and looking with contempt on what we now say exists. As is just, only the thinking of one who loves wisdom grows wings.

        By the faculty of memory is one’s thinking forever near those forms—the very forms whose nearness makes gods divine. A man who wields those remembrances deftly is continually initiated into the most sacred mysteries, and becomes alone truly complete. He forsakes human matters and grows nearer to the divine. He is thought disturbed by the many around him, while unbeknownst to them he is inspired.

        Every aspect of the fourth kind of madness has arrived: whenever someone struck with it sees Beauty, recalling the truth he once saw, his feathers bud and he grows new wings; desiring to fly, but being unable, he looks to the way of the birds, upward, heedless of the ground—there is cause to think him possessed by madness. This is the best of divine inspirations and from the best sources comes to one who has it and to one who shares in it, who are called lovers of beautiful people and beautiful things.

        As has been stated: every human soul by nature has seen those true things which are, though no animal has been there. To recall oneself there from these circumstances is easy for some, but not for those who saw briefly that place, nor for those souls to whom, since falling, fortune has been cruel—by communion of another sort, they direct themselves toward injustice, and forget those holy things which once they glimpsed. A few, however, are left who have memory enough, and whenever one sees something here resembling things there, she is no longer aware of herself and overwhelmed with love, a feeling of which she is ignorant, because not able to discern it sufficiently. The light of Justice, Moderation, and the other honorable things for the soul is not here in this realm of images, but by the use of dim organs, and with difficulty, a few, seeing these likenesses, behold the original. We saw Beauty itself when in that happy chorus we followed Zeus, as others followed other gods, and received those blessed visions and spectacles—then we saw and were initiated into mysteries which it is just to call the most blessed, which we honor for making us perfect and free from such evil as we’ve endured in the time since. To perfect, whole, and motionless appearances we were introduced and made overseers in this spotless sunlight. Then were we spotless, and freed from the tomb of that prison which now we carry with us and call a body.

        Let these words be pleasing to memory, through which we long for those forms glimpsed long ago, which now we’ve spoken of at length. Concerning Beauty, as we’ve said, there, among the gods, we saw it shining, but here we lay hold of it through our most material senses. For of the body’s senses, the sharpest visions come to us by sight, though thought is not seen by it. But oh! what wondrous loves it would furnish if thought or any of the soul’s true beloveds should be rendered to sight. But alas, of the forms, Beauty alone has this fate, to be superlatively manifest and lovely.

        One who has not recently seen, or whose memory has suffered, cannot swiftly be carried from this realm here toward Beauty. He sees only the name we give it here, and so doesn’t feel the awe of what he is really seeing, but surrendering to pleasure, he sets to walk and beget children in the custom of four legged animals, and associating with impudence, he has no fear and no shame in pursuing pleasures contrary to his nature. The newly initiated, however, who gazed deeply upon those forms, whenever he sees a godlike form or face which mimics Beauty well, first he feels a chill and some fear from that place yonder creep up inside him, then, seeing that its cause is a god, he is awed. And if he did not fear being thought exceedingly mad, he would sacrifice for the boy he is awed by as one gives offerings to a god. Seeing him he is changed and from the chills follows an unusual heat and sweat. For receiving this river of Beauty through his eyes, which waters the roots of his feathers, he is warmed, and by its warmth the crust around his feathers’ follicles, which long ago formed and barred their growth, melts away—and with this nourishment pouring in, the shaft of his feather swells and moves to sprout from the root throughout his entire figure, for the whole soul was at one point winged. The whole soul seethes in this state of things, and throbs with the pain of a teething child when a tooth erupts, scratching and irritating its gums—just this the soul suffers when it begins to grow back its wings: it boils over, being irritated and tickled by the burgeoning feather. Whenever he then looks upon the beauty of the child, and a portion of that yonder overcomes him (which on account of this is called longing), it is watered, his longing, and warmed, and when this happens, all pain in his body is relieved and he rejoices. But when he is separated from his beloved, and the stream of Beauty dries up, the openings for his feathers’ growth dry and close up and bar the feathers’ births—and as these close, inside, with one’s longing, the unborn feather throbs like pulsing arteries clawing for a way out; so the entire soul, being pricked and goaded all over, stings and suffers. But when again she views her memory of Beauty, then she again rejoices.

        From the mixing of both feelings, of the boy’s absence and the memory of his beauty, a sourceless anguish overcomes the soul, which rages, unable to be comprehended. Disturbed, she cannot sleep through the night, nor through the day sit still. Desirous, she runs wherever she thinks she might see the bearer of Beauty—and seeing him is bathed in that for which she longs and destroys whatever barrier there was left about her. She recovers her breath and stays the goading pains as again this sweetest pleasure of things existent is borne to her. She is thus unwilling to be left without the beautiful boy. For no one does it do more than for her—she forgets her mothers, brothers and all friends—she is indifferent to losing, and regards as nothing, the customs and primping by which, before now, she beautified her face—looking down upon all of these. She is willing to be a slave and to be lulled to sleep anywhere she is allowed, so long as she is near the object of her longing. For in addition to worshipping him, she finds him the only doctor for her greatest pains.

        This, my beautiful boy, is the feeling my speech concerns. Men name it love; but when you hear what the gods call it, you will probably laugh because of your youth. Some of the Homeridoi, I believe, speak on this matter in two of their poems of questionable origin—one is quite ridiculous and not exactly metrical. They sing:

Verily the mortals call him Winged Eros,
But immortals call him Winged, for he gives things feathers.

We may trust the authorship of these lines or we may not, but the cause and experiences of lovers are just like this.

        One who walked in the company of Zeus is able to carry the weight of his feathered member with dignity. Those who worship Ares and went after him, when they are captured by love and think some injustice has been done by their beloveds, they grow murderous, and are ready to sacrifice themselves and the children. And so on: each of us lives according to the god in whose chorus we walked, honoring and imitating them as we are able, as long as we remain uncorrupted and are in our first mortal life. In this godly way we commune with those we love and also with others. Thus, of the beautiful boys, each lover selects his beloved according to his character, and he sculpts and arranges him like a statue, so as to honor and worship him with orgiastic rites, as if that boy were a god in his eyes.

        The followers of Zeus seek some Zeus-like soul to be their beloved. They consider, therefore, if he is a lover of wisdom and a ready leader by nature, and when they discover such a one and fall in love, they contrive to make him in all ways that sort of person. But lovers who have not yet stepped into this role, taking it up, learn from any source they can and pursue it on their own. As they search within themselves to discover the nature of their gods, they prosper because of this need to look fiercely upon the god in the boy. And touching him with their memory they are possessed and take after him, in character and conduct, according to every potential furnished by god to man. Attributing the cause of these feelings to the beloved, they love him even more; and if they draw on Zeus, they will, just as the Bacchants, pour this energy into the soul of the beloved and, as they’re able, make him like unto their god.

        Again, those who followed Hera seek a kingly soul, and finding him do all the same things. And those of Apollo, and each of the other gods, likewise according to the god they saw they seek boyfriends who are of that nature. And when they have such a one, imitating the gods themselves, they persuade their boys and correct their behaviors according to the abilities of each, to lead them toward the conduct and form of that god. This is done without envy, ill-will or anything contrary to freedom for the boy, but in order to perfect his likeness to themselves and to the god they honor utterly—trying as best they can to lead, they act thus. The desire and purpose, therefore, if realized in the way stated, bring beauty and happiness to the beloved from his maddened friend, if, that is, the boy is captured. And the one who is captured is captured in this manner.

        Just as at the beginning of this speech we divided each soul into three parts, two horse-like forms and a third, charioteer form, let this still now hold. That of the horses one is good and one is not, we said, but what the excellence of the good one is and the evil of the bad one we have not discussed—let us now.

        The one stands with a more beautiful posture, a straight form, being well-jointed, carrying its neck high with a hooked nose, bright to see, black eyes, with love of honor and moderation and a sense of shame, a companion of true opinion, needing no whip, held only by the reins of reason and command. The other, again, is twisted, its parts jumbled together aimlessly, with a strong, short neck, snub-nosed, burnt skin, with grey, blood-shot eyes; it is insolent and a false friend, shaggy about the ears, dull, and heeds to the whip with trouble.

        This is why, when the charioteer beholds his beloved’s eyes, as a warmth touches his entire soul, as it fills with a tickling and prodding longing, the well-behaved of his horses restrains itself by a sense of shame from laying hold of his beloved; the other horse, however, turns about neither by the goad nor the whip of his master, but bounds and carries him ahead by force and brings about all kinds of trouble for his yoke-fellow and his pilot, driving them toward the boy and to recall the joys of sex. The two resist at first, for they feel they’re being forced to do things which are fearful and contrary to their laws; but eventually, when they see there to be no end to this evil, they walk as they’re led, give way, and agree to do as they’re commanded. They move toward the boy and behold the gleam of his image. And seeing this, the Charioteer’s memory is returned to the nature of Beauty—he sees again the path he once walked with moderation itself on that holy plateau. When it sees this, his memory becomes scared; filled with awe, it falls upon its back and is compelled to yank the reins to bring the horses to their haunches—the one does so willingly, for it does not resist; the other, unwilling, is made to sit by force. When they retreat from the boy, the one horse, by its shame and terror, has drenched the entire soul in sweat; the other, forgetting the pain which it suffered from the bridle and the fall, and regaining its breath in a fury, starts to abuse and curse the charioteer and its yoke-mate for their cowardliness and unmanliness, having left their station and broken their agreement. When they are forced against their wishes toward the boy, they plea to wait; but to this plea the wanton horse can only abide for so long. For when his patience is up, and the two pretend to have forgotten, it reminds them with its vehement neighing, and drags them again towards the boy for the same reasons as before. And when they are near, stooping to the ground, stretching out his tail, biting into the bit, it draws them forward without shame. Still more than before the charioteer suffers that same pain in response, and falls back just as one recoils from the starting gate, and forces back the bit in the wanton horse’s teeth, bloodying its jaw and its vicious tongue—he brings its legs and haunches to the earth in pain. Only when it has suffered many times this same fate will the grievous behavior of the wanton horse cease. Humbled, it then follows the charioteer’s plan, and whenever it sees the beautiful object, fear brings it to naught, so that at last it may, by shame and fear, agree with the rest of the lover’s soul, and follow the beloved.

        Since the boy is waited on by the lover as though he were equal to the gods and does not put on airs but truly feels his servitude, they boy is naturally a friend to his servant, even if before he had evaded him, being persuaded by his schoolmates and by others that it was shameful to go near, and because of this pushed back his lover. But as time passes, he is led by his age and necessity to admit the lover into his company, for it was never decreed by fate that evil should befriend evil nor that good should not befriend good. When the boy admits him, and welcomes his conversation and company, the lover’s kindness shocks him now as he notices that all of his other friends and relatives do not furnish a fraction of the friendship of this god-filled friend. And when they spend time together and come close to touching, in the gymnasium or in other recreations, there, immediately, many streams from that river of longing, which Zeus loving Ganymede started, flow to the lover, some filling him up, others overflowing and spilling out. As winds or sounds rebound off of smooth and hard surfaces and are carried again to the source of their motion, so the stream of beauty through the eyes is carried back to Beauty, to which it is the soul’s nature, wishing its return and spreading its wings, to go. It waters the passageways of the soul’s feathers and starts again their growth and fills in turn the soul of the beloved.

        The boy is thus in love—but he can’t quite say with what. He does not know what he feels, and is unable to explain it. But like one who has caught an eye-disease from another and is unable to say the cause, he does not realize that in his lover he sees himself as in a mirror.

        When that man is near, his pain ceases just as it does for the man; and when he is away, the boy longs and is longed for, since his love is a reflection and repayment of the love for him—and he calls it and thinks it, not love, but friendship. But he desires—much like the lover, though to a lesser degree—to see, to touch, to adore and to lie with him; and indeed, as is probable, he soon thereafter does these things. When the two lie together, the licentious horse of the lover says to its charioteer that it deserves some small enjoyment for its many labors. The comparable horse of the boy’s team is unable to say anything: swelling with passion and at a loss to stop, he throws himself upon the lover, treating him with great affection for being so kind. And when they do lie together, the boy is not prepared to deny any part of himself to the lover if the lover should want it. The horse’s yoke-mate and their charioteer, however, by a sense of shame and reason, resist.

        If the better parts of thinking, which lead to an ordered life of philosophy, are victorious, the lives of the lovers here will be blessed and harmonious—well ordered and in control, these will guide, enslaving that which produces evil in the soul and freeing that which allows for excellence. And when they die, having regained their wings and become buoyant, they have prevailed in the first of three bouts in these, the true Olympic games—and neither human moderation nor the divine madness sent to humans are greater than this good.

If, however, by a coarse and unphilosophical way of life, the lover acts in order to be honored, at some time when he’s drunk or otherwise negligent, the couple’s unbridled horses will draw their souls, unguarded, forward to the same thing—a choice and course of action many deem most blissful. And having done so once, they continue to do this thereafter, albeit rarely, since it does not appeal to their entire soul. These two lead their lives as friends, though not so much as the philosophical couple, both throughout their love and when they’ve passed beyond it, believing they have given and received the greatest pledges, which to leave or break for hatred would be unjust. But in death they are without wings, though their feathers start to grow as they walk out of their bodies, so they have carried off no small prize for their erotic madness. For it is the law that those already started down the path to the heavens shall not go back to the dark path beneath the earth, but shall lead a bright life in blessed journeys with one another. And from their love, when their feathers do grow, they shall grow together.

        These things, my boy, and divinities of this sort will be given you by the friendship of the lover. The relationship which does not follow from love, however, is mixed with mortal moderation—it deals in meager worldliness and bears unfreedom in a friend’s soul by seeking to be praised by the masses as virtuous when really it furnishes one with another nine thousand years to roam around the earth and under it, mindlessly.

        This Palinode, dear Eros—the most beautiful and best according to our power—is given to you as repayment for what was said before. If it was perforce spoken in poetical language, the cause is Phaedrus. Forgive what first was said if you are grateful of these words. Being well-disposed and gracious, do not take away the erotic art which you have given me, nor maim my natural impulses, but allow my art to be honored by these beautiful souls still more in the future than now.

[Translation ends: 257b]

Pais (descending from the plane tree): O Socrates, what a marvelous speech!

Socrates: He speaks! My dear boy, I’m glad you heard my recantation and didn’t take my first speech on the matter for the whole. There was much more to say.

Pais: Indeed, Socrates, and more I think might still be said!

Socrates: You sound as though you found my speech incomplete?

Pais: Hardly, Socrates! I think it was thoroughly beautiful; and unwise would he be who laughs at it for what it lacks or sets about disproving it—for proof is of another nature and suited to different matters than myth. And yours speaks to my inmost being: I see in it the inspiration of gods we both love. But it seems you are so wise in one respect that you’ve overlooked another, and naturally enough.

Socrates: And what respect is that?

Pais: You speak of the forms and of the gods as one who’s met them and who has already formed the image of the place to which we wish our return, and so your myth alike shares your bias. But as a student, I say, it is not so simple as you make it sound, to discover the true source and true object of one’s desires.

Socrates: Do you think I make it seem simple?

Pais: You anticipate, in a degree, my point by using phrases like “feelings of which she is ignorant because unable to comprehend” and “he does not know what he feels, and is unable to explain it”—but I feel there’s another spot to view this matter from, and I suspect by different beginnings we would arrive at other ends.

Socrates: Phaedrus, this young boy, with his eager hand gestures, has learned the secret to receiving my unperturbed attention! My darling boy, you have our ears. And don’t think about withholding the vision you taunt us with by running off as boys do, for we two are your elders, and forbid your absconsion before telling us what you know.

Pais: If I desired to flee, Socrates, know well that you would never catch me. But as it is, I want nothing more than to share this thought with you, as you’ve so generously shared yours with me, if for no other reason than to see it for myself.

Socrates: As my friend Phaedrus here would say, “then speak, taking courage.”

Pais: Very well. Now I see from the example set by the wise that it is possible to reach a calmer state than youth offers, and to not start at every impulse as children do. But I also see that still you move and live—that old Socrates, who the Oracle at Delphi called most wise among men, still walks within and without the city walls and engages in discourse anyone with reason or beauty—or both—to share. And would he do this if he wanted nothing? You have shown that the soul is immortal, and that it moves itself—but are we ready to say you’ve explained why it really moves? For it seems nothing moves for no reason—whether that reason lie behind or ahead of it; whether the reason be conscious or not. For surely the thing in motion needn’t be aware of its reason, as this river perhaps doesn’t think of whither it flows, but just as surely it does indeed flow there, and is, in some sense, wanting to be there. And men and women likewise move for need of one thing or another. Perfectly content, you would not stir—never would you awaken, or perhaps never sleep. So absurd is the thought to us of one who wants nothing that we would not call him or her alive at all. For even when one’s simplest and most basic wants are met, wants of another order can at that time be pursued: as the citizen—who is, in the first, a human (which is, after all, a type of animal)—must eat and sleep and fulfil wants of this sort if he is to go on to fulfil his purpose as a citizen and consider the matters of the Polis. The gods would have it that whenever one want is satsfied or ignored another is discovered—in this life at least.

        Two questions are itching to have out: what is it the soul wants ultimately?—For with this we would find the reason for a soul’s moving, and thus also that soul’s very nature.—And how is this discovered?—For this can be no simple task. You gave us an answer, wise Socrates, and a noble one, to the first question, but you’ve short-changed us on the second; and without this I’m without a way to understand fully your answer to the first.—You smile, either in jest or encouragement, but as it is I find even your jests encouraging.

        I hope I’ll be forgiven for broadening the topic slightly—to speak, not just of love, but of want generally, of which love is a sort, for I know what it is to want, but have often found myself doubting what men mean when they speak of love—and when my elders explain to me what love is, as you so beautifully told me just now, Socrates, I find myself doubtful of their reasons.

        To want is, if not the first word, the first verb whose essence a child really knows.  Before she knows that she knows, she knows that she wants something or other. Now our language, as we’ve received it from the ancients who crafted it, gives to this word two senses: to want as in to lack and to want as in to desire—and while we boys tend to express ourselves in the latter, you elders tend to speak in the former sense, we perhaps being drawn unreflectively to objects with desire in our breasts and you being more keen to what you’re missing. But it is clear, is it not, that they are two aspects of the same thing, to be without and to wish to have? For as soon as we know we are without some good, we desire it; and as soon as we know we desire it, we know ourselves not to have it. At times it takes an object of desire, like a beautiful form or a pleasurable activity, to discover we are wanting in the first place; at other times, we know ourselves to lack something long before we discover what. But when the object of our want is finally discovered, we find that what we desire is exactly what we lack.

        Having said that the soul wants, it must be said how it comes to see these lacks and desires and learns to move forward with or in spite of them. What the soul is, would take a god and a long time to say, but what it is like might be said by me in what time we have, if it should please the gods whose goad I yield to. I thus call on you, O Mnemosyne and Poseidon Hippios, reverend mother of mind, which resembles you, and father of our desires to ride horses and of our serious resolutions, to speak through me words concerning the likeness of the soul, that greatest equestrian, so I might honor you with my speech.

        The soul, let it stand, resembles a young girl born to a pious family. They have raised her in all of the ways of the city, taught her the manners and means of a lady—when to speak, to be seen, and how and in what dress. Rarely is she let outside, while attendants bring to the girl everything that a girl is thought to need. A respectable man from a noble family, who, having seen her once, and before hearing her speak, pronounced his love, is arranged to take her as his wife, and she, at thirteen, hearing news of this as if it were news about some other person, sees in her loving mother what she would become, and in her fiancé, the company she’d become it with. At that moment, for reasons she—much less I—could not divine, a new consciousness seizes her and she is immediately aware of a want within her. It opens like a chasm which spans an unbridgeable distance between her and her family and neighbors. From the side on which she stands, those beyond it appear mere spectres of people—familiar in form alone. And from the opposite side of this want, she appears utterly mad, for none can divine what she’s feeling, and she herself knows not what she wants, but she knows she wants not this. So, that night, she flees the city and walks as far as she can before his horses draw the sun’s chariot over Attica once again. She walks through dense woods until, an hour before dawn, she comes to a small clearing, lays down, and falls asleep.

        And for weeks thereafter she wanders, having no clear direction to her movement except away from whence she came. It is as if you, goddess of memory, Mnemosyne, were steering her like a horse who feels the tug of the bridle but who is blind to the bridle itself, and still more to the goal of her motion. As the distance between her and her homeland grows, the directive away produces a path less and less straight. With no known object for her desire, her eyes and her mind fall across whatever sights and sounds become to her. Taking little in, she walks for want of a reason to stop.

        Only when food is scarce or danger near does she forget for a moment her wandering. And when these simple needs are met she is again reminded to her truer condition. Were she of weaker resolve—were you, Poseidon Hippios, not with her—she might find reason to fix her focus on these basic needs. Hunger might then turn to hoarding and fear to a lasting anxiety so as to distract her mind from what it really wants. But such a one would never have left her home to begin with. As it is, she finds she wants and fears little aside from that which still eludes her.

        She walks until she has no sense of where she is, and when she comes upon an open plain one morning, she sits to rest in the shade on the periphery. As she sits, onto the plain there gallops a large, bright, dappled mare, sprinting in a fury as though she has just fled from some predator. Feeling her freedom, she makes a round of the field and the girl attends to her with wide eyes. Like one who gazes upon Beauty for the first time, she is awed, drawn and afraid. Captured by its majestic stride, which moves with grace as though its weight were nothing to it, a flood of longing starts upon her heart—a feeling as inexplicable to her as the love of horses by young girls is to us now. The form resembles the animals she’s seen ridden by young men in the city, but whether because of her condition then or theirs, never had those struck her as this bright mare does now. In the horse’s movements she reads at once an expression of its will and of her own longing.—Oh! how she wishes to gallop with it!

        As it comes to a halt to graze nearby, the girl timidly approaches the awe-inspiring creature. Upon seeing her approach, the mare is frightened, and sprints away to the opposite edge of the plain as the girl looks on. In time, the mare again approaches, seeing from how slowly she moves that the girl is in fact no threat. Her heart leaps and is warmed again throughout when first, sniffing and approaching with caution, the mare allows her hand to touch her soft muzzle.

        The girl stays near and makes a bed on the periphery. And the next day the mare returns with her entire team to graze, and approaches the girl straightaway to be petted. As the girl feeds her new friend grass and pets her muzzle and gazes into her brown eyes, she gathers these feelings and visions into an image which becomes the object of some portion of her want and longing. And when the horse turns to rejoin her team, she appears differently to the girl than before, and the girl marvels at her long mane and well-postured stride and sees, however vaguely, the possibility of their moving together.

        And so, every day, the horses return to graze and, it seems, more and more, the dappled mare returns with the purpose of seeing the girl, to be pet for a moment before turning and leaving. Up close, in these moments as the girl pets or feeds her new friend, she comes to see how she might be allowed upon the mare’s back. A hunch that suffices for prophecy tells her this would not be altogether disagreeable to the horse, though she thinks at the same time how this may frighten her. And at a distance, as the mare gallops away in her freedom, the girl’s desire to gallop in-stride with her friend seizes her with greater intensity.

        With each successive day, the image of herself atop this beautiful mare is clarified and becomes distinctly the object of her desire. She falls asleep with images before her of the horse’s strong legs and broad back, and vague scenes of the two of them fleeing through the woods together fill her dreams, and when she awakens, she looks to see if her beloved has returned. Even her meals and walks are timed so as to not miss her friend’s visits, and whenever she comes across some food or other thing which she knows her friend to like, she is sure to bring it to her.

        Her first attempt to mount the mare is a failure, and she is as quickly bucked off as she got on. But when again the horse returns and allows her a second attempt, she understands this to mean that the way she was trying will not do. A period of successive failures and attempts follows—too many attempts to name; attempts which, to description, all sound alike, but which are, to the girl and her companion, each singular experiences with singular circumstances, attitudes, shortcomings and lessons. With time and ingenuity she finds her friend will allow her to mount from the side in two successive movements and to use the leather tie of her shoe for a sort of bridle. But after mounting she must learn really to ride—for this is the image she has come to desire. This want is not new, but newly imagined. Here she has found an occasion for her want’s realization. Daily, the two meet and set about seeing if they might move forward together. This is as much the girl’s learning what to do and what she wants the mare to do as it is the mare’s learning for herself what she likes, wants and what she will not abide. The memory of each landing, after being thrown off her mare’s back, informs her next attempt and tells her how her actions are reacted to and how best to react herself. Neither have been here—riding and being ridden—and while many horses have been tamed by many men, this horse and this girl must discover an art so particular that it would be unjust to call it simply “horsemanship”. They develop a special language, particular to these two, by which the girl tells the mare what she thinks she wants and the mare clarifies back to her what of that is realistic, and what it might look like. Eventually, the two become so fluent in this language that they cease to distinguish between the voice of one and the voice of the other. Everything the girl says is spoken with her mare’s interest in mind—and every rejoinder of the mare is anticipated and understood by her companion. So totally has the girl come to want what is desirable for her horse and has the mare likewise come to wish her rider’s wishes, that their wills are, in this regard, one.

        In flight, without wants beyond each present instant, the two gallop by untrodden paths and find the world anew. Each moment a desire is born and satisfied—they are the stream of Beauty on its winding sojourn. No poet sings and no philosopher divines the logic of these moments of ecstasy, which lie at the verge of want and plenty. Having tamed her wild friend—and being thus tamed herself—she finds a love and purpose without a visible end of pleasurable possibilities and realizable variations—variations for which her heart feels it must go on living. As discussion is still required by the most wise among men, she, having ridden, must continue to ride. And just as conversations, because we call them one name, all sound alike to those outside of them, while to the participants they are each of them distinct and unique phases on each soul’s journey, so is each day and each instant distinguished from the rest in the girl’s life in a manner known only to her, her companion, and the gods who drive them forward together. So much does she see in this, in fact, that she arranges her life around this ideal company and the continually goading possibility of future flights, so that she will never, so long as her friend abides, be without the most felicitous reason to live.

        Who, I ask you, is the real pilot of this flight? Is it not as much the one as the other’s will that is guiding? It is, of course, still—as it always was—you, Mnemosyne, who is guiding both—as it is you, Poseidon Hippios, who brings these wills together.

        If I have been overly simple—too particular or too general—may my intentions be understood to be pious and may I thus be forgiven this mortal shortcoming. Know, mighty gods, that if I was forced to use poetical language, it was inspired by Florencia, and aims only to please you, and to do justice to the trials of the student and to the form the objects of our desires have when they haven’t yet been formed, for this is where we all must begin.

        The girl—the soul—sees now what moves her, to what end she moves, and thinks with perfectly good reason that this end has been her tendency all along. Turning back to look at her actions—her sudden departure, her seemingly aimless wandering and final encounter of a purpose which realized her want—she sees herself as being guided to this plain and to this, her beloved companion. She might also look beyond this life and imagine a cause—before or after—that satisfies her for an explanation. But on this I will remain silent. That it was fated is as indisputable now looking back as it would have been senseless to say so then. Only you, Mnemosyne, mother of the muses and mother-in-law of the poets and prophets—only you know where it is that consciousness alights on matter; only you take your seat on that sacred ridge at the edge of heaven whence gods’ blessings flow and whither human action aspires—only you connect our realm to theirs at the periphery of heaven which we call the ideal. How it is we come to know, and how it is we resolve ourselves to do anything, you and alone know these mysteries. What little freedom we have here is on account of wants you have sent us and images you help us form and occasions suitable to their existence.

        Socrates perhaps has seen these mysteries; but now, as I return my gaze to his, I am embarrassed—and hope he understands why I am compelled to make my speech, however out of turn it might have been to talk in this way to the wisest of men.

Socrates (smiling): My beautiful boy, you speak with such zeal! I hope you will humor my ignorance by answering a few questions.

Pais: With pleasure, Socrates.

Socrates: Come, the sun has let up and the air is cooler now. Let us take this discussion on the road back to the city. Perhaps before we return we will understand each other.

Pais: Perhaps, Socrates.

Σωκράτης: ἡνίκ᾽ ἔμελλον, ὠγαθέ, τὸν ποταμὸν διαβαίνειν, τὸ δαιμόνιόν τε καὶ τὸ εἰωθὸς σημεῖόν μοι γίγνεσθαι ἐγένετο [242c] --ἀεὶ δέ με ἐπίσχει ὃ ἂν μέλλω πράττειν--καί τινα φωνὴν ἔδοξα αὐτόθεν ἀκοῦσαι, ἥ με οὐκ ἐᾷ ἀπιέναι πρὶν ἂν ἀφοσιώσωμαι, ὡς δή τι ἡμαρτηκότα εἰς τὸ θεῖον. εἰμὶ δὴ οὖν μάντις μέν, οὐ πάνυ δὲ σπουδαῖος, ἀλλ᾽ ὥσπερ οἱ τὰ γράμματα φαῦλοι, ὅσον μὲν ἐμαυτῷ μόνον ἱκανός· σαφῶς οὖν ἤδη μανθάνω τὸ ἁμάρτημα. ὡς δή τοι, ὦ ἑταῖρε, μαντικόν γέ τι καὶ ἡ ψυχή· ἐμὲ γὰρ ἔθραξε μέν τι καὶ πάλαι λέγοντα τὸν λόγον, καί πως ἐδυσωπούμην κατ᾽ Ἴβυκον, μή τι παρὰ θεοῖς

[242d] ἀμβλακὼν τιμὰν πρὸς ἀνθρώπων ἀμείψω·

νῦν δ᾽ ᾔσθημαι τὸ ἁμάρτημα.

Φαῖδρος: λέγεις δὲ δὴ τί;

Σωκράτης: δεινόν, ὦ Φαῖδρε, δεινὸν λόγον αὐτός τε ἐκόμισας ἐμέ τε ἠνάγκασας εἰπεῖν.

Φαῖδρος: πῶς δή;

Σωκράτης: εὐήθη καὶ ὑπό τι ἀσεβῆ· οὗ τίς ἂν εἴη δεινότερος;

Φαῖδρος: οὐδείς, εἴ γε σὺ ἀληθῆ λέγεις.

Σωκράτης: τί οὖν; τὸν ἔρωτα οὐκ Ἀφροδίτης καὶ θεόν τινα ἡγῇ;

Φαῖδρος: λέγεταί γε δή.

Σωκράτης: οὔ τι ὑπό γε Λυσίου, οὐδὲ ὑπὸ τοῦ σοῦ λόγου, ὃς[242e] διὰ τοῦ ἐμοῦ στόματος καταφαρμακευθέντος ὑπὸ σοῦ ἐλέχθη. εἰ δ᾽ ἔστιν, ὥσπερ οὖν ἔστι, θεὸς ἤ τι θεῖον ὁ Ἔρως, οὐδὲν ἂν κακὸν εἴη, τὼ δὲ λόγω τὼ νυνδὴ περὶ αὐτοῦ εἰπέτην ὡς τοιούτου ὄντος· ταύτῃ τε οὖν ἡμαρτανέτην περὶ τὸν ἔρωτα, ἔτι τε ἡ εὐήθεια αὐτοῖν πάνυ ἀστεία, τὸ μηδὲν ὑγιὲς λέγοντε [243a] μηδὲ ἀληθὲς σεμνύνεσθαι ὡς τὶ ὄντε, εἰ ἄρα ἀνθρωπίσκους τινὰς ἐξαπατήσαντε εὐδοκιμήσετον ἐν αὐτοῖς. ἐμοὶ μὲν οὖν, ὦ φίλε, καθήρασθαι ἀνάγκη· ἔστιν δὲ τοῖς ἁμαρτάνουσι περὶ μυθολογίαν καθαρμὸς ἀρχαῖος, ὃν Ὅμηρος μὲν οὐκ ᾔσθετο, Στησίχορος δέ. τῶν γὰρ ὀμμάτων στερηθεὶς διὰ τὴν Ἑλένης κακηγορίαν οὐκ ἠγνόησεν ὥσπερ Ὅμηρος, ἀλλ᾽ ἅτε μουσικὸς ὢν ἔγνω τὴν αἰτίαν, καὶ ποιεῖ εὐθὺς--

οὐκ ἔστ᾽ ἔτυμος λόγος οὗτος,
οὐδ᾽ ἔβας ἐν νηυσὶν εὐσέλμοις,
[243b] οὐδ᾽ ἵκεο Πέργαμα Τροίας·

καὶ ποιήσας δὴ πᾶσαν τὴν καλουμένην Παλινῳδίαν παραχρῆμα ἀνέβλεψεν. ἐγὼ οὖν σοφώτερος ἐκείνων γενήσομαι κατ᾽ αὐτό γε τοῦτο· πρὶν γάρ τι παθεῖν διὰ τὴν τοῦ Ἔρωτος κακηγορίαν πειράσομαι αὐτῷ ἀποδοῦναι τὴν παλινῳδίαν, γυμνῇ τῇ κεφαλῇ καὶ οὐχ ὥσπερ τότε ὑπ᾽ αἰσχύνης ἐγκεκαλυμμένος.

Φαῖδρος: τουτωνί, ὦ Σώκρατες, οὐκ ἔστιν ἅττ᾽ ἂν ἐμοὶ εἶπες ἡδίω.

[243c] Σωκράτης : καὶ γάρ, ὠγαθὲ Φαῖδρε, ἐννοεῖς ὡς ἀναιδῶς εἴρησθον τὼ λόγω, οὗτός τε καὶ ὁ ἐκ τοῦ βιβλίου ῥηθείς. εἰ γὰρ ἀκούων τις τύχοι ἡμῶν γεννάδας καὶ πρᾷος τὸ ἦθος, ἑτέρου δὲ τοιούτου ἐρῶν ἢ καὶ πρότερόν ποτε ἐρασθείς, λεγόντων ὡς διὰ σμικρὰ μεγάλας ἔχθρας οἱ ἐρασταὶ ἀναιροῦνται καὶ ἔχουσι πρὸς τὰ παιδικὰ φθονερῶς τε καὶ βλαβερῶς, πῶς οὐκ ἂν οἴει αὐτὸν ἡγεῖσθαι ἀκούειν ἐν ναύταις που τεθραμμένων καὶ οὐδένα ἐλεύθερον ἔρωτα ἑωρακότων, πολλοῦ δ᾽ ἂν δεῖν [243d] ἡμῖν ὁμολογεῖν ἃ ψέγομεν τὸν ἔρωτα;

Φαῖδρος: ἴσως νὴ Δί᾽, ὦ Σώκρατες.

Σωκράτης: τοῦτόν γε τοίνυν ἔγωγε αἰσχυνόμενος, καὶ αὐτὸν τὸν ἔρωτα δεδιώς, ἐπιθυμῶ ποτίμῳ λόγῳ οἷον ἁλμυρὰν ἀκοὴν ἀποκλύσασθαι· συμβουλεύω δὲ καὶ Λυσίᾳ ὅτι τάχιστα γράψαι ὡς χρὴ ἐραστῇ μᾶλλον ἢ μὴ ἐρῶντι ἐκ τῶν ὁμοίων χαρίζεσθαι.

Φαῖδρος: ἀλλ᾽ εὖ ἴσθι ὅτι ἕξει τοῦθ᾽ οὕτω· σοῦ γὰρ εἰπόντος τὸν τοῦ ἐραστοῦ ἔπαινον, πᾶσα ἀνάγκη Λυσίαν ὑπ᾽ ἐμοῦ
[243e] ἀναγκασθῆναι γράψαι αὖ περὶ τοῦ αὐτοῦ λόγον.

Σωκράτης: τοῦτο μὲν πιστεύω, ἕωσπερ ἂν ᾖς ὃς εἶ.

Φαῖδρος: λέγε τοίνυν θαρρῶν.

Σωκράτης: ποῦ δή μοι ὁ παῖς πρὸς ὃν ἔλεγον; ἵνα καὶ τοῦτο ἀκούσῃ, καὶ μὴ ἀνήκοος ὢν φθάσῃ χαρισάμενος τῷ μὴ ἐρῶντι.

Φαῖδρος: οὗτος παρά σοι μάλα πλησίον ἀεὶ πάρεστιν, ὅταν σὺ βούλῃ.

Σωκράτης: οὑτωσὶ τοίνυν, ὦ παῖ καλέ, ἐννόησον, ὡς ὁ μὲν [244a] πρότερος ἦν λόγος Φαίδρου τοῦ Πυθοκλέους, Μυρρινουσίου ἀνδρός· ὃν δὲ μέλλω λέγειν, Στησιχόρου τοῦ Εὐφήμου, Ἱμεραίου. λεκτέος δὲ ὧδε, ὅτι οὐκ ἔστ᾽ ἔτυμος λόγος ὃς ἂν παρόντος ἐραστοῦ τῷ μὴ ἐρῶντι μᾶλλον φῇ δεῖν χαρίζεσθαι, διότι δὴ ὁ μὲν μαίνεται, ὁ δὲ σωφρονεῖ. εἰ μὲν γὰρ ἦν ἁπλοῦν τὸ μανίαν κακὸν εἶναι, καλῶς ἂν ἐλέγετο· νῦν δὲ τὰ μέγιστα τῶν ἀγαθῶν ἡμῖν γίγνεται διὰ μανίας, θείᾳ μέντοι δόσει διδομένης. ἥ τε γὰρ δὴ ἐν Δελφοῖς προφῆτις αἵ τ᾽ ἐν [244b] Δωδώνῃ ἱέρειαι μανεῖσαι μὲν πολλὰ δὴ καὶ καλὰ ἰδίᾳ τε καὶ δημοσίᾳ τὴν Ἑλλάδα ἠργάσαντο, σωφρονοῦσαι δὲ βραχέα ἢ οὐδέν· καὶ ἐὰν δὴ λέγωμεν Σίβυλλάν τε καὶ ἄλλους, ὅσοι μαντικῇ χρώμενοι ἐνθέῳ πολλὰ δὴ πολλοῖς προλέγοντες εἰς τὸ μέλλον ὤρθωσαν, μηκύνοιμεν ἂν δῆλα παντὶ λέγοντες.

τόδε μὴν ἄξιον ἐπιμαρτύρασθαι, ὅτι καὶ τῶν παλαιῶν οἱ τὰ ὀνόματα τιθέμενοι οὐκ αἰσχρὸν ἡγοῦντο οὐδὲ ὄνειδος μανίαν· [244c] οὐ γὰρ ἂν τῇ καλλίστῃ τέχνῃ, ᾗ τὸ μέλλον κρίνεται, αὐτὸ τοῦτο τοὔνομα ἐμπλέκοντες μανικὴν ἐκάλεσαν. ἀλλ᾽ ὡς καλοῦ ὄντος, ὅταν θείᾳ μοίρᾳ γίγνηται, οὕτω νομίσαντες ἔθεντο, οἱ δὲ νῦν ἀπειροκάλως τὸ ταῦ ἐπεμβάλλοντες μαντικὴν ἐκάλεσαν. ἐπεὶ καὶ τήν γε τῶν ἐμφρόνων, ζήτησιν τοῦ μέλλοντος διά τε ὀρνίθων ποιουμένων καὶ τῶν ἄλλων σημείων, ἅτ᾽ ἐκ διανοίας ποριζομένων ἀνθρωπίνῃ οἰήσει νοῦν τε καὶ ἱστορίαν, οἰονοϊστικὴν ἐπωνόμασαν, [244d] ἣν νῦν οἰωνιστικὴν τῷ ω σεμνύνοντες οἱ νέοι καλοῦσιν· ὅσῳ δὴ οὖν τελεώτερον καὶ ἐντιμότερον μαντικὴ οἰωνιστικῆς, τό τε ὄνομα τοῦ ὀνόματος ἔργον τ᾽ ἔργου, τόσῳ κάλλιον μαρτυροῦσιν οἱ παλαιοὶ μανίαν σωφροσύνης τὴν ἐκ θεοῦ τῆς παρ᾽ ἀνθρώπων γιγνομένης.

ἀλλὰ μὴν νόσων γε καὶ πόνων τῶν μεγίστων, ἃ δὴ παλαιῶν ἐκ μηνιμάτων ποθὲν ἔν τισι τῶν γενῶν ἡ μανία ἐγγενομένη καὶ προφητεύσασα, οἷς ἔδει [244e] ἀπαλλαγὴν ηὕρετο, καταφυγοῦσα πρὸς θεῶν εὐχάς τε καὶ λατρείας, ὅθεν δὴ καθαρμῶν τε καὶ τελετῶν τυχοῦσα ἐξάντη ἐποίησε τὸν [ἑαυτῆς] ἔχοντα πρός τε τὸν παρόντα καὶ τὸν ἔπειτα χρόνον, λύσιν τῷ ὀρθῶς μανέντι τε καὶ κατασχομένῳ [245a] τῶν παρόντων κακῶν εὑρομένη.

τρίτη δὲ ἀπὸ Μουσῶν κατοκωχή τε καὶ μανία, λαβοῦσα ἁπαλὴν καὶ ἄβατον ψυχήν, ἐγείρουσα καὶ ἐκβακχεύουσα κατά τε ᾠδὰς καὶ κατὰ τὴν ἄλλην ποίησιν, μυρία τῶν παλαιῶν ἔργα κοσμοῦσα τοὺς ἐπιγιγνομένους παιδεύει· ὃς δ᾽ ἂν ἄνευ μανίας Μουσῶν ἐπὶ ποιητικὰς θύρας ἀφίκηται, πεισθεὶς ὡς ἄρα ἐκ τέχνης ἱκανὸς ποιητὴς ἐσόμενος, ἀτελὴς αὐτός τε καὶ ἡ ποίησις ὑπὸ τῆς τῶν μαινομένων ἡ τοῦ σωφρονοῦντος ἠφανίσθη.

[245b] τοσαῦτα μέν σοι καὶ ἔτι πλείω ἔχω μανίας γιγνομένης ἀπὸ θεῶν λέγειν καλὰ ἔργα. ὥστε τοῦτό γε αὐτὸ μὴ φοβώμεθα, μηδέ τις ἡμᾶς λόγος θορυβείτω δεδιττόμενος ὡς πρὸ τοῦ κεκινημένου τὸν σώφρονα δεῖ προαιρεῖσθαι φίλον· ἀλλὰ τόδε πρὸς ἐκείνῳ δείξας φερέσθω τὰ νικητήρια, ὡς οὐκ ἐπ᾽ ὠφελίᾳ ὁ ἔρως τῷ ἐρῶντι καὶ τῷ ἐρωμένῳ ἐκ θεῶν ἐπιπέμπεται. ἡμῖν δὲ ἀποδεικτέον αὖ τοὐναντίον, ὡς ἐπ᾽ εὐτυχίᾳ τῇ μεγίστῃ [245c] παρὰ θεῶν ἡ τοιαύτη μανία δίδοται· ἡ δὲ δὴ ἀπόδειξις ἔσται δεινοῖς μὲν ἄπιστος, σοφοῖς δὲ πιστή.

δεῖ οὖν πρῶτον ψυχῆς φύσεως πέρι θείας τε καὶ ἀνθρωπίνης ἰδόντα πάθη τε καὶ ἔργα τἀληθὲς νοῆσαι· ἀρχὴ δὲ ἀποδείξεως ἥδε.

ψυχὴ πᾶσα ἀθάνατος. τὸ γὰρ ἀεικίνητον ἀθάνατον· τὸ δ᾽ ἄλλο κινοῦν καὶ ὑπ᾽ ἄλλου κινούμενον, παῦλαν ἔχον κινήσεως, παῦλαν ἔχει ζωῆς. μόνον δὴ τὸ αὑτὸ κινοῦν, ἅτε οὐκ ἀπολεῖπον ἑαυτό, οὔποτε λήγει κινούμενον, ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις ὅσα κινεῖται τοῦτο πηγὴ καὶ ἀρχὴ κινήσεως.

[245d] ἀρχὴ δὲ ἀγένητον. ἐξ ἀρχῆς γὰρ ἀνάγκη πᾶν τὸ γιγνόμενον γίγνεσθαι, αὐτὴν δὲ μηδ᾽ ἐξ ἑνός· εἰ γὰρ ἔκ του ἀρχὴ γίγνοιτο, οὐκ ἂν ἔτι ἀρχὴ γίγνοιτο. ἐπειδὴ δὲ ἀγένητόν ἐστιν, καὶ ἀδιάφθορον αὐτὸ ἀνάγκη εἶναι. ἀρχῆς γὰρ δὴ ἀπολομένης οὔτε αὐτή ποτε ἔκ του οὔτε ἄλλο ἐξ ἐκείνης γενήσεται, εἴπερ ἐξ ἀρχῆς δεῖ τὰ πάντα γίγνεσθαι. οὕτω δὴ κινήσεως μὲν ἀρχὴ τὸ αὐτὸ αὑτὸ κινοῦν. τοῦτο δὲ οὔτ᾽ ἀπόλλυσθαι οὔτε γίγνεσθαι δυνατόν, ἢ πάντα τε οὐρανὸν [245e] πᾶσάν τε γῆν εἰς ἓν συμπεσοῦσαν στῆναι καὶ μήποτε αὖθις ἔχειν ὅθεν κινηθέντα γενήσεται.

ἀθανάτου δὲ πεφασμένου τοῦ ὑφ᾽ ἑαυτοῦ κινουμένου, ψυχῆς οὐσίαν τε καὶ λόγον τοῦτον αὐτόν τις λέγων οὐκ αἰσχυνεῖται. πᾶν γὰρ σῶμα, ᾧ μὲν ἔξωθεν τὸ κινεῖσθαι, ἄψυχον, ᾧ δὲ ἔνδοθεν αὐτῷ ἐξ αὑτοῦ, ἔμψυχον, ὡς ταύτης οὔσης φύσεως ψυχῆς· εἰ δ᾽ ἔστιν τοῦτο οὕτως ἔχον, μὴ ἄλλο τι εἶναι τὸ αὐτὸ ἑαυτὸ [246a] κινοῦν ἢ ψυχήν, ἐξ ἀνάγκης ἀγένητόν τε καὶ ἀθάνατον ψυχὴ ἂν εἴη.

περὶ μὲν οὖν ἀθανασίας αὐτῆς ἱκανῶς· περὶ δὲ τῆς ἰδέας αὐτῆς ὧδε λεκτέον. οἷον μέν ἐστι, πάντῃ πάντως θείας εἶναι καὶ μακρᾶς διηγήσεως, ᾧ δὲ ἔοικεν, ἀνθρωπίνης τε καὶ ἐλάττονος· ταύτῃ οὖν λέγωμεν.

ἐοικέτω δὴ συμφύτῳ δυνάμει ὑποπτέρου ζεύγους τε καὶ ἡνιόχου. θεῶν μὲν οὖν ἵπποι τε καὶ ἡνίοχοι πάντες αὐτοί τε ἀγαθοὶ καὶ ἐξ ἀγαθῶν, [246b] τὸ δὲ τῶν ἄλλων μέμεικται. καὶ πρῶτον μὲν ἡμῶν ὁ ἄρχων συνωρίδος ἡνιοχεῖ, εἶτα τῶν ἵππων ὁ μὲν αὐτῷ καλός τε καὶ ἀγαθὸς καὶ ἐκ τοιούτων, ὁ δ᾽ ἐξ ἐναντίων τε καὶ ἐναντίος· χαλεπὴ δὴ καὶ δύσκολος ἐξ ἀνάγκης ἡ περὶ ἡμᾶς ἡνιόχησις.

πῇ δὴ οὖν θνητόν τε καὶ ἀθάνατον ζῷον ἐκλήθη πειρατέον εἰπεῖν.

ψυχὴ πᾶσα παντὸς ἐπιμελεῖται τοῦ ἀψύχου, πάντα δὲ οὐρανὸν περιπολεῖ, ἄλλοτ᾽ ἐν ἄλλοις εἴδεσι γιγνομένη. τελέα [246c] μὲν οὖν οὖσα καὶ ἐπτερωμένη μετεωροπορεῖ τε καὶ πάντα τὸν κόσμον διοικεῖ, ἡ δὲ πτερορρυήσασα φέρεται ἕως ἂν στερεοῦ τινος ἀντιλάβηται, οὗ κατοικισθεῖσα, σῶμα γήϊνον λαβοῦσα, αὐτὸ αὑτὸ δοκοῦν κινεῖν διὰ τὴν ἐκείνης δύναμιν, ζῷον τὸ σύμπαν ἐκλήθη, ψυχὴ καὶ σῶμα παγέν, θνητόν τ᾽ ἔσχεν ἐπωνυμίαν· ἀθάνατον δὲ οὐδ᾽ ἐξ ἑνὸς λόγου λελογισμένου, ἀλλὰ πλάττομεν οὔτε ἰδόντες οὔτε ἱκανῶς νοήσαντες [246d] θεόν, ἀθάνατόν τι ζῷον, ἔχον μὲν ψυχήν, ἔχον δὲ σῶμα, τὸν ἀεὶ δὲ χρόνον ταῦτα συμπεφυκότα. ἀλλὰ ταῦτα μὲν δή, ὅπῃ τῷ θεῷ φίλον, ταύτῃ ἐχέτω τε καὶ λεγέσθω·

τὴν δὲ αἰτίαν τῆς τῶν πτερῶν ἀποβολῆς, δι᾽ ἣν ψυχῆς ἀπορρεῖ, λάβωμεν. ἔστι δέ τις τοιάδε.

πέφυκεν ἡ πτεροῦ δύναμις τὸ ἐμβριθὲς ἄγειν ἄνω μετεωρίζουσα ᾗ τὸ τῶν θεῶν γένος οἰκεῖ, κεκοινώνηκε δέ πῃ μάλιστα τῶν περὶ τὸ σῶμα τοῦ θείου [ψυχή], τὸ δὲ θεῖον [246e] καλόν, σοφόν, ἀγαθόν, καὶ πᾶν ὅτι τοιοῦτον· τούτοις δὴ τρέφεταί τε καὶ αὔξεται μάλιστά γε τὸ τῆς ψυχῆς πτέρωμα, αἰσχρῷ δὲ καὶ κακῷ καὶ τοῖς ἐναντίοις φθίνει τε καὶ διόλλυται.

ὁ μὲν δὴ μέγας ἡγεμὼν ἐν οὐρανῷ Ζεύς, ἐλαύνων πτηνὸν ἅρμα, πρῶτος πορεύεται, διακοσμῶν πάντα καὶ ἐπιμελούμενος· τῷ δ᾽ ἕπεται στρατιὰ θεῶν τε καὶ δαιμόνων, [247a] κατὰ ἕνδεκα μέρη κεκοσμημένη. μένει γὰρ Ἑστία ἐν θεῶν οἴκῳ μόνη· τῶν δὲ ἄλλων ὅσοι ἐν τῷ τῶν δώδεκα ἀριθμῷ τεταγμένοι θεοὶ ἄρχοντες ἡγοῦνται κατὰ τάξιν ἣν ἕκαστος ἐτάχθη. πολλαὶ μὲν οὖν καὶ μακάριαι θέαι τε καὶ διέξοδοι ἐντὸς οὐρανοῦ, ἃς θεῶν γένος εὐδαιμόνων ἐπιστρέφεται πράττων ἕκαστος αὐτῶν τὸ αὑτοῦ, ἕπεται δὲ ὁ ἀεὶ ἐθέλων τε καὶ δυνάμενος· φθόνος γὰρ ἔξω θείου χοροῦ ἵσταται. ὅταν δὲ δὴ πρὸς δαῖτα καὶ ἐπὶ θοίνην ἴωσιν, ἄκραν ἐπὶ τὴν [247b] ὑπουράνιον ἁψῖδα πορεύονται πρὸς ἄναντες, ᾗ δὴ τὰ μὲν θεῶν ὀχήματα ἰσορρόπως εὐήνια ὄντα ῥᾳδίως πορεύεται, τὰ δὲ ἄλλα μόγις· βρίθει γὰρ ὁ τῆς κάκης ἵππος μετέχων, ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν ῥέπων τε καὶ βαρύνων ᾧ μὴ καλῶς ἦν τεθραμμένος τῶν ἡνιόχων. ἔνθα δὴ πόνος τε καὶ ἀγὼν ἔσχατος ψυχῇ πρόκειται. αἱ μὲν γὰρ ἀθάνατοι καλούμεναι, ἡνίκ᾽ ἂν πρὸς ἄκρῳ γένωνται, ἔξω πορευθεῖσαι ἔστησαν ἐπὶ τῷ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ [247c] νώτῳ, στάσας δὲ αὐτὰς περιάγει ἡ περιφορά, αἱ δὲ θεωροῦσι τὰ ἔξω τοῦ οὐρανοῦ.

τὸν δὲ ὑπερουράνιον τόπον οὔτε τις ὕμνησέ πω τῶν τῇδε ποιητὴς οὔτε ποτὲ ὑμνήσει κατ᾽ ἀξίαν. ἔχει δὲ ὧδε--τολμητέον γὰρ οὖν τό γε ἀληθὲς εἰπεῖν, ἄλλως τε καὶ περὶ ἀληθείας λέγοντα--ἡ γὰρ ἀχρώματός τε καὶ ἀσχημάτιστος καὶ ἀναφὴς οὐσία ὄντως οὖσα, ψυχῆς κυβερνήτῃ μόνῳ θεατὴ νῷ, περὶ ἣν τὸ τῆς ἀληθοῦς ἐπιστήμης γένος, τοῦτον ἔχει [247d] τὸν τόπον.

ἅτ᾽ οὖν θεοῦ διάνοια νῷ τε καὶ ἐπιστήμῃ ἀκηράτῳ τρεφομένη, καὶ ἁπάσης ψυχῆς ὅσῃ ἂν μέλῃ τὸ προσῆκον δέξασθαι, ἰδοῦσα διὰ χρόνου τὸ ὂν ἀγαπᾷ τε καὶ θεωροῦσα τἀληθῆ τρέφεται καὶ εὐπαθεῖ, ἕως ἂν κύκλῳ ἡ περιφορὰ εἰς ταὐτὸν περιενέγκῃ. ἐν δὲ τῇ περιόδῳ καθορᾷ μὲν αὐτὴν δικαιοσύνην, καθορᾷ δὲ σωφροσύνην, καθορᾷ δὲ ἐπιστήμην, οὐχ ᾗ γένεσις πρόσεστιν, οὐδ᾽ ἥ ἐστίν που ἑτέρα [247e] ἐν ἑτέρῳ οὖσα ὧν ἡμεῖς νῦν ὄντων καλοῦμεν, ἀλλὰ τὴν ἐν τῷ ὅ ἐστιν ὂν ὄντως ἐπιστήμην οὖσαν· καὶ τἆλλα ὡσαύτως τὰ ὄντα ὄντως θεασαμένη καὶ ἑστιαθεῖσα, δῦσα πάλιν εἰς τὸ εἴσω τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, οἴκαδε ἦλθεν. ἐλθούσης δὲ αὐτῆς ὁ ἡνίοχος πρὸς τὴν φάτνην τοὺς ἵππους στήσας παρέβαλεν ἀμβροσίαν τε καὶ ἐπ᾽ αὐτῇ νέκταρ ἐπότισεν.

[248a] καὶ οὗτος μὲν θεῶν βίος· αἱ δὲ ἄλλαι ψυχαί, ἡ μὲν ἄριστα θεῷ ἑπομένη καὶ εἰκασμένη ὑπερῆρεν εἰς τὸν ἔξω τόπον τὴν τοῦ ἡνιόχου κεφαλήν, καὶ συμπεριηνέχθη τὴν περιφοράν, θορυβουμένη ὑπὸ τῶν ἵππων καὶ μόγις καθορῶσα τὰ ὄντα· ἡ δὲ τοτὲ μὲν ἦρεν, τοτὲ δ᾽ ἔδυ, βιαζομένων δὲ τῶν ἵππων τὰ μὲν εἶδεν, τὰ δ᾽ οὔ. αἱ δὲ δὴ ἄλλαι γλιχόμεναι μὲν ἅπασαι τοῦ ἄνω ἕπονται, ἀδυνατοῦσαι δέ, ὑποβρύχιαι συμπεριφέρονται, πατοῦσαι ἀλλήλας καὶ ἐπιβάλλουσαι, ἑτέρα [248b] πρὸ τῆς ἑτέρας πειρωμένη γενέσθαι. θόρυβος οὖν καὶ ἅμιλλα καὶ ἱδρὼς ἔσχατος γίγνεται, οὗ δὴ κακίᾳ ἡνιόχων πολλαὶ μὲν χωλεύονται, πολλαὶ δὲ πολλὰ πτερὰ θραύονται· πᾶσαι δὲ πολὺν ἔχουσαι πόνον ἀτελεῖς τῆς τοῦ ὄντος θέας ἀπέρχονται, καὶ ἀπελθοῦσαι τροφῇ δοξαστῇ χρῶνται. οὗ δ᾽ ἕνεχ᾽ ἡ πολλὴ σπουδὴ τὸ ἀληθείας ἰδεῖν πεδίον οὗ ἐστιν, ἥ τε δὴ προσήκουσα ψυχῆς τῷ ἀρίστῳ νομὴ ἐκ τοῦ ἐκεῖ [248c] λειμῶνος τυγχάνει οὖσα, ἥ τε τοῦ πτεροῦ φύσις, ᾧ ψυχὴ κουφίζεται, τούτῳ τρέφεται.

θεσμός τε Ἀδραστείας ὅδε. ἥτις ἂν ψυχὴ θεῷ συνοπαδὸς γενομένη κατίδῃ τι τῶν ἀληθῶν, μέχρι τε τῆς ἑτέρας περιόδου εἶναι ἀπήμονα, κἂν ἀεὶ τοῦτο δύνηται ποιεῖν, ἀεὶ ἀβλαβῆ εἶναι· ὅταν δὲ ἀδυνατήσασα ἐπισπέσθαι μὴ ἴδῃ, καί τινι συντυχίᾳ χρησαμένη λήθης τε καὶ κακίας πλησθεῖσα βαρυνθῇ, βαρυνθεῖσα δὲ πτερορρυήσῃ τε καὶ ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν πέσῃ, τότε νόμος ταύτην [248d] μὴ φυτεῦσαι εἰς μηδεμίαν θήρειον φύσιν ἐν τῇ πρώτῃ γενέσει, ἀλλὰ τὴν μὲν πλεῖστα ἰδοῦσαν εἰς γονὴν ἀνδρὸς γενησομένου φιλοσόφου ἢ φιλοκάλου ἢ μουσικοῦ τινος καὶ ἐρωτικοῦ, τὴν δὲ δευτέραν εἰς βασιλέως ἐννόμου ἢ πολεμικοῦ καὶ ἀρχικοῦ, τρίτην εἰς πολιτικοῦ ἤ τινος οἰκονομικοῦ ἢ χρηματιστικοῦ, τετάρτην εἰς φιλοπόνου <ἢ> γυμναστικοῦ ἢ περὶ σώματος ἴασίν τινος ἐσομένου, πέμπτην μαντικὸν βίον [248e] ἤ τινα τελεστικὸν ἕξουσαν· ἕκτῃ ποιητικὸς ἢ τῶν περὶ μίμησίν τις ἄλλος ἁρμόσει, ἑβδόμῃ δημιουργικὸς ἢ γεωργικός, ὀγδόῃ σοφιστικὸς ἢ δημοκοπικός, ἐνάτῃ τυραννικός. ἐν δὴ τούτοις ἅπασιν ὃς μὲν ἂν δικαίως διαγάγῃ ἀμείνονος μοίρας μεταλαμβάνει, ὃς δ᾽ ἂν ἀδίκως, χείρονος·

εἰς μὲν γὰρ τὸ αὐτὸ ὅθεν ἥκει ἡ ψυχὴ ἑκάστη οὐκ ἀφικνεῖται ἐτῶν μυρίων-- [249a] οὐ γὰρ πτεροῦται πρὸ τοσούτου χρόνου--πλὴν ἡ τοῦ φιλοσοφήσαντος ἀδόλως ἢ παιδεραστήσαντος μετὰ φιλοσοφίας, αὗται δὲ τρίτῃ περιόδῳ τῇ χιλιετεῖ, ἐὰν ἕλωνται τρὶς ἐφεξῆς τὸν βίον τοῦτον, οὕτω πτερωθεῖσαι τρισχιλιοστῷ ἔτει ἀπέρχονται. αἱ δὲ ἄλλαι, ὅταν τὸν πρῶτον βίον τελευτήσωσιν, κρίσεως ἔτυχον, κριθεῖσαι δὲ αἱ μὲν εἰς τὰ ὑπὸ γῆς δικαιωτήρια ἐλθοῦσαι δίκην ἐκτίνουσιν, αἱ δ᾽ εἰς τοὐρανοῦ τινα τόπον ὑπὸ τῆς Δίκης κουφισθεῖσαι διάγουσιν ἀξίως οὗ ἐν [249b] ἀνθρώπου εἴδει ἐβίωσαν βίου. τῷ δὲ χιλιοστῷ ἀμφότεραι ἀφικνούμεναι ἐπὶ κλήρωσίν τε καὶ αἵρεσιν τοῦ δευτέρου βίου αἱροῦνται ὃν ἂν θέλῃ ἑκάστη· ἔνθα καὶ εἰς θηρίου βίον ἀνθρωπίνη ψυχὴ ἀφικνεῖται, καὶ ἐκ θηρίου ὅς ποτε ἄνθρωπος ἦν πάλιν εἰς ἄνθρωπον. οὐ γὰρ ἥ γε μήποτε ἰδοῦσα τὴν ἀλήθειαν εἰς τόδε ἥξει τὸ σχῆμα. δεῖ γὰρ ἄνθρωπον συνιέναι κατ᾽ εἶδος λεγόμενον, ἐκ πολλῶν ἰὸν αἰσθήσεων [249c] εἰς ἓν λογισμῷ συναιρούμενον· τοῦτο δ᾽ ἐστὶν ἀνάμνησις ἐκείνων ἅ ποτ᾽ εἶδεν ἡμῶν ἡ ψυχὴ συμπορευθεῖσα θεῷ καὶ ὑπεριδοῦσα ἃ νῦν εἶναί φαμεν, καὶ ἀνακύψασα εἰς τὸ ὂν ὄντως. διὸ δὴ δικαίως μόνη πτεροῦται ἡ τοῦ φιλοσόφου διάνοια·

πρὸς γὰρ ἐκείνοις ἀεί ἐστιν μνήμῃ κατὰ δύναμιν, πρὸς οἷσπερ θεὸς ὢν θεῖός ἐστιν. τοῖς δὲ δὴ τοιούτοις ἀνὴρ ὑπομνήμασιν ὀρθῶς χρώμενος, τελέους ἀεὶ τελετὰς τελούμενος, τέλεος ὄντως μόνος γίγνεται· ἐξιστάμενος δὲ τῶν [249d] ἀνθρωπίνων σπουδασμάτων καὶ πρὸς τῷ θείῳ γιγνόμενος, νουθετεῖται μὲν ὑπὸ τῶν πολλῶν ὡς παρακινῶν, ἐνθουσιάζων δὲ λέληθεν τοὺς πολλούς.

ἔστι δὴ οὖν δεῦρο ὁ πᾶς ἥκων λόγος περὶ τῆς τετάρτης μανίας--ἣν ὅταν τὸ τῇδέ τις ὁρῶν κάλλος, τοῦ ἀληθοῦς ἀναμιμνῃσκόμενος, πτερῶταί τε καὶ ἀναπτερούμενος προθυμούμενος ἀναπτέσθαι, ἀδυνατῶν δέ, ὄρνιθος δίκην βλέπων ἄνω, τῶν κάτω δὲ ἀμελῶν, αἰτίαν ἔχει ὡς μανικῶς διακείμενος--ὡς [249e] ἄρα αὕτη πασῶν τῶν ἐνθουσιάσεων ἀρίστη τε καὶ ἐξ ἀρίστων τῷ τε ἔχοντι καὶ τῷ κοινωνοῦντι αὐτῆς γίγνεται, καὶ ὅτι ταύτης μετέχων τῆς μανίας ὁ ἐρῶν τῶν καλῶν ἐραστὴς καλεῖται.

καθάπερ γὰρ εἴρηται, πᾶσα μὲν ἀνθρώπου ψυχὴ φύσει τεθέαται τὰ ὄντα, ἢ οὐκ ἂν ἦλθεν [250a] εἰς τόδε τὸ ζῷον· ἀναμιμνῄσκεσθαι δὲ ἐκ τῶνδε ἐκεῖνα οὐ ῥᾴδιον ἁπάσῃ, οὔτε ὅσαι βραχέως εἶδον τότε τἀκεῖ, οὔθ᾽ αἳ δεῦρο πεσοῦσαι ἐδυστύχησαν, ὥστε ὑπό τινων ὁμιλιῶν ἐπὶ τὸ ἄδικον τραπόμεναι λήθην ὧν τότε εἶδον ἱερῶν ἔχειν. ὀλίγαι δὴ λείπονται αἷς τὸ τῆς μνήμης ἱκανῶς πάρεστιν· αὗται δέ, ὅταν τι τῶν ἐκεῖ ὁμοίωμα ἴδωσιν, ἐκπλήττονται καὶ οὐκέτ᾽ <ἐν> αὑτῶν γίγνονται, ὃ δ᾽ ἔστι τὸ πάθος ἀγνοοῦσι [250b] διὰ τὸ μὴ ἱκανῶς διαισθάνεσθαι. δικαιοσύνης μὲν οὖν καὶ σωφροσύνης καὶ ὅσα ἄλλα τίμια ψυχαῖς οὐκ ἔνεστι φέγγος οὐδὲν ἐν τοῖς τῇδε ὁμοιώμασιν, ἀλλὰ δι᾽ ἀμυδρῶν ὀργάνων μόγις αὐτῶν καὶ ὀλίγοι ἐπὶ τὰς εἰκόνας ἰόντες θεῶνται τὸ τοῦ εἰκασθέντος γένος· κάλλος δὲ τότ᾽ ἦν ἰδεῖν λαμπρόν, ὅτε σὺν εὐδαίμονι χορῷ μακαρίαν ὄψιν τε καὶ θέαν, ἑπόμενοι μετὰ μὲν Διὸς ἡμεῖς, ἄλλοι δὲ μετ᾽ ἄλλου θεῶν, εἶδόν τε καὶ ἐτελοῦντο τῶν τελετῶν ἣν θέμις λέγειν [250c] μακαριωτάτην, ἣν ὠργιάζομεν ὁλόκληροι μὲν αὐτοὶ ὄντες καὶ ἀπαθεῖς κακῶν ὅσα ἡμᾶς ἐν ὑστέρῳ χρόνῳ ὑπέμενεν, ὁλόκληρα δὲ καὶ ἁπλᾶ καὶ ἀτρεμῆ καὶ εὐδαίμονα φάσματα μυούμενοί τε καὶ ἐποπτεύοντες ἐν αὐγῇ καθαρᾷ, καθαροὶ ὄντες καὶ ἀσήμαντοι τούτου ὃ νῦν δὴ σῶμα περιφέροντες ὀνομάζομεν, ὀστρέου τρόπον δεδεσμευμένοι.

ταῦτα μὲν οὖν μνήμῃ κεχαρίσθω, δι᾽ ἣν πόθῳ τῶν τότε νῦν μακρότερα εἴρηται· περὶ δὲ κάλλους, ὥσπερ εἴπομεν,[250d] μετ᾽ ἐκείνων τε ἔλαμπεν ὄν, δεῦρό τ᾽ ἐλθόντες κατειλήφαμεν αὐτὸ διὰ τῆς ἐναργεστάτης αἰσθήσεως τῶν ἡμετέρων στίλβον ἐναργέστατα. ὄψις γὰρ ἡμῖν ὀξυτάτη τῶν διὰ τοῦ σώματος ἔρχεται αἰσθήσεων, ᾗ φρόνησις οὐχ ὁρᾶται--δεινοὺς γὰρ ἂν παρεῖχεν ἔρωτας, εἴ τι τοιοῦτον ἑαυτῆς ἐναργὲς εἴδωλον παρείχετο εἰς ὄψιν ἰόν--καὶ τἆλλα ὅσα ἐραστά· νῦν δὲ κάλλος μόνον ταύτην ἔσχε μοῖραν, ὥστ᾽ ἐκφανέστατον εἶναι [250e] καὶ ἐρασμιώτατον.

ὁ μὲν οὖν μὴ νεοτελὴς ἢ διεφθαρμένος οὐκ ὀξέως ἐνθένδε ἐκεῖσε φέρεται πρὸς αὐτὸ τὸ κάλλος, θεώμενος αὐτοῦ τὴν τῇδε ἐπωνυμίαν, ὥστ᾽ οὐ σέβεται προσορῶν, ἀλλ᾽ ἡδονῇ παραδοὺς τετράποδος νόμον βαίνειν ἐπιχειρεῖ καὶ παιδοσπορεῖν, καὶ ὕβρει προσομιλῶν οὐ δέδοικεν [251a] οὐδ᾽ αἰσχύνεται παρὰ φύσιν ἡδονὴν διώκων· ὁ δὲ ἀρτιτελής, ὁ τῶν τότε πολυθεάμων, ὅταν θεοειδὲς πρόσωπον ἴδῃ κάλλος εὖ μεμιμημένον ἤ τινα σώματος ἰδέαν, πρῶτον μὲν ἔφριξε καί τι τῶν τότε ὑπῆλθεν αὐτὸν δειμάτων, εἶτα προσορῶν ὡς θεὸν σέβεται, καὶ εἰ μὴ ἐδεδίει τὴν τῆς σφόδρα μανίας δόξαν, θύοι ἂν ὡς ἀγάλματι καὶ θεῷ τοῖς παιδικοῖς. ἰδόντα δ᾽ αὐτὸν οἷον ἐκ τῆς φρίκης μεταβολή τε [251b] καὶ ἱδρὼς καὶ θερμότης ἀήθης λαμβάνει· δεξάμενος γὰρ τοῦ κάλλους τὴν ἀπορροὴν διὰ τῶν ὀμμάτων ἐθερμάνθη ᾗ ἡ τοῦ πτεροῦ φύσις ἄρδεται, θερμανθέντος δὲ ἐτάκη τὰ περὶ τὴν ἔκφυσιν, ἃ πάλαι ὑπὸ σκληρότητος συμμεμυκότα εἶργε μὴ βλαστάνειν, ἐπιρρυείσης δὲ τῆς τροφῆς ᾤδησέ τε καὶ ὥρμησε φύεσθαι ἀπὸ τῆς ῥίζης ὁ τοῦ πτεροῦ καυλὸς ὑπὸ πᾶν τὸ τῆς ψυχῆς εἶδος· πᾶσα γὰρ ἦν τὸ πάλαι πτερωτή.[251c] ζεῖ οὖν ἐν τούτῳ ὅλη καὶ ἀνακηκίει, καὶ ὅπερ τὸ τῶν ὀδοντοφυούντων πάθος περὶ τοὺς ὀδόντας γίγνεται ὅταν ἄρτι φύωσιν, κνῆσίς τε καὶ ἀγανάκτησις περὶ τὰ οὖλα, ταὐτὸν δὴ πέπονθεν ἡ τοῦ πτεροφυεῖν ἀρχομένου ψυχή· ζεῖ τε καὶ ἀγανακτεῖ καὶ γαργαλίζεται φύουσα τὰ πτερά. ὅταν μὲν οὖν βλέπουσα πρὸς τὸ τοῦ παιδὸς κάλλος, ἐκεῖθεν μέρη ἐπιόντα καὶ ῥέοντ᾽--ἃ δὴ διὰ ταῦτα ἵμερος καλεῖται--δεχομένη [τὸν ἵμερον] ἄρδηταί τε καὶ θερμαίνηται, λωφᾷ τε τῆς ὀδύνης [251d] καὶ γέγηθεν· ὅταν δὲ χωρὶς γένηται καὶ αὐχμήσῃ, τὰ τῶν διεξόδων στόματα ᾗ τὸ πτερὸν ὁρμᾷ, συναυαινόμενα μύσαντα ἀποκλῄει τὴν βλάστην τοῦ πτεροῦ, ἡ δ᾽ ἐντὸς μετὰ τοῦ ἱμέρου ἀποκεκλῃμένη, πηδῶσα οἷον τὰ σφύζοντα, τῇ διεξόδῳ ἐγχρίει ἑκάστη τῇ καθ᾽ αὑτήν, ὥστε πᾶσα κεντουμένη κύκλῳ ἡ ψυχὴ οἰστρᾷ καὶ ὀδυνᾶται, μνήμην δ᾽ αὖ ἔχουσα τοῦ καλοῦ γέγηθεν.

ἐκ δὲ ἀμφοτέρων μεμειγμένων ἀδημονεῖ τε τῇ ἀτοπίᾳ τοῦ πάθους καὶ ἀποροῦσα λυττᾷ, καὶ ἐμμανὴς [251e] οὖσα οὔτε νυκτὸς δύναται καθεύδειν οὔτε μεθ᾽ ἡμέραν οὗ ἂν ᾖ μένειν, θεῖ δὲ ποθοῦσα ὅπου ἂν οἴηται ὄψεσθαι τὸν ἔχοντα τὸ κάλλος· ἰδοῦσα δὲ καὶ ἐποχετευσαμένη ἵμερον ἔλυσε μὲν τὰ τότε συμπεφραγμένα, ἀναπνοὴν δὲ λαβοῦσα κέντρων τε καὶ ὠδίνων ἔληξεν, ἡδονὴν δ᾽ αὖ ταύτην γλυκυτάτην ἐν τῷ [252a] παρόντι καρποῦται. ὅθεν δὴ ἑκοῦσα εἶναι οὐκ ἀπολείπεται, οὐδέ τινα τοῦ καλοῦ περὶ πλείονος ποιεῖται, ἀλλὰ μητέρων τε καὶ ἀδελφῶν καὶ ἑταίρων πάντων λέλησται, καὶ οὐσίας δι᾽ ἀμέλειαν ἀπολλυμένης παρ᾽ οὐδὲν τίθεται, νομίμων δὲ καὶ εὐσχημόνων, οἷς πρὸ τοῦ ἐκαλλωπίζετο, πάντων καταφρονήσασα δουλεύειν ἑτοίμη καὶ κοιμᾶσθαι ὅπου ἂν ἐᾷ τις ἐγγυτάτω τοῦ πόθου· πρὸς γὰρ τῷ σέβεσθαι τὸν τὸ κάλλος [252b] ἔχοντα ἰατρὸν ηὕρηκε μόνον τῶν μεγίστων πόνων.

τοῦτο δὲ τὸ πάθος, ὦ παῖ καλέ, πρὸς ὃν δή μοι ὁ λόγος, ἄνθρωποι μὲν ἔρωτα ὀνομάζουσιν, θεοὶ δὲ ὃ καλοῦσιν ἀκούσας εἰκότως διὰ νεότητα γελάσῃ. λέγουσι δὲ οἶμαί τινες Ὁμηριδῶν ἐκ τῶν ἀποθέτων ἐπῶν δύο ἔπη εἰς τὸν ἔρωτα, ὧν τὸ ἕτερον ὑβριστικὸν πάνυ καὶ οὐ σφόδρα τι ἔμμετρον· ὑμνοῦσι δὲ ὧδε--

[252c] τὸν δ᾽ ἤτοι θνητοὶ μὲν ἔρωτα καλοῦσι ποτηνόν,
ἀθάνατοι δὲ Πτέρωτα, διὰ πτεροφύτορ᾽ ἀνάγκην.

τούτοις δὴ ἔξεστι μὲν πείθεσθαι, ἔξεστιν δὲ μή· ὅμως δὲ ἥ γε αἰτία καὶ τὸ πάθος τῶν ἐρώντων τοῦτο ἐκεῖνο τυγχάνει ὄν.

τῶν μὲν οὖν Διὸς ὀπαδῶν ὁ ληφθεὶς ἐμβριθέστερον δύναται φέρειν τὸ τοῦ πτερωνύμου ἄχθος· ὅσοι δὲ Ἄρεώς τε θεραπευταὶ καὶ μετ᾽ ἐκείνου περιεπόλουν, ὅταν ὑπ᾽ Ἔρωτος ἁλῶσι καί τι οἰηθῶσιν ἀδικεῖσθαι ὑπὸ τοῦ ἐρωμένου, φονικοὶ καὶ ἕτοιμοι καθιερεύειν αὑτούς τε καὶ τὰ παιδικά.[252d] καὶ οὕτω καθ᾽ ἕκαστον θεόν, οὗ ἕκαστος ἦν χορευτής, ἐκεῖνον τιμῶν τε καὶ μιμούμενος εἰς τὸ δυνατὸν ζῇ, ἕως ἂν ᾖ ἀδιάφθορος καὶ τὴν τῇδε πρώτην γένεσιν βιοτεύῃ, καὶ τούτῳ τῷ τρόπῳ πρός τε τοὺς ἐρωμένους καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους ὁμιλεῖ τε καὶ προσφέρεται. τόν τε οὖν ἔρωτα τῶν καλῶν πρὸς τρόπου ἐκλέγεται ἕκαστος, καὶ ὡς θεὸν αὐτὸν ἐκεῖνον ὄντα ἑαυτῷ οἷον ἄγαλμα τεκταίνεταί τε καὶ κατακοσμεῖ, ὡς [252e] τιμήσων τε καὶ ὀργιάσων.

οἱ μὲν δὴ οὖν Διὸς δῖόν τινα εἶναι ζητοῦσι τὴν ψυχὴν τὸν ὑφ᾽ αὑτῶν ἐρώμενον· σκοποῦσιν οὖν εἰ φιλόσοφός τε καὶ ἡγεμονικὸς τὴν φύσιν, καὶ ὅταν αὐτὸν εὑρόντες ἐρασθῶσι, πᾶν ποιοῦσιν ὅπως τοιοῦτος ἔσται. ἐὰν οὖν μὴ πρότερον ἐμβεβῶσι τῷ ἐπιτηδεύματι, τότε ἐπιχειρήσαντες μανθάνουσί τε ὅθεν ἄν τι δύνωνται καὶ αὐτοὶ μετέρχονται, ἰχνεύοντες δὲ παρ᾽ ἑαυτῶν ἀνευρίσκειν [253a] τὴν τοῦ σφετέρου θεοῦ φύσιν εὐποροῦσι διὰ τὸ συντόνως ἠναγκάσθαι πρὸς τὸν θεὸν βλέπειν, καὶ ἐφαπτόμενοι αὐτοῦ τῇ μνήμῃ ἐνθουσιῶντες ἐξ ἐκείνου λαμβάνουσι τὰ ἔθη καὶ τὰ ἐπιτηδεύματα, καθ᾽ ὅσον δυνατὸν θεοῦ ἀνθρώπῳ μετασχεῖν· καὶ τούτων δὴ τὸν ἐρώμενον αἰτιώμενοι ἔτι τε μᾶλλον ἀγαπῶσι, κἂν ἐκ Διὸς ἀρύτωσιν ὥσπερ αἱ βάκχαι, ἐπὶ τὴν τοῦ ἐρωμένου ψυχὴν ἐπαντλοῦντες ποιοῦσιν ὡς δυνατὸν [253b] ὁμοιότατον τῷ σφετέρῳ θεῷ.

ὅσοι δ᾽ αὖ μεθ᾽ Ἥρας εἵποντο, βασιλικὸν ζητοῦσι, καὶ εὑρόντες περὶ τοῦτον πάντα δρῶσιν τὰ αὐτά. οἱ δὲ Ἀπόλλωνός τε καὶ ἑκάστου τῶν θεῶν οὕτω κατὰ τὸν θεὸν ἰόντες ζητοῦσι τὸν σφέτερον παῖδα πεφυκέναι, καὶ ὅταν κτήσωνται, μιμούμενοι αὐτοί τε καὶ τὰ παιδικὰ πείθοντες καὶ ῥυθμίζοντες εἰς τὸ ἐκείνου ἐπιτήδευμα καὶ ἰδέαν ἄγουσιν, ὅση ἑκάστῳ δύναμις, οὐ φθόνῳ οὐδ᾽ ἀνελευθέρῳ δυσμενείᾳ χρώμενοι πρὸς τὰ παιδικά, ἀλλ᾽ εἰς ὁμοιότητα [253c] αὑτοῖς καὶ τῷ θεῷ ὃν ἂν τιμῶσι πᾶσαν πάντως ὅτι μάλιστα πειρώμενοι ἄγειν οὕτω ποιοῦσι. προθυμία μὲν οὖν τῶν ὡς ἀληθῶς ἐρώντων καὶ τελετή, ἐάν γε διαπράξωνται ὃ προθυμοῦνται ᾗ λέγω, οὕτω καλή τε καὶ εὐδαιμονικὴ ὑπὸ τοῦ δι᾽ ἔρωτα μανέντος φίλου τῷ φιληθέντι γίγνεται, ἐὰν αἱρεθῇ· ἁλίσκεται δὲ δὴ ὁ αἱρεθεὶς τοιῷδε τρόπῳ.

καθάπερ ἐν ἀρχῇ τοῦδε τοῦ μύθου τριχῇ διείλομεν ψυχὴν ἑκάστην, ἱππομόρφω μὲν δύο τινὲ εἴδη, ἡνιοχικὸν δὲ εἶδος [253d] τρίτον, καὶ νῦν ἔτι ἡμῖν ταῦτα μενέτω. τῶν δὲ δὴ ἵππων ὁ μέν, φαμέν, ἀγαθός, ὁ δ᾽ οὔ· ἀρετὴ δὲ τίς τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ ἢ κακοῦ κακία, οὐ διείπομεν, νῦν δὲ λεκτέον.

ὁ μὲν τοίνυν αὐτοῖν ἐν τῇ καλλίονι στάσει ὢν τό τε εἶδος ὀρθὸς καὶ διηρθρωμένος, ὑψαύχην, ἐπίγρυπος, λευκὸς ἰδεῖν, μελανόμματος, τιμῆς ἐραστὴς μετὰ σωφροσύνης τε καὶ αἰδοῦς, καὶ ἀληθινῆς δόξης ἑταῖρος, ἄπληκτος, κελεύσματι μόνον καὶ [253e] λόγῳ ἡνιοχεῖται· ὁ δ᾽ αὖ σκολιός, πολύς, εἰκῇ συμπεφορημένος, κρατεραύχην, βραχυτράχηλος, σιμοπρόσωπος, μελάγχρως, γλαυκόμματος, ὕφαιμος, ὕβρεως καὶ ἀλαζονείας ἑταῖρος, περὶ ὦτα λάσιος, κωφός, μάστιγι μετὰ κέντρων μόγις ὑπείκων.

ὅταν δ᾽ οὖν ὁ ἡνίοχος ἰδὼν τὸ ἐρωτικὸν ὄμμα, πᾶσαν αἰσθήσει διαθερμήνας τὴν ψυχήν, γαργαλισμοῦ τε καὶ πόθου [254a] κέντρων ὑποπλησθῇ, ὁ μὲν εὐπειθὴς τῷ ἡνιόχῳ τῶν ἵππων, ἀεί τε καὶ τότε αἰδοῖ βιαζόμενος, ἑαυτὸν κατέχει μὴ ἐπιπηδᾶν τῷ ἐρωμένῳ· ὁ δὲ οὔτε κέντρων ἡνιοχικῶν οὔτε μάστιγος ἔτι ἐντρέπεται, σκιρτῶν δὲ βίᾳ φέρεται, καὶ πάντα πράγματα παρέχων τῷ σύζυγί τε καὶ ἡνιόχῳ ἀναγκάζει ἰέναι τε πρὸς τὰ παιδικὰ καὶ μνείαν ποιεῖσθαι τῆς τῶν ἀφροδισίων χάριτος. τὼ δὲ κατ᾽ ἀρχὰς μὲν ἀντιτείνετον [254b] ἀγανακτοῦντε, ὡς δεινὰ καὶ παράνομα ἀναγκαζομένω· τελευτῶντε δέ, ὅταν μηδὲν ᾖ πέρας κακοῦ, πορεύεσθον ἀγομένω, εἴξαντε καὶ ὁμολογήσαντε ποιήσειν τὸ κελευόμενον. καὶ πρὸς αὐτῷ τ᾽ ἐγένοντο καὶ εἶδον τὴν ὄψιν τὴν τῶν παιδικῶν ἀστράπτουσαν. ἰδόντος δὲ τοῦ ἡνιόχου ἡ μνήμη πρὸς τὴν τοῦ κάλλους φύσιν ἠνέχθη, καὶ πάλιν εἶδεν αὐτὴν μετὰ σωφροσύνης ἐν ἁγνῷ βάθρῳ βεβῶσαν· ἰδοῦσα δὲ ἔδεισέ τε καὶ σεφθεῖσα ἀνέπεσεν ὑπτία, καὶ ἅμα ἠναγκάσθη εἰς [254c] τοὐπίσω ἑλκύσαι τὰς ἡνίας οὕτω σφόδρα, ὥστ᾽ ἐπὶ τὰ ἰσχία ἄμφω καθίσαι τὼ ἵππω, τὸν μὲν ἑκόντα διὰ τὸ μὴ ἀντιτείνειν, τὸν δὲ ὑβριστὴν μάλ᾽ ἄκοντα. ἀπελθόντε δὲ ἀπωτέρω, ὁ μὲν ὑπ᾽ αἰσχύνης τε καὶ θάμβους ἱδρῶτι πᾶσαν ἔβρεξε τὴν ψυχήν, ὁ δὲ λήξας τῆς ὀδύνης, ἣν ὑπὸ τοῦ χαλινοῦ τε ἔσχεν καὶ τοῦ πτώματος, μόγις ἐξαναπνεύσας ἐλοιδόρησεν ὀργῇ, πολλὰ κακίζων τόν τε ἡνίοχον καὶ τὸν ὁμόζυγα ὡς δειλίᾳ τε καὶ ἀνανδρίᾳ λιπόντε τὴν τάξιν καὶ [254d] ὁμολογίαν· καὶ πάλιν οὐκ ἐθέλοντας προσιέναι ἀναγκάζων μόγις συνεχώρησεν δεομένων εἰς αὖθις ὑπερβαλέσθαι. ἐλθόντος δὲ τοῦ συντεθέντος χρόνου [οὗ] ἀμνημονεῖν προσποιουμένω ἀναμιμνῄσκων, βιαζόμενος, χρεμετίζων, ἕλκων ἠνάγκασεν αὖ προσελθεῖν τοῖς παιδικοῖς ἐπὶ τοὺς αὐτοὺς λόγους, καὶ ἐπειδὴ ἐγγὺς ἦσαν, ἐγκύψας καὶ ἐκτείνας τὴν κέρκον, ἐνδακὼν τὸν χαλινόν, μετ᾽ ἀναιδείας ἕλκει· ὁ δ᾽ [254e] ἡνίοχος ἔτι μᾶλλον ταὐτὸν πάθος παθών, ὥσπερ ἀπὸ ὕσπληγος ἀναπεσών, ἔτι μᾶλλον τοῦ ὑβριστοῦ ἵππου ἐκ τῶν ὀδόντων βίᾳ ὀπίσω σπάσας τὸν χαλινόν, τήν τε κακηγόρον γλῶτταν καὶ τὰς γνάθους καθῄμαξεν καὶ τὰ σκέλη τε καὶ τὰ ἰσχία πρὸς τὴν γῆν ἐρείσας ὀδύναις ἔδωκεν. ὅταν δὲ ταὐτὸν πολλάκις πάσχων ὁ πονηρὸς τῆς ὕβρεως λήξῃ, ταπεινωθεὶς ἕπεται ἤδη τῇ τοῦ ἡνιόχου προνοίᾳ, καὶ ὅταν ἴδῃ τὸν καλόν, φόβῳ διόλλυται· ὥστε συμβαίνει τότ᾽ ἤδη τὴν τοῦ ἐραστοῦ ψυχὴν τοῖς παιδικοῖς αἰδουμένην τε καὶ δεδιυῖαν [255a] ἕπεσθαι.

ἅτε οὖν πᾶσαν θεραπείαν ὡς ἰσόθεος θεραπευόμενος οὐχ ὑπὸ σχηματιζομένου τοῦ ἐρῶντος ἀλλ᾽ ἀληθῶς τοῦτο πεπονθότος, καὶ αὐτὸς ὢν φύσει φίλος τῷ θεραπεύοντι, ἐὰν ἄρα καὶ ἐν τῷ πρόσθεν ὑπὸ συμφοιτητῶν ἤ τινων ἄλλων διαβεβλημένος ᾖ, λεγόντων ὡς αἰσχρὸν ἐρῶντι πλησιάζειν, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ἀπωθῇ τὸν ἐρῶντα, προϊόντος δὲ ἤδη τοῦ χρόνου ἥ τε ἡλικία καὶ τὸ χρεὼν ἤγαγεν εἰς [255b] τὸ προσέσθαι αὐτὸν εἰς ὁμιλίαν· οὐ γὰρ δήποτε εἵμαρται κακὸν κακῷ φίλον οὐδ᾽ ἀγαθὸν μὴ φίλον ἀγαθῷ εἶναι. προσεμένου δὲ καὶ λόγον καὶ ὁμιλίαν δεξαμένου, ἐγγύθεν ἡ εὔνοια γιγνομένη τοῦ ἐρῶντος ἐκπλήττει τὸν ἐρώμενον διαισθανόμενον ὅτι οὐδ᾽ οἱ σύμπαντες ἄλλοι φίλοι τε καὶ οἰκεῖοι μοῖραν φιλίας οὐδεμίαν παρέχονται πρὸς τὸν ἔνθεον φίλον. ὅταν δὲ χρονίζῃ τοῦτο δρῶν καὶ πλησιάζῃ μετὰ τοῦ ἅπτεσθαι ἔν τε γυμνασίοις καὶ ἐν ταῖς ἄλλαις ὁμιλίαις, [255c] τότ᾽ ἤδη ἡ τοῦ ῥεύματος ἐκείνου πηγή, ὃν ἵμερον Ζεὺς Γανυμήδους ἐρῶν ὠνόμασε, πολλὴ φερομένη πρὸς τὸν ἐραστήν, ἡ μὲν εἰς αὐτὸν ἔδυ, ἡ δ᾽ ἀπομεστουμένου ἔξω ἀπορρεῖ· καὶ οἷον πνεῦμα ἤ τις ἠχὼ ἀπὸ λείων τε καὶ στερεῶν ἁλλομένη πάλιν ὅθεν ὡρμήθη φέρεται, οὕτω τὸ τοῦ κάλλους ῥεῦμα πάλιν εἰς τὸν καλὸν διὰ τῶν ὀμμάτων ἰόν, ᾗ πέφυκεν ἐπὶ τὴν ψυχὴν ἰέναι ἀφικόμενον καὶ ἀναπτερῶσαν, [255d] τὰς διόδους τῶν πτερῶν ἄρδει τε καὶ ὥρμησε πτεροφυεῖν τε καὶ τὴν τοῦ ἐρωμένου αὖ ψυχὴν ἔρωτος ἐνέπλησεν.

ἐρᾷ μὲν οὖν, ὅτου δὲ ἀπορεῖ· καὶ οὔθ᾽ ὅτι πέπονθεν οἶδεν οὐδ᾽ ἔχει φράσαι, ἀλλ᾽ οἷον ἀπ᾽ ἄλλου ὀφθαλμίας ἀπολελαυκὼς πρόφασιν εἰπεῖν οὐκ ἔχει, ὥσπερ δὲ ἐν κατόπτρῳ ἐν τῷ ἐρῶντι ἑαυτὸν ὁρῶν λέληθεν.

καὶ ὅταν μὲν ἐκεῖνος παρῇ, λήγει κατὰ ταὐτὰ ἐκείνῳ τῆς ὀδύνης, ὅταν δὲ ἀπῇ, κατὰ ταὐτὰ αὖ ποθεῖ καὶ ποθεῖται, εἴδωλον [255e] ἔρωτος ἀντέρωτα ἔχων· καλεῖ δὲ αὐτὸν καὶ οἴεται οὐκ ἔρωτα ἀλλὰ φιλίαν εἶναι. ἐπιθυμεῖ δὲ ἐκείνῳ παραπλησίως μέν, ἀσθενεστέρως δέ, ὁρᾶν, ἅπτεσθαι, φιλεῖν, συγκατακεῖσθαι· καὶ δή, οἷον εἰκός, ποιεῖ τὸ μετὰ τοῦτο ταχὺ ταῦτα. ἐν οὖν τῇ συγκοιμήσει τοῦ μὲν ἐραστοῦ ὁ ἀκόλαστος ἵππος ἔχει ὅτι λέγῃ πρὸς τὸν ἡνίοχον, καὶ ἀξιοῖ ἀντὶ πολλῶν πόνων [256a] σμικρὰ ἀπολαῦσαι· ὁ δὲ τῶν παιδικῶν ἔχει μὲν οὐδὲν εἰπεῖν, σπαργῶν δὲ καὶ ἀπορῶν περιβάλλει τὸν ἐραστὴν καὶ φιλεῖ, ὡς σφόδρ᾽ εὔνουν ἀσπαζόμενος, ὅταν τε συγκατακέωνται, οἷός ἐστι μὴ ἂν ἀπαρνηθῆναι τὸ αὑτοῦ μέρος χαρίσασθαι τῷ ἐρῶντι, εἰ δεηθείη τυχεῖν· ὁ δὲ ὁμόζυξ αὖ μετὰ τοῦ ἡνιόχου πρὸς ταῦτα μετ᾽ αἰδοῦς καὶ λόγου ἀντιτείνει.

ἐὰν μὲν δὴ οὖν εἰς τεταγμένην τε δίαιταν καὶ φιλοσοφίαν νικήσῃ τὰ βελτίω τῆς διανοίας ἀγαγόντα, μακάριον μὲν [256b] καὶ ὁμονοητικὸν τὸν ἐνθάδε βίον διάγουσιν, ἐγκρατεῖς αὑτῶν καὶ κόσμιοι ὄντες, δουλωσάμενοι μὲν ᾧ κακία ψυχῆς ἐνεγίγνετο, ἐλευθερώσαντες δὲ ᾧ ἀρετή· τελευτήσαντες δὲ δὴ ὑπόπτεροι καὶ ἐλαφροὶ γεγονότες τῶν τριῶν παλαισμάτων τῶν ὡς ἀληθῶς Ὀλυμπιακῶν ἓν νενικήκασιν, οὗ μεῖζον ἀγαθὸν οὔτε σωφροσύνη ἀνθρωπίνη οὔτε θεία μανία δυνατὴ πορίσαι ἀνθρώπῳ.

ἐὰν δὲ δὴ διαίτῃ φορτικωτέρᾳ τε καὶ [256c] ἀφιλοσόφῳ, φιλοτίμῳ δὲ χρήσωνται, τάχ᾽ ἄν που ἐν μέθαις ἤ τινι ἄλλῃ ἀμελείᾳ τὼ ἀκολάστω αὐτοῖν ὑποζυγίω λαβόντε τὰς ψυχὰς ἀφρούρους, συναγαγόντε εἰς ταὐτόν, τὴν ὑπὸ τῶν πολλῶν μακαριστὴν αἵρεσιν εἱλέσθην τε καὶ διεπραξάσθην· καὶ διαπραξαμένω τὸ λοιπὸν ἤδη χρῶνται μὲν αὐτῇ, σπανίᾳ δέ, ἅτε οὐ πάσῃ δεδογμένα τῇ διανοίᾳ πράττοντες. φίλω μὲν οὖν καὶ τούτω, ἧττον δὲ ἐκείνων, ἀλλήλοιν [256d] διά τε τοῦ ἔρωτος καὶ ἔξω γενομένω διάγουσι, πίστεις τὰς μεγίστας ἡγουμένω ἀλλήλοιν δεδωκέναι τε καὶ δεδέχθαι, ἃς οὐ θεμιτὸν εἶναι λύσαντας εἰς ἔχθραν ποτὲ ἐλθεῖν. ἐν δὲ τῇ τελευτῇ ἄπτεροι μέν, ὡρμηκότες δὲ πτεροῦσθαι ἐκβαίνουσι τοῦ σώματος, ὥστε οὐ σμικρὸν ἆθλον τῆς ἐρωτικῆς μανίας φέρονται· εἰς γὰρ σκότον καὶ τὴν ὑπὸ γῆς πορείαν οὐ νόμος ἐστὶν ἔτι ἐλθεῖν τοῖς κατηργμένοις ἤδη τῆς ὑπουρανίου πορείας, ἀλλὰ φανὸν βίον διάγοντας εὐδαιμονεῖν [256e] μετ᾽ ἀλλήλων πορευομένους, καὶ ὁμοπτέρους ἔρωτος χάριν, ὅταν γένωνται, γενέσθαι.

ταῦτα τοσαῦτα, ὦ παῖ, καὶ θεῖα οὕτω σοι δωρήσεται ἡ παρ᾽ ἐραστοῦ φιλία· ἡ δὲ ἀπὸ τοῦ μὴ ἐρῶντος οἰκειότης, σωφροσύνῃ θνητῇ κεκραμένη, θνητά τε καὶ φειδωλὰ οἰκονομοῦσα, ἀνελευθερίαν ὑπὸ πλήθους ἐπαινουμένην ὡς ἀρετὴν [257a] τῇ φίλῃ ψυχῇ ἐντεκοῦσα, ἐννέα χιλιάδας ἐτῶν περὶ γῆν κυλινδουμένην αὐτὴν καὶ ὑπὸ γῆς ἄνουν παρέξει.

αὕτη σοι, ὦ φίλε Ἔρως, εἰς ἡμετέραν δύναμιν ὅτι καλλίστη καὶ ἀρίστη δέδοταί τε καὶ ἐκτέτεισται παλινῳδία, τά τε ἄλλα καὶ τοῖς ὀνόμασιν ἠναγκασμένη ποιητικοῖς τισιν διὰ Φαῖδρον εἰρῆσθαι. ἀλλὰ τῶν προτέρων τε συγγνώμην καὶ τῶνδε χάριν ἔχων, εὐμενὴς καὶ ἵλεως τὴν ἐρωτικήν μοι τέχνην ἣν ἔδωκας μήτε ἀφέλῃ μήτε πηρώσῃς δι᾽ ὀργήν, δίδου τ᾽ ἔτι μᾶλλον ἢ νῦν παρὰ τοῖς καλοῖς τίμιον εἶναι.