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FEDRO

Platão (Fedro:237a-242b) — Primeiro discurso de Sócrates

PRIMEIRA PARTE

quarta-feira 8 de dezembro de 2021, por Cardoso de Castro

      
  • Críticas sobre o fundo do discurso de Lysias (237a-257b)
    • O primeiro discurso de Sócrates (237a-241d)
      • Invocação às Musas  
      • Introdução: necessidade   de uma definição
      • Desenvolvimento
        • o que é o amor
        • vantagens e danos esperados para o amado   da parte do amoroso
          • quando ele ama
            • ele é daninho
            • ele é desagradável
              • por sua presença cotidiana
              • pela exigência que impõe
          • quando ele não ama mais
      • Conclusão
    • Intermezzo: necessidade de uma palinodia (241d-243e)
      • Sócrates para de falar, quer partir
      • o sinal divino   o impede disto
      • necessidade de uma expiação
        • a falta de Sócrates
        • a palinodia
          • aquela de Stesichore
          • aquela de Sócrates
      

Nunes

SÓCRATES: - A vós invoco, Musas  ! Pouco importa que vos chameis "sonoras" por causa   da doçura do vosso canto   ou que esse epíteto vos venha do musical povo dos lígios! Auxiliai-me no discurso que este ótimo homem   me obriga a fazer, para que seu amigo, que já antes se lhe afigurava sábio, seja considerado mais sábio ainda!

Pois bem: houve outrora um rapaz belíssimo, ou melhor, houve um mancebo que tinha grande número   de adoradores. Um destes era muito esperto. Ele, que realmente amava o rapaz como todos os outros, convenceu-o de que não o amava. Ao tentar conquistá-lo, esforçou-se por persuadi-lo de que antes se devem conceder favores ao que não ama do que ao apaixonado. Um dia   dirigiu-lhe o seguinte discurso: em todas as coisas, meu rapaz, para que se tome uma resolução sábia é mister saber sobre o que se delibera, pois, de outro modo, certamente nos enganamos. A maioria dos homens não nota, entretanto, que ignora a essência das coisas. Isso porém não os impede de acreditar erroneamente que a conhecem; segue-se daí que no começo de uma pesquisa não definem as suas opiniões, acontecendo depois o que era esperado: tais pessoas não concordam consigo mesmas, nem umas com as outras. Evitemos, pois, esse defeito   que censuramos nos outros. Como se trata de saber se é melhor ter amizade   com alguém que ama do que com alguém que não ama, começaremos assim estabelecendo uma definição do amor, da sua natureza e dos efeitos, definição que deverá satisfazer a opinião   de nós ambos; havemos de nos referir sempre a esses princípios, e, reduzindo desse modo toda a discussão, examinaremos se o amor traz vantagens ou prejuízos.

É evidente   que o amor é desejo. Sabemos, porém, que os que não amam também desejam os objetos que são belos. Como, pois, distinguiremos entre o que ama e o que não ama? Devemos, além disso, examinar o seguinte: em cada um de nós há dois   princípios que nos governa e conduzem, e nós os seguimos para onde nos levam: um é o desejo inato do prazer, outro a opinião que pretende obter o que é melhor. Essas duas tendências que existem dentro de nós concordam por vezes, em outras entram em conflito, por vezes vence uma e por vezes a outra. Ora, quando a tendência que se inspira na razão   é a que vence, conduzindo-nos ao que é melhor, chama-se a isso temperança; quando, pelo contrário, o desejo nos arrasta sem deliberação   para os prazeres, e é ele que predomina em nós, isso se chama intemperança. A palavra   intemperança, contudo, tem vários sentidos, é compreendida de muitas maneiras  , e o sentido que se tornou característico faz com que o homem que possui essa tendência receba o nome correspondente, e não é belo nem honorífico recebê-lo. O desejo que se relaciona com o comer e que, como os outros desejos, suplanta a noção do que é melhor, chama-se "glutoneria". Ela confere àquele que a possui, o nome correspondente de "glutão". Quando é o desejo da bebida que exerce a sua tirania, sabe-se qual o nome vergonhoso que se dá àqueles que se abandonam à bebida. Enfim, o mesmo acontece com todos os outros desejos dessa família. Já se torna quase manifesto   a que espécie de desejo foi dedicada a exposição que antecedeu. Entretanto, creio que devo explicar-me mais claramente. Quando o desejo, que não é dirigido pela razão, esmaga em nossa alma   o desejo do bem e se dirige exclusivamente para o prazer que a beleza promete, e quando ele se lança, com toda a força que os desejos intemperantes possuem, o seu poder   é irresistível. Esta força todo-poderosa, irresistível, chama-se Eros ou Amor. Mas, meu caro Fedro  , não te parece que eu estou falando sob uma inspiração divina?

FEDRO: - Sim, caro Sócrates  , uma eloquência desacostumada se assenhoreou de ti.

SÓCRATES: - Então ouve em silêncio! Na verdade  , este lugar   parece ser divino  . Não deves admirar-te se durante o discurso as ninfas tomarem posse de mim, pois o que estou dizendo já se assemelha muito a um ditirambo.

FEDRO: - Tens toda a razão.

SÓCRATES: - E a culpa é tua. Ouve agora o resto, pois pode ser que a inspiração se acabe! Isso, porém, deixemos ao arbítrio   da divindade. Voltemos ao discurso dirigido ao rapaz.

Muito bem, meu amigo! Já ficou bem explicado o tema da nossa discussão. Já definimos a sua natureza. Vamos adiante e, sem perder de vista os nossos princípios, examinemos as vantagens e os inconvenientes que advirão provavelmente a alguém que concede favores a quem ama e a quem não ama.

Naturalmente, um homem governado pelo desejo e escravo   da volúpia procurará no seu amado o máximo do prazer. Ora, o apaixonado gosta de tudo o que não lhe opõe resistência e odeia tudo o que lhe é superior ou igual. Por isso, o amante verá com impaciência um superior ou um igual no seu amado e fará tudo para que lhe seja inferior   e menos perfeito. Ora, o ignorante é inferior ao sábio, o covarde ao corajoso, o incapaz de falar ao orador, o tolo ao inteligente. Quando semelhantes deficiências se instalam no espírito   do amado, ou quando lhe são próprias por natureza, o amante necessariamente se alegrara e procurará acentuar tais defeitos, pois do contrário correrá o risco de perder seus prazeres momentâneos. É forçoso que o amante apaixonado inveje o amado, impedindo-lhe muitas convivências úteis que poderiam fazer dele um bom homem, e causando-lhe assim um grande prejuízo. O maior prejuízo, porém, que o apaixonado acarreta ao objeto do seu amor é privá-lo daquilo que daria pleno   desenvolvimento à sua inteligência, isto é, a divina filosofia, da qual o amante necessariamente afasta o amado. Ele tem medo de ser desprezado pelo rapaz, e é claro que fará tudo quanto puder para que este se torne um perfeito ignorante e em tudo se oriente pelo pensar dele, amante. Essa situação   do amado é, para o amante, agradável, mas nociva para o próprio   rapaz. Portanto, do ponto de vista espiritual o amante apaixonado nem é bom tutor nem um companheiro útil.

Passemos agora ao corpo, à sua compleição e aos cuidados que se devem ter com ele. Qual é essa compleição?Que cuidados dará a ele ao corpo daquele de quem é senhor  ?

Observaremos que o apaixonado vai procurar um efeminado e não um forte  ; que deseja possuir um homem que não tenha crescido à luz do sol   mas ao abrigo de uma sombra  , um homem que não conheça trabalhos masculinos nem suores fortes, um homem acostumado a um gênero   de vida algo impróprio do seu sexo, um homem que procura   substituir   as boas qualidades que lhe faltam por cores adornos exóticos. Tal fato é tão evidente que não vale a pena   discuti-lo mais pormenorizadamente; mencionaremos apenas o ponto principal que a ele se prende. O aspecto de tal corpo na guerra   e em outras situações sérias torna os inimigos corajosos, ao passo que os amigos, e também os próprios amantes, inevitavelmente temerão por ele. Isto, porém, é fato que não sofre dúvida e podemos abandonar o assunto.

Agora devemos examinar que vantagens e que prejuízos, no tocante à fortuna, nos oferecer  ão o convívio com o amante e sua prote  ção. Uma coisa é evidente para todos, e em primeiro lugar   para o próprio amante: ele deseja, acima de tudo, que seu amado seja privado dos mais ambicionáveis, mais agradáveis e mais divinos bens. A esse homem convém que o amado perca o pai  , a mãe, os parentes e os amigos, pois os considera como opositores e censores do gênero de convivência que a ele á mais agradável. Quando, porém, o amado possui uma fortuna em ouro   ou em outros objetos de valor  , afigurar-se-á ao amante que não é muito fácil conquistar o rapaz e, caso este se deixe conquistar, não será muito obediente. De tudo isso se conclui que o amante inveja   o amado quando este recebe uma fortuna e alegra-se quando o mesmo a perde. O amante não deseja que o objeto do seu amor se case, que tenha filhos, que possua um lar, pois sua intenção é gozar, o mais longamente que puder, o seu prazer egoísta, o gozo do seu doce fruto  .

Há muitos outros males, mas à maior parte deles um ente   sobrenatural parece haver misturado algum momentâneo prazer. Assim, o lisonjeiro, por exemplo, é horrível monstro e traz grandes prejuízos, mas, simultaneamente, a natureza lhe conferiu certo atrativo que não deixa de ter seu encanto. Poder-se-ia chamar nociva também a uma prostituta, e o mesmo a várias outras criaturas duvidosas, e a costumes que proporcionam um prazer deleitoso, porém efêmero. O mesmo se dá com o apaixonado em relação   com os seus amores. Ele não é apenas nocivo. Sua assiduidade o torna terrivelmente desagradável. Diz um velho provérbio que cada um gosta de conviver com os que são da sua idade. Segundo penso, a mesma idade conduz aos mesmos prazeres e essa semelhança   engendra amizade. Mas, apesar disso, uma dessas convivências levada ao exagero resultará em saciedade também é coisa que todos consideram desagradável. Ainda mais evidente e desagradável é ela no que diz respeito à diferença   da idade, sobretudo na companhia de um amante que a idade afasta daquele que ele ama. Se é velho, persegue o objeto do seu amor e não o larga nem durante o dia nem durante a noite; é aguilhoado pelo desejo intenso, sente prazer todas as vezes que vê o amado ou lhe ouve a voz, ou lhe toca, ou, enfim, o percebe por qualquer dos sentidos; com prazer se aproxima dele e incessantemente o acaricia. Mas que consolação e que divertimentos poderá dar ele ao amado, para que este, que tem de permanecer tanto tempo   em sua companhia, não sinta desprazer? O moço está diante de um ser enrugado, afligido pelos achaques da velhice, e a isso se adicionam outras coisas que acompanham essa visão e que de fato só são suportadas com repugnância. Resguardado contra todos com desconfiança, fiscalizando no que faz e no que diz, ouve ainda do objeto amado, do seu apaixonado, elogios inconvenientes e exagerados, e também repreensões que seriam insuportáveis mesmo nos lábios de um homem sóbrio, mas quando se acrescentam à embriaguez não só são insuportáveis mas ofensivas, pois um homem desses usa expressões aborrecidas, despudoradas e atrevidas que causam mágoa, raiva  , dor   e desprazer. Pois bem: quando o amante está apaixonado, é desagradável é prejudicial; quando, porém, seu amor termina, ele se revela como homem indigno de confiança; trairá aquele que seduzira com promessas magníficas, com os seus juramentos e a sua devoção. Outrora, tratou de conservar o convívio de seu amado acenando-lhe com a esperança de grandes bens, porque a convivência em si era desagradável. Agora, porém, que chegou a ocasião de cumprir suas promessas, ei-lo transformado em outro homem sem que seu amado o tenha notado. Em seu íntimo, rendeu-se a outro soberano e guia  , à ponderação e à sobriedade  , abandonando o amor e a loucura. O amado, que agora espera gratidão   pelos favores concedidos, lembra-lhe o que ambos faziam e diziam outrora, julgando falar ainda com o mesmo homem. Mas o amante tem vergonha   de dizer que se tornou outro, e além disso é incapaz de cumprir as promessas e juramentos feitos sob o domínio da loucura da paixão. Como adquiriu juízo e sabedoria, não quer fazer o mesmo que antes, para não se tornar de novo semelhante ao que era em outro tempo. Em consequência disso se torna esquivo; o antigo amante perdeu seu amor, devido às circunstâncias; o caco caiu de outro modo, e o amante foge do amado, trocando-se os papéis. O outro, vendo-se na necessidade   de persegui-lo, encoleriza-se contra ele e pragueja; não compreendeu, no começo, que não devia ter conhecidos favores ao homem outrora apaixonado e insensato, mas sim a quem, não se achando dominado pela paixão, soubesse proceder com juízo. Entregando-se ao apaixonado, abandonou-se a um homem sem palavra, de convívio desagradável, a um homem cheio de inveja, que só lhe causou desprazer, nocivo para a sua fortuna, para a sua educação física e, acima de tudo, para a sua educação espiritual, o mais estimável de todos os bens que existem ou poderão existir, tanto para os homens quanto para os deuses.

Eis, caro rapaz, o que é necessário ter em mente  ; devem saber que o amor de um homem apaixonado não provém de um sentimento   benévolo, mas, como o apetite ao comer, da necessidade de satisfazê-lo.

"Como o lobo ama o cordeiro, ama o apaixonado o seu amado".

Meu caro Fedro, eis tudo o que tenho a dizer. Nada a mais ouviras desta boca. Meu discurso está terminado.

FEDRO: - Pois eu julgava que fosse apenas a metade. Supunha que fosses dizer outro tanto sobre o homem não apaixonado, demonstrando que se lhe devem conceder mais favores e expondo as vantagens que isso nos traz. Por que terminaste aí, caro Sócrates?

SÓCRATES: - Não notaste, meu amigo, que já deixei de falar em ditirambos e passei ao ritmo da epopeia? Não notaste que estou a censurar? Que achas que eu faria se começasse a louvar o outro? Não vês que eu seria tomado de entusiasmo  , sob a influência das ninfas às quais manhosamente me entregaste? Dir-te-ei tudo numa palavra: as mesmas coisas que repreendemos em um se acham no outro, mas

transformadas nos seus contrários, isto é, em bem. Será necessário pronunciar um longo discurso a esse respeito? O que já foi dito basta para os dois. Que o meu discurso tenha o destino que merece. Agora, antes que me obrigues a falar mais, vou atravessar o riacho e afastar-me.

FEDRO: - Ainda não, caro Sócrates! Espera até que passe o calor  ! Acaso não vês que é quase meio-dia   [o que se chama a hora do máximo calor]? É melhor esperarmos, conversando, enquanto isso, sobre o assunto discutido. Depois, quando refrescar, iremos.

SÓCRATES: - Oh! Tu és divino com os teus discursos, caro Fedro! És verdadeiramente admirável! Creio que ninguém em sua vida deu origem   a tantos discursos, quer os tenhas redigido tu mesmo, quer tenhas instigado outros a fazê-los. A única exceção é o tebano Símias, mas a todos os demais sobrepujaste. Parece-me que agora me provocaste a fazer um segundo discurso.

FEDRO: - O que dizes está longe de me incomodar. Mas como sucedeu isso?

ARCIS

SÓCRATES.—Venid, musas ligias, nombre que debéis a la dulzura de vuestros cantos1, o a la pasión de los ligienses2 por vuestras divinas melodías; yo os invoco, sostened mi debilidad en este discurso, que me arranca mi buen amigo, sin duda para añadir un nuevo título, después de otros muchos, a la gloria de su querido Lisias. Había un joven, o más bien un mozalbete en la flor de su juvenil belleza, que contaba con gran número de adoradores. Uno   de ellos, más astuto, pero no menos enamorado que los demás, había conseguido persuadirle de que no le tenía amor. Y un día que solicitaba sus favores, intentó probarle que era preciso acceder a su indiferencia primero que a la pasión de los demás. He aquí su discurso:

“En todas las cosas, querido mío, para tomar una sabia resolución, es preciso comenzar por averiguar sobre qué se va a tratar, porque de no ser así, se incurriría en mil errores. La mayor parte de los hombres ignoran la esencia de las cosas, y en su ignorancia, de que apenas se dan cuenta, desprecian desde el principio plantear la cuestión. Así es que, avanzando en la discusión, les sucede necesariamente no entenderse, ni con los demás, ni consigo mismos. Evitemos este defecto, que echamos en cara a los demás; y puesto que se trata de saber si debe uno   entregarse al amante o al que no lo es, comencemos por fijar la definición del amor, su naturaleza y sus efectos, y refiriéndonos sin cesar a estos principios y estrechando a ellos la discusión, examinemos si es útil o dañoso.

“Que el amor es un deseo, es una verdad evidente; así como es evidente que el deseo de las cosas bellas no es siempre el amor. ¿Bajo qué signo   distinguiremos al que ama y al que no ama? Cada uno de nosotros debe reconocer que hay dos principios que le gobiernan, que le dirigen, y cuyo impulso, cualquiera que sea, determina sus movimientos; el uno es el deseo instintivo del placer, y el otro el gusto reflexivo del bien. Tan pronto estos dos principios están en armonía, tan pronto se combaten, y la victoria pertenece indistintamente, ya a uno ya a otro. Cuando el gusto del bien, que la razón nos inspira, se apodera del alma entera, se llama sabiduría; cuando el deseo reflexivo que nos arrastra hacia el placer llega a dominar, recibe el nombre de intemperancia. Pero la intemperancia muda de nombre, según los diferentes objetos sobre que se ejercita y de las formas diversas que viste, y el hombre dominado por la pasión, según la forma particular bajo la que se manifiesta en él, recibe un nombre que no es bueno ni honroso llevar. Así, cuando el ansia de manjares supera a la vez al gusto del bien, inspirado por la razón y los demás deseos, se llama glotonería, y a los entregados a esta pasión se les da el epíteto de glotones. Cuando es el deseo de la bebida el que ejerce esta tiranía, ya se sabe el titulo injurioso que se da al que a él se abandona. En fin, lo mismo sucede con todos los deseos de esta clase, y nadie ignora los nombres degradantes que suelen aplicarse a los que son víctima de su tiranía. Ya es fácil adivinar la persona a que voy a parar después de este preámbulo; sin embargo, creo que debo explicarme con toda claridad. Cuando el deseo irracional, sofocando en nuestra alma este gusto del bien, se entrega por entero al placer que promete la belleza, y cuando se lanza con todo el enjambre de deseos de la misma clase sólo a la belleza corporal, su poder se hace irresistible, y sacando su nombre de esta fuerza omnipotente, se le llama amor.”

Y bien, mi querido Fedro, ¿no te parece, como a mí, que estoy inspirado por alguna divinidad?

FEDRO.—En efecto, Sócrates, las palabras corren con una afluencia inusitada.

SÓCRATES.—Silencio, y escúchame, porque en verdad este lugar tiene algo de divino, y si en el curso de mi exposición las ninfas de estas riberas me inspirasen algunos rasgos entusiastas, no te sorprendas. Ya me considero poco distante del tono del ditirambo.

FEDRO.—Nada más cierto.

SÓCRATES.—Tú eres la causa. Pero escucha el resto de mi discurso, porque la inspiración podría abandonarme. En todo caso, esto corresponde al dios   que me posee, y nosotros continuemos hablando de nuestro joven.

“Pues bien, amigo mío, ya hemos determinado el objeto que nos ocupa, y hemos definido su naturaleza. Pasemos adelante, y sin perder de vista nuestros principios, examinemos las ventajas o los inconvenientes de las diferencias que se pueden tener, sea para con un amante, sea para con un amigo libre de amor. El que está poseído por un deseo y dominado por el deleite, debe necesariamente buscar en el objeto de su amor el mayor placer posible. Un espíritu enfermo encuentra su placer en abandonarse por completo   a sus caprichos, mientras que todo lo que le contraría o le provoca le es insoportable. El hombre enamorado verá con impaciencia a uno que le sea superior

o igual para con el objeto de su amor, y trabajará sin tregua en rebajarle y humillarle hasta verle debajo. El ignorante es inferior al sabio; el cobarde, al valiente; el que no sabe hablar, al orador brillante y fácil; el de espíritu tardo, al de genio vivo y desenvuelto. Estos defectos y aun otros más vergonzosos regocijarán al amante si los encuentra en el objeto de su amor, y en el caso contrario, procurará hacerlos nacer en su alma, o sufrirá mucho en la prosecución de sus placeres efímeros  . Pero, sobre todo, será celoso; prohibirá al que ama todas las relaciones que puedan hacerle más perfecto, más hombre; le causará un gran perjuicio, y en fin, le hará un mal irreparable, alejándole de lo que podría ilustrar su alma; quiero decir, de la divina filosofía; el amante querrá necesariamente desviar   de este estudio al que ama, por temor de hacerse para él un objeto de desprecio. Por último, se esforzará en todo y por todo en mantenerle en la ignorancia, para obligarle a no tener más ojos que los del mismo amante, y le será tanto más agradable cuanto más daño se haga a sí mismo. Por consiguiente, bajo la relación moral, no hay guía más malo ni compañero más funesto que un hombre enamorado.

“Veamos ahora lo que los cuidados de un amante, cuya pasión precisa a sacrificar lo bello y lo honesto a lo agradable, harán del cuerpo que posee. Se le verá rebuscar a un joven delicado   y sin vigor, educado a la sombra y no a la claridad del sol, extraño a los varoniles trabajos y a los ejercicios gimnásticos, acostumbrado a una vida muelle de delicias, supliendo con perfumes y artificios la belleza que ha perdido, y en fin, no teniendo nada en su persona y en sus costumbres que no corresponda a este retrato. Todo esto es evidente, y es inútil insistir más en ello. Observaremos solamente, resumiendo, antes de pasar a otras consideraciones, que en la guerra y en las demás ocasiones peligrosas este joven afeminado sólo podrá inspirar audacia a sus enemigos y temor a sus amigos y a sus amantes. Pero, repito, dejemos estas reflexiones, cuya verdad es manifiesta.

“También debemos examinar en qué el trato y la influencia de un amante pueden ser útiles o dañosos, no al alma y al cuerpo, sino a los bienes del objeto amado. Es claro para todo el mundo, sobre todo para el mismo amante, que nada hay que desee tanto como ver a la persona amada privada de lo más precioso, más estimado y más sagrado   que tiene. Le vería con gusto perder su padre, su madre, sus parientes, sus amigos, que mira como censores y como obstáculos a su dulce comercio. Si la persona amada posee grandes bienes en dinero o en tierras, sabe que le será más difícil seducirle y que le encontrará menos dócil después de seducido. La fortuna del que ama le incomoda, y se regocijará con su ruina. En fin, deseará verle todo el tiempo posible sin mujer, sin hijos, sin hogar doméstico, para alargar el momento en que habrá de cesar de gozar de sus favores.

“Un dios ha mezclado a la mayor parte de los males que afligen a la humanidad un goce fugitivo. Así la adulación, esta bestia cruel, este funesto azote, nos hace gustar algunas veces un placer delicado. El comercio con una cortesana, tan expuesto a peligros, y todas las demás relaciones y hábitos semejantes no carecen de ciertas dulzuras pasajeras. Pero no basta que el amante dañe al objeto amado, sino que la asidua comunicación en todos los momentos debe llegar a ser desagradable. Un antiguo proverbio dice que los que son de una misma edad se atraen naturalmente. En efecto, cuando las edades son las mismas, la conformidad de gustos y de humor, que de ello resulta, predispone la amistad y, sin embargo, semejantes relaciones tienen también sus disgustos. En todas las cosas, se dice, la necesidad es un yugo pesado, pero lo es sobre todo en la sociedad de un amante, cuya edad se aleja de la persona amada. Si es un viejo que se enamora de uno más joven, no le dejará día y noche; una pasión irresistible, una especie de furor, le arrastrará hacia aquél, cuya presencia le encanta sin cesar por el oído, por la vista, por el tacto, por todos los sentidos, y encuentra un gran placer en servirse de él sin tregua, ni descanso; y en compensación del fastidio mortal   que causa a la persona amada por su importunidad, ¿qué goces, qué placeres, esperan a este desgraciado? El joven tiene a la vista un cuerpo gastado y marchitado por los años, afligido de los achaques de la edad, de que no puede librarse; y con más razón no podrá sufrir el roce, a que sin cesar se verá amenazado, sin una extrema repugnancia. Vigilado con suspicaz celo en todos sus actos, en todas sus conversaciones, oye de boca de su amante, tan pronto imprudentes y exageradas alabanzas como reprensiones insoportables, que le dirige cuando está en su buen sentido; porque cuando la embriaguez de la pasión llega a extraviarle, sin tregua y sin miramientos le llena de ultrajes, que le cubren de vergüenza.

“El amante, mientras su pasión dura, será un objeto tan repugnante como funesto; cuando la pasión se extinga, se mostrará sin fe, y venderá a aquel que sedujo con sus promesas magníficas, con sus juramentos y con sus súplicas, y a quien sólo la esperanza de los bienes prometidos pudo con gran dificultad decidir a soportar relación tan funesta. Cuando llega el momento de verse libre de esta pasión, obedece a otro dueño, sigue otra guía, son la razón y la sabiduría las que reinan en él, y no el amor y la locura; se ha hecho otro hombre sin conocimiento de aquel de quien estaba enamorado. El joven exige el precio de los favores de otro tiempo, le recuerda todo lo que ha hecho, lo que ha dicho, como si hablase al mismo hombre. Éste, lleno de confusión, no quiere confesar el cambio que ha sufrido, y no sabe cómo sacudirse de los juramentos y promesas que prodigó bajo el imperio de su loca pasión. Sin embargo, ha entrado en sí mismo y es ya bastante capaz para no dejarse llevar de iguales extravíos, y para no volver de nuevo al antiguo camino de perdición. Se ve precisado a evitar a aquel que amaba en otro tiempo, y vuelta la concha1, en vez de perseguir  , es él el que huye. Al joven no le queda otro partido que sufrir bajo el peso de sus remordimientos por haber ignorado desde el principio que valía más conceder sus favores a un amigo frío y dueño de sí mismo, que a un hombre cuyo amor necesariamente ha turbado la razón.

“Obrando de otra manera, es lo mismo que abandonarse a un dueño pérfido, incómodo, celoso, repugnante, perjudicial a su fortuna, dañoso a su salud, y sobre todo funesto al perfeccionamiento de su alma, que es y será en todo tiempo la cosa más preciosa a juicio de los hombres y de los dioses. He aquí, joven querido, las verdades que debes meditar sin cesar, no olvidando jamás que la ternura de un amante no es una afección benévola, sino un apetito grosero que quiere saciarse: Como el lobo ama al cordero, el amante ama al amado.”

He aquí todo lo que tenía que decirte, mi querido Fedro; no me oirás más, porque mi discurso está terminado.

FEDRO.—Creía que lo que has dicho era sólo la primera parte, y que hablarías en seguida del hombre no enamorado, para probar que se le debe favorecer con preferencia, y para presentar las ventajas que ofrece su amistad.

SÓCRATES. ¿No has notado, mi querido amigo, que, sin remontarme al tono del ditirambo, ya mi lenguaje ha sido poético, cuando sólo se trata de criticar? ¿Qué será si yo emprendo el hacer el panegírico del amigo sabio? ¿Quieres, después de haberme expuesto a la influencia de las ninfas, acabar de extraviar mi razón? Digo, pues, resumiendo, que en el trato del hombre sin amor se encuentran tantas ventajas como inconvenientes en el del hombre apasionado. ¿Habrá necesidad de largos discursos? Bastante me he explicado sobre ambos aspirantes. Nuestro hermoso joven hará de mis consejos lo que quiera, y yo repasaré el Iliso, como quien dice, huyendo, antes que venga a tu magín hacer conmigo mayores violencias.

FEDRO.—No, Sócrates, aguarda a que el calor pase. ¿No ves que apenas es mediodía, y que es la hora en que el sol parece detenerse en lo más alto del cielo?

Permanezcamos aquí algunos instantes, conversando sobre lo que venimos hablando, y cuando el tiempo refresque nos marcharemos.

SÓCRATES.—Tienes, querido amigo, una maravillosa pasión por los discursos, y en este punto no hallo palabras para alabarte; creo que de todos los hombres de tu generación, no hay uno que haya producido más discursos que tú, sea que los hayas pronunciado tú mismo, sea que hayas obligado a otros a componerlos, quisieran o no quisieran.

Sin embargo, exceptúo a Simmias el Tebano; pero no hay otro que pueda compararse contigo. Y ahora mismo me temo que me vas a arrancar un nuevo discurso.

FEDRO.—No, ahora no eres tan rebelde como fuiste antes; veamos de qué se trata.

SÓCRATES.—Según me estaba preparando para pasar el río sentí esa señal divina que ordinariamente me da sus avisos y me detiene en el momento de adoptar una resolución1, y he creído escuchar de este lado una voz que me prohibía partir antes de haber ofrecido a los dioses una expiación, como si hubiera cometido alguna impiedad. Es cierto que yo soy adivino, y en verdad no de los más hábiles, sino que a la manera de los que sólo ellos leen lo que escriben, yo sé lo bastante para mi uso. Por lo tanto, adivino la falta que he cometido. Hay en el alma humana, mi querido amigo, un poder adivinatorio. En el acto de hablarte, sentía por algunos instantes una gran turbación y un vago terror, y me parecía, como dice el poeta Íbico, que los dioses iban a convertir en crimen un hecho que me hacía honor a los ojos de los hombres. Sí, ahora sé cuál es mi falta.

FEDRO.—¿Qué quieres decir?

SÓCRATES.—Tú eres doblemente culpable, mi querido Fedro, por el discurso que leíste y por el que me has obligado a pronunciar.

FEDRO. ¿Cómo así?

SÓCRATES.—El uno y el otro no son más que un cúmulo de absurdos e impiedades. ¿Puede darse un atentado más grave?

FEDRO.—No, sin duda, si dices verdad.

SÓCRATES.—¿Pero qué? ¿No crees que Eros es hijo de Afrodita y que es un dios?

FEDRO.—Así se dice.

SÓCRATES.—Pues bien, Lisias no he hablado de él ni tú mismo en este discurso que has pronunciado por mi boca, mientras estaba yo encantado con tus sortilegios. Sin embargo, si Eros es un dios o alguna cosa divina, como así es, no puede ser malo, pero nuestros discursos le han representado como tal, y por lo tanto son culpables de impiedad para con Eros. Además, yo los encuentro impertinentes y burlones, porque por más que no se encuentre en ellos razón ni verdad, toman el aire de aspirar a algo con lo que podrán seducir a espíritus frívolos y sorprender su admiración.

Ya ves que debo someterme a una expiación, y para los que se engañan en mitología hay una antigua explicación que Homero   no ha imaginado, pero que Estesícoro ha practicado. Porque privado de la vista por haber maldecido a Helena, no ignoró, como Homero, el sacrificio que había cometido; pero, como hombre verdaderamente inspirado por las musas, comprendió la causa de su desgracia y publicó estos versos:

No, esta historia   no es verdadera; no, jamás entraste en las soberbias naves de Troya, jamás entraste en Pérgamo.

Y después de haber compuesto todo su poema, conocido con el nombre de Palinodia, recobró la vista sobre la marcha. Instruido por este ejemplo, yo seré más cauto que los dos poetas, porque antes que el amor haya castigado mis ofensivos discursos, quiero presentarle mi palinodia. Pero esta vez hablaré con cara descubierta, y la vergüenza, no me obligará a tapar mi cabeza como antes.

FEDRO: No puedes, mi querido Sócrates, anunciarme una cosa que más me satisfaga.

SÓCRATES.—Debes conocer como yo toda la impudencia del discurso que he pronunciado, y del que tú has leído; si los hubiera oído alguno, tenido por persona decente y bien nacida, que estuviese cautivo de amor o que hubiese sido amado en su juventud, al oírnos sostener que los amantes conciben odios violentos por motivos frívolos, que atormentan a los que aman en sus sospechosos celos, y no hacen más que perjudicarles, ¿no crees que nos hubieran calificado de gentes criadas entre marineros, que jamás oyeron hablar del amor a personas cultas? Tan distante estaría de reconocer la verdad de los cargos que hemos formulado contra el amor.

FEDRO.—¡Por Zeus  !, Sócrates, bien podría suceder.

SÓCRATES.—Así, pues, por respeto a este hombre, y por temor a la venganza de Eros, quiero que un discurso más suave venga a templar la amargura del primero. Y aconsejo a Lisias que componga lo más pronto posible un segundo discurso, para probar que es preciso preferir el amante apasionado al amigo sin amor.

FEDRO.—Persuádete de que así sucederá; si tú pronuncias el elogio del amante apasionado, habrá necesidad de que Lisias se deje vencer por mí, para que escriba sobre el mismo objeto.

SÓCRATES.—Cuento con que le obligarás, a no ser que dejes de ser Fedro.

FEDRO.—Habla, pues, con confianza.

SÓCRATES.—Pero, ¿dónde está el joven a quien yo me dirigía? Es preciso que oiga también este nuevo discurso, y que, escuchándome, aprenda a no apresurarse a conceder sus favores al hombre sin amor.

FEDRO.—Este joven está cerca de ti, y estará siempre a tu lado por el tiempo que quieras.

Jowett

Soc. But where is the fair youth whom I was addressing before, and who ought to listen now ; lest, if he hear me not, he should accept a non-lover before he knows what he is doing ?

Phaedr. He is close at hand, and always at your service.

Soc. Know then, fair youth, that the former discourse was the word of Phaedrus, the son of Vain Man, who dwells in the city of Myrrhina (Myrrhinusius). And this which I am about to utter is the recantation of Stesichorus the son of Godly Man (Euphemus), who comes from the town of Desire (Himera), and is to the following effect :

“I told a lie when I said that the beloved ought to accept the non-lover when he might have the lover, because the one is sane, and the other mad. It might be so if madness were simply an evil ; but there is also a madness which is a divine gift, and the source of the chiefest blessings granted to men. For prophecy is a madness, and the prophetess at Delphi   and the priestesses at Dodona when out of their senses have conferred great benefits on Hellas  , both in public and private life, but when in their senses few or none. And I might also tell you how the Sibyl and other inspired persons have given to many an one many an intimation of the future which has saved them from falling. But it would be tedious to speak of what every one knows.

There will be more reason in appealing to the ancient inventors of names, who would never have connected prophecy (mantike  ) which foretells the future and is the noblest of arts, with madness (manike), or called them both by the same name, if they had deemed madness to be a disgrace or dishonour ; — they must have thought that there was an inspired madness which was a noble thing ; for the two words, mantike and manike, are really the same, and the letter t is only a modern and tasteless insertion. And this is confirmed by the name which was given by them to the rational investigation of futurity, whether made by the help of birds or of other signs — this, for as much as it is an art which supplies from the reasoning faculty mind (nous) and information (istoria) to human thought (oiesis) they originally termed oionoistike, but the word has been lately altered and made sonorous by the modern introduction of the letter Omega (oionoistike and oionistike), and in proportion prophecy (mantike) is more perfect and august than augury, both in name and fact, in the same proportion, as the ancients testify, is madness superior to a sane mind (sophrosune) for the one is only of human, but the other of divine origin. Again, where plagues and mightiest woes have bred in certain families, owing to some ancient blood-guiltiness, there madness has entered with holy prayers and rites, and by inspired utterances found a way of deliverance for those who are in need ; and he who has part in this gift, and is truly possessed and duly out of his mind, is by the use of purifications and mysteries made whole and except from evil, future as well   as present, and has a release from the calamity which was afflicting him. The third kind is the madness of those who are possessed by the Muses ; which taking hold of a delicate and virgin soul, and there inspiring frenzy, awakens lyrical and all other numbers ; with these adorning the myriad actions of ancient heroes for the instruction of posterity. But he who, having no touch of the Muses’ madness in his soul, comes to the door and thinks that he will get into the temple by the help of art — he, I say, and his poetry are not admitted ; the sane man disappears and is nowhere when he enters into rivalry with the madman.

I might tell of many other noble deeds which have sprung from inspired madness. And therefore, let no one frighten or flutter us by saying that the temperate friend is to be chosen rather than the inspired, but let him further show that love is not sent by the gods for any good to lover or beloved ; if he can do so we will allow him to carry off the palm. And we, on our part, will prove in answer to him that the madness of love is the greatest of heaven’s blessings, and the proof shall be one which the wise will receive, and the witling disbelieve. But first of all, let us view the affections and actions of the soul divine and human, and try to ascertain the truth about them. The beginning of our proof is as follows :

The soul through all her being is immortal, for that which is ever in motion is immortal ; but that which moves another and is moved by another, in ceasing to move ceases also to live. Only the self-moving, never leaving self, never ceases to move, and is the fountain and beginning of motion to all that moves besides. Now, the beginning is unbegotten, for that which is begotten has a beginning ; but the beginning is begotten of nothing, for if it were begotten of something, then the begotten would not come from a beginning. But if unbegotten, it must also be indestructible ; for if beginning were destroyed, there could be no beginning out of anything, nor anything out of a beginning ; and all things must have a beginning. And therefore the self-moving is the beginning of motion ; and this can neither be destroyed nor begotten, else the whole heavens and all creation would collapse and stand still, and never again have motion or birth. But if the self-moving is proved to be immortal, he who affirms that self-motion is the very idea   and essence of the soul will not be put to confusion. For the body which is moved from without is soulless ; but that which is moved from within has a soul, for such is the nature of the soul. But if this be true, must not the soul be the self-moving, and therefore of necessity unbegotten and immortal ? Enough of the soul’s immortality.

Of the nature of the soul, though her true form be ever a theme of large and more than mortal discourse, let me speak briefly, and in a figure. And let the figure be composite — a pair of winged horses and a charioteer. Now the winged horses and the charioteers of the gods are all of them noble and of noble descent, but those of other races are mixed ; the human charioteer drives his in a pair ; and one of them is noble and of noble breed, and the other is ignoble and of ignoble breed ; and the driving of them of necessity gives a great deal of trouble to him. I will endeavour to explain to you in what way the mortal differs from the immortal creature. The soul in her totality has the care of inanimate being everywhere, and traverses the whole heaven in divers forms appearing — when perfect and fully winged she soars upward, and orders the whole world ; whereas the imperfect soul, losing her wings and drooping in her flight at last settles on the solid ground — there, finding a home, she receives an earthly frame which appears to be self-moved, but is really moved by her power ; and this composition of soul and body is called a living and mortal creature. For immortal no such union can be reasonably believed to be ; although fancy, not having seen nor surely known the nature of God, may imagine an immortal creature having both a body and also a soul which are united throughout all time. Let that, however, be as God wills, and be spoken of acceptably to him. And now let us ask the reason why the soul loses her wings !

The wing is the corporeal element which is most akin to the divine, and which by nature tends to soar aloft and carry that which gravitates downwards into the upper region, which is the habitation of the gods. The divine is beauty, wisdom, goodness, and the like ; and by these the wing of the soul is nourished, and grows apace ; but when fed upon evil and foulness and the opposite of good, wastes and falls away. Zeus, the mighty lord, holding the reins of a winged chariot, leads the way in heaven, ordering all and taking care of all ; and there follows him the array of gods and demigods, marshalled in eleven bands ; Hestia   alone abides at home in the house of heaven ; of the rest they who are reckoned among the princely twelve march in their appointed order. They see many blessed sights in the inner heaven, and there are many ways to and fro, along which the blessed gods are passing, every one doing his own work ; he may follow who will and can, for jealousy has no place in the celestial choir. But when they go to banquet   and festival, then they move up the steep to the top of the vault of heaven. The chariots of the gods in even poise, obeying the rein, glide rapidly ; but the others labour, for the vicious steed goes   heavily, weighing down the charioteer to the earth when his steed has not been thoroughly trained : — and this is the hour of agony and extremest conflict for the soul. For the immortals, when they are at the end of their course, go forth and stand upon the outside of heaven, and the revolution of the spheres carries them round, and they behold the things beyond. But of the heaven which is above the heavens, what earthly poet ever did or ever will sing worthily ? It is such as I will describe ; for I must dare to speak the truth, when truth is my theme. There abides the very being with which true knowledge is concerned ; the colourless, formless, intangible essence, visible only to mind, the pilot of the soul. The divine intelligence, being nurtured upon mind and pure knowledge, and the intelligence of every soul which is capable of receiving the food proper to it, rejoices at beholding reality, and once more gazing upon truth, is replenished and made glad, until the revolution of the worlds brings her round again to the same place. In the revolution she beholds justice, and temperance, and knowledge absolute, not in the form of generation or of relation, which men call existence, but knowledge absolute in existence absolute ; and beholding the other true existences in like manner, and feasting upon them, she passes down into the interior   of the heavens and returns home ; and there the charioteer putting up his horses at the stall, gives them ambrosia to eat and nectar to drink.

Such is the life of the gods ; but of other souls, that which follows God best and is likest to him lifts the head of the charioteer into the outer world, and is carried round in the revolution, troubled indeed by the steeds, and with difficulty beholding true being ; while another only rises and falls, and sees, and again fails to see by reason of the unruliness of the steeds. The rest of the souls are also longing after the upper world and they all follow, but not being strong enough they are carried round below the surface, plunging, treading on one another, each striving to be first ; and there is confusion and perspiration and the extremity of effort ; and many of them are lamed or have their wings broken through the ill-driving of the charioteers ; and all of them after a fruitless toil, not having attained to the mysteries of true being, go away, and feed upon opinion. The reason why the souls exhibit this exceeding eagerness to behold the plain of truth is that pasturage is found there, which is suited to the highest part of the soul ; and the wing on which the soul soars is nourished with this. And there is a law of Destiny, that the soul which attains any vision of truth in company with a god is preserved from harm until the next period, and if attaining always is always unharmed. But when she is unable to follow, and fails to behold the truth, and through some ill-hap sinks beneath the double load of forgetfulness and vice, and her wings fall from her and she drops to the ground, then the law ordains that this soul shall at her first birth pass, not into any other animal  , but only into man ; and the soul which has seen most of truth shall come to the birth as a philosopher, or artist, or some musical and loving nature ; that which has seen truth in the second degree shall be some righteous king or warrior chief ; the soul which is of the third class shall be a politician, or economist, or trader ; the fourth shall be lover of gymnastic toils, or a physician ; the fifth shall lead the life of a prophet or hierophant ; to the sixth the character of poet or some other imitative artist will be assigned ; to the seventh the life of an artisan or husbandman ; to the eighth that of a sophist or demagogue ; to the ninth that of a tyrant — all these are states of probation, in which he who does righteously improves, and he who does unrighteously, improves, and he who does unrighteously, deteriorates his lot.

Ten thousand years must elapse before the soul of each one can return to the place from whence she came, for she cannot grow her wings in less ; only the soul of a philosopher, guileless and true, or the soul of a lover, who is not devoid of philosophy, may acquire wings in the third of the recurring periods of a thousand years ; he is distinguished from the ordinary good man who gains wings in three thousand years : — and they who choose this life three times in succession have wings given them, and go away at the end of three thousand years. But the others receive judgment when they have completed their first life, and after the judgment they go, some of them to the houses of correction which are under the earth, and are punished ; others to some place in heaven whither they are lightly borne by justice, and there they live in a manner worthy of the life which they led here when in the form of men. And at the end of the first thousand years the good souls and also the evil souls both come to draw lots and choose their second life, and they may take any which they please. The soul of a man may pass into the life of a beast, or from the beast return again into the man. But the soul which has never seen the truth will not pass into the human form. For a man must have intelligence of universals, and be able to proceed from the many particulars of sense   to one conception of reason ; — this is the recollection of those things which our soul once saw while following God — when regardless of that which we now call being she raised her head up towards the true being. And therefore the mind of the philosopher alone has wings ; and this is just, for he is always, according to the measure of his abilities, clinging in recollection to those things in which God abides, and in beholding which He is what He is. And he who employs aright these memories is ever being initiated into perfect mysteries and alone becomes truly perfect. But, as he forgets earthly interests and is rapt in the divine, the vulgar   deem him mad, and rebuke him ; they do not see that he is inspired.

Thus far I have been speaking of the fourth and last kind of madness, which is imputed to him who, when he sees the beauty of earth, is transported with the recollection of the true beauty ; he would like to fly away, but he cannot ; he is like a bird fluttering and looking upward and careless of the world below ; and he is therefore thought to be mad. And I have shown this of all inspirations to be the noblest and highest and the offspring of the highest to him who has or shares in it, and that he who loves the beautiful is called a lover because he partakes of it. For, as has been already said, every soul of man has in the way of nature beheld true being ; this was the condition of her passing into the form of man. But all souls do not easily recall the things of the other world ; they may have seen them for a short time only, or they may have been unfortunate in their earthly lot, and, having had their hearts turned to unrighteousness through some corrupting influence, they may have lost the memory of the holy things which once they saw. Few only retain an adequate remembrance of them ; and they, when they behold here any image of that other world, are rapt in amazement ; but they are ignorant of what this rapture means, because they do not clearly perceive. For there is no light of justice or temperance or any of the higher ideas which are precious to souls in the earthly copies of them : they are seen through a glass dimly ; and there are few who, going to the images, behold in them the realities, and these only with difficulty. There was a time when with the rest of the happy band they saw beauty shining in brightness — we philosophers following in the train of Zeus, others in company with other gods ; and then we beheld the beatific vision and were initiated into a mystery which may be truly called most blessed, celebrated by us in our state of innocence, before we had any experience of evils to come, when we were admitted to the sight of apparitions innocent and simple and calm and happy, which we beheld shining impure light, pure ourselves and not yet enshrined in that living tomb which we carry about, now that we are imprisoned in the body, like an oyster in his shell. Let me linger over the memory of scenes which have passed away.

But of beauty, I repeat again that we saw her there shining in company with the celestial forms ; and coming to earth we find her here too, shining in clearness through the clearest aperture of sense. For sight is the most piercing of our bodily senses ; though not by that is wisdom seen ; her loveliness would have been transporting if there had been a visible image of her, and the other ideas, if they had visible counterparts, would be equally lovely. But this is the privilege of beauty, that being the loveliest she is also the most palpable to sight. Now he who is not newly initiated or who has become corrupted, does not easily rise out of this world to the sight of true beauty in the other ; he looks only at her earthly namesake, and instead of being awed at the sight of her, he is given over to pleasure, and like a brutish beast he rushes on to enjoy and beget ; he consorts with wantonness, and is not afraid or ashamed of pursuing pleasure in violation of nature. But he whose initiation is recent, and who has been the spectator of many glories in the other world, is amazed when he sees any one having a godlike face or form, which is the expression of divine beauty ; and at first a shudder runs through him, and again the old awe steals over him ; then looking upon the face of his beloved as of a god he reverences him, and if he were not afraid of being thought a downright madman, he would sacrifice to his beloved as to the image of a god ; then while he gazes on him there is a sort of reaction, and the shudder passes into an unusual heat and perspiration ; for, as he receives the effluence of beauty through the eyes, the wing moistens and he warms. And as he warms, the parts out of which the wing grew, and which had been hitherto closed and rigid, and had prevented the wing from shooting forth, are melted, and as nourishment streams upon him, the lower end of the wings begins to swell and grow from the root upwards ; and the growth extends under the whole soul — for once the whole was winged.

During this process the whole soul is all in a state of ebullition and effervescence, — which may be compared to the irritation and uneasiness in the gums at the time of cutting teeth, — bubbles up, and has a feeling of uneasiness and tickling ; but when in like manner the soul is beginning to grow wings, the beauty of the beloved meets her eye and she receives the sensible warm motion of particles which flow towards her, therefore called emotion (imeros), and is refreshed and warmed by them, and then she ceases from her pain with joy. But when she is parted from her beloved and her moisture fails, then the orifices of the passage out of which the wing shoots dry up and close, and intercept the germ of the wing ; which, being shut up with the emotion, throbbing as with the pulsations of an artery, pricks the aperture which is nearest, until at length the entire soul is pierced and maddened and pained, and at the recollection of beauty is again delighted. And from both of them together the soul is oppressed at the strangeness of her condition, and is in a great strait and excitement, and in her madness can neither sleep by night nor abide in her place by day. And wherever she thinks that she will behold the beautiful one, thither in her desire she runs. And when she has seen him, and bathed herself in the waters of beauty, her constraint is loosened, and she is refreshed, and has no more pangs and pains ; and this is the sweetest of all pleasures at the time, and is the reason why the soul of the lover will never forsake his beautiful one, whom he esteems above all ; he has forgotten mother and brethren and companions, and he thinks nothing of the neglect and loss of his property ; the rules and proprieties of life, on which he formerly prided himself, he now despises, and is ready to sleep like a servant, wherever he is allowed, as near as he can to his desired one, who is the object of his worship, and the physician who can alone assuage the greatness of his pain. And this state, my dear imaginary youth to whom I am talking, is by men called love, and among the gods has a name at which you, in your simplicity, may be inclined to mock ; there are two lines in the apocryphal writings of Homer in which the name occurs. One of them is rather outrageous, and not altogether metrical. They are as follows :

Mortals call him fluttering love,

But the immortals call him winged one,

Because the growing of wings is a necessity to him.

You may believe this, but not unless you like. At any rate the loves of lovers   and their causes are such as I have described.

Now the lover who is taken to be the attendant of Zeus is better able to bear the winged god, and can endure   a heavier burden ; but the attendants and companions of Ares, when under the influence of love, if they fancy that they have been at all wronged, are ready to kill and put an end to themselves and their beloved. And he who follows in the train of any other god, while he is unspoiled and the impression lasts, honours and imitates him, as far as he is able ; and after the manner of his god he behaves in his intercourse with his beloved and with the rest of the world during the first period of his earthly existence. Every one chooses his love from the ranks of beauty according to his character, and this he makes his god, and fashions and adorns as a sort of image which he is to fall down and worship. The followers of Zeus desire that their beloved should have a soul like him ; and therefore they seek out some one of a philosophical and imperial nature, and when they have found him and loved him, they do all they can to confirm such a nature in him, and if they have no experience of such a disposition hitherto, they learn of any one who can teach them, and themselves follow in the same way. And they have the less difficulty in finding the nature of their own god in themselves, because they have been compelled to gaze intensely on him ; their recollection clings to him, and they become possessed of him, and receive from him their character and disposition, so far as man can participate in God. The qualities of their god they attribute to the beloved, wherefore they love him all the more, and if, like the Bacchic Nymphs, they draw inspiration from Zeus, they pour out their own fountain upon him, wanting to make him as like as possible to their own god. But those who are the followers of Here seek a royal love, and when they have found him they do just the same with him ; and in like manner the followers of Apollo, and of every other god walking in the ways of their god, seek a love who is to be made like him whom they serve, and when they have found him, they themselves imitate their god, and persuade their love to do the same, and educate him into the manner and nature of the god as far as they each can ; for no feelings of envy or jealousy are entertained by them towards their beloved, but they do their utmost to create in him the greatest likeness of themselves and of the god whom they honour. Thus fair and blissful to the beloved is the desire of the inspired lover, and the initiation of which I speak into the mysteries of true love, if he be captured by the lover and their purpose is effected. Now the beloved is taken captive in the following manner : —

As I said at the beginning of this tale, I divided each soul into three — two horses and a charioteer ; and one of the horses was good and the other bad : the division may remain, but I have not yet explained in what the goodness or badness of either consists, and to that I will proceed. The right-hand horse is upright and cleanly made ; he has a lofty neck and an aquiline nose ; his colour is white, and his eyes dark ; he is a lover of honour and modesty and temperance, and the follower of true glory ; he needs no touch of the whip, but is guided by word and admonition only. The other is a crooked lumbering animal, put together anyhow ; he has a short thick neck ; he is flat-faced and of a dark colour, with grey eyes and blood-red complexion ; the mate of insolence and pride, shag-eared and deaf, hardly yielding to whip and spur. Now when the charioteer beholds the vision of love, and has his whole soul warmed through sense, and is full of the prickings and ticklings of desire, the obedient steed, then as always under the government of shame, refrains from leaping on the beloved ; but the other, heedless of the pricks and of the blows of the whip, plunges and runs away, giving all manner of trouble to his companion and the charioteer, whom he forces to approach the beloved and to remember the joys of love. They at first indignantly oppose him and will not be urged on to do terrible and unlawful deeds ; but at last, when he persists in plaguing them, they yield and agree to do as he bids them.

And now they are at the spot and behold the flashing beauty of the beloved ; which when the charioteer sees, his memory is carried to the true beauty, whom he beholds in company with Modesty like an image placed upon a holy pedestal. He sees her, but he is afraid and falls backwards in adoration, and by his fall is compelled to pull back the reins with such violence as to bring both the steeds on their haunches, the one willing and unresisting, the unruly one very unwilling ; and when they have gone back a little, the one is overcome with shame and wonder, and his whole soul is bathed in perspiration ; the other, when the pain is over which the bridle and the fall had given him, having with difficulty taken breath, is full of wrath and reproaches, which he heaps upon the charioteer and his fellow-steed, for want of courage and manhood, declaring that they have been false to their agreement and guilty of desertion. Again they refuse, and again he urges them on, and will scarce yield to their prayer that he would wait until another time. When the appointed hour comes, they make as if they had forgotten, and he reminds them, fighting and neighing and dragging them on, until at length he, on the same thoughts intent, forces them to draw near again. And when they are near he stoops his head and puts up his tail, and takes the bit in his teeth. and pulls shamelessly. Then the charioteer is worse off than ever ; he falls back like a racer at the barrier, and with a still more violent wrench drags the bit out of the teeth of the wild steed and covers his abusive tongue and jaws with blood, and forces his legs and haunches to the ground and punishes him sorely. And when this has happened several times and the villain has ceased from his wanton way, he is tamed and humbled, and follows the will of the charioteer, and when he sees the beautiful one he is ready to die of fear. And from that time forward the soul of the lover follows the beloved in modesty and holy fear.

And so the beloved who, like a god, has received every true and loyal service from his lover, not in pretence but in reality, being also himself of a nature friendly to his admirer, if in former days he has blushed to own his passion and turned away his lover, because his youthful companions or others slanderously told him that he would be disgraced, now as years advance, at the appointed age and time, is led to receive him into communion. For fate which has ordained that there shall be no friendship among the evil has also ordained that there shall ever be friendship among the good. And the beloved when he has received him into communion and intimacy, is quite amazed at the good-will of the lover ; he recognises that the inspired friend is worth all other friends or kinsmen ; they have nothing of friendship in them worthy to be compared with his. And when his feeling continues and he is nearer to him and embraces him, in gymnastic exercises and at other times of meeting, then the fountain of that stream, which Zeus when he was in love with Ganymede named Desire, overflows upon the lover, and some enters into his soul, and some when he is filled flows out again ; and as a breeze or an echo   rebounds from the smooth rocks and returns whence it came, so does the stream of beauty, passing through the eyes which are the windows of the soul, come back to the beautiful one ; there arriving and quickening the passages of the wings, watering. them and inclining them to grow, and filling the soul of the beloved also with love. And thus he loves, but he knows not what ; he does not understand and cannot explain his own state ; he appears to have caught the infection of blindness from another ; the lover is his mirror in whom he is beholding himself, but he is not aware of this. When he is with the lover, both cease from their pain, but when he is away then he longs as he is longed for, and has love’s image, love for love (Anteros) lodging in his breast, which he calls and believes to be not love but friendship only, and his desire is as the desire of the other, but weaker ; he wants to see him, touch him, kiss him, embrace him, and probably not long afterwards his desire is accomplished. When they meet, the wanton steed of the lover has a word to say to the charioteer ; he would like to have a little pleasure in return for many pains, but the wanton steed of the beloved says not a word, for he is bursting with passion which he understands not ; — he throws his arms round the lover and embraces him as his dearest friend ; and, when they are side by side, he is not in it state in which he can refuse the lover anything, if he ask him ; although his fellow-steed and the charioteer oppose him with the arguments of shame and reason.

After this their happiness depends upon their self-control ; if the better elements of the mind which lead to order and philosophy prevail, then they pass their life here in happiness and harmony — masters of themselves and orderly — enslaving the vicious and emancipating the virtuous elements of the soul ; and when the end comes, they are light and winged for flight, having conquered in one of the three heavenly or truly Olympian victories ; nor can human discipline or divine inspiration confer any greater blessing on man than this. If, on the other hand, they leave philosophy and lead the lower life of ambition, then probably, after wine or in some other careless hour, the two wanton animals take the two souls when off their guard and bring them together, and they accomplish that desire of their hearts which to the many is bliss ; and this having once enjoyed they continue to enjoy, yet rarely because they have not the approval of the whole soul. They too are dear, but not so dear to one another as the others, either at the time of their love or afterwards. They consider that they have given and taken from each other the most sacred pledges, and they may not break them and fall into enmity. At last they pass out of the body, unwinged, but eager to soar, and thus obtain no mean reward of love and madness. For those who have once begun the heavenward pilgrimage may not go down again to darkness and the journey beneath the earth, but they live in light always ; happy companions in their pilgrimage, and when the time comes at which they receive their wings they have the same plumage because of their love.

Thus great are the heavenly blessings which the friendship of a lover will confer upon you, my youth. Whereas the attachment of the non-lover, which is alloyed with a worldly prudence and has worldly and niggardly ways of doling out benefits, will breed in your soul those vulgar qualities which the populace applaud, will send you bowling round the earth during a period of nine thousand years, and leave, you a fool in the world below.

And thus, dear Eros, I have made and paid my recantation, as well and as fairly as I could ; more especially in the matter of the poetical figures which I was compelled to use, because Phaedrus would have them. And now forgive the past and accept the present, and be gracious and merciful to me, and do not in thine anger deprive me of sight, or take from me the art of love which thou hast given me, but grant that I may be yet more esteemed in the eyes of the fair. And if Phaedrus or I myself said anything rude in our first speeches, blame Lysias, who is the father of the brat, and let us have no more of his progeny ; bid him study philosophy, like his brother Polemarchus ; and then his lover Phaedrus will no longer halt between two opinions, but will dedicate himself wholly to love and to philosophical discourses.


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