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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Plato Bilingual Anthology : A NATURE OF WONDROUS BEAUTY

from Symposium, * 209e-212c, translated by B. Jowett

Greek Fonts / Plato Complete works / Plato Concept

HESE are the lesser mysteries of love, into which even you, Socrates, may enter; to the greater and more hidden ones which are the crown of these, and to which, if you pursue them in a right spirit, they will lead, I know not whether you will be able to attain. But I will do my utmost to inform you, and do you follow if you can. For he who would proceed aright in this matter should begin in youth to visit beautiful forms; and first, if he be guided by his instructor aright, to love one such form only-out of that he should create fair thoughts; and soon he will of himself perceive that the beauty of one form is akin to the beauty of another; and then if beauty of form in general is his pursuit, how foolish would he be not to recognize that the beauty in every form is one and the same!

θαυμαστὸν τὴν φύσιν καλόν

Ταῦτα μὲν οὖν τὰ ἐρωτικὰ ἴσως͵ ὦ Σώκρατες͵ κἂν σὺ μυηθείης· τὰ δὲ τέλεα καὶ ἐποπτικά͵ ὧν ἕνεκα καὶ ταῦτα ἔστιν͵ ἐάν τις ὀρθῶς μετίῃ͵ οὐκ οἶδ΄ εἰ οἷός τ΄ ἂν εἴης. ἐρῶ μὲν οὖν͵ ἔφη͵ ἐγὼ καὶ προθυμίας οὐδὲν ἀπολείψω· πειρῶ δὲ ἕπεσθαι͵ ἂν οἷός τε ᾖς. δεῖ γάρ͵ ἔφη͵ τὸν ὀρθῶς ἰόντα ἐπὶ τοῦτο τὸ πρᾶγμα ἄρχεσθαι μὲν νέον ὄντα ἰέναι ἐπὶ τὰ καλὰ σώματα͵ καὶ πρῶτον μέν͵ ἐὰν ὀρθῶς ἡγῆται ὁ ἡγούμενος͵ ἑνὸς αὐτὸν σώματος ἐρᾶν καὶ ἐνταῦθα γεννᾶν λόγους καλούς͵ ἔπειτα δὲ αὐτὸν κατανοῆσαι ὅτι τὸ κάλλος τὸ ἐπὶ ὁτῳοῦν σώματι τῷ ἐπὶ ἑτέρῳ σώματι ἀδελφόν ἐστι͵ καὶ εἰ δεῖ διώκειν τὸ ἐπ΄ εἴδει καλόν͵ πολλὴ ἄνοια μὴ οὐχ ἕν τε καὶ ταὐτὸν ἡγεῖσθαι τὸ ἐπὶ πᾶσιν τοῖς σώμασι κάλλος·

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