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Plato : SYMPOSIUM

Persons of the dialogue: Apollodorus - Phaedrus - Pausanias - Eryximachus
 - Aristophanes - Agathon - Socrates - Alcibiades - a troop of revellers

Scene: The House of Agathon
Translated by Benjamin Jowett - 20 Pages (Part 1) - Greek fonts
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SYMPOSIUM part 1 of 2

Part 2

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This Part: 20 Pages


Part 1 Page 3

Apoll. Well, the tale of love was on this wise: - But perhaps I had better begin at the beginning, and endeavour to give you the exact words of Aristodemus:

He said that he met Socrates fresh from the bath and sandalled; and as the sight of the sandals was unusual, he asked him whither he was going that he had been converted into such a beau: - 

To a banquet at Agathon's, he replied, whose invitation to his sacrifice of victory I refused yesterday, fearing a crowd, but promising that I would come today instead; and so I have put on my finery, because he is such a fine man. What say you to going with me unasked?

I will do as you bid me, I replied.

Follow then, he said, and let us demolish the proverb:  - 

To the feasts of inferior men the good unbidden go;  -  instead of which our proverb will run: -   - 

To the feasts of the good the good unbidden go;  -  and this alteration may be supported by the authority of Homer himself, who not only demolishes but literally outrages the proverb. For, after picturing Agamemnon as the most valiant of men, he makes Menelaus, who is but a fainthearted warrior, come unbidden to the banquet of Agamemnon, who is feasting and offering sacrifices, not the better to the worse, but the worse to the better.

I rather fear, Socrates, said Aristodemus, lest this may still be my case; and that, like Menelaus in Homer, I shall be the inferior person, who  - 

To the leasts of the wise unbidden goes.  -  But I shall say that I was bidden of you, and then you will have to make an excuse.  - 

Two going together,  -  he replied, in Homeric fashion, one or other of them may invent an excuse by the way.

This was the style of their conversation as they went along. Socrates dropped behind in a fit of abstraction, and desired Aristodemus, who was waiting, to go on before him. When he reached the house of Agathon he found the doors wide open, and a comical thing happened. A servant coming out met him, and led him at once into the banqueting - hall in which the guests were reclining, for the banquet was about to begin. Welcome, Aristodemus, said Agathon, as soon as he appeared - you are just in time to sup with us; if you come on any other matter put it off, and make one of us, as I was looking for you yesterday and meant to have asked you, if I could have found you. But what have you done with Socrates?

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