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Plato Bilingual Anthology : A NATURE OF WONDROUS BEAUTY

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

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Page 3

To this I will proceed; please to give me your very best attention: "He who has been instructed thus far in the things of love, and who has learned to see the beautiful in due order and succession, when he comes toward the end will suddenly perceive a nature of wondrous beauty (and this, Socrates, is the final cause of all our former toils)-a nature which in the first place is everlasting, not growing and decaying, or waxing and waning; secondly, not fair in one point of view and foul in another, or at one time or in one relation or at one place fair, at another time or in another relation or at another place foul, as if fair to some and-foul to others, or in the likeness of a face or hands or any other part of the bodily frame, or in any form of speech or knowledge, or existing in any other being, as for example, in an animal, or in heaven or in earth, or in any other place; but beauty absolute, separate, simple, and everlasting, which without diminution and without increase, or any change, is imparted to the ever-growing and perishing beauties of all other things. He who from these ascending under the influence of true love, begins to perceive that beauty, is not far from the end. πειρῶ δέ μοι͵ ἔφη͵ τὸν νοῦν προσέχειν ὡς οἷόν τε μάλιστα. ὃς γὰρ ἂν μέχρι ἐνταῦθα πρὸς τὰ ἐρωτικὰ παιδαγωγηθῇ͵ θεώμενος ἐφεξῆς τε καὶ ὀρθῶς τὰ καλά͵ πρὸς τέλος ἤδη ἰὼν τῶν ἐρωτικῶν ἐξαίφνης κατόψεταί τι θαυμαστὸν τὴν φύσιν καλόν͵ τοῦτο ἐκεῖνο͵ ὦ Σώκρατες͵ οὗ δὴ ἕνεκεν καὶ οἱ ἔμπροσθεν πάντες πόνοι ἦσαν͵ πρῶτον μὲν ἀεὶ ὂν καὶ οὔτε γιγνόμενον οὔτε ἀπολλύμενον͵ οὔτε αὐξανόμενον οὔτε φθίνον͵ ἔπειτα οὐ τῇ μὲν καλόν͵ τῇ δ΄ αἰσχρόν͵ οὐδὲ τοτὲ μέν͵ τοτὲ δὲ οὔ͵ οὐδὲ πρὸς μὲν τὸ καλόν͵ πρὸς δὲ τὸ αἰσχρόν͵ οὐδ΄ ἔνθα μὲν καλόν͵ ἔνθα δὲ αἰσχρόν͵ ὡς τισὶ μὲν ὂν καλόν͵ τισὶ δὲ αἰσχρόν· οὐδ΄ αὖ φαντασθήσεται αὐτῷ τὸ καλὸν οἷον πρόσωπόν τι οὐδὲ χεῖρες οὐδὲ ἄλλο οὐδὲν ὧν σῶμα μετέχει͵ οὐδέ τις λόγος οὐδέ τις ἐπιστήμη͵ οὐδέ που ὂν ἐν ἑτέρῳ τινι͵ οἷον ἐν ζώῳ ἢ ἐν γῇ ἢ ἐν οὐρανῷ ἢ ἔν τῳ ἄλλῳ͵ ἀλλ΄ αὐτὸ καθ΄ αὑτὸ μεθ΄ αὑτοῦ μονοειδὲς ἀεὶ ὄν͵ τὰ δὲ ἄλλα πάντα καλὰ ἐκείνου μετέχοντα τρόπον τινὰ τοιοῦτον͵ οἷον γιγνομένων τε τῶν ἄλλων καὶ ἀπολλυμένων μηδὲν ἐκεῖνο μήτε τι πλέον μήτε ἔλαττον γίγνεσθαι μηδὲ πάσχειν μηδέν. ὅταν δή τις ἀπὸ τῶνδε διὰ τὸ ὀρθῶς παιδεραστεῖν ἐπανιὼν ἐκεῖνο τὸ καλὸν ἄρχηται καθορᾶν͵ σχεδὸν ἄν τι ἅπτοιτο τοῦ τέλους.
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