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any seeking1 after the things he knows, but rather after those which he does not know? Sis. I will.
Soc. Did not the consulting appear to us to be this very thing, namely, that a person is seeking after the best things relating to what he would require to employ himself in for his own benefit.
Soc. And the seeking was, like the consulting, about things to be done. Is it not so? Sis. Entirely.
Soc. Must we not consider then at present, what impediment is in the way of those, who are seeking, to the discovery of the things, about which they are making the search?
Sis. So it seems at least to me.
Soc. Could we say that any thing else was an impediment to them except a want of knowledge? (Sis. Nothing else).2
Soc. Let us, by Zeus, consider the matter very much, letting out,3 as the saying is, every rope, and sending out every voice.4 And view thou this point with me. Think you that a man could consult about music, who knows nothing of music; or how he ought to play on the guitar, or to perform any thing according to the musician's art?
Sis. Not I indeed.
Soc. What then, as regards generalship, or piloting? Do you think that the person, who knows neither of those arts,
'The syntax requires instead of Kirtlv, either S^rij^o or To Syre'iv.
3 I have introduced, what the sense requires, Ovk a\Ko. Bekker indeed assigns 'S.KOvdfitv vi) Aia to Sisyphus, on the authority of four MSS. But such an answer could never be given to the question, *Ap' o5i> dWo n 0aii}/iEv dp—:
1 In lieu of etpivric, Bekker would read afiivres— But we meet in Protagor. p. 338, A., with tfslvai Kai xaXdaai rdg r/viag roig Xoyoig: although a little afterwards one MS. reads oupip atpkvra; where the rest have 'apivra. Winckelmann prefers ilieirfc, similar-to i£i5<ri navTa. iii ta\uv, in Eurip. Med. 278, and iravra Sn Kuxiov Hiivai, in Aristoph. Lee. 753, to which he might have added KaXwt in Tro. 94, and Here. F. 837. But the play in the words requires here, KaXwv iQtivTtc and foivr)v atpdvTfQ— where the latter expression is similar to (pwvrjv (tyijirtv, in Phoen. 1449, and fOoyyriv d<py in Hippol. 418. r ■
* On the formula vaaav <biavnv ievai see Heiridorf on Euthyd. p. 293, A.
would have it in his power to consult about either of those matters, 1 as to what is to be done by him, and how,1 who knows not to act the general or pilot? Sis. I do not.
Soc. Do you think then that the case is so respecting all other matters, of which a person knows nothing; that it is not possible for him even to consult,2 who knows nothing about them?
Sis. I do.
Soc. But it is (possible) for him to seek (to know).8 Is it not?
Soc. To seek then would not be the same as to consult. Sis. How could it?
Soc. Because to seek is surely applied to the matters, which a person does not know; but it seems to be not possible for a person to consult about those matters, of which he is ignorant. Or has not this been said correctly ?4
Sis. Very much so.
Soc. Ye were then yesterday seeking to discover what was best for the state; but ye did not know it. For if ye had known, ye would not surely have been seeking it, just as we do not seek any thing amongst those which we know. Is it not so?
Sis. It is.5
Soc. Whether does it seem to you, Sisyphus, if a person does not know, that he ought to seek or to learn?
Sis. To myself at least it seems, by Zeus, to learn.
Soc. And correctly does it seem so. But does it seem to you that he ought to learn rather than seek on this account, because a person would discover more quickly and easily, if
1—1 The Greek is 8, Ti •koii\t\ov ttrj avrtji Ottuq [ij (rrpari/yjjrlov ij KvfiepvTjriov ixiivif) ai/Tif], where the words between the brackets are evidently an interpolation of iroiiyrtov, as I remarked twenty years ago; when I likewise suggested o, n rj Ottwc— similar to o, Ti Kai 07tij in Sympos. p. 212, B.
3 The Greek is fir) tiSivai Bifii /SouXtwirSm 7rw Svvarov— where fir) tiSivai is at variance with the' train of thought; for the question is about the being able to consult, not about the being able to know. Hence I have omitted fir) tltivat here, and, after changing those words into is, tiUvcu, inserted them in e), for there £>jreij> could hardly stand by itself. * I have translated, as if ti had dropt out after i\ix8l'Here, as in (2), the negative assertion is an answer to >j rap.
he learnt from those, who know, than if he were to seek himself what he did not know? Or is it on some other account? Sis. 1 On no other than this.1
[4.] Why did ye not then yesterday, disregarding the act of consulting about matters, of which ye knew nothing, and of seeking to do the best for the state,2 learn from some one of those, who did know, how ye might do the best for the state? But ye seem to me to have been sitting the whole of yesterday and speaking off-hand, and prophesying about matters, of which ye were ignorant, and neglecting to learn, both the rulers of the state and you together with them. But perhaps you will say that this has been played off by myself against you for the sake of a conversation merely, and it has not been proved to you seriously. Consider then, by Zeus, this question at least for the present with seriousness. If it were conceded that to consult is something, and not, as now discovered, to be nothing else than a knowledge according to conjecture, and a speaking off-hand,3 making use of merely a more solemn name,4 but nothing else,5 do you think, that as regards the act of consulting well and being good counsellors, persons differ one from another on that point,6 as persons 7 [differ one from another]7 on all the other kinds of knowledge,
'—1 I have translated, as if the Greek were, Ovk aXX' rj Sid rovro, not Ovk dXXa Sid rouro, although a similar impropriety is found in another Pseudo-Platonic dialogue, Hipparch. p. 227, B. ij aXXo n; Ovk- aWd—
3 I have translated, as if the Greek were ry Ttoxh, not iv ry sroXei, where the preposition is superfluous, as shown by the very next sentence.
1—3 The Greek is oiSiv—dXXoiov rj oxep £7ri<7r^/ii) re Kai tUaaia Kai axiSiaaubc, literally "nothing strange than what is knowledge and guessing, and speaking off-hand." But the idea of any thing strange is here quite out of place; while this union of knowledge and guessing would be a manifest absurdity. I have therefore translated, as if the Greek were, what I formerly suggested, ovStv aXXo ov ij oirip iviorriiir) ye Kar eucaffiav Kai axiSiaaaov.
* Compare Lucian in Icaro-Menipp. § 29, ovopa otpvov rijv aptTrjv TtpiOsutvoi; and see Valckenaer in Eurip. Diatrib. p. 258, who might have quoted Eustath. IX. i. p. 762, 62, Bas. atuvoTrjTOQ irtpiirtTaapari To Toii TrpdyuaTOQ SvtnrpoffuiTrov ovyKakvirTtTai: and have corrected vapairtrdauari by the aid of rate T&xvaLQ ravraig Trapa-KiTaap.aciv ixpriaavro, in Protagor. p. 317.
4 I confess I can scarcely understand a\\<p S' oiSevi— The sense evidently requires a\-q9ii S' ovdaurj— " but true not at all."
• In lieu of aitw the sense and syntax require iv airip, similar to iv rate dXXmc imffTripai^, just afterwards.
'—' The words between the numerals are a manifest interpolation.
(such as) carpenters from carpenters, physicians from physicians, and hautboy-players from hautboy-players, and all the rest of handicraftsmen differ from each other ?1 As then those engaged in these arts (differ),2 think you that in the act of consulting persons would differ at all in this manner, one from another? Sis. Yes I do.
Soc. Now tell me, do not all, both those who consult well, and those who do so ill, consult about matters that are about to be?
Soc. 3 Is the future any thing else than what is not as yet ?3 Sis. It is not.
Soc. For if it were, it would not surely be still about to be, but it would be already. Is it not so? Sis. Yes.
Soc. 4 Therefore that, which is not yet, in reality has not been produced.4 Sis. It has not.
Soc. 5 Therefore that, which is not and has not been produced, has no existence in reality.5 Sis. It has not.
[5.] Soc. Do not all, then, who consult well or ill, consult about things which neither are, nor have been, and which have no existence, when they consult respecting things about to be?
Sis. At least they seem so.
Soc. Does it seem to you possible for a person to hit well or ill a thing, that does not exist?
1 I have translated, as if the Greek were avroi lavrwv, not avroi nai>T&v, where tavriiv is aWrjXiDv, as elsewhere.
'I have neglected the unintelligible rj found between rixvaic and ovrru—
*—* The Greek is aXXo ri ofv rj ra ftsWovra oSirw iariv. But the sense requires, as I remarked long ago, aXXo n oiv ra fihWovra Ij & oviru iariv, and so I have translated.
4—4 The Greek is oincoCi' ei pr) w<a iorlv ovrmq ovSk yiyovt ra fir) Ovto— literally, "Therefore if it is not yet thus, that which is not has not been ever," which I must leave for others, if they can, to understand. The train of thought requires, Ovkovv, & fir) iria ionv, ovrug ovSi yiyovt.
1—4 Here again the chain of reasoning leads to Ovkovv, a /ir) wur tan /tijJi yiyovtv, oviria ovSi (piaiv 'x" oiit/ii'av bvTuii, as I have translated, not Ovkovv li /xriTro) /xriSi yiyovtv—avrdv— where airuv has nothing to which it can be referred.
Sis. How say you this?
Soc. I will explain, what I mean to say. Consider then. How would you distinguish out' of many archers, which of them was the good and (which) the bad?
lSis. Surely this is not difficult to know.1
Soc. For perhaps you would bid them shoot at some mark. I9 it not so?
Soc. Would you not decide that he is the conqueror, who hits most often the mark in a direct way.2 Sis. Yes, I would.
Soc. But 3if there were no mark laid down3 for them to shoot at, but each shot where he4 liked, how could you distinguish between the good and bad archer?
Sis. Not at all.
Soc. Would you then not be at a loss to distinguish between
'—1 I have attributed all between the numerals to Sisyphus, not, as commonly, to Socrates; and altered fj into i)V—
'I scarcely understand car' hptibv— The sense evidently requires something like "in the bull's eye," which is in the centre of a target, and would be exprsssed probably in Greek by Kar ofupaXbv—
. —' Here is evidently an allusion to an .9Ssopo-Socratic fable, first published in a latent metrical form by De Furia, from a Vatican MS., but recently in a more complete state from an Athos MS. by Boissonade; who however did not perceive some errors in the Greek, which I corrected in Revue de Philologie, vol. ii. p. 225, and I will therefore present the reader with an English version of it.
"To the gods Apollo, his long arrows holding,
Spoke thus—Who knows the arrow to let fly,
Than the far-darting farther? On the strife ,
With Phoebus enter'd Zeus, his weapons handling.
In Ares' helmet Hermes shook the lots,
Which Phcebus first obtaining, with his hands
The bent bow pushing from him, and the string
Letting go sharply, first his arrow fix'd
Within the distant gardens of the West.
When with his stride did Zeus the distance clear,
And cried—Where shall I shoot? no space have I.
And no bow drawing, bow-man's glory gained."
To the same fable an allusion is made by Lucretius in i. 968, "si quis Procurrat ad oras Ultimus extremas jaciatque volatile telum," quoted by Davies on Cicero de N. D. i. 20, " animus—ita late longeque peregrinatur, it nullam tamen oram ultimam videat, in qua possit insistere." 'Common sense requires "where," not "how," in Greek Ottov, not and so I have translated.