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SISYPHUS;

OB,

UPON TAKING COUNSEL.

PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE.
SOCRATES And SISYPHUS.

[1.] Soc. And1 we too waited a long time for you yesterday, Sisyphus, at the display made by Stratonicus, in order that you might, together with us, hear a clever man, who both by word and deed exhibited many and beautiful things ;2 and 3 when we thought you would no longer be present, we were by ourselves the hearers of the man.

Sis. 4 Truly by Zeus.4 For a want of leisure of rather a compulsory kind occurred to me, so that I neglected 5 the display. For our rulers had a consultation yesterday, and they compelled me to consult with them. Now with us Pharsalians 6 it is a law to obey the rulers, should they order any of us to consult with them.

Soc. And honourable it is to obey the law and to be reputed by fellow-citizens to be a good counsellor, as you are

'As this dialogue is one of those called ''AtiipaKoi, "headless," we need not wonder at the appearance of Si Kai, here.

s With the mention of Trpayixara here, may be compared that of Libya, in another Pseudo-Platonic dialogue, called Hipparchus, p. 228, B. aXXa ri ToXXd Kal Ka\d tpya aotpias amSriZaro.

'In lieu of Kal sjrei, one would have expected t7rtl Si

'—' Although Nat pd are found thus united in Horn. IX. A. 235, "Sat pd Toic aurjirrpov, and elsewhere, yet here the sentence seems rather too abrupt.

5 I have omitted firi after oiffrc, for it is hardly intelligible in this place.

* Instead of Kal, which has no meaning here, the author wrote ye, for ye is thus found after proper names, as I could show by numerous passages. And ye and icai are frequently confounded, as I have remarked on Eurip. Tro. 520.

1 [reputed to be a good counsellor as one of the Pharsalians].1 But, Sisyphus, although I should not be able to enter upon a discussion against you on the subject of consulting correctly, conceiving it to be a work requiring much leisure, and a lengthy argument, still I would endeavour to converse with you first about consulting in the abstract, what it is. Can you then tell me what it is to consult in the abstract? Do not (tell) * me what it is to do so well or ill or in any manner,3 but what kind of thing it is alone by itself. For you could well and easily tell,4 being so good a counsellor. But (I fear) lest it is a superfluous work for me to make of you the inquiry.

Sis. Is it then unknown to you what it is to consult?

Soc. It is, Sisyphus, to myself at least, if it be any thing else than for a person, who does not know any thing of those matters respecting which it is requisite to do some act, to speak like a diviner and ofF-handed, whatever may present itself, and to make a guess 5 according to the same things for himself ;5 like persons playing at odd and even,6 who, knowing nothing about the even and odd, which they hold in their own 7 hands, nevertheless happen by accident to say what is true about the same8 things. To consult then is oftentimes a thing

11 The words between the brackets are an evident interpolation. As regards the matter compare Hipp. Maj. § 2.

* On the ellipse of hire after pr) poi see myself on .dEsch. Suppl. 284. 3 The Greek is at present rj rb Kokuq Tu£— It was originally r] T6 y'

SXKwg irwc— For Ko\<3c would be superfluous after the preceding ev— On iXXuc 5twc compare Alcibiad. II. § 13, n; Phffidr. p. 272, B.; Protag, p. 333, B.; and on y aAXwe and caXu;, see Crito, § 13, n. *.

'The Greek is rj Kai iravv paSiug airbg— But the sense requires, as I have translated, tv yap Kai iravv paSiotg Sittoiq av o'vrwg y'— Compare Euthyph. p. 14, A. paSiug av e?7roic. Hipp. Maj. § 15, Kai Ofwcpbv Tt irov Tovt av tit) paBriua, Hiv aiiy O'vtidq Tcow&v ivritrraaai. With regard to eu Kai patiuig, see Schsefer on Bos. v. Kivlvvog.

55 Such is the literal version of the Greek, eai Kara raiira avrif— out of which I am unable to make a particle of sense, I could have understood iisdZovTa Kara iravra tv iraic, 11 making a guess on all points somehow successfully," as I suggested twenty years ago.

* On this game see the commentators on Lysid. p. 206, F., Aristoph. Plut. 817, and Horace's "Ludere par impar."

'This avriov is very strange here, as if the party playing did not know the number in his own hand. Common sense evidently leads to ruv ivavriuv, "the opposite party," in lieu of ruv airHv— and to ivwoiv in lieu of ixmt,iv

* Here again I am at a loss in irtpi ruv avr&v. FOP the sense leads at once to mpi itavriav

of this kind, that a person, although knowing nothing of the matters, about which he is consulting, yet happens by accident to say what is the truth. If then it is a thing of this kind, I know what to consult is; if however it is not a thing of this kind, I should not know it at all.

Sis. It is not of such a kind as not to know in reality any thing at all, but to know partly something of the matter in hand, and partly not to know at all.1

[2.] Soc. Do you mean that to consult is, by Zeus, a thing of this kind; that, as I seem to myself to divine somewhat your notions relating to the act of consulting well, it is the seeking to discover the best things for a person to employ himself in for his own benefit, but not to know them clearly, 2 but for this to be, as it were, in some form of a thought ?2 Do you not mean somehow in this way.

Sis. I do.

Soc. Whether do men seek such things as they know, or such as they do not know? Sis. Both.

Soc. Do you mean by this something of this kind, that men seek both what they know and what they do not know? just as if a person should know Callistratus, who he is ;3 but not know to find where he is, 4 not who is Callistratus.4 Do you mean that to seek both is after this manner.

Sis. I do.

Soc. He then, who knows Callistratus, would not seek that matter, namely, to know him. Sis. He would not.

Soc. But he would, where he might be.
Sis. It seems so to myself at least.

Soc. Nor would he seek even this, namely, where it was possible to find him, if he knew already; but he would find him forthwith.

1 On account of the antithesis in elUvai Ti, I have translated as if the Greek were /trjli irav, not pr/tit irto— Compare Xenoph. M. S. iv. 6, 7, Ap' ovv SoKti aoi avOpwirtp Svvarov tlvai ra ovra izavra iirioTaoQai; OiiSk pi Ai' l/uuyt noWoarbv pipoc aiiTwv. Of course I am aware that fkt)iiiru lnaTa<r9ai is found just afterwards, but there is not, as here, any antithesis.

s3 Such seems to be the meaning of the words, aW Hairtg iv yo-qau Tim ttvat Tovto

1 In the formula KaWlarparov yiyviiffKoi oc Tic Ian, the noun is not elsewhere, if I rightly remember, repeated. I have therefore omitted it. *—1 The words between the numerals, I confess, I cannot understand.

Sis. Yes.

Soc. Men then do not seek the things, which they know, but, as it seems, what they do not know. But if this reasoning appears to you to be of a captious kind, and to have been spoken, not for the sake of a practical purpose, but for conversation merely, consider the matter in this way, if the case seems to be such as has been just now stated. Do you not know that this takes place in geometry? that by geometricians the diameter is not unknown, whether it be a diameter or not, —for this I well know1 is not sought to be discovered by them, —but how great it is in measurement in proportion to the sides of the space which it intersects? Is not this the very thing which is sought respecting it?

Sis. So it seems at least to me.

Soc. For it is that, which is unknown. Is it not so?
Sis. Certainly.

Soc. Know you not that the doubling of the cube is sought to be discovered by geometricians, how great it is by calculation? But the cube itself is not sought for by them, whether it is a cube, or not; for that at least they know well.2. Is it not so?

Sis. Yes.

Soc. Respecting the air likewise, do you not know that Anaxagoras and Empedocles, and the rest of those, 3 who talk about meteorology,3 are all seeking whether it is boundless or has a limit?

Sis. Yes I do. . . ,

Soc. But not the question, whether it is air. Is it not so? Sis. It is.4

[3.] Soc. Will you then agree with me that such is the case with all other things5 now6 that to no person is there

1 Although our yap oiS'e is not an uncommon expression, yet here I should prefer—ovSt yap, olS' ev, and so I have translated; for the second oiiSk is omitted in some MSS.

1 The Greek is Tovtq yi. It was, I think, Tovto y (v—

's The word in Lucian's Icaromenipp. § 5, is MfrewpoXeixxiC! in Aristophanes Nc0. 359, TAiTtoipoaotpiaTuiv; and in 332, /itTiuipo^evaicac

'After ri yap, the answer generally expresses an assertion, not a negation; which however is found again towards the end of this §, n. 4.

5 The Greek is Kai card Tsiv dWmv—which I cannot understand. I have translated as if it were originally Kai ra rStv

• Instead of ijSr) one MS. has a Si), which leads to icai Set

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