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us cannot say that any other of his pupils did make him speak. And so little does this similarity admit of doubt, that on the contrary an observation of some importance may be founded upon it. I mean, whether certain peculiarities in the Platonic dialogue, particularly the fictitious questions and answers introduced into one proposition, and the accumulation and comprehension under some other of several particular propositions in common, often much too enlarged for this subordinate passage, together with the interruptions almost unavoidably ensuing in the construction of the period as begun—whether these, as we find them here so very prevalent, are not properly to be referred to Socrates. They appear in Plato most in those places in which he is particularly Socratic ; but they are most frequent and least clear of their accompanying negligences in this dialogue and the following one, which is probably homogeneous with this. And from these considerations taken together a manifest probability arises that these forms of speech were originally copied after Socrates, and consequently are connected with the mimic arts of Plato, who endeavoured to a certain degree to imitate the language also of those whom he introduces, if they had peculiarities otherwise which justified him in so doing. And whoever tries this observation by the different works of Plato, especially according to the arrangement here established, will find it very much confirmed by them. And that other Socraticians did not attempt such an imitation is accounted for on the one hand, from the circumstance that no little art was required to bend to a certain degree these peculiarities of a negligent colloquial style to the laws of written language, and to blend them with the regulated beauty
of expression ; and on the other, more courage was required to meet a certain share of censure from small critics than Xenophon perhaps possessed. But to enlarge further upon this belongs not to this place. One circumstance however is yet to be touched upon which might be brought forward against the supposition of this dialogue having come from Plato, and indeed with more plausibility than any other; I mean that it is stripped of the dialogic dress under which Plato produces all his other works, and which is not wanting even in the Menexenus, which otherwise consists in exactly the same manner as this does, of only one speech. Why, therefore, should the defence, which would so easily have admitted of this embellishment, of all the works of Plato alone dispense with it 2 However convincing, then, this may sound, still the preponderance of all the other arguments is too great to allow it to be sufficient to excite a suspicion; and we reply therefore as follows to the objection. It may be that the dialogic dress had not at that time become quite so much a matter of necessity to Plato as it subsequently did, and this may serve to satisfy those who are inclined to set a great value upon the dress of the Menexenus; or Plato himself separated this defence too far from his other writings to admit of his wishing to subject it to the same law. And then again, it would be in general very unworthy of Plato for us to think of considering the dialogic dress, even in the case of works where it does not penetrate very deep into the principal matter, only as an embellishment capriciously appended; on the contrary it always has a meaning and contributes to the conformation and effect of the whole. Now if this would not have been
the case here why should Plato have wished forcibly to introduce it Especially as it is extremely probable that he wished to hasten as much as possible the publication of this speech, and perhaps considered it not advisable to commit himself at that time to a public opinion as to the result of the case, which, if he had involved the speech in a dialogue it would not have been easy to avoid, or this form would have been utterly empty and unmeaning. As to the Athenian judicial process in similar cases, we may certainly suppose all that has been contributed from various quarters for the understanding of this piece to be generally known ; moreover, the speech itself explains most of what is necessary.
I HAve already observed in the introduction to the
preceding “Apology,” that the Crito appears to be similarly circumstanced with that piece. For it is possible that this dialogue may not be a work regularly framed by Plato ; but one which did actually take place as is here described, which Plato received from the interlocutor with Socrates as accurately as the former could give it, while he himself hardly did more than embellish and reinstate it in the well-known language of Socrates, ornamenting the beginning and the end, and perhaps filling up here and there when necessary. This view rests upon exactly similar grounds with those which have been already explained in considering the Apology. For in this dialogue also there is the same entire absence of any philosophical object, and although the immediate occasion invited to the most important investigations into the nature of right, law, and compact, which certainly engaged Plato's attention at all times, these subjects are treated of so exclusively and solely with reference to the existing circumstances, that we easily see that the minds of the interlocutors, if the dialogue was really held, were exclusively filled with these ; and if it is to be considered as a work of Plato's, in the composition of which facts had no influence, then we must attribute to it the character of a perfectly occasional piece. It is indeed expressly shewn that philosophizing has no place in it, as the particular principles are only laid down as granted without any investigation, and with reference indeed to old dialogues, but by no means such as could be sought for in other writings of Plato, a process which, in those works of Plato which have a philosophical meaning is perfectly unheard of. And what may be thought to have been the occasion of such an accidental piece, if we regard it as a work exclusively Plato's own For in point of meaning, nothing is here given which was not already contained in the Apology. Or, if we are to believe that Plato intended to make known the fact that the friends of Socrates wished to assist Socrates to escape, but that he would not allow them to do so, and that all the rest with the exception of this historical foundation is his own invention, in that case, on closer consideration, only about the first half of the dialogue would be intelligible, the latter half not. For, on the one hand, there is nothing remarkable in this circumstance, but the manner in which it
takes place; inasmuch as the result might be at once foreseen from the defence, and therefore the friends of Socrates were justified even by that, supposing them not to have undertaken anything of the kind. And on the other hand the dialogue itself is constituted exactly as one that actually took place, subject to a certain degree to chance circumstances as one of that description always is, must be constituted, but not at all like one composed with an object, or into which art in any way enters. For dialogues of the former class may easily start away from a thought after barely alluding to it, or even proceed to confirm by frequent repetition what might have been said at once definitely and expressly ; while those of the latter can neither return to the same point, without addition and advancement, nor excite expectations which they do not satisfy. Now the Crito is clearly framed upon the former plan, and although the idea is in the main worked out beautifully and clearly, still in the details the connected parts are often loosely joined, uselessly interrupted, and again negligently taken up, exactly as we might suppose, generally, that none of the deficiencies as peculiar to a dialogue actually held and only told again, would be altogether wanting. In this manner, therefore, I still hold it possible that Plato may have composed this dialogue, and think that so immediately after the death of Socrates, he may have had the same conscientious purpose in the publication of it, as in that of the “Apology”. Not before a remote period, that into which, according to my views, the Phaedon falls, could Plato even in what relates to the death of Socrates, pass from literal accuracy to a greater latitude in treating of those subjects, and inter