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it occupies indisputably the place next after it, and is almost to be viewed only as a supplement to this dialogue, or as an enlarged dialectic elucidation of its subject. For what in the Phaedrus is brought forward in a mythical form, that love has its source in the identity of the ideal between two persons, is here proved dialectically, though indirectly and in an enlarged sense. The latter, inasmuch as the notion of relation and affinity takes in more than that of the identity of the ideal; and indeed this notion is alluded to in the Lysis so indefinitely, that it is only by reference to the Phaedrus that it can be easily understood. Indirectly, inasmuch as all other propositions resolve into contradictions. For that this is the case with the last proposition likewise, and the one particularly defended by Plato, is only apparent. Much rather is the manner in which the doubts raised against the earlier position, that resemblance is the source of friendship, are applied to this likewise, to be looked upon as the key to the whole, and one which will certainly open up the entire meaning to every one who bears in mind the hints in the Phaedrus. Like is only then unprofitable to Like when a man confines himself to his own external personality, and to an interest in his own sensuous being ; not to him who, taking interest in the consciousness of a spiritual existence, possible at the same time among many and for the good of many, enlarges the sphere of his being beyond those limits; a process, in the course of which, first, every man universally meets with something like and related to himself, and not at war with his own endeavours. Similar hints are also implied in the similar sceptically proposed positions as to the uselessness of the good, in so far as it is conceived, not as an antidote to the bad, but independently and for itself. Aristotle, however, seems not to have understood these allusions. And this misunderstanding of the dialectics and polemics occurring in the writings of Plato, may generally indeed be excused in his case, as his synonymous arts are of a coarser metal, and of a composition admitting of no polish. But in the present instance where the case is so easy, the source of his error seems to be that he probably knew but little of the connection more especially of the earlier Platonic writings. For several passages may be found in his ethical works, in which he appears to have had the Lysis in his mind, and all of them look as if he thought Plato's apparent indecision real, and believed that he was only unable to extricate himself partly because he overlooked the distinction between friendship and inclination, partly because he mistook his three kinds of friendship, and therefore, naturally enough, could not avoid falling into a contradiction, as often as he thought to transfer to the others what held only of one. Now it must be clear to every reader of the Lysis with what emphasis Plato, though only in his indirect method, draws attention to that distinction, as a considerable part of the dialogue is devoted to the dialectical exposition of it, and how decidedly he rejects the so-called friendship of utility, and this too certainly, dialectically considered, with the greatest justice, as this utility is never and on no occasion anything for itself, but always, and this accidentally, only in another. Still further particulars likewise speak in favour of a very early date for the composition of the Lysis after the Phaedrus. Thus, for example, we find in this dialogue also harsh transitions, a playful caprice in the connection, and occasionally a carelessness in the choice
of examples; all of which gives us a strong feeling of inexperience in a composer. Thus also what occurs respecting the subject of the erotic speeches and poems of Hippothales, seems to be a continued allusion to the erotic speeches of Lysias, very probably produced by unfavourable opinions as to the conduct of Plato to that celebrated man. It would be superfluous to think of noting in detail the whole course of the dialogue after the general view of it that has been given, inasmuch as every one must now be in a condition to judge to what point the particular lines tend, and according to what rule they must be produced in order to reach the centre-point of the whole. That many polemical particulars lie concealed in this dialogue also, every reader will divine; and one feels pretty certain that Plato would completely separate the physical application of the idea of friendship from the ethical, if not entirely reject the former. Thus it can escape no one how the secondary object—that which connects the spirit with the form, namely, to enjoin a morally erotic treatment of the object of love, is not only reached by the preliminary pieces of dialogue, but is very artfully insinuated through the whole, and very easily also, with the exception of a few particular harshnesses, which, just because they were easy to avoid, mark the beginner. The same may be said of the luxuriance in the by-work, and a certain ostentation of superfluity of matter on all points. But this little dialogue is remarkable for the manner in which it suggests the principles from which it is necessary to start in order to understand and judge of the Platonic writings, partly as a striking example, and the first of such examples, of how little ground there is for the opinion, that Plato did not, gene
rally, mean to decide the questions to the investigation of which he gives a sceptical colouring, without writing down the meaning of the riddle in plain words, as he here observes that method in the case of a subject with regard to which he decides in two other dialogues, and that in such a manner that the attentive reader may without trouble find the decision in what looks entirely sceptical. Partly, also, it is an example of how easily Plato could give birth to dialogues of a slighter cast, which, considered in themselves, are merely dialectical, but stand in a necessary connection with something mystical without them,-planets, as it were, only borrowing their light from the greater independent bodies, and moving around them. Also of how the appearances of those dialogues cannot be understood unless their relations to the larger are rightly comprehended ; and how necessary, therefore, it must be, if we would determine the subject of such writings, or decide whether they are Platonic or not, that every possible means should be tried to fix their distance from the principal bodies, and the path in which they move. For as regards the Lysis, few would now pay much attention to the doubts which a too austere and strict criticism could raise against its genuineness—nay, it could scarce be found necessary to refer the accuser further to its imitative and dramatic form, which has so beautiful an effect, and so much of the Platonic character. Of the characters themselves there is nothing to be said; moreover, there is no trace existing that an actual occurrence is the basis either of the subject or of the dress in which it is clothed.
To the most celebrated men of those who had at that period come forward as instructors of the Hellenic youth ; to Protagoras first, who of all masters of dispute and eloquence, by reason of the fundamental principle on which his art rested, most deserved to become the study of a philosopher, even as he was himself called a philosopher in ancient times and honoured as such ; to the learned Hippias, moreover, the skilled in history and antiquity, rich in stores of art and memory; and to Prodicus, chiefly brought forward by reason of his philological labours, who, though as a less important personage, contributes to the effect of the whole; and, further, to the friends and admirers of these wise men, the noblest of the Athenian youth, celebrated partly through their fathers, partly in succeeding times by their own deeds as generals, demagogues, and poets; to the sons of Pericles, namely, to his ward Alcibiades, to Critias, to Agathon and others, who, though only present as mute spectators, exalt the pomp and splendour of the whole; to these it is that, together with Socrates and a young man whom he is to recommend as a pupil to Protagoras, this richly ornamented dialogue introduces us. so moreover, to the most brilliant and luxurious house in Athens, the house of Callias, who was the richest citizen, the friend of Pericles, as the second husband of his mother after her separation from Hipponicus, connected in the relation of brother-in-law to Alcibiades, who married his sister Hipparete, recognised and ridiculed by the comic poets as the most zealous and munificent patron of the Sophists, until his unlimited