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which the former must still always proceed, that first view returns in a more exalted sense, and raised above all objections, which maintained that all virtue was knowledge, and all vice ignorance. Finally, that last elucidation also, and one which interrupts the main thread of the dialogue, concerning the different forms of the states as they were apprehended and framed by the Hellenes, is very visibly intended, in connection with comprehensive views, to explain without concealment Plato's opinion of the Hellenic States, and of the constitution of his native town in particular, and the extreme perverseness with which the influence of philosophers upon the states was depreciated there by the merely oratorical demagogues, and as much as possible obstructed by them, in order thus to justify at the same time, and place in the proper light what he himself had in vain endeavoured to perform elsewhere, as a framer of states and teacher of princes, and to proclaim in defiance of all satirical censors, that though he had not condescended to govern, he nevertheless considered himself and every philosopher as the true statesman and king. This naturally leads us to observe this further similarity between the present dialogues and the preceding one, that the former is likewise to be regarded as the completion of one department of Platonic polemics, that, namely, against demagogues, rhetoricians, and state-quacks, and that after the thorough handling which they here receive, nothing more was to be brought up against them, but the battle was to be looked upon as now at an end. When once a species of perversity has been so fully exposed, particular and incidental expressions may indeed be continually called forth upon
the same subject by particular occasions, when an author thinks he may never be taxed for an answer, but such expressions, however pointed they may be, will always say less than what has been said before, and hence, after such an exposure as this, by a judicious writer like Plato, they will not readily be brought forward with such freedom and unsuppressed abundance as we have been accustomed to find them in other dialogues, which do, therefore, from this circumstance prove themselves to have been earlier written. To enter into particulars upon this subject, would be to write as full and accurate a counterpart to our Introduction to the preceding dialogue, as the Statesman itself is to the Sophist. Only we would request our readers to look at all the dialogues, beginning with the Protagoras; for the particular character to which we are now calling attention runs more or less through all ; and to observe, independent of the similarity of purpose in all, how also the strength and efficiency of the polemics depend upon and correspond with the gradual growth and development of the scientific ideas, and keep pace with that progress, and also, how the dramatic and ironical skill ceases here to be so prominent, and continually keeps its pretensions more in the back-ground in proportion as preparations are made for scientific speculation. And the results of this observation will infallibly suffice at the same time as a justification of our whole arrangement up to the present dialogue, if we take a retrospective survey of that arrangement from this point of view. For, first of all, it is manifest that the Statesman lays holds of the second side of the Euthydemus, and sticks to it also quite as decisively as the Sophist did to the first, and
that here as well as there, we are only reminded briefly of what had been discussed at sufficient length in the Euthydemus. Nay, when we recollect in what a helpless condition Socrates and Clinias separated in that dialogue, because they were not in a condition to discover the kingly art, we must at the same time observe, that the Statesman presumes what the reader is supposed to have learnt from that helplessness. In like manner it is clear that the present dialogue rests upon the idea of imitation, as established in the Cratylus and Sophist, and upon the theory of true conception, which is continually developing itself from the Theaetetus onwards; as what was said in the Gorgias upon the perverse tendencies of common state-quackery, as being less positive, and containing its own reasons in itself, must necessarily have preceded what is said in the Statesman; finally also, that the Statesman again resumes the Protagoras, nearly in the same degree as the Sophist does the Parmenides, and that what is particularly said in the Protagoras of virtue in general, and of all the virtues in detail, and in the Laches and Charmides of courage and discretion, which are here again brought forward as apparent opposites, must quite as certainly have preceded what we find in the Gorgias on the same subject; nay, that all matter of an ethical character in the strictest sense, is here summed up in a peculiar manner, and under the highest point of view possible for Greeks, namely, a political one, and thus preserved entire for future discussions. Hence, then, the Statesman together with the Sophist constitute the middle point of the second period of the Platonic system. For in them, as regards the form on the one hand, the combination of every thing elementary, tentative, and indirectly delivered, coincides in such a manner with the germs of pure philosophical speculation, that the two appear as one and the same. And again, as to the subject-matter, while in point of outward form physics and ethics become more distinctly separate, they are united in a peculiar manner in both dialogues. And in the Statesman this is done by the view, only mythical indeed, taken of the historical as subject to the law of nature and conformity of the world itself, and in this point of view, our myth, as it is generally regarded, is anticipatory of the Timaeus, and, as such, corresponds to the approximation to the Platonic Republic.
VIII. THE BANQUET.
A PERson having read the two preceding dialogues and now seeing the Symposium follow, might ask, looking to the beginning of the Sophist, why the Eleatic Stranger, when Socrates enquired what place the Sophist, Statesman, and Philosopher—all these occupy both independently and according to their distinction, form, and relation to one another, has answered only as relates to two of them, and not the third. And we might repeat to him on the one hand, that this Eleatic Stranger, because it would have been a sacrilegious act to describe the sophist first, has already mixed up with his attempt to discover that character, the description of the philosopher, though without naming him, as has already been remarked in the Introduction
to that dialogue; on the other hand, that Plato, independent of this anticipation, tired with the already twice repeated and strict form, which could only be alleviated and enlivened by the touches of humour thrown in, did not wish to describe the philosopher also by the same method, Whence it arises, that the trilogy, regarded in this point of view, does indeed continue imperfect, but to those who consider it on less narrow principles, it will appear in general more beautifully and nobly completed by the dialogue now before us, and the next that follows, the Phaedon. For in these two dialogues taken together, Plato exhibits before us an image of a philosopher in the person of Socrates. In the Phaedon, of which we cannot here speak more closely, he displays him as he appears in death, while in our Symposium the same philosopher is ennobled as he lived, by that panegyric of Alcibiades, which is manifestly the crest and crown of the whole dialogue, and exhibits Socrates to us in the unwearied enthusiasm of contemplation, and in joyous communication of the results, in the contempt of danger and exaltation above external things, in the purity of all his relations, and in his inward divinity under that light and cheerful exterior; in short, in that perfect-soundness of body and mind, and, consequently, of existence generally,' But if we were to repeat all this, and no other answer, certainly, could be given, it would strike the majority of readers with surprise, because it is unusual to consider the two dialogues from this point of view, and few only would find in such an account any thing worth notice, the majority nothing; because in the two dialogues, even if more importance is to be attributed to the description of Socrates than is usually done, still the remaining and