Φαῖδρος: ἄκουε δή. περὶ μὲν τῶν ἐμῶν πραγμάτων ἐπίστασαι, καὶ ὡς νομίζω συμφέρειν ἡμῖν γενομένων τούτων ἀκήκοας: ἀξιῶ δὲ μὴ διὰ (231a) τοῦτο ἀτυχῆσαι ὧν δέομαι, ὅτι οὐκ ἐραστὴς ὤν σου τυγχάνω. ὡς ἐκείνοις μὲν τότε μεταμέλει ὧν ἂν εὖ ποιήσωσιν, ἐπειδὰν τῆς ἐπιθυμίας παύσωνται: τοῖς δὲ οὐκ ἔστι χρόνος ἐν ᾧ μεταγνῶναι προσήκει.
οὐ γὰρ ὑπ᾽ ἀνάγκης ἀλλ᾽ ἑκόντες, ὡς ἂν ἄριστα περὶ τῶν οἰκείων βουλεύσαιντο, πρὸς τὴν δύναμιν τὴν αὑτῶν εὖ ποιοῦσιν.
ἔτι δὲ οἱ μὲν ἐρῶντες σκοποῦσιν ἅ τε κακῶς διέθεντο τῶν αὑτῶν διὰ τὸν ἔρωτα καὶ ἃ πεποιήκασιν εὖ, καὶ ὃν εἶχον πόνον προστιθέντες (231b) ἡγοῦνται πάλαι τὴν ἀξίαν ἀποδεδωκέναι χάριν τοῖς ἐρωμένοις: τοῖς δὲ μὴ ἐρῶσιν οὔτε τὴν τῶν οἰκείων ἀμέλειαν διὰ τοῦτο ἔστιν προφασίζεσθαι, οὔτε τοὺς παρεληλυθότας πόνους ὑπολογίζεσθαι, οὔτε τὰς πρὸς τοὺς προσήκοντας διαφορὰς αἰτιάσασθαι: ὥστε περιῃρημένων τοσούτων κακῶν οὐδὲν ὑπολείπεται ἀλλ᾽ ἢ ποιεῖν προθύμως ὅτι ἂν αὐτοῖς οἴωνται πράξαντες χαριεῖσθαι.
ἔτι δὲ εἰ διὰ τοῦτο ἄξιον (231c) τοὺς ἐρῶντας περὶ πολλοῦ ποιεῖσθαι, ὅτι τούτους μάλιστά φασιν φιλεῖν ὧν ἂν ἐρῶσιν, καὶ ἕτοιμοί εἰσι καὶ ἐκ τῶν λόγων καὶ ἐκ τῶν ἔργων τοῖς ἄλλοις ἀπεχθανόμενοι τοῖς ἐρωμένοις χαρίζεσθαι, ῥᾴδιον γνῶναι, εἰ ἀληθῆ λέγουσιν, ὅτι ὅσων ἂν ὕστερον ἐρασθῶσιν, ἐκείνους αὐτῶν περὶ πλείονος ποιήσονται, καὶ δῆλον ὅτι, ἐὰν ἐκείνοις δοκῇ, καὶ τούτους κακῶς ποιήσουσιν.
καίτοι πῶς εἰκός ἐστι τοιοῦτον πρᾶγμα προέσθαι (231d) τοιαύτην ἔχοντι συμφοράν, ἣν οὐδ᾽ ἂν ἐπιχειρήσειεν οὐδεὶς ἔμπειρος ὢν ἀποτρέπειν; καὶ γὰρ αὐτοὶ ὁμολογοῦσι νοσεῖν μᾶλλον ἢ σωφρονεῖν, καὶ εἰδέναι ὅτι κακῶς φρονοῦσιν, ἀλλ᾽ οὐ δύνασθαι αὑτῶν κρατεῖν: ὥστε πῶς ἂν εὖ φρονήσαντες ταῦτα καλῶς ἔχειν ἡγήσαιντο περὶ ὧν οὕτω διακείμενοι βουλεύονται;
καὶ μὲν δὴ εἰ μὲν ἐκ τῶν ἐρώντων τὸν βέλτιστον αἱροῖο, ἐξ ὀλίγων ἄν σοι ἡ ἔκλεξις εἴη: εἰ δ᾽ ἐκ τῶν ἄλλων τὸν σαυτῷ ἐπιτηδειότατον, ἐκ πολλῶν: ὥστε πολὺ (231e) πλείων ἐλπὶς ἐν τοῖς πολλοῖς ὄντα τυχεῖν τὸν ἄξιον τῆς σῆς φιλίας.
εἰ τοίνυν τὸν νόμον τὸν καθεστηκότα δέδοικας, μὴ πυθομένων τῶν ἀνθρώπων ὄνειδός σοι γένηται, εἰκός ἐστι (232a) τοὺς μὲν ἐρῶντας, οὕτως ἂν οἰομένους καὶ ὑπὸ τῶν ἄλλων ζηλοῦσθαι ὥσπερ αὐτοὺς ὑφ᾽ αὑτῶν, ἐπαρθῆναι τῷ λέγειν καὶ φιλοτιμουμένους ἐπιδείκνυσθαι πρὸς ἅπαντας ὅτι οὐκ ἄλλως αὐτοῖς πεπόνηται: τοὺς δὲ μὴ ἐρῶντας, κρείττους αὑτῶν ὄντας, τὸ βέλτιστον ἀντὶ τῆς δόξης τῆς παρὰ τῶν ἀνθρώπων αἱρεῖσθαι.
ἔτι δὲ τοὺς μὲν ἐρῶντας πολλοὺς ἀνάγκη πυθέσθαι καὶ ἰδεῖν ἀκολουθοῦντας τοῖς ἐρωμένοις καὶ ἔργον τοῦτο ποιουμένους, ὥστε ὅταν ὀφθῶσι διαλεγόμενοι (232b) ἀλλήλοις, τότε αὐτοὺς οἴονται ἢ γεγενημένης ἢ μελλούσης ἔσεσθαι τῆς ἐπιθυμίας συνεῖναι: τοὺς δὲ μὴ ἐρῶντας οὐδ᾽ αἰτιᾶσθαι διὰ τὴν συνουσίαν ἐπιχειροῦσιν, εἰδότες ὅτι ἀναγκαῖόν ἐστιν ἢ διὰ φιλίαν τῳ διαλέγεσθαι ἢ δι᾽ ἄλλην τινὰ ἡδονήν.
καὶ μὲν δὴ εἴ σοι δέος παρέστηκεν ἡγουμένῳ χαλεπὸν εἶναι φιλίαν συμμένειν, καὶ ἄλλῳ μὲν τρόπῳ διαφορᾶς γενομένης κοινὴν ἂν ἀμφοτέροις καταστῆναι τὴν (232c) συμφοράν, προεμένου δέ σου ἃ περὶ πλείστου ποιῇ μεγάλην ἄν σοι βλάβην ἂν γενέσθαι, εἰκότως ἂν τοὺς ἐρῶντας μᾶλλον ἂν φοβοῖο: πολλὰ γὰρ αὐτούς ἐστι τὰ λυποῦντα, καὶ πάντ᾽ ἐπὶ τῇ αὑτῶν βλάβῃ νομίζουσι γίγνεσθαι.
διόπερ καὶ τὰς πρὸς τοὺς ἄλλους τῶν ἐρωμένων συνουσίας ἀποτρέπουσιν, φοβούμενοι τοὺς μὲν οὐσίαν κεκτημένους μὴ χρήμασιν αὐτοὺς ὑπερβάλωνται, τοὺς δὲ πεπαιδευμένους μὴ συνέσει κρείττους γένωνται: τῶν δὲ ἄλλο τι κεκτημένων (232d) ἀγαθὸν τὴν δύναμιν ἑκάστου φυλάττονται.
πείσαντες μὲν οὖν ἀπεχθέσθαι σε τούτοις εἰς ἐρημίαν φίλων καθιστᾶσιν, ἐὰν δὲ τὸ σεαυτοῦ σκοπῶν ἄμεινον ἐκείνων φρονῇς, ἥξεις αὐτοῖς εἰς διαφοράν: ὅσοι δὲ μὴ ἐρῶντες ἔτυχον, ἀλλὰ δι᾽ ἀρετὴν ἔπραξαν ὧν ἐδέοντο, οὐκ ἂν τοῖς συνοῦσι φθονοῖεν, ἀλλὰ τοὺς μὴ ἐθέλοντας μισοῖεν, ἡγούμενοι ὑπ᾽ ἐκείνων μὲν ὑπερορᾶσθαι, ὑπὸ τῶν συνόντων δὲ ὠφελεῖσθαι, ὥστε πολὺ (232e) πλείων ἐλπὶς φιλίαν αὐτοῖς ἐκ τοῦ πράγματος ἢ ἔχθραν γενέσθαι.
καὶ μὲν δὴ τῶν μὲν ἐρώντων πολλοὶ πρότερον τοῦ σώματος ἐπεθύμησαν ἢ τὸν τρόπον ἔγνωσαν καὶ τῶν ἄλλων οἰκείων ἔμπειροι ἐγένοντο, ὥστε ἄδηλον αὐτοῖς εἰ ἔτι τότε βουλήσονται φίλοι εἶναι, ἐπειδὰν τῆς ἐπιθυμίας παύσωνται: (233a) τοῖς δὲ μὴ ἐρῶσιν, οἳ καὶ πρότερον ἀλλήλοις φίλοι ὄντες ταῦτα ἔπραξαν, οὐκ ἐξ ὧν ἂν εὖ πάθωσι ταῦτα εἰκὸς ἐλάττω τὴν φιλίαν αὐτοῖς ποιῆσαι, ἀλλὰ ταῦτα μνημεῖα καταλειφθῆναι τῶν μελλόντων ἔσεσθαι. καὶ μὲν δὴ βελτίονί σοι προσήκει γενέσθαι ἐμοὶ πειθομένῳ ἢ ἐραστῇ.
ἐκεῖνοι μὲν γὰρ καὶ παρὰ τὸ βέλτιστον τά τε λεγόμενα καὶ τὰ πραττόμενα ἐπαινοῦσιν, τὰ μὲν δεδιότες μὴ ἀπέχθωνται, τὰ δὲ (233b) καὶ αὐτοὶ χεῖρον διὰ τὴν ἐπιθυμίαν γιγνώσκοντες. τοιαῦτα γὰρ ὁ ἔρως ἐπιδείκνυται: δυστυχοῦντας μέν, ἃ μὴ λύπην τοῖς ἄλλοις παρέχει, ἀνιαρὰ ποιεῖ νομίζειν: εὐτυχοῦντας δὲ καὶ τὰ μὴ ἡδονῆς ἄξια παρ᾽ ἐκείνων ἐπαίνου ἀναγκάζει τυγχάνειν: ὥστε πολὺ μᾶλλον ἐλεεῖν τοῖς ἐρωμένοις ἢ ζηλοῦν αὐτοὺς προσήκει.
ἐὰν δέ μοι πείθῃ, πρῶτον μὲν οὐ τὴν παροῦσαν ἡδονὴν θεραπεύων συνέσομαί σοι, ἀλλὰ καὶ (233c) τὴν μέλλουσαν ὠφελίαν ἔσεσθαι, οὐχ ὑπ᾽ ἔρωτος ἡττώμενος ἀλλ᾽ ἐμαυτοῦ κρατῶν, οὐδὲ διὰ σμικρὰ ἰσχυρὰν ἔχθραν ἀναιρούμενος ἀλλὰ διὰ μεγάλα βραδέως ὀλίγην ὀργὴν ποιούμενος, τῶν μὲν ἀκουσίων συγγνώμην ἔχων, τὰ δὲ ἑκούσια πειρώμενος ἀποτρέπειν: ταῦτα γάρ ἐστι φιλίας πολὺν χρόνον ἐσομένης τεκμήρια.
εἰ δ᾽ ἄρα σοι τοῦτο παρέστηκεν, ὡς οὐχ οἷόν τε ἰσχυρὰν φιλίαν γενέσθαι ἐὰν μή τις ἐρῶν τυγχάνῃ, (233d) ἐνθυμεῖσθαι χρὴ ὅτι οὔτ᾽ ἂν τοὺς ὑεῖς περὶ πολλοῦ ἐποιούμεθα οὔτ᾽ ἂν τοὺς πατέρας καὶ τὰς μητέρας, οὔτ᾽ ἂν πιστοὺς φίλους ἐκεκτήμεθα, οἳ οὐκ ἐξ ἐπιθυμίας τοιαύτης γεγόνασιν ἀλλ᾽ ἐξ ἑτέρων ἐπιτηδευμάτων.
ἔτι δὲ εἰ χρὴ τοῖς δεομένοις μάλιστα χαρίζεσθαι, προσήκει καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις μὴ τοὺς βελτίστους ἀλλὰ τοὺς ἀπορωτάτους εὖ ποιεῖν: μεγίστων γὰρ ἀπαλλαγέντες κακῶν πλείστην χάριν αὐτοῖς εἴσονται. καὶ μὲν δὴ καὶ ἐν ταῖς (233e) ἰδίαις δαπάναις οὐ τοὺς φίλους ἄξιον παρακαλεῖν, ἀλλὰ τοὺς προσαιτοῦντας καὶ τοὺς δεομένους πλησμονῆς: ἐκεῖνοι γὰρ καὶ ἀγαπήσουσιν καὶ ἀκολουθήσουσιν καὶ ἐπὶ τὰς θύρας ἥξουσι καὶ μάλιστα ἡσθήσονται καὶ οὐκ ἐλαχίστην χάριν εἴσονται καὶ πολλὰ ἀγαθὰ αὐτοῖς εὔξονται.
ἀλλ᾽ ἴσως προσήκει οὐ τοῖς σφόδρα δεομένοις χαρίζεσθαι, ἀλλὰ τοῖς μάλιστα ἀποδοῦναι χάριν δυναμένοις: οὐδὲ τοῖς προσαιτοῦσι (234a) μόνον, ἀλλὰ τοῖς τοῦ πράγματος ἀξίοις: οὐδὲ ὅσοι τῆς σῆς ὥρας ἀπολαύσονται, ἀλλ᾽ οἵτινες πρεσβυτέρῳ γενομένῳ τῶν σφετέρων ἀγαθῶν μεταδώσουσιν: οὐδὲ οἳ διαπραξάμενοι πρὸς τοὺς ἄλλους φιλοτιμήσονται, ἀλλ᾽ οἵτινες αἰσχυνόμενοι πρὸς ἅπαντας σιωπήσονται: οὐδὲ τοῖς ὀλίγον χρόνον σπουδάζουσιν, ἀλλὰ τοῖς ὁμοίως διὰ παντὸς τοῦ βίου φίλοις ἐσομένοις: οὐδὲ οἵτινες παυόμενοι τῆς ἐπιθυμίας ἔχθρας πρόφασιν ζητήσουσιν, ἀλλ᾽ οἳ παυσαμένου τῆς ὥρας τότε (234b) τὴν αὑτῶν ἀρετὴν ἐπιδείξονται. σὺ οὖν τῶν τε εἰρημένων μέμνησο καὶ ἐκεῖνο ἐνθυμοῦ, ὅτι τοὺς μὲν ἐρῶντας οἱ φίλοι νουθετοῦσιν ὡς ὄντος κακοῦ τοῦ ἐπιτηδεύματος, τοῖς δὲ μὴ ἐρῶσιν οὐδεὶς πώποτε τῶν οἰκείων ἐμέμψατο ὡς διὰ τοῦτο κακῶς βουλευομένοις περὶ ἑαυτῶν.
ἴσως ἂν οὖν ἔροιό με εἰ ἅπασίν σοι παραινῶ τοῖς μὴ ἐρῶσι χαρίζεσθαι. ἐγὼ μὲν οἶμαι οὐδ᾽ ἂν τὸν ἐρῶντα πρὸς ἅπαντάς σε κελεύειν τοὺς ἐρῶντας ταύτην ἔχειν τὴν (234c) διάνοιαν. οὔτε γὰρ τῷ λαμβάνοντι χάριτος ἴσης ἄξιον, οὔτε σοὶ βουλομένῳ τοὺς ἄλλους λανθάνειν ὁμοίως δυνατόν: δεῖ δὲ βλάβην μὲν ἀπ᾽ αὐτοῦ μηδεμίαν, ὠφελίαν δὲ ἀμφοῖν γίγνεσθαι.
ἐγὼ μὲν οὖν ἱκανά μοι νομίζω τὰ εἰρημένα: εἰ δ᾽ ἔτι τι σὺ ποθεῖς, ἡγούμενος παραλελεῖφθαι, ἐρώτα.
PHAEDRUS: Listen. You know how matters stand with me; and how, as I conceive, this affair may be arranged for the advantage of both of us. And I maintain that I ought not to fail in my suit, because I am not your lover: for lovers repent of the kindnesses which they have shown when their passion ceases, but to the non-lovers who are free and not under any compulsion, no time of repentance ever comes;
for they confer their benefits according to the measure of their ability, in the way which is most conducive to their own interest.
Then again, lovers consider how by reason of their love they have neglected their own concerns and rendered service to others: and when to these benefits conferred they add on the troubles which they have endured, they think that they have long ago made to the beloved a very ample return. But the non-lover has no such tormenting recollections; he has never neglected his affairs or quarrelled with his relations; he has no troubles to add up or excuses to invent; and being well rid of all these evils, why should he not freely do what will gratify the beloved?
If you say that the lover is more to be esteemed, because his love is thought to be greater; for he is willing to say and do what is hateful to other men, in order to please his beloved;--that, if true, is only a proof that he will prefer any future love to his present, and will injure his old love at the pleasure of the new.
And how, in a matter of such infinite importance, can a man be right in trusting himself to one who is afflicted with a malady which no experienced person would attempt to cure, for the patient himself admits that he is not in his right mind, and acknowledges that he is wrong in his mind, but says that he is unable to control himself? And if he came to his right mind, would he ever imagine that the desires were good which he conceived when in his wrong mind?
Once more, there are many more non-lovers than lovers; and if you choose the best of the lovers, you will not have many to choose from; but if from the non-lovers, the choice will be larger, and you will be far more likely to find among them a person who is worthy of your friendship.
If public opinion be your dread, and you would avoid reproach, in all probability the lover, who is always thinking that other men are as emulous of him as he is of them, will boast to some one of his successes, and make a show of them openly in the pride of his heart;--he wants others to know that his labour has not been lost; but the non-lover is more his own master, and is desirous of solid good, and not of the opinion of mankind.
Again, the lover may be generally noted or seen following the beloved (this is his regular occupation), and whenever they are observed to exchange two words they are supposed to meet about some affair of love either past or in contemplation; but when non-lovers meet, no one asks the reason why, because people know that talking to another is natural, whether friendship or mere pleasure be the motive.
Once more, if you fear the fickleness of friendship, consider that in any other case a quarrel might be a mutual calamity; but now, when you have given up what is most precious to you, you will be the greater loser, and therefore, you will have more reason in being afraid of the lover, for his vexations are many, and he is always fancying that every one is leagued against him.
Wherefore also he debars his beloved from society; he will not have you intimate with the wealthy, lest they should exceed him in wealth, or with men of education, lest they should be his superiors in understanding; and he is equally afraid of anybody's influence who has any other advantage over himself.
If he can persuade you to break with them, you are left without a friend in the world; or if, out of a regard to your own interest, you have more sense than to comply with his desire, you will have to quarrel with him. But those who are non-lovers, and whose success in love is the reward of their merit, will not be jealous of the companions of their beloved, and will rather hate those who refuse to be his associates, thinking that their favourite is slighted by the latter and benefited by the former; for more love than hatred may be expected to come to him out of his friendship with others.
Many lovers too have loved the person of a youth before they knew his character or his belongings; so that when their passion has passed away, there is no knowing whether they will continue to be his friends; whereas, in the case of non-lovers who were always friends, the friendship is not lessened by the favours granted; but the recollection of these remains with them, and is an earnest of good things to come.
Further, I say that you are likely to be improved by me, whereas the lover will spoil you. For they praise your words and actions in a wrong way; partly, because they are afraid of offending you, and also, their judgment is weakened by passion. Such are the feats which love exhibits; he makes things painful to the disappointed which give no pain to others; he compels the successful lover to praise what ought not to give him pleasure, and therefore the beloved is to be pitied rather than envied.
But if you listen to me, in the first place, I, in my intercourse with you, shall not merely regard present enjoyment, but also future advantage, being not mastered by love, but my own master; nor for small causes taking violent dislikes, but even when the cause is great, slowly laying up little wrath--unintentional offences I shall forgive, and intentional ones I shall try to prevent; and these are the marks of a friendship which will last.
Do you think that a lover only can be a firm friend? reflect:--if this were true, we should set small value on sons, or fathers, or mothers; nor should we ever have loyal friends, for our love of them arises not from passion, but from other associations.
Further, if we ought to shower favours on those who are the most eager suitors,--on that principle, we ought always to do good, not to the most virtuous, but to the most needy; for they are the persons who will be most relieved, and will therefore be the most grateful; and when you make a feast you should invite not your friend, but the beggar and the empty soul; for they will love you, and attend you, and come about your doors, and will be the best pleased, and the most grateful, and will invoke many a blessing on your head.
Yet surely you ought not to be granting favours to those who besiege you with prayer, but to those who are best able to reward you; nor to the lover only, but to those who are worthy of love; nor to those who will enjoy the bloom of your youth, but to those who will share their possessions with you in age; nor to those who, having succeeded, will glory in their success to others, but to those who will be modest and tell no tales; nor to those who care about you for a moment only, but to those who will continue your friends through life; nor to those who, when their passion is over, will pick a quarrel with you, but rather to those who, when the charm of youth has left you, will show their own virtue. Remember what I have said; and consider yet this further point: friends admonish the lover under the idea that his way of life is bad, but no one of his kindred ever yet censured the non-lover, or thought that he was ill-advised about his own interests.
'Perhaps you will ask me whether I propose that you should indulge every non-lover. To which I reply that not even the lover would advise you to indulge all lovers, for the indiscriminate favour is less esteemed by the rational recipient, and less easily hidden by him who would escape the censure of the world. Now love ought to be for the advantage of both parties, and for the injury of neither.
'I believe that I have said enough; but if there is anything more which you desire or which in your opinion needs to be supplied, ask and I will answer.'