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That throng the pillared Parthenon. My heart
memory groans beneath mythology. Would I were quite convinced !
How now, my Socrates ?What, in the name of all that's marvellous, Makes you so fond of solitude ?—You seem To spare no pains to illustrate the old saw, “ Ne'er less alone than when alone." Your friends Have all been hunting for you. Not a corner Of Athens has escaped them.
Ay, just in the very middle
will moralize less by yourself,
In poetry and sculpture—unadmired,
No more: your compliments Are undeserved, my Socrates. Believe me, In honest faith, 'twas something little better Than selfishness that made me cherish thee; I knew that I could make you that which should be A blessing to myself, and to the state Of Athens. Was it interest or virtue Led me to choose you?
Interest, dearest Crito,
I don't know of any.
PuÆDON. That's news, at least, that there should be no news In this news-mongering Athens. Tell me, now, How goes your tragedy ?-I love the character You have chosen for your hero-HerculesYou've drawn his picture to the very life: I see him struggling to defeat the passion Which boils in his hot nature. To my thinking, The heroic struggler with temptation is Worth a whole host of easy-going plodders, Who are good for want of courage to be wicked. I see this metaphysical contest waged In him: his virtue grows more virtuous in Its keen encounter with the vehement energies Of vice. I see that he who conquers self, Can conquer all things: therefore do I love Our master Socrates-Integrity Beams in his countenance.
You've a deeper science Of fair psychology, than any boasted By our quack physiognomists. I'll tell you A curious story, worth the listening :— Yesterday, As I was standing in the sacred grove Of Academus, chatting pleasantly With Socrates, and others,-10! there came A physiognomical professor in, And challenged all that he would read our characters By rules of what he termed Phrenology: Faith, 'twas a merry and conceited knave, Who talked of occiputs and frontal sinuses Most laughably. Well, just to try the man, Socrates let him feel his head ; and after A thousand queer manipulations, Looking the while as knowing as a Nestor, He passed his verdict.
By the stars, what was it? Some flattering compliment, no doubt.
EURIPIDES. 'Twas capital ! for, by a happy chance, The rascal was within an ace of the truth.
PHÆDON. How mean you ?
Ah! no wonder that
PHÆDON. How ended this adventure ?
Such is his singular method Of making friends; to act as nobody else E'er dreams of acting. Let us walk together To Aspasia's symposium,- I have something I wished to argue with you.
Well, the walk,
The Saloon of Aspasia. Enter PERICLES, ASPASIA, SOCRATES, XANTIPPE, ALCIBIADES, and
several Athenian ladies.
Ah! my lord,
You provoking creature,
I don't wonder at it;
Nay, do not weep,- your tears will discompose