Essay on the Composition and Writing of the Antients

Author(s): Geddes, James


Meos amicos, in quibus eſt tudium, in Graeciam mitto; id et,
ad Graecos ire jubeo: ut ea a fontibus potius hauriant, quam
rivulos conſectentur.
JAMES GEDDES, Eſq; the author of the
following performance was eldeſt ſon of an
old and reſpected family in the ſhire of Tweedale
in Scotland. A good natural capacity, a deſire
of knowledge, and the ſeeds of the fineſt diſpofitions
began early to ſhew themſelves in him.
His affectionate father, who ſtill ſurvives him,
obſerving theſe promiſing ſymptoms in his ſon,
and having a juſt ſenſe of the great importance of
a good education, took great care that his mind
ſhould be form'd to ſuch a ſenſe of virtue and
religion, and ſuch a taſte for valuable knowledge,
as might render him happy in himſelf, an ornament
to his family, and uſeful in his ſtation in
the world.
He received the firſt rudiments of learning in
his father's family under the direction of private
tutors. His genius was quick, and he took great
pleaſure in reading, ſo that he ſoon made conſiderable
progreſs in the learned languages and
the elements of Philoſophy. As ſoon as he underſtood
the Latin and Greek languages,he entered
with remarkable ſpirit, into the ſentiments
of the antient writers, and diſcovered a manly
thirſt for a more thorough knowledge of them.
He afterwards ſtudied the different branches
of Philoſophy at the Univerſity of Edinburgh,
and particularly proſecuted the Mathematical
ſtudies, in which he made uncommon proficiency,
under the tuition of the late learned Mr.
Colin M‘Laurin.
After he had finiſhed his Philoſophical ſtudies,
his thoughts were turned to the Law, which
he propoſed to make the peculiar ſtudy and profeſſion
of his life: after the uſual courſe of preparatory
ſtudy in that branch of learning, he was
admitted Advocate with the approbation of his
examinators. He practiſed at the Bar for ſeveral
years with growing reputation, and if it had
pleaſed divine providence to prolong his life, he
would have been ranked among the eminent in
that profeſſion: he was cut off by a lingering
conſumption betwixt thirty and forty years of
He retained through his whole life, that keen
reliſh for antient literature, which he had imbibed
in his youth. He read and ſtudied the Greek
and Roman writers with a degree of enthuſiaſm:
ſo that what time he could ſpare from the duties
of his profeſſion and the neceſſary affairs of his
family was devoted to the ſtudy of the antient
Poets, Philoſophers and Hiſtorians. The following
Eſſay is a proof of ſuch an extenſive knowledge
both of their language and ſentiment, as is
rarely to be met with in thoſe who, like him, are
engaged in the ſcenes of active life.
His character was amiable and worthy in all
reſpects: the principles of his family, the early
impreſſions of his education, and his frequent
peruſal of his favourite Greek and Roman hiſtorians
had united their force to inſpire him with
the warmeſt love of liberty and with the moſt
hearty zeal for the preſervation of our preſent
happy conſtitution. In private life, he maintained
a juſt and untainted reputation for probity
and virtue: he was a lover and friend of real merit
wherever he beheld it, and he diſcovered on
all occaſions a juſt and glowing indignation at
baſeneſs and villany of all kinds. He had a natural
ſincerity and openneſs of temper which
made him ſpeak his inmoſt thoughts, accompanied
with a firm integrity which every one relied
upon with an entire confidence. He was
bleſſed with a peculiar warmth of heart, and a
conſtant ſweetneſs and chearfulneſs of temper,
which was very obſervable and engaging to all
who converted with him:which being united in
him with a great variety of valuable knowledge,
an uncommon degree of vivacity, and all ſocial
diſpoſitions in great perfection, rendered him
both an agreeable and inſtructive companion.
As he was a lover of learning himſelf he encouraged
it in others to the utmoſt of his power.
And as his natural diſpoſitions led him to enter
into all the intimacies of real friendſhip, he was
unweariedly active in promoting the intereſts of
his particular friends. While at the ſame time,
a warm and extenſive benevolence of heart
prompted him to do kind offices to all as he had
power and opportunity.
Such accompliſhments and virtues could not
fail to render him a bleſſing and ornament to his
family and friends, to procure him the hearty love
and eſteem of all who were acquainted with him,
and make his death a publick loſs. He died ſincerely
lamented by all who knew him, as a friend
to learning, virtue and truth.
His languiſhing ſtate of health for ſeveral
years before his death was one occaſion of retarding
the publication of this Eſſay: And the
reader is deſired to obſerve that from p. 257 of
the Eſſay had not the author's finiſhing hand,
fo that it is not to be expected, to be as correct
as the former part. There are ſeveral papers left,
which would make up another volume, and were
intended for it, but as they are not fit for the
Preſs,without a very careful review, it is not yet
determined whether they are to be publiſhed.
We ſhall ſay nothing of the Eſſay itſelf, but
leave it to the judgment of the intelligent and
candid reader.
Of the compoſition or ſtructure of ſtyle; the
poſition of words, and arrangement of periods.
Rules of this compoſition. — from
whom to be learned. – How a right taſte
is loſt.
NOTHING conduces more to form
a juſt talk, than the frequent, and
attentive peruſal of ſuch books,
as are compoſed on the higheſt and moſt
important affairs in life, and wrote with
correctneſs, and a ſpirit equal to the dignity
of the ſubject. The obligations we
ly under to men of genius, who have
thus dedicated moſt of their time and labour
to the improvement of their fellow--
creatures, are unſpeakable. Thoſe writers,
by the harmony of their elegant and graceful
periods, delight the ear, and convey
their ſentiments with a powerful charm.
To give a Reader ſuch noble entertainment,
great art and care is requiſite. The
author, whoever he be, muſt not take up
with common and low expreſſions, or
trite phraſes: but make an accurate choice
of ſuch words as are both ſimple and pure,
noble and grand; and adorn them with
compoſition, in the ſtructure of which,
ſweetneſs and dignity may meet together.
The elements of ſpeech are commonly
reduced to nouns, verbs, and particles.
Theſe, when united together, make what
we call the members of ſpeech; and the
joining of theſe members, conſtitutes a period,
or artificial ſentence. - To give a
right poſition to the words, a due harmony
to the different members, and connect
both in proper periods, is the buſineſs of
It is the beautiful, and harmonious ſtructure
of the periods, which adds a dignity
* See the laſt note on §. 4.
and grace to either poem, or oration. Many
writers both in verſe and proſe, have
been very exact in their choice of words
elegant and adapted to the ſubject; but,
being deſtitute of a juſt ear, run into diſſonant
and jarring meaſures, by which
they loſe their labour, and ſpoil the whole.
Their productions are unpleaſant and
nauſeous to the reader. — Others, tho' ſo
unlucky as to chuſe mean and vulgar
words; yet by arranging them in a melodious
manner, have given a ſurpriſing
beauty to their diction. — The truth is, the
poſition of words ſeems to bear the ſame
proportion to the choice of them, that the
words themſelves have to the ſentiments.
As the fineſt ſentiment is cold and languid
when not cloathed with the ornament
of beautiful language, ſo the invention
of the pureſt and moſt elegant expreſſions
will have ſmall effect unleſs you
add an harmonious compoſition.
Whoever is the leaſt converſant among
the Antients, knows, what great pains
they took in modelling their periods, and
refining their language; their Poets, Orators,
Philoſophers, Hiſtorians, were all
intent on it. They knew well that the
nobleſt ſentiments, when diveſted of ſuch
a ſplendid robe, would be leſs affecting
or perſuaſive. — To explain the rules they
uſed in their compoſitions, ſo fully and
accurately as the extent of the ſubject
might require, would lead beyond the
bounds deſigned for this Diſſertation; and,
without going far into the depths of criticiſm,
the following looſe obſervations may
2. Every artiſt muſt be careful, firſt of
all, to furniſh himſelf with ſuch materials
as are proper for his work, and then
conſider how he is to adapt them to each
other, how range and diſpoſe of them,
what ſhall be choſen, and what rejected.
The Architect, when he has prepared his
ſtone, timber, and other neceſſaries, contrives
how he may beſt fit them to each
other; and if 'tis difficult to bring them into
order, or cement them together, he conſiders
what part of them ſhall be cut off:
and ſo makes the whole uniform, and regular.
- Thus alſo an Author is to attend
to the choice of his words, unite them
in a friendly tye, uſe ſuch as contribute to
the majeſty, and beauty of his language,
reject the ungraceful, and wind up the
whole period to a true pitch of harmony.
Sometimes, to cauſe it run with the greater
ſmoothneſs, and juſt cadency, he will
find himſelf obliged, not only to ſtrip it of
all ſuperfluitys, but even to leave out ſomething
in the ſenſe, which the reader muſt
neceſſarily ſupply, from his own invention.
Demoſthenes, but eſpecially Thucydide
abound with inſtances of this. Nor
is a reader of taſte at all offended with it;
on the contrary he is pleaſed with the
compliment paid his underftanding. - At
other times, for the ſake of his numbers,
an Author will be under a neceſſity of adding
more words than what the ſenſe
ſeems to require. One is delighted with a
redundancy of this kind, when, without
it, the ſentence would not ſufficiently fill
the ear, nor the ſymphony be complete.
Examples of this occur in the Grecian
orator, but more frequently in the Roman:
and all our tranſlations of antient
poetry are full of them.
3. As a writer is to be exact in the
choice of his words, and in judging of the
happieſt and moſt graceful ſtation for
them, ſo he mutt alſo connect his periods
in an eaſy melodious manner. When he
has thought on every thing he is to ſay
and is fully maſter of his ſentiments, he
is next to conſider in what order they muſt
be ranged. If his invention ſuggeſts
crowd of thoughts on the the ſame ſubject,
and if all or moſt of them can be
brought into one period, the length of it
is not to terrify him, provided it be not
too intricate or involved, but flow with
ſmoothneſs, convey his ideas diſtinctly,
and the different members of it don't run
confuſedly into one another. When the
reader is greatly perplexed, and at a loſs
for the meaning, tho' the diction be never
ſo elegant, the charm vaniſhes. The
muſick is drown'd, amidſt the hurry and
confuſion of ſentiments. It ſeems a juſt
rule in polite writing, tho' not always obſerved
by the Moderns, that two long ſentences
ought never ſucceſſively to follow
one another. Seldom, if ever,will you find,
either in Demoſthenes or Plato, any remarkable
deviation from this rule. They
were too good judges in compoſition, not
to know, that a repetition of the ſame
length of period becomes flat and inſipid.
The dwelling too long on one note is offenſive
to the ear. Whereas if you intermingle
a laconic conciſeneſs, and frequently
introduce ſhort, nervous, clear,
and expreſſive ſentences, after one greatly
prolonged, the effect ſuch a method has
on the mind is wonderful, the variety extremely
The two things then,which every good
writer either in proſe or verſe is to aim at,
are* ſweetneſs and dignity. As the eye is
pleaſed, when beholding a beautiful ſtatue,
or a picture where the ſhades and colours
are well laid on, the features, ſhape,
and geſtures lively, the proportions juſt,
and a true likeneſs preſerved thro' the
whole; ſo an harmonious mixture of muſical
ſounds is delightful to the ear.
4. Not only are proper words to be
choſen, and the periods to follow eaſily
on one another, but their different members
are alſo to be adorned with all thoſe
graces which cuſtom or experience has
taught us. One part of a ſentence will be
happily placed in ſuch a way as to make
the whole of it grand and elegant, which,
if tranſpoſed out of that order and joined
with another word, is ignoble and ungraceful.
- Of this, various examples might
* το ηδυ, ιξ το καλον. as the Antients call it,
be given both from the Grecian and Roman
writers; and who ever deſires to have
a diſtinct notion of what the Antients
taught on this head, may conſult Dion.
Halicarnaſſeus in his excellent Treatiſe
upon the compoſition of words†: Here
is one example, which he gives us out of
Aeſchines: "Επι σάυον καλεις επι τας
"νόμας καλεις έπι την δημοκραιαν κα"λεις.
Your argument is againſt yourſelf:
"it is againſt the laws: it is againſt the com"monwealth."
Now, ſays Dionyfius, "If
"this ſentence, which conſiſts of three
"members, was made to run thus: επι
"σάυον, κι τας νομας, κι την δημοκραιαν,
"καλεις. "your argument is againſt your"ſelf;and
the laws, and the commonwealth."
"its energy and vehemence wou'd be
gone." it wou'd loſe what Cicero calls
the aculeus forenſis, and become blunt and
inſipid. Many inſtances might be brought
from Cicero to the ſame purpoſe. No orator
was ever at more pains in ſtudying the
muſic and harmony of his periods, nor
with greater ſucceſs. Let one but take
up the firſt ſentence that comes to hand,
† Sect. 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9th. de Compoſitione Verborum pag. 10-15.
Editionis Oxon. Tom. 2.
and change the ſtructure of it; he will
ſoon perceive the juſtneſs of this obſervation.
For example, the beginning of his
ſpeech for Milo: "Etſi vereor, judices! ne
"turpe ſit, pro.fortiſſimo viro dicere incipi"entem,
timere:" change but the order
of theſe words ever ſo little, as thus, "Et"ſi
vereor, judices! ne, pro fortiſſimo viro
"dicere incipientem, timere turpe ſit;" And
any one will be ſenſible they have no longer
the ſame beauty, the ſame inimitable
*Poſſibly this, and ſome of the foregoing expreſſions, may be
thought too ſtrong; it may be ſaid with Horace, "Invert the or"der
of the poem as you think fit, yet ſtill
Invenias etiam disjecti membra poetae. Sat. 4. lib. I.
"ſo alſo in proſe-writings, if the ſentiments are juſt and grand,
"they will certainly pleaſe, tho' not expreſſed with the utmoſt
elegance and beauty of compoſition. - In anſwer to this objection,
I would obſerve that Horace ſpeaks of the ſentiments alone, and
of thoſe bad poets who wrote in a low manner; and next, that the
bell of the antient critics have delivered their opinion in as ſtrong
terms: thus Dion. Halicarnaſſeus ſays, "ωςε τχς μεν εκλογης
"τδ ονοματων της αυτης μυασης, της δε ζυνδέσεως μόνης
"μάλιςα ωεσασης, Συμμεαπιπειν, &c. Την ολην τδ ωοι"ηματων
αξιωσιν. tho' the words are the ſame, yet if you in"vert
their order, the verſification and meaſures are deſtroyed;
"the figures, the manners, the pathos, and grandeur of the poem
"are all loſt. The like will happen to proſe-writings where you
"alter the compoſition, tho' the ſame words remain." D. Halicarn.
Torn. 2. pag. 7, 8. de Compoſit. Verborum; Oxonienſis editionis; then he
proceeds to give various examples of this out of Homer, Euripides,
Herodot, &c. — Cicero in the end of his orator, lays down the ſame
rule, "Quantum autem ſit apte dicere, experiri licet, ſi ant compoſiti oratoTo
form a juſt notion how the members
of a period are to be knit, and adapted to
each other, we muſt reflect on the different
ways of ſpeaking; ſometimes we
in a poſitive commanding manner, at
ther times in a doubtful way; this moment,
our ſtyle is interrogative, the next,
ſuppliant; as each of theſe have their own
characters, and peculiar expreſſions, care
muſt be taken to conform our ſpeech to
5. If 'tis aſk'd, Whence ariſes this harmony
or beauty of language? what are the
rules for obtaining it? The anſwer is obvious,
Whatever renders a period ſweet
and pleaſant, makes it alſo graceful; a good
ear is the gift of nature, it may be much
improv'd, but not acquired, by art; who"ris
benè ſtructam collacationem diſſolvas permutatione verborum, corrumpatur
enim tota res, &c. and after giving ſome examples of this, he
adds, "Videſne, at, ordine verborum paullum commutato, iiſdem verbis,
"ſtante ſententia, ad nihilum omnia recidant, cum ſint ex aptis diſſoluta?',
&c. - Theſe are ſufficient authoritys to juſtify what has been ſaid
on this head. It is very true that a noble ſentiment, tho' disfigured
by an aukward ſtyle, will have ſome force. But ſtill it is as
true that a low and groveling ſtyle, in which the moſt homely expreſſions
and poor contemptible phraſes are uſed, will greatly depreſs
the fineſt ſentiment. - In ſhort, as Mr. Addiſon ſays, "There
"is as much difference in apprehending a thought cloath'd in Ci"cero's
language, and that of a common author, as in feeing an
"object by the light of a taper, or by the light of the ſun."
Spectator 409.
ever is poſſeſſed of it, will ſcarcely need
dry critical precepts to enable him to
judge of a true rythmus, and melody of
compofition: juſt numbers, accurate proportions,
a muſical ſymphony, magnificent
figures, and that decorum, which is
the reſult of all theſe, are uniſon to the human
mind; we are ſo framed by nature,
that their charm is irreſiſtible. Hence all
ages and nations have been ſmit with the
love of the Muſes! hence alſo the vulgar,
who perceive leſs of the Orator's art, are
more ſenſibly tranſported by the force of
his eloquence. One of equal abilities with
the ſpeaker, will be pleaſed with the eaſy
flow of the periods, the ſtrength and energy
of diction, the dignity of ſentiments;
but, being on his guard, he ſmothers the
growing flame, and checks in its birth the
rapture and extaſy he feels riſing in his
ſoul: indeed if the hand of a true genius,
a real maſter, ſtrike the lyre, the harmony
is ſo exquiſite and overpowering that
no man whatever can reſiſt it. If there
are yet in the heart the leaſt remains of
honeſty, ſympathy, and kind affections,
inſtantly they take fire, when thus powerfully
excited. In thoſe generous moments,
ſelfiſh deſigns, envious thoughts, and dark
intrigues, are aſhamed and loſe their power.
The cunning Stateſman, for once, reſigns
himſelf to noble diſintereſted paſſions;
theſe at preſent have an agreeable
engaging aſpect, to theſe he yields the government
of his ſoul; by this fellow-feeling
he is conſtrained to with, to think, to
act, in a manner he has all his life been a
ſtranger to. The noted ſtory of Ceſar and
Ligarius proves, that the moſt determined
renegado to the intereſts of ſociety, cannot,
unleſs devoid of all worth and ingenuity,
reſiſt the moving eloquence of an
honeſt Patriot, pleading in behalf of his fellow-citizen.
The voice of nature ſounds
loudly in the ears of all men; hardly is
there a ſoul ſo obdurate, as to be proof againſt
the enchanting melody of her virtuous
It requires no learned arguments to
prove that all mankind are moved with
melodious numbers, and well-tun'd ſymphonys
;either from the hand of a muſician,
or the mouth of an eloquent ſpeaker:
of this we are convinced by daily experience,
the beſt judge in the world. What
man is not captivated by the power of
harmony? Who, again, is not offended
with diſcrepancy and diſcord?* In our
Britiſh ſtage, where people of all ſorts are
aſſembled, how eaſy is it to obſerve, that
a taſte or reliſh for harmony, juſt action,
and accurate pronunciation, is natural to
us all? — But much more did this take place
in the crowded theatres of antient Greece
and Rome; there, if the beſt muſician, the
actor in greateſt repute, who knew perfectly
how to handle his inſtrument, or model
his voice and action, ſhould unluckily
chance to touch a wrong ſtring, blow a
falſe note, or betray an undecent geſture,
by which the melody was loſt, and the accord
deſtroyed, inſtantly he was huffed by
* Thus ſays Cicero in his Orator, "Quotuſquiſque eſt, qui teneat ar"tem
numerorum ac modorum? at in his ſi paulum modò offenſum eſt, ut aut
"contractione brevius fieret, aut productione longius, theatra tota reclamant.
"nec vero multitudo pedes novit, nec ullos numeros tenet: nec illud quod
"ofendit, aut cur, aut in quo offendat intelligit: Et tamen omnium longi"tudinum
et brevitatum in ſonis, ſicut acutarum graviumque vocum, judici"um
ipſa nataura in auribus noſtris collocavit; — aures enim, vet animus,
"aurium nuntio, naturalem quandam in ſe cominet vocum omnium menſio"nem.
&c. — Mutila ſentit quaedam et quaſi decurtata; quibus, tan"quam
debito fraudetur, offenditur: productiora alia &c. Orat. § 11.
et 53. As alſo in his Paradoxes, "Hiſtrio ſi paulum ſe movit extra
"numerum, aut ſi verſus pronunciatus eſt ſyllabá uná brevior, aut longior,
"exſibilatur et exploditur."
As an inſtance of the delicacy of the Greeks in this reſpect, we
need only mention the noted line of Euripides,
"Εσωσα σ' ως'σασιν 'Ελληγωγοσοι
the people; his great reputation afforded
him no protection from their juſt cenſure.
6. Should the mufician put the lute into
the hands of one of his noiſy critics,
who cannot touch it at all, nor bring any
melody out of it; does his incapacity in
this reſpect make him the leſs a competent
judge? — By no means. — A true reliſh
and a capacity for performing, are different
things; the one is implanted by nature,
the other the fruit of art and application.
— "Is this taſte in ſome degree
"natural to all men?" — Yes, If great pains
have not been taken to corrupt it. Licentiouſheſs,
luxury, ſenſuality, will at laſt debauch
the morals of the moſt virtuous
people. While as yet they are untainted
by this fatal contagion, hardly dare any
poet, actor, or muſician, ſound a wrong
note, or venture on an immoral ſong. A
flow of wealth, victorys in war, immenſe
power, cauſe a giddineſs of thought, and
a fondneſs for novelties; this diſpoſes the
mind to hearken to any new doctrines
which ſhall be taught it: The ſhrewd politician,
the wicked orator, ſiezes greedily on
the lucky opportunity, plys the people on
their weak ſide, flatters, cajoles, corrupts;
alluring them with baits, where the poiſon
is artfully concealed: Vice and a falſe
taſte inſinuate themſelves gently. — By
degrees the corruption prevails, till the
whole harmony of the mind is deſtroyed;
a juſt ear, delicacy of ſentiment, ſimplicity
of thought, and ingenuity of heart, are
loſt; the ſpring, the juſt tone of the ſoul, is
broke, the affections are diſorderly, true
heroiſm, generoſity and fortitude, no longer
govern: the mind becomes a prey to
its paſſions, a foe to virtue and truth, and
dwells with diſcord and barbarity. Thus
Athens and Rome, when they loſt their
taſte, loſt their liberty; and it were to be
wiſhed, other nations would be ſo wiſe,
as to take warning from their fate.
There is no impropriety in applying
the qualitys of muſic to oratory; they differ
at moſt only in degree, not in kind:
can it be denied that language is capable
of melody, rythmus, ſweetneſs and change
of ſound, by the different pronunciation,
or modelling of the voice? Is not the ear
raviſhed with notes of this kind, as well
as with thoſe of a muſical inſtrument? the
riſing and falling of the voice according to
true meaſures, a juſt accent, an handſom
warm and pathetic action, work powerfully
on the mind; ſooth, delight, and
charm it, in the ſame way, with the moſt
harmonious tune. In muſic there are ſharp
and flat notes, different intervals and proportions;
theſe, when adjuſted to exact
time, and agreeably mingled, form a perfect
concord: In like manner, the various
modulations, the high and low, deep
grave tone, uſed by the ſpeaker, when adapted
to the nature of the ſubject, and expreſſive
of the paſſions he feels, have an
incredible effect on the hearers, and enchant
them as much as the ſweeteſt and
moſt exquiſite muſic.
7. Various are the methods by which
our diction may be animated, and rendered
becoming and graceful; as every object
is not agreeable to our fight, our taſte, and
other ſenſes; ſo a great many ſounds are
diſagreeable to our ears: ſome are harſh
grating, and offenſive by their diſcrepancy;
while others are ſweet and melting,
alluring us with their ſoftneſs. This difference
ariſes from the nature of thoſe elements,
the letters and ſyllables, of which
words are compoſed; the parts of ſpeech
having this power in themſelves, which
'tis impoſſible for us to alter; the only
thing we can do, is to poliſh their roughneſs
and conceal their defects: Nothing
contributes ſo much to this as giving them
a proper poſition, an eaſy natural conjunction.
— By mixing the harſh with the
ſoft, the ſtrong and nervous with what are
elegant, the diſſonant with the harmonious,
the long with the ſhort, we temper
and allay the ſeeming diſcord. — Due care
is alſo to be taken, not to give any ſatiety
or diſguſt to the hearer: a frequent repetition
of the ſame word, phraſe, or figure,
ſentences rang'd in one uniform way, beginning
and ending always in the ſame
manner, and all of one length, are highly
diſagreeable. Nothing delights us more
than variety. The fineſt ſonnet, after too
many encores, loſes its beauty, is heard
without rapture, nay often with diſlike.
- In ſhort, as a wife General, in diſpoſing
his battalions, covers the weak with the
ſtrong, and unites the whole in one firm
compact body; ſo an author of a juſt ear,
chuſes ſuch words as are ſweet and ſonorous,
and where obliged to take in any
which are harſh and jarring, artfully tempers
and interweaves them with the reſt,
and throws a graceful ſhade over their deformity.
By this means there is hardly any
word, any particle, ſo harſh or low
but what will find at leaſt an eaſy inoffenſive
It would be too dull a piece of criticiſm,
for the generality of readers, to conſider
the nature, formation, and ſound of the
different vowels, their junction with conſonants,
and the formation of ſyllables
the due length or ſhortneſs of theſe, and
what pronounciation is proper to them.
This is certain, that he who is wholly unexperienced
in a theory of this kind, and
never took the trouble to reflect on it, can
not poſſibly be maſter of a beautiful ſtyle:
he writes at random, is guided by no rule
in his compoſition, and knows nothing of
the juſt meaſures,and cadency of language.
— A taſte for ſtatuary, painting, poetry,
and muſic, has indeed been own'd, in
ſome degree, natural to us all: But does it
thence follow, that, without a complete
knowledge of their reſpective rules, any
perſon will ſucceed well in thoſe arts? 'Tis
one thing to be a performer, another to be
a judge; the one ought perfectly to underſtand
the theory, and ſpeculative precepts
of his art, before he profeſs and practiſe it;
the other knows what pleaſes him, and aſks
no more: unable to handle the pencil, to
ſound the inſtrument, or adjuſt its chords,
and conſcious of his incapacity, he never
once pretends to it; but then expects from
the true artiſt, all thoſe elegant ſtrokes,
and mellifluous numbers, for which nature
hath given him ſuch a reliſh.
Happy was it for antient Greece, when
miſtreſs of the moſt tuneable language the
world ever heard, that her heroes were at
all due pains to cultivate and improve it:
ſhe was certainly the favourite of the Muſes:

Graiis ingenium, Graiis dedit ore rotundo
Muſa loqui, praeter laudem, nullius avaris.
Fortune, or ſome propitious Deity, invented
for her thoſe different dialects, which
gave ſuch a grace and variety, ſo much
force and emphaſis to the expreſſion.The
high-ſounding Aeolic, the open tone of
the Doric, the majefly of the Ionic, ſweeten'd
by the graces and poliſh'd elegance of
the Attic, are like the grand chorus in a
concert, where the ſeveral parts perform
and play together. When Theocritus tunes
his rural pipe, Pindar crowns his champion
with Olympic laurel; or Homer,*
uniting all their beautys, ſounds the trumpet,
and ſummons his warriors to battle;
what muſic is here! How delightful is the
ſweet ſimplicity of the ſhepherd's ſong!
How ſtriking the bold ſounds, and lofty
ſtrain of the lyric hymn! How admirable
the ſublime numbers, the inimitable grandeur
and pomp of language in the Iliad!
when Gods and men are ruſhing to the
combat, and heaven and earth ſpectators
of the dreadful conflict! — On the firſt or ſecond
reading, the daring machinery, lofty
images, bold figures, greatly aſtoniſh
us: when the ſurprize ariſing from their
novelty is over, yet ſtill the Muſe has an
inexhauſtible ſtore of charms in reſerve,
which no length of time can blaſt or deſtroy.
Grand ſentiments clothed in beauteous
diction muſt pleaſe
As long as rivers run and foreſts riſe.
The want of theſe different dialects, is
one cauſe of the poverty in almoſt all o*
'Tis true Dr. Clarke denys that any Poet took the liberty of
uſing all dialects promiſcuouſly at once. But then he owns there
was an Ionico-poetic eſtabliſhed in Homer's days, which included
a certain mixture of the different dialects, this will juſtify all that
is advanc'd here.
ther languages; this has obliged both Virgil
and Milton to have recourſe to old
words and antiquated phraſes, to give a
venerable air to their diction: but no one,
I believe, will affirm this method, either
for variety, grandeur, beauty, or harmony,
is in the leaſt degree comparable to
the diverſify'd ſtyle of a Grecian.
The different kinds of compoſition. — How
poetry is to be introduced into proſe. — The
Atients imitated Homer.
HERE it ſeems neceſſary to conſider
the different kinds of compoſition,
their diſtinguiſhing marks, and
how the various figures, and graces of poetry
may be brought into proſe.
'Tis certain there can be no decorum, no
real beauty, without adhering to the truth
of characters, and a juſt imitation of nature;

Reſpicere exemplar vitae morumque jubebo
Doctum imitatorem, et veras hinc ducere
voces. HOR.
Would any thing be more improper than
to introduce one uſing the ſame expreſſions
when in anger, as when exulting with
joy? Or to make one oppreſſed with grief
ſpeak like one under the greateſt terror?
Can the attitude, the thoughtful poſture
of a Philoſopher be applied to an Achilies
raging for the loſs of his fair Briſeis,
or the death of his amiable friend?
would we not all agree ſuch a picture is
unnatural? - Deviations from nature are
no doubt unpardonable; yet each genius
has his own peculiar way of painting it;
the paſſions and affections of the human
mind are, generally ſpeaking, the ſame in
all men: but it does not therefore follow,
that each Author muſt uſe the ſame manner
in deſcribing them, or the actions reſulting
from them?
2. The beſt and moſt intelligible diviſion
of compoſition, ſeems to be, into the
grand, the elegant, and the middle betwixt
the two.* - The character of the grand is,
that its words are weighty and ſonorous,
placed as it were on a firm and immoveable
foundation; its parts are disjoined from
* Vide Dion. Halicarnaſ. de admirab. vi dicendi in Demoſth.
pag. 302 to 308. &, de compoſ. verbor. pag. 40 to 56, Tom, 2.
Oxon. edit. - &, Quintilian. Inſtit. lib. 12, cap. 10, § 4. &,
Hermogenes de formis orationum lib. 2.
each other by due intervals, and proportions:
to give it the greater force, rough ſyllables,
and thoſe of an oppoſite ſound are
uſed. It delights in lofty and elevated expreſſions,
in words and periods protracted
to a great length, in high and pompuous
numbers; ſtudys not an uniformity
of ſtyle, or an equality and likeneſs in its
members; nor cloſely follows what the
argument leads to; but affects great freedom,
an unconſtrained boldneſs and grandeur,
and marches on in its own majeſtic
pace: courts nature more than art; is fitter
for raiſing the paſſions, than informing
the underſtanding, or preſcribing rules
for life: is not anxious in rounding its periods;
and whatever of this kind happens,
appears rather owing to a graceful negligence,
than ſtudy'd elegancy; all elaborate
ornaments are intirely laid afide: abrupt
in its tranſitions, violent in its motions,
various in its figures, bold and ſtrong in
its metaphors, it frequently runs on without
any apparent connection, regardleſs
of method: is by no means florid; but ſublime,
daring, unpoliſhed; delighting in
antique rudeneſs. - Æſchylus as a tragedian,
Pindar as a Lyric poet, Thucydide
as an hiftorian, excel in this way of writing.

3. The character of the elegant is, that
ſtudys ornament more than vehemence
ſoft and ſmooth words, pleaſant ſounds
ſweet and melodious numbers, are its conſtant
choice: theſe are not joined in a carleſs
precipitant manner; but ſo ranged as
to render the union eaſy and graceful
firm and coherent. For this reaſon, all
claſhing ſounds, all ſharp and diſcordant
notes, are anxiouſly avoided. Its chief labour
is to connect and poliſh its periods,
to render its ſtyle cloſe, uniform, and harmonious.
The compoſition is accurate,
natural and ſimple: its prime excellency
is to conceal the art it uſes; the argumen
is clearly ſtated, the debate managed with
a ſedate coolneſs, and calm temper; an exact
method is preſerved, and the ſentence
follow one another in a regular order.
Its meaſures are not long, but glide on
ſmooth and conſtant like the current of a
gentle ſtream. As the numbers are rather
graceful than ſublime, it is in no danger of
ſoaring too high, and remains ſafe and undiſturbed
in its own courſe: the figures are
not unuſual, or ſtriking; but polite, ſoft,
delicate, and engaging, and gain an eaſy
admittance into the heart. The writers
who ſucceed in this manner, are Heſiod,
Sappho, and Anacreon, in poetry; andIſocrates,
in oratory.
The middle-kind, the moſt perfect of
all, is compoſed of the other two, and has
therefore no peculiar character. It borrows
what is beſt from each, and unites
the excellencys of both. Thus by avoiding
the extreme of either, and adhering invariably
to nature, it attains the perfection
of ſublime writing. As a poet, Homer
is allowed on all hands to excel in this
kind; almoſt in every line, he has harmoniouſly
tempered the ſublime with the elegant:
and as a tragedian, Sophocles;
hiſtorian, Herodot; an orator, Demoſthenes;
as a philoſopher, Plato.
5. Nothing conduces ſo much to a
grand and magnificent compoſition, as
proper and becoming numbers. Poetry
cannot ſo much as ſubſift without them;
but poſſibly 'tis a harder talk to introduce
them with dignity and grace into proſe:
One, who makes an attempt of this nature,
is in danger of falling into bombaſt,
or the falſe ſublime. Among the Antients,
Plato and Demoſthenes, and among the
moderns, Shaftsbury and Fenelon have
been happieſt in adorning their ſtyle with
a poetic harmony, and flow of numbers.
However the Grecian and Britiſh philoſopher
have not eſcaped ſevere enough cenſures
on this account: they have been
blamed for a vain parade, and affectation
in their language. - Of this afterwards. -
In the mean time, nothing is more certain
than, that the Authors we talk of have
for the moſt part adjuſted their meaſures,
according to the exacteſt rules of harmony.
To define their numbers wou'd appear
ſcholaſtic, and downright pedantry
to a modern, who loves his eaſe too much
to be fettered by ſuch rules. — The* antient
critics muſt be conſulted on this head;
they will thew us how their beſt writers
introduced ſuch and ſuch numbers, and
uſed them in their orations, and philoſophic
Ariſtotle juſtly obſerves, "that the dic*
See for this Dion. Halicarnaſ de Compoſit. Verbor. pag. 29, et
30. § 17. Tom. 2. — and Ariſtot. Rhetoric. lib. 3. cap. 8. pag. 807.
Tom. 3. Du-val. — and Cicero. Orator. § 57, 58. and 63, 64. In
theſe places the curious reader will find the feet or meaſures which
the Greeks uſed, both in poetry and proſe, fully explained, and
compared by Cicero with thoſe of the Romans.
"tion, (viz. in proſe-writing) ought nei"ther
to be entirely ſtrict conſtant mea"ſure,
nor altogether void of rythmus*,
"poetry is leſs perſuafive, has too much
"appearance of art and ſtudy, calls off
"the hearer's attention, which is fixt on
"the return of a like verſe with the fore"going,
juſt as boys prevent the public cry"er,
and make an anſwer for him. — On
"the other hand, what is wholly free of
"all rhythmus, is under no limits, and
"whatever is undetermined is unplea"ſant
and unintelligible. Our diſcourſe
"ſhould therefore have ſome proper re"ſiriction.
Numbers are a meaſure to
"every thing; our ſtyle then ought to
* Cicero makes the ſame obſervations with regard to the manner
of introducing meaſures into proſe-writing; "Ut igitur poëtica
et verſus inventus eſt terminatione aurium, obſervatione prudentium: ſic
in oratione animadverſium eſt, multo illud quidem ſerius, ſed eadem natura
admonente, eſſe quoſdam certos curſus concluſioneſque verborum. Quaeri enim
poteſt, Qui ſit orationis numerus, et ubi ſit poſitus et natus ex quo; unuſne
ſit, an duo, an plures, &c. All which queſtions this author explains
with his uſual perſpicuity; and then adds, Perſpicuum eſt igitur,
numeris adſtrictam orationem eſſe debere, carere verſibus. — Numerus
autem, non modo non poëtice junctus, verum etiam fugiens ilium, cique
omnium diſſimillimus: non quin iidem ſint numeri non modo oratorum et poetarum,
verum omnino loquentium, denique etiam ſonantiton omnium, qule
rnetiri auribus poſſumus: ſed ordo pedem facit, ut id quad pronuntiatur aut
orationis aut poematis ſimile videdtur. — Hanc igitur ſive compoſitionem ſive
perfectionem ſive numerum vocari planet, et adhibere neceſſe eſt, ſi ornate
velis dicere, non ſolum (quod ait Ariſtoteles) ne infinit? feratur ut flumen
erat:o, &c. Orator § 53, 56, 60, and 68.
"have a rythmus, but not ſtria num"bers,
for then it would be verſe: nor is
"this rythmus to be too nice, but rather
"looſe and eaſy." Again, ſays he,"The
"excellency of diction is to be clear; if
"not, it does not gain its end: neither
"ought it to be low, nor too lofty, but
"decent. Proper words and phraſes ren"der
a diſcourſe clear, foreign ones make
"it beautiful; metaphors, or a depart"ing
from proper expreſſions, give it a
"grand appearance. As mankind won"der
more at ſtrangers than at their own
"fellow-citizens, ſo they are greatly af"fected
with novelty in ſtyle: on this ac"count
we are to introduce foreign orna"ments.
Men admire what is ſtrange;
"whatever is new and wonderful, is plea"ſant.
— Theſe beautys are natural to poe"try,
and may be often brought in;as the
"actions and perſons it deſcribes, differ
"much from what occurs in common
"life: but they are more ſparingly to be
"uſed in proſe. However there is a de"corum
in this, which in certain circum"ſtances
admits of uſing them more free"ly:
but this is to be cautiouſly done, ſo
"as to eſcape the reader's obſervation.
"We ought to talk not with artifice, but
"naturally; this alone is perſuaſive, the
"the other never can convince: Men are
"on their guard againſt ſuch arts, as a"gainſt
one lying in ambuſcade, or as we
"ſhun mixt-wines. — Proſe-compoſitions
"have their own proper natural names
"and metaphors, and ſuch as are accom"modated
to the ſubject: He who ſuc"ceeds
happily in uſing them, will there"by
greatly adorn his ſtyle * without
"hurting its perſpicuity."
Thus 'tis evident this grand critic is
far from rejecting all poetic ornaments,
or prohibiting the uſe of them in proſe:
all he requires, is, that they be natural,
adapted to the ſubject, and not wrought
up with too much art. The meaſures are
to be concealed as much as can be, yet
our diction muſt have them, otherwiſe
it cannot bear the leaſt reſemblance
to poetry: but if it abound too much in
numbers, it will approach to verſe, and
loſe its genuine character, and ſimplicity.
The difference is obvious: where the numbers
are exact and regular, compoſed according
to the ſtrict rules of art obſerved
* Lib. 3. Rhetor. cap. 3 et 8. p. 801 et 807. Tom. 3. Du-vat.
by poets or muſicians, ſo that the ſame
feet are nicely preſerved from beginning
to end, and only varied when the true
laws of harmony require; this is rightly
called verſe. Whereas that ſtyle, which
adopts a looſer and more irregular rythmus,
obſerves no exact order, equality, or
periodical return in its numbers, ſometimes
uſes one kind of meaſures, ſometimes
another, tho' harmonious and muſical,
yet is ſtill proſe, and preſerves its
diſtinct character.
6. By this time 'tis plain, that in our
compoſition and choice of words, we are
to follow nature as the beſt inſtructor; ſhe
has endowed us with a power of imitation,
and made us capable of expreſſing our ſentiments
in the eaſieſt and moſt affecting
manner, by images taken from natural objects*;
the roar of a lyon, the noiſe of a tempeſt,
and the raging billows, are fit repreſentations
of violent motions, or angry paſſions;
as on the other hand, a calm ſea, a
* Vid. Ariſtot. cap. 4. de Poetica. p. 4. Tom. 4. Du-val. where
he ſhews how natural imitation is to men, how this power is implanted
in us, appears early in children, and is not acquired by
Rudy or precepts. This is one of the main ſprings or cauſes which
produces poetry. The grand critic proceeds to apply this to the
riſe of tragedy, comedy, and epic.
ſtill air and ſerene ſky, at once convey to
us the idea of true caſe and tranquillity of
mind: hence 'tis obvious, that in deſcribing
the ſofter and more tender paſſions of
love, pity, grief, ſuch words as are ſmooth,
and glide gently thro' the ear, are to be
choſen; but in painting the violent emotions
of anger, terror, jealouſy, the ſtrongeſt
and moſt forcible epithets are to be
"'Tis not enough no harſhneſs gives
"The ſound muſt ſeem an echo to the
"ſenſe." &c. Mr. POPE.
Few are unacquainted with Homer;
thoſe, who have not in their earlieſt years
been ſo happy as to drink at the fountain,
may, or are at leaſt preſumed to have
taſted it's pureſt ſtreams, as they run in
our Britiſh tranſlation. — The Grecian always
accommodates his diction to his
ſubject: thus in repreſenting the impetuoſity
of a river breaking over its banks, and
laying all around it waſte, ſuch ſonorous
words are uſed,as convey a moſt lively idea
of the horrid ſcene. — The diſtreſs of the
Hero oppreſſed with his armour, ſtrugling
with Xanthus; this moment ſupporting
himſelf, the next born down by the
floods, is nobly expreſſed by the colliſion
of ſyllables, change of meaſures, and reiterated
force of words. When we read a
battle in Homer, are we not inſtantly hurried
into the midſt of his battalions, hear
the clangor of their arms, the ſhouts, the
dying groans of the combatants, and become
ſpectators of the dreadful havoc. -
Our Engliſh bard ſucceeds well in his imitation
of theſe various beautys; as he
has alſo acted the part of a faithful and juſt
critic to his author, collected what is moſt
material out of the vaſt treaſure of antient
learning, and improved it by additional
obſervations of his own: It would therefore
be a vain attempt to ſay any thing
new on this ſubject.
7. As Homer is the grand ſource whence
all the Greek writers derive their chief
excellencys; it will not, we hope, be unpleaſant
to conſider the manner in which
they copied after him. — We ſhall confine
ourſelves entirely to proſe-authors,
and thefe too of the firſt name; it would
be endleſs to run thro' them all, and
ſhew how the poets, particularly Sophocles
and Euripides, formed themſelves on
him. - It has been juſtly obſerved * that
the Iliad and Odyſſey gave riſe to all the
various kinds of compoſition, whether
ſerious or diverting; the buffoonery of
Therſites is a noted inſtance of the latter;
and the deepeſt and moſt maſterly ſtrokes
of tragedy occur in the tender and pathetic
ſpeeches of Andromache, Priam, and
Hecuba, on the fate of Hector.
One, who is no mean judge, gives us
this encomium on Homer;† "Homer,
"ſays he, is undoubtedly the beſt of po"ets,
perhaps I may ſay of orators, and
"writers of any kind: poetry is a juſt i"mitation
of every thing. He, who in the
"ſtructure of his language, is beſt at imi"tating
the eloquence of an orator, ad"dreſſing
the people, and enchanting
"them with his melody, who repreſents
"every perſon, character and action, in
"the livelieſt manner, is the beſt poet. —
"It is the proper buſineſs of orators to
"ſpeak. He therefore, who alſo imitates
"them beſt, who uſes ſuch language as
"the beſt of them uſe, muſt be the moſt
* Ariliot. Poet. cap. 4. and Lord Shaftsbury's Advice to an Author,
p 196, and 253. 4th edit.
† Hermogenes lib. 2. de Formis Orationis.
"excellent of them all. Of conſequence
"Homer is the beſt poet, orator, writer
"in all the various forms of elocution. It
"is Homer who excels all mankind, in
"grandeur, vehemence, ſweetneſs,
"accuracy of ſtyle; in what is the chief
"ornament of poetry, an exact, lively,
"and natural imitation; in his elocution,
"his characters, his fables, and the vari"ety
of his grand and elegant meaſures."
Nay Plato himſelf, who excludes Homer
from his common-wealth, (in what ſenſe
ſhall be immediately ſeen) yet forced by
truth, gives him an high encomium, and
owns * "that undoubtedly Homer is the
"maſter and leader of all thoſe who excel
"in tragedy."
Xenophon's ſtyle. - How he imitates Homer.

AMONG the imitators of Homer Xenophon
is the firſt we ſhall mention.
His diction is ſmooth, ſweet and elegant,
his words common, and proper to
* Plato Republ. 10. initio.
the ſubject; his deſcriptions either of perſons
or actions, ſtrong, lively, and intereſting;
his diſcourſes, particularly thoſe of
Cyrus with his officers, facetious, entertaining,
and uſeful in life; his morals eaſy
and intelligible. — His ſentiments are juſt
and noble. In a word, his whole manner
is pure, natural, and ſimple in the higheſt
degree; and on this account he has been
juſtlly admired by men of fine taſte in all
2. Xenophon often uſes poetic ornaments;
and in giving examples, the reader
will excuſe us if we quote the original:
otherwiſe 'tis impoſſible to make them the
ſubject of criticiſm. — From theſe it will
be evident, how he adapts his ſtyle to the
nature of the ſubject, and in what manner
he borrows from Homer. Thus in the
ſeventh book of the Cyropedia, near the
beginning, where he relates the deciſive
battle betwixt Cyrus and the Aſſyrians;
how gradually does our hiflorian grow
warm in his narration? The Egyptians
are deſcribed as the moſt formidable of
* 'Tis probable there was much ridiculous bombaſt uſed by the
Poets of his age, which we ſee ridiculed by Ariſtophanes in his
chorus. Xenophon ſeems carefully to have avoided this extreme,
and endeavoured to baniſh ſo falſe a taſte.
the enemy's troops, and as doing moil execution.
In that quarter of the army, he
ſays * "Ην δέ πολύς μέν ανδρων φόνος, πο
"λύς δέ κτύπος οπλων κι βελων παντοδα
"πων, πολλη δέ βοη, των μέν ανακαλαντως
"αλληλας, των δέ παρακελευομένων, των δε,
"εας έπικαλαμένων. - There was a great
"ſlaughter of men, a great noiſe of claſh"ing
arms and darts, great cries of the
"combatants, ſome calling on others
"ſome exhorting, ſome invoking the
"Gods." - A little after, Cyrus's horſe is
wounded in the belly, and falls under him.
With what alacrity and fierceneſs are his
ſoldiers deſcrib'd fighting to ſave his life!
"† Εύθυς γαρ ανεζόησάν τε πάντες, κι προσπεσόντες
έμάχοντο, έώθαν, έωθαντο, επαι"ον,
έπαίοντο; καταπηδήσας δε τις απο τα
“ϊππα των τα Κύρα ύπηρετων. &c. That
"moment they all raiſed a ſhout, and
"made a furious aſſault; they drove, and
"were driven; gave wounds and receiv"ed
wounds; a ſervant of Cyrus leaping
"from his horſe, &c.
The Reader is here carried into the
* Cyropaedia lib. 7. pg. 487. Edit. Tem. Hutcheſon. Oxon. 1727,
in 4to † Ibid. pag 488,
midſt of the battle, the ſhort abrupt ſentences
are wonderfully expreſſive of the
general confuſion and hurry; one almoſt
imagines he ſees Cyrus's ſervant jumping
down, the words are ſo much adapted to
the very act itſelf. — Many parallel places
might be brought out of the battles in the
Iliad; here is one or two,
Σύν ρ εζαλον ρινους, συν δ εγχεα, κι μένε
- πολυς δ όρυμαγδος ορώρει
ενθα δ αμ οιμωγή τε, κι εύχωλή πελεν άνδρων

ολλύντων κι όλλυμένων.
ILIAD. iv. 447.
ασζεςος δε βοή γένετ'-
IL. xi. 50.
Now ſhield with ſhield with helmet helmet
clos' d
To armour armour, lance to lance oppos'd.
Victors and vanquiſh'd join promiſcuous crys,
And ſhrilling ſhoutss and dying groans ariſe
The ſounding darts. -
* It is almoſt needleſs to inform the reader that I conſtantly uſe
Mr. Pope's tranſlation of Homer, when I give it in verſe.
Xenophon in the expedition of Cyrus
the younger, where he himſelf was the
chief actor, feems to be more heated by
the ſubject, than in any other of his works
the noble behaviour of the Greeks under
his conduct has fired his imigination, and
made him profuſe in his ornaments. It
would be endleſs to mention all the beautys
in this celebrated piece; we ſhall take,
notice only of a few. — In the firſt book,
chap. 8. giving an account of the approach
of the enemy's army, viz. the Perſians
commanded by Tiſſaphernes,and after
having told how Cyrus's ſoldiers were
arm'd, he adds,* "Καί ηδη τε ήν μέσον
"ήμέρας, κι απω καταφανεις ησαν όι πολέμι"οι.
ήνίκα δέ δέιλη έγένετο, εφάνη κονιορτος,
"ωασερ νεφέλ λευκή, χρονω δέ συχνω υςε"ρον
ωασερ μελανία τις έν τω πεδίω έπιπο
"λύ. οτε δέ εγγύτερον εγίγνοντο, ταχα δή κι
"χαλκός τις ηςραπτε. &c. — " It was
"now mid-day, and the enemy did not
yet appear; but as the evening ap"proached,
the duſt was ſeen like a white
"cloud; ſome time after, a thick darkneſs,
* Expeditio Cyri pag. 77, 78. Edit. Thom, Hutcheſon, Oxon. 1735
"as it were covered the ground; when
"they came nearer, on a ſudden the blaze
"of their arms ſtruck us." — This is repreſented
with abundance of imagery: broad
day-light ſucceeded by the ſhades of the
evening, the horror of which is encreaſed
by the approach of a numerous army, and
the gleam of their armour; the periods
move ſlowly, which is well judged, when
the diſtance of time betwixt the appearance
of the different objects was conſiderable.
Various are the ſimiles in Homer,
from which Xenophon ſeems to borrow
here, "the darkneſs of troops is compared
"in the Iliad to the gathering of clouds;
"the duſt they raiſe, to a thick miſt on the
"top of the mountains; Ajax's cloſe bat"talions
to a cloud dark as pitch travel"ling
over the ocean.
Ευτ' ορεος κορυφησι νοτος κατέχευεν ομίχλην
ως αρα των ύπο ποοσί κονίοσαλος ωρνυτ'
έρχομένων. -
ILIAD iii. 13.
- ειδεν νέφος άιπόλος ανηρ
μελάντερον ηΰτε ωίοσα.
ILIAD iv. 277.
The ſhining of the armour occurs in a
thouſand lines,
- οοσε δ΄ αμερδεν
αύγή χαλκέιη, -
ILIAD iii. 341.
A little after this, how ſublime is the deſcription
of the Grecians ſinging the Pæan,
and ruſhing to battle, * "'Ως δέ πο"ρευομένων
έξεκύμαινέ τι της φάλαγγης, τό
"έπιλειπόμενον ηρξατο δρόμω θειν, κί αμα
"έφθέγξαντο πάντες, οίον πέρ τω ένυαλίω
"έλελίζασι. - they went on, when.
"any part of the phalanx by their quick
"advance outſtrip'd the reſt, making the
"line ſwell out like a billow, thoſe left be"hind
fell a running; at the ſame time an
"univerſal ſhout was hear'd, ſuch as is
"made in the exclamations to Mars."
And in the ſecond chapter of the fourth
book, the great diſtreſs of the Grecian
army, marching thro' wild and rugged
mountains, is finely painted. Xenophon,
who led up the rear himſelf; the ſtation
of greateſt danger and honour, is attacked
by the Barbarians, from an ambuſcade, amidſt
rocks and dreadful precipices; to in*
Ibid. pag. 83, 84.
tercept his journey, they poured down
volleys of stones upon his men. † "Τήνι"καυτα
έκυλίνδαν οί βάρζαροι όλοτρόχας
"άμαξιαίας, κί μείζας κί έλάττας λίθας, οι
"φερόμενοι παίοντες προς τάς πέτπας διεσ"φενδονωντο.
— Then the Barbarians rol"led
down on us large fragments of rock,
"ſufficient each to load a waggon, and
"ſtones greater and ſmaller, which claſh"ing
on the crags, and rebounding from
"them, as out of a ſling." - Is not the language
here expreſſive, in its ſound, of the
thing deſcrib'd? Does not one ſee the danger
the Greeks are in, and the huge ſtones
tumbling amongſt them? - An inſtance of
the like nature, where the words are adapted
to the action, occurs in the end
of the ſame book; the army is now arrived
at Trapezuntium, taking their diverſion;
Games of all kinds, and horſe-races
are appointed. Theſe Xenophon chuſes
ſo to deſcribe, as an ornament to his work,
in imitation of the Iliad. The ground marked
out for the race was a deſcent dovvnwards
to the ſea; after running over this,
the racers were again to aſcend to an altar.
† Ibid. pag. 273, 274.
* "Και εδει αυτας κατά τα πρανας έλάσανv"τας.
- &c. - κί κάτω μέν όι πολλοί έκυλιν"δαντο,
ανω δέ πρός το ίχυρως ορθιον μόλις
"βάδην επορεύοντο όι ϊπποι. — "Great numbers
of them tumbled down; but in com"ing
up the ſteep aſcent the horſes ſtep'd
"on ſlowly and with difficulty. — " The
beauty of this paſſage muſt be obvious to
every ear. The meaſures in the two firſt
ſentences are quick, to repreſent the facility
and rapidity of the motion; thoſe in
the laſt, ſlow and heavy, and pronounced
with difficulty.
The ſecond of thoſe paſſages has alluſion
to that one of Homer, where the furious
deſcent of Hector is compared to the
fragment of a rock beat down by a torrent
from the top of a mountain.
- όλοόιτροχος ως από πέτρης
υιτ΄ άναθρώσκων πετετα
ό δ΄ άσφαλέως έει έμπεδον, -
- τοτε δ΄ ατι κυλίνδεται. -
ILIAD. xiii. 137,
One is at a loſs to ſay, whether the άναθρώσκων
πέτεται in the poet, or the διεσφενδονωντο
παίοντες, in the hiſtorian, are the
* Ibid. pas. 252.
happieſt expreſſions; both of them are images
of the violent boundings of the
ſtones: but Xenophon has judiciouſly
made choice of * a word, not as I remember
in all the Iliad, which characterizes
them, as the weapons of an enemy thrown
as it were out of ſlings: this idea the poet
was under no neceſſity of conveying. —
The third paſſage has likewiſe a reference
to thoſe noted lines in the Odyſſey, the
beauty of which have been celebrated by
Mr. Addiſon, and, before him, by Dion.
Halicarnaſſeus, "where Siſyphus is heav"ing
up a ſtone againſt a mountain, in
"ſpondees, and after all his impotent la"bour,
it trundles down in dactyles."
κί μέν Σίσυφον είσειδον, -
λααν βαςαζοντα πελωριον άμφοτερήσιν.
λααν ανω ωθεσκε ποτί λοφόν. -
αυτις, επειτα πέδονδε κυλίνδετο λαας άναιδής.

ODYSS. Xi. 597.
3. All theſe are ſo many inſtances where
* διεςφενδονωνσ. This image he has probably remembered
from the following paſſage of Euripides, where he deſcribes the
limbs of Capancus tumbling from the ſcaling-ladder,
- εκ δε κλιμακων
έσφενδονωνο χωρίς άλλήλων μέλή.
3. warlike and violent acts are deſcribed; let
us proceed to take notice how this author
conforms his ſtyle to the ſofter feelings of
joy, and the pangs of grief. — Thus how
ſtrongly does he repreſent the tranſports
of the whole Grecian army, on their firſt
diſcovery of the ſea, from mount Teches;
(Book 4. chap. 7.) - a great ſhout was
raiſed on the ſight of ſo welcome an object;
Xenophon alarmed, mounts a horſe,
and rides up with form other officers to
enquire into the cauſe of this tumultuous
noiſe;* "κι τάχα δη ακούασι βοώντων των
"ςρατιωτω, άλαττα, άλαττα, κι πα"ρεγγυώντων."
And immediately they
"hear the ſoldiers crying, the ſea, the ſea;
"and congratulating one another." The
very words here re-echo the crys of the ſoldiers.

Again, when, in the beginning of the
fifth book, they were deliberating whether
to purſue the remainder of their way
by ſea or by land; what a lively picture
does Antileon draw of their former labours
and ſufferings; † "Εγω μέν, άπείρηκα
ηδη συσκευαζόμενος, κι βαδιζων, κι τρέ*
Ibid. pag. 338. † Ibid.pag. 353, 364.
"χων, κι τά οπλα φέρων, κι έν ταξει ιων, κι
"φυλακας φυλάττων, κι μαχομενος; - έπι"θυμω
δε ηδη - πλειν το λοιπον, κι έκταθεις,
"ωσπερ Ώδυοσευς, καθεύδων αφικέοαι εις
"τήν Έλλάδα. "For my part, I am ſo fa"tigued
with gathering my baggage, with
"travelling, with running, with carrying
"my arms, with marching in the rank,
"with keeping watch, with fighting, that
"I now earneſtly deſire to ſail out the
"reſt of the way, and, like Ulyſſes ſtretch"ed
at eaſe, arrive in Greece aſleep. —"
Here the periods run ſlowly, that the reader
may dwell on them, make a pauſe at
each, and recount them all; and not think
lightly of theſe toils and fatigues, but attend
carefully to their number and ſeverity:
the mind being thus impreſſed, how
agreeably does the ſweet repoſe of Ulyſſes,
deſcrib'd ſo ſoftly, come in to its relief?
Who after this can heſitate which of the
ways to take? — In another view, it is alſo
poetic; had theſe words come directly from
the pen of the hiſtorian, they had been
leſs intereſting: Xenophon imitates the
beauty of epic poetry, and by this ſpeech
gives us a lively idea of the toils and hardſhips
his army had ſuſtain'd. — If we compare
this paſſage with that in the Odyſſey,
when Ulyſſes is ſet a-ſhore on Ithaca by
the Phæacians, we ſhall find a conſiderable
ſimilitude; "the hero lies at eaſe,
"ſweet ſleep ſeals his eye-lids, the ſhip,
"ſails ſwift along, carrying a man who
"reſembled the Gods in wiſdom, whoſe
"pains, anxietys, toils, dangers in war,
"perils at ſea had been ſo many and ſo
"great, he lies faſt aſleep on his native
"ſoil, till Minerva awakes him.
Και τω νήδυμος υπνος έπι βλεφάροισω επιπτε
ανδρα φέρασα εοις έναλιγκια μηδέ εχονα
ός πρίν μέν μαλα πολλα πάθ' αλγεα ον κατα
ανδρων τε πτολεμας άλεγεινά τε κύμαα
δή τόε γ' ατρεμας έυδε, λελασμένος οοσ' έπεπόνθει;

ODYSS. Xiii. 92.
ευδων εν γαιη πατρώη·
ODYSS. Xiii. 188.
Of pity and
The ſame author is very ſucceſsful in
raiſing our pity. Thus in the entry of
the third book of the ſame work, after
four of the principal officers had been
killed by the treachery of Tiſſaphernes,
the army becomes deſtitute of leaders,
in the heart of the enemy's country, at
a diſtance from all friends, impaſſable
mountains and rivers betwixt them and
Greece. How beautifully does he paint
their hopelefs condition! * "Ταυτα έν"ναμενοι,
κι αθυμώς εχοντες, όλγοι μεν
"αυτων είς την έσπέραν σιτα έγεύσαντο,
"όλγοι δέ πυράν εκαυσαν, έπί δέ τα οπλα
"πολλοί ουκ ηλθον ταυη τη νυκι, άνεπαύ"ετο
δέ όπα έτυγχανεν εκαςος, α δυνάμε"νοι
καθευδειν ύπο λύπης, καί ποθα ωατρι"δων,
γονέων, γυναικων, παίδων, &c." Re"flections
on theſe circumſtances made
"them quite heartleſs. Few taſted meat
"that night. Few kindled fires. Many ne"glected
the duty of the camp. Every
"man threw himſelf down on the place
"he was in, unable to ſleep for grief and
"regret at the loſs of their country, pa"rents,
wives, children. — " The perplexity
of Agamemnon, after the defeat of
the Grecians in the ninth and tenth Iliad,
has a good deal of likeneſs to this, and is
* Ibid. pag. 184,
deſcribed pretty much in the fame Manner.

How moving, and affectionate is the
ſpeech made by Gobrias to Cyrus in the
fourth book of the Cyropedia, near the
end; declaring how barbarouſly the Aſſyrian
prince had ſlain his ſon (who was to
have been married to the princeſs) for no
other reaſon, but becauſe the young man
had killed firſt a boar and then a lion, at
both which the prince had thrown his javelin
in vain. "† Ος γαρ ην μοιμόνος, κα"λος,
ω δεασοα κι αγαθος, κι έμέ φιλων κι
"τιμων, ωασερ αν ευδαίμονα πατέρα παις
"τιμων τιθείη, τατον ό νυνι βασιλευς ατος
"&c. - παίσας εις τα ςέρνα, τον μονον μοιt
"κι φίλον ωαιδα άφείλετο την υχήν, κά"γώ
μεν, ό τάλας, νεκρον αντι νυμθία έκομι"σάμην,
κι εθαα, τηλικατος ων, αρτι γε"νειάσκοντα
τον αριςον παιδα, τον άγαπη"τόν,
&c. — "My only ſon, O Cyrus!
"beautiful and virtuous, who loved and
"honoured me with ſuch a filial reſpect
"and tenderneſs as makes a father hap"py:
— This ſon, the preſent king depri"ved
of life, plunging a ſpear into the
† Cympaedia.pag. 307, 308, 309. Edit. Hutch. 4to.
" boſom of my dear and only child, and I
"unhappy man! carried home a dead bo"dy
inſtead of a bridegroom; and at this
"age, buried this excellent and darling
"ſon murdered in the bloom of life." —
How melting is this ſtory, told in ſuch
warm, pathetic way? not a harſh ſyllable
occurs, but all the numbers are mournful
and melodious.
To give only one inſtance more;* Demetrius
Phalereus, no contemptible critic,
was ſenſible how much Xenophon abounded
in poetic ornaments, and praiſes
him for his cautious way of bringing them
in, with an ωασερ (as it were) and then
gives this example; ωασερ ιππος λυθεις,
δια ωεδία, γαυριων κι άπολακιζων· - "Like
"a horſe running at liberty thro' the fields
"bounding and exulting." — It muſt be
evident at firſt ſight, how much this ſentence
has of the ſpirit of that compariſon,
between a wanton horſe broke looſe, and
Paris quiting his apartment,
ως δ' οτέ τις στατος ιππος -
δεσμον άπορρηξας θειεί ωεδίοιο κροαίνων
κυδιόων· - ILIAD. vi. 506.
* Sect. 90, Edit, Glaſg. 1743.
Many more quotations might be brought
to prove how largely this author has
drawn from Homer: but leſt I be too tedious,
I forbear.
Style of Herodot. - he alſo imitates Homer
WE ſhall next conſider Herodot. - He
ſtudys the propriety of ſpeech,
more than the figures or tropes of it; not
that he is altogether deſtitute of theſe, on
the contrary, he introduces them in an eaſy,
natural way, and thereby greatly adorns
his language. In the choice of words,
and ſtructure of periods, he is ſimple and
unaffected: yet, by his elegant and well
choſen metaphors, his diction approaches
often to poetry. His manner is perſuaſive
pleaſant, and inſtructing; his compoſition
uniform, and beautiful; no writer
ſeems to have more exactly ſounded the
depth of his own genius. Hence that eaſy,
calm, ſteddy pace, never deviating, nor
ſoaring too high. You will not find in him
any irregular ſallys of wit, any turgid unnatural
ſwell of ſtyle, no towering flight
of imagination. In his ſentiments, if he
riſes, it is gradually, and no higher than
the ſubject will bear, never in danger of any
ſudden fall, but deſcends with the ſame
order and tranquillity, with which he roſe;
like a weſtern gale, briſk and conſtant, but
never loud.
* As to the manner, in which Herodot introduces
the beautys of poetry, it is agreed
on all hands, that he is a great imitator of
Homer. One, who is well acquainted
with both, will find the expreſſions, figures,
and ſentiments of the poet, freely
borrowed by the hiſtorian, and gracefully
interwoven with his own. Theſe foreign
* A critic already mentioned (Hermegencs lib. 2. de form. orat,)
ſays of Herodot "that he has mixed ſweetneſs with purity and
"perſpicuity of diction; his ſtorys are pleaſant, and he often uſes
"a poetic ſtyle; he is noble in his ſentiment, accurate, pleaſant,
"and grand in his compoſition; the numbers both in the middle
"and end of his periods are of the beſt kind, and ſuch as have
"weight and dignity, as the dactyl, anapeſt, and ſpondee; he
"ſucceeds well, if ever man did, in deſcribing manners and cha"racters
in the moſt beautiful poetic way: for thſe reaſons, he
"has a great deal of ſublimity, eſpecially in the diſcourſes of
"Xerxes and Artabazus on human affairs." — A ſtrong authority
this to prove the truth of what we advanced in the two firſt
ſections. Cicero, in his orator ſect 55 . and 65. ſeems not to have
ſuch an high opinion of Herodot's numbers: but all he means, is,
that this hiſtorian did not ſucceed ſo well in poliſhing his periods,
as the writers who came after him, ſuch as Iſocrates, &c. - But
Quinctilian, in Inſtit. lib. 9. ſect. i. cap. 4. ſays, In Herodoto vera
cum omnia leniter fluunt tum ipſa διαλεκος habet eam jucunditatem, ut
latentes etiam numeros complectatur.
ornaments, thus naturalized, are like a
piece of rich embroidery, deeply wrought
into a cloath; you cannot eraze the one,
without cutting the other: whereas in Xenophon
they hang more looſely, as ſo many
rich jewels adorning a graceful perſon.
Let it be remembred however, when 'tis
ſaid, Herodot imitates Homer, we don't
mean that one is to expect in him the
ſame bold images, lively figures, and grandeur
of ſtyle, as in the poet; it is Plato alone,
who ventures an emulation here. —
the hiſtorian confines himſelf chiefly to
the purity and ſimplicity, and the more
acceſſible beautys of this grand original,
in whom, as we ſaid, all the various graces
of human language center.
2. We ſhall ſubjoin a few inſtances of
the poetic ſtyle in Herodot; and firſt thoſe
relating to war and military proweſs. In
the beginning of the ſeventh book, the
ſpeech of Xerxes in council, is very much
animated, and ſpoke in the proud, lofty
tone of an arbitrary prince, who looks on
mankind as born his ſlaves, and commands
his vaſſals to revenge the inſults of
the Athenians, who had dared to defeat
the predeceſſor of ſo grand a monarch,
* Εγώ δε ύπέρ τε έκείνα, κι των αλλων
Περσέων, α πρότερον παυσομαί η ελω τε κι
πυρώσω τας' Αθήνας· - ταέων μέν τοι ενεκα
άνάρημαι έπ' αύτας ςραεύεσθαι· - γην τε
την ωερσδα άποδέξομεν τω διος αιθέρι όμαρέασαν·
γαρ δη χώρην γε αδεμίην καόψεαι
ό ηλιος όμαρον έασαν τη ήμέτερη. &c.- "For
"the ſake of Darius and the other Per"ſians,
I will never ceaſe till I take and
"burn Athens. - For theſe reaſons, I am
"provoked to make war againſt them. -
"Thus will we extend the Perſian em"pire
till it have no confine but the ſky;
"the ſun ſhall ſee no land adjacent to our
"dominions. I will traverſe all Europe,
"and reduce the whole earth under your
"ſway." — This whole period is made
up of the numbers, which Hermogenes *
aſcribes to Herodot; there is alſo a ſublimity
in the ſentiments; don't we perceive
the ſame ſpirit, in the firſt part of the ſentence,
that Homer attributes to Hector,
when calling on his ſoldiers to burn the
Grecian ſhips?
- τρωσίν δ' εκέλευεν,
οισεε ωυρ, -
ILIAD. xv. 718.
* Pag. 382. Edit. Gronov. Lugd. Batav. 1715. † Vid. Note p.37.
What follows ſufficiently expreſſes the vanity
of this monarch, aſpiring to univerſal
dominion; the ſtyle is grand, without
any thing of the falſe ſwell or bombaſt.
Again, (at the end of the ſeventh book)
in the famous battle of Thermopylae
where the Spartans make ſuch a glorious
ſtand for the liberty of Greece, but are at
laſt betrayed by Epialtes, who diſcovered
to the king a by-path, by which they
might be eaſily attacked; in how juſt and
noble a manner is this deſcribed? † όιδε
άμφι Έπιάλτεα, καέαινον το αρος καά
τάχος· - οπισθε γάρ όι ήγεμόνες των τελέων,
εχονες μάςιγας, έρράπιζον ωάνα ανδρα, αιεί,
εις το ωρόσω έπορύνονες. ωολλοι μέν δή έσέπιπον
αυτέων εις τήν άλαοσαν, κι διεφθείρονο·
ωολλω δ' ετι ωλευνες καεπαέονο ζωοί
υπ' αλλήων· - απεδείκνυνο ρώμης οσον εχον
μέεθος ες τας βαράρας· -" Thoſe
"with Epialtcs deſcended ſwiftly down
"the mountain: - the commanders of
"each battalion, with whips in their
"hands, laſh'd up the men, and drove
"them forward: many of them fell head"long
into the ſea, and periſhed: many
† Pag. 452. 454. Ejuſ. edit.
"more were trampled down alive by one
"another. — The Spartans made the
"barbarians feel what immenſe ſtrength
"they were maſters of." — Again, in the
battle of Platea (near the middle of the
ninth book) what wonders do the Athenians
perform! The Perſians had poſſeſſed
themſelves of a wooden wall and
turrets, from which the Lacedemonians
could not drive them: but the Athenians
coming up, ſoon beat them off, by their
invincible bravery and conduct.* όι δεβάραροι,
ουδεν ετι ςιφος εποιήσανο, ωεσόνος τα
τείχεος, αέ τις άυέων αλκης εμέμνηο αλύκαζόν
τε οια εν ολίγω χρόνω ωεφοημένοι τε
κι ωολλαι μυριάδες καειλημμέναι ανθρώπων.
"the barbarians no longer kept together
"in any order, after the wall fell; none
"of them thought of reſiſting; but gave
"themſelves up for loſt, being quite diſ"pirited
at the ſudden change, by which
"many myriads of men were ſtruck with
"fear, and in the power of their enemys."
In both theſe paſſages the language is expreſſive
of the things deſcribed; one almoſt
ſees the officers laſhing their men,
* Pag. 335. ad finem.
and puſhing them on, while they tumble
into the ſea, or are trode down. In the ſecond
paſſage, the dread and confuſion of
the enemy is as ſtrongly painted. — All this
has a near reſemblance to ſeveral places in
Homer; as where Hector runs thro' the
ranks, exhorting them to fight and ſummon
up their courage; and to Agamemnon's
terror and deſpondency when Achilles
refus'd his offers.
- καα ςραον ώχετο ωάνη
οτρύνων μαχέσαοαι·
ανέρες εςε, φίλοι, μνήσαοε δε αριδος αλκης.
ILIAD vi. 112
άδε μοι ητορ
εμπεδον, αλλ' αλαλύκημαι. -
IL. x. 94.
the moſt expreſſive words are the ſame in
3. Many other examples might be given
of military actions; but we ſhall proceed
to deſcriptions of inanimate objects. —
Thus (about the middle of the firſt book)
Croeſus being defeated, is condemned by
Cyrus to be burnt, and the funeral-pile
erected: but when Croeſus relates what
Solon had ſaid to him, Cyrus is touched
with compaſſion, revokes the ſentence,
and orders the pile to be removed: however
it could not be extinguiſh'd, till Croeſus
prayed to Apollo, who heard him, and
ſent a violent ſhower of rain. * εκ δε αιθρίης
τε κι νηνεμίης συνδραμέειν έξαπίνης νέφεα,
κι χειμωνά τε κααρραζηναι, κι υσαι
υδαι λαροάτω. - "from a clear and ſe"rene
ſky, the clouds on a ſudden ran to"gether,
and burſt down in a large and
"violent ſhower of rain." — Here again,
any one of a tolerable ear will eaſily perceive
the poetic melody; the ſudden ruſh
of the rain is intirely in the ſpirit of the
έλθόντ' εξαπίνης, οτ' επιρίση διοςομρος.
ILIAD v. 91.
- οτε λαβρόταον χεεί υδωρ
Ζευς. xvi. 385.
Near the end of the ſame firſt book, Cyrus
in his way to Babylon, attempts to paſs
the river Gyndes; with how much rapidity
does it tumble over the firſt horſe who
enters. † ενθαυτα οί των τις ίρων ϊππων, ύπο
ϋριος έσάς ές τον ποαμον, διααίνειν έπειρατο;
ό δε μιν συμψήσας, ύπορύχιον οιχώκεε
φέρων. - "One of the ſacred horſes
* Pag. 36. Ibid. † Pag. 76. Ibid.
"jumped wantonly into the river, and
"tried to paſs; but it whirl'd him round,
"and hurried him, under water, down
"the dream. — Don't theſe words call to
our mind the battle of Achilles with the
river Xanthus?
- Α'χιλλευς - ενθορε μέοσω
κρημνόυ απαιξας, ό δε έπέοσυτο, &c.
ILIAD xxi. 234.
How beautiful is Herodot's deſcription
of an eclipſe, not far from the beginning
of the ſeventh book. Xerxes having endeavoured
to bring the ocean under his,
diſcipline, by laſhing it for diſobedience
throws a bridge over the Helleſpont, and
marches forward with his army to Abydus:
when ſuddenlv, * ώρμημένω δε οί ό
ην, ουτ' έπι νεφέων εόντων, αιθρίης τε τα μά
ην, ουτ' επι νεφέων εόντων, αιθρίης τε τα μάλιςα.
άντι ήμέρης τε νυξ εγεντο. - "As he
"was advancing, the ſun left its ſeat in
"the heavens, and diſappeared, when
"there were no clouds, but on the con"trary
a very clear ſky; inſtead of day, it
"was night." Every one muſt be ſenſible
of the harmonious numbers in this peri*
Pag. 395. Ibid.
od. I make no doubt he had in his eye the.
fine image, in Homer, of the darkneſs
ſpread over the body of Patroclus, where
In one thick darkneſs all the fight was loſt
The ſun, the moon and all the ethereal hoſt
Seem'd as extinct; day raviſh' d from their
And all heaven's ſplendors blotted from
the skies; - POPE.
- όυδέ κε Φαίης
ουτέ ποτ' ηελιον σόον έμμεναι, όυτε σελήνην
ηέρι γαρ κατέχοντο· -
- νεφος δ' φαίνετο. -
ILIAD xvii. 366-372.
In the next place, if we attend to Herodot's
deſcriptions of the internal paſſions,
and their viſible effects, we will find
he paints them in a ſtrong and maſterly
manner; his ſtrokes are not long or tedious,
but lively and well-touched: Thus,
about the middle of the third book, after
the Magi were killed, and the Nobles debating
on the form of government to be
eſtabliſhed, various opinions were given.
Otanes, who was for a democracy, extolled
it, as moſt favourable to liberty; how
does he expoſe the inſolent pride of a tyrant,
and his envy againſt all good men!
Being poſſeſſed by the two, ſays he, a tyrant
is full of all kind of evil and malice. -
And then adds, * τα μεν γαρ υϐρει κεκορημενός,
ερδει πολλα κι ατάσθαλ ερεξα, ϐιή κι καρτεϊ
φθόνω. - "He commits many horrid acti"ons,
ſometimes from being ſworn with
"pride, ſometimes with envy." — On the
other hand, Megabyzus, who was for an
oligarchy, is as happy in repreſenting the
outragious fury and licentiouſneſs of the
Popular fury.

ungovernable mob; It is ignorant, ſays he,
and unintelligent, † ώθέει τε εμπεσων τα'
ωρήγματα ανευ νόόυ, χειμάρρω ποταμω ϊκελος.
"Ruſhes headlong upon affairs, without
"underſtanding, being like a winter tor"rent."
How expreſſive are theſe words
of the madneſs of the populace? both ſentences
are alſo in the language of Homer,
πολλα δ' ατάσθαλ' ερεξα, ϐιή κι καρτεϊ
εϊκων. ODYSS. xviii. 138.
ώς δ' οτε χειμαρροι ωοταμοι -
ILIAD iv. 452.
Various are the noble ſentiments to be
met with in Herodot, expreſſed in a ſublime
poetic manner; near the beginning
of the ſeventh book, it is deliberated in
* Pag. 192. Ibid † Pag. 103. Ibid.
council, whether Xerxes ſhould go into
a war with Greece; thoſe who were for
pleaſing the king declared for it; Artabanus
the king's uncle oppoſes it ſtrongly,
entreats Xerxes to act with mature deliberation,
and not truſt to his immenſe,
power. * Ορας ώς τα ύπερέχοντα ζωα κεραυνοι
ό Θεος, ουδε έα φαντάζεοϑαι. τα' δε
σμικρα, ουδέ μιν κνίζει. όρας δε ώς ές οικήματα
τα' μέγιςα αει κι δένδρεα τα' τοιαυτ'
επισκήπτει βέλεα· φιλέει γαρ ό Θεος τα
ύπερέχοντα πάντα κολόυειν. - "You ſee
"how God directs his thunders againſt
"the large animals, and ſuffers them
"not to exult in their ſtrength; but the
"ſmall he paſſes by. You ſee how he al"ways
hurls theſe bolts againſt the ſtate"lieſt
buildings and the talleſt trees. For
"God loves to humble the exalted! —"
With what a divine enthuſiaſm is this
ſaid! — It is a cloſe imitation of Pindar,
where the poet ſays; God directs all e"vents
according to his will: God, who
"ſeizes the towering eagle in his flight,
"outruns the marine dolphin, overthrows
"proud mortals, and beſtows a never*
Pag. 385. Ibid.
"fading glory on the humble." — and in
another place, "His burning thunder"bolt
is wing'd with death.
Θεος απαν έπι έλπίδες -
σι τέκμαρ άνύεται
Θεος ο κι πτερόεντ' αι -
ετον κίχε, κι ϑαλαοςαι -
ον παραμείϐεται
δελφινα, κι υψιφρόνων τιν εκαμψε
βρωτων; ετέροισι δε
κυδος αγήραον ωαρέδοκ' -
PYTHIA ii. 96.
αϊθων δε κεραυ -
νος ενέσκηψε μόρον. -
PYTHIA. iii. 105.
Horace alſo uſes the ſame thought,
— valet ima ſummis
Mutare, et inſignem attenuat Deus,
Obſcura promens: —
— hic poſuiſſe gaudet.
A little after this, in the ſame ſeventh
book, Artabanus, in another conference
with the king, tells him he was endowed
with prudence, and a capacity of judging
well for himſelf, but was led aſtray by
the converſation of wicked men; * Ka*
Pag. 388. Ibid.
τάπερ τήν παντων χρησιμωτάτην ανθρώποισι
ϑάλαοσαν, ωνεύματα φασι ανεμων εμπίπτοντα,
όυ ωεριοραν φύσει τη έωυτης χρσϑαι.
"Juſt as they ſay, the breath of the winds
"falling on the ſea, the moſt uſeful of all
"things to mankind, hinders it from en"joying
it's own natural ſtate." — Can
there be a better image, to expreſs how
much one's own wiſfom and judgment,
the calmeſt and beſt qualitys, are diſtracted
by the violent paſſions of others. Homer
has led the way to this thought, by
taking a ſimile from the ſea, to deſcribe the
inward feelings of the mind, and by comparing
that element, agitated by different
winds, to an army in doubt and confuſion.

Laſtly, How noble is the anſwer made
by the Athenians, at the end of the eighth
book, to Alexander the Macedonian, who
had been ſent by Mardonius to prevail
on them to enter into a league with the
Perſians; * Νυν τε απάγελλε Μαρδονίω,
ώς' Αθηναιοι λέγόυσι, ες' αν ό ηλιος τον αυτον
όδον ϊη τη περ κι νυν ερχεται, μήκοτε όμολογήσειν
ήμέας Ξέρξη. — "Go tell Mardo*
Pag. 507. Edit. Gronov.
"niuſ, thus ſay the Athenians:as long the
"ſun ſhall keep the ſame courſe he runs
"at preſent, we will never agree with
"Xerxes." — I don't know any paſſage,
even in Demoſthenes, where the high ſpirit
of true liberty is more ſublimely repreſented.
— I might alſo ſhew, how well
this hiſtorian adapts his words to the ſubject,
when deſcribing grief. But I am afraid,
I have already been but too prolix.
Thucydide's ſtyle — imitates the Pindario
THUCYDIDE has ſome beautys
of diction peculiar to himſelf: He
affects a grandeur of ſtyle, and often obtains
it, tho', as I imagine, not always to
that high degree he intended. He deſigns
that his words ſhould be both ſublime and
becoming; and ſometimes they are ſo:
but they are alſo frequently rough, unpoliſhed
and ranged in an unnatural manner.
This makes him often obſcure, and
confuſed, in the ſtructure of his periods.
He is accurate, and elaborate in his ornaments;
and, by an anxious endeavour to
render them alſo grand and magnificent,
he falls again into an exceſs of novelty, in
his compoſition, by which he is ſtill further
involved in perplexity and darkneſs.
However, the juſtneſs and dignity of his
ſentiments, when one comes, after repeated
peruſals to underſtand them, generally
reward the pains we take in the diſcovery.
- His ſtyle is conciſe, abrupt, and
too often, at firſt ſight, unintelligible; he
is alſo too dry and ſtiff in narrating facts,
tho' ſometimes, a certain purity and brightneſs
will break forth, and dazle you, like
a flaſh of lightning in a gloomy night. In
his ſpeeches, he introduces perſons of different
characters; but they all ſpeak as
the hiſtorian himſelf would, with roughneſs
and ſeverity: ſweetneſs is not a little
foreign to his manner. *
In the mean time, it muſt be own'd,
D.Halicarnaſſeus, † in his obſervations on
this hiſtorian, makes it pretty evident, that
Demoſthenes ſometimes imitates him, and
copy's thoſe qualities, which neither Lyſias
nor Iſocrates could boaſt of; as, that
* Vid. Dion. Halicarnaſſ. de Thucyd. hiſtor. judicium, pag. 239, 240.
Tom. 2. Edit. Ox. - Hermogenes de form. orat. lib. 2. & Cicero
in Brut § 83. et orat. § 9. Edit. Verburg.
† de Thucyd. hiſtor.judicium, pag. 263.
vehemence and ardor, roughneſs and acrimony,
which give ſpirit and force to
an oration, and are wonderfully ſucceſsful
in raiſing the paſſions; but entirely
drops his obſcurity, uncommon phraſes,
unnatural figures, and irregular arrangement
of periods. Retaining only what is
uſual and intelligible, his ſhort, abrupt,
and pungent ſentences, his enthymeme,
which is of admirable uſe in oratory ,when
properly introduced.
The narrative part of his orations may
alſo be recommended, as a very good model;
for inſtance, the debate between the
ambaſſadors of Corcyra, Corinth, and Athens,
in the firſt book, is managed in a
conciſe, clear, and elegant manner; the
facts are diſtinctly ſtated; the reaſoning
from them, to an attentive ear, intelligible
enough; but his ſentiments ſeem ſomewhat
forced, too cold and philoſophic, not expreſſed
in that eaſy, familiar, and convincing
manner, which renders a ſpeech
pleaſing and graceful; in this reſpect I
ſuppoſe the Roman * orator means, he
is not to be imitated.
* Cicero in Bruto § 83. & Orator. § 9. Edit. Verburg.
2 His deſcription of the plague at Athens
can never be enough admired: it
has had the approbation of the beſt poets,
who have judg'd it worthy their imitation.

Thucydide, tho' he ſometimes imitates
Homer, yet I think him rather fond of the
Pindaric grandeur and magnificence. -
What I have always moſt admired in him,
is the funeral oration of Pericles, in the
ſecond book; the ſentiments are truly ſublime,
and ſome of the periods more harmonious
than in any other of his ſpeeches:
Iſocrates, nay Plato himſelf, ſhew their
good opinion of it, by an imitation of it,
the one in his Panegyric, the other in his
Menexenus. - What a noble encomium
does he give the Athenians! and how juſtly
is the compariſon carried on betwixt
their manners, and thoſe of the Spartans!
The good-nature, humanity, and affability
of the one, is finely oppoſed to the
roughneſs and ſeverity of the other; then
† Fabricius, in his Biblioth. Grace. lib. 2. cap. 25. obſerves that
Lucretius in the deſcription he gives us of a plague, in his ſixth
book, takes ſeveral hints from Thucydide; as alſo that Virgil, in
his third Georgick, v. 47s. and third Æneid, v. 137. and further
that Ovid and Statius have had their eye upon it.
he adds, * Και μήν κι των ωόνων ωλείςας
αναπαύλας τη γνώμη έπορισάμεθα, αγωσι
μέν γε κι ϑυσίαις διετησίοις· - &c. ων καθ' ήμέραν
ή τέρψις το λυπηρον έκπλήοσει· -
"We refreſh the mind with frequent re"ceſſes
from labour by our annual feſti"vals
and games, and our elegant enter"tainments
in private; theſe pleaſures,
"thus frequently renewed, expel all me"lancholy."
- The numbers here are
truly magnificent; one would imagine he
is emulating Pindar, who ſays, "Joy is
"the beſt phyſician to labour, the wiſe
"ſongs of the Muſes ſweeten our toils."
Αριςος ευφροσύνα
ωόνων - ίατρος
- αί δε σοφαι
μοισαν άοιδαι, - ϑέλξάν νιν· -
NEMEA iv. 5.
After repreſenting the heroiſm and
magnanimity of his country-men, and
their zeal for the liberties of Greece, with
* Lib. 2. Hiſtoriar. § 38. pag. 120. Edit. Dukeri, 1731. He
likewiſe obſerves the ſimilitude betwixt Pindar and this paſſage of
the hiſtorian.
what noble rapture does the orator break
forth into the following exclamations! *
μετα μεγάλων δε σημείων κι όυ δήτοι άμάρτυρόν
γε την δύναμιν ωαρασχόμενοι, τοιςτε
νυν κι τοις επειτα ϑαυμαϑησόμεθα. κι όυδεν
ωροσδεόμενοι όυτε Ομήρόυ έπαινέτόυ. - αλλα
πασαν μεν ϑάλαοσαν κι γην έσϐατον τη ήμετέρα
τόλμη καταναγκάσαντες γενέσϑαι
ωανταχόυ δε μνημεια κακων τε κάγαθων άιδια
ξυγκατοικίσαντες· - And a little after,
κοινη γαρ τα σώματα διδόντες, ίδια τον άγήρων
επαινον έλάμϐανον· - άνδρων γαρ έπιφανων
ωασα γη τάφος, κι όυ ςηλων μόνον έν
τη οϊκεια σημαίνει έπιγραφη, άλλά κ έν τη
μη ωροσηκόυση, αγραφος μνήμη ωαρ έκαςω,
Tτης γνώμης μαλλον η τόυ εργόυ ένδιαιταται· -
"Our brave and noble deeds are ſo ma"ny
illuſtrious evidences of our power,
"and will make us the admiration of the
"preſent, and future ages: we want no
"Homer to ſound our praiſcs; our cou"rage
has opened to us a paſſage thro'
"every land and ſea, and we have every"where
erected eternal monuments of
"our hoſtility, or beneficence. - By gi*
Ibid. § 41 & 43. pag. 122 & 124. Edit. Dukeri.
"ving their bodys to the Public, they
"have procured to themſelves immortal
"praiſe. — The whole earth is a monu"ment
to illuſtrious men! the inſcription
"on a domeſtic tomb is not the only te"ſtimony
of their virtue; but, even in re"mote
nations, the memory of their glo"rious
actions is engraven more deeply
"on the hearts of men, than on the
"marble at home." This paſſage is truly
ſublime and poetical: I ſhall only obſerve
that Thucydide ſeems here again to be
inſpired with the ſpirit of Pindar; Fortune,
ſays the Lyric poet, often wreſts
from brave men their glorys; you know
the fate of Ajax, who when ſupplanted
by the corrupt arts of his inferior, fell
on his ſword. — "But Homer, by his di"vine
poetry, has made all mankind ho"nour
and admire his virtues: the im"mortal
Muſe goes on ſublimely ſound"in
thro' all ages, and ſpreads the unex"tinguiſhed
ſplendor of heroic deeds o"ver
the fruitful earth, and boundleſs o"cean.

άλλ' Ομηρός τοι τετίμακε
δι άνϑρώπων, ος αυτόυ
ωασαν όρθώσαις, άρεταν -
ϑεασεστων επέων· -
τόυτο γαρ αθάνατον φωναεν ερπει,
ει τις ευ ειπη τι. κι ωάγκαρπον
επι χθόνα, κι δια ωόντον
βέϐακεν εργάματων ακτις
καλων ασϐεςος αιει·
ISTHMIA. iv. 63,
The effects which Pindar aſcribes to
poetry, Thucydide has boldly transferred
to the valour of the Athenians. - The
αγήρων επαινον, has been already pointed
out as an expreſſion of Pindar's. - I could
take notice of ſeveral other paſſages of this
hiſtorian, where the ſtyle is truly poetic,
and where he has alſo happily introduced
ſome of the beautys of Homer into his diction
† : But 'tis now time to paſs on to
ſomething more material.
† Mr. Addiſon has a very elegant obſervation of this kind, in
his Eſſay upon Taſte. "I knew a perſon, who after he had taſted
"ten different kinds of tea, could diſtinguiſh the particular ſort of
"it, without ſeeing the colour; nay upon taſting the compoſition
"of three different ſorts, he could name the parcels from whence
"the three ſeveral ingredients were taken. - A man of a fine taſte
"in writing will diſcern after the ſame manner not only the gene"ral
beauties and imperfections of an author, but diſcover the ſe"veral
ways of thinking and expreſſing himſelf, which diverſify
"him from all other authors, with the ſeveral foreign infuſions of
"thought and language, and the particular authors from whom
"they were borrowed." Spectat. 409.
Plato's manner of writing is beſt diſcovered
conſidering what he reckons the true end
of eloquence, and the rules for acquiring it.
— Ariſtotle gives the ſame rules. —
Plato' s moral character.
BEFORE we proceed to PLATO'S diction
may be proper to obſerve what
his notions of eloquence were; and the
ends and purpoſes to which he thought it
was ſolely to be applied.This too will help
us to diſcover his moral character; and point
out the means Plato looked on as ſafe and
honourable in an Orator, for gaining his
end. — If once we can find his own ſentiments
of oratory and poetry, we ſhall be
at no loſs, to account for the manner, in
which he has introduced the beautys of
both, into his diction.
2. Whoever is converſant in Plato's
eaſily perceive, how much much
eloquence had been proſtituted by the
ſophiſts, and orators in his days. — Theſe
perſons ſtudied only what would gratify
the people, without conſidering the nature
of true and genuine pleaſure, they
were intent on nothing but to ſooth and
flatter their vices and follys. A poet too
often followed the ſame method; indifferent
whether his compoſition had the
good effect, of reforming the manners, and
mending the heart, provided he himſelf
was applauded, and the hearers pleaſed.
Thus were the charms of oratory and poetry
many times employed to the worſt of
Socrates had ſpent his life, in a glorious
and ſucceſsful combat with theſe wicked
flatterers and Impoſtors; to whoſe rage
and implacable reſentment he fell at laſt
a ſacrifice. — Plato is to undertake the arduous
taſk of preſenting the world with
a view of the doctrines, and the various
arguments he had uſed againſt his antagoniſts.
In what way, ſhall our philoſopher
beſt ſucceed? ſhall he intirely drop all the
ornaments of diction, and beautys of language,
which,'tis likely, his great Maſter overlooked?
The interrogations of Socrates
were pungent and convincing, when put
by himſelf; yet if barely recited in a dry,
and unliven'd manner, are they not likely
to loſe much of their force? — Theſe
might be reaſons why Plato thought it neceſſary
to introduce into his dialogues,
both rhetorical and poetic beautys, which
his warm imagination alſo naturally inclined
him to. Had he reſtrained himſelf
altogether, the ſophiſts would have had
a great advantage over him. The witty
and elegant Athenians required a ſeaſoning
of this kind, to enable them to digeſt
a philoſophic lecture. Plato had likewiſe
another view;he endeavour'd all he could
to reſtore elocution, to its proper end and
According to him, a true orator directs
his diſcourſe to what is beſt; his principal
aim is to reform the citizens, to inſpire
them with love to the public, to cultivate
in their ſouls noble and generous affections:
his precepts and inſtructions tend to
what is good and uſeful, altho' they prove
not pleaſant or agreeable. For this reaſon
he delivers nothing raſhly, is always
on his guard to keep in view, his chief and
favourite end. He imitates other Artiſts,
who don't haſtily make choice of what at
firſt ſight, ſeems conducive to their work,
but reject and embrace only after full and
mature deliberation. – The proper virtue of
any inſtrument, animal, body, or mind,
is not obtained by negligence, and inadvertency,
but by conſtant application and
culture. — Thus an architect procures order
and beauty to his building; the phyſician,
health and ſtrength to the body. —
Shall the philoſophic orator be leſs careful
in his art? ſhall not he conſider in what
the health of the ſoul conſiſts? how men
ſhall become virtuous, and act agreeably
to nature? and are not juſtice, temperance
and fortitude neceſſary qualitys for that
end? To theſe, our wiſe and good orator
directs his views; by theſe he regulates
his ſpeeches and actions, his inſtructions
and chaſtiſement; wholly devoted to the
generous labour of procuring wiſdom, and
all the virtues to his fellow-citizens, and to
baniſh vice and folly from among them.
That on which an orator ought only
to value himſelf, is that he contributes to
the happineſs of mankind, by making
them wiſe and good, rather than rich and
powerful. If by his policy and eloquence,
he only reſcues the ſtate from imminent
hazards, without attempting to render his
countrymen more virtuous, his merit is
of an inferior kind. - The pilot, who in
a ſtorm, preſerves by his art, the perſons
and effects of his paſſengers, delivers them
from the greateſt danger, and reſtores
them to their country and friends; grows
not for this vain-glorious, after landing
them ſafe, he walks the deck with the
ſame ſimple air as formerly. An orator's
true glory, is, to deliver his fellow-citizens
from vice, and eſtabliſh them in virtue.
To accompliſh this noble deſign, there is
no need of recourſe to flattery or ſophiſtical
arts; virtue, diſplay'd in her own native
charms, will gain the eſteem, and approbation
of the whole rational world.
3. This is a ſhort view of Plato's ſentiments
on oratory, * as explained by him*
Vide Gorgiam Platonis.
ſelf at greater length; its ultimate end in
his opinion, ought to be the welfare and
happineſs of ſociety. I may add, this deſcription
of the true orator is the real character
of our philoſopher himſelf: all his
diſcourſes and writings will be an eternal
monument, how much he had the
real felicity of mankind at heart. His eloquence
conſiſts in repreſenting the beautys
of honeſty and truth, the pleaſures reſulting
from kind and ſocial affections,
the raptures of a devout ſoul, who loves
and is beloved of the Deity! With what
warmth and earneſtneſs does he everywhere
recommend to us theſe diſpoſitions,
as the only proper and natural delights
of the human ſoul? He paints forth vice,
as the diſeaſe of the mind, and declares it
better for one to be dead, than live under
an incurable diſtemper of that kind. He
calls on men not to be intent on life, or
in protracting its narrow ſpan, but to ſtudy
only how to live well, to make the beſt
we can of the portion of time allotted us:
and with regard to our departure hence,
as well as every other event, to commit
ourſelves to God, and patiently expect
our fate! - Make the ſtricteſt examination
into every part of his works, you
ſhall find he has never once deviated from
his own rule, never once employed his eloquence
in patronizing vice of any kind.
But from firſt to laſt, ſtill kept his grand
point ſteddily in view.
4. This being the chief uſe of oratory,
according to Plato's doctrine, let us next
ſee the method he propoſes for acquiring
it; for this he gives no formal diſſertation,
nor pretends to teach the various figures,
tropes, and modes of ſpeech and
argument the orator is to uſe; this he left
to the rhetoricians, as their profeſt employment:
but if we attend, we will be
able to draw out of Plato's writings, the
fundamental precepts of true elocution.
The ſophiſts had alſo greatly abuſed
this art; inſtead of teaching their diſciples
real and ſubſtantial knowledge, they entertained
them with vain and imaginary
ſpeculations, not founded on truth, or the
nature of things: far from improving the
taſte of the youth, they rather corrupted
it, and were a plague to all who converted
with them. By their maxim, an orator
had no need to learn what is truly juſt,
honeſt, or good; it was ſufficient, if he
knew how to impoſe on the vulgar, if he
could adapt himſelf to their notions of juſtice
and equity, and perſuade them by
arguments taken from apparent, rather
than real truths. — Plato labours earneſtly
to confute ſuch falſe notions, and to
point out the true means to be uſed by an
orator; he informs us that the mind is not
to be convinced, by a learned exordium,
an eloquent narration, and ſubtile arguments;
by tropes, figures, and a profuſion
of ornaments, or a pathetick concluſion:
theſe indeed are of uſe when wiſely employed.
There are other things ſtill more
eſſential to an orator. He muſt have an acute
penetration in diſcerning accurately
the various relations, ſimilitudes, and diſſimilitudes
of things; muſt underſtand the
nature of honeſty, juſtice, and truth; accommodate
his reaſoning to them, and
draw thence his inferences ſo clearly, that
the hearers as well as himſelf may eaſily
perceive they flow naturally from the
ſubject. He muſt alſo form in his own
mind, a diſtinct plan of what he is to ſay;
deliberately conſider its kind, and different
qualitys; be able to range many
things under one; and when needful, make
accurate diviſions of one into many: above
all, he muſt have a faculty of perceiving
what arguments will ſuit the tempers of
his audience. — Theſe are the qualifications
requiſite to a ſpeaker, who intends to
perſuade; theſe alone conſtitute a true orator.

5. As Plato's reaſoning on this head is
ſomewhat new, we hope the reader will
be pleaſed to hear it, in his own way of
dialogue, out of the Phædrus, where this
ſubject is largely handled; I ſhall only
take notice of the principal arguments,
and even abridge them as much as poſſible.
— In this dialogue, Socrates examines
an oration of Lyſias upon love;
the orator is blamed, becauſe he neither
defines that paſſion, nor enquires into its
effects: this leads Socrates to a long diſcourſe
on beauty, after which he proceeds
to conſider Lyſias's ſpeech more particularly,
and then takes occaſion to ſhew in
what the true art of perſuaſion conſiſts.
"I aſk you, ſays * Socrates, does not e"loquence
allure and perſuade the mind,
"not only in courts of juſtice, and other
* See the Phaedrus, pag. 260 to 273, Tam, 3. Serranus, whoſe
Edition I always quote.
"public aſſemblys, but alſo in private
"companys, where men are talking a"bout
affairs more or leſs important? Is
"it not for their honour, to deliberate
"juſtly, in ſmall as well as momentuous
"matters? — By Jove, anſwers Phaedrus,
"I never heard, that Oratory was uſed
"elſewhere than in public tryals, or in
"ſpeeches to the people. - What is it,
"Phaedrus, the oppoſite partys do in
"courts of juſtice? Don't they contradict
"one another? - They do. — Concern"ing
what is juſt, and unjuſt? — Yes. —
"He, who does this by art, can make the
"ſame things appear juſt, to the ſame per"ſons
at one time, and at another, un"juſt?
— He can. - And in a public
"oration, the ſame things, good to the
"ſtate this day, and the next, hurtful? -
"This art then of debating or contradia"ing,
being always one and the ſame,
"may not only be practiſed in public
"meetings, and the Buſineſs there tranſ"acted,
but alſo with regard to every o"ther
affair? — Say, anſwer me, whether
"does a deception happen, in things, which
"differ widely, or but little? - In the
"latter. — If, in going from a thing to its
"contrary, you paſs gradually, the tran"ſition
will be more inſenſible, than if
"done of a ſudden? - Surely. - He,
"therefore, who would impoſe on anot"ther,
without being deceived himſelf,
"muſt have an accurate knowledge of the
"likeneſſes, and unlikeneſſes of things?
"- He muſt. - Is it poſſible for him,
"who is ignorant of the truth, in any one
"thing, to judge of its greater or leſſer ſi"militude,
with other things? - By no
"means. — Of conſequence, thoſe, who
"are deceived, and form opinions con"trary
to the nature of things, are led
"aſtray by falſe appearances or ſimili"tudes?
— They are. - Well then,
"is it in the power of any man, who
"knows not himſelf the nature of things,
"artfully and inſenſibly to draw off his
"hearers, by deluſive ſimilitudes, from
"truth to falſhood? — Not at all. Who"ever,
therefore, my friend, is ignorant
"of truth, and guided * by opinions, muſt
"appear ridiculcus, and unacquainted
"with his art, when he attempts to per"ſuade:
he, who would excel in orato"ry,
ought firſt of all to form juſt noti*
See sect. 8. parag. 3.
"ons, and apprehend the true character
"of each ſpecies of things, and thence be
"enabled to judge, when the people will
"neceſſarily be deceived, and when not. –
"He would be a happy man, Socrates,
"who had all that knowledge. – Further,
"when he comes to deſcribe any thing,
"none of its properties ought to eſcape
"him, but at one glance, he is to perceive
"what ſpecies, his ſubject belongs to; an
"oration ought to be compoſed, like an a"nimal,
which has its own proper body, its
"own head and feet, its middle and extre"mitys,
and every member and part corre"ſpondent
to each other, and to the whole. It
"ought not to be a matter of indifference,
"whether what is ſaid firſt, might as well
"be laſt; or the contrary: theſe obſerva"tions,
Phaedrus, are not ſo material, as
"the two following. — What are theſe?
"Firſt, it would be happy for us, could
"we collect many diſtant qualitys, and
"reduce them under one kind; and by de"fining
every thing, give a diſtinct idea
"of the ſubject: In this manner, we have
"endeavoured to define love, and aſcer"tain
its meaning. - Well, what is the
"other? — It is this; to be capable of
"branching out each ſpecies, into its natu"ral,
and proper diviſions, without break"ing
any of the members, like an unſkil"ful
cook. — I am in love, Phaedrus,
"with ſuch diviſions and compoſitions,
"as by them, I am enabled to reaſon,and
"ſpeak juſtly; if I find a perſon, who can
"diſcover one and many ,according as they
"are in nature, I follow him ſtep by ſtep,
"as a kind of Deity: God knows whe"ther
I am right, in entertaining ſuch an
"high notion of thoſe,who argue in this
"manner,and in calling them, as I do, ma"ſters
of the dialectic. – But we have not as
"yet diſcovered, what rhetoric is. - How
"do you mean,Socrates? — We muſt de"clare,
what remains to be ſaid upon o"ratory.
- You know, Socrates, there are
"many learned treatiſes wrote upon that
"head? – Well ſuggeſted.The proem is the
"firſt part of an oration, and is often ve"ry
artfully adorned? – It is. – The ſecond
"is the narration with the evidence of
"the facts; the third and fourth, conjec"tures
and preſumptions, arguments and
"confirmations. I might alſo celebrate
"thoſe, who have taught how a plantiff;
"and defendant are to manage their ac"cuſations
and defences, replys and re"joinders;and
thoſe,who invented pane"gyric,
and invective. — We diſmiſs Ly"ſias
and Gorgias, who prefer an appear"ance
of truth to the reality, and by the
"force of their eloquence, can make ſmall
"things look great, old things new, and
"the contrary; value themſelves, ſome"times
on conciſeneſs, at other times, on
"prolixity: at which Prodicus laught
"heartily one day, as I was talking with
"him, and ſaid, this art neither required
"very long, nor very ſhort ſentences, but
"moderate ones. — He was right. —
"Polus ought alſo to be praiſed, for hav"ing
added ſeveral graces to oratory; Pro"tagoras
likewiſe was very elegant in his
"diſcourſes; Chalcedonius excell'd in mo"ving
our pity and compaſſion, in raiſing
"or calming our anger, and in raillery and
"repartee; they are all agreed as to the
"nature of the concluſion, which ſome
"call a recapitulation. — "You mean, So"crates,
one ought to reſume the whole of
"his arguments in the end of his ſpeecch?"
"— I do. — Well, continued Phaedrus,
"I ſee you look on all theſe precepts of
"the rhetoricians, as no more in effect,
"than the firſt rudiments; but pray in"form
me, how ſhall one become perfect
"in the true perſuaſive art? - Perhaps,
"Phaedrus, 'tis poſſible to become a ma"ſter
in this, as well as any other exer"ciſe;
nay, you cannot fail, if nature has
"beſtowed a genius, and you take care
"to cultivate it right.
"In acquiring this art, I am not for
"following the method of Lyſias and
"Thraſymachus, but another. — What
"other? — Pericles, my friend, ſeems
"juſtly reckoned the moſt perfect ora"tor.
- Why? — The more excellent
"arts demand conſtant meditation, and
"an accurate enquiry, into the powers
"of nature; hence we acquire true gran"deur
of mind, and a capacity of perfor"ming
every thing in the beſt way. Peri"cles
had a fine natural genius, and im"prov'd
it to the utmoſt by theſe ſtudys;
"he was a conſtant companion of Ana"xagoras,
hear'd his lectures, on natural
"philoſophy, on the temper of the hu"man
mind and its diſorders, became
"well acquainted with both, and drew
"from this fountain the nobleſt helps to
"eloquence. - As how? - The art of
"medicine and rhetoric, are in this re"ſpect
the ſame. — In what? - You
"muſt attentively conſider the nature of
"the body, in the one; of the mind, in
"the other; this, I ſay, you muſt do, if
"you are reſolved, not only from prac"tice
and experience, but from art itſelf,
"to confer health and ſtrength on the bo"dy
by food and medicine: and by rea"ſon,
and legitimate diſcipline to inſtill
"virtue into the mind, and gain it by per"ſuaſion?
- That's highly probable, So"crates.
— Do you think, you can under"ſtand
the nature of the human mind,
"without knowing the nature of the
"whole? - If we believe Hippocrates
"the ſucceſſor of Æſculapius, we cannot
"know the nature of the body, without
"applying to that ſtudy. — His notion is
"juſt, Phaedrus: Let us hear then, in our
"reſearches into nature, what Hippocra"tes,
and right reaſon ſuggeſt. Are not
"we to conſider the nature of everything
"in this manner? Firſt, whether what
"we ourſelves deſire to know, and teach
"others, be ſimple, or various; if ſimple,
"we muſt learn its active, and paſſive
"powers of operation: if compound, we
"muſt enumerate its different kinds; and
"accurately diſtinguiſh the virtues of
"each, how they operate, and by what
"they are affected? — So I think. — With"out
this method, our progreſs will be
"like that of a blind man; now he, who
"performs any thing, according to art,
"can't be compar'd to the blind, or the
"deaf: is it not therefore evident, who"ever
ſpeaks with true art muſt under"ſtand
well the nature of what he ſpeak
"to. Now this is the mind. — Undoubted"ly.
— Does not the whole labour of the
"pleader tend to this, that he may per"ſuade
the Hearer? — Yes. - It follows,
"from all this, that Thraſymachus, or a"ny
other teacher of rhetoric, ought with
"the utmoſt aſſiduity to inveſtigate and
"declare, whether the mind is by nature
"ſimple and uniform, or compound, as
"the body; this is what we mean, by ex"plaining
nature. - I underſtand you. -
"Secondly, He is to ſhew, how the mind
"acts, and how it is aded upon. — Right.
"- Thirdly, having regularly taught the
"different kinds of ſpeech, and various
"paſſions of minds, and examined the
"motives, which influence them, he is to
"adapt the one to the other, and teach
"how, and for what reaſon, a mind of
"ſuch a temper is neceſſarily perſuaded by
"ſuch an argument, while another one is
"not in the leaſt moved by it. — A noble
"method indeed, Socrates! — Believe
"me, neither the art of rhetoric, nor any
"ſcience whatever, can be taught, or ex"plained
to advantage any other way
"than this; our modern rhetoricians,
"whom we daily hear, are men of ſhrewd
"parts, they keep to themſeves their
"knowledge of the human heart, and
"will not communicate it to the world:
"but till they teach and write in the man"ner
we have mentioned, I ſhall never
"be convinced, they are ſkilful in their
"art. — What maner do you mean? — It
"will not be eaſy, Phaedrus, to explain
"this * fully; but I ſhall briefly point,
"what method the true teacher of this
"ſcience is to follow. — Pray let me hear
"it? - Since eloquence is nothing elſe,
"than pleaſing and convincing the mind,
* i.e. It would require long time, to explain what words and
ſentiments, are to be choſen, how they are to be adapted to the
ſubject; I ſhall only give a ſhort view of what is chiefly to be
"a good orator ought ſurely to know,
"how many ſorts of minds there are, ſo
"many of one, ſo many of another qua"lity;
whence men are of various and
"oppoſite tempers and characters: theſe
"diſtinctions being made, 'tis next to be
"obſerved, there are different kinds of
"ſpeech too; each of which has its own
"peculiar quality. — Some men will be
"perſuaded by one kind of ſpeech, and
"motives, which will hardly have any
"influence on others. - One of a ready
"capacity, who has been taught this art,
"will be able on proper occaſions, to
"bring it readily into practice, and ſee at
"firſt ſight when and how to apply it;
"if he cannot, he will be little wiſer for
"his knowledge of the theory; but if he
"knows that ſuch a perſon will be pre"vailed
on by ſuch a ſpeech; and can in
"practice penetrate into the mind, and
"diſcern at once that now occurs the
"character which is to be perſuaded, by
"ſuch an argument to ſuch an action; he,
"I ſay, who is maſter of this art, and
"nice diſcernment, and can, in an eaſy
"and elegant manner introduce the dif"ferent
ornaments and figures of dicti"on,
the pathetic, ſublime, and vehement
"is the conſummate orator! Whoever is
"defective in any of theſe reſpects, ei"ther
as a ſpeaker, writer, or teacher,
"and ſays he is good in his art, is miſta"ken;
he, who does not regard him, is
"by much his ſuperior."
I have given this long quotation for
two reaſons. It ſerves as a key to Plato's
manner of writing, and ſhews the uſe he
makes of what he calls the dialectic. It
contains likewiſe the true principles, on
which the ſcience of rhetoric is built, and
illuſtrates them in an eaſy, and diſtinct
manner; one may read a number of folio's,
on this ſubject, yet find leſs to the
purpoſe, than in a few pages of Plato.
6. The ſagacious Ariſtotle has been
well * apprized of the merit of this ſhort
* Cicero, in his treatiſe upon Oratory, has alſo drawn ſome of
his beſt rules from it. To mention only a paſſage or two, he ſays,
Si vero aſſequetur ut talis videatur, qualem ſe videri velit, et animos eorum
ita afficiet apud quos aget ut eos quocumque velit, vel trahere vel rapere
poſſit; nihil profecto praeterea ad dicendum requiret. - Valet igitur
multum ad vincendum, probari mores, inſtituta, et facta, et vitam eorum
gui agent cauſas, et eorum pro quibus: et item improbari adverſariorum,
animoſque eorum, apud quos agitur, conciliari quam maxime ad benevolentiam
cum erga oratorem, tum erga ilium pro quo dicet orator. Conciliantur
autem animi dignitate hominis, rebus geſtis, exiſtimatione vitae. &c. -
Sic equidem cum aggredior ancipitem cauſam et gravem, ad animos judicuns.
diſſertation, entred throughly into the reaſoning
of it, and favoured the world with
a copy at full length of what is here only
drawn in miniature; his firſt and ſecond
books of rhetoric point out to the orator,
the different kinds of hearers he muſt expect,
the various affairs of war and peace,
the public and private negotiations he will
have occaſion to talk of. He muſt have a
perfect knowledge of theſe things, before
he venture to ſpeak on them: next he muſt
know the tempers of the people he ſpeaks
to, their manners and cuſtoms, what arguments
will be moſt likely to prevail
with them. For this reaſon, he is to ſtudy
the paſſions; and to qualify him for the
difficult taſk, Ariſtotle preſents him with
an accurate, and ſubtile diviſion of the
affections of the mind: and enumerates
the motives, by which, according to the
frame of our nature, the paſſions will be
influenced and gained. He defines rhetoric,
"a faculty of perceiving ſuch qualities
"in any thing, as are fit for perſuading;
"he recommends it to an orator to pepertratiandos,
omni mente in ea cogitatione curaque verſor, ut odorer, quam
ſagaciſſime poſſim, quid ſentiant, quid exiſtiment, quid expedent, quid velint,
quo deduci oratione facillime poſſe videantur. De Oratore Lib. 2.
Sect. 41, 43. 44.
"netrate into the notions and opinions
"his audience have already formed; to be
"well acquainted with their ſentiments,
"and adapt the whole of his diſcourſe to
"them. Our arguments, ſays he, muſt not
"be taken from remote conſiderations,
"but ſuch as are proper to the queſtion.
"What-ever affair we are ſpeaking on,
"we muſt underſtand all its qualitys, at
"leaſt the moſt material; thus, how can
"we adviſe the Athenians to war, unleſs
"we know in what their power lyes,
"whether they are ſtrong by ſea or land,
"or both? what money is in their treaſu"ry?
who are their allys, who their ene"mys?
How can we praiſe them, unleſs
"we are well acquainted with their vic"torys,
at Salamis, Marathon, &c? In
"like manner, who-ever accuſes or de"fends
another, muſt attend minutely to
"every circumſtance in the cauſe: Is one
"praiſing or blaming Achilles, he muſt
"ſtudy his character, and form his pane"gyric
or ſatyre, on theſe qualitys which
"diſtinguiſh Achilles: if one praiſe Achil"les,
becauſe he is a brave man, and was
"one of the heroes at Troy, the encomi"um
is equally applicable to Diomed:
"but if you extol him for killing Hector,
"and the other acts of valour, which ſig"nalized
him beyond all others, then the
"panegyric is proper to him alone. -
"Therefore a ſpeaker is not to uſe vague
"and indefinite topics, but ſuch as are na"tural
and peculiar to the ſubject. *
Thus it appears, both theſe Philoſophers
agree, that the true preparation for
forming an accompliſhed orator, is to be
furniſhed, with a large ſtore of all thoſe
things, which are ſuited in their nature,
to excite the inward affections of the heart.
The Stagyrite explains at large the various
paſſions, of love, joy, fear, grief, anger,
hatred, &c. then gives a catalogue of
their correſpondent objects, which, when
placed before the mind in a true light, cannot
fail to perſuade the hearers, and make
them feel the paſſions, the ſpeaker intended
to raiſe. - Can any thing be more obvious,
than that Ariſtotle in all this only
follows his maſter's plan; and works upon
the outlines already marked by Plato.
Whether it was below ſuch a profound
* See Ariſtot. de Rhetorica, lib. 1. cap. 2. and 8. - lib. 2.
cap. 1. and 22. in fine. and 23. per totum. pag. 701-706. and
722. 745, 746; 782 - 790. Tom. 3. Du-val, Paris 1654.
genius, to acknowledge obligations of this.
kind, is left with the world to judge: Plato
is ſo modeſt, as often, nay always, to
attribute his own arguments and diſcoverys
to his maſter Socrates.
Plato adapts his reaſoning to the character
of the hearer. — How far he ſcepticizes.
— His ſtyle in confutative dialogue. —
Character of ſome of his dialogues.
IF we examine PLATO'S different dialogues,
by theſe rules laid down by
himſelf, we will find, he adheres inviolably
to them; that he always adapts his reaſoning,
to the characters of the ſpeakers
and hearers, and where reſolved to perſuade,
uſes ſuch arguments as are, in the
nature of things, moſt likely to prevail. —
I ſhall only ſuggeſt a few inſtances, to
prove the truth of this. It would be endleſs
to take notice of all; and in effect the
ſame with abridging his whole dialogues.
In the preſent enquiry, we confine ourſelves
to Plato's philoſophic character,and
conſider his eloquence as a philoſopher,
rather than an orator. When we compare
him with Demoſthenes, and examine the
beautys in the Menexenus, or funeral oration,
it will then be proper to view him
in this other light.
As a philoſopher, Plato ſhews himſelf always
intent on finding out the truth, and
laying before mankind, ſuch important
maxims, as will be highly uſeful in the
conduit of life; whether he diſcourſes on
religion and divine matters, or on abſtract
points, as the nature and immateriality of
the ſoul, on politics or morals, he ſo handles
every ſubject, as always to inveſtigate,and
if poſſible diſcover and ſeparate what is
real and natural from what is fictitious
and artificial. If talking on phyſics; the
propertys and laws of motion in the heavenly
bodys, are explained as diſtinctly as
the aſtronomy of his days would permit;
if on ethics, the paſſions and affections of
the human heart are carefully enquired
into, the powers of each examined, and
the regard due to them aſcertained. His
diſſertations on divine and human affairs,
end not in empty metaphyſical ſpeculation,
but are calculated to kindle a love
to the DEITY, and inſtruct us in all the
various dutys of life. It may be ſaid in
general, that Plato adheres inviolably to
his own method of perſuaſion; and never
pretends to extort a confeſſion till he has
fully explained the nature of the ſubject.
2. Various diviſions * have been made
of Plato's dialogues, the following one will
be ſufficient for our preſent purpoſe, and
give light into them all. Thoſe which enforce
known truths,have been called (ύφηγήματικοι)
exhortative; thoſe which trace
out and diſcover truths yet unknown,
(ζητήτικοι) explorative. — Each of theſe
may be ſubdivided into different ſpecies,
according to the ſubject, religious, moral,
or political; or the manner of handling it,
whether by confuting falſe notions, or eſtabliſhing
true; and that either by demonſtration,
if the ſubject admit; or if not by
ſuch high probabilitys as are ſufficient for
founding our opinion and regulating our
1. Plato never dogmatizes in that poſitive
manner of the Sophiſts in his days;
yet nothing is more certain, than that he
teaches and affirms, as true, the great
* See Stanley's Life of Plato, and his Tranſlation of Alcinous,
and Dacier's Life of him.
foundations of religion and morality. Socrates,
the better to oppofe thoſe Dogmatiſts,
and beat down their preſumptuous
vanity, diſputed with them often. He affirm'd
nothing himſelf, but throughly
confuted their arguments. They pretended,
they knew every thing, he on the other
hand, ſaid, he only knew that he was
ignorant of every thing, and for this was
declared by the oracle, to be the wiſeſt of
men: not that he intended to confound,
and deſtroy all truths human and divine.
This would have been a wicked attempt,
and utterly unworthy of Socrates. His
aim, as I ſaid, was to humble and expoſe
the Sophiſts, thoſe falſe guides of the
youth: to make us modeſt in our aſſertions,
cautious in giving our aſſent, and accurate
reaſoners, diſtinguiſhing exactly,
what we know, from what we don't
know , and not fooliſhly imagining we
know when we really do not; nor ever
pretending to decide poſitively in a queſtion,
where we can only argue upon probabilitys.
In his diſputes therefore with
the Sophiſts, where his deſign is only to
confute, he has no occaſion to advance any
doctrines of his own. But in his converſation
with others, he advances and
maintains all the * grand truths concerning
the DEITY, the beauty and inherent
worth of virtue, and turpitude of vice,
and even the immortality of the ſoul, and
always offers the ſtrongeſt arguments he
can in ſupport of them.
4. The chief thing then to be regarded
in Plato, is the characters of the perſons
introduced, as converſing with Socrates.
When we attend to this, it accounts for
his manner of handling the ſubject, and
ſhews why at one time, he expreſſes himſelf
in a doubtful, at another in a more poſitive
way on the ſame ſubject. It is well known
when Plato wants to declare his own
meaning, he puts his ſpeech either in the
mouth of Socrates, Timaeus, Parmenides,
the Athenian Ælian gueſt. All the other
diſputants expreſs their opinions, in their
own way; if wrong, they are refuted, under
one or other of the foregoing names.
* When Cicero in the end of the firſt book of Academical Queſtions,
ſays under the character of one of the Nova Academia, that
in Plato — nihil affirmatur — nihil certi dicitur, he muſt only mean
that nothing is advanced as rigidly demonſtrated, ſo as to leave
no room for the leaſt objection: for otherwiſe, what Cicero aſſerts
wou'd be directly contrary to fact, and to what he himſelf
ſays of Plato in many other places, as we ſhall have occaſion to
ſhew in the ſecond volume.
It is pleaſant to obſerve how Plato (or
Socrates) defeats the Sophiſts by their own
weapons. Thoſe mighty champions, who
valued themſelves on puzzling every one
elſe, and perplexing the cleareſt queſtion,
when engaged with him, are ſoon ſenſible
how unequal the match: at firſt, he deals
with them gently, extols them for their
knowledge, and leads them on ſtep by
ſtep: they ſeem mighty fond of one who
makes them ſuch high compliments, and
deign to inform him of every thing they
know. In the midſt of their triumph, Socrates
begs leave to aſk a queſtion or two;
deſires them, in a few words to explain
their meaning, and define ſome expreſſion,
or term of art: this perhaps they
chearfully do for once: the abſurdity of
the definition is expoſed; a ſecond attempted;
and found equally ridiculous;
then a third, juſt as bad as the former.
By this time, the antagoniſt, if modeſt,
withdraws as ſoftly as he can: but, if inſolent
and proud of his fame for eloquence,
he turns in a fury, accuſes Socrates
of ſophiſtry, pedantry, dullneſs, and
pours forth all the ill-natured language he
is maſter of. - At other times, two or
three of them are introduced at once.
When the firft is out of breath, the other
takes up the argument; and on his defeat,
a third comes in to his relief. * — A dialogue
thus carried on, and the juſtneſs of
character all along preſerved, becomes equally
entertaining to a man of taſte,with
the moſt facetious comedy. — In ſuch
difcourſes Plato's ſtyle is natural, eaſy, often
witty, and full of humour; his raillery
exquiſite, and ſuch as becomes a gentleman;
his reaſoning refin'd, and metaphyſical:
the ingenuity and good humour of
Socrates, his lively deſcriptions, frequent
ironys, and juſt ſtrokes of ſatyr, when ſet
in oppoſition to the intemperance of language,
the paſſionate ſurly behaviour,
clumſy wit, four repartees, and perſonal
invectives of his adverſaries, form an agreeable
contraſt, and wonderfully enliven
the whole diſcourſe.
5. Thus, in the dialogue, uſually placed
firſt, Eutyphron is introduced as the principal
character; a man of great ſuperſtition,
of a profound reverence for the religious
rites of his country, believing every
fable taught him from his infancy: at the
* see L. Shaftsbury, Advice to an Author, p. 194, 195.
ſame time, full of pride and ſelf-conceit,
looks on himſelf as abundantly qualified
to explain all difficultys in religion, and
thinks it below him, to receive inſtruction
from any. Socrates appears fond of being
taught by him, liſtens with ſeeming attention,
and by degrees lays open the abſurdity
of his notions, ſhewing him in the
moſt good-natured manner; how ignorant
he was in thoſe things, he had pretended
to underſtand perfectly. Eutyphron
at length, ſenſible of his weakneſs,
retires with a cold indifference: he is quite
confounded, but vanity will not allow
him to acknowledge the defeat, and ſo the
dialogue ends abruptly. The falſe opinions
of the ſuperſtitious are refuted; Here
Plato ſtops ſhort, without eſtabliſhing in
their room the true nature of piety, and
religious worſhip. — Of the ſame kind is
the converſation of Socrates with Protagoras,
who, at this time, reſided at Athens,
in the houſe of Callias, one of the chief
magiſtrates. The debate between Socrates,
and this renowned philoſopher, is managed
in preſence of Prodicus and Hippias,
two of the greateſt of the Sophiſts:
Protagoras aſſumes an high air of wiſdom,
inſiſts poſitively, that virtue can be taught,
runs out into long harangues, and will
ſcarce be interrupted by Socrates, who
ſeemingly treats him with the higheſt reſpect,
applauds his great parts, and congratulates
him on the mighty fame, he had
acquired through all Greece. At laft, Protagoras,
by the interpoſition of Callias
and Alcibiades, is prevailed on, to drop
for once his high tone and flow of eloquence,
and allow the diſpute to go on in
the way Socrates was uſed to, who from
the badneſs of his memory was not able,
as he ſaid, to retain and follow diſtinctly
all thoſe intricate reaſonings of his fellowphiloſopher.
The propoſal was highly
pleaſing to Protagoras, it flattered his vanity;
he looks now on Socrates as greatly
his inferior, and therefore in condeſcenſion
agrees to put, and anſwer queſtions
in his turn: and now Socrates ſoon
gets the better, involves him in ſeveral
contradictions, and reduces him to principles
evidenly falſe. By this dialogue,
which is carried on with inimitable ſpirit,
and the truth of character nobly preſerved
throughout, Plato ſhews his countrymen,
the little regard due to the Sophiſts;
and by the compleat victory gained by
Socrates, over one of their chiefs, prepares
their minds, for the reception of
thoſe grand truths, in which he deſigned
to inſtruct them.
6. For there is a much cloſer connection
between the whole dialogues of Plato,
than what is commonly imagined;
thus in the laſt mentioned, the chief queſtion
is if virtue can be taught, Socrates
proves it cannot, in the ſenſe meant by
the Sophiſts, he confutes the arguments,
of his adverſary, and ſtops there. To have
gone further and made Protagoras formally
own his ignorance and ſubmit to new
inſtruction from Socrates, would have
been quite out of charader. — Well, ſhall
this important point never be again reſumed?
Yes, it is in the Meno. —
Meno was naturally of a modeſt temper;
he had got a tincture of vanity from the
Sophiſts; yet was willing to liſten to inſtruction;
and for that end, brings his ſon
along to Socrates. The queſtion is aſked
him, what virtue is? Meno gives no leſs
than three definitions learned from the
Sophiſts; all theſe are refuted. Meno is
not a little uneaſy, to find all his knowledge
ſo empty. "You * confound me, ſays
"he, Socrates! you are like the cramp--
"fiſh, which benumbs every thing it
"touches; thus have you benumbed me
"both in body and mind:I thought I had
"known virtue, but you have quite per"plexed
me. — Not ſo like as you ima"gine,
replys Socrates; if the cramp-fiſh
"had the faculty of benumbing itſelf, as
"well as others, it would reſemble me
"more. I don't, when certain myſelf,
"raiſe doubts in others; "but I am ra"ther
my ſelf the moſt doubtful of all
"men; this is the reaſon, why I ſuggeſt
"my difficultys to others: but at preſent,
"let us drop the queſtion, what virtue
"is, and conſider if it can be taught."
- On this Socrates puts ſeveral queſtions
to Meno's ſon, about the dimenſions
and propertys of a ſquare, which the boy
for the moſt part anſwers right, being led
on by gradual ſteps, from one part of the
demonſtranon to another. The reſult
of the debate is, Socrates declares, that all
knowledge is reminiſcence; that we ſhould
labour to form † juſt opinions, which are
no leſs profitable than knowledge itſelf; that
* Meni. Pag. 80, 99. Tom, 2. † See Sect. 8. parag. 3.
neither the one nor the other are in men
by nature, and therefore none are good
by nature: that none of the wiſe men,
heroes, or Patriots in Greece, could ever
teach their ſons virtue, for the ſon of a very
good man was often of no uſe whatever
to the public; of consequence, thoſe
in the ſtate, who rightly perform the greateſt
actions, and give the beſt advice, are
divine, inſpired, breathed into, and poſſeſſed
by God. Nor do they differ, with reſpect
to their wiſdom, from prophets, who ſpeak
much truth, but underſtand not what they
ſay; therefore Socrates concludes, That
Virtue is not from nature, nor can it be taught,
but is implanted in him who is poſſeſſed of it,
* by divine fate, or appointment, without any
intelligence of his own. - 'Tis not our
buſineſs at preſent, to make any reflexions
on the philoſophy of this paſſage, tho'
ſurely noble, and divine: what I quoted
it for, was to prove the connection between
the Protagoras and Meno, which
ſeems now very evident; inſomuch that
the one may be called a ſequel of the other:
and further, that when Plato in one
place leaves the reader in uncertainty, as
* Θεια μοιρα
to his own meaning, upon any point of
moment, he generally clears it up in another;
forbearing to reveal ſtrong truths
before weak eyes, or to divulge them fooliſhly
to thoſe, who would laugh at them
truths which the ſcornful and haughty
Protagoras wou'd have deſpiſed, are well
received by the more docile Meno. *
7. Other inſtances that Socrates or Plato,
for it is the ſame thing, inſtruct thoſe,
who ſhew a willing diſpoſition to learn
in the manner moſt ſuitable to their temper
and capacity, occur both in the Theagis
and Lyſis; in the former, Demodicus
brings his ſon Theagis, at the boy's
own requeſt to Socrates, to be taught wiſdom.
The philoſopher finding the youth
of a tractable temper, endeavours to inſtruct
him in the moſt familiar manner;
complains of the method, in which young
people were then generally educated, and
makes the juſteſt obſervations, on that
ſubject; informs him, how political wiſdom
or knowledge may be acquired by
* Thoſe dialogues in Plato ſeem not compoſed on feigned converſation;
Xenophon often relates the ſame, and we have yet preſerved
by Æſchines the philoſopher, this diſcourſe of Socrates
with Meno, the arguments are the ſame, the doctrine in both equally
divine, only he brings in no Geometry.
uſe and experience: but true wiſdom,
which can only make men happy, is the
gift of God. — Here again the connexion
of this with the Meno, is obvious. —
In the conference with Lyſis, Socrates
finds that Hippothales is in love with Lyſis;
this ſerves as a natural introduction
to a diſcourſe on friendſhip: here, as Socrates
is not engaged with a Sophiſt, he
argues with leſs reſerve. He draws indeed
no direct concluſion, in the end of the dialogue;
but whoever attends carefully to
the reaſoning, which is ſometimes pretty
nice, will find, he makes friendſhip conſiſt
in a likeneſs and harmony of minds
and affections, and that the DEITY is the
only primary and eſſential friend, all others
are but ſecondary and unſtable; thus
ſays he "medicine, which conduces to
"the good of our bodys, is a friend for
"the ſake of health, and health is alſo a
"friend, and is ſo on ſome account," viz.
"the enjoyment of life: "this laſt again is
"a friend on ſome other account; ſup"poſe
our being uſeful to the public, and
"thus going on, ſhall we not at laſt, ne"ceſſarily
arrive at the † beginning? which
† Αρχή
"has no reference to any other friend,
"but is the firſt friend, on whoſe account
"all theſe other things are ſaid to be
"friends, tho' they are in a manner only
"images of this FIRST, and only TRUE
"FRIEND." Here we have a young man,
giddy and thoughtleſs, apt to be led aſtray,
by his pretended friend, to the moſt criminal
indulgences; Socrates recalls his
thoughts from theſe miſtaken friendſhips,
and endeavours to perſuade him, to fix
his affections on the moſt deſerving object;
and all this by ſuch arguments, as
ſeemed moſt agreeable to that temper,
which he found Lyſis in.
8. But the greateſt triumph gained by
the eloquence of Socrates, remains yet to
be taken notice of: every one knows the
character of Alcibiades, he was of a noble
family, a beautiful perſon, the braveſt,
the moſt gallant, and moſt ambitious of
men. At Athens, he was the firſt in power
and authority, commanded their armies,
and had gained ſeveral battles. In the
midſt of his glorys, Socrates, in the firſt
Alcibiades, ſpeaks to him frankly of his
pride, vain-glory, reſtleſs ambition, immenſe
thirſt for power, which never content
with the preſent, puſhes him on ſtill
further. "I am now going, ſays he, to diſ"cover
to yourſelf the very thoughts of
"your own heart: I think, if ſome God
"ſhould this moment aſk you, whether
"would you, Alcibiades, live ſatisfied with
"your preſent enjoyments, or die inſtant"ly,
if excluded from acquiring more?
"you would rather choofe to die! —
"It feems then, Socrates, you know my
"thoughts perfectly well, be it ſo; ſhould
"I contradict you, it would not be in my
"power, to perſuade you of the contra"ry."
Now is not this purſuing the
precepts of eloquence above-mentioned?
The young hero, ſenſible the charge was
true, dares not diſown it; Socrates does
not ſtop here; he improves this advantage,
and preſſes home his argument, till
Alcibiades is convinced of the beauty of
virtue, the baſeneſs of vice, the folly of
his paſt life: and declares his reſolutions to
be guided by Socrates for the future. -
But his reſolutions were too weak.
Again in the Sympoſiac, or banquet,
where a variety of characters are brought
in, and each delivers his opinion of love
according to his own ſentiments and practice,
ſome of them wicked enough. After
Socrates has declared his opinion, reproved
them for their vice, and recommended
a love of an honourable, pure,
and holy kind; with what an extaſy is Alcibiades
ſeized! how is he raviſhed with
the divine eloquence! hear how he himſelf
defcribes it. * "I aſſert, ſays he, that
"Socrates is like thoſe ſtatues of the
"Satyrs and Sileni, formed by no mean
"artificers, holding harps and flutes in
"their hands, they are ſo contrived as to
"open and ſhut eaſily; if you only view
"their outſide, nothing can be more ugly:
"but when opened, they contain within
"them the images of all the Gods. Thus
"at firſt hearing, the diſcourſes of Socra"tes
appear abſurd; he talks to you of ar"tificers,
braziers, and ſhepherds, takes
"his ſimilies from low life, and repeats
"them over and over: on this account a
"ſtranger is apt to laugh at him: but if
"you unfold and look into his ſentiments,
"you find that there is the moſt pro"found
ſenſe in every word; that his
"ſpeeches are divine, contain the images
"of all the virtues, and all the precepts
* Convivium, pag. 215, 216, 222, Tom. 3. Seran.
"neceſſary to form an honeſt and good
"man! Nay, Socrates, you are pre"ferable
to the Satyr Marſyas himſelf
"he enchants mankind by the help of a
"muſical inſtrument; whereas, without
"either harp or lyre, you have the ſame
"power by your naked words: whoever
"hears your diſcourſes, man, woman, or
"boy, tho' repeated even by a very or"dinary
perſon, that moment they are
"quite raviſhed and amazed. Were
"I not ſuſpected of having taken too li"beral
a glaſs, I would declare on oath,
"how I am always affected when I hear
"Socrates: diſtracted like the Coryban"tes
my heart leaps for joy, and his
"words draw tears from my eyes; I have
"heard Pericles, and other excellent ora"tors,
and thought they ſpoke well: but
"never felt the ſame effects; my ſoul was
"not confounded; I was not enraged at
"myſelf for my ſlaviſh dependant life,
"nor ever wiſhed it in my power to
"change. — Your eloquence, yours a"lone,
Socrates, could extort the confeſ"ſion,
that I was indigent of many vir"tues
neceſſary for doing real good to
"my country, yet intirely neglected to
"acquire them, while in the mean time
"I pretended to devote myſelf wholly to
"the ſervice of the Athenians. Should I
"liſten to you at preſent, I know I would
"remain no longer maſter of myſelf, but
"be as formerly tranſported. — I am ob"liged
to ſeal up my ears by force againſt
"the muſic of this enchanting Syren; I
"run off and fly him leſt the charms of
"his converſation allure me for ever to
"his company! — I muſt need ſhun him;
"confuſion and remorſe ſeize on me. —
"I have broke all my promiſes! — I am
"conſcious of the truth of all he ſays,
"conſcious it is my duty to act as he ad"viſes.
- But the moment he is gone,
"ambition and deſire of praiſe overcome
"me! — How often have I wiſhed him
"dead, yet if it happened, I know no
"man would feel a deeper ſorrow!
What a noble repreſentation have we here
of the power of eloquence, and the ſtruggle
in the ſoul betwixt virtue and vice?
one knows not which to admire moſt;
the irreſiſtable addreſs of Socrates, or the
lively picture given of it by Plato.
The connexion of Plato's dialogues conſidered,
they are the beſt fund of comment
upon each other. — his reaſons for joining
phyſics to morals. — Plato ſevered anger
from the divine juſtice.
BY this time, I ſuppoſe it evident, tho'
many other examples might be given,
how well Plato has ſucceeded
his own plan of rhetoric, how he ſuits
himſelf in every different dialogue to the
hearers, carefully collects, and places in
their natural order all thoſe real and primary
motives,which moſt effectually gain
an aſſent, and promote the end he aims at.
I have ſaid there is a cloſe connexion
betwixt ſeveral of Plato's dialogues; this
may need a little further illuſtration. -
Nothing is more obvious in ſome of them:
thus the Theaetetus, Sophiſt, and Politician
are continued converſations on the ſeveral
branches of one and the ſame ſubject;
even the ſame perſons are ſpeakers in all
three, and relieve one another by turns. —
By this manner of writing, I apprehend
Plato intends to point out a mutual connexion
and ſubſerviency amongſt the ſeveral
ſciences. — It is impoſſible, in a few
words, to give a diſtinct, adequate idea of
theſe three dialogues; the more nearly one
conſiders them, this intention of Plato
will appear in a ſtronger light.
2. In the Theaetetus his firſt deſign is to
confute the vain and empty doctines of
the Sophiſts. This he does at great length.
Then he proceeds to teach Theaetetus,
who is fond of learning, what ſcience is.
Four definitions of it are given, ſuch as
the Sophiſts uſually inſiſted on: theſe are
refuted. Hence Socrates takes occaſion
to inform him, that we have in our minds
the true feeds of knowledge, but that they
require the hand of a ſkilful midwife to
aſſiſt the birth and to diſtinguiſh accurately
the ſound and natural from the diſtorted
or monſtrous offſpring: he promiſes
to aſſiſt Theaetetus for this purpoſe,
and inſtructs him in what knowledge conſiſts.
At the ſame time he conſiders the
ſtate and condition of philoſophy in the
world, compares it with the tenets and
practice of politicians, deſcribes the manner
of both, and cautions the philoſopher
not to give his aſſent raſhly, if he intends
to ſucceed in his enquiries after truth. -
In the Sophiſt, the ſame perſons meet, in
conſequence of an appointment made the
former day; they firſt endeavour to aſcertain
the meaning of the word Sophiſt, and
examine no leſs than ſix or ſeven definitions,which
amount in a few words to this,
"that he is an inventer of vain and falſe
"opinions, who for hire impoſes upon o"thers
his fallacious doctrines." — Then
they conſider, how a Sophiſt may teach
falſhood. This naturally introduces a long
diſcourſe, de ente, et non ente; and here
we have alſo ſome parts of the doctrine
concerning the το ον; which is again more
fully conſidered in the Philebus, and fifth
book of the republic. — Having diſcuſſed
theſe ſubtile points, they paſs on immediately
the very ſame day, (for Socrates junior
now relieves Theaetetus) to examine
the true character of a politician, which, in
the Theaetetus, had not been ſo fully attended
to. Here Socrates diſcourſes at
large on the nature of civil government,
and the different forms of it, explains how
policy is an art, and ſhews that, whatever
be the form of government, he only is
the true magiſtrate who has the right political
art: that the ſole rule and end of his
magiſtracy is the public good. In the next
place the queſtion is diſcuſs'd, how far
laws maybe altered as new circumſtances
occur, a compariſon made betwixt the political
art and that of the weaver. From
which, in a moſt ſimple but convincing
manner, Socrates draws this concluſion,
that the end of all political contexture is to
unite into one cloſe harmonious frame, the
tempers of the brave and modeſt; which
is then wrought with the beſt and happieſt
art, when it includes the whole ſociety,
and by a juſt community imparts felicity
to all the ſtate: in ſhort he examines what
the art of policy is in general, juſt as Cicero,
in his orator, examines the art of eloquence.

I cannot end this abſtract of the politician,
without taking notice of the grand and
ſublime idea there given us of the DEITY.
* "HE is always the ſame, in, and accord"ing
to, the ſame manner; the world has
"received many bleſſings from its Parent,
"but ſtill neceſſarily partakes of body, and
"therefore cannot be wholly free from
* Vide Politic, Tom. 2. Seran. edit. pg. 269, 270, 273.
change. - It is hardly conceivable for any
thing to continue always revolving,
"unleſs by the interpoſition of the ſame
"power who put every thing at firſt in mo"tion.
- HIM, 'tis inconſiſtent to ſuppoſe
"ſometimes moving one way, ſometimes,
"the contrary. — Neither muſt we ſay,
"that two contrary Gods, with contrary
"deſigns regulate the univerſe. Some"times
it is directed by a divine cauſe, and
"is invigorated by its Creator with new
"life, and a freſh immortality: at other
"times, when left alone for a ſeaſon, it
"goes by itſelf,and runs into many thou"ſand
retrograde revolutions: wherefore
"GOD, who formed the world into order;
"ſeeing it under ſuch difficultys, upon
"his retiring from its government, into
"his own ſeat of contemplation, and leav"ing
as it were the helm of the veſſel, be"ing
reſolved that in this agitation it
"ſhould not by the diſorder periſh, and
"fall into the infinite abyſs of chaos and
"confuſion, appears again ſitting at the
"helm, recalls the broken and diſeaſed
"parts to their former order and regular
"motions, directs, amends, and re-eſta"bliſhes
the whole youth and immortality."
— Here, and in what follows of
the dialogue, the UNITY of GOD is aſſerted,
and his independent diſtinct eſſence
as ſeparate from the univerſe. HE is repreſented
as immutable, as creating and governing
the univerſe, as giving life, health
and vigour to all things, by his immediate
preſence; inſtant ruin, death, nay even annihilation
following on his abſence! all nature
dependant on his nod! reviving, flouriſhing,
and becoming immortal at his appearance!
on his withdrawing himſelf,
that moment it fades away and dies! How
juſt and noble are theſe ſentiments of Plato!
how nearly reſembling thoſe of the
Pſalmiſt as tranſlated by Buchanan -
Atque adeo, quae terra arvis, quae fluctibus
Educat, a te uno pendent, Pater optime!
Quaeque ſuo proprium poſcunt in tempore
Te magnam pandente manum, ſaturantur
Omnia, te rurſus vultum condente fatiſcunt.
Te tollente animam, ſubito exanimata recurrunt

In cinerem: inſpirante animam te denuo
Ilico foecundae ſobolis generoſa propago,
Et deſolatas gens incolit aurea terras.
Sic eat: O nulla regnet cum fine per aevum
Majeſtas divina: ſuumque in ſecula laetus
Servet opus Deus. PSALM. 104.
The remarkable beauty and ſublimity
of this paſſage of Plato will I hope be a
ſufficient apology for introducing it here,
tho' it has a little interrupted our conſidering
the connexion of his dialogues.
3. To return now to that. Can any one
refuſe the cloſe and inſeparable connexion
of the Politicus and the Republics; the
one is really an introduction to the other,
and deſigned ſo by Plato, in order to make
his ſyſtem of politics complete: what difficulties
had occurred, in the Sophiſt, on
the doctrine of the το ον, or what really is,
are partly cleared up in the end of the
fifth book of the Republics, and in the
ſixth. The difference between Ignorance,
opinion, and knowledge, is clearly aſcertained;
knowledge is of what really is,*
ignorance of what is not; and opinion, as a
middle between knowledge and ignorance,
has for its object a middle between
the two other objects. By opinion we can
* See note in Sect. xii. laſt paragr.
only judge, probably *. It may err, but
knowledge cannot. Therefore opinion is
converſant about one thing, knowledge
about another; opinion is one kind of
power or faculty; knowledge a different
one: the latter is the higheſt of all powers.
† This difference between knowledge and
opinion, is in a moſt elegant manner illuſtrated
in the Meno; he aſks Socrates
"why is knowledge always preferred to
"opinion, and why are they ſeparated?
"— Do you know, ſays Socrates, the rea"ſon
of this? did you ever attentively
"conſider the ſtatues of Daedalus? —
"How do you mean, Socrates? - Becauſe
"if they are not chained down, they take
"wings and fly away; but if chained,
"they ſtand ſtill. Thus true opinions
"while permanent, are a noble poſſeſ"ſion:
but they will not continue long
"in the mind of man, and therefore are
"not of great worth, till chained down
"by reaſon.‡
The ſame ſubject is reſumed in the Philebus;
as ſubtile a dialogue as any in PLA*
† Vide Republic. V. pg. 477, 478.
‡ Meno pag. 97. Tom. 2. Serran.
TO, tho' at the ſame time, one who attends
with due care to the reaſoning, will be
greatly delighted with the truths there demonſtrated.
— He compares the different
kinds of pleaſure and wiſdom, and proves
the latter in every reſpect ſuperior to the
former. He goes further and ſhews there
is no happineſs at all, either in pleaſure or
knowledge by themſelves alone: that neither
of them contain good; that this good,
by which he clearly means the DEITY, IS
ſelf-ſufficient, and no one can be happy but
he who pants after it, ſeeks earneſtly to
lay hold of and poſſeſs it, and is indifferent
about all things elſe. — Here alfo GOD
is called ό Δημιόυγος, the CREATOR of all
things. - I find myſelf inſenſibly hurried
into the depths of Plato's philoſophy;
but ſome examples were neceſſary to ſupport
the aſſertion, that Plato is the beſt interpreter
of himſelf, if we have the patience
to compare carefully one part with
another where he handles the ſame ſubject.

4. As the Politicus, Meno, Philebus,
and Republics, frequently explain each
other, ſo to one converſant with Plato, it
will appear obvious, that all four ſerve to
clear up any difficultys in the twelve
books of laws and Epinomis. — Of this
various examples might be given: to inſert
them all would be tedious. One or
two will be ſufficient as a ſpecimen.
Thus in the ninth book of laws, we
have a long and accurate diſſertation,
the foundation, the end, and due proportion
of puniſhments; ſeveral lawgivers
were for puniſhing all crimes alike, without
conſidering that ſome are more, ſome
leſs hurtful to ſociety: but eſpecially they
attend not to the intention of the criminal,
the thing chiefly to be regarded, and the
very eſſence of the crime: many men
have alſo miſtaken notions of juſtice and
true worth. They are not willingly unjuſt.
In that caſe, the injury is not to be called
wilful, nor puniſhed as ſuch. — * "Shall I
"tell you my opinion on this head, ſays
"the Athenian gueſt? - What is it? an"ſwers
Clinias. - ATH. That all bad men
"are ſo againſt their wills; and hence,
"this other conſequence muſt follow. —
"CL. Which? — ATH. That the unjuſt
"man is bad, but that he who is bad, is
"unwillingly ſo; an involuntary act can
* Leg ix. prig. 860. Edit. Serran.
"never be deemed voluntary: he there"fore,
who looks on injuſtice as invo"luntary,
muſt reckon that a man who
"acts unjuſtly does ſo againſt his will."
— Plato proceeds to apply this principle
to the ends of legiſlation; and his reaſoning
is, in ſome reſpects, pretty intricate:
one difficulty ariſes from taking this maxim
for granted, that no one is willingly unjuſt,
without pretending to prove it, or explaining
in what ſenſe he uſes theſe words.
— Now this obſcurity is partly removed
by a paſſage in the Meno,* where he explains
himſelf more fully, and proves that
no one willingly wiſhes for evil; Socrates
aſks Meno, "Don't theſe who approve
"and deſire becoming actions, deſire alſo
"good actions? — Yes, ſays Meno. -
"Soc. When ſome wiſh for evil things,
"others for good, do they not all ſeem de"ſirous
of good? - ME. Not at all, but
"ſome of evil. - SOC. Whether is it that
"they think evil things good, or even
"knowing them evil, ſtill wiſh for them?
"- ME. Both, I think. — SOC. When
"knowing them evil, are they deſirous
"that evil ſhould befal them? - ME. Sure*
Pag, - 77, 78. Tom. 2. Serratl,
"ly. — Soc. Whether do they think e"vil
profitable to the poſſeſſor, or know
"it prejudicial to him? - ME. Some think
"it profitable, others know it to be hurt"ful
— Soc. Do theſe who think evil
"things beneficial, really know they are
"evil? — ME.I cannot think they do.
" — Soc. 'Tis therefore plain, they are
"ignorant ſuch things are evil; but they
"think them good, and conſequently de"ſire
them. - ME. It appears ſo. — Soc.
"Again, do they, who are fond of evil
"things, and think them hurtful to the
"poſſeſſor, really know they will them"ſelves
be hurt by them? – ME. Surely. —
"Soc. But muſt they not think them"ſelves
miſer able, ſo far as they receive
"hurt? — and if miſerable, they are un"happy;
but do any with to be ſo? —
"ME. No one. — Soc. Therefore no one
"is deſirous of evil things? — ME. I think
"you right, Socrates."
5. Again, 'tis well known, the Timæus
and Critias, are but a ſequel of the Republics:
the ſpeakers indeed are different, but;
as would appear from the beginning of the
Timæus, they were preſent at theſe converſations,
becauſe Timæus, with the help
of Socrates, reſumes the model of policy,
then laid down, and tells him, "We approve,
Socrates, of all that was ſaid.''
The Timæus diſcovers to Plato's citizens,
the creation of the world, that by this
knowledge they might be confirmed in
the truths taught them concerning DEITY.
The Critias lays before them, the
lives of the firſt Athenians, before the deluge,
whoſe example is recommended to
their imitation, juſt as the reign of Saturn
is in the fourth book of the laws. — Thus
the Timæus and Critias are * to the Republics
what the Epinomis is to the Laws;
wrote in the ſame ſpirit, and with the
ſame deſign. — One, who has read Plato,
with the leaſt attention, will eaſily obſerve,
how the Timæus, Philebus, and Epinomis
are cloſely connected, and mutually
illuſtrate each other. - Thus in the †
Epinomis, it is ſaid in general, "that God,
"who has the perfection of divine feli"city
in himſelf, is free from ‡ pleaſure
* i.e. The epilogue or ſequel to the Laws.
† Pag. 98;. Epinomis, Tom. 2. Serran.
‡ Pleaſure and pain are here conſidered as turbulent emotions diſtinct
from the feelings which ariſe from the exerciſe of the calm
affections. Theſe diſtinctions are fully explained in Mr. HUTCHESON's
" and pain, and poſſeſſes all wiſdom and
"knowledge." - This grand thought
concerning DEITY, laid down here as a
ſimple poſition, is beautifully illuſtrated
in the * Philebus, by conſidering that diſpoſition
of mind in which one neither
feels pleaſure nor pain; it is ſaid, "no"thing
hinders him to live ſo who chuſes
"a life, where wiſdom preſides. In a life
"of this kind, he will not be at all affec"ted
or diſturbed either with pleaſure or
"pain. — Such a life will be moſt agree"able
to a wiſe man, and is moſt divine;"
whence he infers, "'tis conſonant to the
"nature of the Gods, neither to be pleaſed,
"nor the contrary."
6. This philoſophy, however juſt, has
been found liable to great difficultys by
ſome, who pretend to draw ſtrange conſequences
from it; which may be owing,
as I apprehend, to their not having ſufficiently
attended to the connexion I am
inſiſting on, nor by that means allowed
the Philoſopher to explain himſelf. As
an example of this, and therefore a further
illuſtration of what we have by the
former inſtances been endeavouring to
* Philebus - pag. 33. Tom, 2, Serran,
prove, we ſhall here examine ſome things
advanced as conſequences, from this part
of PLATO'S philoſophy, in the divine leganon
of MOSES. That author is at great pains
to prove that the antient philoſophers,
and particularly PLATO, could not believe
a future ſtate of rewards and puniſhments,
becauſe they univerſally held this
principle, "that God could neither be
"angry, nor hurt any one;" they knew
not, ſays he, "how to ſevere anger from
"the juſtice of the divine nature, nor
"fondneſs from it's goodneſs; and that
"the gratia, which they left the DEITY,
"was no paſſion or affection, but only a
"ſimple benevolence, that went not from
"the will, but from the eſſence of the
"SUPREME BEING." — As my intention is
only to explain PLATO, let it be obſerved,
that this Philoſopher makes happineſs
or miſery, or, in other words, rewards
and puniſhments, the neceſſary reſult of
virtue and vice. I ſhall not diſpute with
Mr. Warburton, whether this may be
called a natural or moral conſtitution; for
he lays great ſtreſs * on the difference be*
Vol. 1. pag. 306. and Remarks in Vol. ii. Part 2. page 38.
tween theſe two. What PLATO means
by it, is briefly this.
Happineſs is the neceſſary conſequence
of good and virtuous affections, and miſery
flows neceſſarily from vitious and bad
ones; and the human frame is thus wiſely
conſtituted by nature. — The queſtion then
is, if ſuch a doctrine be quite inconſiſtent
with the belief of a future ſtate, and if aſI
have here deſignedly avoided the metaphyſical queſtion, Whether
the DEITY be naturally or morally good. All allow that God
intends the greateſt abſolute good, in the whole of his works; and
thoſe, who plead that he is not necaſſarily juſt and good in the ſame
ſenſe he is eternal and omniſcient, ſtill own it impoſſible for God
not to be, or ſo much as will he ſhould not be juſt and good. On
the other hand, thoſe of the oppoſite ſcheme don't ſay the divine
goodneſs is an unintelligent principle, not underſtanding the reaſons
of its own conduct. In ſhort, all agree God is abſolutely
good and juſt, and even cannot poſſibly will to be otherwiſe; and
that he abſolutely approves his own goodneſs and juſtice. Is not
this ſufficient? nay all further ſemblance of inquiry is perhaps but
a jargon of words, if I miſtake not, without meaning, I am ſure
without uſe. Both ſides grant that God, as a righteous Judge,
will reward virtue, and puniſh vice? the ſtricteſt fataliſt never refuſed
this: and ſo far as he contends that the DIVINE BEING cannot
act arbitrarily, but neceſſarily be determined by the beſt of motives,
namely, the bigheſt univerſal good, he ſeems to have the better
of the argument. Therefore I can ſee no reaſon for finding ſo much
fault with the philoſopher Salluſt, as Mr. Warburton here does; much
leſs can I approve of that language, which ſeems to infer that rewards
and puniſhments are poſitive, and arbitrary appointments:
this points out God as acting towards his creatures, in the way of
abſolute dominion: a ſtrange philoſophy! I ſhould think it leſs
offenſive to reaſon, to ſay, goodneſs is as neceſſary an emanation from
the divine nature, as light from the Sun, than to affirm what implys
the DEITY may act, from mere will and fancy, with regard to the
happineſs of his creatures.
ſerting that God cannot be angry, evidently
infers he cannot puniſh vice? - Now
according to the Platonic ſcheme, the juſtice
of the DEITY is nothing elſe but an
exertion of his univerſal benevolence, diſpoſing
him to give ſuch laws to every being,
as he ſees neceſſary for the good of
the whole, and to enforce theſe laws,with
the proper ſanctions of rewards and puniſhments.
As in human governments,
that is the moſt excellent, which purſues
the greateſt public happineſs: ſo the beſt
idea we can form of the divine government,
is to conceive its end to be the higheſt
good of intelligent beings. In this view,
the ſole motive for inflicting puniſhment
cannot be that of vindicating the divine
authority, and avenging its affronted majeſty,
conſidered as an intereſt ſeparate
from the good of the whole: but the ſame
goodneſs and benignity of nature is even
exerted in chaſtening a miſerable wicked
object, till he be reclaimed, and brought
to a ſenſe of his guilt and miſery. If this
end is not attained, yet divine puniſhments
may. have this benign view, that by
the awful example, the reſt of the rational
world may be preſerved in their obedience,
and in the ſtate of happineſs reſulting
from it. The SUPREME BEING muſt
therefore be conſidered as wholly free
from what is properly called anger, and
from all perturbation and painful reſentment;
he inflicts puniſhment with the
ſame ſerenity and benevolent diſpoſition,
as he exerciſes mercy *. Thus according
to Plato his juſtice is nothing elſe but a
mode or branch of his goodneſs: but let us
hear himſelf.
When conſidering the goodneſs of the
DEITY, and how far he is the author of evil,
he ſays, † "God is good. He is not, as
"many ſay, the cauſe of every thing. The
"good things we enjoy are to be ſolely a"ſcribed
to him: but we are to ſearch for
"another cauſe than God for our evils.
"Or, if we will ſay they come from God,
"ſome ſuch reaſon as this is to be aſſigned.
"We may ſay God does always what is
"juſt and good,and the perſons puniſhed
* This is the view, which our beſt Divines give us of God's juſtice:
thus Dr. Henry More, "Whether is pure goodneſs, or mere will
"and ſovereignty the meaſure of God's providence? he anſwers,
"if it be the latter, no man living can tell what to expect in the
"concluſion. What can give any ſtop to ſuch arbitrary procedure,
"but God's juſtice, which is a branch or mode of his goodneſs."
Page 145. More's Divine Dialogues, Glaſgow 1743.
† Vide Republ. ii. pag. 379, 380.
"receive benefit by it: but the poet muſt
"not ſay the ſufferers are miſerable, and
"God inflicts that miſery on them; if in"deed
he ſay the wicked, as miſerable,
"ſtand in need of puniſhment, and when
"puniſhed by God receive benefit from
"it, this may be permitted: but we are
"ſtrenuouſly to oppoſe any man, who
"ſays God is the author of evil to a good
"man. - Such language is, at no rate, to
"be tolerated in a ſtate." Here we are
in the plaineſt manner told, that God is
not a malevolent being, or prompted to
puniſh merely from a principle of vindictive
juſtice, which, according to PLATO,
would be downright tyranny: but all divine
puniſhments proceed from a deſign
to reform the offender, and do him good.
If any deny this to be PLATO'S meaning
here, we ſhall make the Philoſopher explain
himſelf, by connecting this with another
paſſage of the ſame books, where he
ſays, * "How can it be maintained ad"vantageous
for the unjuſt man not to be
"found out in his wickedneſs, to eſcape
"and ſuffer no puniſhment? is he not re"ally
the worſe for not being diſcovered?
* Reubl. 591.
"For, if found out, and duely chaſtiſed,
"the irrational and wicked part of his
"nature will be brought under ſubjecti"on
to the rational." So that, according
to our Philoſopher, this doctrine gives no
encouragement to vice: on the contrary,
informs the wicked man that while he
continues unreclaimed, he muſt be his
own tormentor. And conſequently, it is
the higheſt act of benignity, by proper corrections,
to bring him to a ſenſe of his duty,
and render him capable of happineſs.
Thus we ſee Plato knew well how to ſevere
anger from the DIVINE JUSTICE, and
had, to ſpeak modeſtly, as preciſe ideas of
the DIVINE NATURE as any modern philoſopher.

Thus I have endeavoured to trace out
the connexion of theſe dialogues, and given
a ſpecimen of our general poſition,
that PLATO is the only true commentator
upon himſelf. — Many more examples
might be produced out of theſe very dialogues;
but we muſt proceed briefly to
conſider the reſt in the ſame view.
The Charmides and Laches ſeem alſo
preliminary diſcourſes to the Republics; in
the former we have ſeveral definitions of
temperance, given by Charmides who was
a kind of Sophiſt; all theſe Socrates rejects;
then he diſcourſes on the uſe of this
virtue in life, but in a looſer way of reaſoning,
without aſcertaining its true import
and meaning: this is left to the fourth
* book of Republics where he gives a clear
notion of it, and its coincidence with all
the other virtues in civil life. Thus alſo
in the Laches, he firſt of all ſeverely reprimands
thoſe politicians, who mind only
the affairs of ſtate, and neglect the education
of their children, and noble rules on
education are there laid down; 'tis evident
how nearly this is connected with
the books of Laws: - in the other part
of the dialogue, Socrates talks at large of
civil fortitude, yet gives no certain determined
definition of it. But in the fourth
† book of the Republics the nature of that
branch of virtue is fully examined and aſcertained.
— The Hipparchus, as it points
out, in what way we may lawfully make
gain, is therefore a kind of eſſay on private
oeconomy, and ſo both it, and the Menexenus,
which is an exhortation to the love
* Republ. iv. pag. 431. Edit. Serran. Tom. 2.
† Republ. iv. Pl. 429.
of our country, make a very proper introduction
to the Republics and Laws.
The Phædrus and Gorgias have been
already mentioned. Their ſubject is partly
oratory, explaining its uſe and end; and
in the ſecond part of the Gorgias, Socrates
has the ſame diſpute with Callicles, on the
nature of juſtice, which he has with Glaucus
and Polemarchus in the ſecond book
of the Republics: in both places, Socrates
contends with all his force againſt thoſe
antient Sophiſts, who like the modern
Hobbeſians, would have juſtice "conſiſt
"in a natural deſire and attempt to be ſu"perior
to every other perſon, by all
"means whatever, right or wrong." This
deteſtable doctrine is fully confuted; and
the immortality of the ſoul, the rewards
of virtue, and puniſhments of vice, as
ſtrongly aſſerted in the Gorgias, as in the
Republics. — In the Phædrus, beſides the
rules of rhetoric already taken notice of,
we have a long and ſublime diſſertation
on divine love; on the gradual progreſs of
the ſoul towards the SUPREME BEAUTY;
and how ſhe is depraved and ruined by
departing from it. - on this account the
Phædrus, the Philebus, the Sympoſiac, the
ſixth and ſeventh books of the Republic
mutually illuſtrate each other. - Of the
ſame nature with the Phædrus is the Hippias
major; three or four definitions of
beauty given by that Sophiſt are diſproved
by Socrates, and beauty itſelf is deſcribed
as an EFFULGENCE proceeding from the
ſupreme GOOD, perceivable only by the
intellect, and not by mortal eyes. - This
is the conſtant language of PLATO.
I ſhould have obſerved before, that the
Euthydemus is of the ſame kind with the
Sophiſt, the Protagoras, &c. employed in
overturning the errors of the Sophiſts; as
likewiſe the Hippias minor. – Almoſt
every one knows the ſubject of the Phædo
is, directly, to prove the immortality of
the ſoul. — In the Crito, Socrates is adviſed
by that diſciple to make his eſcape out of
priſon, and fly from public puniſhment.
Which counſel he rejects, as unbecoming
his character. — The ſecond Alcibiades is
on prayer, and gives great light to the ſentiments
on that head in the third book of
Laws *. In this dialogue Socrates declares
* I have not, for brevity, inſerted the two paſſages into the
text: in the Laws, Book III. page 617. it is ſaid, "There is
"one deſire common to all mankind, that every thing ſhould
alſo the DEITY is not to be corrupted by
bribes, nor appeaſed by the ſacrifices and
offerings of impious men. This doctrine,
ſo worthy of the DEITY, and ſo alarming
to a wicked mind, is here only ſlightly
touched on. But fully diſcuſſed in the
tenth book of the Laws *. This is another
proof of our general aſſertion.
† The Parmenides is by far the hardeſt of
all PLATO'S dialogues, he diſputes with
the greateſt ſubtilty, on the powers of the
"befal us, according to the wiſhes of our own heart, that both
"father and ſon will often put up to the Gods very fooliſh
"and wicked prayers, for each other, or for themſelves; that we
"ought not to wiſh, nor earneſtly endeavour, that every thing
"happen to us according to our wills, that it is dangerous for one,
"void of wiſdom and knowledge, to obtain all his wiſhes;'tis bet"ter
for him in many caſes to meet with the contrary." Theſe
religious principles are here only laid down in general; but the
truth of them is fully demonſtrated and eſtabliſhed, in the ſecond
Alcibiades, pag. 145-145. Tom. 2. where Socrates inſtructs his
young diſciple in the nature of prayer; informs him, it requires a
great meaſure of wiſdom and knowledge to pray aright: that it is
better for us, the Gods do not grant any of our fooliſh petitions.
various inſtances are given, where men wiſe enough in the opinion
of the world, after obtaining their requeſts, have repented of them
all their lives: from which he infers; there is great danger in asking
any thing, till we are fully appriſed of all its conſequences,
and have conſidered, whether it may really prove to us ſuch a
bleſſing as at firſt ſight we imagine; and then Socrates recommends,
as a fit model for prayer, the following one compoſed by
ſome unknown perſon: "Almighty Jove, give us good things,
"whether we pray for them or not; and avert from us evil things
"even tho' we ask them" —
* Alcibiades, pag. - 150.
† Pag. 905,-907.
το εν, ſhews it is the original of all things,
is above them all, that they proceed from
it, and are naturally referred to it. — The
myſterys of Pythagoras are ſaid to be here
delivered – Many learned men are of
opinion, we have now entirely loſt the
key of Plato's doctrine in this dialogue;
that the Philoſophers had an occult language
of their own, with regard to numbers,
like that of Homer's Gods, well underſtood
by them and their diſciples: but
which dyed with themſelves. Be in this
what will, we have no need to recur to
the Parmenides, for proving the UNITY
OF THE DEITY, which ſeems there to be
repreſented: Many other paſſages of PLATO
clearly aſcertain that grand point. -
Laſtly, the Cratylus is almoſt wholly employed
in ſhewing the origin of language,
and invention of words; and ſo far as it
points out the true uſe of words, and how
ſome are naturally fitted to convey the
idea, it is connected with the dialogues
on Rhetoric; and ſo may the Ion, which
is a diſſertation on Poetry. - The apology
for Socrates is ſo well known, I need ſay
nothing of it.
8. Thus after runing over, as briefly as
poſſible, almoſt the whole of PLATO'S dialogues,
I hope the connexion appears evident;
in this light, they may really be
conſidered as commentarys to one another.
- The noble author of the Characteriſtics,
our Britiſh PLATO, as he has
imitated the GRECIAN well, and happily
transferred the various beautys of
his diction and dramatic compoſition
to the Engliſh language, ſo has he alſo
followed PLATO in this, that all * his
treatiſes are connected together, and mutually
illuſtrate one another. — If there
is any paſſage obſcure, any ſentiment
* The connexion of the Inquiry and the Moraliſts is obvious, and
the third volume is a commentary on the other two; the Eſſay so
wit and humour has many co-incident thoughts with thoſe of the other
treatiſes. For this we have the expreſs authority of the noble
author himſelf; he ſays "there is a connexion and dependency of
"the joint-tracts in the two firſt volumes, and that the three pieces
"of the firſt volume were really deſigned as prefatory to thoſe
"of the ſecond." [See pag. 189, 190. vol. iii.] However what I
intend to ſhew, is not ſo much that the ſeveral dialogues of PLATO
are all parts of a whole; but rather that the ſeveral parts are
the beſt fund of comment on each other, and that the different
works conſpire to the ſame end, namely, that which to the author
appeared of moſt importance: which proves ſufficiently, that PLATO
never intended to write to readers of different ſorts, and that any
remarkable doctrine which occurs in one dialogue, whether of
the popular kind or not, might have been as well introduced into
another. This at once deſtroys the diſtinction after-mentioned of
Exotcrics and Eſoterics.
faintly expreſſed, any doctrine not fully
explained, in one dialogue of PLATO, turn
over to ſome other on the ſame ſubject,
compare them accurately, and you will
in moſt caſes find out his full meaning. -
nay, I am afraid, if not this way, we may
almoſt deſpair of diſcovering it at all. —
The gloſſes of commentators, and the later
Platoniſts, will not afford us ſo much
help as we at firſt expect; they too commonly
uſe a vain parade of dark and
unintelligible words, they mimic the noble
enthuſiaſm in the periods of their
great Maſter; but are happy in nothing
ſo much as in rendering him more obſcure.
His ſtile is peculiarly emphatic, theirs often
trifling, without meaning, affected and
bombaſt; if PLATO makes choice of a hard
word, he takes care always, in ſome part
of the diſpute, to define it: they without
attending to that, uſe the word, twiſt
the metaphor or the allegory into a thouſand
different ſhapes, and with great dexterity
find out many ſecrets their Maſter
never once dreamed of. By purſuing theſe
puerile conceits of their own, they work
up at laſt a net, out of which they can
neither diſintangle themſelves nor their
readers. — But outof this number I except
9. PLATO, as I hinted before, ſeems alſo,
by this method of joining the ſciences,
to point out how uſeful the knowledge of
them all is to the true Philoſopher. I
know Plato has been blamed, for mixing
the pure and ſimple philoſophy of his
maſter SOCRATES, with the abſtruſe doctrines
of Pythagoras: but perhaps he may
be eaſily juſtified in this. Charmed with
the manner in which Socrates taught morals,
he has tranſmitted a faithful copy of
it to poſterity. But as he had alſo traverſed
the earth, in purſuit of knowledge, he
was too much a lover of mankind, to bury
it with himſelf, and not generouſly impart
it to others. I imagine it might be
ſhewn, were this a proper place, that 'tis
a miſtake to think SOCRATES was altogether
againſt the ſtudy of natural Philoſophy
and Geometry. It were eaſy alſo to
point out the grounds of this common error.
One thing is plain, that thoſe who
think ſo muſt accuſe Plato, who is allowed
by all to be the greateſt maſter of dialogue-writing,
of the groſſeſt blunder that
kind of compoſition is liable to; namely,
making the chief perſonage Socrates ſpeak
quite contrary to character in all the dialogues
where Phyſics are treated. But
grant this had really been the opinion of
Socrates, and that Plato had agreed with
him in his own private ſentiments, that
the ſtudy of natural Philoſophy was to be
neglcted, yet we may reaſonably ſuppoſe
he well foreſaw it impoſſible to prevent the
world from cultivating that ſcience. Who
can ſet bounds to the curioſity of man,
and his thirſt after knowledge? the glorious
ſcene of nature is too lovely an object:
to eſcape our enquiry. Shall I be warmed,
be chear'd and enliven'd by the rays of
the ſun, refreſh'd by the cool winds, be
ſtruck with the majeſty of the rolling ocean,
and the beauty of the ſtars; yet debarred
from ſearching into the natures and
cauſes of theſe? nor once relied on the
contrivance which produces ſuch beneficial
In ſhort, you muſt rob mankind of
thought and reaſon, before you can prevent
them from contemplating the works
and laws of nature. PLATO, well aware of
this natural inclination, endeavours to turn
it to the beſt uſe. SOCRATES was now gone,
and no man alive able to ſpeak on morals
with the ſame irreſiſtable force: it was highly
proper to call in the other ſciences to the
aid of morality. Phyſics and Aſtronomy, as
PLATO handles them, furniſh the beſt arguments
againſt Athena: if theſe are laid
aſide, who knows, might PLATO ſay, but
in a few ages, nay a few years, infidelity
may univerſally prevail among the Philoſophers,
and thence among the youth of
Greece? eſpecially conſidering how ready
the wicked part of mankind are to embrace
the deluſive doctrines which lead
directly to it, and are already openly
taught by the atheiſtical Philoſophers of
the preſent age. Such reaſons as theſe may
have determined PLATO, to hold up the
ſhield of NATURAL PHILOSOPHY in defence
of morals.
If a late writer had attended to this, perhaps
he would have expreſſed himſelf againſt
PLATO, in ſofter terms. "The * u"niting
(ſays he) Pythagoras's method of
"dogmatizing in the ſublime and ab"ſtruſe
queſtions of nature, with the ſtu"dy
of morals, and mode of diſputation
* Warburton's divine Legation of Moſes, vol. I. pag. 350.
firſt edition.
"uſed by SOCRATES, is a monſtrous
"alliance." - monſtrous miſ-alliance! a
high ſtrain of expreſſion, but not unuſual
in this writer. One would be tempted to
think, that to talk at this rate, is to dogmatize
with a witneſs, were it not pronoun,
ced directly againſt dogmatizing. However
hard words are but bad arguments.
One may, I ſhou'd think, reaſon cloſely
enough, and puſh his point as far as it will
go, without delivering the concluſion in
harſh language, eſpecially if to the prejudice
of a character already venerable among
Philoſophers. I imagine I could
produce ſome ſtrong arguments againſt
Mr. Warburton's Alliance of church and
ſtate, without needing to call it a monſtrous
miſ-alliance. - But where did this
writer find PLATO uſurping a method of
dogmatizing? or muſt we take his word for
ſo unheard of a charge againſt the ACADEMY,
nay the FOUNDER of the ACADEMY,
whoſe diſtinguiſhing characteriſtic
was preciſely the contrary to dogmatizing.
Again, what means this union of morals,
and abſtruſe queſtions of nature? Has
PLATO made morals depend on ſuch, and
linked them inſeparably together? will he
be able to prove this afterwards? Or becauſe
PLATO has wrote largely on morals,
was it monſtrous in him to meddle at
all with Phyſics? Or, in fine, is there no
manner of connexion between natural
philoſophy and morality? Let me aſk, is
there not an alliance between true theiſm
and morality? does not the firm belief of
an univerſal mind directing every thing
for the good of the whole greatly contribute
to the ſupport of virtue? — Can this
be denied? — and is it not as true, "that
"the ſole uſe of natural Philoſophy, ac"cording
to PLATO'S doctrine, is * to ex"alt
the ſoul, raiſing it from darkneſs, till
"it aſcend and return to what TRULY IS!
"[το ον.] The whole mind muſt be ele"vated,
and led off from created objects,
"till it be able to bear the contemplation
"of DEITY, and of what is moſt conſpi"cuous
there. It's end is to convince us
"that abſolute perfection is only in God,
"not in any created thing.When the idea
"of † the REAL GOOD, ſo hard to be per"ceived,
is at laſt ſeen, it is to be looked
* See the whole ſeventh book of Republics and particularly in
pag. 517, 518, 520, 524.
† Τόυ αγαθόυ
"on as itſelf the cauſe of all things which
"are beautiful and good; as creating light,
"and the ſun the diſpenſer of light in the
"viſible world; and in the intellectual,
"itſelf THE SUN, diſpenſing intelligence
and truth." — When the ſtudy of the
works of nature is thus directed to ſuch
noble purpoſes, and, in that view alone,
united to morals, how can any man call
this a monſtrous miſ-alliance?
How widely oppoſite is the opinion of
this writer to the ſentiments of Cicero,
who vindicates the juſtneſs of PLATO'S
method, with all the force and beauty of
his noble eloquence. — * "Nec vero poteſt
"quiſquam de bonis et de malis verè judicare,
"niſi omni cognita ratione naturae, et vitae
"etiam Deorum, et utrum conveniat, nec ne,
"natura hominis cum univerſa: haec SINE
"PHYSICIS quam vim habeant (et habent ma"ximam)
videre nemo poteſt. Atque etiam
"ad juſtitiam colendam, ad tuendas amicitias,
"et reliquas ceritates, quid natura valeat,
"HAEC UNA COGNITIO poteſt tradere. Nec
"vero pietas adverſus Deos, nec quanta his
"gratia debeatur, SINE EXPLICATIONE
"NATURAE intelligi poteſt." - and again,
* De Finibus, Lib. III. cap. 21. in fine. et Lib. IV. cap. 5.
"Similia dici poſſunt de explicatione natu"rae.
Modeſtiam quandam cognitio re"rum
coeleſtium affert iis, qui videant, quan"to
ſit etiam apud Deos moderatio, quantus
"ordo; et magnitudinem animi, Deorum o"pera
et facta cernentibus; juſtitiam etiam,
"cum cognitum habeas quod fit SUMMI RE"CTORIS
ET DOMINI NUMEN, quod con"ſilium,
quae volantas. Cujus AD NATU"RAM
apta ratio, vera illa et ſumma Lex
"a Philoſiphis dicitur." Let us then leave
the Roman Orator to defend our Philoſopher
in this point: and if Mr Warburton
win the cauſe againſt PLATO defended by
Cicero, all the world will own he gains a
glorious victory.
Mr. Warburton's diviſion of Plato's dialogues
into exoteric and eſoteric examined,
and ſhewn to be groundleſs: as alſo the
conſequence he draws from it, that Plato
did not believe a future ſtate of rewards
and puniſhments.
IT may be deemed by many a laborious
taſk to be thus obliged to wander over
the whole of an author, before we can aſcertain
his meaning; but in ſearching for
Wiſdom, we muſt dig for her as for hidden
treaſures; in PLATO we have little or no
toil of removing rubbiſh; and after one of
genius and taſte has arrived at the mine, he
will find it inexhauſtible and his labour
ſufficiently rewarded.
Had the author of the divine legation of
Moſes read PLATO in this view, had he
conſidered this connexion of his dialogues,
and thus compared different places on the
ſame ſubject, he would have ſeen there
was not the ſmalleſt foundation for another
thing he ſtrenuouſly inſiſts on; I mean
that odd diſtinction of the dialogues into
eſoteric and exoteric in ſuch a manner as to
propoſe thence to explain away PLATO'S
belief of the immortality of the ſoul. It will
therefore be another very proper inſtance
of the importance of ſtudying PLATO in
the way we have recommended, to examine
this new notion by the ſame method
we have purſued in the former inſtances,
and I imagine we ſhall thence be able to
make it evidently appear that the notion is
ſtarted without ground or foundation, is
expreſsly contradictory to the whole tenour
of PLATO'S writings, and even inconſiſtent
with itſelf.
He ſays, * "Numenius wrote a treatiſe
"now loſt, of the ſecret doctrines in Pla"to:
— but Albinus an old Platoniſt has in
"ſome meaſure ſupplied this loſs, by his
"introduction to the dialogues of Plato.
"From whence it appears, that thoſe ve"ry
books, in which Plato details out the
"doctrine of a future ſtate of rewards and
"puniſhments, are all of the exoteric kind.
"For in that claſs Albinus ranks the Cri"to,
Phædo, Minos, Sympoſium, Laws,
"Epiſtles, Epinomis, Menexenus, Clito*
Pag. 351. vol. i, Div. Legat. and vol. 2. Part. ii. Remarks,
page 62, 63.
"phon and Philebus."But when we look
into Albinus, † we find no ſuch diſtinction;
all he ſays is, that ſo many of PLATO'S
dialogues were of the moral kind, ſo many
of the dialectic, ſo many of the confutative,
and ſo many of the political or civil, &c. and
mentions the particular dialogues of each
kind: but not a word nor hint of exoteric
or eſoteric. How comes Mr. Warburton
then expreſsly to aſſert that Albinus ranks
the Phædo, Laws, Epinomis &c. in the exoteric
claſs? why ſays he in another place, *
"the learned reader knows that all of the
"civil kind are exoteric." Now this is, in
effect, retracting what he had before aſſerted.
But does Albinus tell us that the Political
dialogues are exoteric? not a word
of this.
Well, no matter for Albinus; "the Lear"ned
reader knows that all of the civil
"kind are exoteric." This compliment
I muſt leave to thoſe who find it applicable
to them, and beg Mr. Warburton will
condeſcend to gratify his unlearned readers,and
be ſo good as to point where they
may learn this. For my own part I know
† See Fabric. Bibl. Graeca Lib. III. pag. 49.
* Ibid. Remarks, pag. 63.
no book whence it maybe learned, except
the divine legation of Moſes. Mean time till
Mr. W. ſhall be pleaſed to help us alſo to
know it, let us take it for granted, and try
if it will hold conſiſtent with itſelf. ARISTOTLE'S
ethics are of the civil kind ſurely;
therefore Mr. W, and the learned reader
know they are exoteric. But unluckily for
ARISTOTLE, he did not know this himſelf:
and therefore very abſurdly cites in theſe
books his exoterics on the ſame ſubject. *
λέγεται δε περι αύτής κι εν τοις έξωτερικοις λόγοις.

By the ſame blunder of ARISTOTLE we
ſhould alſo be directly led to think it evident,
the exoteric and eſoteric diſcourſes
had been really ſometimes employed in
teaching the very ſame doctrines, only with
this difference, that in the former they argued
in a more looſe and popular manner,
in the other their reaſoning was more abſtract
and ſtrict. This now would have
utterly cut off our aſſent to that peculiar
diſcovery of Mr. W. that in their exoteric
diſcourſes the philoſophers detailed out to
the people doctrines which they did not
themſelves believe a title of. A diſcovery
* Ad Nicomachum, Lib. I. cap. 13.
ſo intirely new, and ſo perfectly his own
(for here he drops the learned reader) that
there is not the leaſt hint or veſtige of it
either in Albinus, or in any Platoniſt elder
or later. Nay I will venture to ſay, to
the praiſe of it's author, that it never enitered
into the head of any man, dead or alive,
till it ſtarted into that head, which
conceived the late defence of the Legation
of Moſes. 'Tis but juſt then to allow
the inventor, the privilege of enjoying the
ſole honour and benefit of his diſcovery.
And indeed he has already made a moſt
notable uſe of it, by employing it to prove
that PLATO did not at all believe the immortality
of the ſoul, or a future ſtate of
rewards and puniſhments: but he may go
on much further, if his modeſty don't hinder
him. For the ſame hypotheſis will
help him juſt as well to prove PLATO a
Materialiſt, a Fataliſt, or if he pleaſe an
Atheiſt. Nay, (and why ſhould he curb
it's force, or refrain its extenſive influence?)
it will, by an eaſy analogy and tranſition,
help him juſt as well to prove any
thing he pleaſes, of any author he pleaſes,
Heathen or Chriſtian, profane or sacred,
antient or modern. It will in fine, to
crown all, help him juſt as well to prove
at ſome future time, if he ſhall ſo think
proper, that he himſelf did not believe one
word of all he has hitherto wrote and publiſhed.
He has only to declare his works
are exoteric, that is philoſophical romances.
But let us go on to PLATO, whom, as
well as ARISTOTLE, we ſhall find teaching
the very ſame doctrines in theſe dialogues,
which Mr.Warburton pronounces
exoteric, as he teaches in thoſe, which according
to this author are eſoteric.
In the * "Cratylus, ſays he, which is of
"the eſoteric kind, Plato laughs at the an"tients
for worſhipping the ſun and ſtars
"as Gods," he does not refer to the paſſage,
but I ſuppoſe he means the following
one, becauſe, ſo far as I can obſerve,
PLATO has nothing of that kind in any other
part of this dialogue. I have already
obſerved, that the whole of the Cratylus is
employed in aſcertaining the nature and
origin of ſpeech, and the derivation of
words, of which a large catalogue is given;
he begins with deriving the word Θεός,
as follows: † "I conjecture, ſays Socrates,
"that the firſt men, who antiently inha*
Div. Leg. Vol. I. pag. 351. † Tom. I. pag. 397. Cratyl.
"bited Greece, have believed only thoſe
"to be Gods, whom many of the Barba"rians
ſtill worſhip as ſuch; viz. the ſun,
"moon, and ſtars. Now as they perceived
"theſe luminarys in continual motion,
"performing their ſeveral revolutions,
"they ſeem to have called them Θεόυς,
"from what was moſt conſpicuous and
"remarkable in their nature, that is, (απο
"τόυ Θειν) from their running." This is
all I can find ſaid by Socrates upon the
ſubject, thro' the whole dialogue.
Let us next ſee how PLATO writes in
the Epinomis and Timæus, both exoterics
according to Mr. W. the firſt expreſsly named
ſo, the other becauſe * he declares it
contains none of PLATO'S real ſentiments,
and alſo † joins it with the Epinomis as ſuch
another; in the firſt, he ‡ declares "the
"ſtars are only to be looked on as images
"and repreſentations of the Gods, and as
"created by them, that God is the cauſe of
"them all; that all the other Gods and
"Demons worſhip the SUPREME DEITY."
- Again, whoever is the leaſt acquain*
Remarks, pg. 53.
† Divine Leg. Vol. I. pag. 375. Edit. I.
‡ Epinom. Tom. II. pg. 977. et 983,
ted with the Timæus muſt know; PLATO
aſſerts there, that the whole world, ſun,
moon, and ſtars, were all made by God;
his conſtant language is, that they are no
more than viſible and created Deitys. —
* "After the viſible Gods, ſays he, and
"the other inferior Gods were made, the
"CREATOR of the Univerſe thus beſpoke
"them; Ye Gods of Gods, of whom I am
"the Creator and Father, &c." In another
place of the ſame dialogue, ſpeaking
of the generation of the Gods according
to the vulgar doctrine, that Ocean and Tethys
ſprung from Olympus and Terra, and
Jupiter and Juno were the offspring of Saturn
and Rhea, how clearly does he declare
himſelf againſt ſuch ridiculous fables,
by a ſtroke of the fineſt raillery?
"We cannot, ſays he, pretend to deſcribe
"the generation of theſe Gods; in this
"caſe we are to believe thoſe of antient
"times, who alledge they themſelves are
"deſcended of the Gods, and are ſuppoſ"ed
to know well who were their pro"genitors;
we muſt not then refuſe to
"give credit to the ſons of the Gods, tho'
"what they ſay is not founded on credible
* Timæus, Tom. III. pag. 40, et 42.
"or probable arguments; but becauſe they
"relate things in which they are proper"ly
concerned; let us therefore believe
them, and obey the laws.
Let us now apply Mr. W's notión to
theſe paſſages. In the eſoteric Cratylus,
PLATO laughs, ſays he, at the antients,for
worſhipping the ſun and ſtars as Gods;
that is, PLATO believed they were not
Gods. In the Epinomis and Timæus, PLATO
declares they are not Gods, but only
created images of the Gods, all made by
God. But ſays Mr. W. PLATO did not believe
what he ſays there, for the dialogues
are exoteric. So then, it is plain, PLATO
believed, and did not believe, the very
ſame thing; namely, that the ſun and ſtars
were not Gods.
Whether now ſhall we think this was
really the caſe with Plato, or deſire Mr.
Warburton to help us to account for it?
for perhaps a man, who has been ſo long
in the cabinet-council of the old Legiſlators
may have learned ſome ſecrets, which will
help him to an expedient for ſuch a caſe.
We May hope then that he will once more
condeſcend * "to put things of a ſort to*
Beginning of Warburton's Poſtſcript to his Remarks.
"gether, eſpecially, if, by a kind of fata"lity,
we have, when he lay ſo open to us,
had the luck to offer at him in the wrong
place." After all Mr. W. can be at
no loſs for an expedient. For if he anſwer
to this,as he does to Mr. Sykes, in the poſtſcript
to his † Remarks. — "So then, the
"diſpute between us, is, whether PLATO
"believed a future ſtate of rewards and
"puniſhments. And to prove that PLA"TO
did, he gives me ſpeeches of SO"CRATES.
For unluckily what he
"quotes are not the words of PLATO but
"of his MASTER." Should he, I ſay, make
this anſwer, I muſt own I would have nothing
to reply. Nay, by the ſame anſwer,
he may confound any one, who would pretend
to look for PLATO'S own ſentiments,
in any part whatever, of any of his dialogues:
for PLATO never once ſpeaks in his
own perſon; and is but twice mentioned
thro' the whole.
Again, in the Cratylus PLATO laughs,
as Mr. Warburton ſays, at the pagan mythology;
for it is an eſoteric dialogue: but
it is plain by the later part of the paſſage I
have quoted from the Timæus, that he
† Divine Leg. Vol. II. Part ii. page 65.
laughs much more at it in an exoteric dialogue.

Laſtly, it appears plainly, that PLATO
in the exoteric Epinomis and Timæus,where
he ought only to have detailed out to the
people the doctrines he did not believe,
has moſt unaccountably revealed to them
* "the ſecrets of the greater myſterys:" for
he clearly and diſtinctly aſſerts the unity
of the Deity, his ſupreme ſovereignty, and
his being the chief and higheſt object of
religious regard. Certainly this was highly
criminal in PLATO. To be ſure, Mr.
Warburton, tho' ſo long at the ſchools of
the antient philoſophers, never lived in the
Academy, nor travelled with PLATO into
- vetabo, qui Cereris ſacrum
Vulgarit arcanae, ſub iiſdem
Sit trabibus, fragilemve mecum
Solvat Phaſelum. Horat.
I could produce a variety of examples
from the reſt of PLATO'S works, where he
has; in the ſame manner, been ſhamefully
guilty of revealing to the people in exoteric
* "Thus I think I have made it evident the απόρρητα in the
"greater myſterys were the doctrine of the UNITY and detection
"of polytheiſm." Div. Leg. Vol. I. pag. 153. Edit. I.
dialogues the myſterys of the eſoteric doctrine.
We may well preſume then it was
on account of this guilty conduct of PLATO,
in ſo ſcandalouſly profaning the myſterys,
that Mr. Warburton, who may no
doubt expel to be ſoon an Antiſtes himſelf,
entertained ſuch an ill opinion of him,
as at length to imagine ſo bad a man could
not poſſibly believe the immortality of the
ſoul; and therefore reaſonably ſuppoſed he
would only teach it in exoteric dialogues,
when detailing out to the people for truth
what he himſelf thought falſe. Now what
Mr. W. thus reaſonably ſuppoſed, he
would naturally by degrees at length firmly
believe; and ſo might very honeſtly publiſh
for fact.
But this unlucky PLATO is a perfect
Proteus in Mr. W's hands, who has not
yet fallen upon the right method of binding
him; his new notion proves not to be
the proper fetters: For, behold! in the
Cratylus, which Mr. W. maintains expreſsly
to be an eſoteric, PLATO lays down
the doctrine of the immortality of the ſoul, in
as ſtrong and poſitive terms, as in the Phædo,
or any other of his exoteric pieces. The
paſſage is pretty long. I ſhall only take
notice of what is directly to the preſent
purpoſe; and refer the more curious to the
place itſelf. * — SOCRATES is there giving
the derivation of the word (αδης) hades;
the vulgar, ſays he, derive this word
"from (το αείδες) i.e. inviſible;" by which
they denote it a dark and gloomy abode.
Socrates is greatly diſpleaſed with this derivation,
and inſinuates, we ought to entertain
more juſt and honourable notions of
a future ſtate; where the God, who preſides,
viz. PLUTO, liberally imparts his bleſſings
to the inhabitants; and is a generous
and noble benefactor to all his deſerving
ſubjects: "Mankind err greatly, ſays SO"CRATES,
in their opinions concerning
"the power of this Deity, and are much
"afraid of it without any reaſon. οτι τε
γαρ επειδαν απαξ τις ήμων αποθάνη, αει εκει
εςι. - &c. κι οτι ή ψυχή γυμνή τόυ σώματος
παρ εκεινον απέρχεται. &c." They con"ſider,
that after any one of us is once
"dead, he contiues there for ever; and of
"this they are afraid: they reflect alſo, that
"the ſoul naked and ſtrip'd of the body,
"deſcends to PLUTO: they are alſo alarm"ed
at this." — And a little after he adds,
* Cratyl. Torn. I. pag. 403, 404.
"PLUTO is unwilling to concern himſelf
"with men as long as they are in the bo"dy;
he only admits them into his ſocie"ty,
after the ſoul is purified from all its
"bodily diſeaſes and appetites. Then it
"is that Pluto can engage their affections
"and gain them to the purſuits of vir"tue;
but while fettered in the follys and
"outragious paſſions of the body, he can
"have no power over them:" therefore Socrates
condemns all theſe horrid thoughts
about hades, and is rather for deriving it
απο τόυ πάντα τα καλα ειδέναι "from the
"knowledge of all things good and beau"tiful."
- If this paſſage be compared
with another in the Laws, it's meaning
will be ſtill more apparent; in the fifth
book of theſe, he affirms the mind of man
is, of all he poſſeſſes, the moſt entitled to
lay claim to divinity; this leads him to lay
down rules, how we are to honour and
reverence our own minds, and to mention
the various ways by which we diſgrace it,
of which the following is one. * "Nei"ther,
ſays he, does that man honour his
"mind, but rather greatly affronts it, who
"thinks this life the higheſt good; for ima*
Lib. V. Leg. pag. 727.
"gining all the employments in Hades
"are evil to the ſoul, he ſinks under the
"weight of ſo frightful an apprehenſion,
"and does not oppoſe and confute theſe
"unjuſt ſentiments, nor teach the con"trary:
as if ignorant that the greateſt
"good will naturally befal us from the Gods
"who preſide there. * - This is another
example of the important connexion between
PLATO'S dialogues; nothing can be
more obvious than that theſe two paſſages
illuſtrate each other.
Thus we find PLATO every way unmanageable,
and that it is not poſſible to
bind him in the chains of the new notion.
Mr. W. thought we had him ſure in the
Cratylus; there he was certainly eſoteric;
there we might ſafely believe him: but the
cunning Grecian, like another Sinon, is ever
in utrumque paratus. In this very Cratylus,
who could have expected it! when
* The philoſophical Mule of Euripides which entertains us with
the fineſt moral precepts, is alſo greatly offended at the frightful
repreſentations of Hades. Thus in the Hippolytus, line 190 — 196
"The life of all men, ſays he, is full of ſorrow; but there is ſome.
"thing elſe beyond the grave, ſweeter far than all this world
"affords, tho' hid from our eyes by dark clouds: we are fond of
"the ſun-ſhine here; and indifferent about that other ſtate; be"cauſe
we have no experience of it, and are not taught how to
"form juſt opinions concerning it; but on the contrary greatly miſ"led
by the fables of the poets." - μύθόις φερόμεσϑα.
See the Greek ſcholiaſt here.
we were to think him the moſt in earneſt,
he confidently lays down the doctrine of
a future ſtate as clearly and ſtrongly, as he
details it out in the Phaedo, which Mr. W.
aſſures us, "was only wrote for the people,
and to be eſteemed a kind of philoſophical
It would be endleſs to point out all the
inconſiſtencys of this kind to be met with in.
PLATO. But what is yet worſe, he ſeems,
as we ſhall preſently find, to have deluded
other antient writers into following his
In the * exoteric Republics we catch him
again in the ſame unhandſome trick of
blabing out the myſterys of the eſoteric
doctrine, in his romances to the people;
declaring to them, with the moſt ſerious
air, that all the terrible ſtorys of Styx, Cocytus,
and the Manes are to be rejected;
and yet, with the ſame breath, MONSTROUS
MIS-ALLIANCE! inculcating as ſeriouſly his
exoteric future ſtate, and that even of a
much more happy kind, than the one
commonly believed; poſitively aſſerting,
that thoſe who did not teach it to be a
* They are cited as ſuch by Mr. W. Divine Leg. Vol. I.
page. 355.
ſtate of happineſs for the good, did not
ſpeak the truth. But hear himſelf, and
judge him out of his own mouth. - SoCRATES
is converſing with Glaucus and
after ſaying, no man can be brave who
fears death, he aſks Glaucus, * "will not
"he be afraid of death who believes the
"frightful ſtorys about Hades? or will he
"in battle prefer death to a defeat or ſla"very?
— he will not." - We muſt in"treat
thoſe, who rehearſe ſuch fables,
"not to ſpeak ſo much ill, as they do, of
"the affairs in Hades, and not to blame
"them thus altogether, but rather com"mend
them; otherwiſe they neither ſay
"THE TRUTH, nor what is uſeful for ſol"diers
to hear." — And after giving us a
catalogue of the verſes of this kind,which
"he condemns in HOMER, he adds, "all
"theſe terrible and horrid ſtorys of Styx
"and Cocytus, of the Manes, and ſpirits of
"the dead, and ſuch like which make
"the hearers tremble, are to be rejected.
" - poſſlibly they may ſerve well enough
"for ſome other end; but we are un"willing
our Guardians ſhould become
"cowardly, and effeminate by ſuch ter*
Republ. III. pg. 386, 387.
"rors; ούκόυν ετι κι τα περι ταυτα όνόματα
πάντα δεινά τε κι φοϐερα, ΑΠΟΒΛΗΤΕΑ,
Κωκυτόυς τε κι Στύγας, κι ένέρόυς, κι
Now PLATO, by this paſſage ſeems to
have led Ovid into the ſame blunder of
jumbling and confounding together by a
monſtrous miſ-alliance the eſoteric and exoteric
doctrines. Ovid, as Mr. W. aſſures
us, and as probably the learned reader
knows, underſtood well the ſecret of the
diſtinction. * "The Pythagoric notion of
a metempſychoſis was deſtructive ſays
"Mr. W. to the doctrine of a future ſtate
"of rewards and puniſhments. Ovid,
"who well underſtood the ſecret of the
"diſtinction, evidently perceived this,
"when he makes Pythagoras in deliver"ing
the eſoteric doctrine of his ſchool,
"reject a future ſtate of rewards and pu"niſhments."
Where is it, now, that this
eſoteric doctrine is delivered? why in the
Metamorphoſis, which according to Mr.
W. is an exoteric book, and one of the
fineſt too of that kind in all antiquity, being,
ſays he † "a POPULAR hiſtory of provi*
Divine Legat. Vol. I. pag. 347.
† Pag. 343.
"dence, on the moſt grand and regular
"plan," - where "he ALWAYS keeps his
"end in view" which is to inculcate that
"thoſe puniſhments [viz. of the Meta"morphoſes]
were inflicted by the Gods
"for impiety." And one method he took
to keep THIS end in view, was it ſeems to
teach the people the eſoteric doctrine of
Pythagoras, which ſays Mr. W. "rejec"ted
a future ſtate of rewards and pu"niſhments."
This method, the poet took,
ſays he * "by a contrivance, which for
"its juſtice and beauty equals any thing
"in antiquity! - this was ending his work
"in that juſt and philoſophic manner
"which the cuſtom of antiquity demand"ed."
All very fine indeed! what pity a
poet ſhould have been baniſhed his native
country, who had deſerved ſo well of the
people! - perhaps too, on. that very
account! - for, if the critics will give
me leave alſo to ſtart a new notion, might
not probably Auguſtus, who at that time
gave law to the Romans be offended at the
affront put on his brother † law-giver Py*
Page 344.
† Pythagoras, ſays Mr. W. had throughly imbibed the ſpirit
of legiſlation, and was properly and fully a legiſlator. Vide pag.
thagoras, by Ovid, in revealing to the people
the ſecrets of his "cabinet-council."
All agree he was baniſhed on account of
ſome ſecrets. Could it be for any more
probably than for theſe. But I ſubmit this
conjecture to the critics, who I hope will
not be ſo illnatured as to ſay 'I am ſtrik"ing
into the province of licentious pa"radox."

A little after Mr. W. adds * "the moſt
"intelligent of the ancients regarded what
"PLATO ſaid of a future ſtate as ſaid in
"the exoteric way to the people, and not
"believed by himſelf." I ſhall not diſpute
this either with Mr. W. or his learned reader.
His word is ſufficient for the fact, and
he has given it. I am only going to hint to
him, that it will be proper to declare to
the world a ſmall but undeniable conſequence
of his aſſertion, that CICERO WAS
OF THE ANCIENTS. He may either
let them take this alſo upon his word; or, if
he be in a fit of good humour, he may
quote the following paſſage as an inconteſtable
proof of it. - † "Quae eſt anus tam
* Page 355.
† Tuſculan, Diſput. Lib. I. § 21, Edit. Glaſg.
"delira, quae timeat iſta, quae vas videlicet,
"ſi phiſica non didiciſſetis, timeretis?
"Acheruſia templa alta orci, pallida
"Leti obnubila tenebris loca.
"— Nec tamen mihi ſane quidquam occurrit,
"cur non Pythagorae ſit et Platonis vera
"ſententia. ut enim rationem Plato nullam
"adferret (vide quid homini tribuam) ipſa au"doritate
me frangeret. tot autem rationes
"attulit, at velle ceteris, SIB I CERTE PER"SUASISSE
Again, ſays Mr. W. "the inculcating
"a future ſtate of rewards and puniſh"ments
was only part of the external and
"popular doctrines - no writer was
"fonder of the double doctrine than Pla"to,
we may be aſſured he did not
"believe a future ſtate of rewards and
"puniſhments: for being the moſt ſpiri"tualized
of the philoſophers, had he re"ally
believed it, he would have refined
"and purified it, as he did the doctrine
"of the eternity of the ſoul, which he
"certainly believed." - Here again PLATO
eſcapes from Mr. W. with the ſame
verſatility as before. For he has refined
it, nay refined it to the utmost, and that
* Div. Legat. Vol. I. pag. 320, 351. 355.
both in the exoteric and eſoteric dialogues.
In the former, as appears from the foregoing
quotation out of the Republics, where
he ſays, all the fictitious ſtorys of Styx, Co
cytus, &c. are to be rejected; inculcating
at the ſame time the ſerious belief of a future
fate of happineſs for the good. In
the latter, by the following paſſage of the
There he gives us the moſt ſublime notions
of the felicity of a good man in the
other world. * "We cannot, ſays he, be
"free from evil while in this world, and
"therefore we ought to fly out of it as
"ſoon as poſſible. The way to fly out of
"it is to become as like God as we can.
"By becoming juſt, wiſe and holy we
"ſhall reſemble him moſt. God is infi"nitely
juſt, and there is nothing on earth
"ſo like him as a juſt man. - Let us in"form
the wicked that if they don't, in
"this life, get free of their madneſs and
"depravity, they cannot, after death, be
"admitted into the pure manſions of the
"good, where no evil enters: that their
"manners and deportment here will ac"company
them into the other world,
* Theætetus, pag. 176, 177. TOM. I. Serran.
"where they will always be in ſuch com"pany
as are like themſelves. The wic"ked
will dwell with the wicked. Pro"fane
ſcoffers may indeed call us mad for
"ſaying ſuch things." - To the ſame
purpoſe, variety of quotations might be
brought out of the Phædo; but the dialogue
is well known. Now if this be not refining
the doctrine of a future ſtate, I don't
know how it can be refined. I could with
any modern divine, who objects againſt Plato,would
point out a better philoſophy for
refining it.
Nor is Mr. W. a whit more ſure of the
next hold he attempts to lay on PLATO,
when he ſays, * "that tho' PLATO was ſo
"famous for inventing natural and meta--
phyſical arguments for the immortality
of the ſoul, yet as to any moral argu"ments,
from which only a future ſtate
"of rewards and puniſhments can be deduced,
he reſolves them all into tradi"tion,
and the religion of his country.” —
Surely, when Mr. W. wrote this, he never
imagined there could be in PLATO
ſuch a paſſage as the following: † "The
"Gods are not ignorant of the diſpoſiti*Div.
Lego Vol. I. pag. 353. † Plato Republ, X. pag. 613.
"ons both of the juſt and unjuſt man.
"The one muſt be beloved by GOD, the
"other hated by him; and he who is the
"favourite of the DEITY, will obtain
"from him all poſſible good things. We
"are therefore to reaſon thus concerning
"the juſt and good man, that whether he
"is afflicted by poverty, by diſeaſes, or a"ny
other apparent evils, all theſe will
"conduce to his good, either while alive,
"or when dead. Whoever earneſtly de"ſires
to become juſt, ſtudys virtue, and
"endeavours to be like God, as far as it
"is poſſible for man to be, will never be
"neglected by God." - ώς τόυτω, ταυτα
εις αγαθόν τι τελευτήσει, Ζωντι η κι αποθανόντι·
&c. an expreſſion, by the by, extremely
like that of the apoſtle PAUL, *
οιδαμεν δε οτι τοις αγαπωσι τον Θεον ωάντα
συνεργει εις άγαθον. - "we know that
"all things co-operate to the good of thole
"who love God! " — Now, when Mr.
W. finds there really happens to be ſuch
a paſſage as this, he may next, in defence
of his notion, advance, that had P L A T
been in earneſt here, he would have given
much ſtronger moral or religious ar*
Rom, viii. 28.
guments than thoſe I have quoted, which
only amount to this, that the good man
is the conſtant object of the Almighty's
favour, both in this world and the next,
that the DEITY is his everlaſting friend
and protector, knows the ſecrets of his
heart, thoſe inward pious diſpoſitions and
latent virtues which eſcape the obſervation
of mankind, and will confer on him,
both here and hereafter, ſuch happineſs as
HE ſees to be beſt for him. - And if any
aſk Mr. W. upon what can we ſo confidently
repoſe all our hopes, both in this
and a future ſtate, as on the goodneſs of God,
or what other moral argument for a future
ſtate than this here uſed by PLATO and the
apoſtle PAUL, he will no doubt eaſily give
them a ſatisfying anſwer, being both a doctor
of the Chriſtian religion and an adept
in the ſecrets of the heathen philoſophy.
After ſo much concerning this double
doctrine, and απορρητα of the philoſophers,
it may be proper to take notice what it
was commonly thought to be, before the
world was inlightned by this new diſcovery
of Mr. Warburton. And firſt I believe
no-body ever imagined they took
that method to conceal from the public
any truths, which it would have been a
real advantage for the people to know.
No honeſt man would act ſo baſely, for any
private advantage or pleaſure to himſelf.
It was not ſurely a maxim among
the philoſophers of old, as ſince among
the Roman-catholic clergy, to keep the
people in ignorance of the moſt neceſſary
truths. No, they had too much real benevolence
to mankind, to act thus the part
of a ſophiſt or prieſt. But, as any man of
prudence and reflection muſt readily perceive,
there are ſome more abſtract truths,
which the bulk of mankind cannot poſſibly
apprehend in their true light, and
which when miſtaken are hurtful and pernicious.
Theſe the philoſophers taught
only in private to their ſcholars, and that
not till after they had, by long culture and
ſelf-diſcipline, refined their imaginations,
improved their underſtandings and purify'd
their hearts; and were thus prepared
to receive with reverence and make the
proper uſe of theſe truths, which the philoſophers
held ſo ſacred. If they wrote on
theſe ſubjects, it was in a way the people
could not underſtand.
Accordingly Lyſis the Pythagorean, in
his epiſtle to Hipparchus, reproaches him
for revealing the ſecrets of the doctrine of
Pythagoras. * "You ought not, ſays he,
"to have propaled to the profani, the my"ſterys
of the Eleuſinian Goddeſs, you
"ought to conſider, how long time the
"diſciples of Pythagoras took to warn
"out the ſtains and corruptions of their
"hearts, and that five years paſs'd over,
"before they were reckoned fit or pure
"enough to receive ſuch doctrines. For
"as a dyer before-hand waſhes and pre"pares
his cloth, that it may take the
"fineſt tincture, ſo a divine teacher of phi"loſophy
cleanſes and purifies the heart
"of his hearer from all its pollutions. The
"appetites, deſires, and paſſions of men
"are moſt irregular, and productive of the
"greateſt crimes. The wild woods, where
"theſe luſts and deſires grow, muſt be
"pruned and purged by fire and other in"ſtruments;
reaſon muſt be ſet at liberty
"and made to govern within: then at laſt
This the diſciple be taught any thing."
This is a full evidence that I have repreſented
the ſentiments of the philoſophers
* Opuſcula Mythologica collected by Gale. pag. 81. Cantabr.
themſelves in this matter; if the epiſtle be
allowed genuine: and tho' that ſhould be
deny'd, it ſtill proves that ſuch was the opinion
of the antients.
PLATO likewiſe himſelf in his epiſtle to
Dion's friends, ſays, * "I am told Dio"nyſius
has wrote on the doctrines he
"heard from me; and that others alſo
"have publiſhed their opinions on theſe
"matters, when neither they nor Diony"ſius
underſtand them." And a little
after he adds, "If I thought we could
"either write or ſpeak intelligibly on
"theſe doctrines to the vulgar, what
"more noble thing could we do in life
"than write on a ſubject ſo highly uſe"ful
to mankind, could we explain nature
"to the whole world and bring all her ſe"crets
to light? But the truth is, I don't
"think ſuch an attempt would be for the
"good of mankind, or profitable to a"ny
but a few, who have minds fit for
"underſtanding and reliſhing ſuch doc"trines.
As for others, to teach them
"ſuch abſtruſe points would either fill
"them with an unbecoming irreligious
* Tom. III. pag. 341. Edit. Serran.
"contempt, or with pride and oſtentati"on
upon their knowledge of theſe ve"nerable
The DIVINE AUTHOR of our religion
makes, himſelf, the ſame diſtinction, between
his hearers: he is pleaſed to explain
fully to his Own diſciples, what he
ſpake more darkly to the people in parables.
"To you my diſciples, it is given to
"know the myſterys of the kingdom of
"heaven; but to them it is not given.-
"And he ſpake unto the people as they
"were able to hear it" *. We may be
ſure then there is nothing wrong in keeping
up this difference betwixt exoteric and
eſoteric teaching, ſince done by HIM. -
No good man will ſay, HE did not believe
the popular doctrines which he taught.
Were I to make a conjecture about
the eſoteric doctrine which PLATO and
the other philoſophers kept for theſe reafons
a ſecret from the people, I would
take it to be this: that all the inferior Gods
were fictitious; that there was no anger
in the DEITY; that all puniſhment was
Medicinal and proceeded from love to
the ſufferer; becauſe as ſoon as the of*
Matth. xiil, II. 34. Mark iv. 33.
fending perſon is reclaimed, he becomes
a fit object of happineſs, and the end of
puniſhment ceaſes. It might not be proper
to publiſh ſuch doctrines to the people
in an open manner; yet they ſeem conſequences
of PLATO'S philoſophy, as by
an accurate obſerver may be diſcovered
from his books.
The other difference, which the philoſophers
made between their private ſcholars
and public audiences or readers, was
this; when they taught the ſame doctrines
to both, as they did often, it was in a different
manner; to their ſcholars in a more
cloſe and accurate method, by ſtrict philoſophical
reaſoning: to the people, more
looſely, and from topics adapted to their
Capacitys and circumſtances. This is ſo
natural to ſuppoſe that any man of common
ſenſe would conclude it had been the
caſe, without any further evidence. The
philoſophers alſo ſometimes compoſed
books for theſe two different forts of readers,
where they taught the very ſame doctrine,
the one kind being wrote in a popular,
the other in a more ſubtile philoſophical
Salmaſius has given a diſſertation on
this ſubject, he ſays, "Primum diſcremen
"inter exotericas et acroaticas, ſeu eſoteri"cas,
oriebatur ex perſonis. Acroaticis, tem"pus
matutinum philoſophi dabant, exoteri"cis
veſpertinum. Adillas ſoli diſcipuli ad"miſſi
qui άκροαταί propriè dicti. ad exote"ricas
quibuſlibet intereſſe promiſcue per"miſit
(viz. Ariſtoteles). Et praeter
"pulos etiam populo et extraneis patebant.
"Secundum diſcrimen ex argumento et ma"teria
rerum, &c. pro captu quippe audito"rum
difficiliora aut faciliora argumenta ſu"mebat
tractanda. Exotericis, ut erant ma"gis
ad popularem uſum accommodatae, ita
"ad popularem quoque captum plenius
"uſque diſceptabat fuſiore ambitu omnia de"clarare,
verbiſque circumvehi ſolitus. In
"acroaticis quia res erat cum intelligentibus
"et qui jam plurimum promoverant in diſ"cendi
ſtudio, brevius, obſcuriuſque ea inſi"nuabat,
quaſi apud peritos ſingula ſignans,
"potius quam latius expandens."
CICERO in the fifth book de finibus gives
us the following account. He ſays, "De
"ſummo autem bono, quid duo genera libro"rum
ſunt, unum populariter ſcriptum, quod
* See his notes on Simplicius's commentary on Epictetus. Edit.
Lugd. Batav. anno 1640. pag. 226, to 241.
"έξωτερικον appellabant; alterum limatius
"quad in commentariis reliquerunt." That
is, the eſoteric and exoteric were two ways
of delivering the ſame truths, the former
more accurate by cloſe, ſuccind reaſoning;
the latter more popular.
The ſame thing is alſo plain from a
place of ARISTOTLE already cited *, and
from the following one where he ſays,
"I have conſidered this at large both in
"my exoteric books, and in thoſe wrote
"in the method of philoſophy." έωίσκεπται
δε πολλοις περι αυτης τρόποις, κι έν
τοις εξωτερικοις λόγοις, κι έν τοις κατα φιλοσοφταν.

Thus we ſee there is really nothing in
all this matter but what is natural, eaſy
to be conceived by any one, and accordingly
commonly known.
To conclude: inſtead of any apology
for this manner of examining into the merits
of Mr. Warburton's new diſcovery, let
it only be remember'd that he himſelf has
declared, it is well done † TO EXPOSE THE
and he will certainly approve of
* Ad Nicomacham Lib. I. cap. 13. et ad Eudemum Lib. 1.
† Div. Leg. Vol. I. Dedication, page vii.
an endeavour to prevent men from being
blinded by A PUFF OF THE ‡ POWDER OF
‡ Div. Legat. B. I. page 8.
Plato's ſtyle frequently poetic. He imitates
Homer in the beautys of deſcriptive poetry.
- An apology made for criticiſms of
this kind.
Let us next conſider how PLATO
has introduced poetic beautys into
his diction. We have already obſerved
what kind of ſtyle he generally uſes in
debates with the Sophiſts: in his other
works, as in the Republics, the Laws, his
eſſays on Rhetoric and Poetry, the Timæus,
and Philebus, &c. he diſcovers more
of the ſtretch of fancy, and uſes a greater
pomp of language, removes the old quarrels
that ſubſiſted betwixt philoſophy and
* poetry, and makes the two walk hand
* "Itaque video virum eſſe nonnullis, Platonis locutionem,
"esti abſit a verſu, tamen, quod incitatius feratur, et clariſſimis
"verborum luminibus utatur, potius poema putandum, quam co"micorum
poetarum: Cicero Orator. Sect. 20. - Philoſophorum,
"quis dubitet Platonem praecipuum, ſive acumine differendi,
in hand together. In theſe dialogues, a§
Longinus ſays, "he has drawn from the
"copious Homeric fountain, a thouſand
"rivulets to cheriſh and improve his own
'Tis ſaid of PLATO, that he had early
tried his genius both in tragedy and epic,
but on comparing his performances with
Homer, was ſo ſenſible of the difference,
that he threw them all into the fire; repeating
a verſe of the Iliad, and ſubſtituting
himſelf in place of Thetis,
"Vulcan, draw near, 'tis PLATO aſks
" your aid."
2. Be in this what will, 'tis certain PLATO
was no enemy to Poetry, more than
Oratory,when employed in laudable purpoles,
in improving the mind, and exciting
virtuous ſentiments. He debars Homer
from his common-wealth in no other
ſenſe, than that he would not have his citizens
form their notions of the Gods, or
the government of their paſſions, upon the
doctrines of the poet, and the ſentiments
he ſometimes puts into the mouths of his
"fiye eloquendi facultate divinâ quâdam et Homerica? Multum
"enim ſupra proſam orationem, et quam pedeſtrem Graeci vocant,
"ſurgit: ut mihi non hominis ingenio, ſed quodam Delphico vi"deatur
oraculo inſtinctus." Quintil. Inſtit. Lib. X. Cap 1. § 4.
heroes. - * PLATO allows hymns to the
Gods, and encomiums on virtue and good
men, to be ſung in his ſtate; it is the voluptuous
Muſe alone which he expells. He
is not an enemy to the agreeable one, and
if the can ſhew cauſe for her admiſſion into
a well conſtituted ſtate, declares he will
gladly receive her, being no ſtranger to
her charms,and her power over the mind;
that he is raviſhed with this Muſe, eſpecially
when introduced to her by HOMER:
he is fond to hear any defence which can
be made for her, and reſolves only to exclude
her, ſo far as ſhe is noxious to the
public. — PLATO then does not ſo properly
baniſh HOMER, as a Poet, from human
ſociety: but rather excludes him, as
a Mythologiſt, from forming the polity within
us, and chearfully uſes the aid of his poetry,
tho' not of his religion, in reforming
the heart,and diſplaying the moſt ſublime
ſtandard of morals ever preſented to the
world by any human writer,
Our Philoſopher, therefore, ſenſible of
the power which the images and beauty
of poetry have over mankind, with pleaſure
reſigns himſelf to the guidance of the
* Vid. Republ. X. pag. 607.
MUSES. — He invokes their aſſiſtance, and
prays they would be propitious to him in
his new attempt to ſing of philoſophic
truths, and deſcribe the ſovereign beauty.
— He affirms that we cannot imitate Homer
by human art; to reſemble him we
muſt be inſpired with the ſame divine energy
which he felt. — * "The Loadſtone
"not only attracts iron, but alſo by the
"touch communicates its own inherent
"virtue to the iron, by which 'tis enabled
"to attract other metals to itſelf; numbers
"of bodys may by this means be, as it
"were, linked together: all which won"ders
proceed from the firſt impreſſion
"of the Loadſtone. - Thus the MUSE
"her ſelf inſpires ſome grand original,
"and numbers catch the enthuſiaſm from
"him. - All good poets, whether epic
"or lyric, are filled with a divine inſpi"ration
when compoſing their poems:
"they remain not calm and maſters of
"themſelves. As ſoon as they enter the
"winding mazes of harmony, they be"come
lymphatic, and rove like the fu"rious
Bacchanals, who in their phrenzy
* Io, pag. 533, 534. Tom. I. Serran.
"† draw honey and milk out of the ri"vers.
The Poets tell us the ſame thing
"of themſelves. They ſay they drink of
"mellifluous ſtreams, and, like the * bees
"fly about, gathering their melody from
"the fountains and gardens of the Muſes:
"and in this they ſpeak the truth, for a
"Poet is a kind of light, wing'd, and ſacred
"creature." We have ſhewn from the
beſt authoritys, in what manner the ornaments
of poetry are to be brought into
proſe; the whole charm conſiſts in imitating
nature: if this is neglected, 'tis impoſſible
for the compoſition to pleaſe. But
then 'tis not a low, ſervile imitation, nor
one confined to a few particulars; the
writer muſt have an extenſive genius, a
warm fancy, a fertile invention; theſe will
† MILTON in the following lines of the Sampſon Agoniſtes, ſeen
to have had his eye on this paſſage of PLATO. at leaſt they have
much of the ſame ſpirit tho' apply'd to another thing, viz. Sampſon,
as a Nazarite, being forbid the uſe of wine;
"Where-ever fountain or freſh current flow'd
"Againſt the callern ray, tranſlucent, pure,
"With touch ætherial of heaven's fiery rod,
"I drank, from the clear milky juice allaying
"Thirſt, and refreſh'd"—
* thus alſo HORACE, Book IV. Ode 2.
- ego apis Matinae
More metoque,
Grata carpentis thyma -
- circa nemus, uvidique
Tiburis ripas. -
afford an ample fund for his underſtanding
to work on; and enable him to roam
at large, like the bird of Jove, over the
whole compaſs of nature.
It is in the invention, HOMER excells all
other poets, and next to him, I will venture
to ſay, PLATO in that excells all other
writers; VIRGIL ſeldom departs from HoMER,
in his ſimilies and deſcriptions, but
follows him as a faithful guide; we have
ſeen XENOPHON do the ſame: whereas
PLATO aſſiſted by his own fruitful invention,
oft-times ſtrikes out a new path to
himſelf, and when he walks in the path
of HOMER, 'tis with a free air, not as a
ſervile follower; we perceive the philoſopher
was admitted as far into the ſecrets of
nature as the poet; nay that he was not afraid
ſometimes even to enter the lifts and
contend for the victory.
3. One great beauty in HOMER, is his
verſification, in which he always endeavours
to make the ſound expreſſive of the
ſenſe. I ſhall here give a few of the numberleſs
inſtances where PLATO imitates
the Poet in this.
Examples have been given from other
authors of military deſcriptions, in which
they ſeem to have had parallel paſſages
of HOMER directly in view. We cannot
expect ſuch in PLATO: Mars is no favourite
of his peaceable Muſe: I shall however
take notice of an inſtance or two, by
which it will appear, he could, when the
ſubject required, make his ſtyle ſound in
martial numbers. In the third book
of the Laws *, where the miſerys of tyranny
are repreſented from the Perſian government,
we have a ſtriking picture of
the conduct of an abſolute prince, and
how little he regards the intereſt of his
people; PLATO breaks out into this ſudden
exclamation, Α'ναςάτόυς μεν πολεις,
αναςατα δε εθνη φίλια, πυρί καταφθείραντες!
"To gratify his caprice, citys are
"laid in aſhes! nations of his moſt deſer"ving
ſubjects extirpated with fire and
"ſword!" - The abrupt tranſition in this
place has a grand effect, in heightening the
deſcription; and to any man of a juſt ear,
the words are ſtrong and emphatic, and
have much of the ſpirit of poetry admired
in HOMER'S compariſon taken from a city
in flames, where the houſes are overwhelmed
in waves of fire,
* pag. 697. Serran. edit.
Αγριος, ηυτε πυρ, το, τ' επεοσύμενον,
ωόλιν άνδρων
Ορμενον έξαίφνης φλεγέθει; --
ILIAD. xvii. 737.
In the account of the ſufferings of the
Aſiatic Greeks under the Perſian yoke, in
the ſame third book *, how well adapted
are the words to the ſubject? διαπεφορημένα
κι ξυμπεφορημένα, κακως έασαρμένα κατοικειται.
- "a wretched medly of men
"miſerably ſcattered and toſſed about
"from place to place. - 'Tis impoſſible
to find words in our language ſo expreſſive
of the idea he intends to convey, as theſe
he uſes. Another inſtance in the ſame
book * is the hiſtory of the Perſian invaſion;
the whole ſtory is finely told: the numbers
nicely varied as the ſubject requires;
the whole is too long to inſert; I shall only
take notice of one figure borrowed from
HOMER; he ſays, συνάψαντες γαρ αρα τας
Χειρας, σαγηνεύσαιεν ωασαν τήν 'Ερετρικήν
- "ſo numerous was the army of Da"tis,
that his ſoldiers by joyning hands
"could have encloſed all Eretria as in a
"net." In that ſpeech where Sarpedon
* Pag. 693. Serran. edit. † Pag. 698.
upbraids Hector, and extols the auxiliarys
above the Trojans, among other things
he tells him, "You ſtand idle and don't
"exhort your ſoldiers, to ſave your coun"try,
your Wives and children; and pre"vent
all of you from being caught by
"your enemys as in the toils of a net."
Μήπως ώς άψισιλίνόυ άλόντε ωανάγρόυ.
ILIAD V. 487.
- From this ſhort ſpecimen, we may
judge that PLATO, had he been to write
hiſtory, cou'd have enliven'd his warlike
deſcriptions by the moſt beautiful and proper
images: but let us ſee how he ſucceeds
as a writer of philoſophy.
4. In the Lyſis *, when repreſenting.
the advantages of friendſhip, how agreeable
it is to our nature, and how eaſily every
thing becoming and good gains admittance
into the ſoul; he adds, εοικε γόυν
μαλακω τινι, κι λείω, κι λιπαρω, - διο κι
ισως ραδίως διολιοϑαίνει, κι διαδύεται ήμας·-
"What-ever is good is like ſomething
"ſmooth, ſoft, and ſleek, gliding with
"eaſe into the mind." — One who knows
the leaſt of the Greek language, and is not
* Pag. 216. Tom. II.
touched with the exquiſite ſweetneſs of
this period, nor feels the ſoft harmony of
the words flowing beautifully ſuited to
the ſentiment, muſt renounce all pretenſions
to a good ear; muſt loſe one of the
chief pleaſures in reading HOMER, and
have no reliſh for ſuch a line as this,
Τόυ κι απο γλώοσης, μελίτος γλυκίων ρέεν
ILIAD. 1. 248.
Words ſweet as honey from his lips diſtill'd.
Beautys of this kind occur frequently
in the books of the Laws; thus in the fifth,
when laying down rules for reforming a
ſtate, he compares it very juſtly to the purifying
a body of water collected from various
ſources: Οίον δε τινων ξυρρεόντων έκ
ωολλων, τα μεν, ωηγων, τα δε, χειμάρρων,
εις μίαν λίμνην. - οπως οτι καθαρώτατον εςαι
το συρρέον υδωρ· &c. "As in a conflu"ence
of waters which from many vari"ous
ſources of ſprings and torrents has
"run into one bottom, if we intend to
"keep the whole body as pure and clear
"as poſſible, we muſt draw part of it out
"again, turn part off by canals, and give
* Pag. 736. Saran. edit.
"it a new courſe." - The deſcription
here has the ſame ſpirit of poetry with
thoſe lines of HOMER, where he takes an
image from "torrents rolling down the
"hills, and ruſhing into the vales;" only
PLATO with propriety has made his numbers
ſmoother, for the Poet deſcribes two
armys meeting in battle,
Ως δ'οτε χείμαρροι ωοταμοι κατ ορεσφι
Εις μισγάγκειαν συμβάλλετον οϐριμον υδωρ·
ILIAD iv. 453.
Of the ſame kind is that paſſage in the
ſixth book * of the Laws, where he is relating
how the rural magiſtrates are to employ
the youth under their care; κι των εκ
διος υδάτων, - ρεοντα έκ των ύψηλων, είς τοίς
έν τοις ορεσι νάπας, οσαι κοιλαι, &c. - "The
"rain of heaven, falling from the heights
"into the valleys and cavitys among the
"hills, ſhou'd have its courſe confined
"within dams and banks; theſe cavitys
"receiving, and drinking up the rain,will
"ſend it down again, in ſprings and rills,
"to the fields below, gently and copiouſ*
Pag. 761.
"ly refreſhing the moſt dry and thirſty
"grounds. Perennial waters, whether
"fountains or rivers, ſhould be adorned
"by planting and building. Streams ſhould
"be united by covered canals, and made
"to ſupply all places plentifully thro' eve"ry
ſeaſon: and if a ſacred grove or ſpot of
"holy ground be near, they ſhould be a"dorned,
in honour of the Gods, by artifi"cial
rivulets. &c." - The numbers here
are finely choſen to imitate the rain pouring
from the clouds; then ſuddenly changed
by theſe two words, οσαι κοιλαι, admirably
expreſſing the water ſtopped, and
ſettling in the reſervoirs prepared for its
reception. - What follows in this paſſage,
too long to inſect here, is all poetical. The
rivulets round the ſacred grove put us in
mind of the grove of Pallas, deſcribed by
Nauſicaa to Ulyſſes;
Nigh where a grove, with verdant poplars
crown' d,
To PALLAS ſacred, Hades the holy ground,
- a bubbling font diſtills
A lucid lake, and thence deſcends in rills,
ODYSS. Vi. 350.
Again in the twelfth * book of the laws;
how does he exalt his language, when
pointing out the different ways, in which,
one may loſe his arms without any fault.
of his own. Hector, ſays he, tore Achilles's
armour from Patroclus; while others
have loſt their arms, when hurried over a
precipice, or overwhelmed, by a tempeſt
at ſea, or by a ſudden deluge of water;
η, κατα ϑάλατταν, η χειμώνων, έν τόποις
ύποδεξαμένης αυτόυς έξαίφνης πολλης ρύσεως
υδατος. — Here the numbers are quite
different from thoſe in the laſt example;
they ſound rough and harſh, the better to
repreſent the violence of a ſtorm.
In the eight book of the republics, * he
is accounting for the bad effects which licentiouſneſs
produces in a ſtate; the people
will be very fond of democracy, and
imagine it the moſt beautiful polity poſſible:
for, ωσπερ ίμάτιον ποικίλον, πασιν ηθεσι πε
πεποικιλμένον, ουτω κι αυτη πασιν ηθεσι πεποικιλμένη,
καλλίςη αν φαίνοιτο. - "like a
"robe diverſify'd with all kinds of co"lours,
ſo is ſuch a ſtate, diverſify'd with
"all ſorts of manners." - One would
think he has in view that place of Ho*
Pag. 944. Serran. † Pag. 557 vol. 2. ibid.
MER, where Hector ſends Hecuba to bring
out of her wardrobe the moſt beautiful
robe ſhe had:
ος κάλλιςος εην ποκίλμασιν ήδέ μέγιςος. -
ILIAD vi. 294.
Another inſtance ſhall be from the Philebus;
our Philoſopher is diſcourſing on
the various kinds of pleaſures, and cautioning
his diſciples againſt ſuch as are impure:
with the voluptuary he argues thus,
* Βόυλει δητα, ωασερ ϑυρωρος υπ' οχλόυ
τινος ώθόυμενος, κι βιαζομενος, ήττηθεις - &c.
‘‘would you have me, like a centinel beat
"off', and forced from his poſt, by a mob,
"let the gate fly open, and allow all the
"pleaſures and ſciences to ruſh in?" The
numbers in this ſentence very fitly repreſent
the centinel in action, ſtruggling to
maintain his poſt, and the mob forcing
him at length to yield. In the Iliad, we
have the ſame kind of beauty, tho' in different
numbers, where Ajax could ſcarce
be moved from his ſtation, by the efforts
of a whole army,
Αιας δ' όυκέτ εμιμνε, βιαζετο γαρ βελέεοσω·

Αλλ' άνεχάζετο τυτθον.
* Vide pag. 62. vol. 2. Serran.
An inſtance of the like kind with this
paſt, is that paſſage where PLATO ridicules
thoſe poets who proſtitute their character,
and debaſe their morals, by making court
to princes and people of high rank, and
flattering them in their vices and follys; in
their encomiums, they affect to act the
part of a philoſopher, and deep politician;
but this he repreſents, as a character too.
difficult for them to maintain. οσω δ' αν
ανωτέρω ιωσι ωρος τό αναντες των ωολιτειων·
- ωσπερ ύπο αοϑματος άδυνατόυσα ωορευέσϑαι·
* "the further they mount up the
"ſteep aſcent of government, the more
"their glory ſinks, as if ſeiz'd with an a"ſthma
and wanting breath to climb on."
Here the very numbers ſeem to labour and
pant: this is a beauty of the ſame kind
with one † before-mentioned out of Xenophon,
and is another happy imitation
of the celebrated lines of HOMER there
taken notice of.
I may alſo mention another example of
this kind, where PLATO is debarring the
youth from being admitted to ſubtile metaphyſical
debates; young men are repreſented
by him, as fond of wrangling, after
* Republ. 8. pag. 568. † Vid. pag. 43.
they have diſputed with a great many different
perſons, ſometimes got the better,
and been as often worſted, at laſt they
turn ſceptical altogether: by which means
philoſophy falls under reproach. Their
manner of diſputing is thus deſcribed, *
χαίροντες ωσπερ σκυλάκια, τω ελκειν τε κι
ασαράττειν τω λόγω τόυς ωλησίον άεί. -
"They take delight, like ſo many young
"dogs, to pull, and tug and tear their
"neighbours, in their diſputes." This is
pretty much an image of the ſame kind
with that in HOMER, where he is deſcribing
the battle round the body of Patroclus,
the Greeks defending it from the enemy,
and the Trojans ſtrugling hard to be maſters
of it.
Ως οιγ ενθα κι ενθα νέκυν -
Εϊλκεον άμφότεροι -
ILIAD. xvii. 394.
As when a ſlaughter'd bull's yet reeking
Strain'd with full force, and tugg'd from
ſide to ſide,
The brawny carriers ſtretch, -
So tugging round the corps, both armys
* Republ. 7. 539.
No reader of PLATO can be ignorant,
of the celebrated defcription of a Planetree
in the beginning of the Phædrus: *
η τε γάρ πλάτανος, αυτη μάλα αμφιλαφής
τε κι ύψηλη, τόυ τε αγνόυ το ϋψος κι το
σύσκιον ωάγκαλον, κι ώς ακμήν εχει της ανϑης,
ώς αν έυωδέςατον ωαρέχοι τον τόπον
ηγε αυ πηγή χαριεςάτη ύπο της πλατάνόυ
ρει μάλα ψυχρόυ υδατος· - ει δ΄ αυ βόυλει, το
ευπνόυν τόυ τόπόυ ώς άγαπητον τεκι σφόδρα ήδύ·
ϑερινόν τε κι λιγυρον ύπηχει τω των τεττίγων
χορω· ωαντων δε κομψότατον το της
πόας, οτι εν ήρέμα ωροσάντει, ικανή ωέφυκε
κατακλινέντι τήν κεφαλήν, ωαγκάλως εχειν·
"How ſtately and ſpreading is the beau"tiful
plane here: then the fine ſhade of
"this tall ſhrub, now in full bloom, and
"diffuſing fragrance all around: while, be"low
the plane-tree, runs this charming
"rivulet of the cooleſt water: don't you
"feel too the ſummer-breeze in this place
"how delightful, and refreſhing! while it
"whiſpers in concert with the chorus of
"the graſhoppers: above all, the fine pile
"of the graſs upon this gentle ſlope!
"ſweetly inviting us to recline in the moſt
* Pag. 230. Vol. III. Edit. Serran,
"agreeable repoſe." Every one of a juſt
ear muſt obſerve,there is not, in this beautiful
deſcription, one harſh or jarring ſyllable,
to diſturb its harmony, or interrupt
the periods in their eaſy flow. CICERO has
ſhewn how much it charmed him, having,
in one * of the nobleſt of his works,
repoſed three ROMAN Sages, under the
ſhade of ſuch another.
I ſhall only take notice of one other
paſſage in the Phædrus † where PLATO
is deſcribing JUPITER, and his attendant
DEITYS in their chariots. ο μεν δή μέγας
ήγεμων έν όυρανω Ζευς, ωτηνον αρμα ελαύνων,
ωρωτος ωορεύεται· - τω δ΄ επεται ςρατιά
ϑεων· - τα μεν ϑεων όχήματα, ισορροπως
εύήνια οντα ραδίως ωορεύεται· — "The
"great leader in heaven JUPITER, driving
"his winged chariot, moves the firſt, beau"tifying
and directing all things. - The
"whole army of Gods and Angels follow
"him. — The well-pois'd chariots of the
"Gods move on with eaſe, obedient to
"the rein." — This paſſage is only taken
* Nam me haec tua Platanus admonuit: quae non minus ad opacandum
hunc locum patulis eſt diffuſa ramis, quam ilia, cujus umbram ſecutus eſt
Socrates, quae mihi videtur non tam ipſa Aquula, quae deſcribitur, quam
Platonis oratione creviſſe. De Oratore Lib. I. Sect. 7.
† Phæd. Tom. III. pag. 246, 247. Serran. edit.
notice of, at preſent, for its beautiful numbers,
ſo well fitted to repreſent the ſmooth
carreer of theſe celeſtial chariots, gliding
along the yielding ether. The beauty of
theſe periods reſembles that of thoſe well--
known lines of HOMER,
Μάςιξεν δ' ϊππόυς, τώ δ΄ όυκ ακοντε πετέοϑην
Μεοσηγυς γαιής τε κι όυρανόυ άςερόεντος.
ILIAD v. 768.
Swift at the ſcourge, the ethereal courſers
While the ſmooth chariot cuts the liquid sky;
5. We ſhall conclude this ſection with
obſerving that ſome of the beſt among the
antient critics have been at great pains in
pointing out beautys of this kind. Dionyſius
Halycarnaſſeus, * after obſerving
that the beſt writers, among the antients,
were very accurate in poliſhing their periods,
and rejecting ſuch numbers as ſeem'd
harſh or indecent, proceeds to give an example
out of PLATO: "What is it, ſays
"he, renders PLATO'S diction ſo beautiful
"and grand, but this, that he has taken
care to adorn it with the beſt and moſt
magnificent numbers: The ſentence in
* De Compoſit. verbor. § 18. pag. 31, 32. Tom. II. Oxon. edit.
"the beginning of his Funeral oration is
"well known, and juſtly celebrated, εργω
"μεν ήμιν οιδ΄ εχόυσι τα ωροσήκοντα σφίσν
"αυτοις, ων τυχόντες, ωορενόνται τήν εί"μαρμένην
ωορείαν· -"And now they
"have got what it really became us to ren"der
them: poſſeſſed of which they go
"the deſtin'd journey." Then the Critic
ſhews, how this period conſiſts of dactyles
ſpondees, anapeſtics, &c. and adds, "In
"the whole of it, there is not one mean
"or unbecoming number; there are a
"thouſand places in PLATO of the ſame
"kind; he had a fine taſte of harmony,
"and juſt modulation; had he been al"ways
as happy in the choice as in the
"compoſition of his words, he would
"have excell'd Demoſthenes himſelf in the
"beauty of diction, or, at leaſt, leſt the
"victory doubtful: this is certain, that his
"compoſition is faultleſs, always diſtinct,
"ſweet, and elegant."
In the ſame manner Demetrius Phalereus
† ſays, "PLATO is very elegant in his
"numbers; they are full, but not prolix,
"and run on eaſily without any ſtop; by
"this means, they are both lively and ſoft;
† Sect 186, 187, 108, Glaſguae 1743.
"strong, and yet magnificent: tho' we
"cannot ſay they are poetry, yet they
"are not far from it. - as in this ſentence,
"το μέν ωρωτον, εϊ τι ϑυμοειδες ειχει
"ωσπερ σιδηρον εμάλαξεν· - This period
"as it ſtands, is elegant and ſonorous, but
"if you invert the poſition of the words,
"and make it, έμάλαξεν ωοπερ σιδηρον,
"you deſtroy the ſymphony, and diveſt
"the period of all its beauty. Again,
"when PLATO is talking of muſical in"ſtruments,
how gracefully does he ac"comodate
his numbers to the ſenſe; as
"in this, κι αυ κατ΄ άγρόυς τοις ωοιμέσι σύ"ρνγξ
αν τις εϊη. If, in the country, a knot of
"ſhepherds have a flute among them; here,
"by the particular turn of the period, he
"has beautifully imitated the ſound of the
"pipe; as will be evident, if you change
"the order of the words."
Plato imitates Homer in his allegorys. -
an allegory on theology, morals and politics.

THE other view in which I would
compare PLATO with HOMER, is
by examining what aſſiſtance he may ſeem
to have taken from the poet in his allegorys,
which are deſigned to convey theological
and moral truths; or in his images,
from natural objects, introduced to make
his philoſophy more entertaining and inſtructive:
this again is a very large field,
but I shall only give a few inſtances.
It has been juſtly obſerved of HOMER,
* "that he was the first, who brought the
"Gods into a ſyſtem of machinery for po"etry,
and created a world for himſelf, in
"the invention of fable." Tho' PLATO is
offended at him, for ſpeaking ſometimes
undecently of the Gods, and therefore, as
a philoſopher, rejects all his immoral and
unbecoming repreſentations of them, yet
he knew well, how much mankind are al*
Vid, Mr. POPE's preface.
lured by theſe charms of poety; and how
uſeful they are on that account for conveying
religious truths.
2. Accordingly, in the place of the
Phædrus above-mentioned * where he is
deſcribing the progreſs of the GODS thro'
the univerſe; and giving an account of
the different events which befall thoſe
ſouls who follow Jupiter, Juno, Apollo, or
Mars, one may clearly perceive a good
deal of the imagery of HOMER. — "Ju"PITER
marches firſt in his winged cha"riot,
as the father of Gods and men; the
"eleven inferior Deitys follow him, (for
"Veſta remains in Olympus,) each pre"ſiding
over the particular province al"loted
them in the univerſe: they attend
"Jupiter willingly; for envy is baniſhed
"from the manſions of the Gods: when
"they go to the banquet, they aſcend
"to the moſt lofty ſummit of Olympus."
Thus far the Philoſopher. - Compare
this with the deſcription of JUPITER'S
chariot in the eighth Iliad, joined with
that of the council of the GODS in the
firſt, and the reſemblance will appear conſiderable.

* Vid. pag. 246, 247. Tom. III. Serran. edit.
PLATO's philoſophy will not allow
him to repreſent the Gods as quarrelling,
therefore he informs us, they live free of
all envy, in that peaceable way, to which
Vulcan, in the Poet, adviſes them;
The wretched quarrels of a mortal ſtate,
Are far unworthy, Gods! of your debate,
Let men their days in ſenſeleſs ſtrife employ,

We, in eternal peace, and conſtant joy.
ILIAD I. 745
The philoſopher alſo has his feaſts, as well
as the poet,
Thus the bleſt Gods the genial day prolong
In feaſts ambroſial, and celeſtial ſong.
ILIAD I. 772.
Thus, tho' PLATO would not give countenance,
to any irreverent ſtorys of the
Gods, yet he was not for rejecting ſuch
allegorys, as might, in complyance with
popular notions, afford an opportunity of
introducing the moſt beautiful, poetic deſcriptions;
ſo, when he deſcribes the feaſts
of the Gods, he ſpeaks only of the inferior
The allegory is carried on thro' a good
part of the Phædrus; the ſum of which in
a few words is this. He compares the mind
to a winged chariot: reaſon is repreſented
as the charioteer; the two horſes are pleaſure
and temperance. The.former of theſe is
painted in moſt ugly colours; as being ſtiff--
necked, with red and fiery eyes, obſtinate,
head-ſtrong, impatient of the whip, or
of the leaſt controul; the other as of a moſt
comely ſhape, eaſily commanded, modeſt,
deſirous of glory, a friend † to true opinions,
needs not the ſpur, but is guided by good
council. - The charioteer therefore has
great difficulty in managing his car, ſince
theſe two horſes, of contrary natures, draw
contrary ways; we are told, that the mind,
as long as it is pure, and retains its wings,
flys upwards, and enjoys divine contemplations:
but upon loſing its wings, falls
downwards into ſome material earthy ſubſtance,
and conſtitutes a mortal animal,
while itſelf remains immortal. When the
wings of the ſoul ſhoot forth again and
grow, they become at length able to elevate;
to the ſublime height where the Gods
dwell, that maſs of earth with which the
mind was formerly overpowered. Then
the mind excels in goodneſs, wiſdom and
beauty: but theſe wings are impaired, and
† See Sect. VI. pas, 87, 88.
loſe all force, when the mind degenerates
and ſinks into vice and folly.In ſuch a ſituation,
it cannot accompany the Gods, nor
aſcend to the heavens; the chariot turns
irregular, and is toſs'd about in ſtrange,
unnatural motions: the driver is thrown
headlong from his ſeat, and loſes all command
over that unruly horſe, who pulls
furiouſly, with a violent tendency to what
is earthy. In ſhort, when the charioteer
and the temperate horſe conſpire together
and overcome the vicious one, which requires
great labour and many a ſevere laſh,
then the mind follows GOD as its leader,
mounts up with ſoaring wings to the celeſtial
regions, enjoys real knowledge, and
is abſorbed in the contemplation of the
This whole deſcription, as it hands in
the original, is wonderfully poetical. HOMER
diſcovers the fertility of his imagination,
not only in his machinery of the Gods,
but in giving life, form, and action, to the
qualitys of the mind, its virtues and vices;
of which there are many inſtances in the
Poet. In the preſent dialogue PLATO
imitates HOMER in both theſe beautys.
* Vide Mr, Pope's poetical Index to HOMER.
How glorious is the ſcene here preſented
to our eyes! JUPITER leads the way to
the grand chorus of the GODS; they follow
him, in their flying chariots, thro'
the etherial path, conſtant and uniform
in their motions; each mind alſo has its
own particular chariot aſſigned it: but as
the ſteeds are diſcordant, and one of them
quite unruly, the charioteer is often diſturbed
in his journey, loſes ſight of the
Gods, falls down to the earth, where he
wanders diſgracefully till the wings of his
ſoul recover their ſtrength, and enable him
again to mount upwards. The moral
of this allegory, "that purity of heart a"lone
qualifys us for approaching the
"DEITY; and that in proportion as we
"indulge our vicious deſires, we become
"ſtrangers to him;" is what we don't at
preſent conſider. We are only taking notice
of the poetical beautys, and how well
PLATO has ſucceeded in repreſenting the
moſt ſublime and uſeful truths by allegorical
In this dialogue, one of the moſt poetic
* in PLATO, he follows HOMER alſo in the
* Socrates invokes the MUSES to aid him in his divine ſong on
love and beauty: tells Phædrus he is inſpired by the NYMPHS, and
diction; among ſeveral examples of this,
I ſhall only take notice of one: in painting
the action of the unruly horſe, when
exciting to lawleſs love, what pomp of
language is diſplayed? σκιρτων δε βία φερεται,
- άναγκαζει ϊεναι τε ωρός τα ωαίδικα;
- άναμιμνήσκων, βιαζόμενος, χρεμετίζον, έλκων.
* - "He leaps, he paws, and
"exults with violence.—he forces on his
"driver and yoke-fellow to venereal plea"ſures;
prompting, conſtraining, neigh"ing,
draging. &c." There is here the
ſame fire and vivacity, which animates
Homer's deſcription of theTrojan troops,
with Hector at their head, attacking the
Grecian trenches;
- όυδέ οι ϊπποι
τόλμων ώκύποδες· μάλα δε χρεμέτιζον επ
χείλει έφεςαότες·-
The panting ſteeds, impatient fury breath,
But ſnort, and tremble at the gulph beneath:
bids him not be ſurprized, if the diction flow in dithyrambicks -
The chirping graſhoppers, ſays he, liſten to our diſcourſe. - He in
effect owns that he is drawing ſtreams from the fountains of Sappho
and Anacreon; that his breaſt is full of ſentiments on theſe ſubjects,
not inferior to theirs. Phædr. Tom. II. pag, 235, 237, 241.
* Vid Pag 254. Tom, III, Serran. edit.
Juſt on the brink they neigh, and paw the
And the turf trembles, and the skies reſound.

It may alſo be compared with the celebrated
ſimile, ‡ abovementioned, of Paris
to a wanton horſe.
3. In HOMER. too, we find ſome account
of the ſoul ſubſiſting after this life,
tho' the happineſs of a future ſtate is there
but very imperfectly repreſented. PLATO
condemns him, for his mean and unworthy
notions of the employments of the
ſpirits in Hades, their groundleſs terrors
ſhrieks, and lamentations; and gives a liſt
of the verſes which he wiſhes were ſtruck
out of the Poet. * — Yet ſtill he ſeems ſenſible,
that ſome rays of truth appear faintly,
thro' the cloud, or allegorical veil, which
HOMER had thrown over them. - This
will be more evident, if we compare a
paſſage in the Gorgias with the deſcent of
Ulyſſes into Hades, as told by HOMER in
the twelfth Odyſſey.
The, fable, as related in the Gorgias †
by SOCRATES, is ſhortly this "Jupiter,
‡ Pag. 49.
* Vid. Republ. 3. pag. 386.
† Gorg. pag. p 523. Tom. I. Serran.
"Neptune, and Pluto divided amongſt
"themſelves (as Homer ſays) the king"dom
of their father. The law in Sa"turn's
time, and which is ſtill obſerved
"by the Gods, was, that ſuch men as led
"juſt and holy lives, were, after death,
"tranſlated to the iſlands of the bleſſed;
"the wicked to Tartarus, a priſon, where
"they were puniſhed. - Pluto finding
"the cuſtom was for living judges to judge
"living men on the day they were to die;
"the conſequence of which was, that
"while the delinquents were clothed with
"beautiful bodys, or adorned with riches,
"and high birth, falſe witneſſes came, and
"depoſed they had lived good lives, by
"which the judges were impoſed on,and
"often pronounced wrong ſentences: I
"ſay, Pluto upon this, went to JUPITER,
"that the matter might he rectified. He
"for the future ordained Prometheus to
"take care, that no man ſhould have a"ny
fore-knowledge of the day of his
"death. JUPITER alſo appointed Æacus
"to judge the Europeans, Minos and Rha"damanthus,
the Aſiatics: and that both
"the judges, and the perſons to be judg"ed,
ſhould be diveſted of their bodys
"and earthly ornaments, ſo that immedi"ately
on the death of any man, Mind
"might view Mind, naked, and unattend"ed
with its friends and acquaintances
"here, and true judgment might paſs up"on
it. The judges pronounced ſen"tence
in a meadow, from whence there
"led two ways, one to the happy iſlands,
"the other to Tartarus. - All theſe things,
"ſays Socrates, I have heard, and agree
"to, and from them I would reaſon thus;
"Death is nothing elſe but the ſeparati"on
of the ſoul from the body: but ſtill
"each retains its own proper habit which
"it had while in this world. If one's bo"dy
was pampered and high-fed here, ſo
"as to become large and bulky, it remains
"ſo after death; if he had fine hair while
"on earth, his body will have the ſame
"ſtill: if beat with ſtripes or wounds, the
"marks of them will remain on his body
"when dead. The ſame thing holds with
"regard to the mind, when ſeparated
"from the body; its nature, affections,
"habits and inclinations become all con"ſpicuous.
- By this means Rhadaman"thus
now views a naked mind; without
"knowing to whom it belong'd. Suppoſe
"he beholds the ſoul of ſome mighty Po"tentate,
having nothing ſound in it, but
"as it were blotted and wounded with
"the dire marks of perjury and injuſtice:
"he clearly perceives the fears which
"villany, falſhood, pride, and a train of
"lawleſs actions have impreſſed on the
"mind! that moment, he, ignominiouſ"ly,
puts it into ſtrict cuſtody, where it
"will meet with deſerved puniſhment.
"Rhadaman thus aſks noqueſtions about
"the delinquent, who he is, or whence
"deſcended; but if he is wicked, commits
"him to Tartarus. — On the other hand,
"if the Judge ſees the Mind, even of a pri"vate
obſcure perſon, who had led a ho"ly
and juſt life, it is ſent to the iſlands of
"the bleſſed. - In all this HOMER bears
"witneſs to us, he repreſents Minos with
"his golden ſcepter adminiſtrating juſ"tice;
wicked kings, who had tyrannized
"over mankind, as Tantalus, Siſyphus,
"&c. are condemned by the Poet to e"verlaſting
puniſhment: whereas Ther"ſites,
a private perſon, tho' a bad man,
"is not treated ſo ſeverely."
Here PLATO himſelf by quoting HOMER,
unvails the whole myſtery and explains
the fable. — In the Odyſſey, Ulyſſes
ſees ſhoals of viſionary ghoſts, and deſcribes
them thus,
Ghaſtly with wounds the forms of warriors
Stalk' d with majeſtic port, a martial train.
ODYSS. xi. 52.
'Tis well known, the antients ſuppoſed,
that the ſhades retained a vehicle reſembling
the body, not groſs, but ſubtile; and
in this the wounds are ſaid to be viſible *
- in a ſubſequent part of the Odyſſey,
Ajax is introduced, but remembering his
treatment from Ulyſſes, will not ſpeak a
word to him;
While yet I ſpeak, the ſhade diſdains to ſtay,
In ſilence turns, and ſullen ſtalks away.
Touch'd at his ſour retreat. -
Ibid. 693.
And laſtly, the Poet gives us this account
of the Judge:
High on a throne, tremendous to behold,
Stern Minos waves a mace of burniſh'd
Still as they plead, the fatal lots he rowls,
Abſolves the juſt, and dooms the guilty
Ibid. 702.
* Vid. the notes on the eleventh Odyſſey.
Theſe are the circumſtances, collected
out of the Poet, which have moſt affinity
with the fable, as related by PLATO. He
finds no fault with antient traditions, ſo far
as they ſerve to convey any uſeful truth,
The doctrine of a future ſtate had been
ſpread over the world, and gained a general
belief: but then the Poets had corrupted
and blended theſe traditions, and purer
truths, with their own fictions. Our philoſopher
entirely drops ſuch notions as might
ſeem immoral, and of pernicious conſequence
to mankind; retains thoſe, which
tho' merely poetical, and the birth of fancy,
yet could do no harm to morals: for
inſtance, HOMER ſays the body preſerves
the marks of the wounds it had got in this
world. SOCRATES here ſimply relates the
fact, pretty much in the way of the Poet
but ſays no manner of ſtreſs upon it, and
ſpeaks not one word of what befals the
vehicle †, or body in Hades; the wounds of
the ſoul are only expoſed, naked, to the
eye of the Judge. Men are repreſented
carrying their paſſions, habits, good or bad
† See the above-mentioned paſſage out of the Cratylus, (in p
107.) where he delivers the ſame doctrine preciſely: the two
paſſages explain each other; ſo that if the one be of the eſoteric kind
ſo is the other alſo.
deſires along with them into the other
world, as Ajax does his ſullen temper;
that is, in other words, heaven or hell ariſe
not from an arbitrary appointment, but
dwell in the breaſt of the virtuous or vicious;
and as mankind are apt to be dazled,
with a fair outſide, and to pronounce
the rich and powerful happy in the next
world, as well as in this; as HOMER gives
a too promiſcuous felicity or miſery to all
his Heroes; ſo our Philoſopher endeavours
to rectify ſuch notions. JUPITER, ſays he,
ordered, that no man be judged while alive,
and that the good be impartially diſtinguiſhed
from the wicked. * - In ſhort
* SOCRATFS here adds, "that, convinced by theſe reaſons, he
"would endeavour to appear before his Judge with a moſt pure
"ſoul." The whole of this paſſage is ridiculed by the Author of
the Divine Legation, in his Remarks ſubjoined to Volume ſecond,
Part 2. Page 64. — It is ſaid, "that the ſpeaker, muſt believe
"a future ſtate thus circumſtanced, viz. that the dead not only
"retain the viſible marks of the paſſions of the mind, but alſo
"the fears of the body, if he believed any at all: but no
"man could be ſo fooliſh as to believe theſe fables." Nothing
can be more obvious, than that the true moral of the fable is as I
have explained it: and in that view, the doctrine here inculcated
is truly noble and divine. I muſt again repeat, that I think it very
remarkable, PLATO never once mentions what is the fate of the
body in the other world; on the contrary, he aſſerts that the condition
and temper of the ſoul is only attended to by the Judges, and
the body intirely omitted. This intimates plainly, that the mind
alone is happy, or miſerable. — Or ſuppoſe, the fable meant the
body alſo ſuffered; is that a circumſtance to make one disbelieve a
PLATO always corrects the theology of
HOMER, and endeavours to reſtore it to
genuine purity and truth; at the ſame time,
that he may engage the attention of mankind,
and his own philoſophy make the
deeper impreſſion, he adorns it with agreeable
allegorys, like the Poet.
4. Among the many delightful effects of
poetry, this is one, that it ſometimes introduces
circumſtances which are wonderful,
or ſurprizing changes brought about
by a ſuperior power: theſe fill the mind
with admiration, one of the moſt pleaſing
paſſions. Thus PLATO, to relieve the mind
from the fatigue of attending to the ſubtile
metaphyſical arguments for the immorfuture
ſtate? ſurely not. — In this view the reaſonable interpretation
of the fable would be; He, who fed and pamper'd his body
here, who weakened and brought diſeaſes on it by intemperance,
would have the ſame pains and diſeaſes continued for a puniſhment
in the other world. — What ſtrange abſurdities would we
fall into, did we always interpret PLATO'S allegorys, or figurative
expreſſions in a literal ſenſe: thus he ſays, (Lib. V. Republ. pag.
467. ωτερόυν χρή ωαιδία οντα ευϑυς, &c. "We muſt add
"wings to our children" (i.e. give them horſes, as he explains it)
"that they may fly off and eſcape:" — which image he clearly
takes from HOMER, who, when Achilles had put on his new ſuit of
armour, ſays, it was like wings to him, - τω δ' ήυτε ωτερα γίνετ'·
- If one ſhall, like Mr. W. take the preſent allegory in
a ſtrict literal ſenſe, and from thence laugh at PLATO, for believing
a dead body had fine hair in Hades, he may juſt as well laugh at
PLATO, for believing, the boys would have real wings, when "THUS
tality of the ſoul, ſubjoins the following
beautiful allegory. He is conſidering what
the mind truly is in its own nature; and
informs us, we muſt not, as we do at preſent,
view it polluted by its partnerſhip
with the body, and by other evils. We
muſt diligently contemplate, by our reaſon,what
its nature is, when become pure;
then will the mind appear by far more
beautiful, and have more adequate notions
of juſtice and injuſtice. "I ſhall tell
"you truly, ſays Socrates to Glaucus, *
"how it appears at preſent, by conſider"ing
it in the ſame view, in which the
"Marine Glaucus is repreſented. We
"cannot, ſay they, ſee his former nature,
"the members of his body being ſtrange"ly
broken, metamorphoſed, and diſſi"pated
by the waves, and other things,
"ſuch as ſhells, ſea-weed, ſtones, now
"grown to him in the place of his former
"limbs; ſo that he is, in all reſpects, ra"ther
like a wild beaſt, than his former
"kind. — In like manner our mind is
"here involved in a thouſand evils which
"defile and deform it. But we muſt, my
"friend, look to this. To what, ſays
* Republ. X. pag. 611, 612.
"Glaucus? - To the philoſophic part
"of the mind; and conſider what theſe
"things are, which it embraces, as of a
"kind with what is divine, immortal, eter"nal;
and whoſe converſation it pants af"ter;
and what it will become, when the
"whole of it follows that eternal nature:
"by this attraction, it will emerge, and
"be delivered out of that ocean it is plun"ged
in at preſent, will throw off theſe
"ſtones and ſhells, which, now that it is
"fed by earth, have cauſed many things
"earthy, ſtony, and wild to grow to it, by
"means of a food commonly thought the
"moft happy." Then we ſhall know its
true nature, whether ſimple or multiform,
or whatever it be.
We need not inſiſt on the obvious
beautys of this fable, nor mention the
cloſe application to the truths it is deſigned
to illuſtrate.
Thus we have ſeen how PLATO imitates
HOMER, in deſcribing, by allegory,
theological truths. - The Poet alſo gives us
allegorical fables upon morals: as when
MINERVA deſcends to calm Achilles; this
is generally interpreted to be an allegory of
prudence reſtraining paſſion; there are many
other fables of like nature in the Iliad.
PLATO, from the extent, and fecundity of
his imagination, is not always under a neceſſity
of copying after the Poet directly;
in following HOMER'S manner, he can open
new ſcenes of his own, equally entertaining
and inſtructive. We have mentioned
two allegorys on theology, and ſhall
now take notice of one on morals, and another
on policy.
5. Our philoſopher makes uſe of the
following allegory, to prove, from the inward
frame of the mind, that injuſtice is
unnatural to us; * "Imagine to yourſelf,
"ſays SOCRATES to Glaucus, the figure of
"a various, many-headed-beaſt, with the
"heads of wild and tame animals, and
"which can at pleaſure produce and rear
"them all out of itſelf, and again with"draw
or change them! - A horrid fi"gure
indeed, ſays Glaucus, but as lan"guage
is more pliable than wax, let us
"form it. - Add together the figures of
"a lyon and of a man, † let the former be
"huge, the ſecond ſmaller; join there into
"one, and make them cleave faſt to each
* Republ. IX. pas. 588, 589.
† The Greek is corrupted here.
"other: when you have gone thus far,
"you are next to ſurround it with the
"outward form of a man, ſo that he who
"cannot look to what is within, and
"views only the outward coat or cover"ing,
thinks it one animal, a man. — Let us
"then ſay to him, who aſſerts it profitable
"for this creature or man, to act unjuſt"ly,
and diſadvantageous to follow juſ"tice,
you aver plainly it is for his advan"tage
to feed this many-headed-monſter,
"and add ſtrength to the lyon and lyon"part
of his frame; to ſtarve and weaken
"the man, till thro' imbecillity he be drag"ged
wherever the other pleaſes: that the
"two are never friends or reconciled, but
"eternally bite, rend, and fight with each
"other: — whoever adviſes injuſtice, ad"viſes
all this. On the other hand,
"whoever recommends juſt actions as
"profitable, adviſes thoſe things to be
"done and ſpoken, by which the inward
"man-part of this animal becomes ſupe"rior,
and like a careful husband-man,
"ſuperintends theſe numerous teeming
"creatures, nouriſhes and cheriſhes the
"tame, lops off the wild, turns to its own
"aid the nature of the lyon, and in con"cert
governs all; rendering them all
"friends to itſelf, and to each other. -
"Thus this part governs. - and this is
"the language of him who applauds ju"ſtice.

PLATO ſeems here to copy after the
picture Homer gives of Scylla; and ſo indeed
he himſelf acknowledges when he
ſays, "I am to give you ſuch an image,
"as the antient Mythologiſts uſe their
"deſcriptions of Cerberus and Scylla, and
"ſuch like, where various forms are uni"ted
into one." —
It may not be improper, in a few words,
to give a further explication from PLATO,
of this fine allegory, and the other inferences
he draws from it. - The chief intent
of PLATO'S reaſoning on this, is to
prove, that when the whole ſoul agrees
with the philoſophic or rational part, and
rebels not againſt it, then each faculty enjoys
its proper ſtate, performs its own functions,
acts with regularity, taſtes thoſe
pleaſures which are peculiar to it, and are
the beſt and trueſt it is capable of. But
when any lower power aſſumes a ſuperiority,
the conſequence is, that it never
enjoys its own proper pleaſure, yet at the
ſame time, compels all the other facultys
to purſue a foreign and falſe pleaſure. —
Theſe therefore are our reaſons, ſays PLATO,
for calling a way of life, becoming or
baſe; I mean, that is becoming, which ſubjects
the brutal part of our nature to the
man, or rather to what is divine; that is
baſe, which enſlaves the tame to the wild
part. — According to this doctrine, is there
any man, to whom it will be profitable to
pilfer gold, when by doing ſo, he enthrals
his moſt excellent to his moſt ignoble
part; ſhould he acquire the greateſt riches
by making his ſon or daughter a ſlave to
brutal wicked men, would he thence reckon
himſelf a gainer? And if he enſlave
his divine to his impure and profane part,
without feeling a ſenſible remorſe, is he
not really miſerable? is he not bribed by
the gold to his own utter perdition?
Again, to demonſtrate how intemperance
and luxury deſtroy the juſt ballance
of our affections, he argues thus: Intemperance
muſt be condemned, becauſe
by it that huge, terrible, many-headed animal
is pampered beyond meaſure. —
Impudence, pride, and inſolence muſt
likewiſe be condemned, becauſe they enlarge
the ſerpentine and lyon-part, and extend
it immoderately. - The reſult of
flattery, avarice and illiberality is, that
they enſlave the brave and magnanimous
part to this tumultuous wild-beaſt, and
from an inſatiable thirſt after gain, habituate
it to what is infamous, and turn it
from a lyon to an ape. - Luxury and effeminacy
muſt be charged with the guilt
of rendering the beſt part impotent; it becomes
unable to govern the wild-beaſts
within; nay rather feeds them, and is employed
in finding for them proper blandiſhments.

As each of us therefore has a divine and
wiſe governor planted in his heart, ſo we
ought to be ſubject to the beſt part of ourſelves,
and make reaſon reign abſolute ſovereign
in its own polity. How then can
we ſay it is profitable for a man to act unjuſtly,
baſely, or intemperately? ſince the
more wealth or power he acquires by
that means, the worſe he becomes. - It
is alſo advantageous for the unjuſt man
to be puniſhed for his vices: for if duly
corrected, the brutal part becomes chaſtiſed
and ſubject, and the tame part ſet at
liberty; till this be done he can never be
happy. — The whole mind being now reſtored
to its beſt nature, muſt, as far as the
mind excels the body, obtain a more honourable
habit, by poſſeſſing temperance,
wiſdom, and juſtice, than the body can
attain by ſtrength and beauty and health.
— If we corrupt and deſtroy the nature
of the body, we cannot live, tho' poſſeſſed
of all the delicacys, all the riches, nay the
empire of the whole world. Is life then
worth having, if that nature, by which
we live, if the mind, is corrupted and deſtroyed?
or if we are intent on any other
thing, than to be free of injuſtice and vice,
and poſſeſſed of juſtice and virtue?
6. The next allegory I ſhall give, is on
politics. PLATO intending to ſhew how
neceſſary it is, that the members of a ſtate
be all united, and friends to each other;
chuſes to expreſs himſelf in the following
allegorical manner, and enters abruptly
upon his ſtory, thus: "there is an an"tient
* Phenician fable, which I believe
"will not eaſily gain credit; what words
"ſhall I uſe, what courage is requiſite,
"when I attempt to perſuade our gover"nors
and generals, that the education
* Republ. VII. Pag. 414, 415
"and diſcipline we give them is all a
"dream? – They were once truly formed,
"and bred out of the earth, themſelves,
"their armour, and whole apparatus. Af"ter
they were completely formed, and
"the earth their mother had brought
"them forth, it was incumbent on them
"to conſult the good of the country, in
"which they were, and defend it, as their
"nurſing parent, againſt all enemys; to
"look on their fellow-citizens, as their
"brethren, ſprung from the ſame earth.
"We may then addreſs them in this
"mythological manner. You who are
"in the ſame ſtate, be all of you brethren.
"The Plaſtic God has mixed gold in the
"form of ſuch as are fit for governing,
"becauſe moſt honourable; ſilver in that
"of the auxiliaries (i.e. ſuch as are cap"able
to give good help and advice); iron
"and braſs, in that of the husbandmen
"and artificers. - Being all related to
"one another, each of them will, for the
"moſt part, beget others like themſelves:
"— but ſometimes it happens, that the
"ſilver kind will be produced from the
"golden, and the golden from the ſilver,
"and ſo of the reſt. — The God laid ſtrict
"orders on the governors, to exert their
"authority , chiefly in this reſpect, I
"mean, in enquiring accurately into the
"mixture or compoſition of their deſcen"dants;
and if their children had a ſhare
"of braſs or iron in their make, to aſſign
"them, without pity, an office agreeable
"to their nature, and thruſt them down
"among the artificers and husbandmen.
" — On the other hand, if theſe latter pro"duced
the golden or silver kind, they
"were accordingly to be advanced to the
"magiſtracy, or made auxiliarys; as if an
"Oracle had ſaid, the ſtate will go to ruin,
"when the iron, or brazen natures go"vern."
— Thus ends the fable.
'Tis almoſt needleſs to obſerve, that this
allegory recommends the practice of two
maxims, both of great importance to mankind;
the one has been already mentioned,
that nothing contributes ſo much to
the preſervation of a ſtate as true harmony,
love and affection, among all its inhabitants.
— The ſecond cannot be better expreſſed
than in the words of PLATO in
another place, † " that unleſs Philoſophers
"govern ſtates, or thoſe called Gover†
Vid. Republ 3. pag. 386.
"nors and Potentates, become true and
"perfect philoſophers, ſo that civil poli"cy
and philoſophy, now disjoined,
"ſtudied by people of different genius
"and rank, be united; there will be no
"end to the evils and miſerys of man"kind,"

The Philoſopher's Cave explained. — Plato,
did not hold the ſoul to be reſolved into the
Deity after death. Mr. Warburton's aſſertion
of this ſhewn to be groundleſs.
THE laſt allegory I shall mention out
of PLATO, is that celebrated one of
the Philoſopher's Cave; I place it Iaſt, becauſe
it is, in effect, a ſummary of the doctrines
contained in the forgoing, and is
deſigned to illuſtrate as well theological as
moral and political truths. * Socrates, who
is ſtill converſing with Glaucus, begins it
thus: "After theſe things, conceive our
"nature, with regard to knowledge and
"ignorance, to reſemble ſuch a caſe as
"this: Imagine men in ſome kind of ha*
Republ. VII. from the beginning.
"bitation under-ground like a cave, with
"a long entry up to the light, opening di"rectly
into the body of the cavern. Sup"poſe
them here from their infancy, fet"tered
by the neck and legs; ſo that they
"cannot ſtir; and can only look ſtreight
"forward; the fetters rendering it impoſ"ſible
for them to turn about their heads.
"Imagine the light of a fire burning on
"high, at a diſtance, behind them; and
"between the fire and the priſoners an
"upper path a-croſs; along the ſide of
"this a breaſt-wall built, ſomewhat like
"thoſe the jugglers erect between them
"and the multitude, and over which they
"ſhow their wonders. — I ſee it. — See,
"then, men carrying, along this wall,
"furniture, veſſels, and inſtruments, of
"all ſorts, bearing them up higher than
"the wall; ſtatues alſo of men, and other
"animals, in ſtone and wood, and vari"ous
works of art of every kind; the
"bearers, as 'tis likely, ſome ſpeaking
"ſome ſilent. — Strange image! this, you
"mention, and ſtrange theſe priſoners! -
"Yet like ourſelves, however. For, in
"the firſt place, do you think ſuch men
"wou'd ſee any thing elſe of themſelves
"or one another, except the ſhadows caſt
"by the fire on the oppoſite ſide of the
"cave? — Nothing elſe, ſince compel"led
by force to hold their heads im"moveable.
— And of the bearers too
"what elfe except the ſhadows? - No"thing.
— And, if they cou'd converſe
"with one another, don't you think it
"wou'd be the cuſtom too, with them, to
"give names to thoſe things they ſaw be"fore
them? – Certainly. – And if the cave
"had alſo an echo, from the ſide oppoſite
"to the priſoners; when any of the bear"ers
ſpoke as they paſſed along, do you
"think they wou'd take anything elſe for
"the ſpeaker but the paſſing ſhadow? -
"It is impoilible they cou'd. – Such men,
"'tis plain, muſt, of neceſſity, take no"thing
to be real but the ſhadows of the
"things carryed along the wall. - They
"muſt ſo, abſolutely. - Conſider, now,
"what the releaſe from their fetters and
"cure of their errors wou'd prove to
"men in ſuch circumſtances. When any
"one was unfettered, and forced on the
"ſudden to ſtand up, to turn about his
"head, to walk, and look up to the light
"of the fire. In doing all this, he wou'd
"be in pain, and unable, in that gleam of
"light, to view thoſe objects whoſe ſha"dows
he had ſeen before. What, think
"you, wou'd he ſay? if one told him, that,
"formerly, he had ſeen only mere no"things,
but now approached nearer the
"truth, and, being turned toward more
"real objects, ſaw more perfectly. then,
"pointing out each object, as it paſſed a"long,
aſk what it is, and oblige him to
"anſwer. don't you think he would be
"perplexed, and judg the things he had
"formerly ſeen more real than thoſe now
"pointed out? — Much more real. - And
"if he compelled him even to look on the
"light of the fire itſelf, he wou'd feel his
"eyes pain'd, wou'd avoid it, and, turning
"to thoſe things he was able to behold,
"deem them really much more diſtinct
"and clear than theſe now ſhewn him. —
"he wou'd ſo. — Then, if one pulled him
"thence, forcibly, up the rough and ſteep
"aſcent, and did not quit him till dragged
"out into the light of the ſun; wou'd he
"not he in ſorrow and vexation, by the
"way; and, when come out, into the
"light, his eyes being filled with the ſplen"dour,
wou'd he not be unable to ſee a"ny
of thoſe things we now call real? -
"at first he wou'd be ſo, no doubt. - It
"muſt require time, then, to accuſtom
"him gradually to look on the things a"bove-ground;
and, at firſt, he cou'd moſt
"eaſily behold the ſhadows; after that
"the images, in the water, of men and o"ther
things; then thoſe objects them"ſelves:
after them, the celeſtial bodys,
"and the ſky itſelf he wou'd more eaſily
"behold at night, viewing them by the
"light of the ſtars and moon, than in the
"day-time by the ſun, and the ſun's light.
"— undoubtedly. — At laſt, he wou'd, I
"fancy, be able to look even at the ſun;
"not in the water, nor at his image ſeen
"thro' ſome other medium by the help
"of art; but at himſelf directly, behold.
"ing him in his own ſeat, and contem"plating
his nature. - certainly. — And,
"afterwards, he wou'd, by reaſon and re"flection,
diſcover, that, this is he who
"gives the ſeaſons and the years, who go"verns
all things in this viſible univerſe,
"and is even the cauſe of all which they
"had ſeen below-ground. - 'tis plain he
"wou'd advance thus. Well, then,
"when he reflected on his former habita"tion,
his knowledg there, and his late
"fellow-priſoners; don't you think he
"wou'd bleſs a change ſo happy for him"ſelf,
and pity them. — he ſurely wou'd. -
"And if theſe priſoners had among them
"any honours, praiſes, or rewards, for
"him who moſt acutely diſcerned the
"pairing objects, and beſt remembered
"which of them uſually went before, or
"after, or together, and thence foretold
"the moſt exactly what was to come
"next: wou'd he, think you, have any
"paſſion for ſuch fame or honour; or en"vy
thoſe who got them? wou'd he not,
"far rather, as Homer ſays,
" † Become a drudge for hire to ſome poor
"endure any thing ſooner than return to
"ſuch opinions, and ſuch a life? - I be"lieve,
indeed, he wou'd prefer any hard"ſhips
to ſuch a life. Conſider, alſo
"this, now: were ſuch a man to deſcend,
"and ſit down, again, in the ſeat he left;
"wou'd he not have his eyes filled with
"darkneſs, coming thus, on a ſudden
"from the ſun? - ſurely. - And if he were
"obliged to form ſome judgment of thoſe
† ODYSS. xi. 488. In the Greek.
"ſhadows, and converſe about them with
"thoſe perpetual priſoners, while his ſight
"was yet confuſed and dim, before his
"eyes returned to their firſt ſtate, (and
"that wou'd take ſome time;) wou'd they
"not all laugh at him? and ſay, he had
"ſpoiled his eyes by going up: that it was
"wrong to think at all of going up: and;
"whoever went about to unfetter and
"carry up any of them, if they cou'd, by
"any means, get him into their hands;
"they wou'd put him to death. — They
"wou'd without mercy."
2. This fable is intirely PLATO'S * own
* It is plain that Ariſtotle had very much in view this allegory
of Plato, in that celebrated quotation, which Cicero gives out of
ſome part of his works now loſt; I ſhall ſet it down at full length,
that the reader may judge, if ſome of the ſentences in it are not
almoſt a literal tranſlation from Plato. - "Praeclare ergo Ariſtote"les,
ſi eſſent, inquit, qui ſub terra ſemper habitaviſſent, bonis et illuſtribus
"domiciliis, quae eſſent ornata ſignis atque picturis, inſtructaque rebus in
"omnibus, quibus abundant ii, qui beati putantur, nec tamen exiſſent un"quam
ſupra terram: accepiſſent autem famâ et auditione, eſſe quoddam
"numen et vim Deorum: deinde, aliquo tempore, patefactis terrae fau"cibus,
ex illis abditis ſedibus evadere in haec loca, quae nos incolimus, at"que
exire potuiſſent: cum repente terram et maria coelumque vidiſſent
"nubium magnitudinem ventorumque vim cognoviſſent, adſpexiſſentque ſo"lem,
ejuſque tum magnitudinem pulchritudinemque tum etiam efficienti"am
cognoviſſent, quod is diem efficeret, toto coclo luce diffusâ: cum au"tem
terras nox opacaſſet, tum coelum Islam cernerent aſtris diſtinctum et
"ornatum, lunaeque luminum varietatem tum creſcentis tum ſeneſcentis,
"eorumque omnium ortus et occaſus, atque in omni aeternitate ratos immu''tabileſque
curſus: haec cum viderent, profecto et eſſe Deos, et haec tan"ta
opera Deorum eſſe arbitrarentur." algae haec quidem ille. Cicero
de natura Deortun lib, ii. § 37.
and ſeems not borrowed in the leaſt from
Homer; if the original is looked into, the
language will be found in ſome places very
poetical; and as the allegory itſelf is
wrought up with a great deal of fancy, ſo
the diction is proportionably elegant and
fine. I could point out ſeveral expreſſions
the ſame which Homer uſes on the like
occaſion; but perhaps ſuch obſervations
may be thought too minutely curious.
3. A ſhort explication of the foregoing
allegory will be leſs liable to objection; and
without entering into the different myſterys
which Ficinus and other commentators
diſcover in it, we ſhall give the interpretation
pretty much in PLATO'S own
manner. - In the ſixth book of the Republics
PLATO conſiders the neceſſity of
a virtuous education, how philoſophy is
to be taught, and the character of a real
philoſopher; then proceeds to obſerve, in
what the higheſt learning or knowledge
conſiſts. This he places in the idea of good;
that is, according to his language, the
knowledge of the DEITY; and adds, without
this learning every thing elſe is uſeleſs
but GOD himſelf, he owns cannot be deſcribed.
The beſt idea we can form of him
is from his works, and from conſidering
that his goodneſs is the ſource of all other
things. - This he illuſtrates by the following
image: The CREATOR of our ſenſes
has formed that power by which we
ſee, or are ſeen. Now tho' ſight is in the
eye; and tho' colours be alſo preſent, yet
without a third thing, ſight can neither
ſee, nor colours be ſeen: this third thing
is light. The chief cauſe of light to us,
by which we ſee and obſerve viſible objects,
is the ſun; - but ſight is not the
ſun, nor is the eye in which it reſides
the ſun, tho' it has, of all the organs of
our ſenſes, the greateſt ſhare of ſun, (if I
may ſpeak ſo,) in it, it retains and diſpoſes
of that power or virtue,which flows
to it from the ſun. - On the other hand,
we cannot ſay, the ſun is ſight, but being
only the cauſe of it, is ſeen by it. In
ſhort, tho' we ſee by the ſun, yet he is not
ſight; nor is ſight, or eye, the ſun. — Now,
ſays PLATO, in like manner I call that, the
offspring of good (i.e. the works of the DEITY)
which GOOD has produced, analogous
to or like itſelf; ſo that the ſame reſpect
which the idea of good has, in the intellectual
place, to intellect and the things
underſtood by it, the other, the ſun, has, in
the viſible place, to ſight and the things
ken by it. To explain this more fully. —
When the eyes are turned to theſe objects
which day-light hath not coloured, and
which are covered by the ſhade of night,
they are quite dim and almoſt blind, as
having no clear view: but if they look to
thoſe objects upon which the ſun ſhines,
then they ſee diſtinctly and have a clear
view. - In like manner, we are to conceive
of the mind; "when it cleaves firm"ly
to that in which TRUTH and the ΤΟ΄
"΄΄ΟΝ, the DEITY, reſide and ſhine forth,
"it knows and underſtands what that is,
"and ſeems to have intelligence: but when
"intent on that, which is involved in
"darkneſs, is created, and corruptible,
"then it perceives by opinion, becomes
"dim, is toſſed by various and contradi"ctory
thoughts, and ſeems devoid of in"telligence."
- That, then, which gives
truth to the objects of knowledge, and a
power or underſtanding to the perſon
knowing, we may call the idea of good; it
is really the cauſe of knowledge and truth,
and of all things known by the intellect:
theſe two, knowledge and truth, are indeed
beautiful: but if we think the idea of,
good more beautiful than both, we judge
aright. - And as light and viſion partake
of the ſun, yet are not the ſun; ſo knowledge
and truth are juſtly ſaid to partake
of good, but it is not right to think either
of them are good itſelf. The nature of
good is more noble and honourable than
theſe. - "In fine, this incomprehenſible
"beauty, which produces truth and know"ledge,
ſurpaſſes both in beauty, and is
"infinitely more excellent, in dignity and
"power, than all created beings."
Theſe obſervations being premiſed, the
meaning of this allegory will be the more
eaſily found. The priſon, ſays PLATO repreſents
this viſible world; the light of the
fire in it, the power of the ſun; the chains
point out thoſe fetters which entangle the
ſoul while confined to this body; the ſhadows
the objects of our ſenſes, which
are but images of things which really exiſt.
- The. whole ſtudy of philoſophy
conſiſts in raiſing the mind from ſenſible
objects to intellectual, that ſo we may aſcend
at laſt to Good itſelf, the ſupreme
light and inexhauſtible fountain of all in†
See, hic, pag. 187 and the note on it.
tellectual being. Now the ſame reſpect
which ſight has to the cauſe or producer
of it in this viſible world, that is, to the
ſun, the very ſame has intellect to the
cauſe and author of what is intellectual,
that is, to GOD. And as the ſun produces
ſight, and gives to the eye the faculty of
ſeeing; fo God creates intelligence, and
continually imparts to every created being
the power of underſtanding; and it is
only by contemplating the works of nature
that we can arrive at the knowledge
of GOD.
The gradual ſteps by which we aſcend
to knowledge, and the difficulty with
which we obtain it, is repreſented by the
priſoner dragged out of the cave, and forced
to look upon the ſun. - His being able
at laſt to view the ſun himſelf informs us,
that by cloſe attention, and ſerious application,
this knowledge may be at length
acquired. His reluctance to deſcend
again into the cave repreſents the high
pleaſure we feel in knowledge, and our
joy in being delivered from our former ignorance.
Laſtly, as philoſophy has been
obſerved frequently to render men unfit
for the affairs of human life, or unwilling
to enter into the buſineſs of the world; we
need not be ſurpriſed, ſays PLATO, if thoſe
who deſcend from the higher region will
not engage in the affairs of mankind, their
ſouls always aſpiring upwards. If the former
image be juſt, there is an obvious reaſon
for this; can we think it wonderful, if
when one falls down from divine contemplations
into the midſt of human evils, he
ſhould be unfit for action, and appear ridiculous,
if obliged while yet almoſt blind,
and not ſufficiently habituated to the preſent
darkneſs, to contend, in judicatures,
and other places, about the ſhadows of juſtice,
and other empty phantoms, here, arguing
with thoſe who never once ſaw juſtice,
nor can conceive or apprehend it. -
One intent, with his whole intellectual
powers, on the true nature of things, is not
at leiſure to look downwards on the affairs
of mankind, or to ſtruggle earneſtly about
them, expoſed to envy and ill-will: he directs
his eye upwards; contemplates the
works of nature and the attributes of the,
DEITY diſplayed in them. Theſe objects
are always the ſame, uniform, and orderly;
they neither injure, nor are injured by
one another; but are diſpoſed with the utmoſt
beauty and regularity. Theſe alone
he imitates, and endeavours to reſemble:
for one cannot love or admire any thing
without copying after it. — Thus the philoſopher
will be averſe to engage in human
But we muſt, continues PLATO, exhort
our pupils to abandon their contemplation
for ſome time, to employ themſelves
in the affairs of ſociety, and make their
knowledge uſeful to mankind; they muſt
not indulge a mere contemplative philoſophy;
but thence draw rules that may
be of ſervice to the world. Our buſineſs
therefore is, to compell the beſt of
our citizens to acquire that knowledge,
which we have ſaid is the higheſt; to ſee
what is good, and mount up that aſcent.
But after they have got a full and clear
view, we muſt not allow them, as is now
done, to remain there, without deſcending
to our priſoners, or partaking of their labours
and honours, whether contemptible
or worthy. — We muſt, ſays PLATO,
perſuade them, in the following manner,
to promote the public good, and undertake
the care and guardianſhip of others:—"†
You we have formed, to be"come,
for yourſelves and your fellow
"citizens, like the leaders and kings
"the bee-hives; as of a finer and more
"perfect education, and better able to
"perform theſe public dutys. You muſt
"deſcend then, each of you, into the ha"bitation
of your fellow-citizens, live to"gether
with them, and accuſtom your"ſelves
to the ſight of dim and dark ob"jects;
for, when once accuſtomed, you
"will perceive them a thouſand times
"more diſtinctly than the reſt can; and
"diſcern each image, of what kind it is,
"and what the image of; becauſe you
"have already ſeen the reality of beauty
"of juſtice, and of goodneſs. Thus, both
"to you and us, our city will become a
"ſtate of real ſocial happineſs, and not a
"dream of ſuch, as now, in many ſtates;
"where fellow-citizens fight with one an"other
about ſhadows, and ſtruggle for
"power, as for ſome mighty good. But
"the truth is thus. Where the men leaſt
"deſirous of power are thoſe intruſted
"with power, that ſtate will be beſt go"verned.
and the contrary, where the
† Republ. VII. pag. 520, 521.
"governors are contrary. — When our
"diſciples hear this they will not refuſe
"to hearken to us, nor remain unwilling
"to take their ſeveral ſhares of labour for
"the public; nor ſeek to continue on with
"one another in the calm of contempla"tion.
For we are demanding what is
"juſt, from men of juſtice. Yet they will
"enter on theſe public offices, as what
"they are obliged to by neceſſity, far op"poſite
to the preſent governors in all
"ſtates. For thus it is, and thus only. If
"you can, for thoſe who are to govern,
"find a life more eligible than that of pu"blic
power and rule, then will you have
"a ſtate well-ordered and happy. For
"in that ſtate alone thoſe will be gover"nors,
who really are rich; not in gold;
"for ſuch wealth brings not happineſs;
"but in the practice of goodneſs, and of
"wiſdom. But if men, who are poor and
"beggarly, in private good, come into pu"blic
office, and think to plunder good
"from thence; you cannot preſerve the
"public welfare. For when power be"comes
the ſubject of contention and
"broil among the citizens, ſuch war be"ing
domeſtic and inteſtine brings both
themſelves and the whole ſtate to ruin.
Thus it muſt be evident, how much this
allegory tends to inculcate the practice of
divine, and moral truths, and to give
right notions of the true end of philoſophy,
and the means of right government
and public happineſs.
4. In this allegory, and in the explication
of it, PLATO has often occaſion to uſe
the high metaphorical expreſſion of the
ſoul's approaching, aſcending, and returning
to the ΤΟ΄ ΅ΟΝ. It is from ſuch figurative
expreſſions as theſe, that the writer of
the divine legation, imagines he can prove
the antient philoſophers could not believe
the immortality of the ſoul in its diſtinct
and peculiar exiſtence, becauſe, ſays he, *
"they held it was part of God, diſcerped
"from him, and to be reſolved again in"to
him." He gives at ſome length, the
words of the philoſophers on this head;
and adds "that PLATO without any DE"TOUR
frequently calls the ſoul God, and
"part of God νόυν άει ϑεον;" where, by the
by, 'tis obſervable the Greek words are
wrong tranſlated: they mean only the ſoul
is A GOD; this appellation PLATO gives,
* Div. Legat. Vol. I. pag. 380 to 389. firſt Edit.
as we have ſeen in the former ſection, to
ſpirits which he expreſly ſays were created
by the ſupreme God. To ſupport
Mr. W—'s tranſlation, the Greek ſhou'd
have been ΤΟΝ ΘΕΟΝ.
I have no deſign at preſent, to enter into
ſuch a deep point of antient philoſophy,
as the doctrine concerning the το εν,
my intention is only to defend PLATO;
and I ſhall here give a paſſage from him,
referring to the † original below, by which
I apprehend it will appear, PLATO never
dreamed of the ſenſe this writer endeavours
to put on him.
In removing an objection againſt philoſophy,
namely, that ſome profeſſors of
it were wicked in their lives. This, ſays
PLATO, is not the fault of philoſophy.
"We have already given our Philoſo"pher
TRUTH for his guide; we ſay, a
† Αρ΄ όυν δη όυ μετρίως άπολογησόμεθα, οτι ωρος το ον
ωεφυκώς ειη άμιλλαοϑαι ογε οντως φιλομαθης, κι όυκ έπιμένοι
έπι τοις δοξαζομένοις ειναι πολλοις, άλλ' ϊοι,
κι όυκ άμϐλύνοιτο, όυδ άπολήγοι τόυ ερωτος, πρίν αύτόυ ο έςιν
έκάςόυ της φύσεως αψαοϑαι, ω προσήκοι ψυχης έφάπτεοϑαι
τόυ τοιόυτόυ. ωροσήκ δε ξυϞγενει· ω ωλησιάσας, κι
μιγεις τω οντως ονϞι, γεννήθειαν, γνοίη τε κι
άληθως ζώη κι τρέφοιϞο· κι όυτω λήγοι ώδινος, πριν δ' όυ.
Republ. VI. pag. 490.
"man, really deſirous of knowledge, na"turally
ſtrives to comprehend, and a"ſpire
after the ΤΟ΄ ΅ΟΝ, lingers not a"bout
the objects of opinion, but goes on
"without being fatigued, or cooled in his
"love, 'till he apprehend the nature of e"very
thing which it is proper for the
"mind to know; and this, 'tis proper and
"becoming it to know, as an object con"genial
to itſelf: having approached it,
"and immixed himſelf with the real ΤΟ΄
"΅ΟΝ, he produces intelligence and truth;
"receiving from it knowledge, true life,
"and nouriſhment.Then his pain is at an
"end, but not ſooner. Such a man can"not
love, but muſt hate, falſhood: when
"truth is the leader, the chorus of the vi"ces
cannot follow." Can any thing
be more evident than.that PLATO is here
ſpeaking of a man, who, in his language,
is expreſsly μιγεις τω ονϞι (immixed in God)
while he is yet alive; this ſurely muſt be
taken in a figurative ſenſe: and therefore, I
muſt conclude, when PLATO talks of the
human ſoul, as being a diſcerped part of
the univerſal mind, and after its ſeparation
from the body again reunited into the
DEITY, that his ſtyle is alſo figurative; and
that from this language of his, it cannot be
inferr'd, that the ſoul after death falls into
the ΤΟ΄ ΅ΟΝ and becomes a part of it,
in any other ſenſe than it may do, even
while remaining in the body. Nay ſo far
as I have obſerved, I cannot in the whole
of PLATO's works find ſo ſtrong an expreſſion,
with regard to the ſoul after it
has left the body, as that one we have
here relating to it, while yet in the body.
I mean, I don't find it any where affirmed
in expreſs words, that after death the ſoul
is μιγεις τωονϞι: poſſibly he may uſe words
pretty much of the ſame import; but that
will afford no help to Mr. W. for there are
many ſuch expreſſions in the * ſixth and
ſeventh book of the Republics cleary ſpoken
of perſons yet alive. Thus he ſpeaks
of one, who converſes with the Divinity
(6όμιλων) and yet he has his faults, which
could not be, were the perſon fully divine;as
alſo the (επανοδος) or return to the
ΤΟ΄ ΅ΟΝ, is applied to the philoſophers
who are to be made magiſtrates in the Republic
after that return. So likewiſe it is
* Vide Republic VI. p. 500, line 29. and Republic VII. p. 517.
line 20. p. 521. line 28. p. 532. line 11. and Republic VIII.
p. 540. line 8. tom. 2. Serran.
ſaid of one (λαϐη το αγαθον) he takes hold
of God, meaning ſtill in this life; and many
times PLATO has (ίδειν το αγαθον) or
ſeeing God, which he applies to thoſe who
are to be magiſtrates, after they have thus
ſeen God. Again in a paſſage * abovementioned,
when PLATO ſays of the mind, that
it cleaves firmly απερειδε to the ΤΟ΄ ΅ΟΝ
and then produces truth and intelligence;
whereas when it cleaves to what is generated
and corruptible, it loſes itſelf in contradictory
opinions. If the inhering in the
ΤΟ΄ ΅ΟΝ is to be taken literally, when
applied to the good man, as becoming a
part of the ΤΟ΄ ΅ΟΝ, then it will follow
on the other hand that the mind of the
ignorant and wicked man, is a part of corruptible
and periſhing things; ſo that at
this rate, his ſoul will become corruptible,
a ſtock or a ſtone: notable doctrine indeed!
Laſtly if we look into the Phaædrus,
where PLATO is ſpeaking in the ſublime
manner above deſcribed, of all the different
ſpirits or minds in the univerſe attending
their great Parent; we find him talking
of ſome of them thus: † "they aſcend
* Republ, VI. p. 508. line 34.
† Phædrus p. 247, 248. Tom. 3.
"to the higheſt heavens, and there con"template
true knowledge, which dwells
"with the DEITY, (or the ΤΟ΄ ΅ΟΝ)
"they likewiſe meditate on all his moral
"attributes; and after feaſting themſelves
"with ſuch contemplations, they return
"again to the lower heavens; where the
"charioteer faſtens his horſes to the ſtall,
"and feeds them with Nectar and Am"broſia:
this is the life of the GODS.
"Whereas thoſe other minds, which fol"low
GOD beſt and become likeſt to him
"are often diſturbed in their courſe, to"ward
the higheſt region, by their unru"ly
horſes, and hardly ſee thoſe things
"which really exiſt; but whatever mind
"accompanies the DEITY, and is bleſt
"with the tranſporting ſight of his true
"nature, the ſame remains unblameable
"till the next period or grand revolution.
"And if the mind can always do this, it
"will be always unhurt, or pure and un"tainted
(καν άει τόυτο δύνηταυ ποιειν, αιει
"αϐλαη ειναι)." The argument from
this quotation is plain, PLATO deſcribes
the inferior deities or ſpirits, whom we
call angels, as contemplating the SUPREME
BEING,and each retaining their own identity
through all ages: is it not juſtly to be
inferr'd hence, that the other minds which
he ſpeaks of, viz. theſe which had once inhabited
human bodies, are not only eternal
a parte poſt, but exiſt alſo ſeparately
ſo many diſtinct beings: nay PLATO ſays
in poſitive terms, they always do ſo.
In the ſame † dialogue, when ſpeaking
thoſe men who follow JUPITER, and endeavour
to make their favourite diſciples reſemble
him as much as poſſible, the following
paſſage occurs; προς τον Θεον βλέπειν
κι έφαπτόμενοι αυτόυ τη μνήμη, ένθόυσιωντες, έξ
έκεινόυ λαμϐάνόυσι τα εθη κι τα έπιτηδεύματα
καθόσον δυνατον Θεόυ ανθρώπω μεταχειν -
καν έκ Διος αρύτωσι - έπι τήν τόυ έρωμένόυ
ψυχην έπαντλόυντες, ποιόυσιν ώς δυνατον όμοίο-
τατον τω σφετέρω ϑεω, here the expreſſions
έφαπτόμενοι αύτόυ - έξ έκείνόυ λαμϐάνόυσι - έκ
Διος άρύτωσι - are juſt ſuch as Mr. W. builds
his opinion on, While the words which
follow theſe feveral expreſſions, particularly
καθόσον δυνατον Θεόυ άνθρώπω μετασχειν,
and the ſenſe of the whole paſſage,
evidently ſhew, how ridiculous it is, to deduce
ſuch an opinion from ſuch expreſſions.

† Phædrus p. 252, 253.
Thus I have brought together a number
of paſſages from PLATO, by which it
appears plain beyond all cavil, that he never
thought the ſoul would be reſolved into
the DEITY, in any period of its future
exiſtence. It ſeems alſo evident that the
μιγεις in the ſixth book of the Republic,
the λαϐειν, and ίδειν, &c. in the ſeventh,
are all ſynonimous and uſed in the ſame
ſenſe by PLATO, namely for comprehending
the true nature of the DEITY, and
becoming like him, as far as mortals can:
no particular ſtreſs is laid upon the word
μιγεις, more than any of the reſt; but it is
clearly figurative, and we are no otherwiſe
according to his language mix'd with God,
either in this or the other life than as we
approach and reſemble him; or underſtand
and imitate his goodneſs and other
perfections. This is the ſum of PLATO'S
doctrine and I think very intelligible.
There is no other myſtery in it than ariſes
from the dignity and majeſty of the ſubject.
We cannot have an adequate idea or
comprehenſion of the DIVINE NATURE
and this PLATO acknowledges, and this
the moſt enlightened Divine muſt alſo acknowledge.

The ſame writer alſo gives a criticiſm
on another paſſage of PLATO, from the
Epinornis, * where the philoſopher ſpeaking
of the condition of good men after
death, ſays, of whom παίζων κι ασόυδάζων
αμα I conſtantly affirm, &c. "Theſe
"words, ſays Mr. Warburton, are as good
"as an acknowledgment, that PLATO did
"not believe a future ſtate." The ſame
phraſe is very often uſed by PLATO, to give
only one inſtance, he ſpeaking of political
and moral ignorance and how corruption
of manners ruins a ſtate, adds †, what
formerly ſaid I again repeat, ως παίζων
είθ' ώς ασόυδάζων, "that it is dangerous for
"him who is void of intelligence to ob"tain
all his wishes, it is better for him.
"that the contrary happen." Apply now.
Mr. W's criticiſm on the phraſe, and you
muſt ſay with him, "theſe words are as
"good as an acknowledgment that PLA“TO
did not believe this either." Thus
we ſee the conſequence of this criticiſm is
of a piece with thoſe remarked in the
ninth ſection. ‡
* Div. Leg. Vol. I p. 355.
† Legum Lib. III. pag. 688. lin. 17.
‡ See alſo Mr. Syke's Remarks on this Criticiſm.
But I have taken notice of this criticiſm
only by the by as it was a paſſage of
the Epinomis, which I am going next to
conſider, viz. * "after a man has finiſhed
"his courſe here and is carried by death
"into another world, he ſhall not then as
"he does now enjoy various ſenſes, his
"condition ſhall be one or ſingle; from
"many he ſhall become one, be moſt wiſe,
"happy and bleſſed." The words in the
original are * κιεκ πολλων ενα γεγονότα, &c.
Now that PLATO is alſo ſpeaking figuratively
here, will be evident if we look into
parallel places, where he often uſes this
phraſe in a figurative ſenſe, and where it
would be abſurd to interpret it otherwiſe.
Thus laying down rules for the right management
of his Commonwealth, among
other things he ſays, "Let † every perſon
"apply only to that to which his genius
"leads him, and not to a variety of em"ployments,
that by ſtudying one thing
"and no more, he himſelf may be one
"thing and not many." In another place,
declaring how every man ought to govern
his mind, and allow no part of it to en*
Epinomis pag. 992.
† Republick IV. pag. 423.
croach on the peculiar province of another.
* "Whoever does ſo, ſays PLATO,
from being many becomes one, and wiſe
"and ſedate." Now the writer who al"ledges
that by one in the Epinomis, is
meant one with GOD or being transfuſed
into the ſoul of the Univerſe, muſt own
alſo that in the ſame ſenſe, that the artiſt
is one with the art. PLOTINUS alſo applys
this very expreſſion to one who would in
this life philoſophiſe aright concerning the
το εν, he muſt, ſays he, abſtract himſelf
from the objects of ſenſe, quit all kind of
vice, and of many become one † εν έκ πολλων
γενέοϑαι, ‡ είς εν συναχθεις· He uſes
alſo many other expreſſions of the ſame
kind, ſuch as έφαρμόσαι, - εφάψαοϑαι - ϑιγειν,
&c. which denote being united with,
and as it were touching and feeling the
το εν.
To conclude, certainly Mr. W. tho' he
declares, "he does not uſe to write at
"random" has for once not been aware
of ſome other conſequences of his argument;
ſince it will prove juſt as ſtrongly
that our SAVIOUR alſo and his Apoſtles
* Republ IV. p.443.
† Ennead. IX. Book 6. pag. 760.
‡ Plot. pag. 762.
taught the ſame doctrine, for they have
uſed as high expreſſions to the full as any
he brings from PLATO: thus our SAVIOUR.
ſays * "that they all may be one, as thou
"Father art in me, and I in thee, ſo let
"them be one in us." αύτοι έν ήμιν, - εν
ωσν. Interpret this verſe in a literal ſenſe,
it is as ſtrong nay far ſtronger, conſidering
the import of theſe words, "as thou art
"in me, and I in thee," than any paſſage
in PLATO, for proving the ſoul's being
part of GOD and falling into the TO το ωαν
after its ſeparation from the body: thus
alſo St. PAUL, ſpeaking even of this life,
ſays, † "he that is joined to the Lord is
"one ſpirit, εν πνευμά εςιν. ‡ In him we
"live, move, and have our being," έν αύ
"τω γαρ ζωμεν, και κινόυμεϑα και εσμεν
"†† That GOD may be all in all, ϊνα η ό
"Θεος τα πάντα εν πασι. In him are all
"things, εν αυτω. *
* John xvii. 21. †† Cor. vi. 17.
‡ Acts xvii. 28. ‡‡ Cor. xv. 28.
* I ſuppoſe Mr. POPE was ſtill a Chriſtian, and never dreamed
of the ſoul's being abſorbed in that of the Univerſe, tho' he writes
"All are but parts of one ſtupenduous whole
"Whoſe body nature is, and GOD the ſoul.
Eſſay on Man.
I hope, then, I am orthodox in my explication
of PLATO, when I affirm, all he
means by the mind's becoming one with
GOD in a future ſtate is one in affections
and deſires with him, not diſtracted by various
paſſions as in this world; and that
GOD is the grand object of its contemplation.

Thus we find this doctrine of PLATO
when fairly examined, is a truly divine
one: and indeed it is the moſt ſublime part
of all his philoſophy; proper only to be
taught to thoſe who by a right diſcipline
and culture, have been at due pains to refine
their underſtandings and purify their
hearts, the only preparation which can
render men fit to receive, reliſh and practiſe
it. On this account it may indeed be
called eſoterick and has it ſeems proved
ſo with regard to Mr. Warburton. PLATO
had foretold that * the ſcoffers would
laugh at him for ſuch doctrine. AccorAnd
ſo is the author of Night Thoughts, on the Chriſtian Triumph
when he fays.
"He the great Father kindled at one flame
"The world of Rationals — Pour'd himſelf
"Thro' all their ſouls — and when paſt
"Their various trials, in their various ſpheres
"If they continue rational, as made
"Reſorbs them all into himſelf again.
* Theatetus pag. 177, Tom. I. Serran.
dingly Mr. Warburton ſits down in the
chair of the ſcorner, and trys to † expoſe it,
" as profane and vain babling, becauſe he
" thought his doing ſo was uſeful to Re"
velation." How far he judged right may
be gueſs'd from the ſimilarity of PLATO'S
expreſſions, to theſe we have quoted from
the New Teſtament. *
Thoſe who would ſee more of. Mr. Warburton's
method of quoting ancient authors,
and (to uſe a phraſe of his own) his
other arts of controverſy may conſult Mr.
Sykes and Mr. Bott. I ſhall take leave of
him at preſent with offering to his conſideration,
a hint or two which I hope may
† Remarks page laſt at the end of Div. Leg. Vol. II. Part 2.
* Mr. Warburton has alſo brought quotations on this head from
CICERO, ſee Div. Leg. Vol. I. page 381, 382, 387. Edit. I.
One is from Nat. Deor. Lib. I. § 11. where it is ſaid, "Diſtractione
"humanorum animorum, diſcerpi et lacerari Deum:" admirable authority!
a piece of raillery of Vellcius the Epicurean, for an opinion of
Cicero. Another is from Divinat. Lib. I. § 49. "A natura De"cram
hauſtos animas et libatos habemus." But let any one read what
follows in the ſame paſſage, and he will clearly ſee this is only a
ſtrong figurative expreſſion to denote the ſimilarity of the human
ſoul to the DIVINE MIND. "neceſſe eſt cognatione DIVINORUM ANI"MORUM,
animas humanos commoveri." The 3d is, Tuſcul. Diſput.
Lib. V. § 13. "Humans animus diſcerptus ex MENTE DIVINA, CUM
"nullo, niſi cum ipſo DEO comparari poteſt." Now this very ſentence
both explains itfelf and is a key to the former figurative expreſſions,
if it be but read entire as it ſtands in Cicero, for Mr. W.
has diſcreetIy ſuppreſſed part of it. The entire ſentence is this,
"animus diſcerptus ex MENTE DIVINA, cum nullo alio, niſi cum
"ipſo DEO, ſi hoc fas eſt dictu, comparari poteſt.
be of ſome little uſe to him, againſt his
next attack on the ancient philoſophers,
Firſt, that there is a conſiderable difference
between carefully peruſing their own writings
and truſting to the detached ſcraps
or quotations to be met with in the note;
commentaries, dictionaries, ſyſtems, &c.
of even the beſt modern authors. Secondly,
that tho' a ſtrict adherence to ſound
Iogick may be a hard reſtraint upon the
genius of a briſk, bold and enterprizing
writer, eſpecially in the proof of a ſplendid
paradox, yet to decide in open deſiance
of it, is venturing a little too far.
To illuſtrate this from the Divine Legation,
Mr. Warburton wanting to ſhow
"that the philoſophers believed that the
"ſoul was a part of GOD, diſcerped from
"him, and would be reſolved again into
"him" † quotes two paſſages from CICERO,
the latter of them thus, "humanus au"tem
animus diſcerptus ex mente divina,
"cum nullo alio,niſi cum ipſo Deo comparari
"poteſt." * But the entire ſentence as it
ſtands in CICERO is this, "humanus autem
"animus diſcerptus ex mente divina cum
† Div. Leg. p. 380. firſt edit.
* Tuſcul. Diſput. Lib. V. § 13.
"nullo alio, niſi cum ipſo Deo, ſi hoc fas eſt
"dicto, compari poteſt." Mr. Warburton
indeed might have as well omitted the
paſſage as quoted it entire. But Mr. Bote's
reflections on this are ſomewhat ſevere
for he ſeems to impute it to Mr. W. as one
of theſe arts of controverſy which are
more dextrous than fair. He would have
found a more innocent cauſe of this omiſſion,
he blames, had he happened to obſerve
that Mr. Davies in his notes on the
former of theft two paſſages quotes the latter
juſt as Mr. Warburton does, only he
has indeed, as is uſual, marked the omiſſion
by a final daſh, but that might eaſily
be overlooked in the hurry of tranſcribing.

In another very remarkable paſſage of
the Divine Legation, * Mr. W. "aſſerts
"that the moſt intelligent of the ancients
"regarded what PLATO ſaid of a future
"ſtate of rewards and puniſhments, as
"ſaid in the exoteric way to the people,
"and not believed by himſelf." It has
been already ſhown that if this be ſo,
Mr. W. muſt except CICERO out of the
number of the moſt intelligent of the anDiv.
Leg. p. 375.
cients. To what is already ſaid with regard
to CICERO'S doctrine on this head, let
it be added, that he is directly ſpeaking of
a future ſtate of ſeparate, diſtinct and perculiar
exiſtence, as is plain from the whole
of the deſcription he gives of it, through
the four chapters proceeding the paſſages
quoted. *
I imagine moſt part of Mr. Warburton's
readers at the firſt ſight of this paſſage find
their curioſity a good deal raiſed to know,
whom Mr.W. has choſen to make up this
chorus of intelligent ancients. Well, how
many are of them, - three - a ſcrimp enough
repreſentative of ancient wiſdom!
But no doubt they are of the higheſt dignity
and character in philoſophy, and that
will make amends for the ſmallneſs of their
number. Why truly the men are well enough,
Chryſippus, Strabo,Celſus - Well enough
indeed, but was there no packing
in this choice? None at leaſt if we may
gueſs by the iſſue. - How don't they give
full and complete teſtimony for themſelves
and the reſt — Not quite ſo much as that —
For themſelves then at leaſt moſt amply —
no doubt one would expect ſo. Say then,
* See Tuſcul. Diſput. Lib. I. c. 18, 19, 20, 21.
what is the verdict of this jury upon PLATO?
Let us conſider it and ſee. And let us
begin with CHRYSIPPUS: what does he
ſay? Firſt hear what Mr. W. ſays for him,
" * The famous Stoick CHRYSIPPUS (ſays
"he) when he blames PLATO as not
"rightly deterring men from injuſtice by
"frightful ſtories of future puniſhments,
"takes it for granted that PLATO himſelf
"gave no credit to them:" How does Mr.
W. know that PLATO himſelf gave no credit
to them? He took that for granted:
thus, "for (continues he) he turns his
"reprehenſion not againſt that philoſo"pher's
wrong belief, but his wrong judg"ment,
in imagining ſuch childiſh terrors
"could be uſeful to the cauſe of virtue." —
Is there then ſuch a cloſs connection between
right belief and wrong judgment,
that the one neceſſarily infers the other.
If I think that a man judges wrong in imagining
the doctrine he teaches is ufeful, I
am to take it for granted the man himſelf
does not believe that doctrine. Wonderful
argument! Let us try it ad hominem. -
Mr. W. has judged wrong in imagining
his attempt to demonſtrate the Divine
Div. Leg. p. 375. firſt Edit.
Legation of MOSES from the omiſſion of
the doctrine of a future ſtate of rewards
and puniſhments, in the Jewiſh diſpenſation,
could be of ſervice to the cauſe
of Chriſtianity: therefore I am to take it
for granted Mr. W. himſelf does not believe
the Divine Legation of MOSES. As to
what CHRYSIPPUS ſays for himſelf, it will
be evident to every one who underſtands
the language in which PLUTARCH writes
and attends to the ſcope of the paſſage *,
that CHRYSIPPUS is ſpeaking of a moral diſtribution
in general, and of puniſhment in
the preſent ſtate, as much or rather more
than in a future one; and aſſerts agreeably
to the high notions of his ſect, that as
virtue was to be loved and practiſed for
its own ſake only, and not from the hope
of rewards or dread of puniſhments either
in this life or in another: he therefore
blames PLATO, only becauſe he makes
life of wrong Motives to engage men to
the practice of virtue: but there can no
argument be drawn from thence, that
they PLATO, or CHRYSIPPUS himſelf did
not believe a future ſtate of rewards and
* Plut. de Repug, Stoic. p. 1911. Ed. H. Steph.
The ſecond one of the intelligent ancients
who is introduced by Mr. W. as giving
his teſtimony that PLATO did not believe
a future ſtate, is * STRABO; but it is
evident to every one who will be at the
pains to read the † paſſage in STRABO referred
to by Mr. W. compared with what
goes before, that STRABO is ſo far from
plainly declaring himſelf of Mr. W's opinion
concerning PLATO, that he gives no
opinion on the ſubjct: he only delivers
Oneſicritus's account of the Brachman
philoſophers, without adding one word to
it, or reflection upon it. Oneſicritus indeed
ſays, that the Indian Brachmans, compoſed
fables in the manner of PLATO, concerning
the immortality of the ſoul, and a
future judgment, and other things of the
ſame nature. But it cannot be concluded
from this that even Oneſicritus, was of opinion
that PLATO did not believe the immortality
of the ſoul: would any man of
common diſcernment ever infer that becauſe
PLATO wrote about a future ſtate
in a figurative and allegorical manner, he
therefore did not believe there is a future
* Div. Leg. p. 375.
† Stra. Gag. Lib. XV. sage 1040. Gron. edit.
ſtate at all ? Does Mr. W. infer from St.
JOHN's figurative deſcriptions of the future
happy ſtate of the ſaints and martyrs
in the book of the Revelation, that he did
not believe the reality of that ſtate?
Let us next enquire into Mr. W's third
teſtimony from among the ancients, that
PLATO was an unbeliever as to a future
ſtate. * "Celſus (ſays he) owns that all
"Plato tells us of a future ſtate, and the
"happy abodes of the virtuous is an alle"gory."
But where does Celſus ſay, that
all Plato tells us of a future ſtate is an allegory?
I find no ſuch page in Celſus,
mentioned by Origen: I with Mr. W.
would produce his authority for this
ſtrong aſſertion: I find indeed a paſſage
quoted from Celſus † lying near to that
one quoted by Mr. Warburton which
directly aſſerts that PLATO believed the
immortality of the ſoul. But granting that
Celſus calls Plato's deſcriptions of the future
ſtate (μόυθοι or fables) we have already
obſerved, that it cannot be argued from
this, that he believed nothing concerning
* Div. Leg. p. 375.
† Origen. cont. Celſum.p. 350. Ed. Sp. Πλάτων δε άθάνατον
τήν ψυχήν ήγόυμενος, &c.
it. If any one will take the trouble to react
the paſſage quoted from Celſus, as it ſtands
connected with what is alſo quoted from
him by Origen in the two preceeding pages,
and he will ſoon be convinced, that
Celſus is ſo far from affirming that Plato
did not believe and teach a future ſtate,
that he inſinuates that the Chriſtians had
borrowed their notions of it from Plato *.
Upon the whole we may ſecurely conclude
that none of Mr. Warburton's triumvirate
of intelligent ancients has given
the ſlighteſt intimation, that it was their
opinion that Plato did not believe a future
ſtate: and if theſe are the only three authorities
from among the intelligent ancients,
which one ſo extenſively acquainted with
antiquity as Mr. Warburton can pretend
to produce, we may henceforth look upon
it as an eſtabliſhed and acknowledged
point, that there is no intelligent ancient
who ever dreamed that Plato did not believe
the immortality of the ſoul.
* Origen. cont. Celſum. p. 350.
How Plato copies after Homer in his ſimiles.

I. IT has been juſtly ſaid of HOMER, that
he excells all mankind, in the number,
variety, and beauty of his compariſons:
natural objects make ſuch warm and
lively impreſſions on his imagination, he
was at no loſs in painting them, and communicating
to others the ſame noble ideas,
he himſelf conceived. As we are now going
to conſider, in what manner PLATO
has copied after the Poet, in his ſimiles, it
may not be amiſs, to obſerve that we are
not to expect an exact reſemblance between
them on this head; nay ſo far as I
can obſerve, there is not one compariſon
in all the Iliad, directly tranſcribed by him.
How then can the writings of the philoſopher,
and poet be compared in this view?
LONGINUS has given the anſwer thus,
"thoſe who imitate the beſt writers, ſeem
"fired with their ſublime ſpirit. As HoMER
is the loadſtone which attracts PLATO,
it would appear, the touch has made
a ſtronger impreſſion upon his mind, than
on that of any other imitator.
Thus tho' our philoſopher has no where
in ſo many words, borrowed an image
from HOMER, yet if we attentively conſider
his manner and diction, we will find,
that a parallel may be often drawn betwixt
them in this branch of writing. —
The world indeed is at a great loſs for
want of that author, * whom Longinus
mentions, as having collected thoſe places,
in which PLATO had imitated the poet;
poſſibly he was more fortunate in his diſcoveries
of this kind, than I have been. —
However I ſhall venture forward, in this
untrodden path, and ſuggeſt ſuch ſimilitudes
as occur, in the ſame looſe, unconnected
method, as formerly. - The examples
ſhall be taken chiefly from the
book of laws, and republics; to run over
the whole of his works, with this view,
would be like wandering in a wild paradiſe,
where the fancy is diſtracted, by an
exuberant beauty and plenty, and one
* Ammonius, cap. 13. Longin. who hints, that he would have
given ſuch a collection, if this author had not already done it.
knows not what flowers, or plants to make
choice of. — We shall firſt of all conſider
the images he makes uſe of, to illuſtrate
moral ſubjects, and then examine his deſcriptions
of the paſſions.
II. In that beautiful paſſage in PLATO
*, where he compares the employment of
a lawgiver to a carpenter making a ſhip,
one would imagine he had in his eye HoMER'S
deſcription of the ſhip built by Ulyſſes
in Calypſo's iſland. "As a carpen"ter
in framing the bottom of his veſſel
"makes a draught of the keel, according
"to the form of the ſhip; juſt ſo I ſeem
"to go to work: for endeavouring to di"ſtinguiſh
the different forms of life ac"cording
to the tempers of the mind, and
"as it were laying down it's keel, I am
"ſtrictly examining by what united ways
"and methods we may beſt conduct the
"ſhip through this voyage of life." Ho"MER'S
verſe runs thus,
οοσον τίς τ΄ εδαφος νηος τορνώσεται άνήρ·-
Long and capacious as a ſhip-wright forms
Some barks broad bottom, to out-ride the
OD. V. 320.
* Lib. VII. Leg. pag. 803,
Again HOMER takes an image from the
ſtaining of ivory, to repreſent to us the
blood running down the thigh of Menelaus;

A nymph in Carla, or Mæonia bred
Stains the pure iv'ry witb a lively red;
With equal luſtre various colours vie,
The ſhining whiteneſs, and the Tyrian dye.
ILIAD IV. 174.
VIRGIL has borrowed this compariſon
almoſt word for word; but as PLATO had
no occaſion to deſcribe the wounds of a
hero, he has diſcovered his great invention,
by adapting it to philoſophy, and to
the education of the youth. — "* Shall I
"tell you, ſays Socrates to Glaucus, how
"thoſe opinions, which the law in our e"ducation
instills into us, are to be pre"ſerved,
and to what I would compare
"them? — pray do. — Don't you know,
"Glaucus, that dyers, when they want to
" dye wool of a purple colour, carefully
"chooſe what they think is whiteſt, and
"then prepare it, with no ſmall pains and
"care, ſo as it may receive the fineſt gloſs,
"after this they ſtain or dye it; by this
"means the colours are ſo engrained, that
* Republ. IV. pag. 429, 430.
"they become indelible: no water, no
"waſhes of any kind can eraze ſuch a
"deep tincture. - You alſo know, what
"is the event, either as to this, or any o"ther
colour, if all this art and prepara"tion
is not uſed; it ſoon fades, and is good
"for nothing! - Imagine then to your"ſelf,
that, as far as we can, we are do"ing
ſome ſuch thing, when chooſing our
"governors, and training up the young,
"men in * muſical and gymnaſtic arts;
"believe me, we aim at nothing elſe, than
"that they ſhould in the beſt way, he pre"vailed
on to receive, as it were, the dye
"of the law: ſo that the opinions they em"brace
concerning its important leſſons
"may be indelible; their natural diſpoſi"tion
and education is ſo good, that 'tis
"not in the power of the ſtrongeſt waſhes
"to expunge that dye! Pleaſure indeed
"is more dangerous to it than all the nitre
"and ſalts in the world. Fear, grief,
"pain, and deſire, are the moſt effectual
"ſpunges!" I take this to be one of the
fineſt ſimilitudes I ever read; the whiteneſs
of the wool expreſſes innocency, and
purity of heart; the care in dreſſing it,
* See, here, Peg. 174.
points out the pains a lawgiver is to take,
in chooſing a fit diſciple, and inſtructing
him; laſtly, the dying repreſents, in the
moſt elegant manner, how deep a virtuous
education ſinks into an ingenuous
mind and what a laſting impreſſion it
Here is another of theſe humble compariſons
in PLATO: he is deſcribing to us
the character of a falſe philoſopher;* and
after obſerving what methods the ſophiſts
take, to diſcredit and affront the true philoſopher,
he adds, "thus thoſe who have
"a genius fit for philoſophy, are driven
"from her, and leave her deſerted, and
"forlorn: ſhe, an orphan abandoned by
"all her friends, is now courted by the
"unworthy and wicked, who abuſe and
"diſgrace her! Little wretches, who fin"ding
this ſeat empty, and knowing it to
"abound with noble, and illuſtrious ti"tles,
gladly jump into it, like a priſoner
"flying from the jail to the temple. —
"How unfit muſt theſe men be for enter"taining
ſuch a divine gueſt! There ſeems
"to be no difference betwixt them and
"an ugly blackſmith, bald, and deformed,
* Republ, VI, pag. 495.
"newly come from the anvil: he runs
"to the bath, puts on clean new clothes,
"adorns himſelf like a bridegroom, and
"marries his maſter's daughter, poor, and
"forſaken by every body! how worth"leſs
and illegitimate muſt their progeny
"be?" — The novelty of this ſimile makes
it very entertaining, and it's juſtneſs muſt
be obvious to every reader. — I am apt
to believe, PLATO here alludes to HOMER'S
deſcription of the interview betwixt Vulcan
and Thetis, the chief circumſtances
in both are very ſimilar; the lame architect,
bathed in ſweat, and covered with
ſoot and ſmoke, ventures not to approach
the Goddeſs, 'till once he had made himſelf
clean, after which, he ſits down on the
ſame golden throne with her;
Then from his anvil the lame artiſt roſe,
Wide with diſtorted legs oblique he goes,
And ſtills the bellows; —
Then with a ſpunge, the ſooty workman dreſt
His brawny arms embrown'd and hairy
With his huge ſceptre grac'd and red attire;

He reach'd the throne where penſive Thetis
There plac'd beſide her, on the ſhining
frame. ILIAD, xviii. 493•
Various are the places in PLATO, where
he draws his images from a ſhepherd gathering
and tending his flocks; two of theſe
ſimilitudes occur in the books of laws ;—
Thus he ſays, * "no flock nor any living
"creature can be without a ſhepherd;
"no boy without a pedagogue; no ſer"vant
without a maſter: a boy is more
"untractable than any wild creature."
And again † " You breed your youth
"like a herd of colts paſturing together.
"None of you drags your own fierce;
"and high ſpirited one, out of the flock,
"ſets your groom upon him, to break
"and tame him, by managing and giving
"him ſuch diſcipline as is fit for youth."
The ſame kind of ſimile occurs frequently
in HOMER, tho' applied to a different
object; he compares a ſhepherd gathering
his flocks to a General ranging his army
&c. The laſt-mentioned one of PLATO
has a great affinity to thoſe lines of the Poet,
where he ſays, "The herdſman eaſily
"diſtinguiſhes,and collects his own flock,
* Leg. VII. pag. 808, † Leg. II. Par. 666.
" when they are mixed with others in the
τόυς δ΄, ως΄ αίπόλια πλατε αίγων αίπόλοι
ρεια διακρινέωσιν, έπεί κε νομω μιγέωσιν·
ILIAD, ii. 475.
Our philoſopher alſo takes his images
from birds and wild beaſts in the ſame
way as the poet does. Thus he ſays, *
"The women may at leaſt reſolve to die
"like birds fighting for their young a"gainſt
the ſtrongeſt wild beaſts, &c. -
The ſame compariſon is in HOMER, where
Achilles is characterized as protecting the
Greeks againſt their enemies;
As the bold bird her helpleſs young attends
From danger guards them, and from want
defends, &c.
ILIAD IX. 425.
The ſimiles in the Iliad, taken from lions,
boars, and other wild beafts are almoſt
innumerable; as PLATO has no battles
or wounded ſoldiers to deſcribe, ſo he
has no need of introducing a lion ruſhing
on the flocks, and making a great ſlaughter
among them: hut it would appear, he
was well pleaſed with this kind of image*
Leg. VII. pag. 814.
ry, when he lays hold on every opportunity
of applying it in the eaſieſt and moſt
natural way he can to the ſubject he is upon.
Thus * where PLATO is repreſenting
the ſervile adulation and baſe flattery
uſed by the ſophiſts and orators towards
the youth whom they ſeduced; how happy
is he in the following compariſon?
"Such as value themſelves on their ſkill
"in underſtanding the pleaſures and re"ſentments
of a multitude, and call this
"wiſdom, are like thoſe who ſtudy the
"temper of ſome huge wild beaſt under
"their care; they endeavour to know
"what gives it pleaſure or pain, what
"ſooths or provokes it, what particular
"ſounds pacify or irritate. Having lear"ned
this, they call it craft or wiſdom, and
"reduce their rules into an art. Their
"ſole rule ofjudging is this, whatever the
"bulky animal is pleaſed with, is ſaid to
"be good, what offends it, is bad; while all
"the time what is neceſſarily good, accor"ding
to its nature, is never once thought
"of by theſe abſurd teachers." — The aptneſs
of this compariſon to explain the wicked
arts taken by corrupt teachers, or ſpea*
Republ. VI. pag. 493.
kers, is manifeſt; ſuch a ſimilitude greatly
illuſtrates the ſubject, nor is there any refinement
neceſſary to bring them to agree
with one another: - In how elegant a
manner does he at once ſhew the preference
of virtue to pleaſure, by the following
image*? "the bull, the horſe, and o"ther
ſuch animals own that they purſue
"pleaſure, as the firſt good; the bulk of
"mankind give credit to their report, as
"diviners do to the birds; and judge that
"pleaſures are moſt conducive to a hap"py
life; and are alſo of opinion, that the
"lives of the brutal kind are more cre"dible
witneſſes, and more to be regar"ded
than the reſponſes and divination
"of the philoſophic muſe." - The meaning
is plain, by gratifying our ſenſual appetites
we indulge our irrational part, we
feed the beaſt within us, and at beſt procure
but an uncertain happineſs.
Again, as HOMER borrows his images
from inſects, from a ſwarm of bees, from
waſps defending their neſt,
- while with unwearied wings,
They ſtrike the aſſailants, and infix their
ſtings. ILIAD
* Philebus, pag. 67, Tom, II. Seran.
SO PLATO has very juſtly brought in a
drone, and compared that animal to an idle,
indolent fellow, who after ſquandering his
own ſubſtance, does all the miſchief he
can to others. — * "As in a hive of bees
"a drone is deſtructive, ſo ſuch a man is a
"peſt to ſociety. - We know GOD has
"made all our winged drones without
"ſtings; but as to theſe walking drones,
"ſome of them indeed have none, while
"others of them are armed with the fier"ceſt
ſtings." – A little afterwards he adds,
"Such men on loſing their eſtates, ſit ar"med
with their ſtings, ſome of them op"preſſed
with debt, others loaded with
"infamy, a third with both; deſirous of
"changes, hating and combining againſt
"thoſe who now enjoy their fortunes."
By ſuch compariſons as theſe the
reader is both pleaſed and inſtructed, and
the truth repreſented in an eaſy, elegant
III. HOMER has led the way to PLATO
in adorning his poetry ſometimes with
tender images taken from young plants
and trees, at other times with more violent
ones borrowed from ſtorms and tempeſts,
* Republ. VIII. pag. 552, and 555.
- I ſcarce remember a ſofter image, in any
part of PLATO, than that, where to enforce
the neceſſity of a virtuous education,
he ſhews how natural it is for the mind
to receive any kind of impreſſion in it's
youngeſt years. -This he illuſtrates by
ſaying, * "the firſt buddings of any plant
"ſprouting forth beautifully, according
"to the virtue of it's kind, prove moſt ef"fectual
and beſt attain a juſt maturity;
"this holds not only in plants, but in tame
"and wild animals, and in men too.": -
The ſame ſentiment occurs in the Republics,
† where he is obſerving how the beſt
and nobleſt minds, when ill diſciplined,
become conſummately vicious; "In like
"manner, ſays he, every animal, every
"ſeed or plant which grows out of the
"earth, if it gets not it's due nouriſhment,
"ſeaſon, and ſoil, the more vigorous it is
* Leg. VI. peg. 765. † Repub.?. VI. pag 491.
If the reader has any curioſity to ſee how PLATO imitated other
poets as well as HOMER, he may compare this and what PLATO
ſays on the ſame ſubject, (in pag. 565. Republ. VIII.) with theſe
lines, in the Supplices of Euripides (lin. 240) where he tells us,
"there are two diviſions, or parties, among the people; the rich,
"who are often uſeleſs to the State, and are always deſiring more.
"The poor, deſtitute of bread, inſolent, rapacious, and full of en"vy;
and being cajoled by the flattering ſpeeches of their wicked
"leaders, they dart their ſpiteful ſtings into the rich." εις τόυς εχοντας,
κέντρ αφιασιν κακα.
"in it's nature, the more will it want, in
"that caſe, of it's proper qualities." —
The poet likewiſe compares a beautiful
youth to an Olive-tree,
As the young Olive, in ſome Silvan ſcene,
Crown'd by freſh fountains with eternal
green, &c. ILIAD xvii 58
And as theſe verſes in the original are ſaid
to have been the favourite ones of Pythagoras;
inſomuch, that he ſet them to the
harp, ſo here Plato, when uſing an image
of the ſame nature with this in the Iliad,
imitates as much as poſſible it's exquiſite
ſoftneſs and beauty; παντος γαρ δή φυτόυ, ή
πρώτη βλάςη, καλως όρμηθεισα, &c. — Who
is not ſenſible of the ſmooth flow of the
words in this period? — Again our philoſopher
has perceived, in how perſuaſive a
manner truth is conveyed to the mind,
when an argument is derived from the objects
of nature; — thus to ſhew how neceſſary
a good and well eſtabliſhed polity
is, to the ſupport of true philoſophy, he ſays,
* "as a foreign ſeed ſown in a ſtrange coun"try
degenerates into the kind, that the
"ſoil, in which it now grows, produces,
"ſo philoſophy, if planted in a bad polity
* p:431. VI. pag. 497.
"loſes its proper Power: but if in the beſt
"Commonwealth, as it is beſt itſelf, it
"will then appear to be truly divine!" -
Daily experience confirms the juſtneſs of
this ſimile.
Agamemnon, when weeping, is compared
by HOMER to a fountain which
pours forth it's ſoft-trickling ſtreams,
-ωςε κρήνη μελάνυδρος,
- δνφερον χέει ϋδωρ· - ILIAD IX, 15.
PLATO, by applying the ſame image to a
poet, has found the way to copy after it's
flowing ſweetneſs,* "When a poet is ſea"ted
on the tripod of the MUSES he is no
"longer maſter of himſelf, but like a foun"tain
which immediately pours out what"ever
flows into it." In the Iliad, the
numbers run in a ſlow, mournful ſtrain; in
PLATO,they have a conſiderable velocity,
the better to repreſent the quickneſs of a
poet's invention, οιον δε κρήνη τις, το επιον
ρειν έτοίμως έα.
Our philoſopher conſtantly recommends
a good education, and for this reaſon
prohibits the poets from imitating
bad manners or any thing illiberal, mean
and indecent; "By this means, † ſays he,
* Leg. IV. pag. 719. † Republ. III. pas. 401.
"our youth, living as it were, in a whole"ſom
ſoil, will be improved by the no"ble
leſſons they every where receive:
"and which, as a kindly, healthful gale
"blowing from a temperate climate, gent"ly
form them from their infancy to a
"conformity, ſymphony, and friendſhip
"with right reaſon." — The words in this
ſentence ωασερ αυρα φέρόυσα απο χρηςων
τόπων ύγίειαν, are as poetical and ſweet
as thoſe of HOMER in his deſcription of
Elyſium, — (ſee the original.)
But from the breezy deep, the bleſt inhale
The fragrant murmurs of the weſtern gale.
ODYSS. iv. 774.
and the ſentiment is the ſame in both writers.

In how ſublime a manner does PLATO
deſcribe the conduct of the few true philoſophers,
who rather than ſtruggle in vain
with the folly and wickedneſs of mankind,
chooſe to retire from the world. * "Thoſe
"who have experienced the ſweets of
"philoſophy, and tailed how happy a
"poſſeſſion ſhe is on diſcovering the mad"neſs
of the many, and that a juſt man,
"like one falling among wild beaſts, muſt
* Republ. VI. pag. 496.
"either, tho' againſt his will, as unjuſt"ly,
or become a prey to thoſe ſavages,
"and be uſeleſs to himſelf, to his friends,
"to the public: - The philoſopher,
"ſay, reflecting on all this, enjoys him"ſelf
in quiet, and minds only his own
"affairs; as if he were in a tempeſtuous hur"ricane,
the wind and ſtorm whirling the
"duſt around, he takes ſhelter within his
"own walls, and beholding others toſſed
"about in the waves of iniquity, he is
"glad, if by any means he can paſs his
"life here free from injuſtice and impi"ous
deeds, and at laſt piouſly and chear"fully
make his exit, full of pleaſant
"hopes." The whole of this paſſage
is exquiſitely beautiful; whoever knows
the original, will eaſily perceive that PLATO
has varied his numbers according to
the nature of the ſubject. In the end of the
ſentence, they are ſoft, and move gently: in
the middle of it (and this is what I would
chiefly obſerve) where he takes his image
from a ſtorm or whirlwind, they have all
the daring boldneſs of the Iliad. Theſe
words, οιον εν χειμωνι κονιορτόυ κι ζάλης, ύπο
πνεύματος φερομένόυ; - may bear a paralel
with the deſcription of a whirlwind in
HOMER, and his clouds of duſt which are
born up to heaven;
καύματος έξ άνέμοιο δυσαέος όρνυμένοιο·
ILIAD V. 865.
The laſt example I ſhall take notice of
is that celebrated paſſage,* where PLATO
ſhews how the ſtudies of the mind are to
be united to the exerciſes of the body, or
in the language of our philoſopher, how
muſical and gymnaſtick exerciſes are to
be tempered together. — The diſadvantages
of applying ſolely to philoſophy and
contemplation are thus beautifully repreſented:
"When one is conſtantly raviſhed
"with muſic, and allows ſoft, charming,
"or mournful melodies to be poured thro'
"his ears, as thro' a funnel, into his mind,
"and ſpends his whole time in hearing
"delicious warbling tunes; ſuch a perſon
"if he is any way generous or manly in
"his temper, like iron made pliable, he
"becomes ſoft,and courteous from being
"rough and untractable: but when he
"gives himſelf entirely up to this way of
"life, and is ſoothed by it without any
"intermiſſion, by degrees he is, as it were,
"melted dawn, till he has wholly diſſol*
Republ. III. pag. 411.
"ved and diſſipated all his magnanimity,
"broke the ſpring of his ſoul, and enerva"ted
all its force." - The contrary way of
life is thus deſcribed. - "If one is wholly
"taken up in gymnaſtick exerciſes, minds
"nothing but his body, and indulges him"ſelf
in voluptuouſneſs and high feeding;
"at firſt he is full of courage and great
"ſpirits, and mightier than himſelf; but
"on his applying to nothing elſe, never
"converting with the MUSES, nor taſting
"any diſcipline, nor acquiring any ratio"nal
improvement, or any of the polite
"arts, tho' he has a deſire of knowledge
"in his ſoul, yet it ſoon grows weak, lan"guid
and faint; his taſte not being awa"kened,
refined, or poliſhed. By this
"means, his affections are alienated from
"reaſon, and from the Muſes; he becomes
"deaf to all reaſonable perſuaſions; is
"hurried on like a wild beaſt in all his ac"tions,
by his ſavageneſs and fierceneſs;
"and dwells with ignorance and barba"rity,
diſſonancy and diſcord!" — This is
the picture of both ways of life, and a moſt
lively one it is; not to run out into general
encomiums, which are never of any
uſe, I would obſerve, that if PLATO may
be ſaid, in any place of his works, to copy
after HOMER'S manner, it ſeems evident,
he has here taken his colouring from
the noble deſcription we have of the Syrens
long in the Odyſſey*. The beſt interpreters
agree that the poet, by that
fable, points out the danger of being ſeduced
by pleaſure; therefore Ulyſſes ſeals
up the ears of his companions, and leſt
he himſelf ſhould be charmed by the deſtructive
ſong, he is bound with chains to
the maſt of the ſhip; on hearing the enchanting
ſound, he ſtruggles to be free; his
ſoul is melted with their warbling ſtrains!
— If the reader compare the Greek in PLATO
with that in HOMER, he will be more
ſenſible of the force of this obſervation,
and he will alſo find, tho' the words of the
philoſopher are not the ſame with thoſe
in the Odyſſey, yet they pleaſe the ear as
well, and that the whole ſentence is highly
Theſe are but a few of the ſimiles that
are to be found in PLATO; nay they are
not, by far, the one half which occur in his
political works; I have only ſet down †
* ODYSS. xii. 40 - 55. and 182 - 198.
† Becauſe ſome may imagine it to be a point of little conſeſuch
as had come reſemblance leſs or more
with theſe in HOMER: there is a vaſt variety
of others entirely of his own invention,
and in which he does not appear to
have copied after the poet in the leaſt. -
I ſhall again add, that as the ſimiles we
have mentioned are often applied by the
philoſopher to different ends and purpoſes,
and deigned to illuſtrate other kinds of
truth than thoſe which the poet has in
view, ſo the two are only ſo far to be compared
together, as they are taken from the
ſame objects and expreſſed in the ſame
beautiful and ſublime diction. — If any
author either ancient or modern can be
compared with HOMER in the nobleneſs,
ſimplicity, uſefulneſs and variety of his ſimiles,
it is PLATO!
quence, that there ſhould be a reſemblance betwixt PLATO'S images
and HOMER'S, I have therefore confined myſelf to a few inſtances.
Tho' by the by, the ſubject ſeems equally intereſting with that of
comparing HOMER and VIRGIL'S ſimiles. I dare ſay, that ſuch as
think this and the following ſection a dry, unentertaining piece of
criticiſm, and that the likeneſs is not ſtrong, will ſtill, as has been
ſaid, have a reliſh for the quotations out of PLATO.
Plato's deſcriptions of the paſſions, and how
he imitates Homer in ſome of them.
I. IN conſidering PLATO'S deſcriptions
of the paſſions, I ſhall ſelect a few of
theſe paſſages, where he paints anger,
pride, fear, love, the effects of pleaſure and
pain, of luxury, ſenſuality, indolence, and
avarice, on the mind; — it will eaſily appear
how highly poetic he is in all of them:
- I ſhall confine myſelf to the ſame
books which have hitherto been quoted,
and take notice what reſemblance there
is betwixt him and HOMER.
To begin with anger; he repreſents it *
"as the moſt unpleaſant thing in the
"world, that one of this temper feeds his
"wrath with noxious fewel, and beco"ming
wild dwells with moroſeneſs, rea"ping
the bitter fruits of his own indig"nation."
The words in the Greek έμπιπλας
όργην κακων έςιαμάτων, have a
ſtrong likeneſs to this noted line,
* Legib. XI pag. 935.
-μένεος δε μέγα φρένες άμφιμέλαιναι
πίμπλαντ, -
Black choler fill'd his breaſt that boil'd with
ire. ILIAD i. 128.
As theſe other ones in the ſame ſentence,
- κραν τόυ ϑυμόυ χάριν άποδεχ όμενος
convey the ſame idea with φθινύθεσκε φίλον
κηρ, in the Iliad, † " Achilles ſtill raged, and
black thoughts preyed upon his heart.
In how lively a manner does he repreſent
a proud, haughty temper? * "One
"who is intoxicated with power turns
"aſſuming and highly tyrannical; when
"thus mad and tranſported, he hopes,
"nay he attempts, not only to govern
mankind, but the GODS alſo!" How
much is this laſt in the ſpirit of Agamemnon's
character of Achilles,
πάντων μεν κρατέειν έθέλει, πάντεοσι δ΄ άνάσσειν

But that imperious, that unconquer'd ſoul
No laws can limit, no reſpect controul.
- and he the lord of all;
ILIAD I. 382.
When PLATO is inſtructing his citizens
how they are to be proof againſt terrors
of every kind, he chooſes to do it in a fi†
ILIAD i. 491. * Republ, IX. pag. 573.
gurative manner, * by "ſuppoſing ſome
"GOD ſhould give to men a cup of terror,
"ſo that the more any one inclined to
"drink of it he ſhould think himſelf the
"more unhappy at every draught, and on
"falling aſleep and getting free of his po"tion
should ſtill come to be the ſame man
"he was before." — The meaning is, one
muſt be habituated to dangers and terrors,
and frequently in his younger years expoſed
to them, ſo as to learn betimes to
deſpiſe them. — It would appear, that our
philoſopher has his eye on the cup or
potion given by Circe to Ulyſſes;. only
what the poet applies to pleaſure, he tranſfers
to terror. In like manner in PLATO
it is ſaid, "that after one has by ſleep
"digeſted the fumes of the liquor, he re"covers
his wonted magnanimity," i.e.
he becomes inured to hardſhips by experience.
- Not only is the moral the ſame
in both authors, tho' differently applied,
but the language and ſentiments agree in
the main; PLATO ſays, - φόϐόυ φάρμακον,
-εθέλει τις πίνειν, - κι τόυ πόματος άπαλλαγέντα,
πάλιν έκάςοτε τον αυτον γίγνεϑαι·
HOMER expreſſes it thus,
* Legib. I. pag. 647.
έν δέ τε φάρμακον ηκε -
- κι εκπιον, -
- όυτι πιων τάδε φάρμακ΄ έθέλχθης
-εν ςήθεοσιν άκήλητος νόος έςίν.
ODYSS x. 329.
"She mixed the potion; I drank it, -
"you are not, Ulyſſes, intoxicated by
"drinking this poiſon, but remain firm
"and of the ſame mind you was before."
I cannot but think that PLATO has alſo
taken the hint of his deſcription of pleaſure
and pain from HOMER. - He repreſents
them, as "two fountains that are
made to flow by nature. He who drinks
"of their Dreams, in ſuch a degree as he
"ought, becomes happy; he who does ſo
"without knowledge leads a wretched
"life." * — Let this be compared with that
paſſage in the poet where he deſcribes the
two urns of happineſs and miſery placed
near the throne of JUPITER, and it will be
found to have a good deal of reſemblance;
Two urns by Jove's high throne have ever
The ſource of evil one, and one of good,
From thence the cup of mortal man he fills,
Bleſſings to theſe, to thoſe diſtributes ills.
* Legib. I. pag. 636.
I would only add, that PLATO has uſed
the ſame image in another place of his
works, the Philebus,* where he ſays, "We
"muſt alſo as cup-bearers have our foun"tains
ſtanding by us; one may compare
"that of pleaſure to honey, that of wiſ"dom,
ſober and without wine, to ſome
"pungent, wholeſom water: theſe foun"tains
muſt be carefully mixed." In
the ſame way does the poet ſpeak of JUPITER,

To moſt he mingles both; —
Ibid. 667.
II. I could give many other inſtances
in which PLATO is poetic in his deſcribing
theſe paſſions we have ſpoke of as well as
all the other deſires of the mind; but what
has been obſerved ſeems ſufficient to ſhew,
that he has ſometimes had HOMER directly
in his eye, adopted the poet's ſentiments
with a becoming freedom and boldneſs,
and made them entirely his own. In other
places, as was ſaid, 'tis more difficult to
trace the likeneſs betwixt them: - and
therefore in the quotations which follow,
my conjectures are entirely ſubmitted to
the candid reader's better judgment; that
* Tom. I. pag. 61.
there is a true ſublime ſpirit of poetry in
all of them, will be obvious to any one of
the leaſt taſte; whether the painting and
imagery has been borrowed from HOMER
is what I will not take upon me to affirm,
but it ſeems probable they have in part.
In how natural and ſublime a manner
does our philoſopher repreſent the gradual
progreſs of vice in the mind of a youth
led aſtray by the degeneracy of the age;
if he has got any good inſtructions from
his father and other relations, he is diſtracted
betwixt theſe and the bad counsels of
his wicked companions. The modeſty
and ingenuity of his nature prompts him
ſometimes to liſten to his better part, to
the dictates of reaſon; at other times, it's
precepts are quite forgotten; one ſet of
paſſions being extruded, another of a worſe
ſort ſucceed. — By this time, the paternal
inſtructions are deſpiſed, familiarities and
acquaintance of a worſe kind, are courted;
theſe ſtealing in by degrees upon him,
become a great multitude; * "at laſt they
"ſeize the citadel of the juvenile ſoul, perceiving
it empty of all valuable know"ledge,
true reaſon and diſcipline, the
* Republ. VIII. pag. 560.
"beſt watches and guardians over the
"underſtanding of pious men! Falſe o"pinions
and arrogant reaſonings jump
"into this ſeat, and take poſſeſſion of it;
"— He is now immerſed in pleaſure, and
"dwells with the Lotophagi! If any aid
"is brought by his friends to the diſtreſ"ſed,
and better part of his mind, theſe
"haughty tyrannizing opinions ſhut the
"gates of the royal fortreſs; refuſe acceſs
"to the friendly admonitions and embaſ"ſies
of reverend old men, and are them"ſelves
victorious in the conflict! mode"ſty
is called folly, temperance unman"lineſs,
moderation and frugality, ruſti"city
and unpoliteneſs, and all theſe good
"qualities expelled with diſgrace. - The
"ſoul thus purged and evacuated by thoſe
"unruly paſſions, is now initiated in their
"deepeſt myſteries! Inſolence, anarchy,
"luxury, impudence, and their train of
"attendants, in ſplendid robes and gar"lands,
are introduced, applauded, and
"extolled! — Pride is ſaid to be a piece
"of fine education; licentiouſneſs, liber"ty;
prodigality, magnificence; impu"dence,
bravery. - By this means,
"youth, from being regular and tempe"rate,
becomes diſſolute and abandoned."
— How much is all this in the true ſpirit
and language of poetry; the paſſions are animated
and repreſented as in action. In this
paſſage PLATO has his eye, not only on
that place * in the Odyſſey,where the Lotophagi
and the intoxicating power of the
herb Lotos, which made one forget his
country, and former friends, are deſcribed;
but he alſo seems to have borrowed part
of his imagery from the poet's deſcription
of the riot and luxury of Penelope's ſuitors.
— Telemachus carries the Queen to
her royal ſeat, at ſome diſtance from thoſe
revellers, that he might freely converſe
with the Goddeſs of wiſdom; the tables are
ſpread, and the entertainment prepared
for the Queen, her ſon and his gueſt; the
brutal crowd, elate with inſolence and
wine, ruſh in with voracious haſte, and the
young Prince can no longer freely enjoy
the converſation of his divine companion;
Wiſdom is now ſilenced, or at leaſt confined
to talk in whiſpers. In HOMER 'tis
ſaid of the ſuitor-train;
- εζοντο κατα κλισμόυς τε ϑρόνόυς τε·
- αφνειότεροι χρυσοιο τε εοϑητος τε·
* Vid, ODYSS. ix. and the notes on 106, 114.
- ύϐρίζοντες ύπερφιάλως δοκέόυσι
δαίνυοϑαι· - ODYSS. i. 145. and 227.
"That they ſat upon thrones, had rich
"robes of purple and gold, and were law"leſs,
inſolent revellers." — PLATO in the
ſame poetical ſtrain, ſays of the paſſions,
υϐριν, λαμπρας μετα πολλόυ χορόυ, κατάγόυσιν
έςεφανωμένας, έγκωμιάζοντες κι ύποκοριζόμενοι..

III. In another paſſage, we have a deſcription
of the like nature with the foregoing,
but varied in it's manner, and the imagery
ſomewhat different. He again ſuppoſes
a ſon aſſiſted by his father's good advices,
but hurried on by his companions
to all kind of licentiouſneſs; thoſe wicked
ſorcerers finding they have no other way to
gain the young man entirely over to their
party, try to make him feel the charms of
love; * "That great winged drone, chief
"over all the idle and various pleaſures
"which feed our luſts. The other deſires
"buzzing about with crowns and fragrant
"ointments, wine and oil upon their
"heads, and a troop of diſſolute pleaſures,
"their uſual attendants, nouriſh and aug*
Republ. IX. pag. 573, 574, 575.
"ment that paſſion, and plant a ſting in
"the drone! This governeſs of the ſoul
"has madneſs for her life-guard, and rages
"fiercely! If ſhe finds any modeſt, be"coming
thoughts or opinions reſiding
"in it, ſhe kills or baniſhes them all, ex"pells
wiſdom, and introduces ſtrange
"folly. - He now indulges in feaſting
"and luxury with his companions and
"miſtreſſes, and ſpends his fortune in rio"ting
and debauchery; new deſires, nu"merous,
ſtrong and craving daily ſpring
"up. When all is ſquandered by uſury
"and extravagance, theſe inteſtine furies
"roar and complain! Puſhed on by the
"ſmarting ſtings of his appetites, and e"ſpecially
of love, heading the reſt as it's
"attendants, he raves and is quite di"ſtracted,
and tries what he can extort
"from others by force or fraud; his in"ward
pains and agonizing twitches will
"not allow him to leave any method un"eſſayed.
— Having waſted his own pa"trimony
he imagines he has a good title
"to fall next upon that of his parents. If
"they refuſe it to him, he will not be a"fraid
of perpetrating the blackeſt crime!
"To pleaſe his new miſtreſs and unneceſ"ſary
harlot, his beſt friend, and only mo"ther
will be diſcarded; and for the ſake
"of his graceful lover, whom he might
"well have wanted, his old, wrinkled,
"and natural father, his first and earlieſt
"friend, will be beaten with ſtripes, and
"both of them made ſlaves to theſe com"panions
of his he introduces into the
"family. All is now uproar and a"narchy
within! Love, like an abſolute
"monarch, leads him captive where ſhe
"pleaſes! She foſters her own crowd
"of favourites, and opens the door to o"ther
unnatural paſſions and foreign
"manners; theſe ſhe exalts, and gives a
"full licence to them to do what they
"pleaſe. - No crime, no impious act is
"left unattempted!" — There is an unuſual
majeſty and greatneſs in theſe paſſages
which I have abridged; the colouring
is laid on boldly, and touched with
great ſpirit. PLATO'S imagination, like
HOMER'S, grows warmer as it proceeds in
the deſcription, and ſtops not in its rapidity
till it has finiſhed the picture with inimitable
life and beauty! In this place, the
paſſions are not only introduced as actors,
as in the foregoing quotation, but their
inward behaviour, is more fully expreſſed;
there, Reaſon was dethroned, and the
gate opened to folly and vice: here, we ſee
how they tyrannize in the ſoul, and hear
the tumultuous roarings of luſt and madneſs!
There, pride, luxury, impudence,
&c. had but lately taken up their abode in
the heart: here, they have built their neſt
and hatched ſuch a monſtrous brood as
tear it in pieces! — There is alſo an exquiſite
beauty in that double moral, which is conveyed
to us under one form of words; not
only does the prodigal bring himſelf and
his parents to ruin, but the vicious man,
by indulging his deſires, entertains his
moſt dangerous and unnatural enemies,
and forſakes his beſt and moſt natural
The language, too, is juſtly great in proportion
to the ſentiment, as will appear
to the reader if he conſult the original, too
long to be here wholly inſerted. — I cannot
promiſe to point out a place in HOMER
directly parallel to this; if we look into
theſe parts either in the Iliad, or the Odyſſey,
where the poet has occaſion to deſcribe
love, or the dalliances of pleaſure,
we will find, at leaſt, a remote reſemblance:
- Thus, when PLATO in painting the
power of love, writes in this poetic ſtrain,
- οταν δη περι αυτον βομϐόυσαι, κι αί αλλαι
επιθυμίαι, ϑυμιαμάτων τε γέμόυσαι, κι μύρων,
κι ςεφάνων, κι οϊνων· &c. — It calls to
our mind that beautiful allegory in the
Iliad, where VENUS eſſays all methods to
reconcile Helen to Paris; the Goddeſs tells
her, "that he lyes waiting for her with
"odours round him ſpread."
κάλλεϊ τε ςίλϐων, κι εϊμασιν· -
ILIAD iii. 392.
And at laſt love prevails over all the motives
of honour, eaſe and ſafety; one may
alſo compare it with that celebrated paſſage
where Juno puts on all her charms to
lay JUPITER aſleep,
- and round her body pours
Soft oil of fragrance, and ambroſial ſhow'rs.
ILIAD xiv. 198.
What I imagine PLATO has had chiefly in
his view is the feaſt prepared by Circe for
Ulyſſes, after he had drank her potion and
ſhewn himſelf ſuperior to it. — * There
we have μελίφρονα οινον, χρύσεια κύπελλα,
λίπω έλαίω, &c. Golden flaſkets, wines,
oil and perfumes, beautiful nymphs, and
all the other furniture of a houſe of plea*
ODYSS. x. 350-70.
ſure; the conſequence is, Ulyſſes loſes his
reaſon, and forgets his country ſo far as to
ſpend a whole year in the embraces of an
harlot; - It muſt be evident, the moral
both of the philoſopher, and the poet, iS
the ſame. - I would further obſerve, that
the diction in the beginning of this ſentence
in PLATO, flows with a peculiar
ſweetneſs; as the word βομϐόυσαι, finely
images the noiſy hurry and tumult of the
different paſſions, murmuring round the
heart, like a ſwarm of bees, ſo, by it's being
placed at ſome little diſtance from γέμόυσαι,
it forms a beauty of the like nature,
with that already * mentioned, both in HERODOTUS
and HOMER. PLATO likewiſe varies
his numbers at the end of the period;
they are more daring and rapid, and fitly
adapted to the ſubject ; thus the words μανίας
δε πληρώση έπακτόυ "extravagant or
outragious madneſs," cloſe the ſentence
with a becoming grandeur, and are alſo
entirely in the ſpirit of PINDAR, who in
deſcribing a violent winter-ſtorm, calls it
χειμέριος ομϐρος επακτος· PYTH. vi. 10.
To finiſh my obſervations on this fine
paſſage, I make no doubt but that PLATO,
* Vid hic, pag. 41, 42.
in this part of it, έπιθυμίας βοαν πυκνας,
&c. has taken the image from that bold
line in HOMER, where Ulyſſes is in great
wrath at the indecent exceſſes committed
in his family;
- κραδίη, δε οί ενδον ύλάκτει·
Round his ſwoln heart the murm'rous fury
rowls. ODYSS. xx. 19.
at leaſt the metaphor is the ſame in both
authors, tho' differently applied.
IV. The reader will ſurely be pleaſed
with that paſſage in PLATO, which no leſs
a judge than LONGINUS points out as an
inſtance of the ſublime, and mentions it to
prove, that while his diction "flows * like
"a gentle ſtream, it has alſo a great deal
"of elevation and majeſty." ‡ - "Thoſe
"perſons, ſays he, who are unexperien"ced
in virtue and wiſdom, and abandon
"themſelves to intemperance, feaſting,
"and gluttony, are carried downwards;
"from thence aſcend again to what is
"middle, † and wander there during their
* Cap 13. Longin. ‡ Republ. IX. pag. 586.
† To underſtand this fully, we muſt caſt our eye a little backward
on page 584, REPUBL. ix. where SOCRATES ſays to Glaucus,
"You know there is in Nature ſuch a thing as higheſt, middle,
and loweſt? - I do. - Is it not natural for one, when he
"whole lives: — but they never paſs that
"point, nor ſee the true height, nor mount
"up to it, nor are they in reality filled
"with the knowledge of * what truly and
"only exiſts, nor taſte pure and conſtant
"pleaſure. Like the brutes, always look"ing
downwards, they ſtoop with their
"eyes fixed on the earth and their own.
"tables; where they graze, filling their
"bellies, and gratifying their venereal ap"petites;
to obtain a full enjoyment of
"theſe, they are armed with iron, horns
"and hoofs, with which they kick and
"push, deſtroying one another through
"their inſatiable luſt; they neither feed
"is brought from what is loweſt to the middle, to imagine he is car"ried
to what is higheſt? ſtanding in the middle and conſidering
"from whence he was tranſported, and not ſeeing the true height,
"he believes he is arrived at it? He does. - But if he is
"carried higher, he will both think he is ſo, and think truly too?
" - Now does not his error proceed from this, that he has no
"experience of what is truly higheſt, loweſt, and middle? -
"Surely." - All this is applied by PLATO to illuſtrate the falſe
opinions which mankind have of the objects of pleaſure and pain,
and to point out their miſtaken notions of happineſs and miſery. -
* Thoſe who are acquainted with Plato know that by ſuch language
he means the Moral Attributes of the DEITY. Goodneſs, Veracity,
&c. dwell eſſentially in him The impreſſions of theſe qualities
on the minds of his creatures are only images of the Divine
Attributes. Here we have only a faint and diſtant view of Goodneſs,
juſtice, &c. When the good man is admitted hereafter into
the preſence of GOD, he will ſee all theſe in the abſtract, and know
their real nature. - See here, pag. 141, 290-5. and Plotinus,
Ennead. VI. in fine.
"their ſubſtantial part, nor take true ſolid
food!" - It ſeems probable, that PLATO
here has his thoughts on the deſcription
given us by HOMER of Circe's palace, and
her transforming men into ſwine and other
kind of wild beaſts;
There mountain-wolves, and bridled lions
(By magic tam' d) familiar to the dome.
ODYSS. X. 242.
The poet indeed paints his beaſts tame
and fawning, whereas PLATO (and probably
VIRGIL in imitation of him) draws
them fierce and unruly ſavages. — As the
moral in both is the ſame, namely that ſenſuality
degrades men into brutes, ſo PLATO'S
diction has ſome ſimilitude with that
in the Odyſſey; — he ſays κι κεκυφότες εις
γην, βόσκονται χορταζόμενοι, σιδηροις κέρασι
κι όπλαις, &c. HOMER'S words are
- λύκοι κρατερώνυχες ήδε λέοντες,,
- οια σύες χαμαιευνάδες αιεν εδόυσιν·-
ODYSS. X. 218, 243.
"The wolves and the lions had large
"paws, - and eat like ſwine groveling
"on the ground."
I ſhall conclude theſe quotations with
that beautiful contraſt, our philoſopher
makes betwixt a voluptuous and a virtuous
courſe of life. * "The vehement and
"unruly paſſions are produced, ſays he,
"when the commanding part of the ſoul is
"laid † aſleep, and the brutal and unrea"ſonable
part being over-fed and pam"pered,
exults, ſhakes off its slumbers,
"and ſallies forth, wanting to indulge its
"appetites! When thus let looſe, and de"livered
from the reſtraints of ſhame and
"prudence, there is nothing it dares not
"do; it will make an attack on the cha"ſtity
of its mother, or upon any man,
"God, or beaſt! Murders, gluttony, all
"acts of madneſs, and impudence are per"petrated
by it. - Whereas, when one
"living ſoberly and wiſely, keeps his rati"onal
part awake, feaſts it with true rea"ſonings
and contemplations, maintains
"an intimate acquaintance with his own
"heart; neither ſtarves nor ſatiates his ſen"ſitive
part; ſo that it reſts, and diſturbs
"not nor confounds the better part, by its
* Repo. IX. pag. 571.
† In the Original, PLATO ſays, "Thoſe paſſions are produced
"in ſleep;" and uſes that word once or twice, where I have overlooked
it; but his meaning is plainly as I have expreſſed it; If
one lays his deſires and appetites aſleep, then he lives and acts conſiſtently,
but if his Reaſon is laid aſleep, he is guided by no rule.
"joys and ſorrows; but allows that better
"part by itſelf, and wholly pure, to view
"and reach after the objects of it's know"ledge,
whether paſt, preſent, or future;
"calms his paſſionate part, and ſilences
"all it's angry, furious agitations. When,
"I ſay, he has thus compoſed theſe two,
"he preſerves the former, in which wiſ"dom
reſides vigilant and alive, and ſo
"takes his repoſe, then methinks, in ſuch
"a diſpoſition of mind, he will embrace
"truth; no falſe viſions or deluding dreams
"will appear to him!" - The beauty
of this paſſage is ſo ſtriking, that I ſhall
offer no comment upon it.
Philoſophy, as it makes us acquainted with
the ſprings of human action, is uſeful to an
Orator. - DEMOSTHENES ſtudied PLATO
carefully. — His ſtyle. - A ſhort defence
WE ſhall next confider how PLATO
in his turn, has been uſeful as a
HOMER to other writers; how thoſe of the
higheſt genius have imitated, and in ſome
meaſure formed upon him their ſtyle and
To begin with DEMOSTHENES. — Before
we proceed to a compariſon of PLATO and
him, it will be proper to premiſe what has
been already juſtly obſerved by CICERO,
that there is a conſiderable difference between
the ſtyle of a philoſopher, and an
orator. The one addreſſes himſelf to thoſe
whoſe paſſions and deſires he intends to
compoſe and moderate; he applies himſelf
to reaſon, and diſcourſes in a calm, ſedate
manner, with a view chiefly to inſtruct;
the other directly attacks the paſſions,
and endeavours in a violent and
forcible way, to gain them over to his ſide.
* Hence, the philoſophic diction, tho' capable
of receiving various ornaments, has
nothing of the weight, the ſtrength and
rapidity requiſite to a popular reader: -
Therefore our Grecian orator in adopting
the language and ſentiments of the
philoſopher, has taken great care to give
them all that force and vehemence, fire
and grandeur, which was ſuitable to
own genius, and the paſſions he meant to
raiſe in his hearers.
We have the expreſs opinion of the
* Quanquam enim et philoſophi quidam ornate locuti ſunt, tamen horum
oratio, neque nervos, neque aculeos oratorios, ac forenſes habet; -
mollis eſt enim, oratio philoſophorum et umbratilis; - nihil iratum habet
nihil invidum, nihil atrox, nihil mirabile, nihil aſtutum; taſta, veretunda;
virgo incorrupta quodammodo. - CICERO, Orator. cap. 19.
ſame great judge, that philoſophy is highly
uſeful to oratory. The ROMAN owns the
great obligations he lay under to PLATO;
* "that he had formed his elocution, ſuch
"as it was, on precepts drawn not from
"the mechanical work-houſes of the rhe"toricians,
but from the academic walks;
"in thoſe fair retreats men were exerci"ſed
in all the various graces and orna"ments
of language, after the models laid
"down and uſed by PLATO; let us there"fore
lay it down as a fundamental rule,
"that no man can ever be a complete o"rator,
without the help of philoſophy."
We have already obſerved from PLATO
the reaſon why the true ends of eloquence
are ſo much promoted by philoſophy;
by this ſcience we are enabled, exactly
to define the different ſpecies and qualities
of each object, and divide it into it's
* Fateor, me oratem, ſi modo ſim, aut etim quicunque ſim, non ex
rhetorum officinis, ſed ex academiae ſpatiis, extitiſſe; illa enim ſunt curricula
multiplicium variomque ſermonum, iu quibus Platonis prionum impreſſa
ſunt veſtigia; - omnis enim ubertas et quaſi ſilva dicendi ducta ab
o;;is eſt. - Poſitum ſit igitur in primis, ſine philoſophia non poſſe eſſici
quum quaerimus eloquentem. &c. Orator. cap. 3, 4.
QUINTILIAN, after declaring of what great uſe philoſophy is to
eloquence and quoting theſe words of CICERO, to confirm his own
opinion ſays, "neque ſe tanta, in Tullio, unquam fudiſſet ubertas, ſi
"ingenium ſuum, conſepto fori, non ipſus rerun naturae finibus termi"naſſet.",
Inſtit. lib. xii. cap.
proper parts; to judge what is true, what
falſe, what repugnant to the deſign we
have in view; to diſcern the moſt remote
conſequences, and to diſtinguiſh the clear
from the ambiguous; this knowledge of
the nature of things, joined with a comprehenſive
view of human life, and the manners
and cuſtoms of men, ſupplies the
ſpeaker with all the funds of eloquence. —
Now to teach all this is the proper buſineſs
of philoſophy.
II. As CICERO with pleaſure lifts himſelf
among the number of PLATO'S diſciples,
we have alſo his authority that DEMOSTHENES
was a conſtant, careful hearer
of PLATO. - "Who is ſo copious in
"his diction as PLATO? The philoſo"phers
ſay, that if JOVE had ſpoke in
"Greek, he would ſpeak as PLATO did;
"'tis ſaid of DEMOSTHENES, that he not
"only read PLATO with care, but alſo
"heard him, as appears from the man"ner
and grandeur of his diction; and
"DEMOSTHENES ſays ſo of himſelf in one
"Of * his epiſtles. - Hence CICERO
* Audiviſſe Platonem, Demoſthenes dicitur; dicit dim in quadam epiſtola
hoc de ſeſe; - Brutus § 31. - This is not the only place
where CICERO mentions that Epiſtle, in the ORATOR (Sect. 4.) after
more than once declares, that DEMOSTHENES
by ſtudying the Platonic philoſophy
had acquired the great art of raiſing
the paſſions, and that conſummate prudence
and knowledge which he had of the
human heart: by this he was able to inobſerving
from the Phaedrus; of Plato, that PERICLES was much indebted
for his abilities in eloquence to the leſſons of ANAXAGORAS,
He adds, Quod idem de DEMOSTHENE exiſtimari poteſt, cujus ex epiſtolis
intelligi licet, quam frequens fuerit PLATONIS auditor. - And in
Lib. I. de Oratore, Sect. 20. he ſays, Summam vim dicendi DEMOSTHENES
habuit ſive ille hoc ingenio potuiſſet, ſive id quod conſtaret, PLATONIS
ſtudioſus audiendi fuiſſet. - QUINTILLAN alſo ſays, (Inſtit.
Lib. XII. cap. 2.) ANAXAGORAE phyſici conſtat Periclem auditorem
fuiſſe; et DEMOSTHENEM principem omnium Graeciae oratorum, dediſſe
operam PLATONI. - LUCIAN in his Encomium on DEMOSTHENES,
bears witneſs to the ſame fact; he tells us, "DEMOSTHENES was
"reſtrained by his love of philoſophy from indulging in vices,
"and led by it to the ſchools of PLATO, ARISTOTLE, and THEO"PHRASTUS."
- ας αύτον ηγεν εωι Πλάτωνος ϑύρας· -
In ſhort, it is the uniform opinion of antiquity, that DEMOSTHENES
was the diſciple of PLATO; - That epiſtle which CICERO
refers to, ſeems not now extant. - We have indeed preſerved
to us an epiſtle of DEMOSTHENES to HERACLEODORUS, complaining
warmly of the bad uſage a friend of his own was like to meet
from him. — DEMOSTHENES writes, "that he had always eſteemed
HERACLEADORUS, not only on account of his good character
"in the world, but alſo in a peculiar manner for his erudition, and
"learning he had got in PLATO'S ſchool; which teaches one truly to
"deſpiſe all ſordidneſs and chicanery, and in every thing to purſue
"thoſe meaſures only which are conſiſtent with the higheſt good"neſs
and virtue! By all the Gods, I think it impious in a diſciple
"of PLATO, not to deteſt falſhood and practiſe univerſal benevo"lence!
— παιδείαν απεδέχόυ άπο τής Πλάτωνος διατριϐης·
- ης, μα τόυς ϑεόυς, τω μεταχόντι, μή όυχι άψευδειν,
κι προς απαντας άγαθω ειναι, όυκ οσιον ήγόυμαι. — Here we
have a part of the Dernoſthenic fire; and this paſſage ſhews clearly
how much the writer admired, and how well he underſtood the
intent of PLATO'S philoſophy. -
ſinuate himſelf into the hearts of judges
and people, turn them as he pleaſed, and
by the irreſiſtible torrent of his eloquence
carry all before him, triumphing over every
argument his moſt bitter enemies
could contrive.
III. Thoſe who are acquainted with
the Grecian and Roman orators will eaſily
perceive how they adapt themſelves to
the different kinds of hearers, as well as to
the nature of their ſubject. — When pleading
before a popular audience, they uſe
ſuch thoughts as are moſt eaſy, natural,
and ſimple; avoiding too great refinements
of language, of ornaments, or wit, which
they are unacquainted with. - On the other
hand, when their audience are men
of learning and judgment, the higheſt elegance
and pomp of diction, the moſt
beautiful figures, an inſinuating addreſs,
and all the graces of fine action and delivery,
are diſplayed; refined reaſoning, elaborate
arguments, novelties of language,
unuſual images, towering flights of imagination,
or ſallies of wit, which had been
diſtaſteful to a popular audience, are liſtened
to, with pleaſure, by an intelligent
and polite aſſembly: - But the moſt difficult
taſk of all, is to pleaſe an audience of
a mixed ſort, where both the vulgar and
thoſe of politer taſte, are preſent. This
great ſecret of inſerting into an oration
thoſe various beauties and charms, which
engage the attention, work upon the paſſions,
raiſe the admiration and aſtoniſhment
of people of all ranks and ages, is
chiefly to be diſcovered by converſing
with CICERO and DEMOSTHENES; and the
ROMAN has freely told us, that both in
effect learned this art from PLATO. - It
is ſufficient to have given this hint. Whoever
examines the different orations of
theſe two orators to the ſenate and people,
will find the obſervation abundantly
IV. Many writers both ancient and
modern *, have celebrated DEMOSTHENES,
and deſcribed the beauties of his e*
Thoſe who have wrote beſt upon him, are DIONYS. HALICARNASSEUS
in his treatiſe, de admirab. vi dicendi in Demoſth. pag. 279.
and in the other parts of his critical works, he frequently brings
examples from this orator. CICERO alſo, through the whole of his
eſſays on eloquence, gives the Grecian the higheſt encomiums, and
illuſtrates his own rules by various references to him. — LUCIAN
has likewiſe given us a Panegyric on him, and LONGINUS, HERMOGENES,
and QUINTILIAN are constantly propoſing him as the
only perfect pattern of eloquence. The modern diſſertations
by TOURREIL, &c. are but a repetition of things already ſaid by
theſe authors.
loquence. - The ſum of what has been
ſaid is; — that he follows the middle kind
of compoſition above-mentioned; and has
introduced into his orations the nobleſt
ornaments which the invention of man
can poſſibly find out. Sometimes elegant,
ſoft, inſinuating and perſuaſive. The next
moment, he ſurprizes us by a daring rapidity,
a vehement ardour, the boldeſt imagery,
the lofty figures, and all the pride of
language. To be convinced of this, we
need only read any one of his orations.
that comes firſt into our hands. One ſentence
is long and protracted in its meaſures,
the next ſhort, nervous, abrupt, and quick
in its numbers; this is rough and deſignedly
offenſive to the ear, that it may better
convey the intended idea; another,
ſmooth and exquiſitely ſweet. — By ſuch
a variety of numbers, by the impetuoſity
and vehemence of his language, the dignity
and grandeur of his ſentiments, but
chiefly by his noble action and lively pronunciation,
did he command the paſſions.
of his hearers, tranſported them to what
pitch he pleaſed, led them on to the moſt
arduous undertakings, inſpired them with
a love to their country, a laudable ambition,
a thirſt for true glory and fame, a hatred
of tyranny, and the oppreſſors of
Greece, and enemies of mankind. Thus
be was abſolutely maſter of the heart, and
it's different affections; could raiſe our anger,
hatred, indignation, joy, love, eſteem,
fear, grief, compaſſion; hurry us on to the
height of implacable fury and reſentment,
and in an inſtant calm and pacify us. —
Who, that has the leaſt taſte or ſpirit, can
read DEMOSTHENES without feeling all
theſe various paſſions acting upon him by
turns? Who can reſiſt the impetuous torrent
of his eloquence, or ſtand the thunder
of his words? And if they have ſuch
an effect upon us, now at this diſtance of
time, and when we are wholly unconcerned
as to the event, how muſt they have
been moved who heard him ſpeak, and
were ſo nearly intereſted.
Whoever attends to his orations will
clearly perceive the manner of pronunciation
natural to ſuch and ſuch a ſentence,
as whether it is to be delivered in a grave
or jocular, in an angry, indignant, and
threatening, or a calm, peaceable, exhorting
* Dionyſ. Halicarnaſſ: pag. 288, & 309. Tom. II, Edit. Oxon.
has given us various examples of the beauties
of this kind, which animate his ſpeeches
wonderfully, and as far as poſſible make amends
for the loſs we are at in not hearing
them pronounced by himſelf. - I have
taken notice of this the rather that it is an
excellency peculiarly conſpicuous in Plato's
dialogues; hence it would alſo appear
that, in this reſpect, Plato has led the way
to the orator. - In fine, if there ever was
a perfect orator, DEMOSTHENES is entitled
to the name; his acute penetration
made him at once comprehend the utmoſt
limits of every ſubject he applied his
thoughts to, and his quick invention readily
ſupplied him with the nobleſt, moſt
ſublime, and pathetic diction. It is not
in the power of man to find out words
more expreſſive, more grand, and lofty.
How cutting and pungent are his ſhort interrogations?
How juſt, manly, and affecting,
his ſentiments? How natural and
lively his images? The ſame inimitable
fire and ſpirit, the vivida vis animi, is preſerved
alive from the beginning to the end
of an oration, and burns with more or leſs
heat, according as the ſubject requires;
if it abates and is ſmothered during the
narrative part of the ſpeech, this is only
that it may gather ſtrength, and break
forth, in all its glory and ſplendor, in an
irreſiſtible flame!
V. As I propoſed to ſay ſomething of
ISOCRATES, I would here ſhortly obſerve,
that 'tis uſual for the admirers of Demoſthenes,
to run the parallel between theſe
two orators, to extoll the latter for his fervent
vehemence and paſſionate ardour,
and cenſure the former as cold, flat, and
languid. I am never fond of erecting a trophy
to one genius, at the expence of another.
'Tis certain indeed the ſublime in
Demoſthenes is vehement and intenſe,
while everything ſaid by the other, is calm
and gentle; no violent attack is made upon
the paſſions, and after an oration of his
is read over, we are as cool and ſedate as
when we began to it: But 'tis unreaſonable
to decry Iſocrates, as if no benefit
whatever could be received from peruſing
his diſcourſes.
As for his ſtyle, we have already given
a deſcription of it, in conſidering the ſimpie
kind of compoſition. I shall only add
out of Cicero, * "that his houſe was the
* Brutus. Sect. 8.
"academy for rhetoric to all the youth
"in Greece. He-was a great orator, a
"complete teacher, and tho' he did not
"ſhine at the bar, yet he procured ſuch a
"renown to himſelf within doors, as no
"poet, in my opinion, ever acquired: he
"has wrote many fine things, and as he is
"in many reſpects better than his prede"ceſſors,
ſo he was the firſt who introdu"ced
meaſures and feet into proſe with"out
allowing it to become verſe; before
"his days, there were no regular compo"ſitions,
nor well adjuſted periods." After
the teſtimony of ſo good a judge, it ſeems
needleſs to apologize for the accuracy uſed
by lſocrates in rounding his periods; CICERO
approves of them, and that is enough.
What is chiefly to be admired in Iſocrates
is the eaſy, elegant manner in which
he delivers his moral fentiments; they flow
in a gentle current, and the reader is gained
by ſoft inſinuations, and ſoothed into
a love and eſteem of virtue; the ſentences
run not with that overpowering force
and vehemence as in Demoſthenes, who
bears every thing before him like a hurricane.
The latter, by his ſtrokes of paſſion,
violently ſeizes the approbation of his audience,
and extorts their aſſent; the other
by the delicious ſweetneſs and harmony
of his words, inſinuates himſelf into their
favour. Seldom indeed does he warm his
readers, or raiſe in them any extraordinary
emotion; but then, as every thing he
ſays, ſeems to proceed from an honeſt
heart, and a ſincere, upright intention, we
liſten to him with the greater pleaſure, and
value him for his politeneſs and ingenuity.
- Thus, in his epiſtle to Philip, with
what a noble ſpirit of liberty does he write
to that Prince; he adviſes him, with the
greateſt earneſtneſs, to make uſe of the
power which the Gods had given him in
reconciling the different States of Greece,
and to turn his arms againſt the Perſians,
inſtead of attempting to enſlave his own
countrymen. - * " You will be ſurprized,
"ſays he, Philip, at the freedom I take in
"ſpeaking to you; but ought you to be
"ſo, when I exhort you to do good to
"Greece, to have mercy and love to man"kind.
Believe me, inſolence and ſeveri"ty
are not only miſchievous to the per"ſons
poſſeſſed of them, but alſo to all
"their neighbours; whereas mercy and
* Oratio ad Philippum.
"benevolence are not only beautiful qua"lities
among men, but highly eſteemed
"among the Gods themſelves, the authors
"to us of every good thing we enjoy. —
"You ſhould conſider this, and endea"vour
to excell, more than you have hi"therto
done, in ſuch amiable and en"dearing
virtues. — You know very well
"that I would not perſuade you to act
"ſuch a part, if I only regarded the pow"er,
grandeur, and riches accruing from
"your deeds; you already enjoy a grea"ter
ſhare of theſe than is neceſſary.What
"inſatiable deſires muſt that man have,
"who encounters dangers, with a view
"either to gain ſuch contemptible enjoy"ments,
or loſe his life in the attempt!
"Think alſo on the great glory which
"will redound to you, if you purſue this
"courſe; reflect that our bodies are but
"mortal, whereas by ſecuring ourſelves
"a good reputation, we acquire immor"tality,
and make our ſame and renown
"run parallel with time itſelf."
The orations of Iſocrates every where
abound with ſuch fine, juſt, and noble
ſentiments. — 'Tis very true, as he ſays
of himfelf, † " That he was not quali"fied
for being a ſtateſman, and had no
"talents for political affairs; I have not,
"ſays he, a ſtrong voice, nor that bold"neſs
and courage requiſite for one, who
"would be a leader in a popular aſſem"bly,
nor any humour for entering into
"the litigious debates,and tumultuous ha"rangues
of their orators: but tho' it may
"appear vain to ſay it of myſelf, yet I will
"venture to contend with any man, as to
"the goodneſs of my ſentiments and do"ctrine;
in this reſpect I will rank myſelf
"not among the laſt and moſt defective,
"but among the firſt and moſt excellent.
"For this reaſon, I uſe thoſe abilities
"which nature has conferred on me, in
"giving the beſt counſel I can to men in
"power, and to the different States of
"Greece." - This is the character Iſocrates
gives us of himſelf, and it ſeems
juſt; all his ſpeeches and compoſitions are
wrote with a view to promote the public
good, and to excite his readers to the practice
of virtue.
PLATO tells us that SOCRATES recommends
him in the ſtrongeſt manner; *
† Eadem oratio. * Phaedrus, ad finen.
"Shall I, ſays he to Phaedrus, give you
"my opinion of your young friend Iſo"crates?
He is a good man, he ſeems to
"have a finer genius than what Lyſias
"diſcovers in his orations, and his morals
"are more noble and excellent: therefore
"I will not be ſurprized, if, as he advan"ces
in years, he ſhall excell all other o"rators,
more than he does at preſent the
"youngeſt boy, in that kind of compoſi"tion
to which he applies. Nay I know
"not but he may be prompted by a di"vine
inſtinct to riſe higher, and favour
"the world with nobler productions than
"his preſent orations. Philoſophy herſelf
"ſeems naturally to reſide in his mind!"
— This encomium from one of the beſt
judges, high as it is, yet is not looked on
as too great by Cicero; he owns himſelf an
admirer of Iſocrates, and after quoting this
paſſage,* adds, "Thus ſays PLATO, who
"was co-temporary with Iſocrates, and a
"ſevere critic upon other orators, he
"ſeems chiefly to admire him; let thoſe
"then who find fault with this writer, al"low
me to be in an error with Socrates
"and Plato." – Thus I have endeavoured
* Orator. Sect. 13,
to do juſtice to an author who is generally
but too little eſteemed.
VI. And now to return to DEMOSTHENES;
he is not only happy in the choice
of his words, the ſtructure of his periods,
the variety and change of numbers, but
alſo imitates thoſe who went before him,
in introducing poetic beauties into his
"Who is not ſenſible that the orations of
"DEMOSTHENES are like to the moſt
"charming pieces of poetry and melo"dy?"
Then he proceeds to point out to
us the different meaſures or feet which the
orator has made uſe of; and affirms it was
an employment worthy of Demoſthenes
himſelf, to be ſo careful in poliſhing and
refining his language, and beſtowing the
finiſhing touch on theſe works, which
were to be the eternal monuments of his
great genius! — LUCIAN † alſo has ſhortly
drawn the parallel between him and HOMER;
"'Tis neceſſary, ſays he, that an o"rator
as well as a poet, be filled with
"ſome divine inſpiration, before he can
"compoſe any thing that is grand and
"lofty. It gives me great delight to com*
De compoſit. verb. Sect. 18, et 25. † Demoſthen. encomium.
"pare other orators, but eſpecially De"moſthenes,
with Homer. Thus, I con"ſider
the fire, vehemence, and enthuſi"aſm
in both; Homer ſays of Agamem"non
that he was a great drunkard Demo"ſthenes
inveighs againſt Philip for his
"drunkenneſs, dancing and debauchery;
"the Poet ſays, 'The beſt omen to a
"brave man is his country's cauſe;' In
"the Orator it is, 'Brave men ought with
"good hopes to defend their country.'
"This line, 'Poſſibly the old man Peleus
"mourns at ſuch miſeries,' is like to that
"ſentiment, 'How much would theſe
"brave men lament, who died for liberty
"and glory;' as alſo, 'Suppoſe we were
"to be delivered from death and old-age
"&c." may he compared with, 'Death
"puts an end to us all,even tho' we ſhould
"ſhut ourſelves up in a tower.' -
"There are a thouſand inſtances of the
"ſame thoughts and flights of imaginati"on
in both writers." - Another Critic
* has likewiſe given us the following
example; he is talking of the tragic ſtyle,
and tells us, "That Homer excells in it;
"and that Demoſthenes has imitated him;
* Hermogenes de method eloquentiae, c. 33.
"how beautifully has the Poet, in two
"lines, deſcribed the ſacking and burning
"of a city;"
ανδρας μεν κτείνόυσι, πόλιν δέ τε πυρ αμα--
τέκνα δέ τ΄ αλλοι αγόυσι, βαθυζώνόυς τε γυναικας·
- The rolling flames ariſe,
The Heroes ſlain, the palaces o'erthrown,
The matrons raviſh'd, the whole race enſlav'd.

ILIAD IX. 705.
"In like manner Demoſthenes, in a few
words, gives us an account of the de"ſtruction
of the Phocians, and their
"whole race; * ην ίδειν οίκίας κατεσκαμμέ"νας,
τείχη ωεριηρημένα, χώραν ερημον των
"έν ήλίκια, γύναια δέ, κι παιδάρια όλίγα, κι
"πρεσϐύτας ανθρώπόυς οικτρόυς·- "One
"might ſee houſes pulled down, walls
"overthrown, the country deſtitute of
"young men, a few women, children,
"and miſerable old men only remained.
* In Orat de Legato.
† The two Quotations from theſe authors, ſhew that they did
not think it neceſſary, when running a compariſon between Homer
and any other writer, to produce two places, in which the
words were preciſely the ſame; they reckoned it ſufficient, if the
" - In this place, adds the critic, it ap"pears
that Demoſthenes has paraphra"ſed
upon the poet;" - I could give
many other examples, in which it would
be evident, the orator has had HOMER in
his eye, but my deſign is rather to ſhew
how he has imitated PLATO.
ſame ſpirit and poetic warmth appeared in both; ſome of the inſtances
I have given out of HOMER, PLATO, and DEMOSTHENES,
ſeem at leaſt as ſimilar, as thoſe which LUCIAN has here produced.
Demoſthenes often imitates Plato's manner, in
his deſcriptions, ſentiments, and figures; –
the public affections ſtrongly recommended
by both. — Longinus alſo imitates Plato.
I. LET us then conſider how far Demoſthenes
has copied after Plato
in his deſcriptions, ſentiments and ſimiles;
I join theſe two together, becauſe they
are often, if not always, ſo interwoven in
his orations, that it is impoſſible to ſeparate
them. For the molt part Demofthenes
is but very ſhort in his compariſons;
he touches the grand ſtrokes, and leaves
it to his audience to imagine the reſt. His
violent and fiery imagination won't allow
him to dwell on each minute circumſtance;
and after hinting the chief reſemblance, he
hurries his hearer on to ſome new thought.
The beauties and excellencies in this
great orator are ſo many and various, that
one is entirely at a loſs which to chuſe; the
witty * author above-mentioned ſays moſt
pleaſantly, "If you pant eagerly after that
* Lucian Demoſth. encomium.
intellctual luxury which Demoſthe"nes
affords, and your ſoul longs for a full
"and copious draught, you are entirely
"in ſuſpenſe and know not with what
"part of him to begin; as an Epicure at a
"feaſt cannot reſolve what he ſhall firſt
"taſte, or as one prodigiouſly fond of fine
"ſhows, has his affections divided be"tween
this or that pleaſant, bewitching
"object, and knows not where to turn
"him: Thus when reading Demoſthe"nes
we are diſtracted amidſt a profuſi"on
of charms; we run from one thing
"to another, and are carried round in a
"circle of delights!"
I ſhall ſhortly point out a few of thoſe
deſcriptions in him which reſemble Plato;
the menexenus or funeral oration, which
Socrates repeats, but aſcribes the compoſition
to that female Sage Aſapia, ſeems
the moſt proper for this of all Plato's
works; 'tis the only oration he has left us.
The apology is clearly of a different nature;
it never was deſigned for the bar, nor is it
made with a view to raiſe the paſſions
however I ſhall not confine myſelf entirely
to the menexenus.
II. If we examine the deſcription Plato
gives of the Athenians, their laws and
cuſtoms, their heroiſm and intrepidity,
and compare it with that of Demoſthenes,
we will not only find the circumſtances
obſerved by them both pretty parallel,
but alſo the ſame kind of diction uſed.
Let any one compare the paſſages referred
to * below, out of Demoſthenes and
Plato, and he will cleanly perceive the
thoughts to be the ſame, and that both
writers agree in their character of the ancient
Athenians, their love of liberty, their
deteſtation of tyranny, and of every thing
baſe and unbecoming, and their invincible
bravery. That as long as they were united
among themſelves they were formidable
to their enemies; but that all things
went into confuſion, as ſoon as they were
ſplit into factions.
To give only one example. The Athenians
are repreſented by Plato as the conſtant
aſſerters of liberty, and the refuge of
the oppreſſed; † ήγησάμενοι Δακεδαιμόνιοι
τόυς μεν της έλευθερίας έπικόυρόυς πεπτωκέ*
Vid. Menexenus Platonis, Tom. II. pag. 237, 239, 240, 241, et
243. Edit. Serran. - Demoſthenis Olynthiac. III. pag. 25. Gul.
Moretti, Lutetiae. 1570. et Philippic, II. pag. 45. et Philippic. IV,
pag. 76. 77. ej. edit.
† Menexen. pag. 244, 245.
ναι ήμας· - κι εϊ τις βόυλοιτο της πόλεως κατηγορησαι
δικαίως, - όρθως αν κατηγοροι, ώς
άει λίαν φιλοικτίρμων έςι· - άλλα εκάμφθη, κι
έϐοήθησε, κι τόυς μεν Ελληνας αυτη βοηθήσασα
άπελύσατο δόυλείας, ως έλευθέρόυς ειναι· -
"By this time the Lacedemonians look"ed
on us as no longer able to be the guar"dians
of the liberties of Greece; - To
"ſay the truth, our city may he juſtly bla"med,
for too much lenity and compaſſi"on
towards the diſtreſſed; we could ne"ver
adhere to our reſolution, not to ſuc"cour
thoſe ho had injured us; on the
"contrary, we yielded to their entreaties,
"we aſſiſted them, and by our help they
"were inſtantly delivered from ſlavery,
"and made free." — This thought occurs
often in Demoſthenes, who gives his countrymen
the ſame illuſtrious character, *
εάν ποτε συμϐη τι πταισμα· - ηξει πάντα
τα νυν βεϐιασμένα, κι καταφεύξεται προς
ύμας· έςε γαρ υμεις, όυκ αύτοι πλεονεκτησαι·
- άλλ' ετερον λάϐειν κωλύσαι· - κι πάν*
Philippic. IV. pag. 77. Morel. and Oratio in Cherſoneſum, pag.
60. where a whole page and upwards, of what had been ſaid in
the fourth Philippic is verbatim tranſcribed; this ſhews that Demoſthenes
was at great pains in his compoſition, when he could
venture to repeat the ſame thing twice, before ſuch nice judges as
the Athenians.
τας ανθρώπόυς εις έλευθερίαν έξελέοϑαι δεινοί·
"If any misfortune, to which all man"kind
are liable, ſhould befal the tyrant,
"thoſe people, who are now conſtrained
"to ſubmit to him, would all join you,
"and ſeek refuge in you; you are not in"clined
to tyrannize over others, or to
"rob them, but rather to ſnatch the ſcep"tre
from thoſe who have a luſt for do"minion,
and check them in their career,
"and you are wonderfully ſucceſsful in
"reſtoring liberty to all mankind."
Near the end of this diſcourſe, Socrates
introduces the manes of their anceſtors,
and to add the greater force to their ſpeech
he exhorts his countrymen, * - ωασερ έν
πολέμω μή λείπειν τήν τάξιν τήν των προγόνων,
μηδ΄ εις τόυπίσω άναχ ωρειν, ηκοντας
κάκη. — "not to deſert the ſtation in which
"their anceſtors left them, or act an un"worthy
part thro' cowardice and dege"neracy;"
and Demoſthenes concludes
one of his orations thus, † — κι μή παραχωρειν,
ω ανδρες Αθηναιοι, της τάξεως, ην
ήμιν, οί πρόγονοι της άρετης, μετα πολλων
κινδύνων κτησάμενοι, κατέλιπον· — "Let
* Menexen. pag. 246. † Olynthiac. III. Morel. in fine.
"us not, O Athenians, abandon the poſt
"of honour and virtue left us by our fore"fathers,
and purchaſed at the expence
"of ſo much blood and treaſure." — Plato
alſo * paints forth the inſolence and
pride of the Athenians in his days, their
contempt for the laws, and diſregard of
the opinion of the wiſer ſort; this may be
compared with the ſame picture which
Demoſthenes gives us of them, particularly
in his third Olynthiac, and firſt Philippic.

III. The next inſtance I ſhall give, is
the character and deſcription of the Orators
in thoſe times, who made it their buſineſs
to corrupt and ſeduce the people,
and by their wicked arts, and tumultuous
harangues, often led them aſtray from their
true intereſt; Plato deſcribes the bad effects
of their eloquence thus, † - οταν ξυγκαθεζόμενοι
άθρόοι πολλοι εις έκκλησίας, η
εις δικαςήρια, η ϑέατρα· - ξυν πολλω ϑορύϐω
τα μεν ψέγωσι των λεγομένων η πραττομένων,
τα δε έπαίνωσιν, ύπερϐαλλόντως έκάτερα
κι έκϐοωντες κι κροτόυντες· - ϑόρυϐον παρέχωσι
τόυ ψόγόυ τε κι έπαίνόυ· - "Many of our
* Leg. III. pag. 701. Edit. Serran † Republ. VI. pag. 492.
"youth are corrupted by the Sophiſts,
"and by thoſe who can raiſe in the peo"ple
what paſſions they pleaſe; I mean
"ſuch as ſit in great numbers, in the pu"blic
aſſemblies, theatres, and courts of
"juſtice, and who by their tumultuous
"cries and exclamations, applaud or con"demn
what is ſpoke or acted! the rocks,
"and places of aſſembly, reſound! the e"cho
of which redoubles the noiſe of
"their claps and praiſes! During this
"ſcene, what do you imagine, are the
"thoughts of our young man? any good
"inſtructions he had got, will be over"whelmed
by floods of noiſy exclamati"on,
and violently carried down the
"ſtream! he commends or cenſures juſt
"as he hears them do, follows the like
"purſuits, and becomes the ſame with
"them." - This is highly poetical; it
would not agree ſo well with a popular
diſcourſe to talk in ſuch a high ſtrain, and
therefore Demoſthenes drops the imagery
of it, but retains the force and boldneſs of
expreſſion. - Whoever is the leaſt acquainted
with the Greek orator, muſt know
how contemptibly he treats, and how ſeverely
he laſhes the pleaders in his time;
I ſhall only point out one ſentence or two,
which ſeem to have a reſemblance with
the foregoing paſſage in PLATO, — *
αν μέντοι καθώμεθα οικοι, λοιδορόυμένων άκόυοντες
κι αιτιωμένων άλλήόυς των λεγόντων·
- And in another place, - άλλ΄
ύμεις οί καθήμενοι ούτως ηδη διάκειοϑε, ωςε
αν μέν τις ειπη παρελθων, - έυθέως φατέ
κι ϑορυϐειτε ώς ορθως λέγει· - παρεσκευάκασιν
ύμας έκ πολλόυ των πολιτευομένων ενιοι,
έν μεν ταις έκκλησίαις φοϐερόυς κι χαλεπόυς· -
"If we ſit at home, hearing our orators
"raiſing, and accuſing one another, 'tis
"impoſſible we can do any thing to the
"purpoſe; — While you thus loiter at
"home, you are ſo diſpoſed, that if one
"accidentally come into your aſſembly
"and accuſe your own officers, as the
"authors of all your misfortunes, in"ſtantly
you agree with him, and by
"your loud applauſe declare that you
"think him in the right; your politici"ans
and orators have rendered you, in
"all your public meetings, quite ungo"vernable
in your tempers, and above
"all manner of controul."
We have obſerved, that the Gorgias in
* Philippic. 1. pag. 37, et in Cherſones. pag. 58. Edit. Morel.
PLATO, is an eſſay on true eloquence, and
refutes the vain cavils and falſe arts of public
orators; here are a few of the ſatirical
ſtrokes againſt them. - * πρός τήν ήδονην
μαλλον ωρμηται· - κι όυτοι προς το χαρίζεσθαι
τοις πολίταις ώρμημένοι, κι ενεκα τόυ ίδίόυ
του αύτων, ολιγωρόυντες τόυ κοινόυ, ωασερ παισί
προσομιλόυσι τοις δήμοις, χαρίζεοϑαι αύτοις
πειρώμενοι μόνον; - κολακεία αν ειη, κι αισχρα
δημηγορία· - κι συ, ω Καλλίκλεις, έγκωμίαζεις
ανθρώπόυς, οι τοιόυτόυς έςίακασιν εύωχόυντες
ων έπεθύμόυν, και φάσι μεγάλην τήν
πόλιν πεποιηκέναι αύτόυς· - ανευ γαρ σωφροσυνής,
κι δικαιοσύνης, λιμένων, κι νεωρίων, κι
τειχων, κι φόρων, κι τοιόυτων φλυάριων, έμπεπλήκασι
την πόλιν· — "That is ſpoken,
"which gives the people pleaſure; -
"theſe orators lay themſelves out for gra"tifying
the people, and have an eye to"wards
their own ſelfiſh ends, while they
"neglect the public good; they treat their
"hearers, as we uſually do children, by
"ſpeaking only what is agreeable to their
"humours; - this is vile flattery, and a
"baſe art of cajoling the populace. — So
"that, it ſeems, Callicles, you praiſe thoſe
* Gorgias, pag. 502, 503, 518, 519. Tom, I. Serran.
"men,who feed the people with that be"witching
poiſon, which their heart is ſet
"on, and make the vulgar believe, that
"they contribute greatly to the grandeur
"of the mate, while they are ſecretly un"dermining
it, and foſtering a gangrene in
"it, which will at laſt deſtroy it; for in"ſtead
of introducing juſtice and tempo"rance
into their country, they value
"themſelves on building harbours, and
"ports, and walls, and on ſuch fooliſh
"trifles as theſe." - DEMOSTHENES
talks of them in the ſame contemptuous
ſtrain, * - νυν δε δημαγωγόυντες ύμας, καί
χαριζόμενοι καθ΄ ύπερϐολην, όυτω διατεθείκασιν,
ως έν μεν ταις έκκλησίαις, τρυφαν κι
κολακεύεοϑαι, πάντα προς ήδονην ακόυοντας·-
- And in another place, έξ όυ δε οί διερωτωντες
ύμας όυτοι πεφήνασι ρήτορες, τί βόυλεοϑε;
τί γράψω; τί ύμιν χαρίσομαι; προπέποται
της παραυτίκα ήδονης κι χάριτος
τα της πόλεως πράγματα· - κι τα μεν τόυτων
πάντα καλως εχει, τα δ' ύμέτερα αίχρως·
κι τί αν τις είπειν εχοι; - τας έπάλξεις,
ας κονιωμεν· κι τας όδόυς, ας επισκεύαζομεν· κι
κρήνας, κι λήρόυς· — "Theſe popular plea*
Oratio in Cherſones. pag. 58, Olynthic. XII. pag. 24, 26.
"ders ſtudy to an exceſs how to gratify
"you; you have now a reliſh for nothing
"elſe than the moſt fulſome flattery; they
"feed your vanity, and ſpeak nothing but
"what gives you pleaſure; ever ſince
"theſe orators have appeared, who aſk.
"you, What is it you want, what law
"ſhall I propoſe, how may I oblige you?
"The moſt valuable intereſts of the ſtate
"have been thrown away to procure a
"ſhort pleaſure, and to obtain your fa"vour;
hence they are in flourſfhing cir"cumſtances,
while the public is diſgrace"fully
ruined; - but ſome ſay the city
"is in a better condition, the bulwarks
"we have white-waſhed, the roads re"paired,and
the fountains and the trifles."
- In theſe two paſſages the ſentiments
and manner of expreſſion are very like.
I ſhall only further obſerve, that the
noble and juſtly celebrated expreſſion in
Demoſthenes, concerning Philip, that he
was intoxicated with too much power and
grandeur, ſeems imitated from Plato. The
Orator ſays, * έγω δε οιμαι μεν, νή τόυς Θεόυς,
έκεινον μεθύειν τω μεγέθει των πεπραγμένων
- "By all the Gods, I think him
* Philippic. I. pag. 38. Edit. Morel.
drunk with power." Plato had ſaid before
† μεθυοϑεις άνηρ τυραννικόν τι φρόνημα
χει - τυραννικος γιγνέται - οταν - μεθυςικός
- γενήται.
4. The next thing to be conſidered, is
how far Demoſthenes imitates Plato, in
his ſentiments and ſimiles; in this reſpect
philoſophy is chiefly uſeful to oratory; but
then, as was hinted, the orator muſt expreſs
his thoughts in an eaſy, familiar way,
and make them intelligible to the moſt ordinary
capacity. He muſt alſo chuſe ſuch
as are moſt ſtriking, nervous, and ſhort; a
long moral diſcourſe becomes flat and inſipid.
It is the peculiar excellency of Demoſthenes,
to be at once conciſe, emphatic,
and ſublime; the moſt hidden and raviſhing
charms of the philoſophic mute,
are diſplayed, and ſhine forth with a noble
luſtre in his elegant and perſpicuous language.

How improving and fine are the reflexions
which Demoſthenes draws from
the ſituation in which Philip was at that
time, and from the hatred and jealouſy of
his ſubjects againſt him; "'Tis impoſſi"ble,
ſays he, believe me, Athenians, 'tis
† Republ. IX. pag. 573. Serran.
"impoſſible, that an unjuſt, perjured, falſe
"man can enjoy his power long! he may
"for once ſucceed in his deſigns, and
"flouriſh in his hopes for a ſhort time,
"but ſuddenly he is diſconcerted and all
"his mighty projects draw down ruin
"on himſelf!" — And then he goes on
to illuſtrate this ſentiment by the following
ſimilie, - * ωασερ γαρ οίκίας οίμαι, κι,
πλοίόυ, κι των αλλων των τοιόυτων, τα κάτωθεν
ιχυρότατα δει. - "For as the
"bottom of a ſhip, the foundation of a
houſe, or any other building, is to be
made firm, ſo the chief ſcope and end
"of all our actions, ought to be eſtabliſhed
on juſtice and truth. The ſame
compariſon is applied by Plato to the ends
of lawgiving, † οιον εν οίκοδομήμασιν έρείσματα
έκ μέσόυ ύπορρέοντα, συμπίπτειν
ταυτον ποιει τα ξύμπαντα· — "As if the
"foundation, or pillars in the middle of
"a houſe ſhould give way, the whole fa"brick
tumbles down." -
Our Grecian orator tries all methods
poſſible to animate his countrymen; leſt
his ſevere rebukes and warm reproaches
ſhould make them deſpondent, he ſome*
Olynth. II. pag, 13. Morel † Leg. VII. pg. 793.
times changes his note,and repreſents their
grand enemy not ſo formidable as they imagine;
that Philip is deteſted by his own
ſubjects; that the rapidity of his conqueſts,
and his prodigious ſucceſs throws a ſhade
over his faults; but that if any misfortune
ſhould happen, they wou'd then openly
rail at him, and lay the whole blame upon
him, * - ωασερ γαρ εν τοις σώμασιν ήμων, εως
μέν αν ερρώμενος η τις όυδεν έπαιϑάνεται των
καθ εκαςα σαθρων· επαν δε αρρώστημά τι
συμϐη, πάντα κινειται, καν ρηγμα, καν ςρέμμα,
καν αλλό τι των ύπαρχόντων σαθρον η·
όυτω κι των πόλεων - "As when our bo"dies
are in good health, we are not ſen"ſible
of little diſorders in ſome parts; till
"a diſeaſe attack us, and then every old
"fracture, every diſlocation, every fore
"or ulcer breaks forth in all its virulence;
"ſo it is with ſtates and mighty poten"tates;
while they are engaged in a fo"reign
war, their domeſtic evils are not
"perceived; but if the war is carried into
"their own country, their miſeries are
"ſoon felt." — This ſimile occurs in Plato,
in ſhewing the faults of a Democracy,
* Demoſth.Olynthiac. II. pag. 16. Morel.
where all ranks are equally admitted to
the higheſt honours, and the rich deſpiſed
by the poor, he uſes this compariſon; †
ωασερ σωμα νοσωδες, μικρας ροπης εξωθεν δειται
προσλαϐέοϑαι προς τό κάμνειν, ένίοτε δε
και ανευ των εξω, ςασιάζει άυτο αυτω, όυτω
δη και ή κατα ταυτα διακειμένη πόλις·
"As a diſeaſed body is thrown into ſick"neſs
by the ſmalleſt external accident,
"nay ſometimes without any outward
"cauſe, becomes it's own foe, ſo a polity
"thus conſtituted ſickens, and is at war
"with itſelf, by the leaſt foreign misfor"tune,
or falls into inteſtine convulſions
"ariſing from the blemiſhes of ſuch a con"ſtitution."

Again to repreſent to the Athenians the
danger they were in from Philip, he makes
uſe of this bold ſimile, * έπι οτε γε ωασερ
περίδος, η καταϐολή πυρετόυ η τινος αλλόυ κάκόυ
- προσέρχεται - "There is none of you
"ignorant that Philip, like a fever, or a"ny
other periodical diſtemper, is advan"cing
quickly towards him, who thinks
"himſelf moſt remote from danger." —
The ſame figurative expreſſion occurs in
† Plato. Republ. VIII. pag. 556. Serran.
* Demoſth. Philip. III. pag. 69. Morel.
the paſſage already mentioned in Plato;
he is talking of their fooliſh orators and
ſtateſmen, and how much they embaraſſed
the public affairs, and then he adds, *
οταν όυν ελθη ή καταϐολή αυτη της άοϑενίας,
τότε αιτιάσονται· - "When the diſeaſe
"breaks forth in all it's violence, then the
"people blame their preſent adviſers, and
"commend the real authors of their miſ"fortunes."

Plato takes a compariſon from a ſhip,
and it's pilot; † for ſays he, "as a ſhip
"failing in the ſea ſtands continually in
"need of a pilot, ſo in a ſtate placed, as
"it were, amidſt the waves of other na"tions,
and in danger of being overſet by
"various domeſtic treacheries, all the ma"giſtrates
are to join hands together, to
"be intent on their office, and as Watch"men,
from one day and night to another,
"neceſſarily to take up, or lay down their
"charge by turns." In like manner,
Demoſthenes borrows a ſimile from the
ſame object, to illuſtrate the very ſame
truth; ‡ " As long as the ſhip is ſafe, 'tis
* Plato. Gorg. pag. 519. Edit. Serran.
† Plato. Leg. VI. pag. 758. Serran.
‡ Demoſth. Philip. III. pag. 73 . Morel.
"the duty of the pilot, and every perſon.
"aboard, to do all they can to preſerve
"her, and to prevent her from being o"verſet;
for if once the ſea has broke in
"upon her, all their care and labour will
"be in vain; Thus, Athenians, you ought,
"while as yet you retain your liberty, to
"put yourſelves in a fit poſture of de"fence."

Again, in the celebrated oration againſt
Æſchines, Demoſthenes is deſcribing the
ſpiteful and malicious conduct of his adverſary,
and his lying in wait for a proper
opportunity of accuſing every honeſt man
and well-wiſher to his country; * - ειτ επι
τω τόυτωκαιρω, ρήτωρ έξαίφνης έκ τηςήσυχίας,
ωασερ πνευμα, εφανη· — And a little after,
όυχι τόυς καταράτόυς τόυτόυς, ωασερ ϑηρία, μοι
προϐαλλόντων. " — This man retires from
"the ſervice of his country, till ſome ad"verſity
befall it, then he greedily catches
"at ſuch an opportunity, and ſuddenly
"ſallies forth like a whirlwind out of his
"lurking-hole; — But notwithſtanding all
"their threats, and letting looſe ſuch cur"ſed
traitors, like ſo many wild beaſts up"on
me, yet they have never been able
* Demoſth. de Corona, pag. 190, 192. Morel.
"to cool my love towards my country." —
Theſe two ſentences ſeem to have much
of the ſpirit and manner of the foregoing
deſcription Plato gives us of thoſe Philoſophers,
who rather than ſtruggle with the
wickedneſs of men, retire from the world;
* ήσυχίαν εχων, - οίον εν χειμωνι - ύπα
πνεύματος φερομένόυ, - άλλ' ωασερ είς ϑηρία
ανθρωπος έμπεσων·- "He enjoys himſelf
inquiet, and retires from the tempe"ſtuous
hurricane; - like a man falling
"among wild beaſts, he can be of no uſe
"to himſelf or the public."
V. In this laſt mentioned ſentence,
Demoſthenes declares the ſincerity and
warmth of his love towards Athens; there
is nothing more lamentable than, when a
nation becomes ſo corrupt and degenerated,
as that love to one's country, and all
concern for the public weal is openly ridiculed;
and treated as a chimera, as an
affection not implanted in us by Nature,
but merely the effect of art, of cunning,and
affectation. This indeed is the doctrine,
which moſt of our modern politicians endeavour
to inſtill into the minds of their
young pupils; while by their own practice
* Republ. VI. pag. 496. Serran.
they ſet before them a lovely and fair example!
theſe hardy Veterans purſue with
vigour whatever meaſures tend to the ſupport
of their own party, tho' pernicious to
their country; enured by a long train of
low, mean, and ſelfifh actions, they have
quite loſt all ſenſe of any higher intereſt;
eradicated thoſe natural principles, by
which they ſhould have been led to promote
the welfare of the community, and
ſpend the dregs of an infamous old-age in
tranſmitting their opinions and vices to
poſterity. By this means their diſciples
are more wicked and daring than they
themſelves were: All taſte for the public
good is now wholly gone, and with it, ingenuity
and ſincerity in private life will
ſoon be diſmiſſed too. - The beſt conſtitution
on earth cannot ſubſiſt long, where
there is a total depravity of morals among
the citizens; Farewel alſo to the MUSES,
and to polite literature! They are no longer
the ſteps to preferment; conſiderations
of another kind prevail. — Thus the
Senate of Rome *, which in the virtuous a*
In how inſtructive and pleaſant a manner is the ſublime of virtue
delivered in this ſtory of ARRIAN, Lib. I. cap. 2. The emperor
Veſpaſian had made Priſcus Helvetius, a Senator; he was none of
ges of the Common-wealth was a School
for training their youth to manly elocution,
and liberty of ſpeech, became at laſt
a Nurſery for the moſt abandoned proſtitution,
and ſycophancy!
To rouſe mankind out of ſuch a fatal
lethargy, and make them ſhake off their
Slumbers, before they be fettered with
chains, nothing is ſo effectual as to reflect
on the fate of thoſe ancient, once free,and
independent ſtates, whoſe ruin was never
fully accompliſhed, till the moſt part of
their citizens had abandoned themſelves
to luxury and corruption, and loſt all public
ſpirit; if people of taſte and learning
did but warmly recommend the ſerious
and attentive peruſal of the ancient Sages
of Greece and Rome, 'tis impoſſible that
it ſhould not produce remarkable good efthoſe
corrupt miſcreants who wanted to enrich himſelf with the
ſpoils of the Common-wealth, but reſolved to enjoy a true freedom
of mind. - Veſpaſian, being offended at his behaviour, deſired
him, one day, "not to come to the Senate. It was, Sir, in your
"power not to have made me a Senator, but as long as I continue
"in the office, I cannot be abſent. - Be it ſo, replies Veſpaſian,
"but pray be ſilent when you are there. - Don't then ask my
"opinion, and I ſhall be ſilent. The form requires that I muſt
"ask it. — and I muſt declare what I think juſt. — If you ſpeak, I
"will put you to death. - When did I ever ſay that I was im"mortal?
Do you, your part, and I'll do mine. 'Tis your part to
"kill, 'tis mine to die with reſolution: 'tis your's to baniſh me,
"'tis mine fearleſly to leave my country."
fects: one bred up from his infancy in
ſuch a wholeſome ſoil, and accuſtomed to
ſuch noble and virtuous culture, would
at leaſt for ſome time be proof againſt all
mercenary baits, and bid defiance to thoſe
arts and allurements, by which ſo many
are carried down the ſtream!
Among innumerable falſe, unmov'd,
Unſhaken, unſeduc'd, unterrify'd,
Nor number, nor example with him wrought
To ſwerve from truth, or change his conſtant
A diſciple of Plato will be able to talk
in his maſter's language, and act upon his
principles; * - τελευτων δε, - πριν εθέλειν
δόυλειον ύπομείνασα ζυγον αρχεοϑαι ύωο
χειρόνων, η λείπειν φυγη την πόλιν·
"If his country appear to be in the moſt
"imminent danger, he will die for it, ra"ther
than ſee it brought, under the ſla"viſh
yoke of bad governors, or deſert
"it's cauſe; he will ſubmit to the greateſt
"ſufferings, before the Conſtitution be
"ſubverted, which naturally introduces
"depravity amongſt the citizens." —
Fired by thoſe heroic ſentiments, he had
* Plato. Leg. VI. pag. 770. Edit. Serran
ſo early imbibed, Demoſthenes was enabled
to act a truly worthy and grand part;
and to behave, in all the different events
that befell him, like a firm and undaunted
Patriot. What pleaſure muſt it give us,
to hear how this great Orator, when deſcribing
the bravery and virtue of the ancient
Athenians, breaks forth into an exclamation,
almoſt in the very ſame words
with his maſter? * - ό δε κι τη πατρίδι ύωέρ
τόυ μή ταύτην έωιδειν δόυλεύόυσαν, ά ωοθνήσκειν
έθελήσει· - "The Athenians in former
"days did not wiſh for life, if they could
"not live free! every one of them thought
"they were not only born for the ſake of
"their father and mother, but alſo for that
"of their country; what is the difference,
"you'll ſay? He who reckons himſelf only
"born for his parents, waits for the hour
"of his death appointed by Fate, and lives
"as long as he can; whereas, he who be"lieves
he owes his life to his country,
"will undergo a voluntary death, rather than
"ſee it enſlaved; and reckons that the cruel
"inſults and affronts, he muſt neceſſarily
"ſubmit to under a deſpotic government,
"are more terrible than a thouſand deaths!
* Demoſth. Corona, pag. 174. Edit. Morel.
Demoſthenes learned from Plato another
leſſon of the ſame nature, by which
he reſolutely maintained his integrity and
rectitude of ſoul, amidſt all the temptations
to a contrary practice; no prince was
ever more maſter of the arts of diſſimulation
than Philip of Macedon, and when
he could not conquer by the ſword, no
piece of policy or ſtratagem, how wicked
ſoever, was left unattempted. He well
foreſaw it would be hardly poſſible to ſubdue
the Athenians, till once he had enſlaved
their minds, and ſtript them of all ingenuity
and freedom of thought. This
gay and facetious people had now departed
from their ancient ſimplicity of manners:
— * Pericles had introduced luxury
among them, and debauched their taſte.
They were intent on nothing but ſhows
and games; above all things they were
fond of popular harangues, loved to be appealed
to, and looked on themſelves as capable
of deciding in the moſt intricate affairs.
— Philip by his ſpies and emiſſaries
ſoon learned their diſpoſition, and ſpared
no pains, money, nor preſents, in bribing
their orators, and gaining them over to his
* Plato. Ggrg. vide pag. 515, 519. Tom. I. Serran.
party; he ſucceeded, and the event is too
well known. — But Demoſthenes, amidſt
this general venality and corruption, ſtood
firm to the intereſt of his country; no terrors
could intimidate HIM; no hopes, nor
promiſes allure him from doing his duty;
but he conſtantly perſiſted in uſing all his
power, and the utmoſt efforts of his eloquence,
to preſerve his fellow-citizens
from falling a ſacrifice to the tyrant's ambition.

VI. As Philip's artifices have been practiled
with too much ſucceſs ſince his days
and are likely to produce the ſame fatal
effects in other ſtates, it may be of uſe to
hear how Plato and Demoſthenes have
cautioned their diſciples and countrymen
againſt thoſe pernicious baits. - The
Philoſopher enacts the following Law;
* "Thoſe, who are employed in any
"truft or public office by their country,
"ought not to take bribes in the execu"tion
of the ſame. — There can be no
"pretext, no reaſon aſſigned, why we are
"to receive a bribe for doing good, and not
"alſo for doing ill; 'tis not eaſy to know
"the difference, or when known to re*
Legib. XII. pag. 955.
"frain; 'tis always ſafeſt to obſerve and
"follow the Law, and undertake no office
"for a bribe: he who does not ſincere"ly
obey, ſhall when convicted be put
"to death." — Thus our Lawgiver is for
puniſhing this crime more ſeverely than *
ſimple homicide, in ſo far as he, who corrupts
and deſtroys the mind, is a greater
peſt to ſociety than he who only kills the
According to the Platonic philoſophy,
which ſo well anatomizes the human mind,
the conſequences of indulging in ſuch flagitious
practices are very fatal. † — "He
"who loves to procure riches by unfair
"means, by bartering his worth and ho"neſty
for a little gain, and feels no pain
"nor uneaſinefs at ſuch acquiſitions, courts
"his ſoul with vain and empty oblations;
"and brings the higheſt diſhonour and
"turpitude on his mind, which next to
"the GODS he ought to revere." - By
this paſſion,the inward oeconomy or conſtitution
is quite deſtroyed, the governing
part dethroned; Love to one's country,
true generoſity and magnanimity, the no*
Vide Leg. IX. pag. 865, &c. Edit. Serran.
† Plato. Leg. V. pag. 728.
ble and god-like pleaſure of rejoicing in
the conſciouſneſs of virtuous actions are
wholly baniſhed. — Being a devoted ſlave
or proſtitute, to thoſe whoſe ends are irreconcilable
with the public good, he dares
not think a free thought: he has hardly a
remaining wiſh, prompting him to one
ſingle diſintereſted generous deed! And
whatever outward honours or marks of eſteem
he may receive, his own heart tells
him, he has long ago forfeited all real merit
and worth.
Thus the matter ſtands with regard to
the public affections; as to the private ones,
Plato likewiſe teaches us *, how in ſuch a
caſe the juſt ballance is loſt: by a conſtant,
habitual courſe of ſelfiſh,diſhoneſt actions,
the influence and force of the better and
more generous kind of deſires is much impaired,
and at laſt extinguiſhed. * — And
now, ſays Plato, "Avarice has the chief
"poſſeſſion of his heart: driving headlong
"away all ambition and thirſt for true
"glory! ſhe ſits there as a Queen adorned
"with royal trappings; the ſceptre, ſword
"and diadem! Reaſon and true courage
* See Sect. XI. Par. 5.
† Plato. Republ. VIII. pag. 553, 554, 555.
"bow the knee to her, and are her faith"ful
ſlaves! All he thinks on, is how to
"increaſe his wealth, money is his ſole
"aim, his chief favourite, his higheſt honour."
— Make ſuch a perſon guardian
to a pupil, or confer any truſt upon him,
where he may ſecretly play the knave, and
ſoon will you ſee his perfidy and treachery.
In his more public dealings and commerce
with mankind, he may indeed check
his diſhoneſt inclinations; but this is all a
farce, and proceeds only from a ſeeming
affectation of juſtice, not from any ſincere
love to it, but out of fear and dread of the
laws, leſt they ſhould forfeit him of his eſtate.
- A man of ſuch a character muſt
be at perpetual war with himſelf; he cannot
be ONE, but is often diſtraded with a
variety of paſſions, the worſt ſort of which
prevail over the better: and is entirely a
ſtranger to the true joy of a ſedate, compoſed
mind. - Such a ſordid wretch, as
was ſaid, has no reliſh for real honour,and
glory; he is a weak champion in a combat
for either: his money is dearer to him
than all the world.
PLATO is at the greateſt pains to demonſtrate,
that virtue is the higheſt and
moſt beautiful harmony and concord;
whereas * "he who loves not what he
"thinks good and honeſt but hates it;
"and loves and embraces what he knows
"to be wicked, and unjuſt, dwells with
"diſcord and diſſonancy. - This oppoſiti"on
of pain and pleaſure againſt an opi"nion
formed by reaſon, Plato calls the
"moſt profound ignorance: it reſides in
"the low, tumultuous parts of the mind;
"and what pleaſure and pain produce in
"the mind, is like what a mob or rabble
"do in a ſtate. When in conſequence of
"this, the mind oppoſes juſt opinions,
"reaſon, and knowledge, and when one
"is poſſeſſed of becoming ſentiments, but
"lives in contradiction to them, ſuch a
"life is real folly and madneſs."
With him, who contends, he is happy
enough, if he takes care of, and pleaſes
himſelf, Plato argues thus; † — "Pray
"my worthy friend, in the name of Ju"piter
and Apollo, ſhou'd we aſk theſe
"Gods, if the moſt juſt and virtuous life,
"was the pleaſanteſt? Or if there were
"two kinds of life, the one the pleaſan"teſt,
the other moſt juſt? - Shou'd they
* Plate. Leg. Lib. III. pag, 689. † Leg. II pag. 662, 663.
"ſay, there were two: poſſibly, we wou'd
"again put the queſtion to them, if we
"aſked rightly, whom muſt we reckon
"the moſt happy? ſuch who live juſtly,
"or ſuch who live in pleaſure? — Shou'd
"they anſwer, He who lived in plea"ſure;
- wou'd not this be a moſt ab"ſurd
declaration? — But I am unwil"ling
to put ſuch caſes, with regard to the
"Gods. — Let us then interrogate a Fa"ther,
or a Lawgiver, in the way we have
"already done, and ſuppoſe the anſwer
"is, he, who lives in pleaſure is moſt hap"py;
might not I reply, don't you intend,
"my Father, that I ſhould live as happi"ly
as I can, and as my nature requires
"of me? are not you inceſſantly com"manding
me too, to pay the greated re"gard
to juſtice? Whoever therefore lays
"down this poſition, is abſurd, perplex"ed,
and inconſiſtent with himſelf."
"On the other hand, ſhou'd he own
"the juſteſt life to be the moſt pleaſant,
"every one who heard him, wou'd natu"rally
aſk, What is it in this life, which
"the Law and right reaſon extolls as a
"greater and more becoming good than
"pleaſure? Can there be any good ſepa"rated
from pleaſure, to a juſt man? —
"Say, is glory and fame good and beco"ming,
but unpleaſant? and infamy the
"contrary? Not at all, we wou'd ſay
"my worthy Legislator. - Shall then
"what is good and becoming be unplea"ſant;
but what is baſe be pleaſant? - im"poſſible.
- Therefore, that doctrine,
"which does not divide juſtice, honeſty,
"and goodneſs, from Pleaſure, is credi"ble,
if for no other reaſon than this;
"that 'tis conducive to a juſt and holy
From ſuch reaſonings Plato draws this
inference, which, as a Lawgiver, he inculcates
upon his ſubjects, in the moſt pathetic
manner. — "Let us hear no other Ian"guage
in our ſtate than this, * 'That
"the good, the temperate; and juſt man
"is always happy and profperous, whe"ther
he is great and ſtrong, little and
"weak, rich or poor; that the unjuſt man,
"tho' richer than Cyniras, or Midas, is mi"ſerable,
and lives wretchedly: nor does
"any thing we truly call good befall him.'
"For many are miſtaken in their notions
"of Good; they place health as the firſt
* Leg. II. pag. 660, 661.
"and beſt; beauty as the ſecond; ſtrength
"the third; riches the fourth; and there
"are a thouſand other things they call
"good; quickneſs of ſight and hearing, a"cuteneſs
in all the other ſenſes, a power
"to tyrannize according to their fancy. —
"— The higheſt felicity they wiſh for is,
"when in poſſeſſion of all theſe things,
"immediately to become immortal. —
"My doctrine is, that all theſe are the beſt
"enjoyments only to juſt and holy men,
"but to the wicked, the greateſt evils;
"Health, (to begin with it) ſight, hearing,
"and all the other ſenſes, even Life itſelf
"with the poſſeſſion of all theſe preten"ded
goods, de-void of VIRTUE and
"JUSTICE is the higheſt miſery! the
"ſhorter the time ſuch an one exiſts, he is
"the leſs wretched."
In this way Plato ſhews us that a man
of a ſordid, ſelfiſh temper cannot be happy;
becauſe he has never awakened in his
mind a reliſh for thoſe things, which are
by nature truly pleaſant. - At beſt, he keeps
within the confines of his own family; an
utter ſtranger to that philoſophy which
teaches us to love not only our friends and
country, but with the moſt extenſive affection
to embrace all mankind: From
thence to enlarge our views, and as far as
poſſible imitate the UNIVERSAL MIND,
by promoting the intereſt of the whole,
and earneſtly wiſhing the happineſs of all
rational and intelligent beings! - Suppoſe
a noble youth of a good family, who by
riot and luxury, is obliged to turn a ſycophant
at court, and at laſt becomes ſuch
a ſhameleſs profligat as to renounce all
principles of honeſty and worth: - Suppoſe
on the other hand, one of a graver
character, advanced to ſome high office;
regardleſs of the good of his country and
bent on his own perſonal advancement;
he ſacrifices all national intereſts to the will
or humour of the head of his party. -
What ſhall be the fate of two ſuch minds
on leaving the body? - Have they a taſte
for any thing truly worthy or grand? Are
they fit for contemplating the noble ſcenes
of Nature, the beauty of things, and converſing
with the inhabitants of a higher
Country? - Will they carry their bags of
wealth, their poor inſipid honours and titles,
with their load of infamous deteſtable
qualities, alongſt with them, and thereby
procure commerce and familiarity with
thefe ſuperior beings? Dare ſuch low groveling
wretches appear in thoſe pure Regions?
- The one ſunk in debauchery, and
wholly diveſted of all freedom and ingenuity
of thought; the other as great a slave
and full of ſubtlety, diſſimulation and perfidy:
— Both of them without the leaſt
feeling, or idea of any of the refined joys
above-mentioned; for * any pretenſions
of the graver perſon to piety and devotion
are nothing elſe but profound hypocriſy.
- Can then ſuch minds be happy?
- 'Tis impoſſible: the unchangeable
laws of Nature forbid it. — In proportion,
as they have indulged in vice here, they
have really been going backward, (for the
natural progrefs of the ſoul is towards virtue
and goodneſs)and the ſtrength of their
wicked habits and inclinations is now ſo
great, that it will coſt them double labour
and toil to return to the right path. —
This is the fruit of their doings! And
therefore, as the brutal part of their frame
has been fed and pamper'd in this world;
* He underſtands nothing of the principles of true Chriſtianity
- "he that loveth not his brother" (his country-men and brethren
of mankind) "whom he hath ſeen, how can he love GOD
whom he hath not ſeen? -"
So Plato ſends them in the next, to converſe
with † aſſes, apes, and hogs, and in
his allegorical ſtile, condemns them to ſuffer
as ſuch, till they are purged of their
ſwiniſh inclinations and covetous temper,
and ſo refined as to have a taſte for the
true pleaſures of the man! — And till this
be accompliſhed, they are always miſerable.

And laſtly, as a Legiſlator, he declares
"* that neither cowardice, nor want of
"skill in war, either in the governors or
"people has been the cauſe of the ruin of
"empires, and a good conſtitution; but a
"total corruption of manners, and an igno"rance
in affairs of the higheft impor"tance
to mankind. - And whenever
"a State, either in the preſent, or any future
age, becomes thus degenerated, its
"fate will be the ſame."
Demoſthenes, when enquiring into the
fact, why the Greeks were formerly as
zealous aſſertors of their liberty, as they
now ſeemed fond of ſervitude,, aſſigns this
as the reaſon of it; ‡ "'There was then,
† Phaedo. pag. 81, 82. Tom. I. Serran.
* Leg. Lib. III. pag. 688.
‡ Demoſth. Philip. III. pag. 70. Morel.
"O Athenians, a noble ſpirit among the
"people, not to be found now a-days,
"which was ſuperior to all the gold in
"Perſia, maintained the freedom and in"dependency
of Greece, bid defiance to
"the greateſt dangers,and rendered them
"victorious both by ſea and land. This,
"I ſay, being now gone, has thrown us
"into utter confuſion; - well what was
"this quality? why there was nothing my"ſterious
in it; nothing but a downright
"principle of honeſty, by which thoſe
"wretches,who were in the pay of an am"bitious,
aſpiring man, and corrupter of
"Greece, were held in univerſal deteſta"tion!
It was then the higheſt crime, if
"one was convicted of bribery; the ſeve"reſt
puniſhment was inflicted on him;
"no mercy, no pardon whatever could
"ſcreen ſuch an enemy to the conſtituti"on!
It was not poſſible to buy off the o"rators
and generals, ſo as to let ſlip thoſe
"critical opportunities, which Fortune
"often preſents to the indolent and un"active,
againſt the vigorous and brave;
"nor was it in the power of Money to leſ"ſen
our mutual confidence, and the juſt
"hatred and jealouſy we had of tyrants
"and barbarians, or to deſtroy our other
"honeſt inclinations. But now, alas!
"all theſe are openly bought and fold as
"in a market; manners of an oppoſite
"kind, which are the bane and deſtruc"tion
of our country, are introduced.-
"What are theſe? We envy the perſon
"who receives the money, and wiſh to
"be in his place; We only laugh at him,
"who is ſo ſilly as to own the fact; We
"pardon the guilty,and hate him who cen"ſures
ſuch practices; CORRUPTION,
"with her attendants carries every thing
"before her! You have, Athenians, lar"ger
fleets, more numerous armies, better
"revenues, and a greater ſtore of all theſe
"proviſions, which ſtrengthen the hands
"of a government, and ſhould enable her
"to make a figure abroad, than ever your
"anceſtors had: But this treacherous ve"nality
renders all your deſigns uſeleſs, a"bortive,
and ill concerted!" — He then
proceeds to obſerve that the ancient Athenians
had engravers on a pillar of braſs an
inſcription by which they declared one
Arthmius infamous, becauſe he had brought
gold from Media into Peloponneſus, and tells
us that the inſcription pointed out a capital
puniſhment, as if it had ſaid, Let him die
infamous; ſo that Demoſthenes agrees with
Plato in his abhorrence of this crime, and
the puniſhment which it deſerves.
Again, in the oration againſt Æſchines,
juſtly eſteemed the beſt of all his performances,
with what indignation does he inveigh
againſt thoſe proſtitutes, and nobly
defend himfelf againſt the unjuft calumnies
he had met with? — † " You accuſe
me of Philippizing; O ye Gods! what
"would this man not ſay? - But by Ju"piter
and all the Gods, if we would with
"impartiality attend to the truth, and lay"ing
aſide falſhood and private animoſi"ties,
reflect on the real authors of all our
"miſeries; we ſhould ſoon diſcover, that
"they are perſons of the ſame deteſtable
"character with this Æſchines, who now
"impeaches me. While as yet Philip's
"power was ſmall and contemptible, and
"while I on my part was giving the beſt
"advice I could, and exhorting you to
"beware of it's increaſe, theſe traitors
"for their own ſordid ends, and private
"gain betrayed the intereſt of their coun"try,
cajoling and corrupting their fellow†
Demoſth. Oratio pro Corona, pag. 188, 189. Edit. Morel.
"citizens, till they enſlaved them all. —
"Theſe perſons, I ſay, were authors of
"the ſame wicked councils, with thoſe
"of the like ſtamp among yourſelves;
"polluted Harpys, vile ſycophants, the
"peſts of ſociety! who fell their country,
"and ruin it's conſtitution,and barter it's
"liberties and privileges firſt to Philip, and
"now to Alexander; Who place their
"happineſs in gratifying their belly, and
"deteſtable appetites, and by their baſe
"arts have robbed Greece of it's boaſted
"freedom and independency. And
"why is it, ſay you, that I demand a
"crown? What ſignal virtue entitles me
"to it? This is my anſwer: Tho' all the
"ſtateſmen or miniſters of Greece, and
"I mention you, among the firſt, Aeſchi"nes,
have been in pay to the Macedo"nian
Prince, yet no delicate conjunc"tures,
magnificent promiſes, cajoling ex"preſſions,
neither hope, nor fear, nor fa"vour,
have ever influenced me to ſur*
Here Demoſthenes gives us a catalogue or thoſe infamous
wretches, who were the hirelings of Philip, and betrayers of their
reſpective countries, as of Theſſaly, Arcadia, Meſſene, &c. So that
ſuch proſtitutes as ſhall in future ages follow their example would
do well to remember, that the pen of lows faithful hiſtorian will
tranſmit their names to poſterity with infamy.
"render what I thought the juſt rights and
"intereſts of my country. I did not, as
"theſe fellows do, weigh what I ſaid in
"the naughty ballance of my own pri"vate
gain; but all the advices I gave,
"proceeded from an honeſt, ſincere, and
"uncorrupted heart.
In short, whoever reads PLATO'S writings,
as Demoſthenes did, with a view to
improve and mend his heart, and to draw
from this pure fountain ſuch noble leſſons
as will refine his taſte, ſtrengthen, and confirm
his public affections, and excite generous
thoughts and virtuous diſpoſitions,
will be greatly enabled to imitate the example
of the Athenian Orator and Patriot;
and tho' perhaps he may live in degenerate
days, yet his conſtant maxim will
be, * πας γαρ ο, τ΄ έπι γης κι ύπο γης χρυσος
άρετης όυκ άντάξιος· "all the gold on the
"earth, and within the earth is not a price
"for virtue!"
- Honeſtum praetulit utili, et
Rejecit alto Bona nocentium
Vultu, et per obſtantes catervas
Explicuit ſua victor arma. HOR.
VII. Thus we have ſeen how DE*
Plato. Leg. V. pag. 728. Edit. Serran.
MOSTHENES has imitated PLATO in
his deſcriptions, ſimiles, and ſentiments; I
ſhall only add that ſome of the figures,
uſed by the ORATOR, are to be found in
PLATO. Thus both of them uſe the proſopopeia
with wonderful ſucceſs; in the *
Crito, Plato introduces the laws of Athens,
addreſſing Socrates moſt ſolemnly
in a long pathetic harangue. And in the
† Menexenus, to animate his countrymen,
and inſpire them with noble principles
and reſolutions, he brings in the manes of
their anceſtors, who firſt accoſt their children,
ſetting their own example and heroic
actions before their eyes, and exhorting
them warmly to an imitation of the
ſame; and next their parents, whom they
comfort,with this conſideration, that they
loſt their children for the good of their
country: if theſe paſſages are compared
with the following one in Demoſthenes,
it will appear, how ſimilar they are in the
manner and ſtyle. ‡ "To animate your
"ambition, let us, my countrymen, ſup"poſe
that Greece the mother of us all,
"was entering into an expoſtulation of
* Tom. I. pag. 5p. ad finem. † Tom. II. peg. 246, 247.
‡ Oratio ad Cherſoneſum, pag. 59. Edit. Morel.
"this kind with us; How many glorious
"opportunities, Athenians, have you let
"ſlip thro' your hands? how often have
"you ſent embaſſies to us informing us
"of our common danger, exhorting us to
"be upon our guard againſt Philip, and
"pointing him out as a foe to our liber"ties?
thus you juſtly ſounded the alarm;
"— But whence this fatal lethargy now
"on your ſide? this abatement of zeal
"and courage in ſuch a noble cauſe? We
"have all the reaſon in the world to up"braid
you, ſince you have done nothing
"to check his career, but rather have
"connived at the growth of his power,
"and tamely ſurrendered a great many
"of your privileges to him; hence we
"may reaſonably conclude that tho' For"tune
should heap her favours on you,
"nay tho' Philip ſhould die, yet nothing
"is great can be expected, nor are you
"to make any ſtand for liberty? Why
"then all theſe embaſſies? why ſo much
"buſtle and noiſe? ſo many high words,
"but nothing effectually done?" — The
advantages of ſuch a figure are various,
what is ſaid, is of greater force and more
perſuaſive, when uttered by ſuch perſons,
than if barely ſpoke and pronounced by
the orator himſelf; the bringing them on
the ſtage, and putting in their mouths
ſuch arguments as are only proper to
them, reſembles real action, and adds a vaſt
weight and dignity to the whole oration.
We are likewiſe aſſured by two very
good critics, that the ſolemn manner uſed
by Demoſthenes of introducing an oath,
occurs in Plato; thus * Hermogenes ſays,
"that Homer firſt made uſe of an oath in
"moral ſubjects, that Plato imitated him,
"and Demoſthenes took it from them
"both; and then he proceeds to give
"inſtances as in the Odyſſey, the ſon
"ſwears by his father's misfortunes. In the
"† Gorgias, SOCRATES ſays to Callicles
"μα τον κύνα, τον Αιγυπτιων ϑεον -
"By the Dog, the God of the Ægyptians.
"And laſtly, ſays he, Demoſthenes uſes
"a moral political oath, when he ſwears
"by thoſe Heroes who died at Salamis and
"Marathon. ‡ Quintilian is of the ſame
* πρωτος δ' ορκον ηθικον Ομηρος ωμοσεν, ειτα Πλάτων
εμιμήσατο, ειτα Δημοϑένης έκληρονόμησε πάντων, -
de Eloquent. Methcclo, cap. 20.
† Tom. pag. 482. Edit. Serran.
‡ Nonne illud jusjarandum, per caeſos in Marathone ac Saturnine propugnatores
reipublicae, ſatis manifeſto docet praeceptorem Demoſthenis Platonem
fuiſſe. — Inſtit. orator. lib. xii. cap. 10.
"opinion, Does not this oath I ſwear by
"thoſe valiant Heroes who were killed at
"Marathon, ſhew clearly that Plato was
"maſter to Demoſthenes?" - This paſſage
from Demoſthenes is the one ſo much
celebrated by Longinus.
VIII. As this laſt mentioned critic, tho'
he lived in an age when all literature was
declining, writes with a taſte ſuperior to
many others, ſo his peculiar beauties and
excellencies ſeem greatly owing to his having
formed his ſtyle and manner on that
of Plato. I ſhall content myſelf with pointing
out a paſſage or two, in which he
ſeems to have had Plato in view *.
Here are a few of the words of Plato in
the paſſage abovementioned out of the
Io, † πάντες οί ποιηταί άγαθοι, όυκ εκ τέχνης,
άλλ' ενθεοι οντες και κατεχ όμενοι πάντα
ταυτα τα καλα λέόυσι ποιήματα· - κι όυ πρότερον
οιος τε ποιειν πριν αν ενθέός τε γένηται
κι εκφρων· - βακχεύόυσι, κι κατεχ όμενοι, ωσπερ
αί βάκχαι, κι ϑεία μοίρα χρησμωδειν· -
των πονητων αλλοι έξ αλλόυ αυ ήρτημένοι είσι,
* Mr. Smith's account of the writings, &c. of LONGINUS is very
full and juſt, and every thing is ſaid, which the ſubject ſeems to
require — When I cite Longinus, I uſe his tranſlation.
† Io; Tom. 1. pag. 533, 534, 536. Serran.
κι ένθόυσιάζόυσιν· — "All good poets are filled
"with a divine ſpirit when compoſing
"their verſes; 'tis impoſſible for them to
"write well, till they be inſpired, become
"enthuſiaſtic, and loſe the vulgar ſenti"ments
of things! - then they rove like fu"rious
Bacchanals; - this is alſo, by divine
"fate, the caſe of prophets. — One poet
"hangs upon another, and catches inſpi"ration
from him; one from Orpheus,
"another from Muſeus, many derive a
"divine afflatus from Homer." - In Longinus
the thought is thus expreſſed, * -
πολλοι γαρ αλλοτρίω ϑεοφορόυνται πνέυματι
τον αύτον τρόπον, ον κι τήν Πυθίαν· - άτμόν
ενθεον, αύτόθεν έγκύμονα της δαιμονίόυ
καθιςαμένην δυνάμεως παραυτίκα χρησμωδειν·
- τω έτέρω συνενθόυσιωσι μεγέθει. -
"Hence it is, that numbers of imitators
"are raviſhed by a ſpirit not their own,
"like the Pythian prieſteſs when ſhe ap"proaches
the ſacred tripod. — So from
"the ſublime ſpirit of the ancients there
"ariſe ſome fine effluvia, like vapours
"from the ſacred vents, which work them"ſelves
inſenſibly into the breaſts of imi"tators,
and fill thoſe, who naturally are
* Sect 13, pag. 46, 47. Oxon.
"not of a tow'ring genius, with the lofty
"ideas and fire of others." — Plato compares
them to the raving Bacchanals, the
critic to the prieſteſs of Apollo, rapt into
a divine phrenzy.
In the philoſophic concluſion, which
Longinus gives us, the following ſentiments
occur, * άκολόυϑει γαρ τω άμέτρω
πλόυτω· - χρονίσαντα δε ταυτα έν τοις βίοις
νεοττοποιειται· - άλαζόνειάν τε γεννωσι, και
τύφον, κι τρυφην, όυ νόθα έαυτων γεννήματα,
άλλά κι πανυ γνήσια· - έαν δε κι τόυτόυς τις τόυ
πλόυτόυ τόυς έκγόνόυς είς ήλικίαν έλθειν έάση,
ταχέως δεασότας ταις ψυχαις έντίκτόυσιν άπαραιτήτόυς,
υϐριν, κι παρανομίαν, κι άναισχυντίαν·
— "Profuſeneſs will be where"ever
there is affluence; they are firmly
"linked together and conſtant attendants
"upon one another; wealth unbars the
"gates of cities, and opens the doors of
"houſes, profuſeneſs gets in at the ſame
"time, and there they jointly fix their re"ſidence;
after ſome continuance in their
"new eſtabliſhment,they build their neſts,
"and propagate their ſpecies, there they
"hatch arrogance, pride, and luxury, no
* Cap. ult. Oxon.
ſpurious brood, but their genuine offſpring.
If theſe children of wealth be
foſtered, and ſuffered to reach maturity,
they quickly engender the moſt inexorable
tyrants, and make the ſoul
groan under the oppreſſions of inſolence,
injuſtice, and the moſt feared and
hardened impudence." - Let this be
compared with the Greek of the abovementioned
deſcriptions Plato gives us of
the paſſions; * καθήραντεςτην ύπ' αύτων ψυχην,
- το μετα τόυτο ηδη υϐριν κι άναρχίαν, κι
άσωτίαν, κι άναίδειαν κατάγόυσιν· - τας επιθυμίας
πυκνάς τε κι σφοδρας έννενεοττευμένας, -
ποι αττα όυν εικός γενναν τόυς τοιόυτόυς; όυ νόθα
κι φαυλα; - "The mind when thus
deprived of all it's virtuous diſpoſitions,
"by theſe unruly paſſions, is filled with
inſolence, anarchy, luxury, impudence;
"— theſe violent paſſions having built
"their neſt in the ſoul; &c. of what na"ture
is their offspring, worthleſs and il"legitimate
ſurely?" - and it will appear,
that not only the ſentiments, but the moſt
expreſſive words in the original, are the
ſame in both writers.
* Republ. VIII. pag. 560. Republ. IX. pag. 573. Republ. VI,
pag. 496.
Other examples of the like nature,
might be produced ; and it might alſo be
ſhewn that this critic has often borrowed
his ſentiments from Demoſthenes; thus he
ſays, * όυδε γαρ οιον, τε, μικρα κι δόυλοπρεπη
φρονόυντας κι έπιτηδεύοντας παρ΄ ολον τον βίον
ϑαυμαςόν τι κι τόυ παντος αίωνος έξενεγκειν
αξιον· -"'Tis impoſſible for thoſe, who
"have grov'ling and ſervile minds, or are
"engaged in the ſordid purſuits of life, to
"produce any thing worthy of admirati"on,
and the peruſal of all poſterity." -
This grand thought is thus expreſſed by
Demoſthenes, † εςι δ΄ όυδέ ποτ΄ οιμαι μέγα
κι νεανικον φρόνημα λαϐειν, μικρα κι φαυλα
πράττοντας· όποι αττα γάρ αν τα έπιτηδεύματα
των άνθρώπων - 'Tis impoſſible for
"thoſe, who are employed in mean and
"ſervile actions, to have noble and gene"rous
ſentiments; for the ſtudies we ap"ply
to, wholly engroſs our thoughts."
Longinus here, ſeems to have improven
on the orator, and included the full force
of his two ſentences in one.
* Longinus, cap. 3.
† Olynth. III. pag. 27. Edit. Morel.


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Essay on the Composition and Writing of the Antients

Document Information

Document ID 94
Title Essay on the Composition and Writing of the Antients
Year group 1700-1750
Genre Instructional prose
Year of publication 1748
Wordcount 73839

Author information: Geddes, James

Author ID 229
Forenames James
Surname Geddes
Gender Male
Year of birth 1710