« ÖncekiDevam »
621 δε δή αμεταστρεπτί υπό τον της Ανάγκης ιέναι θρόνον,
και δι' εκείνου διεξελθόντα, επειδή και οι άλλοι διήλθον, πορεύεσθαι άπαντας εις το της Λήθης πεδίον διά καύματός τε και πνίγους δεινού και γαρ είναι αυτό κενόν δένδρων τε και όσα γή φύει. σκηνάσθαι ουν σφάς ήδη εσπέρας γιγνομένης παρά τον 'Αμέλητα ποταμόν, ου το ύδωρ αγγείον ουδέν στέγειν. μέτρον μεν ουν τι του ύδατος
πάσιν αναγκαίον είναι πιείν, τους δε φρονήσει μη σωζομέΒ νους πλέον πίνειν του μέτρου: τον δε αει πιόντα πάντων
επιλανθάνεσθαι. επειδή δε κοιμηθήναι και μέσας νύκτας γενέσθαι, βροντήν τε και σεισμόν γενέσθαι, και εντεύθεν εξαπίνης άλλον άλλη φέρεσθαι άνω εις την γένεσιν, άττοντας ώσπερ αστέρας. αυτός δε του μεν ύδατος κωλυθήναι πιείν: όπη μέντοι και όπως εις το σώμα αφίκοιτο, ουκ ειδέναι, αλλ' εξαίφνης αναβλέψας ιδεϊν
ιδείν έωθεν αυτόν κείμενον επί τη πυρά. Και ούτως, ώ Γλαύκων, μύθος ο εσώθη και ουκ απώλετο, και ημάς αν σώσειεν, αν πειθώ.
μεθα αυτό, και τον της Λήθης ποταμόν εύ διαβησόμεθα και την ψυχήν ου μιανθησόμεθα· αλλ' αν εμοί πειθώμεθα, νομίζοντες αθάνατον ψυχήν και δυνατήν πάντα μεν κακά ανέχεσθαι, πάντα δε αγαθά, της άνω οδού αεί εξόμεθα και δικαιοσύνης μετά φρονήσεως παντί τρόπο επιτηδεύσομεν,
ίνα και ημίν αυτοίς φίλοι ώμεν και τους θεούς, αυτού τε D μένοντες ενθάδε, και επειδαν τα αθλα αυτής κομιζώμεθα,
ώσπερ οι νικηφόροι περιαγειρόμενοι, και ενθάδε και εν τη χιλιετει πορεία, ήν διεληλύθαμεν, ευ πράττωμεν.
“Thence, Er said, each man, without turning back, went straight on under the throne of Necessity, and when each, even unto the last, was come out through it, they all together journeyed to the Plain of Lethe, through terrible burning heat and frost; and this Plain is without trees or any herb that the earth bringeth forth.
" He said that they encamped, when it was already evening, beside the River of Forgetfulness, the water whereof no pitcher holdeth. Now, it was necessary that all should drink a certain measure of the water, but they that were not preserved by wisdom drank more than the measure; and as each man drank, he forgot all. Then he said that when they had fallen asleep and midnight was come, there was thunder and an earthquake, and of a sudden they flew up thence unto divers parts to be born in the flesh, shooting like meteors. But he himself was not suffered to drink of the water : yet by what means and how he came unto his body he knew not; but suddenly he opened his eyes, and lo! it was morning, and he was lying on
“ Thus, 0 Glaucon, was the Tale preserved from perishing, and it will preserve us if we believe in it; so shall we pass over the River of Lethe safely, and keep our Souls undefiled.
“This is my counsel : let us believe that the Soul is immortal, and able to bear all ill and all good, and let us always keep to the upward way, and practise justice in all things with understanding, that we may be friends both with ourselves and with the Gods, both whilst we sojourn here, and when we receive the prizes of our justice, like unto Conquerors at the Games which go about gathering their wages; and that both here, and in the journey of a thousand years of which I told, we may fare well.”
OBSERVATIONS ON THE MYTH OF ER
Let us begin with the geography and cosmography of the Myth.
The Meadow of the Judgment-seat, between the two openings of Tartarus (in and out) on the one side, and the two corresponding openings of Heaven on the other side, is also the meeting-place of the Souls which return from their thousand years' sojourn in Tartarus and Heaven. From the Meadow they journey, always above ground, till they come to
“ rainbow-coloured light, straight like a pillar, extended from on high throughout the Heaven and the Earth.” This Light is the axis, I take it, on which the whole heavenly system revolves, the Earth fixed in the centre of the system being a globe on the line of the axis. The destination of the Pilgrim Souls is that part of the surface of the globe at which, in the hemisphere where they are, the axis enters on its imaginary course through the centre of the Earth, in order to come out again at the antipodal point in the other hemisphere. The Souls, arrived at the very point where, in the heinisphere where they are, the axis of the Cosmos enters the Earth, are in the place of all places where the Law which controls all things is intuitively plain—they see the Pillar of Light as the Spindle of Necessity. Then, suddenly, the outlook presented to us in the Myth changes like the scene in a dream. It is no longer such a view of the Cosmos from within as we had, a moment ago, while we stood with the Pilgrims on the surface of the Earth, looking up at the Pillar of Light in the sky: we are now looking at the Cosmos from the outside, as if it were an orrery—a model of concentric cups or rings; and Necessity herself is holding the model in her lap, and the three Fates are seated round, and keep turning the eight cups, on each of which, on its edge, a Siren is mounted who sings in tune with her sisters. But the Pilgrim Souls are standing near, looking on at this spectacle. They are on their way, we know, from the Meadow to the Plain of Lethe, both places on the surface of the Earth: it is on the Earth then, after all, that the throne is placed on which Necessity sits holding in her lap the model, which, like a true dream-thing, is both a little model and the great Cosmos itself. In this place, in the presence of Necessity on her throne, the Pilgrim Souls are addressed by the Prophet from his pulpit; then choose, in the turns which the lots determine, lives of men or beasts scattered, it would seem, as little images at their feet;? then go before the three Fates, who
? Let me illustrate this characteristic of the "dream-thing” from the Dream in the Fifth Book of Wordsworth's Prelude :
On poetry and geometric truth,
The Arab told me that the stone
I did so,
While this was uttering, strange as it may seem,
Having a perfect faith in all that passed. I think that Plato may have borrowed his tà twv Biw tapadelyuata here from votive images of trades and callings, and of animals: “The Argive Heraeuni," says Mr. Rouse (Greek Votive Offerings, p. 298), “yielded hundreds of animals in bronze and clay: bulls, cows, oxen and oxherds, goats, sheep, cocks, ducks, and other birds, including perhaps a swan.” These animals (to which may be added horses, pigs, doves), were, Mr. Rouse supposes, either sacrificial victims or first-fruits of hunting. Referring to human figures he says, p. 79, “It is at least probable that a successful huntsman, artist, craftsman, trader, would dedicate a figure, in character, as a thank-offering for success in his calling.” If I remember rightly, a little figure, recognised as that of a “Philosopher," was discovered in the tomb of “ Aristotle" found near Chalcis some years ago.
ratify the chosen doom of each ; then pass severally under the throne of Necessity; and thence travel together, through a hot dusty region, till they come to the Plain of Lethe, where no green thing grows, and to the River the water of which no pitcher can hold. When the Souls have drunk of this water—the foolish, too much—they fall asleep; but at midnight there is an earthquake and thunder, and suddenly, like meteors, they shoot up to be born again, in terrestrial bodies, in our part of the Earth.
The account given by Plato here is strictly in accordance with the popular belief, which makes Lethe a river entirely above ground, never counts it among the rivers of Tartarus. Virgil, in Aen. vi. 705, 714, may be thought to place it under ground; but his description suffers in clearness from compression; and it is not likely that he willingly deserts traditional authority in a matter of such importance as the position of Lethe. His vérvia, as a whole, is derived from a source (considered by Rohde and Dieterich to be the natáßaois eis Aldou). common to himself with Pindar, Plato, Plutarch, Lucian, and (according to Dieterich, though here Rohde does not agree with him)? the writers of certain sepulchral inscriptions which I shall describe in the next section; and where Lethe appears in any of these authors, it never, I believe, appears as one of the infernal, or subterranean, rivers. Indeed, all reasonable doubt as to Virgil's orthodoxy seems to be barred by his statement that the plain in which Souls about to be born again are gathered together near the banks of Lethe has its own sun (Aen. vi. 641). It is evidently above ground somewhere--the writer of the Axiochus would perhaps say in the antipodal hemisphere of the Earth.
The object of this section is to point to a detail—the twin-streams, Eunoè and Lethe, of the Earthly Paradise (Purg. xxviii.)—in which Dante's vision of Purgatory reproduces—I
See Thiemann, Platonische Eschatologie, p. 18. 2 Dieterich, Nek. 128 f., 135, and Rohde, Psy. ii. 217.
* It ought to be mentioned that this section was written, and the substance of it read in the course of a public lecture, and also to a private society, before the appearance of Miss Harrison's Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion, and her “Query" in The Classical Review, Feb. 1903, p. 58.