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CONTEXT

The subject of the Politicus is the True Statesman.

The best form of government, if we could get it, would be the rule of one eminently good and wise man, who knew and desired the Chief Good of his People, and possessed the art of securing it for them. His unlimited personal initiative would be far better than the best administration of " laws" made only because he could not be found, and because such rulers as were actually available could not be trusted with unlimited initiative.

But before we try to determine exactly the nature of the True Statesmanthe man whom we should like to make King, if we could find him; and before we try to define his Art, and distinguish it from all other artsand we must try to do this, in order that we may get a standard by which to judge the work-a-day rulers, good and bad, whose administration of the lawswe are obliged to accept as substitute for the personal initiative of the True Statesman, --before we try to formulate this standard, let us raise our eyes to an even higher standard : God is the True Ruler of men; and in the Golden Age he ruled men, not through the instrumentality of human rulers, but Gods were his lieutenants on Earth, and lived among men, and were their Kings.

It is with this Golden Age, and the great difference between it and the present age, and the cause of the difference, that the Myth told to the elder and the younger Socrates, and to Theodorus the mathematician, by the Stranger from Elea, is concerned.

Politicus, 268 E-274 E

268 E

269

ΞΕ. 'Αλλά δή το μύθο μου πάνυ πρόσεχε τον νούν, καθάπερ οι παίδες: πάντως ου πολλά εκφεύγεις παιδιάς έτη.

ΝΕ. ΣΩ. Λέγοις άν.

ΞΕ. "Ην τοίνυν και έτι έσται των πάλαι λεχθέντων πολλά τα άλλα και δη και το περί την 'Ατρέως τε και Θυέστου λεχθείσαν έριν φάσμα. ακήκοας γάρ που και απομνημονεύεις και φασι γενέσθαι τότε.

ΝΕ. ΣΩ. Το περί της χρυσής αρνός ίσως σημείον φράζεις.

ΞΕ. Ουδαμώς, αλλά το περί της μεταβολής δύσεώς τε και ανατολής ηλίου και των άλλων άστρων, ώς άρα όθεν μεν ανατέλλει νύν, είς τούτον τότε τον τόπον εδύετο, ανέτελλε δ' εκ του εναντίου, τότε δε δή μαρτυρήσας άρα και θεός Ατρεϊ μετέβαλεν αυτό επί το νυν σχήμα.

ΝΕ. ΣΩ. Λέγεται γάρ ούν δη και τούτο.

ΞΕ. Και μην αυ και την γε βασιλείαν, ήν ήρξε Κρόνος, πολλών ακηκόαμεν.

ΝΕ. ΣΩ. Πλείστων μεν ούν.

ΞΕ. Τί δε ; το τους έμπροσθεν φύεσθαι γηγενείς και μη εξ άλλήλων γεννάσθαι ;

ΝΕ. ΣΩ. Και τούτο εν των πάλαι λεχθέντων.
ΞΕ. Ταύτα τοίνυν έστι μεν

τοίνυν έστι μέν ξύμπαντα εκ τούτου πάθους, και προς τούτοις έτερα μυρία και τούτων έτι θαυμαστότερα, διά δε χρόνου πλήθος τα μεν αυτών

απέσβηκε, τα δε διεσπαρμένα είρηται χωρίς έκαστα απ' ο άλλήλων, ο δ' έστι πάσι τούτοις αίτιον το πάθος, ουδείς

είρηκε, νύν δε δή λεκτέον είς γαρ τήν του βασιλέως απόδειξιν πρέψει ρηθέν.

ΝΕ. ΣΩ. Κάλλιστείπες, και λέγε μηδέν ελλείπων.

B

TRANSLATION

Stranger. Here beginneth my wonderful Tale !

Be as a child, and listen ! for indeed not far art thou gotten from the years of childish things.

Socrates, Let us hear it.

Stranger. Well, of those things which have been told from old time, there be many which came to pass, and shall yet again come to pass : whereof I count the Sign which appeared when that Strife the Old Story telleth of was between Atreus and Thyestes; for, methinks, thou hast heard what they say came then to pass, and rememberest it well.

Socrates. Is it of the marvel of the Golden Lamb that thou speakest ?

Stranger. Not of that, but of the change in the setting and rising of the sun and stars; for the story goes that in the quarter whence they now rise in that did they then set, rising from the opposite quarter ; but that God, bearing witness for Atreus, changed them into the way which they now keep.

Socrates. That story also I know.

Stranger. And of the kingship of Cronus, too, have we heard many tell.

Socrates. Yea, very many.

Stranger. And, moreover, do they not tell of how men at first grew out of the earth, and were not begotten of their kind ?

Socrates. That also is one of the old stories.

Stranger. Well, of all these things one thing is cause ; yea, of innumerable other things also which are more wonderful than these things; but by reason of length of time most are vanished, and of the rest mention is made separately of each, as of that which hath no fellowship with the other things. But of that which is the cause of all these things no man hath spoken. Let it therefore now be told; for when it hath been set forth, it will help to our proof concerning the King

Socrates. Good! Go on, and leave out nothing.

Socrates the Younger is the interlocutor throughout the whole passage translated.

N

ΞΕ. 'Ακούοις άν. το γάρ παν τόδε τοτε μεν αυτός ο θεός ξυμποδηγεί πορευόμενον και συγκυκλεϊ, τοτε δ' ανήκεν, όταν αι περίοδοι του προσήκοντος αυτό μέτρον ειλήφωσιν

ήδη χρόνου, το δε πάλιν αυτόματον εις ταναντία περιάD γεται, ζώον ον και φρόνησιν ειληχός εκ του συναρμόσαντος

αυτό κατ' αρχάς, τούτο δε αυτό το ανάπαλιν ιέναι διά τόδ' εξ ανάγκης έμφυτον γέγονεν.

ΝΕ. ΣΩ. Δια το ποιον δή ;

ΞΕ. Το κατά ταύτά και ωσαύτως έχειν άει και ταυτόν είναι τους πάντων Θειοτάτοις προσήκει μόνοις, σώματος δε φύσις ου ταύτης της τάξεως. ον δε ουρανόν και κόσμον επωνομάκαμεν, πολλών μεν και μακαρίων παρά του γεννήσαντος μετείληφεν, ατάρ ούν δη κεκοινώνηκέ γε και

σώματος. όθεν αυτώ μεταβολής αμοίρω γίγνεσθαι διά Επαντός αδύνατον, κατά δύναμιν γε μην και τι μάλιστα εν

το αυτό κατά ταύτά μίαν φοράν κινείται δια την ανακύκλησιν είληχεν, ό τι σμικροτάτης της αυτού κινήσεως παράλλαξιν. αυτό δε εαυτό στρέφειν άει σχεδόν ουδενί δυνατόν πλήν τω των κινουμένων αυ πάντων ηγουμένω. κινείν δε τούτο τοτε μεν άλλως, αύθις δε εναντίως ου θέμις. εκ πάντων δή τούτων τον κόσμον μήτε αυτόν χρή φάναι στρέφειν εαυτόν αεί, μήτ' αυ όλον αεί υπό θεού

στρέφεσθαι διττας και εναντίας περιαγωγάς, μήτ' αυ δύο 27ο τινέ θεώ φρονούντε εαυτοίς εναντία στρέφειν αυτόν, αλλ'

όπερ άρτι ερρήθη και μόνον λοιπόν, τοτε μεν υπ' άλλης συμπoδηγείσθαι θείας αιτίας, το ζήν πάλιν επικτώμενον και λαμβάνοντα αθανασίαν επισκευαστήν παρά του δημιουργού, τοτε δ' όταν ανεθη, δι' εαυτού αυτόν ιέναι, κατά καιρόν αφεθέντα τοιούτον, ώστε ανάπαλιν πορεύεσθαι πολλές περιόδων μυριάδας διά το μέγιστον δν και ισορροπώτατον επί σμικροτάτου βαίνον ποδος κέναι.

it go.

Stranger. Hearken! This Universe, for a certain space of time, God himself doth help to guide and propel in the circular motion thereof; and then, when the cycles of the time appointed unto it have accomplished their measure, he letteth

Then doth it begin to go round in the contrary direction, of itself, being a living creature which hath gotten understanding from him who fashioned it in the beginning. This circuit in the contrary direction belongeth of necessity to the nature of the Universe because of this

Socrates. Because of what ?

Stranger. Because that to be constant in the same state alway, and to be the same, belongeth only to those things which are the most divine of all; but the nature of Body is not of this order. Now, that which we call Heaven and Universe hath been made, through him who begat it, partaker of many blessed possessions; but, mark this well, Body also is of the portion thereof. Wherefore it is not possible that it should be wholly set free from change, albeit, as far as is possible, it revolveth in the same place, with one uniform motion : for this reason, when it changed, it took unto itself circular motion in the contrary direction, which is the smallest possible alteration of the motion which belongeth unto it. Now, to be constant alway in self-motion is, methinks, impossible save only with him who ruleth all the things which are moved ; and move them now in this direction and again in that he may not. From all this it followeth that we must not say that the Universe either of itself moveth itself alway, or again is alway wholly moved by God to revolve now in one direction and then in the contrary direction; nor must we say that there be two Gods which, being contrariously minded, do cause it so to revolve; but we must hold by that which was just now said and alone remaineth, to wit, that at one time it is holpen and guided by the power of God supervening, and hath more life added unto it, and receiveth immortality from the Creator afresh; and then, at another time, when it is let go, it moveth of itself, having been so opportunely released that thereafter it journeyeth in the contrary direction throughout ages innumerable, being so great of bulk, and so evenly balanced, and turning on so fine a point.

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