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apart, and near them are the common tables of their families, of their daughters and mothers, which day by day, the rulers, male and female, are to inspect and look to their mode of life and so dismiss them; after which the magistrate and his attendants shall honor with libations those Gods to whom that day and night are dedicated, and then go home? To men whose lives are thus ordered, is there no work to be done which is necessary and fitting, but shall each one of them live fattening like a beast? Such a life is neither just nor honorable, nor can he who lives it fail of meeting his due; and the due reward of the idle fatted beast is that he should be torn in pieces by some other valiant beast whose fatness is worn down by labors and toils. These regulations, if we duly consider them, will never perfectly take effect under present circumstances, nor as long as women and children and houses and all other things are the private property of individuals ; but if we can attain the second-best form of polity, with that we may be satisfied. And to men living under this second polity there remains a work to be accomplished which is far from being small or insignificant, but is the greatest of all works, and ordained by the appointment of righteous law. For a life which is wholly concerned with the virtue of body and soul may truly be said to be twice, or more than twice, as full of toil and trouble as the pursuit after Pythian and Olympic victories, which debars a man from every employment of life. For there ought to be no bye-work interfering with the greater work of providing the necessary exercise and nourishment for the body, and instruction and education for the soul. Night and day are not long enough for the accomplishment of their perfection and consummation; and therefore to this end all freemen ought to arrange the time of their employments during the whole course of the twenty-four
hours, from morning to evening and from evening to the morning of the next sunrise. There may seem to be some impropriety in the legislator determining minutely the little details of the management of the house, including such particulars as the duty of wakefulness in those who are to be perpetual watchmen of the whole city; for that any citizen should continue during the whole night in sleep, instead of being seen by all his servants, always the first to awake and the first to rise this, whether the regulation is to be called a law or only a practice, should be deemed base and unworthy of a freeman; also that the mistress of the house should be awakened by her handmaidens instead of herself first awakening them, is what her slaves, male and female, and her children, and, if that were possible, everything in the house should regard as base. If they rise early, they may all of them do much of their public and of their household business, as magistrates in the city, and masters and mistresses in their private houses, before the sun is up. Much sleep is not required by nature, either for our souls or bodies, or for the actions in which they are concerned. For no one who is asleep is good for anything, any more than if he were dead; but he of us who has the most regard for life and reason keeps awake as long as he can, reserving only so much time for sleep as is expedient for health; and much sleep is not required, if the habit of not sleeping be once formed. Magistrates in states who keep awake at night are terrible to the bad, whether enemies or citizens, and are honored and reverenced by the just and temperate, and are useful to themselves and to the whole state.
A night which is short and devoted to work, in addition to all the above-mentioned advantages, infuses a sort of courage into the minds of the citizens. When the day breaks, the time has arrived for youth to go to their school
masters. Now, neither sheep nor any other animals can live without a shepherd, nor can children be left without tutors, or slaves without masters. And of all animals the boy is the most unmanageable, inasmuch as he has the fountain of reason in him not yet regulated; he is the most insidious, sharp-witted, and insubordinate of animals. Wherefore he must be bound with many bridles; in the first place, when he gets away from mothers and nurses, he must be under the control of tutors on account of his childishness and foolishness; then, again, being a freeman, he must have teachers and be educated by them in anything which they teach, and must learn what he has to learn; but he is also a slave, and in that regard any freeman who comes in his way may punish him and his tutor and his instructor, if any of them does anything wrong; and he who comes across him and does not inflict upon him the punishment which he deserves, shall incur the greatest disgrace; and let the guardian of the law, who is the director of education, see to him who coming in the way of the offenses which we have mentioned, does not chastise them when he ought, or chastises them in a way which he ought not; let him keep a sharp look-out, and take especial care of the training of our children, directing their natures, and always turning them to good according to the law.
And how can our law sufficiently train the director of education himself; for as yet all has been imperfect, and nothing has been said either clear or satisfactory? Now, as far as possible, the law ought to leave nothing to him, but to explain everything, that he may be the interpreter and tutor of others. About dances and music and choral strains, I have already spoken both as to the character of the selection of them, and the manner in which they are to be improved and consecrated. But we have not yet
spoken, O illustrious guardian of education, of the manner in which your pupils are to use those strains which are written in prose, although you have been informed what martial strains they are to learn and practice; what relates in the first place to the learning of letters, and secondly, to the lyre, and also to calculation, which, as saying, is needful for them all to learn, and any other things which are required with a view to war and the management of house and city, and, looking to the same object, what is useful in the revolutions of the heavenly bodies the stars and sun and moon, and the various regulations about these matters which are necessary for the whole state - I am speaking of the arrangements of days in periods of months, and of months in years, which are to be observed, in order that times and sacrifices and festivals may proceed in regular and natural order, and keep the city alive and awake, the Gods receiving the honors due to them, and men having a better understanding about them; all these things, O my friend, have not yet been sufficiently declared by the legislator. Attend, then, to what I am now going to say: We were telling you, in the first place, that you were not sufficiently informed about letters, and the objection made was to this effect,
That you were never told whether he who was meant to be a respectable citizen should apply himself in detail to that sort of learning, or not apply himself at all;" and the same remark was made about the lyre. But now we say that he ought to attend to them. A fair time for a boy of ten years old to spend in letters is three years ; at thirteen years he should begin to handle the lyre, and he may continue at this for another three years, neither more nor less, and whether his father or himself like or dislike the study, he is not to be allowed to spend more or less time in learning music than the law allows. And let him
who disobeys the law be deprived of those youthful honors of which we shall hereafter speak. Hear, however, first of all, what the young ought to learn in the early years of life, and what their instructors ought to teach them. They ought to be occupied with their letters until they are able to read and write; but the acquisition of perfect beauty or quickness in writing, if nature has not stimulated them to acquire these accomplishments in the given number of years, they should let alone. And as to the learning of compositions committed to writing which are unaccompanied by song, whether metrical or without rhythmical divisions, compositions in prose, as they are termed, having no rhythm or harmony — seeing how dangerous are the writings handed down to us by many writers of this class - what will you do with them, O most excellent guardians of the law ? or how can the lawgiver rightly direct you about them? I believe that he will be in great difficulty.
Cle. What troubles you, Stranger? and why are you so perplexed in your mind?
ATH. You naturally ask, Cleinias, and to you, who are my partners in the work of education, I must state the difficulties of the case.
Cle. To what do you refer in this instance?
Ath. I will tell you. There is a difficulty in opposing many myriads of mouths.
Cle. Well, and have we not already opposed the popular voice in many important enactments?
ATH. That is quite true; and you mean to imply that the road which we are taking may be disagreeable to some but is agreeable to as many others, or if not to as many, at any rate to persons not inferior to the others, and in company with them you bid me, at whatever risk, proceed along the path of legislation which has opened out of our present discourse, and to be of good cheer, and not to faint.