Laws eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 837 pages of information about Laws.

Cleinias:  You quite understand me; do as you say.

Athenian:  I will; and there will not be any difficulty in speaking intelligibly to you about a subject with which both of you are far more familiar than with music.

Cleinias:  There will not.

Athenian:  Is not the origin of gymnastics, too, to be sought in the tendency to rapid motion which exists in all animals; man, as we were saying, having attained the sense of rhythm, created and invented dancing; and melody arousing and awakening rhythm, both united formed the choral art?

Cleinias:  Very true.

Athenian:  And one part of this subject has been already discussed by us, and there still remains another to be discussed?

Cleinias:  Exactly.

Athenian:  I have first a final word to add to my discourse about drink, if you will allow me to do so.

Cleinias:  What more have you to say?

Athenian:  I should say that if a city seriously means to adopt the practice of drinking under due regulation and with a view to the enforcement of temperance, and in like manner, and on the same principle, will allow of other pleasures, designing to gain the victory over them—­in this way all of them may be used.  But if the State makes drinking an amusement only, and whoever likes may drink whenever he likes, and with whom he likes, and add to this any other indulgences, I shall never agree or allow that this city or this man should practise drinking.  I would go further than the Cretans and Lacedaemonians, and am disposed rather to the law of the Carthaginians, that no one while he is on a campaign should be allowed to taste wine at all, but that he should drink water during all that time, and that in the city no slave, male or female, should ever drink wine; and that no magistrates should drink during their year of office, nor should pilots of vessels or judges while on duty taste wine at all, nor any one who is going to hold a consultation about any matter of importance; nor in the day-time at all, unless in consequence of exercise or as medicine; nor again at night, when any one, either man or woman, is minded to get children.  There are numberless other cases also in which those who have good sense and good laws ought not to drink wine, so that if what I say is true, no city will need many vineyards.  Their husbandry and their way of life in general will follow an appointed order, and their cultivation of the vine will be the most limited and the least common of their employments.  And this, Stranger, shall be the crown of my discourse about wine, if you agree.

Cleinias:  Excellent:  we agree.


Athenian:  Enough of this.  And what, then, is to be regarded as the origin of government?  Will not a man be able to judge of it best from a point of view in which he may behold the progress of states and their transitions to good or evil?

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Laws from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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