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do what I know to be evil, and shrink in fear from what,
for all that I can tell, may be a good.

If you were therefore to say to me, ''Socrates, this
time we will not listen to Anytus; we will let you go; but
on this condition, that you will cease from carrying on
this search of yours, and from philosophy; if you are
found following these pursuits again you shall die." I
say, if you offered to let me go on those terms, I should
reply: — "Athenians, I hold you in the highest regard and
love, but I will obey the god rather than you ; and as long
as I have breath and strength I will not cease from phi-
losophy, and from exhorting you, and declaring the truth
to every one of you whom I meet, saying, as I am wont.

The Platonic Socrates 231

*My excellent friend, you who are a citizen of Athens, a
city which is very great and very famous for wisdom and
power of mind ; are you not ashamed of caring so much
for the making of money, and for reputation, and for
honor? Will you not think and care about wisdom, and
truth, and the perfection of your soul?' " And if he dis-
putes my words, and says that he does care about these
things, I shall not forthwith release him and go away; I
shall question him and cross-examine him and test him,
and if I think that he has not virtue, though he says that
he has, I shall reproach him for setting the lower value
on the higher things, and a higher value on those that are
of less account. This I shall do to every one whom I
meet, young or old, citizen or stranger; but more espe-
cially to the citizens, for they are more nearly akin to me.
For I know well, the god has commanded me to do so.

Socrates was condemned on the charge of having cor-
rupted the young, neglected the gods of the city, and
introduced strange divinities. The last charge may have
been helped out by the absurd worship of the Clouds,
Vortex, etc., in the comedy of Aristophanes, but was no
doubt chiefly based on Socrates' own allusions to the
Daimonion, or divine voice of warning, in his own breast.
This companion was very like a Christian conscience.

The account of Socrates' death occurs in the
**Phaedo." The day has been spent in a discussion with
his friends, on Immortality, much of which is so abstruse
and learned as to be clearly Plato's utterance, and his
alone; though the real Socrates may well have spent his
last hours in some such fashion. Even the final incidents
are, no doubt, much modified from the reality, since he
who dies by hemlock is not merely paralyzed, but plunged
into violent convulsions. But that is only saying that
this heroic death scene is literature, not a mere report of

232 Ideals in Greek Literature

facts. The spirit is no less Socratic, though the artist's
hand be Plato's.

The long dialogue closes with a large constructive
sketch of the universe, with the location of what we would
call Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. After mentioning the
final doom of the incurably wicked, and the purifying
pains of penitent sinners, Socrates continues:


Those also who are remarkable for having led holy
lives are released from this earthly prison, and go to their
pure home which is above, and dwell in the purer earth;
and those who have duly purified themselves with phi-
losophy live henceforth altogether without the body, in
mansions fairer far than these, which may not be described,
and of which the time would fail me to tell.

I do not mean to affirm that the description which I
have given of the soul and her mansions is exactly true —
a man of sense ought hardly to say that. But I do say
that, inasmuch as the soul is said to be immortal, he may
venture to think, not improperly or unworthily, that some-
thing of the kind is true. The venture is a glorious one,
and he ought to comfort himself with words like these,
which is the reason why I lengthen out this tale. Where-
fore, I say, let a man be of good cheer about his soul, who
has cast away the pleasures and ornaments of the body as
alien to him, and rather hurtful in their effects, and has
followed after the pleasures of knowledge in this life; who
has adorned the soul in her own proper jewels, which are
temperance and justice, and courage, and nobility, and
truth — in these arrayed, she is ready to go on her journey
to the world below, when her time comes. You, and all
other men, will depart at some time or other. Me already,
as the tragic poet says, the voice of fate calls. Soon I
must drink the poison, and I think that I had better repair
to the bath first, in order that the women may not have
the trouble of washing my body after I am dead.

The Platonic Socrates 233

When he had done speaking, Crito said: And have
you any commands for us, Socrates, — anything to say
about your children, or any other matter in which we can
serve you?

Nothing in particular, he said; only, as I have always
told you, I would have you look to yourselves; that is a
service which you can always be doing to me and mine as
well as to yourselves.

We will do our best, said Crito. But in what way
would you have us bury you?

In any way that you like; only you must get hold of
me, and take care that I do not walk away from you.
Then he turned to us, and added with a smile: I cannot
make Crito believe that I am the same Socrates who has
been talking and conducting the argument ; he fancies that
I am the other Socrates whom he will soon see, a dead
body^and he asks — How shall he bury me? And though
I have spoken many words in the endeavor to show that
when I have drunk the poison I shall leave you and go to
the joys of the blessed — these words of mine, with which
I comforted you and myself, have had, as I perceive, no
effect upon Crito. And therefore I want you to be surety
for me now, as he was surety for me at the trial; but let
the promise be of another sort; for he was my surety to
the judges that I would remain, but you must be my surety
to him that I shall not remain, but go away and depart;
and then he will suffer less at my death, and not be
grieved when he sees my body being burned or buried.
I would not have him sorrow at my hard lot, or say at the
burial. Thus we lay out Socrates, or, Thus we follow him
to the grave or bury him, for false words are not only evil
in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil. Be of
good cheer, then, my dear Crito, and say that you are
burying my body only, and do with that as is usual, and
as you think best.

When he had spoken these words he arose and went
into the bath chamber with Crito, who bade us wait; and
we waited, talking and thinking of the subject of discourse,

234 Ideals in Greek Literature

and also of the greatness of our sorrow; he was Hke a
father of whom we were being bereaved, and we were
about to pass the rest of our Hves as orphans. When he
had taken the bath his children were brought to him — (he
had two young sons and an elder one) ; and the women of
his family also came, and he talked to them and gave them
a few directions in the presence of Crito; and he then
dismissed them and returned to us.

Now the hour of sunset was near, for a good deal of
time had passed while he was within. When he came out
he sat down with us again after his bath; but not much
was said. Soon the jailer entered and stood by him, say-
ing: '*To you, Socrates, whom I know to be the noblest
and gentlest and best of all who ever came to this place,
I will not impute the angry feelings of other men, who
rage and swear at me, when, in obedience to the authori-
ties, I bid them drink the poison — indeed I am sure that
you will not be angry with me; for others, as you are
aware, and not I, are the guilty cause. And so fare you
well, and try to bear lightly what needs must be; you know
my errand." Then bursting into tears he turned away
and went out.

Socrates looked at him and said: **I return your
good wishes, and will do as you bid." Then, turning to
us, he said, **How charming the man is: since I have
been in prison he has always been coming to see me, and
now see how generously he sorrows for me. But we must
do as he says, Crito; let the cup be brought, if the poison
is prepared; if not let the attendant prepare some."

''Yet," said Crito, *'the sun is still upon the hilltops,
and many a one has taken the draught late, and after the
announcement has been made to him, has eaten and drunk,
and indulged in sensual delights; do not hasten, then,
there is still time."

Socrates said: *'Yes, Crito, and they of whom you
speak are right in doing this, for they think that they will
gain by the delay; but I am right in not doing thus, for
I do not think that I should gain anything by drinking the

The Platonic Socrates 235

poison a little later; I should be sparing and saving a life
which is already gone ; I could only laugh at myself for
this. Please then do as I say, and not refuse me.'*

Crito, when he heard this, made a sign to the servant;
and the servant went in, and remained for some time, and
then returned with the jailer, carrying the cup of poison.
Socrates said: **You, my good friend, who are experi-
enced in these matters, shall give me directions how I
am to proceed." The man answered: ''You have only
to walk about until your legs are heavy, and then to lie
down, and the poison will act." At the same time he
handed the cup to Socrates, who in the easiest and gentlest
manner, without the least fear or change of color or fea-
ture, looking at the man with all his eyes, as his manner
was, took the cup and said: ''What do you say about
making a libation out of this cup to any god? May I, or
not?" The man answered : "We only prepare, Socrates,
just so much as we deem enough." "I understand," he
said; "yet I may and must pray to the gods to prosper
my journey from this to that other world — may this then,
which is my prayer, be granted to me." Then holding
the cup to his lips, quite readily and cheerfully he drank
off the poison. And hitherto most of us had been able
to control our sorrow; but when we saw him drinking,
and saw too that he had finished the draught, we could
no longer forbear, and in spite of myself my own tears
were flowing fast; so that I covered my face and wept
over myself, for certainly I was not weeping over him,
but at the thought of my own calamity in having lost
such a companion. Nor was I the first, for Crito, when
he found himself unable to restrain his tears, had got
up and moved away, and I followed; and at that moment
Apollodorus, who had been weeping all the time, broke out
into a loud cry which made cowards of us all. Socrates
alone retained his calmness: "What is this strange out-
cry?" he said. "I sent the women away mainly that they
might not offend in this way, for I have heard that a man
should die in peace. Be quiet then, and have patience."

236 Ideals in Greek' Literature

When we heard that, we were ashamed and refrained
our tears; and he walked about until, as he said, his legs
began to fail, and then he lay on his back, according to
the directions, and the man who gave him the poison now
and then looked at his feet and legs, and after a time he
pressed his foot hard, and asked him if he could feel ; and
he said no ; and then his leg, and so upwards and upwards,
and showed us that he was cold and stiff. And he felt
them himself, and said: **When the poison reaches the
heart, that will be the end." He was beginning to grow
cold about the groin when he uncovered his face, for he
had covered himself up, and said (they were his last words)
— he said: '*Crito, I owe a cock to Asclepius; will you
remember to pay the debt.?" ''The debt shall be paid,"
said Crito; "is there anything else?" There was no
answer to this question; but in a minute or two a move-
ment was heard, and the attendant uncovered him; his
eyes were set, and Crito closed his eyes and mouth.

Such was the end, Echecrates, of our friend, whom I
may truly call the wisest, and justest, and best of all the
men whom I have ever known.


Jowett's translation of all Plato's works, in five stately vol-
umes, will long remain without a rival in England. It contains
also valuable introductions, analyses, etc. Grote's "Plato" and
the "Other Companions of Socrates" is a very learned and valu-
able work by a somewhat unsympathetic critic. Much less pon-
derous than these are two volumes of the Golden Treasury series,
one containing the "Republic," the other the four dialogues de-
scriptive of Socrates' trial, imprisonment, and death. Even more
readable are the little volumes of selections from Plato, published
by Scribner, "A Day in Athens with Socrates," "Talks with
Athenian Youths," etc.



An Ideal oj Civic Patriotism.

Athens never regained the political supremacy upheld
by Pericles in the middle of the fifth century B.C., and
lost, at its close, in the Peloponnesian war. (431-404 B.C.)
Yet in the central decades of the fourth century she was
stronger than any other one of the Hellenic cities, and
became the leader of a forlorn hope against the semi-
barbarous kingdom of Macedonia. The autocratic power,
tireless energy, and unscrupulous craft of King Philip
(360-336 B.C.) easily baffled, and finally crushed, the
disunited, peace-loving, mercantile cities of the peninsula.
Yet the eloquence of Demosthenes, still preserved in a long
series of carefully polished speeches, has made him even
more famous than his victorious opponent. He utters, in
words that glow and thrill even now, the purest patriotism,
the most unselfish devotion to duty and honor.

The details of the long hopeless struggle can no longer
be of vital interest to us. Indeed, when Demosthenes*
masterpiece, the oration on the Crown, was pronounced,
the last hope of freedom had vanished, and Alexander,
secure of Hellas* submissiveness, had already begun, with
the army which his father Philip had prepared and trained,
his amazing career of Asiatic conquest.

Ctesiphon, a friend of the orator, had proposed that a
golden crown, — a customary honor, — be presented to him


138 Ideals in Greek Literature

for public services and personal sacrifices. Demosthenes*
lifelong enemy and rival ^schines, who had probably
accepted bribes from Philip, now impeached the mover for
illegal action. Aside from minor technicalities, the chief
charge was that the whole career of Demosthenes had
injured, not benefited, the Athenian people. So the
master, while nominally defending his friend, must actu-
ally review in full his own public life. The overwhelming
power of Macedon made necessary a certain degree of
caution in tone. Even his warmest admirers had to con-
fess that Demosthenes' policy had not been finally success-
ful. Under these circumstances, the brave words here
uttered may be regarded as the last, and also the noblest,
Athenian utterance of democratic sentiment.


As I am, it appears, on this day to render an account
both of my private life and of my pubhc measures, I would
fain, in the outset, call the gods to my aid; and in your
presence implore them, first, that the good will which I
have ever cherished toward the commonwealth and all of
you may be fully requited to me on the present trial ; next,
that they may direct you to such a decision upon this
indictment, as will conduce to your common honor, and
to the good conscience of each individual.

The conquests which Philip had got and held before I
commenced life as a statesman and orator, I shall pass
over, as I think they concern not me. Those that he was
baffled in from the day of my entering such duties, I will
call to your recollection, and render an account of them;
premising one thing only — Philip started, men of Athens,
with a great advantage. It happened that among the
Greeks — not some but all alike — there sprang up a crop
of traitors and venal wretches, such as in the memory of
man had never been before. These he got for his agents

Demosthenes on the Crown 139

and supporters: the Greeks, already ill disposed and
unfriendly to each other, he brought into a still worse
state, deceiving this people, making presents to that, cor-
rupting others in every way; and he split them into many
parties, when they all had one interest, to prevent his
aggrandisement. While the Greeks were all in such a
condition, — in ignorance of the gathering and growing
mischief — you have to consider, men of Athens, what
policy and measures it became the commonwealth to
adopt, and of this to receive a reckoning from me; for
the man who assumed that post in the administration
was I.

Ought she, ^schines, to have cast off her spirit and
dignity, and helped to acquire for Philip the dominion of
Greece, and extinguished the honors and rights of our
ancestors? Or, if she did not this — which would indeed
have been shameful — was it right that what she saw would
happen if unprevented, and was for a long time, it seems,
aware of, she should suffer to come to pass?

I would gladly ask the severest censurer of our acts,
with what party he would have wished the commonwealth
to side, — with those who contributed to the disgraces and
disasters of the Greeks, or those who permitted it all for
the hope of selfish advantage? But many of them, or
rather all, would have fared worse than ourselves. If
Philip after his victory had immediately marched off and
kept quiet, without molesting any either of his own allies
or the Greeks in general, still they that opposed not his
enterprises would have merited some blame and reproach.
But when he has stripped all alike of their dignity, their
authority, their liberty — nay, even of their constitutions,
where he was able, — can it be doubted that you took the
most glorious course in pursuance of my counsels?

But I return to the question — What should the com-
monwealth, ^schines, have done, when she saw Philip
estabhshing an empire and dominion over Greece? Or
what was your statesman to advise and move? — I, a
statesman at Athens? — for this is most material — I who

240 Ideals in Greek Literature

knew that from the earliest time, until the day of my own
mounting the platform, our country had ever striven for
precedency, and honor, and renown, and had expended
more blood and treasure for the sake of glory and the
general weal than the rest of Greece had expended on
their several interests? who saw that Phihp himself, with
whom we were contending, had, in the strife for power
and empire, had his eye cut out, his collarbone fractured,
his hand and leg mutilated,* and was ready and willing to
sacrifice any part of his body that fortune chose to take,
provided he could live with the remainder in honor and
glory? Hardly will any one venture to say this — that it
became a man bred at Pella, then an obscure and incon-
siderable place, to possess such an inborn magnanimity,
as to aspire to the mastery of Greece, and form the project
in his mind, whilst you, who were Athenians, day after
day in speeches and in dramas reminded of the virtue of
your ancestors, should have been so base, as of your own
free will and accord to surrender to Philip the liberty of
Greece. No one will say this!

The only course then that remained was a just resist-
ance to all his attacks upon you. Such course you took
from the beginning, properly and becomingly; and I
assisted by motions and counsels during the period of my
political life — I acknowledge it. But what should I have
done? I put this question to you, dismissing all else.

I ask — the man who was appropriating to himself Euboea,
and making it a fortress against Attica, and subjugating
the Hellespont, and besieging Byzantium, ^ and destroy-
ing some of the Greek cities, restoring exiles to others, —
was he, by all these proceedings, committing injustice,
breaking the truce, violating the peace, or not? Was it
meet that any of the Greeks should rise up to prevent
these proceedings or not? If no, if Greece should have
lain passive and helpless, whilst Athenians had life and
being, then I have exceeded my duty in speaking on the

» Philip, a soldier from boyhood, had been often wounded in battle.
2 Later known as Constantinople, and of course always the key to the
Black Sea.

Demosthenes on the Crown 241

subject, the commonwealth has exceeded her duty which
followed my counsels, I admit that every measure has
been a misdeed, a blunder of mine. But if some one
ought to have arisen, to prevent these things, who but
the Athenian people should it have been? Such then was
the policy which I espoused.

Hundreds of cases which I could mention . I pass over
— sea-fights, land-marches, campaigns, both in ancient
times and in your own, all of which the commonwealth
has undertaken for the freedom and safety of the Greeks
in general. Then, having observed the commonwealth
engaging in contests of such number and importance for
the interests of others, what was I to urge, what course
to recommend her, when the question in a manner con-
cerned herself.? — To revive grudges, I suppose, against
people who wanted help, and to seek pretences for aban-
doning everything. And who might not justly have killed
me, had I attempted even by words to tarnish any of the
honors of Athens? For the thing itself, I am certain, you
would never have done. Had you wished, what was to
hinder you? Any lack of opportunity? Had you not
these men to advise it?

Whilst you on these occasions sat mute in the assem-
bly, I came forward and spake. However, as you omitted
then, tell us now. Say, what scheme that I ought to have
devised, what favorable opportunity, was lost to the state
by my neglect? What alliance was there, what better
plan, to which I should have directed the people? But
No! The past is with all the world given up; no one
even proposes to deliberate about it: the future it is, or
the present, which demands the action of a counsellor.
At the time, as it appears, there were dangers impending,
and dangers at hand. Mark the line of my policy at that
crisis; do not rail at the event. The end of all things is
what the Deity pleases: it is his Hne of policy that shows
the judgment of the statesman. Do not then impute it
as a crime to me, that Philip chanced to conquer in battle :
that issue depended not on me but on God. Prove that

242 Ideals in Greek Literature

I adopted not all measures that according to human calcu-
lation were feasible, that I did not honestly and diligently,
and with exertions beyond my strength, carry them out,
or that my enterprises were not honorable and worthy of
the state, and necessary. Show me this, and accuse me
as soon as you like. But if the hurricane that visited us
has been too powerful, not for us only, but for all Greece
beside, what is the fair course? As if a merchant, after
taking every precaution, and furnishing a vessel with
everything that he thought would ensure her safety,
because afterwards he met with a storm, and his tackle
was strained, or broken to pieces, should be charged with
the shipwreck! **Well, but I was not the pilot," he
might say, just as I was not the general. ** Fortune was
not under my control: all was under hers."

If the future was revealed to you, ^schines, alone,
when the state was deliberating on these proceedings, you
ought to have forewarned us at the time. If you did not
foresee it you are responsible for the same ignorance as
the rest. Why then do you accuse me in this rather than
I you? A better citizen have I been than you, inasmuch
as I gave myself up to what seemed for the general good,
not shrinking from any personal danger, nor taking thought
of any, whilst you neither suggested better measures, nor
lent any aid in the prosecuting of mine.

But since he insists so strongly on the result, I will
even assert something of a paradox: and I beg and pray
of you not to marvel at its boldness, but kindly to consider
what I say. If then the results had been foreknown to
all, if all had foreseen them, and you, ^schines, had fore-
told them and protested with clamor and outcry, — you
that never opened your mouth — not even then should the
Commonwealth have abandoned her designs, if she had
any regard for glory, or ancestry, or futurity. As it is,
she appears to have failed in her enterprise, a thing to
which all mankind are hable, if the Deity so wills it : but
then, claiming precedency over others, and afterwards
abandoning her pretensions, she would have incurred the

Demosthenes on the Crown 243

charge of betraying all to Philip. Why, had we resigned

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