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us, inconceivably delicious and profitable will our intercourse be; if not, your time is lost and you will only annoy me. I shall seem to you stupid, and the reputation I have, false. Quite above us, beyond the will of you or me, is this secret affinity or repulsion laid. All my good is magnetic, and I educate, not by lessons, but by going about my business.'
He said, Culture; he said, Nature; and he failed not to add, .There is also the divine.' There is no thought in any mind but it quickly tends to convert itself into a power and organizes a huge instrumentality of means. Plato, lover of limits, loved the illimitable, saw the enlargement and nobility which come from truth itself and good itself, and attempted as if on the part of the human intellect, once for all to do it adequate homage, – homage fit for the immense sou to receive, and yet homage becoming the intellect to render. He said then Our faculties run out into infinity, and return to us thence. We can define but a little way; but here is a fact which will not be skipped, and which to shut our eyes upon is suicide. All things are in a scale; and, begin where we will, ascend and ascend. All things are symbolical; and what we call results are beginnings.'
A key to the method and completeness of Plato is his twice bisected line. After he has illustrated
the relation between the absolute good and true and the forms of the intelligible world, 'he says:“Let there be a line cut in two unequal parts. Cut again each of these two main parts, – one representing the visible, the other the intelligible world, - and let these two new sections represent the bright part and the dark part of each of these worlds. You will have, for one of the sections of the visible world, images, that is, both shadows and reflections ; — for the other section, the objects of these images, that is, plants, animals, and the works of art and nature. Then divide the intelligible world in like manuer; the one section will be of opinions and hypotheses, and the other section of truths.” To these four sections, the four operations of the soul correspond, - conjecture, faith, understanding, reason. As every pool reflects the image of the sun, so every thought and thing restores us an image and creature of the supreme Good. The universe is perforated by a million channels for his activity. All things mount and mount.
All his thought has this ascension ; in Phædrus, teaching that beauty is the most lovely of all things, exciting hilarity and shedding desire and confidence through the universe wherever it enters, and it enters in some degree into all things:
but that there is another, which is as much
more beautiful than beauty as beauty is than chaos ; namely, wisdom, which our wonderful organ of sight cannot reach unto, but which, could it be seen, would ravish us with its perfect reality. He has the same regard to it as the source of excellence in works of art. When an artificer, he says, in the fabrication of any work, looks to that which always subsists according to the same; and, employing a model of this kind, expresses its idea and power in his work, – it must follow that his production should be beautiful. But when he beholds that which is born and dies, it will be far from beautiful.
Thus ever : the Banquet is a teaching in the same spirit, familiar now to all the poetry and to all the sermons of the world, that the love of the sexes is initial, and symbolizes at a distance the passion of the soul for that immense lake of beauty it exists to seek. This faith in the Divinity is never out of mind, and constitutes the ground of all his dogmas. Body cannot teach wisdom ; God only. In the same mind he constantly affirms that virtue cannot be taught; that it is not a science, but an inspiration, that the greatest goods are produced to us through mania and are assigned to us by a divine gift.
This leads me to that central figure which he has established in his Academy as the organ
through which every considered opinion shall be announced, and whose biography he has likewise so labored that the historic facts are lost in the light of Plato's mind. Socrates and Plato are the double star which the most powerful instruments will not entirely separate. Socrates again, in his traits and genius, is the best example of that synthesis which constitutes Plato's extraordinary power. Socrates, a man of humble stem, but honest enough ; of the commonest history; of a personal homeliness so remarkable as to be a cause of wit in others : — the rather that his broad good nature and exquisite taste for a joke invited the sally, which was sure to be paid. The players personated him on the stage; the potters copied his ugly face on their stone jugs. He was a cool fellow, adding to his humor a perfect temper and a knowl. edge of his man, be he who he might whom he talked with, which laid the companion open to certain defeat in any debate, — and in debate he im. moderately delighted. The young men are prodig. iously fond of him and invite him to their feasts, whither he goes for conversation. He can drink, too; has the strongest head in Athens; and after leaving the whole party under the table, goes away as if nothing had happened, to begin new dialogues with somebody that is sober. In short, he was. what our country-people call an old one.
He affected a good many citizen-like tastes, was monstrously fond of Athens, hated trees, never willingly went beyond the walls, knew the old characters, valued the bores and philistines, thought every thing in Athens a little better than anything in any other place. He was plain as a Quaker ir habit and speech, affected low phrases, and illustrations from cocks and quails, soup-pans and syca more-spoons, grooms and farriers, and unnameable offices, - especially if he talked with any superfine person. He had a Franklin-like wisdom. Thus he showed one who was afraid to go on foot to Olympia, that it was no more than his daily walk within doors, if continuously extended, would easily reach.
Plain old uncle as he was, with his great ears, an immense talker, — the rumor ran that on one or two occasions, in the war with Beotia, he had shown a determination which had covered the retreat of a troop; and there was some story that under cover of folly, he had, in the city government, when one day he chanced to hold a seat there, evinced a courage in opposing singly the popular voice, which had well-nigh ruined him. He is very poor; but then he is hardy as a soldier, and can live on a few olives ; usually, in the strictest sense, on bread and water, except when entertained by his friends. His necessary expenses