So Hiero ended.

Simonides answered laughingly: How say you, Hiero? What is that? Love's strong passion for his soul's beloved incapable of springing up in any monarch's heart? What of your own passion for Dailochus, surnamed of men 'most beautiful'?

Hiero. That is easily explained, Simonides. What I most desire of him is no ready spoil, as men might reckon it, but rather what it is least of all the privilege of a tyrant to obtain.[42] I say it truly, I--the love I bear Dailochus is of this high sort. All that the constitution of our souls and bodies possibly compels a man to ask for at the hands of beauty, that my fantasy desires of him; but what my fantasy demands, I do most earnestly desire to obtain from willing hands and under seal of true affection. To clutch it forcibly were as far from my desire as to do myself some mortal mischief.

[42] Lit. 'of tyrant to achieve,' a met. from the chase. Cf. 'Hunting,' xii. 22.

Were he my enemy, to wrest some spoil from his unwilling hands would be an exquisite pleasure, to my thinking. But of all sweet favours the sweetest to my notion is the free-will offering of a man's beloved. For instance, how sweet the responsive glance of love for love; how sweet the questions and the answers;[43] and, most sweet of all, most love-enkindling, the battles and the strifes of faithful lovers.[44] But to enjoy[45] one's love perforce (he added) resembles more an act of robbery, in my judgment, than love's pastime. And, indeed, the robber derives some satisfaction from the spoils he wins and from the pain he causes to the man he hates. But to seek pleasure in the pain of one we love devoutly, to kiss and to be hated, to touch[46] and to be loathed--can one conceive a state of things more odious or more pitiful? For, it is a certainty, the ordinary person may accept at once each service rendered by the object of his love as a sign and token of kindliness inspired by affection, since he knows such ministry is free from all compulsion. Whilst to the tyrant, the confidence that he is loved is quite foreclosed. On the contrary,[47] we know for certain that service rendered through terror will stimulate as far as possible the ministrations of affection. And it is a fact, that plots and conspiracies against despotic rulers are oftenest hatched by those who most of all pretend to love them.[48]

[43] 'The 'innere Unterhaltung''; the {oarismos}. Cf. Milton, 'P. L.':

With thee conversing, I forget all time.

[44] Cf. Ter. 'Andr.' iii. 3. 23, 'amantium irae amoris intergratiost.'

[45] 'To make booty of.'

[46] For {aptesthai} L. & S. cf. Plat. 'Laws,' 840 A; Aristot. 'H. A.' v. 14. 27; Ep. 1 Cor. vii. 1.

[47] Reading {au}. 'If we do know anything it is this, that,' etc.

[48] Or, 'do oftenest issue from treacherous make-believe of warmest friendship.' Cf. Grote, 'H. G.' xi. 288; 'Hell.' VI. iv. 36.


To these arguments Simonides replied: Yes, but the topics you have named are to my thinking trifles; drops, as it were, in the wide ocean. How many men, I wonder, have I seen myself, men in the deepest sense,[1] true men, who choose to fare but ill in respect of meats and drinks and delicacies; ay, and what is more, they voluntarily abstain from sexual pleasures. No! it is in quite a different sphere, which I will name at once, that you so far transcend us private citizens.[2] It is in your vast designs, your swift achievements; it is in the overflowing wealth of your possessions; your horses, excellent for breed and mettle; the choice beauty of your arms; the exquisite finery of your wives; the gorgeous palaces in which you dwell, and these, too, furnished with the costliest works of art; add to which the throng of your retainers, courtiers, followers, not in number only but accomplishments a most princely retinue; and lastly, but not least of all, in your supreme ability at once to afflict your foes and benefit your friends.

[1] Lit. 'many among those reputed to be men.' Cf. 'Cyrop.' V. v. 33; 'Hell.' i. 24, 'their hero'; and below, viii. 3. Aristoph. 'Ach.' 78, {oi barbaroi gar andras egountai monous} | {tous pleista dunamenous phagein te kai piein}: 'To the Barbarians 'tis the test of manhood: there the great drinkers are the greatest men' (Frere); id. 'Knights,' 179; 'Clouds,' 823; so Latin 'vir.' See Holden ad loc.

[2] 'Us lesser mortals.'

To all which Hiero made answer: That the majority of men, Simonides, should be deluded by the glamour of a despotism in no respect astonishes me, since it is the very essence of the crowd, if I am not mistaken, to rush wildly to conjecture touching the happiness or wretchedness of people at first sight.

Now the nature of a tyrrany is such: it presents, nay flaunts, a show of costliest possessions unfolded to the general gaze, which rivets the attention;[3] but the real troubles in the souls of monarchs it keeps concealed in those hid chambers where lie stowed away the happiness and the unhappiness of mankind.

[3] There is some redundancy in the phraseology.

I repeat then, I little marvel that the multitude should be blinded in this matter. But that you others also, you who are held to see with the mind's eye more clearly than with the eye of sense the mass of circumstances,[4] should share its ignorance, does indeed excite my wonderment. Now, I know it all too plainly from my own experience, Simonides, and I assure you, the tyrant is one who has the smallest share of life's blessings, whilst of its greater miseries he possesses most.

[4] Lit. 'the majority of things'; al. 'the thousand details of a thing.'

For instance, if peace is held to be a mighty blessing to mankind, then of peace despotic monarchs are scant sharers. Or is war a curse? If so, of this particular pest your monarch shares the largest moiety. For, look you, the private citizen, unless his city-state should chance to be engaged in some common war,[5] is free to travel wheresoe'er he chooses without fear of being done to death, whereas the tyrant cannot stir without setting his foot on hostile territory. At any rate, nothing will persuade him but he must go through life armed, and on all occasions drag about with him armed satellites. In the next place, the private citizen, even during an expedition into hostile territory,[6] can comfort himself in the reflection that as soon as he gets back home he will be safe from further peril. Whereas the tyrant knows precisely the reverse; as soon as he arrives in his own city, he will find himself in the centre of hostility at once. Or let us suppose that an invading army, superior in force, is marching against a city: however much the weaker population, whilst they are still outside their walls, may feel the stress of danger, yet once within their trenches one and all expect to find themselves in absolute security. But the tyrant is not out of danger, even when he has passed the portals of his palace. Nay! there of all places most, he feels, he must maintain the strictist watch.[7] Again, to the private citizen there will come eventually, either through truce or terms of peace, respite from war; but for the tyrant, the day of peace will never dawn. What peace can he have with those over whom he exercises his despotic sway?[8] Nor have the terms of truce been yet devised, on which the despotic ruler may rely with confidence.[9]

[5] {koinon}, i.e. making demands upon the eneriges of all the citizens in common, as opposed to the personal character of war as conducted by a despot = 'public,' 'patriotic,' 'national' war. Al. borne by the particular {polis} as member of a league, whether of states united for the time being in a {summakhia}, or permanently in a confederacy = a 'federal' war.

[6] 'Even if serving on a campaign in the enemy's country.'

[7] Or, 'he has to exercise the utmost vigilance.'

[8] 'With those who are 'absolutely governed,' not to say tyrannically ruled.'

[9] Or, 'which the tyrant may accept in faith and go his way rejoicing.'

Wars doubtless there are,[10] wars waged by states and wars waged by autocratic monarchs against those whom they have forcibly enslaved, and in respect of these wars there is no hardship which any member of the states at war[11] can suffer but the tyrant will feel it also. That is to say, both must alike be under arms, keep guard, run risks; and whatever the pains of defeat may be, they are equally sustained by both. Up to this point there is no distinction. The 'bitters' are equal. But when we come to estimate the 'sweets' derivable from warfare between states,[12] the parallel ceases. The tyrant, if he shared the pains before, no longer shares the pleasures now. What happens when a state has gained the mastery in battle over her antagonist? It would be hard (I take it) to describe the joy of that occurrence: joy in the rout, joy in the pursuit, joy in the slaughter of their enemies; and in what language shall I describe the exultation of these warriors at their feats of arms? With what assumption they bind on their brows the glittering wreath of glory;[13] with what mirth and jollity congratulate themselves on having raised their city to newer heights of fame. Each several citizen claims to have shared in the plan of the campaign, [14] and to have slain the largest number. Indeed it would be hard to find where false embellishment will not creep in,[15] the number stated to be the slain exceeding that of those that actually perished. So truly glorious a thing it

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