I had the honour to have much conversation with Brutus; and was told, "that his ancestor Junius, Socrates
, Epaminondas, Cato the younger, Sir Thomas More, and himself were perpetually together:" a sextumvirate, to which all the ages of the world cannot add a seventh.
It certainly agrees in tone and character with the description of Xenophon, who says in the Memorabilia that Socrates might have been acquitted 'if in any moderate degree he would have conciliated the favour of the dicasts;' and who informs us in another passage, on the testimony of Hermogenes, the friend of Socrates, that he had no wish to live; and that the divine sign refused to allow him to prepare a defence, and also that Socrates himself declared this to be unnecessary, on the ground that all his life long he had been preparing against that hour.
The Apology of Plato is not the report of what Socrates said, but an elaborate composition, quite as much so in fact as one of the Dialogues.
The Crito seems intended to exhibit the character of Socrates in one light only, not as the philosopher, fulfilling a divine mission and trusting in the will of heaven, but simply as the good citizen, who having been unjustly condemned is willing to give up his life in obedience to the laws of the state.
The days of Socrates are drawing to a close; the fatal ship has been seen off Sunium, as he is informed by his aged friend and contemporary Crito, who visits him before the dawn has broken; he himself has been warned in a dream that on the third day he must depart.
For if Socrates
exists, one will be true and the other false, but if he does not exist, both will be false; for neither 'Socrates
is ill' nor 'Socrates
is well' is true, if Socrates
does not exist at all.
Still the ground is, they will, if they be of spirit, seek to free themselves from scorn; which must be either by virtue or malice; and therefore let it not be marvelled, if sometimes they prove excellent persons; as was Agesilaus, Zanger the son of Solyman, AEsop, Gasca, President of Peru; and Socrates
may go likewise amongst them; with others.
replies that he does not as yet know what virtue is, and has never known anyone who did.
The sciences of logic and psychology, which have supplied so many instruments of thought to after-ages, are based upon the analyses of Socrates
She might indeed be called a lover of men, as Socrates
was a lover of mankind, preferring one to another for corporeal, as he for mental qualifications; but never carrying this preference so far as to cause any perturbation in the philosophical serenity of her temper.
-Plato" might be used to mean "Socrates
precedes Plato"; "PlaSocrates-to" might be used to mean "Plato was born before Socrates
and died after him"; and so on.
And therefore, if they want to depict, not God, but a revolutionist or a sage, let them take from history a Socrates
, a Franklin, a Charlotte Corday, but not Christ.