LYSIS, OR FRIENDSHIP
translated by Benjamin Jowett
PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE: SOCRATES, who is the narrator; MENEXENUS;
HIPPOTHALES; LYSIS; CTESIPPUS. Scene: A newly-erected Palaestra
outside the walls of Athens.
I was going from the Academy straight to the Lyceum, intending to
take the outer road, which is close under the wall. When I came to the
postern gate of the city, which is by the fountain of Panops, I fell
in with Hippothales, the son of Hieronymus, and Ctesippus the
Paeanian, and a company of young men who were standing with them.
Hippothales, seeing me approach, asked whence I came and whither I was
I am going, I replied, from the Academy straight to the Lyceum.
Then come straight to us, he said, and put in here; you may as well.
Who are you, I said; and where am I to come?
He showed me an enclosed space and an open door over against the
wall. And there, he said, is the building at which we all meet: and
a goodly company we are.
And what is this building, I asked; and what sort of entertainment
The building, he replied, is a newly erected Palaestra; and the
entertainment is generally conversation, to which you are welcome.
Thank you, I said; and is there any teacher there?
Yes, he said, your old friend and admirer, Miccus.
Indeed, I replied; he is a very eminent professor.
Are you disposed, he said, to go with me and see them?
Yes, I said; but I should like to know first, what is expected of
me, and who is the favourite among you?
Some persons have one favourite, Socrates, and some another, he
And who is yours? I asked: tell me that, Hippothales.
At this he blushed; and I said to him, O Hippothales, thou son of
Hieronymus! do not say that you are, or that you are not, in love; the
confession is too late; for I see that you are not only in love, but
are already far gone in your love. Simple and foolish as I am, the
Gods have given me the power of understanding affections of this kind.
Whereupon he blushed more and more.
Ctesippus said: I like to see you blushing, Hippothales, and
hesitating to tell Socrates the name; when, if he were with you but
for a very short time, you would have plagued him to death by
talking about nothing else. Indeed, Socrates, he has literally
deafened us, and stopped our ears with the praises of Lysis; and if he
is a little intoxicated, there is every likelihood that we may have
our sleep murdered with a cry of Lysis. His performances in prose
are bad enough, but nothing at all in comparison with his verse; and
when he drenches us with his poems and other compositions, it is
really too bad; and worse still is his manner of singing them to his
love; he has a voice which is truly appalling, and we cannot help
hearing him: and now having a question put to him by you, behold he is
Who is Lysis? I said: I suppose that he must be young; for the