translated by Benjamin Jowett
PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE: SOCRATES, who is the narrator of the
Dialogue to his Companion; HIPPOCRATES; ALCIBIADES; CRINAS;
PROTAGORAS, HIPPIAS, PRODICUS, Sophists; CALLIAS, a wealthy
Athenian. Scene: The House of Callias
Com. Where do you come from, Socrates? And yet I need hardly ask the
question, for I know that you have been in chase of the fair
Alcibiades. I saw the day before yesterday; and he had got a beard
like a man-and he is a man, as I may tell you in your ear. But I
thought that he was still very charming.
Soc. What of his beard? Are you not of Homer's opinion, who says
Youth is most charming when the beard first appears?
And that is now the charm of Alcibiades.
Com. Well, and how do matters proceed? Have you been visiting him,
and was he gracious to you?
Soc. Yes, I thought that he was very gracious; and especially
to-day, for I have just come from him, and he has been helping me in
an argument. But shall I tell you a strange thing? I paid no attention
to him, and several times I quite forgot that he was present.
Com. What is the meaning of this? Has anything happened between
you and him? For surely you cannot have discovered a fairer love
than he is; certainly not in this city of Athens.
Soc. Yes, much fairer.
Com. What do you mean-a citizen or a foreigner?
Soc. A foreigner.
Com. Of what country?
Soc. Of Abdera.
Com. And is this stranger really in your opinion a fairer love
than the son of Cleinias?
Soc. And is not the wiser always the fairer, sweet friend?
Com. But have you really met, Socrates, with some wise one?
Soc. Say rather, with the wisest of all living men, if you are
willing to accord that title to Protagoras.
Com. What! Is Protagoras in Athens?
Soc. Yes; he has been here two days.
Com. And do you just come from an interview with him?
Soc. Yes; and I have heard and said many things.
Com. Then, if you have no engagement, suppose that you sit down tell
me what passed, and my attendant here shall give up his place to you.
Soc. To be sure; and I shall be grateful to you for listening.
Com. Thank you, too, for telling us.
Soc. That is thank you twice over. Listen then:-
Last night, or rather very early this morning, Hippocrates, the
son of Apollodorus and the brother of Phason, gave a tremendous
thump with his staff at my door; some one opened to him, and he came
rushing in and bawled out: Socrates, are you awake or asleep?
I knew his voice, and said: Hippocrates, is that you? and do you
bring any news?
Good news, he said; nothing but good.
Delightful, I said; but what is the news? and why have you come
hither at this unearthly hour?
He drew nearer to me and said: Protagoras is come.
Yes, I replied; he came two days ago: have you only just heard of