So to me there is nothing unusual, or unpleasant either, in being tried and tested by Socrates

From Plato’s Laches, as Nicias preps Lysimachus, Socrates’ two partners in the dialogue, for what’s in store.  Text and translation are the Loeb.

Nicias: You strike me as not being aware that, whoever comes into close contact with Socrates and has any talk with him face to face, is bound to be drawn round and round by him in the course of the argument—though it may have started at first on a quite different theme—and cannot stop until he is led into giving an account of himself, of the manner in which he now spends his days, and of the kind of life he has lived hitherto; and when once he has been led into that, Socrates will never let him go until he has thoroughly and properly put all his ways to the test. Now I am accustomed to him, and so I know that one is bound to be thus treated by him, and further, that I myself shall certainly get the same treatment also. For I delight, Lysimachus, in conversing with the man, and see no harm in our being reminded of any past or present misdoing: nay, one must needs take more careful thought for the rest of one’s life, if one does not fly from his words but is willing, as Solon said, and zealous to learn as long as one lives, and does not expect to get good sense by the mere arrival of old age. So to me there is nothing unusual, or unpleasant either, in being tried and tested by Socrates; in fact, I knew pretty well all the time that our argument would not be about the boys if Socrates were present, but about ourselves.


Οὔ μοι δοκεῖς εἰδέναι ὅτι, ὃς ἂν ἐγγύτατα Σωκράτους ᾖ [λόγῳ ὥσπερ γένει]1 καὶ πλησιάζῃ διαλεγόμενος, ἀνάγκη αὐτῷ, ἐὰν ἄρα καὶ περὶ ἄλλου του πρότερον ἄρξηται διαλέγεσθαι, μὴ παύεσθαι ὑπὸ τούτου περιαγόμενον τῷ λόγῳ, πρὶν ἂν ἐμπέσῃ εἰς τὸ διδόναι περὶ αὑτοῦ λόγον, ὅντινα τρόπον νῦν τε ζῇ καὶ ὅντινα τὸν παρεληλυθότα βίον βεβίωκεν· ἐπειδὰν δ᾿ ἐμπέσῃ, ὅτι οὐ πρότερον αὐτὸν ἀφήσει Σωκράτης, πρὶν ἂν βασανίσῃ ταῦτα εὖ τε καὶ καλῶς ἅπαντα. ἐγὼ δὲ συνήθης τέ εἰμι τῷδε καὶ οἶδ᾿ ὅτι ἀνάγκη ὑπὸ τούτου πάσχειν ταῦτα, καὶ ἔτι γε αὐτὸς ὅτι πείσομαι ταῦτα εὖ οἶδα· χαίρω γάρ, ὦ Λυσίμαχε, τῷ ἀνδρὶ πλησιάζων, καὶ οὐδὲν οἶμαι κακὸν εἶναι τὸ ὑπομιμνήσκεσθαι ὅ τι μὴ καλῶς ἢ πεποιήκαμεν ἢ ποιοῦμεν, ἀλλ᾿ εἰς τὸν ἔπειτα βίον προμηθέστερον ἀνάγκη εἶναι τὸν ταῦτα μὴ φεύγοντα, ἀλλ᾿ ἐθέλοντα κατὰ τὸ τοῦ Σόλωνος καὶ ἀξιοῦντα μανθάνειν ἕωσπερ ἂν ζῇ, καὶ μὴ οἰόμενον αὐτῷ τὸ γῆρας νοῦν ἔχον προσιέναι. ἐμοὶ μὲν οὖν οὐδὲν ἄηθες οὐδ᾿ αὖ ἀηδὲς ὑπὸ Σωκράτους βασανίζεσθαι, ἀλλὰ καὶ πάλαι σχεδόν τι ἠπιστάμην, ὅτι οὐ περὶ τῶν μειρακίων ἡμῖν ὁ λόγος ἔσοιτο Σωκράτους παρόντος, ἀλλὰ περὶ ἡμῶν αὐτῶν.

Solon’s actual words (referred to again later in the dialogue and in more exact fashion) survive in one of his fragments (fr.10): γηράσκω δ᾿ αἰεὶ πολλὰ διδασκόμενος, “I grow old learning ever more and more”.

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