Socr. Is there a really cogent reason for stating his second point in the second place? And is that the case with the rest of the speech? As for myself, in my ignorance, I thought that the writer boldly set down whatever happened to come into his head. Can you explain his arrangement of the topics in the order he has adopted as the result of some principle of composition?
Phaedr. It's very kind of you to think me capable of such an accurate insight into his methods.
Socr. But to this you will surely agree: every discourse, like a living creature, should be so put together that it has its own body and lacks neither head nor feet, middle nor extremities, all composed in such a way that they suit both each other and the whole. . . . Examine, then, your friend's speech and see whether or not it conforms to this. you will find that it has no real difference from the epitaph which some say was inscribed on the tomb of Midas the Phrygian.
A maiden of bronze am I, placed on the tomb of Midas
So long as water flows, so long as trees grow tall
Here I abide on this tomb of tears
I declare to the passer-by that HERE LIES MIDAS.
And you may perceive, I have no doubt, that it makes not the slightest difference which line comes first or last. (Phaedrus 265)
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