Agathon: May I say without impiety or offence, that of all the blessed gods Eros, is the most blessed because he is the fairest and best? And he is the fairest: for, in the first place, he is the youngest, and of his youth he is himself the witness, fleeing out of the way of age, who is swift enough, swifter truly than most of us like:--Love hates him and will not come near him; but youth and love live and move together-like to like…
The fairness of his complexion is revealed by his habitation among the flowers; for he dwells not amid bloomless or fading beauties, whether of body or soul or aught else, but in the place of flowers and scents, there he sits and abides. …
As the sight of land is welcome to men who are swimming towards the shore, when Neptune has wrecked their ship with the fury of his winds and waves- a few alone reach the land, and these, covered with brine, are thankful when they find themselves on firm ground and out of danger- even so was her husband welcome to her as she looked upon him, and she could not tear her two fair arms from about his neck.
6] Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death,
jealousy is cruel as the grave.
On the throne of many hues, Immortal Aphrodite,
child of Zeus, weaving wiles--I beg you
not to subdue my spirit, Queen,
with pain or sorrow
but come--if ever before
having heard my voice from far away
you listened, and leaving your father's
golden home you came
in your chariot yoked with swift, lovely
sparrows bringing you over the dark earth
thick-feathered wings swirling down
from the sky through mid-air
Come to me now again, release me from
this pain, everything my spirit longs
to have fulfilled, fulfill, and you
be my ally
DUKE. O, fellow, come, the song we had last night.
… it is old and plain…
And dallies with the innocence of love,
Like the old age.
c) But despite this familiar portrait of old people denying love, there are many examples of Ancient lovers as well—of a harmony between age and youth. This connection becomes a central theme of the Symposium as we will see. Education or paideia itself is figured there as an exchange between old and young, the old regenerated by enjoyment of youth, the young learning from association with age. This will be the response that both Socrates and Alcibiades offer to Agathon’s claim that Love is exclusively the province of the young
The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Socrates spoke these words to the jury in the court of Athens in the year 399 BCE (before the common era) after he had been found guilty of heresy and sedition. Heresy, a crime that threatened the established religion, and sedition, that threatened the state.
he felt it was his responsibility, "... to let no day pass without discussing goodness and all the other subjects about which you hear me talking and examining both myself and others," he felt that this activity, "is really the very best thing that a man (or women) can do, and that life without this sort of examination is not worth living ..."(1)
When evening comes, I return home and enter my study; on the threshold I take off my workday clothes, covered with mud and dirt, and put on the garments of court and palace. Fitted out appropriately, I step inside the venerable courts of the ancients, where, solicitously received by them, I nourish myself on that food that alone is mine and for which I was born; where I am unashamed to converse with them and to question them about the motives for their actions, and they, out of their human kindness, answer me. And for four hours at a time I feel no boredom, I forget all my troubles, I do not dread poverty, and I am not terrified by death. I absorb myself into them completely.