Sunday, July 15, 2012

Is There Virtue in Modesty?

Ti's d? a?groiw^ti's toi ðe'lgei no'on,
ou?k e?pistame'na ta` bra'ke? e?'lkhn
e?pi' tw^n sfu'rwn;

What rustic girl bewitches thee,
Who cannot even draw
Her garments neat as they should be,
Her ankles roundabout?
-Sappho of Lesbos (Fragment 67)
Well, I said; but surely you would agree with Homer when he says,

'Modesty is not good for a needy man'?

Yes, he said; I agree.

Then I suppose that modesty is and is not good?


But temperance, whose presence makes men only good, and not bad, is always good?

That appears to me to be as you say.

And the inference is that temperance cannot be modesty—if temperance is a good, and if modesty is as much an evil as a good?

All that, Socrates, appears to me to be true...
- Plato, "Charmides"

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