Persons of the
The Prison of Socrates.
Socrates. WHY have you come at
this hour, Crito? it must be quite early.
Crito. Yes, certainly.
Soc. What is the exact time?
Cr. The dawn is breaking.
Soc. I wonder the keeper of the
prison would let you in.
Cr. He knows me because I often
come, Socrates; moreover. I have done him a kindness.
Soc. And are you only just come?
Cr. No, I came some time ago.
Soc. Then why did you sit and say
nothing, instead of awakening me at once?
Cr. Why, indeed, Socrates, I
myself would rather not have all this sleeplessness and sorrow. But
I have been wondering at your peaceful slumbers, and that was the
reason why I did not awaken you, because I wanted you to be out of
pain. I have always thought you happy in the calmness of your
temperament; but never did I see the like of the easy, cheerful way
in which you bear this calamity.
Soc. Why, Crito, when a man has
reached my age he ought not to be repining at the prospect of
Cr. And yet other old men find
themselves in similar misfortunes, and age does not prevent them
Soc. That may be. But you have
not told me why you come at this early hour.
Cr. I come to bring you a message
which is sad and painful; not, as I believe, to yourself but to all
of us who are your friends, and saddest of all to me.
Soc. What! I suppose that the
ship has come from Delos, on the arrival of which I am to die?
Cr. No, the ship has not actually
arrived, but she will probably be here to-day, as persons who have
come from Sunium tell me that they have left her there; and
therefore to-morrow, Socrates, will be the last day of your life.
Soc. Very well, Crito; if such is
the will of God, I am willing; but my belief is that there will be
a delay of a day.
Cr. Why do you say this?
Soc. I will tell you. I am to die
on the day after the arrival of the ship?
Cr. Yes; that is what the
Soc. But I do not think that the
ship will be here until to-morrow; this I gather from a vision
which I had last night, or rather only just now, when you
fortunately allowed me to sleep.
Cr. And what was the nature of
Soc. There came to me the
likeness of a woman, fair and comely, clothed in white raiment, who
called to me and said: O Socrates-
"The third day hence, to Phthia
shalt thou go."
Cr. What a singular dream,
Soc. There can be no doubt about
the meaning Crito, I think.