I do not desire to get from him that which I could obviously have for the asking, but rather that which the tyrant is least likely of anyone to win. For certainly I love Daïlochus on account of those things that human nature compels us to seek from the beautiful. But I very much desire to get the things my love wants from a willing lover and with friendship. And I think I would want to take them from him by force less than I would want to do myself harm. For I consider that to take from your enemy against his will is the sweetest of all things; but the sweetest of all charms , I think, are the charms of a boy who yields to you willingly. For when a boy loves you in return, how sweetly he looks back at you, how sweetly he asks questions, how sweetly he answers; and the sweetest of all and the most erotic is when he fights with you and argues.
Alexander wept when he heard from Anaxarchus that there was an infinite number of worlds; and his friends asking him if any accident had befallen him, he returns this answer: “Do you not think it is a matter worthy of lamentation that when there is such a vast multitude of them, we have not yet conquered one?
Almost every era and cultural stage has at some point sought in an profoundly ill-tempered frame of mind to free itself of the Greeks, because in comparison with the Greeks, all their own achievements, apparently fully original and admired in all sincerity, suddenly appeared to lose their colour and life and shrivelled to unsuccessful copies, in fact, to caricatures. And so a heartfelt inner anger always keeps breaking out again against that arrogant little nation which dared to designate for all time everything that was not produced in its own country as “barbaric.” Who were those Greeks, people asked themselves, who, although they had achieved only an ephemeral historical glitter, only ridiculously restricted institutions, only an ambiguous competence in morality, who could even be identified with hateful vices, yet who had nevertheless laid a claim to a dignity and a pre-eminent place among peoples, appropriate to a genius among the masses? Unfortunately people were not lucky enough to find the cup of hemlock which could easily do away with such a being, for all the poisons which envy, slander, and inner rage created were insufficient to destroy that self-satisfied magnificence. Hence, confronted by the Greeks, people have been ashamed and afraid, unless an individual values the truth above everything else and dares to propose this truth: the notion that the Greeks, as the charioteers of our culture and every other one, hold the reins, but that almost always the wagon and horses are inferior material and do not match the glory of their drivers, who then consider it amusing to whip such a team into the abyss, over which they themselves jump with the leap of Achilles.
Such an oath, then, did the gods appoint the eternal and primeval water of Styx to be: and it spouts through a rugged place. And there, all in their order, are the sources and ends of the dark earth and misty Tartarus and the unfruitful sea and starry heaven, loathsome and dank, which even the gods abhor. And there are shining gates and an immovable threshold of bronze having unending roots, and it is grown of itself. And beyond, away from all the gods, live the Titans, beyond gloomy Chaos.
devourer of all things, and envious Age,
together you destroy all that exists
and, slowly gnawing, bring on lingering death.