Translated by Steven Willett
Plato Republic 389b~c
Certainly we must be highly concerned about truth. For if what we were saying just now is correct, and falsehood quite useless to the gods, to men it’s serviceable as a form of medicine, so clearly such a thing must be given to doctors, but not to common people.
Clearly, he said.
Then to the leaders of a city, if to anyone, it’s appropriate to lie concerning enemies or citizens for the benefit of the state, but all others must make no use of it, for a private citizen to lie to such rulers we affirm is the same and even greater fault than for a sick person not to tell his doctor or an athlete his trainer the truth about his body’s condition or a sailor not to tell the helmsman the facts about the ship and crew or the real state of himself or a fellow shipmate.
Most true, he replied.
Hope is the only good god existing among mankind;
the others forsaking us have gone to Olympus.
Trust has departed, a mighty god, and Restraint has gone
from men, and the Graces, my friend, abandoned earth;
Judicial oaths are no long trustworthy among mankind,
and no one dreads the immortal gods;
the race of pious men has decayed, and customary rules
are no longer recognized or acts of piety.
But so long as someone lives and sees light of the sun,
reverencing the gods let him depend on Hope;
let him pray to the gods and burn splendid thigh bones
sacrificing to Hope at the first and last.
Let him always watch for twisted speech of unjust men
who, with no regard for deathless gods,
always direct their design on the property of others,
making shameful compacts for evil deeds.