Aristophanes praise of Love, from Plato's Symposium 360 B.C.E..

I was asked to do a reading at my friends wedding (as Man of Honour) and freely edited a translation into this wee morsel on love, enjoy:


In the beginning there was a being that was part man, part woman, and part the union of the two.

This primeval being was round, his back and sides forming a circle; and he had four hands and four feet, one head with two faces, looking opposite ways.

As a single being their might and strength were so strong that they dared to scale heaven, creating fear amongst the gods.

Doubt reigned in the celestial councils. Should they annihilate them, as they had done with the giants, but then there would be an end to the worship which men offered to them;

But then Zeus discovered a way. With his thunderbolts he cut them in two, like an apple which is halved, in order that they be diminished in strength yet increased in numbers.

As he cut them one after another, he asked Apollo to give the half face and neck a turn in order that the new beings might contemplate the section of themselves they had just lost: thus learning a lesson of humility. 

After the division the two parts of the being, each desiring the other half, came together, and throwing their arms about one another, entwined in mutual embraces, longing to grow into one again. So ancient is the desire of one another, reuniting and making one of two, thus healing the state of being.

Each of us when separated are always looking for our other half. And when one of them meets with the other half, the actual half of themselves, the pair are lost in an amazement of Love and friendship and intimacy, and would not be out of the other's sight, even for a moment. These are the people who pass their whole lives together; yet they could not explain what they desire of one another.

If the god of fire Hephaestus arrives to the reunited Lovers and says to them, "What do you mortals want of one another?" they would be unable to explain.

And if in seeing their perplexity he questioned them further: "Do you desire to be completely one; always day and night to be in one another's company? for if this is what you desire, I am ready to weld you into one and let you grow together, so that being two you shall become one for the rest of your lives. Is this the kind of Love you wish?

There is not one of them who when they heard the proposal would deny the possiblity of melting into one, the very expression of their most ancient need. This reuniting of two becoming the whole once again is the culmination of Love leading us in this life back to our own nature, and giving us high hopes for the future.  

This is Artistophanes discourse of Love…

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