Socrates reminds Meno that this is only an enumeration of the virtues and not a definition of the notion which is common to them all.
This Dialogue begins abruptly with a question of Meno, who asks, 'whether virtue can be taught.' Socrates replies that he does not as yet know what virtue is, and has never known anyone who did.
It is evident then that in the due government of a family, greater attention should be paid to the several members of it and their virtues than to the possessions or riches of it; and greater to the freemen than the slaves: but here some one may doubt whether there is any other virtue in a slave than his organic services, and of higher estimation than these, as temperance, fortitude, justice, and such-like habits, or whether they possess only bodily qualities: each side of the question has its difficulties; for if they possess these virtues, wherein do they differ from freemen?
but it is not a man's; and as a child is incomplete, it is evident that his virtue is not to be referred to himself in his present situation, but to that in which he will be complete, and his preceptor.
Few people know it, but one must have all the virtues in order to sleep well.
And even if one have all the virtues, there is still one thing needful: to send the virtues themselves to sleep at the right time.
This was soon done; but again, as I thus conned all those virtues which I was to expect united in one unhappy woman, the result was still unsatisfying, for I began to perceive that it was really not perfection that I was in search of.
For, if you reflect a moment, you will see that, while it is easy to choose what virtues we would have our wife possess, it is all but impossible to imagine those faults we would desire in her, which I think most lovers would admit add piquancy to the loved one, that fascinating wayward imperfection which paradoxically makes her perfect.
I have observed that you have, in common with my two other friends, an unwillingness to hear the least mention of your own virtues
; that, as a great poet says of one of you, (he might justly have said it of all three), you
Half an hour later, the Rhetor returned to inform the seeker of the seven virtues
, corresponding to the seven steps of Solomon's temple, which every Freemason should cultivate in himself.
By 'quality' I mean that in virtue
of which people are said to be such and such.
of prosperity, is temperance; the virtue
of adversity, is fortitude; which in morals is the more heroical virtue