Socrates. If I cared enough about the Cyrenians, Theodorus, I would ask you whether there are any rising geometricians or philosophers in that part of the world. But I am more interested in our own Athenian youth, and I would rather know who among them are likely to do well. I observe them as far as I can myself, and I enquire of any one whom they follow, and I see that a great many of them follow you, in which they are quite right, considering your eminence in geometry and in other ways. Tell me then, if you have met with any one who is good for anything.
Theodorus. Yes, Socrates, I have become acquainted with one very remarkable Athenian youth, whom I commend to you as well worthy of your attention. If he had been a beauty I should have been afraid to praise him, lest you should suppose that I was in love with him ; but he is no beauty, and you must not be offended if I say that he is very like you ; for he has a snub nose and projecting eyes, although these features are less marked in him than in you. Seeing, then, that he has no personal attractions, I may freely say, that in all my acquaintance, which is very large, I never knew anyone who was his equal in natural gifts : for he has a quickness of apprehension which is almost unrivalled, and he is exceedingly gentle, and also the most courageous of men ; there is a union of qualities in him such as I have never seen in any other, and should scarcely have thought possible ; for those who, like him, have quick and ready and retentive wits, have generally also quick tempers ; they are ships without ballast, and go darting about, and are mad rather than courageous ; and the steadier sort, when they have to face study, prove stupid and cannot remember. Whereas he moves surely and smoothly and successfully in the path of knowledge and enquiry ; and he is full of gentleness, flowing on silently like a river of oil ; at his age, it is wonderful.
Soc. That is good news ; whose son is he ?
Theod. The name of his father I have forgotten, but the youth himself is the middle one of those who are approaching us ; he and his companions have been anointing themselves in the outer court, and now they seem to have finished, and are towards us. Look and see whether you know him.
Soc. I know the youth, but I do not know his name ; he is the son of Euphronius the Sunian, who was himself an eminent man, and such another as his son is, according to your account of him ; I believe that he left a considerable fortune.
Theod. Theaetetus, Socrates, is his name ; but I rather think that the property disappeared in the hands of trustees ; notwithstanding which he is wonderfully liberal.
Soc. He must be a fine fellow ; tell him to come and sit by me.
Theod. I will. Come hither, Theaetetus, and sit by Socrates.