The car that bears me carried me as far as ever my heart desired, when it had brought me and set me on the renowned way of the goddess, which leads the man who knows through all the towns. On that way was I borne along; for on it did the wise steeds carry me, drawing my car, 5and maidens showed the way. And the axle, glowing in the socket—for it was urged round by the whirling wheels at each end—gave forth a sound as of a pipe, when the daughters of the Sun, hasting to convey me into the light, threw back their veils from off their faces and left the 10abode of Night.
There are the gates of the ways of Night and Day, fitted above with a lintel and below with a threshold of stone. They themselves, high in the air, are closed by mighty doors, and Avenging Justice keeps the keys that fit them. Her did the maidens entreat with gentle words 15and cunningly persuade to unfasten without demur the bolted bars from the gates. Then, when the doors were thrown back, they disclosed a wide opening, when their brazen posts fitted with rivets and nails swung back one after the other. Straight through them, on the broad way, did the maidens guide the horses and the car, 20and the goddess greeted me kindly, and took my right hand in hers, and spake to me these words:
Welcome, O youth, that comest to my abode on the car that bears thee tended by immortal charioteers! 25It is no ill chance, but right and justice that has sent thee forth to travel on this way. Far, indeed, does it lie from the beaten track of men! Meet it is that thou shouldst learn all things, as well the unshaken heart of well-rounded truth, as the opinions of mortals in which is no true belief at all. 30Yet none the less shalt thou learn these things also,—how passing right through all things one should judge the things that seem to be.
- The best MS. of Sextus, who quotes this passage, reads κατὰ πάντ' ἄστη Parmenides, then, was an itinerant philosopher, like the sophists of the next generation, and this makes his visit to the Athens of Perikles all the more natural.
- For these see Hesiod, Theog. 748.
- I read δοκιμῶσ' (i.e. δοκιμῶσαι) with Diels. I have left it ambiguous in my rendering whether εἶναι is to be taken with δοκιμῶσαι or δοκοῦντα.