εἰ δὲ μή, ὅρα, ὦ μακάριε, [314a] μὴ περὶ τοῖς φιλτάτοις κυβεύῃς τε καὶ κινδυνεύῃς. καὶ γὰρ δὴ καὶ πολὺ μείζων κίνδυνος ἐν τῇ τῶν μαθημάτων ὠνῇ ἢ ἐν τῇ τῶν σιτίων. σιτία μὲν γὰρ καὶ ποτὰ πριάμενον παρὰ τοῦ καπήλου καὶ ἐμπόρου ἔξεστιν ἐν ἄλλοις ἀγγείοις ἀποφέρειν, καὶ πρὶν δέξασθαι αὐτὰ εἰς τὸ σῶμα πιόντα ἢ φαγόντα, καταθέμενον οἴκαδε ἔξεστιν συμβουλεύσασθαι, παρακαλέσαντα τὸν ἐπαΐοντα, ὅτι τε ἐδεστέον ἢ ποτέον καὶ ὅτι μή, καὶ ὁπόσον καὶ ὁπότε· ὥστε ἐν τῇ ὠνῇ οὐ μέγας ὁ [314b] κίνδυνος. μαθήματα δὲ οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν ἄλλῳ ἀγγείῳ ἀπενεγκεῖν, ἀλλ’ ἀνάγκη καταθέντα τὴν τιμὴν τὸ μάθημα ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ψυχῇ λαβόντα καὶ μαθόντα ἀπιέναι ἢ βεβλαμμένον ἢ ὠφελημένον. ταῦτα οὖν σκοπώμεθα καὶ μετὰ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ἡμῶν· ἡμεῖς γὰρ ἔτι νέοι ὥστε τοσοῦτον πρᾶγμα διελέσθαι. νῦν μέντοι, ὥσπερ ὡρμήσαμεν, ἴωμεν καὶ ἀκούσωμεν τοῦ ἀνδρός, ἔπειτα ἀκούσαντες καὶ ἄλλοις ἀνακοινωσώμεθα· καὶ γὰρ οὐ μόνος Πρωταγόρας αὐτόθι ἐστίν, [314c] ἀλλὰ καὶ Ἱππίας ὁ Ἠλεῖος—οἶμαι δὲ καὶ πρόδικον τὸν Κεῖον—καὶ ἄλλοι πολλοὶ καὶ σοφοί.
δόξαν ἡμῖν ταῦτα ἐπορευόμεθα· ἐπειδὴ δὲ ἐν τῷ προθύρῳ ἐγενόμεθα, ἐπιστάντες περί τινος λόγου διελεγόμεθα, ὃς ἡμῖν κατὰ τὴν ὁδὸν ἐνέπεσεν· ἵν’ οὖν μὴ ἀτελὴς γένοιτο, ἀλλὰ διαπερανάμενοι οὕτως ἐσίοιμεν, στάντες ἐν τῷ προθύρῳ διελεγόμεθα ἕως συνωμολογήσαμεν ἀλλήλοις. δοκεῖ οὖν μοι, ὁ θυρωρός, εὐνοῦχός τις, κατήκουεν ἡμῶν, κινδυνεύει δὲ [314d] διὰ τὸ πλῆθος τῶν σοφιστῶν ἄχθεσθαι τοῖς φοιτῶσιν εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν· ἐπειδὴ γοῦν ἐκρούσαμεν τὴν θύραν, ἀνοίξας καὶ ἰδὼν ἡμᾶς, “ἔα,” ἔφη, “σοφισταί τινες· οὐ σχολὴ αὐτῷ·” καὶ ἅμα ἀμφοῖν τοῖν χεροῖν τὴν θύραν πάνυ προθύμως ὡς οἷός τ’ ἦν ἐπήραξεν. καὶ ἡμεῖς πάλιν ἐκρούομεν, καὶ ὃς ἐγκεκλῃμένης τῆς θύρας ἀποκρινόμενος εἶπεν, “ὦ ἄνθρωποι,” ἔφη, “οὐκ ἀκηκόατε ὅτι οὐ σχολὴ αὐτῷ;” “ἀλλ’ ὠγαθέ,” ἔφην ἐγώ, “οὔτε παρὰ Καλλίαν ἥκομεν οὔτε σοφισταί ἐσμεν. ἀλλὰ θάρρει· [314e] Πρωταγόραν γάρ τοι δεόμενοι ἰδεῖν ἤλθομεν· εἰσάγγειλον οὖν.” μόγις οὖν ποτε ἡμῖν ἅνθρωπος ἀνέῳξεν τὴν θύραν.
from Burnet's (1903) Oxford Classical Text, courtesy of the Perseus Project
An original translation
“But if not - look, kid, just don’t gamble with such precious things on the line. What I mean is that there’s much more risk in buying lessons than in buying food, since you can store food and drink bought from a merchant or shopkeeper in a separate container. Before taking them into your body by eating or drinking, you can set them down at home, call in a professional, and take his advice on what you should eat or drink and what you shouldn’t, and how much, and when. So this isn’t too risky a purchase. But you can’t store lessons in a separate container – when you hand over the money, you have to take the lesson right into your soul and you go away with the knowledge either hurt or helped by it. Now, we should think this over with our elders, since we’re still too young to sort out something so important. For the moment, let’s go like we planned and hear the man. Afterward, we can consult others. After all, Protagoras is not the only one there. There’s Hippias from Elis, too, and I think even Prodicus from Ceos, and a lot of other smart people.”
With that settled, we headed there. When we got to the porch, we stood and kept chatting about some point that had come up on the way. Now, we wanted to first come to a conclusion and then go in, and not leave it unﬁnished. We stood talking on the porch until we reached agreement. I think the doorman, a eunuch, must have heard us – he was probably annoyed about visitors coming when the house was already full of sophists. At least, when we knocked on the door, and he opened it and saw us, he said, “Ugh – sophists! Master’s busy.” Right away, he slammed the door shut with both hands as hard as he could. When we knocked again, he said with the door still closed, “Didn’t you people hear that master’s busy?”
“But, sir,” I said, “we’re not here for Callias and we’re not sophists. So don’t worry – it’s Protagoras we hoped to see. Please say we’re here.”
In the end, the guy opened the door for us rather reluctantly.
Jowett's translation (1871)
But if not, then, O my friend, pause, and do not hazard your dearest interests at a game of chance. For there is far greater peril in buying knowledge than in buying meat and drink: the one you purchase of the wholesale or retail dealer, and carry them away in other vessels, and before you receive them into the body as food, you may deposit them at home and call in any experienced friend who knows what is good to be eaten or drunken, and what not, and how much, and when; and then the danger of purchasing them is not so great. But you cannot buy the wares of knowledge and carry them away in another vessel; when you have paid for them you must receive them into the soul and go your way, either greatly harmed or greatly benefited; and therefore we should deliberate and take counsel with our elders; for we are still young-too young to determine such a matter. And now let us go, as we were intending, and hear Protagoras; and when we have heard what he has to say, we may take counsel of others; for not only is Protagoras at the house of Callias, but there is Hippias of Elis, and, if I am not mistaken, Prodicus of Ceos, and several other wise men.
To this we agreed, and proceeded on our way until we reached the vestibule of the house; and there we stopped in order to conclude a discussion which had arisen between us as we were going along; and we stood talking in the vestibule until we had finished and come to an understanding. And I think that the doorkeeper, who was a eunuch, and who was probably annoyed at the great inroad of the Sophists, must have heard us talking. At any rate, when we knocked at the door, and he opened and saw us, he grumbled: They are Sophists -he is not at home; and instantly gave the door a hearty bang with both his hands. Again we knocked, and he answered without opening: Did you not hear me say that he is not at home, fellows? But, my friend, I said, you need not be alarmed; for we are not Sophists, and we are not come to see Callias, but we want to see Protagoras; and I must request you to announce us. At last, after a good deal of difficulty, the man was persuaded to open the door.
Compare Lamb's (1924) translation at the Perseus Project