Try, said [Diotima], to give me your fullest attention. For whoever has been instructed concerning Love as far as this, contemplating the beauties properly and in due order, approaching then the final objective of the concernments, will suddenly behold a beauty, wondrous in nature, for whose sake, Socrates, all his previous toils were undertaken; a beauty that, first of all, always is, and neither comes into being nor passes away, neither grows large nor withers away; a beauty that is not beautiful in one respect and ugly in another, nor beautiful at one moment and not so the next, nor beautiful relative to one thing but ugly relative to another, nor beautiful in this place but ugly in that, because it is beautiful to some people but ugly to others. Nor again, will beauty appear to him like some face or hands or anything at all that partakes of body; nor like some word, or some knowledge, nor as being located in something different, such as an animal or in earth or in heaven or in anything else, but rather as being always just by itself, of one form with itself, while all the other beauties share in this, in such a manner that, somehow, in spite of their coming into being and passing away, this beauty undergoes neither increase nor decrease, nor is it affected at all. So whenever someone, by being a lover of youth[5] in the correct manner, ascends upwards from those beauties and begins to get clear sight of that beauty, he would almost be in touch with the final goal.

Symposium 210e1-211b4