The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 298 pages of information about The Banquet (Il Convito).

Again, it was not subject, but sovereign, because of its beauty.  That thing man calls beautiful whose parts are duly proportionate, because beauty results from their harmony; hence, man appears to be beautiful when his limbs are duly proportioned; and we call a song beautiful when the voices in it, according to the rule of art, are in harmony with each other.  Hence, that language is most beautiful in which the words most fitly correspond, and this they do more in the Latin than in the present Language of the People, since the beautiful vulgar tongue follows use, and the Latin, Art.  Hence, one concedes it to be more beautiful, more virtuous and more noble.  And so one concludes, as first proposed; that is, that the Latin Commentary would have been the Sovereign, not the Subject, of the Songs.


Having shown how the present Commentary could not have been the subject of Songs written in our native tongue, if it had been in the Latin, it remains to show how it could not have been capable or obedient to those Songs; and then it will be shown how, to avoid unsuitable disorder, it was needful to speak in the native tongue.

I say that Latin would not have been a capable servant for my Lord the Vernacular, for this reason.  The servant is required chiefly to know two things perfectly:  the one is the nature of his lord, because there are lords of such an asinine nature that they command the opposite of that which they desire; and there are others who, without speaking, wish to be understood and served; and there are others who will not let the servant move to do that which is needful, unless they have ordered it.  And because these variations are in men, I do not intend in the present work to show, for the digression would be enlarged too much, except as I speak in general, that such men as these are beasts, as it were, to whom reason is of little worth.  Wherefore, if the servant know not the nature of his lord, it is evident that he cannot serve him perfectly.  The other thing is, that it is requisite for the servant to know also the friends of his lord; for otherwise he could not honour them, nor serve them, and thus he would not serve his lord perfectly:  forasmuch as the friends are the parts of a whole, as it were, because their whole is one wish or its opposite.  Neither would the Latin Commentary have had such knowledge of those things as the vulgar tongue itself has.  That the Latin cannot be acquainted with the Vulgar Tongue and with its friends, is thus proved.  He who knows anything in general knows not that thing perfectly; even as he who knows from afar off one animal, knows not that animal perfectly, because he knows not if it be a dog, a wolf, or a he-goat.  The Latin knows the Vulgar tongue in general, but not separately; for if it should know it separately it would know all the Vulgar Tongues, because it is not right that it should know one more than the other;

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The Banquet (Il Convito) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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