The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

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

Those things which have been argued concerning the other Arts in like manner may be seen in the Imperial Art, for there are rules in those Arts which are pure or simple Arts, as are the laws of marriage, of servants, of armies, of successors in offices of dignity; and in all these we may be entirely subject to the Emperor without doubt and without any suspicion whatever.  There are other laws which are the followers of Nature, such as to constitute a man of sufficient age to fill some office in the administration; and to such a law as this we are entirely subject; there are many others which appear to have some relationship with the Imperial Art; and here he was and is deceived who believes that the Imperial judgment in this part may be authentic, as of youth, whose nature is laid down by no Imperial judgment, as it were, of the Emperor.  Render, therefore, unto God that which is God’s.  Wherefore it is not to be believed, nor to be allowed, because it was said by Nero the Emperor that youth is beauty and strength of body; but credit would be given to the philosopher who should say that youth is the crown or summit of the natural life.  And therefore it is evident that to define Nobility is not the function of the Art Imperial; and if it is not in the nature of the Art, when we are treating of Nobility we are not subject to it; and if we are not subject, we are not bound to yield reverence therein; and this is the conclusion we have sought.

Now, therefore, with all freedom, with all liberty of mind, it remains to strike to the heart the vicious opinions, thereby causing them to fall to earth, in order that the Truth by means of this my victory may hold the field in the mind of him for whom it is good that this Light should shine clear.


Since the opinions of others concerning Nobility have now been brought forward, and since it has been shown that it is lawful for me to confute those opinions, I shall now proceed to discourse concerning that part of the Song which confutes those opinions, beginning, as has been said above:  “Whoever shall define The man a living tree.”  And therefore it is to be known that in the opinion of the Emperor, although it states it defectively in one part, that is, where he spoke of “generous ways,” he alluded to the manners of the Nobility; and therefore the Song does not intend to reprove that part:  the other part, which is entirely opposed to the nature of Nobility, it does intend to confute, which cites two things when it says:  “Descent of wealth,” “The wealth has long been great,” that is, time and riches, which are entirely apart from Nobility, as has been said, and as will be shown farther on; and, therefore, in this confutation two divisions are made:  in the first we deny the Nobility of riches, then confute the idea that time can cause Nobility.  The second part begins:  “They will not have the vile Turn noble.”

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