The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

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

It is to be known that, riches being reproved, not only is the opinion of the Emperor reproved in that part which alludes to the riches, but also entirely that opinion of the common people, which was founded solely upon riches.  The first part is divided into two:  in the first it says in a general way that the Emperor was erroneous in his definition of Nobility; secondly, it shows the reason why or how that is; and this begins that second part, “For riches make no Nobleman.”

I say, then, “Whoever shall define The man a living tree,” that, firstly, he will speak untruth, inasmuch as he says “tree,” and “less than truth,” inasmuch as he says “living,” and does not say rational, which is the difference whereby Man is distinguished from the Beast.  Then I say that in this way he was erroneous in his definition, he who held Imperial Office, not saying Emperor, but “one raised to Empire,” to indicate, as has been said above, that this question is beyond the bounds of the Imperial Office.  In like manner I say that he errs who places a false subject under Nobility, that is, “descent of wealth,” and then proceeds to a defective form, or rather difference, that is, “generous ways,” which do not contain any essential part of Nobility, but only a small part, as will appear below.  And it is not to be omitted, although the text may be silent, that my Lord the Emperor in this part did not err in the parts of the definition, but only in the mode of the definition, although, according to what fame reports of him, he was a logician and a great scholar; that is to say, the definition of Nobility can be made more sufficiently by the effects than by the principles or premisses, since it appears to have the place of a first principle or premiss, which it is not possible to notify by first things, but by subsequent things.  Then, when I say, “For riches make not worth,” I show how they cannot possibly be the cause of Nobility, because they are vile.  And I prove that they have not the power to take it away, because they are disjoined so much from Nobility.  And I prove these to be vile by an especial and most evident defect; and I do this when I say, “How vile and incomplete.”  Finally, I conclude, by virtue of that which is said above: 

    And hence the upright mind,
      To its own purpose true,
    Stands firm although the flood of wealth
      Sweep onward out of view;

which proves that which is said above, that those riches are disunited from Nobility by not following the effect of union with it.  Where it is to be known that, as the Philosopher expresses it, all the things which make anything must first exist perfectly within the being of the thing out of which that other thing is made.  Wherefore he says in the seventh chapter of the Metaphysics:  “When one thing is generated from another, it is generated of that thing by being in that Being.”

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