The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

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

The second difficulty is, that in nothing apart from men would it be possible to make this distinction, that is to say, Noble or Vile, which is very inconvenient; since, in each species of things we see the image of Nobility or of Baseness, wherefore we often call one horse noble and one vile; and one falcon noble and one vile; and one pearl noble and one vile.  And that it would not be possible to make this distinction is thus proved; if the oblivion of the humble ancestors is the cause of Nobility, or rather the baseness of the ancestors never was, it is not possible for oblivion of them to be, since oblivion is a destruction of remembrance, and in those other animals, and in plants, and in minerals, lowness and loftiness are not observed, since in one they are natural or innate and in an equal state, and Nobility cannot possibly be in their generation, and likewise neither can vileness nor baseness; since one regards the one and the other as habit and privation, which are possible to occur in the same subject; and therefore in them it would not be possible for a distinction to exist between the one and the other.

And if the adversary should wish to say, that in other things Nobility is represented by the goodness of the thing, but in a man it is understood because there is no remembrance of his humble or base condition, one would wish to reply not with words, but with the sword, to such bestiality as it would be to give to other things goodness as a cause for Nobility, and to found the Nobility of men upon forgetfulness or oblivion as a first cause.

The third difficulty is, that often the person or thing generated would come before the generator, which is quite impossible; and it is possible to prove this thus:  Let us suppose that Gherardo da Cammino might have been the grandson of the most vile peasant who ever drank of the Sile or of the Cagnano, and that oblivion had not yet overtaken his grandfather; who will be bold enough to say that Gherardo da Cammino was a vile man? and who will not agree with me in saying that he was Noble?  Certainly no one, however presumptuous he may wish to be, for he was so, and his memory will always be treasured.  If oblivion had not yet overtaken his ancestor, as is proposed in opposition, so that he might be great through Nobility, and the Nobility in him might be seen so clearly, even as one does see it, then it would have been first in him before the founder of his Nobility could have existed; and this is impossible in the extreme.

The fourth difficulty is, that such a man, the supposed grandfather, would have been held Noble after he was dead who was not Noble whilst alive; and a more inconvenient thing could not be.  One proves it thus:  Let us suppose that in the age of Dardanus there might be a remembrance of his low ancestors, and let us suppose that in the age of Laomedon this memory might have passed away, and that oblivion had overtaken it.  According to the adverse opinion, Laomedon

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