Forgot your password?  

Resources for students & teachers

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 251 pages of information about The Banquet (Il Convito).

In evidence of the first part, it is to be recalled to mind that it says previously that, if Nobility is worth more and extends farther than Virtue, Virtue rather will proceed from it, which this part now proves, namely, that Nobility extends farther, and produces a copy of Heaven, saying that wherever there is Virtue there is Nobility.  And here it is to be known that (as it is written in the Books of the Law, and is held as a Rule of the Law) in those things which of themselves are evident there is no need of proof; and nothing is more evident than that Nobility exists wherever there is Virtue, and each thing, commonly speaking, that we see perfect according to its nature is worthy to be called Noble.  It says then:  “So likewise that is Heaven Wherein a star is hung, But Heaven may be starless.”  So there is Nobility wherever there is Virtue, and not Virtue wherever there is Nobility.  And with a beautiful and suitable example; for truly it is a Heaven in which many and various stars shine.  In this Nobility there shine the Moral and the Intellectual Virtues:  there shine in it the good dispositions bestowed by nature, piety, and religion; the praiseworthy passions, as Modesty and Mercy and many others; there shine in it the good gifts of the body, that is to say, beauty, strength, and almost perpetual health; and so many are the stars which stud its Heaven that certainly it is not to be wondered at if they produce many and divers effects in Human Nobility; such are the natures and the powers of those stars, assembled and contained within one simple substance, through the medium of which stars, as through different branches, it bears fruit in various ways.  Certainly, with all earnestness, I make bold to say that Human Nobility, so far as many of its fruits are considered, excels that of the Angel, although the Angelic may be more Divine in its unity.

Of this Nobility of ours, which fructifies into such fruits and so numerous, the Psalmist had perception when he composed that Psalm which begins:  “O Lord our God, how admirable is Thy Name through all the Earth!” where he praises man, as if wondering at the Divine affection for this Human Creature, saying:  “What is man, that Thou, God, dost visit him?  Thou hast made him a little lower than the Angels; Thou hast crowned him with glory and honour, and placed him over the works of Thy hands.”  Then, truly, it was a beautiful and suitable comparison to compare Heaven with Human Nobility.

Then, when the Song says, “In women and the young A modesty is seen, Not virtue, noble yet,” it proves that Nobility extends into parts where Virtue is not; and it says, “noble yet,” alluding to Nobility as indeed a true safeguard, being where there is shame or modesty, that is to say, fear of dishonour, as it is in maidens and youths, where shame or modesty is good and praiseworthy; which shame or modesty is not virtue, but a certain good passion.  And it says, “In women and the young,”

Follow Us on Facebook