The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 298 pages of information about The Banquet (Il Convito).
that is to say, in youths; because, as the Philosopher expresses it in the fourth book of the Ethics, shame, bashfulness, modesty, is not praiseworthy nor good in the old nor in men of studious habits, because to them it is fit that they beware of those things which would lead them to shame.  In youths and maidens such caution is not so much required, and therefore in them the fear of receiving dishonour through some fault is praiseworthy.  It springs from Nobility, and it is possible to account their timid bashfulness to be Nobility.  Baseness and ignoble ways produce impudence:  wherefore it is a good and excellent sign of Nobility in children and persons of tender years when, after some fault, their shame is painted in their face, which blush of shame is then the fruit of true Nobility.


When it proceeds to say, “Comes virtue from what’s noble, as From black comes violet,” the text advances to the desired definition of Nobility, by which one may see what this Nobility is of which so many people speak erroneously.  It says then, drawing a conclusion from that which has been said before, that each Virtue, or rather its generator, that is to say, the habit of right choice, which stands firm in due moderation, will spring forth from this, that is, Nobility.  And it gives an example in the colours, saying, as from the black the violet, so this Virtue springs from Nobility.  The violet is a mixed colour of purple and black, but the black prevails, and the colour is named from it.  And thus the Virtue is a mixed thing of Nobility and Passion; but, because Nobility prevails, the Virtue takes its name from it, and is called Goodness.  Then afterwards it argues, by that which has been said, that no man ought to say boastfully, “I am of such and such a race or family;” nor ought he to believe that he is of this Nobility unless the fruits of it are in him.  And immediately it renders a reason, saying that those who have this Grace, that is to say, this Divine thing, are almost Gods as it were, without spot of vice, and no one has the power to bestow this except God alone, with whom there is no respect of persons, even as Divine Scripture makes manifest.  And it does not appear too extravagant when it says, “They are as Gods,” for as it is argued previously in the seventh chapter of the third treatise, even as there are men most vile and bestial so are men most Noble and Divine.  And this Aristotle proves in the seventh chapter of Ethics by the text of Homer the poet; therefore, let not those men who are of the Uberti of Florence, nor those of the Visconti of Milan, say, “Because I am of such a family or race, I am Noble,” for the Divine seed falls not into a race of men, that is, into a family; but it falls into individual persons, and, as will be proved below, the family does not make individual persons Noble, but the individual persons make the family Noble.

Project Gutenberg
The Banquet (Il Convito) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook