The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

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

But because this present chapter has been long, on account of the useful digressions which it contains, in another chapter other things shall be discussed.


Not only this Soul, naturally good in Adolescence, is obedient, but also gentle; which is the other thing necessary in this age to make a good entrance through the portal of Youth.

It is necessary, since we cannot have a perfect life without friends, as Aristotle expresses it in the eighth book of Ethics; and the seed of the greater number of friendships seems to be sown in the first age of life, because in it a man begins to be gracious or the contrary.  Such graciousness is acquired by gentle rules of conduct, as are sweet and courteous speech, gentle service courteously rendered, and actions kindly done or performed.  And therefore Solomon says to the adolescent son:  “Surely God scorneth the scorners; but He giveth grace unto the lowly.”  And elsewhere he says:  “Put away from thee a forward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.”  Wherefore it appears that, as has been said, this suavity or affability is necessary.

Likewise to this age the passion of modesty is necessary; and therefore the nature which is good and noble shows it in this age, even as the Song says.  And since modesty is the clearest sign, in Adolescence, of Nobility, because there it is especially necessary to the good foundation of our life, at which the noble nature aims, it is right to speak of it somewhat.  By modesty I mean three passions or strong feelings necessary to the foundation of our good life:  the one is wonder, the next is modesty, the third is shame, although the common people do not discern this distinction.  And all three of these are necessary to this life, for this reason:  at this age it is requisite to be reverent and desirous for knowledge; at this age it is necessary or requisite to be self-controlled, so as not to transgress or pass beyond due bounds; at this age it is necessary to be penitent for a fault, so as not to grow accustomed to doing wrong.  And all these things the aforesaid passions or strong feelings do, which vulgarly are called shame; for wonder is an amazement of the mind at beholding great and wonderful things, at hearing them, or feeling them in some way or other; for, inasmuch as they appear great, they excite reverence in him who sees them; inasmuch as they appear wonderful, they make him who perceives them desirous of knowledge concerning them.  And therefore the ancient Kings in their palaces or habitations set up magnificent works in gold and in marble and works of art, in order that those who should see them should become astonished, and therefore reverent inquirers into the honourable conditions of the King.  Therefore Statius, the sweet Poet, in the first part of the Theban History, says that, when Adrastus, King of the Argives, saw Polynices covered with the skin

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