The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 251 pages of information about The Banquet (Il Convito).
of a lion, and saw Tydeus covered with the hide of a wild boar, and recalled to mind the reply that Apollo had given concerning his daughters, he became amazed, and therefore more reverent and more desirous for knowledge.  Modesty is a shrinking, a drawing-back of the mind from unseemly things, with the fear of falling into them; even as we see in virgins and in good women, and in adolescent or young men, who are so modest that not only when they are tempted to do wrong, and urged to do so, but even when some fancied joy flashes across the mind, the feeling is depicted in the face, which either grows pale with fear, or flushes rosy-red.  Wherefore the before-mentioned poet, in the first book of the Thebaid already quoted, says that when Acesta the nurse of Argia and Deiphile, the daughters of King Adrastus, led them before the eyes of their holy father into the presence of the two pilgrims, that is to say, Polynices and Tydeus, the virgins grew pale and blushed rosy-red, and their eyes shunned the glance of any other person, and they kept them fixed on the paternal face alone, as if there were safety.  This modesty—­how many errors does it bridle in, or repress?  On how many immodest questions and impure things does it impose silence!  How much dishonest greed does it repress!  In the chaste woman, against how many evil temptations does it rouse mistrust, not only in her, but also in him who watches over her!  How many unseemly words does it restrain! for, as Tullius says in the first chapter of the Offices:  “No action is unseemly which is not unseemly in the naming.”  And furthermore, the Modest and Noble Man never could speak in such a manner that to a woman his words would not be decent and such as she could hear.  Alas, how great is the evil in every man who seeks for honour, to mention things which would be deemed evil in the mouth of any woman!

Shame is a fear of dishonour through fault committed, and from this fear there springs up a penitence for the fault, which has in itself a bitter sorrow or grief, which is a chastisement and preservative against future wrong-doing.  Wherefore this same poet says, in that same part, that when Polynices was questioned by King Adrastus concerning his life, he hesitated at first through shame to speak of the crime which he had committed against his father, and also for the sins of Oedipus, his father, which appeared to remain in the shame of the son; therefore he named not his father, but his ancestors, and his country, and his mother; and therefore it does indeed appear that shame is necessary to that age.  And the noble nature reveals in this age, not only obedience, gentleness, affability, and modesty, but it shows beauty and agility of body, even as the Song expresses:  “To furnish Virtue’s person with The graces it may need.”  Here it is to be known that this work of beneficent Nature is also necessary to our good life, for our Soul must work in the greater part of all its operations with a bodily organ; and then

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