The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 251 pages of information about The Banquet (Il Convito).
must obey Reason, which guides it with the bridle and spur, as the good knight uses the bridle when he hunts.  And that bridle is termed Temperance, which marks the limit up to which it is lawful to pursue; he uses the spur in flight to turn the horse away from the place from which he would flee away; and this spur is called Courage, or rather Magnanimity, a Virtue that points out the place at which it is right to stop, and to resist evil even to mortal combat.  And thus Virgil, our greatest Poet, represents AEneas as under the influence of powerful self control in that part of the AEneid wherein this age is typified, which part comprehends the fourth and the fifth and the sixth books of the AEneid.  And what self-restraint was that when, having received from Dido so much pleasure, as will be spoken of in the seventh treatise, and enjoying so much delectation with her, he departed, in order to follow the upright and praiseworthy path fruitful of good works, even as it is written in the fourth book of the AEneid!  What impetus was that when AEneas had the fortitude alone with Sybilla to enter into Hades, to search for the Soul of his father Anchises, in the face of so many dangers, as it is shown in the sixth book of the AEneid.  Wherefore it appears that in our Youth, in order to be in our perfection, we must be Temperate and Brave.  The good disposition secures this for us, even as the Song expressly states.

Again, at this age it is necessary to its perfection to be Loving; because at this age it is requisite to look behind and before, as being midway over the arch.  The youth ought to love his elders, from whom he has received his being, and his nutriment, and his instruction, so that he may not appear ungrateful.  He ought to love his juniors, since, in loving them, he gives them of his good gifts, for which in after-years, when the younger friends are prospering, he may be supported and honoured by them.  And the poet named above, in the fifth book before-mentioned, makes it evident that AEneas possessed this loving disposition, when he left the aged Trojans in Sicily, recommended to Acestes, and set them free from the fatigues of the voyage; and when he instructed, in the same place, Ascanius his son, with the other young men, in jousting or in feats of arms; wherefore it appears that to this age Love is necessary, even as the Song says.

Again, to this age Courtesy is necessary, for, although to every age it is right or beautiful to be possessed of courteous manners, to this age it is especially necessary, because, on the contrary, Old Age, with its gravity and its severity, cannot possess courtesy, if it has been wanting in this youthful period of life; and with Extreme Old Age it is the same in a greater degree.  And that most noble poet, in the sixth book before-mentioned, proves that AEneas possessed this courtesy, when he says that AEneas, then King, in order to pay honour to the dead body of Misenus, who had been the trumpeter of Hector, and afterwards accompanied AEneas, made himself ready and took the axe to assist in cutting the logs for the fire which must burn the dead body, as was their custom.  Wherefore this courtesy does indeed appear to be necessary to Youth; and therefore the noble Soul reveals it in that age, as has been said.

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