The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

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

Again, it is necessary to this age to be Loyal.  Loyalty is to follow and to put in operation that which the Laws command, and this especially is necessary in the young man; because the adolescent, as it has been said, on account of his minority, merits ready pardon; the old man, on account of greater experience, ought to be just, but not a follower of the Law except inasmuch as his upright judgment and the Law are at one as it were; and almost without any Law he ought to be able to follow the dictates of his own just mind.  The young man is not able to do this, and it is sufficient that he should obey the Law, and take delight in that obedience; even as the before-said poet says, in the fifth book previously mentioned, that AEneas did when he instituted the games in Sicily on the anniversary of his father’s death, for what he promised for the victories he loyally gave to each victor, according to their ancient custom, which was their Law.

Wherefore, it is evident that, to this age, Loyalty, Courtesy, Love, Courage, and Temperance are necessary, even as the Song says, which at present I have reasoned out; and therefore the noble Soul reveals them all.


That section which the text puts forward having been reasoned out and made sufficiently clear, showing the qualities of uprightness which the noble Soul puts into Youth, we go on to pay attention to the third part, which begins, “Are prudent in their Age,” in which the Song intends to show those qualities which the noble Nature reveals and ought to possess in the third age, that is to say, Old Age.  And it says that the noble Soul in Old Age is prudent, is just, is liberal and cheerful, willing to speak kindly and for the good of others, and ready to listen for the same reason, that is to say, that it is affable.  And truly these four Virtues are most suitable to this age.  And, in order to perceive this, it is to be known that, as Tullius says in his book On Old Age, “Our life has a certain course, and one simple path, that of natural moral goodness; and to each part of our age there is given a season for certain things.”  Wherefore, as to Adolescence is given, as has been said above, that by means of which it may attain perfection and maturity, so to youth is given perfection and maturity in order that the sweetness of its perfect fruit may be profitable to the man himself and to others; for, as Aristotle says, man is a civil or polite animal, because it is required of him to be useful, not only to himself, but to others as well.  Wherefore one reads of Cato, that he believed himself to be born not only to himself, but to his country and to all the world.  Then after our own perfection, which is acquired in Youth, there must follow that which may give light not only to one’s self, but to others as well; and a man ought to open and broaden like a rose as it were, which can no longer remain closed, and spread abroad the sweet odour which is bred within; and this ought to be the case in that third age which we have now in hand.

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