The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

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

And thus it is evident that a ready Liberality moved me to use the Mother Tongue rather than Latin.


He greatly needs excuse who, at a feast so noble in its provisions, and so honourable in its guests, sets bread of barley, not of wheaten flour:  and evident must be the reason which can make a man depart from that which has long been the custom of others, as the use of Latin in writing a Commentary.  And, therefore, he would make the reason evident; for the end of new things is not certain, because experience of them has never been had before:  hence, the ways used and observed are estimated both in process and in the end.

Reason, therefore, is moved to command that man should diligently look about him when he enters a new path, saying, “that, in deliberating about new things, that reason must be clear which can make a man depart from an old custom.”  Let no one marvel, then, if the digression touching my apology be long; but, as is necessary, let him bear its length with patience.

Continuing it, I say that, since it has been shown how, in order to avoid unsuitable confusion and from readiness of liberality, I fixed on the Commentary in the Mother Tongue and left the Latin, the order of the entire apology requires that I now prove how I attached myself to that through the natural love for my native tongue, which is the third and last reason which moved me to this.  I say that natural love moves the lover principally to three things:  the one is to exalt the loved object, the second is to be jealous thereof, the third is to defend it, as each one sees constantly to happen; and these three things made me adopt it, that is, our Mother Tongue, which naturally and accidentally I love and have loved.

I was moved in the first place to exalt it.  And that I do exalt it may be seen by this reason:  it happens that it is possible to magnify things in many conditions of greatness, and nothing makes so great as the greatness of that goodness which is the mother and preserver of all other forms of greatness.  And no greater goodness can a man have than that of virtuous action, which is his own goodness, by which the greatness of true dignity and of true honour, of true power, of true riches, of true friends, of true and pure renown, are acquired and preserved:  and this greatness I give to this friend, inasmuch as that which he had of goodness in latent power and hidden, I cause him to have in action and revealed in its own operation, which is to declare thought.

Secondly, I was moved by jealousy of it.  The jealousy of the friend makes a man anxious to secure lasting provision; wherefore, thinking that, from the desire to understand these Songs, some unlearned man would have translated the Latin Commentary into the Mother Tongue; and fearing that the Mother Tongue might have been employed by some one who would have made it seem ugly, as he did who translated the Latin

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