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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 251 pages of information about The Banquet (Il Convito).

I say that (as Tullius writes in his book on Friendship, not dissenting from the opinion of the Philosopher opened up in the eighth and in the ninth of the Ethics) Neighbourhood and Goodness are, naturally, the causes of the birth of Love:  Benevolence, Study, and Custom are the causes of the growth of Love.  And there have been all these causes to produce and to strengthen the love which I bear to my Native Language, as I shall briefly demonstrate.  A thing is so much the nearer in proportion as it is most nearly allied to all the other things of its own kind; wherefore, of all men the son is nearest to the father, and of all the Arts, Medicine is nearest to the Doctor, and Music to the Musician, because they are more allied to them than the others.  Of all parts of the earth the nearest is that whereon a man lives, because he is most united to it.  And thus his own Native Language is nearest to him, inasmuch as he is most united to it; for it, and it alone, is first in the mind before any other.  And not only of itself is it united, but by accident, inasmuch as it is united with the persons nearest to him, as his parents, and his fellow-citizens, and his own people.  And this is his own Mother Tongue, which is not only nearest, but especially the nearest to each man.  Therefore, if near neighbourhood be the seed of friendship, as is said above, it is manifest that it has been one of the causes of the love which I bear to my Native Language, which is nearer to me than the others.  The above-mentioned cause, whereby that alone which stands first in each mind is most bound to it, gave rise to the custom of the people, that the first-born sons should succeed to the inheritance solely as being the nearest relatives; and because the nearest relatives, therefore the most beloved.

Again, Goodness made me a friend to it.  And here it is to be known that all goodness inherent in anything is loveable in that thing; as in manhood to be well bearded, and in womanhood to be all over the face quite free from hair; as in the setter to have good scent, and as in the greyhound to be swift.  And in proportion as it is native, so much the more is it delightful.  Hence, although each virtue is loveable in man, that is the most loveable in him which is most human:  and this is Justice, which alone is in the rational part, or rather in the intellectual, that is, in the Will.  This is so loveable that as says the Philosopher in the fifth book of the Ethics, its enemies love it, such as thieves and robbers; and, therefore, we see that its opposite, that is, Injustice, is especially hated; such as treachery, ingratitude, falsehood, theft, rapine, deceit, and their like; the which are such inhuman sins, that, in order to excuse himself from the infamy of such, it is granted through long custom that a man may speak of himself, as has been said above, and may say if he be faithful and loyal.  Of this virtue I shall speak hereafter more fully in the fourteenth treatise;

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