The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 298 pages of information about The Banquet (Il Convito).
and here quitting it, I return to the proposition.  Having proved, then, that the goodness of a thing is loved the more the more it is innate, the more it is to be loved and commended for itself, it remains to see what that goodness is.  And we see that, in all speech, to express a thought well and clearly is the thing most to be admired and commended.  This, then, is its first goodness.  And forasmuch as this is in our Mother Tongue, as is made evident in another chapter, it is manifest that it has been the cause of the love which I bear to it; since, as has been said, “Goodness is the producer of Love.”


Having said how in the Mother Tongue there are those two things which have made me its friend, that is, nearness to me and its innate goodness, I will tell how by kindness and union in study, and through the benevolence of long use, the friendship is confirmed and grows.  Firstly, I say that I for myself have received from it the greatest benefits.  And, therefore, it is to be known that, amongst all benefits, that is the greatest which is most precious to him who receives it; and nothing is so precious as that through which all other things are wished; and all the other things are wished for the perfection of him who wishes.  Wherefore, inasmuch as a man may have two perfections, one first and one second (the first causes him to be, the second causes him to be good), if the Native Language has been to me the cause of the one and of the other, I have received from it the greatest benefit.  And that it may have been the cause of this condition in me can be shown briefly.  The efficient cause for the existence of things is not one only, but among many efficient causes one is the chief of the others, hence the fire and the hammer are the efficient causes of the sword-blade, although the workman is especially so.  This my Mother Tongue was the bond of union between my forefathers, who spoke with it, even as the fire is the link between the iron and the smith who makes the knife; therefore it is evident that it co-operated in my birth, and so it was in some way the cause of my being.  Again, this my Mother Tongue was my introducer into the path of knowledge, which is the ultimate perfection, inasmuch as with it I entered into the Latin Language, and with it I was taught; the which Latin was then the way of further advancement for me.  And so it is evident and known by me that this my language has been my great benefactor.  Also it has been engaged with me in one self-same study, and this I can thus prove.  Each thing naturally studies its self-preservation; hence, if the Mother Tongue could seek anything of itself, it would seek that; and that would be to secure for itself a position of the greatest stability:  but greater stability it could not secure than by uniting itself with number and with rhyme.

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