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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 251 pages of information about The Banquet (Il Convito).
the Heart is concerned with the secret within, and not any other special part of the soul or body.  When I have called them to hear that which I wish to say, I assign two reasons why I ought fitly to speak to them.  One is the novelty of my condition, which, from not having been experienced by other men, would not be so understood by them as by those who superintend such effects in their operation.  And this reason I touch upon when I say:  “To you alone its new thoughts I impart.”  The other reason is:  when a man receives a benefit or injury, he ought first to relate it to him who bestows or inflicts it, if he can, rather than to others; in order that, if it be a benefit, he who receives it may show himself grateful towards the benefactor, and, if it be an injury, let him lead the doer thereof to gentle mercy with sweet words.  And this reason I touch upon when I say:  “Heaven, that is moved by you, my life has brought To where it stands;” that is to say, your operation, namely, your revolution, is that which has drawn me into the present condition; therefore I conclude and say that my speech ought to be to them, such as is said; and I say here:  “Therefore to you ’tis need That I should speak about the life I lead.”  And after these reasons assigned, I beseech them to listen when I speak.

But, because in each manner of speech the speaker especially ought to look to persuasion, that is, to the pleasing of the audience, as that which is the beginning of all other persuasions, as do the Rhetoricians, and the most powerful persuasion to render the audience attentive is to promise to say new and wonderful things, I add to the prayer made for attention, this persuasion, or embellishment, announcing to them my intention to speak of new things, that is, the division which is in my mind; and great things, namely, the power of their star; and I say this in those last words of this first part: 

    To you I’ll tell the heart’s new cares:  always
      The sad Soul weeps within it, and there hears
      Voice of a Spirit that condemns her tears,
    A Spirit that descends through your star’s rays.

And to the full understanding of these words, I say that this Spirit is no other than a frequent thought how to commend and beautify this new Lady.  And this Soul is no other than another thought, accompanied with acquiescence, which, repudiating that Spirit, commends and beautifies the memory of that glorious Beatrice.  But, again, because the last sentiment of the mind, acquiescence, is held by that thought which memory assisted, I call it the Soul, and the other the Spirit; as we are accustomed to call the City those who hold it, and not those who fight it, although the one and the other may be citizens.  I say also, that this Spirit comes on the rays of the star, because one desires to know that the rays of each Heaven are the way by which their virtue descends into things here below.  And since the rays are no other than a light which comes from the source of

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