The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 298 pages of information about The Banquet (Il Convito).
And of this I speak there:  “Of whom so sweetly it discoursed to me That the Soul said, ‘With her would I might be!’” And this is the root of one of the struggles which was in me.  And it is to be known that here one terms Thought, and not Soul, that which ascended to see that Blessed Spirit, because it was an especial thought sent on that mission; the Soul is understood, as is stated in the preceding chapter, as thought in general, with acquiescence.

Then, when I say, “Now One appears that drives the thought aside,” I touch the root of the other struggle, saying how that previous thought was wont to be the life of me, even as another appears, which makes that one cease to be.  I say, “drives the thought aside,” in order to show that one to be antagonistic, for naturally the opposing one drives aside the other, and that which is driven appears to yield through want of power.  And I say that this thought, which newly appears, is powerful in taking hold of me and in subduing my Soul, saying that it “masters me with such effectual might” that the heart, that is, my inner life, trembles so much that my countenance shows it in some new appearance.

Subsequently I show the power of this new thought by its effect, saying that it makes me “fix my regard” on a Lady, and speaks to me words of allurement, that is to say, it reasons before the eyes of my intelligent affection, in order the better to induce me, promising me that the sight of her eyes is its salvation.  And in order to make this credible to the Soul experienced in love, it says that it is for no one to gaze into the eyes of this woman who fears the anguish of laboured sighs.  And it is a beautiful mode of rhetoric when externally it appears that you disembellish a thing, and yet really embellish it within.  This new thought of love could not induce my mind to consent, except by discoursing of the virtue of the eyes of this fair Lady so profoundly.


Now that it is shown how and whereof Love is born, and the antagonist that fought with me, I must proceed to open the meaning of that part in which different thoughts contend within me.  I say that, firstly, one must speak on the part of the Soul, that is, of the former thought, and then of the other; for this reason, that always that which the speaker intends most especially to say he ought to reserve in the background, because that which is said finally, remains most in the mind of the hearer.  Therefore, since I mean to speak further, and to discourse of that which performs the work of those to whom I speak, rather than of that which undoes this work, it was reasonable first to mention and to discourse of the condition of the part which was undone, and then of that which was generated by the other.

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