Forgot your password?  

Resources for students & teachers

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 251 pages of information about The Banquet (Il Convito).
which thou art vilely fallen because of this woman who has appeared to thee.”  And here it is to be observed that, as Boethius says in his Consolation, each sudden change of things does not happen without some flurry of mind.  And this is expressed in the reproof of that thought which is called “the spirit voice of tenderness,” when it gave me to understand that my consent was inclining towards it; and thus, one can easily comprehend this, and recognize its victory, when it already says, “Dear Soul of ours,” therein making itself familiar.  Then, as is stated, it commands where it ought to rebuke that Soul, in order to induce it to come to her; and therefore it says to her:  “See, she is lowly, Pitiful, courteous, though so wise and holy.”

These are two things which are a fit remedy for the fear with which the Soul appeared impassioned; for, firmly united, they cause the individual to hope well, and especially Pity, which causes all other goodness to shine forth by its light.  Wherefore Virgil, speaking of AEneas, in his greater praise calls him compassionate, pitiful; and that is not pity such as the common people understand it, which is to lament over the misfortunes of others; nay, this is an especial effect which is called Mercy, Pity, Compassion; and it is a passion.  But compassion is not a passion; rather a noble disposition of mind, prepared to receive Love, Mercy, and other charitable passions.  Then it says:  “See also how courteous, though so wise and holy.”

Here it says three things which, according as they can be acquired by us, make the person especially pleasing.  It says Wise.  Now, what is more beautiful in a woman than knowledge?  It says Courteous.  Nothing in a woman can be more excellent than courtesy.  And neither are the wretched common people deceived even in this word, for they believe that courtesy is no other than liberality; for liberality is an especial, and not a general courtesy.  Courtesy is all one with honesty, modesty, decency; and because the virtues and good manners were the custom in Courts anciently, as now the opposite is the custom, this word was taken from the Courts; which word, if it should now be taken from the Courts, especially of Italy, would and could express no other than baseness.  It says Holy.  The greatness which is here meant is especially well accompanied with the two afore-mentioned virtues; because it is that light which reveals the good and the evil of the person clearly.  And how much knowledge and how much virtuous custom does there not seem to be wanting by this light!  How much madness and how much vice are seen to be by this light!  Better would it be for the wretched madmen high in station, stupid and vicious, to be of low estate, that neither in the world nor after this life they should be so infamous.  Truly for such Solomon says in Ecclesiastes:  “There is a sore evil that I have seen under the Sun; namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.”

Follow Us on Facebook