The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 298 pages of information about The Banquet (Il Convito).
And in this deliberation three reasons assisted me.  One of them was self-love, which is the source of all the rest, as every one sees.  For there is no more lawful nor more courteous way of doing honour to one’s self than by doing honour to one’s friend; and, since friendship cannot exist between the unlike, wherever one sees friendship, likeness is understood; and wherever likeness is understood, thither runs public praise or blame.  And from this reason two great lessons may be learnt:  the one is, never to wish that any vicious man should seem your friend, for in that case a bad opinion is formed of him who has made the evil man his friend; the other is, that no one ought to blame his friend publicly, because, if you consider well the aforesaid reason, he but points to himself with his finger in his eye.

The second reason was the desire for the duration of this friendship; wherefore it is to be known, as the Philosopher says in the ninth book of the Ethics, in the friendship of persons of unequal position it is requisite, for the preservation of that friendship, for a certain proportion to exist between them, which may reduce the dissimilarity to a similarity, as between the master and the servant.  For, although the servant cannot render the same benefit to the master that is conferred on him, yet he ought to render the best that he can, with so much solicitude and freewill that that which is dissimilar in itself may become similar through the evidence of good-will, which proves the friendship, confirms and preserves it.  Wherefore I, considering myself lower than that Lady, and perceiving myself benefited by her, endeavoured to praise her according to my ability.  And, if it be not similar of itself, my prompt freewill proves at least that if I could I would do more, and thus it makes its friendship similar to that of this gentle Lady.

The third reason was an argument of prudence; for, as Boethius says, “It is not sufficient to look only at that which is before the eyes, that is, at the Present; and, therefore, Prudence, Foresight, is given to us, which looks beyond to that which may happen.”  I say that I thought that for a long time I might be reproached by many with levity of mind, on hearing that I had turned from my first Love.  Wherefore, to remove this reproach, there was no better argument than to state who the Lady was who had thus changed me; that, by her manifest excellence, they might gain some perception of her virtue; and that, by the comprehension of her most exalted virtue, they might be able to see that all stability of mind could be in that mutability:  and, therefore, they should not judge me light and unstable.  I then began to praise this Lady, and if not in the most suitable manner, at least as well as I could at first; and I began to say:  “Love, reasoning of my Lady in my mind.”  This Song chiefly has three parts.  The first is the whole of the first two stanzas, in which I speak in a preliminary manner.  The second is the whole of the six following stanzas, in which is described that which is intended, i.e., the praise of that gentle Lady; the first of which begins:  “The Sun sees not in travel round the earth.”  The third part is in the last two stanzas, in which, addressing myself to the Song, I purify it from all doubtful interpretation.  And these three parts remain to be discussed now in due order.

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