The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 251 pages of information about The Banquet (Il Convito).

CHAPTER II.

Turning, then, to the First Part, which was composed as a Proem or Preface to the Song or Poem, I say that it is fitly divided into three parts.  In the first place, it alludes to the ineffable condition of this theme; secondly, it describes my insufficiency to speak of it in a perfect manner; and this second part begins:  “If I would tell of her what thus I hear.”  Finally, I excuse myself for my insufficiency, for which they ought not to lay blame to my charge; and I commence this part when I say:  “If my Song fail.”

I begin, then:  “Love, reasoning of my Lady in my mind,” where in the first place it is to be seen who this speaker is, and what this place is in which I say that he is speaking.  Love, taking him in his true sense, and considering him subtly, is no other than the spiritual union of the Soul with the beloved object; into which union, of its own nature, the Soul hastens sooner or later, according as it is free or impeded.  And the reason for that natural disposition may be this:  each substantial form proceeds from its First Cause, which is God, as is written in the book of Causes; and they receive not diversity from that First Cause, which is the most simple, but from the secondary causes, and from the material into which it descends.  Wherefore, in the same book it is written, when treating of the infusion of the Divine Goodness:  “The bounties and good gifts make diverse things, through the concurrence of that which receives them.”  Wherefore, since each effect retains somewhat of the nature of its cause, as Alfarabio says when he affirms that that which has been the first cause of a round body has in some way an essentially round form, so each form in some way has the essence of the Divine Nature in itself; not that the Divine Nature can be divided and communicated to these, but participated in by these, almost in the same way that the other stars participate in the nature of the Sun.  And the nobler the form, the more does it retain of that Divine Nature.

Wherefore the human Soul, which is the noblest form of all those which are generated under Heaven, receives more from the Divine Nature than any other.  And since it is most natural to wish to be in God, for as in the book quoted above one reads, the first thing is to exist, and before that there is nothing, the human Soul desires to exist naturally with all possible desire.  And since its existence depends upon God, and is preserved by Him, it naturally desires and longs to be united to God, and so add strength to its own being.  And since, in the goodness of Human Nature, Reason gives us proof of the Divine, it follows that, naturally, the Human Soul is united therewith by the path of the spirit so much the sooner, and so much the more firmly, in proportion as those good qualities appear more perfect; which appearance of perfection is achieved according as the power of the Soul to produce a good impression is strong and

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