The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

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

Because of the second nature, of the mixed body, it loves the place of its generation, and even the time; and therefore each one naturally is of more power in his own place and in his own time than in any other.  Wherefore, one reads in the History of Hercules, and in the greater Ovid, and in Lucan, and in other Poets, that when fighting with the Giant who was named Antaeus, every time that the Giant was weary, and laid his body down on the earth at full length, either by the will or strength of Hercules, new strength and vigour then surged up in him, drawn wholly from the Earth, in which and from which he was produced; Hercules, perceiving this, at last seized him, and having compressed and raised him above the Earth, he held him so tightly, without allowing him to touch the Earth again, that he conquered Antaeus by excess of strength, and killed him.  According to the testimony of the books, this battle took place in Africa.

And because of the third nature, that is, of the plants, Man has a love for a certain food, not inasmuch as it affects the senses, but in so much as it is nutritious; and that particular food does the work of that most perfect Nature, while certain other food, dissimilar, acts but imperfectly.  And therefore we see that certain food will make men handsome, and strong-limbed, and very brightly coloured, and certain other food will do the opposite of this.

And by the fourth nature, of the animals, that is, the sensitive, Man has the other love, by which he loves according to the sensible appearance, like the beasts; and this love in Man especially has need of control, because of its excessive operation in the delights given, especially through sight and touch.

And because of the fifth and last nature, which is the true Human Nature, and, to use a better phrase, the Angelic, namely, the Rational, Man has by it the Love of Truth and Virtue; and from this Love is born true and perfect friendship from the honest intercourse of which the Philosopher speaks in the eighth book of the Ethics, when he treats of Friendship.

Wherefore, since this nature is termed Mind, as is proved above, I spoke of Love as discoursing in my Mind in order to explain that this Love was the Friendship which is born of that most noble nature, that is, of Truth and Virtue, and to exclude each false opinion, by which my Love might be suspected to spring from pleasure of the Senses.

I then say, “With constant pleasure,” to make people understand its continuance and its fervour.  And I say that it often whispers “Things over which the intellect may stray.”  And I speak truth, because my thoughts, when reasoning of her, often sought to draw conclusions of her, which I could not comprehend, and I was alarmed, so that I seemed almost like one dazed, even as he who, looking with the eye along a direct line, sees first the nearest things clearly; then, proceeding, it sees them less clearly; then, further on, doubtfully; then, proceeding an immense way, the sight is divided from the object, and sees nothing.  And this is one unspeakable thing of that which I have taken for a theme; and consequently I relate the other when I say: 

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