The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 298 pages of information about The Banquet (Il Convito).
of the degrees; and from the Human Soul and the most perfect soul of the brute animals, again, there may not be any break in the descent.  For as we see many men so vile and of such low condition that it seems almost that it can be no other than bestial, so it is to be asserted and firmly believed that there may be some men so noble and of a condition so exalted that it can be no other than that of the Angel.  Otherwise the human species could not be continued on every side, which cannot be.  Such as these Aristotle calls, in the seventh book of the Ethics, Divine; and such a one I say that this Lady is, so that the Divine Virtue, after the manner that it descends into the Angel, descends into her.

Then when I say, “Fair one who doubt,” I prove this by the experience that it is possible to have of it in those operations which are proper to the rational Soul, wherein the Divine Light shines forth more quickly, that is, in the speech and in the actions, which are wont to be termed conduct and deportment.  Wherefore it is to be known that only man amongst the animals speaks, and has conduct and acts which are called rational, because he alone has Reason in himself.  And if any one might wish to say, in contradiction, that a certain bird can speak, as appears true, especially of the magpie and of the parrot; and that some beast performs acts, or rather things, by rule, as appears in the ape and in some other; I reply that it is not true that they speak, nor that they have rules, because they have not Reason, from which these things must proceed; neither is there in them the principle of these operations; neither do they know what that is; neither do they understand that by those acts something is intended; but that only which they see and hear they represent, even as the image of somebody may be reflected in a glass.  Wherefore, as in the mirror the corporal image which the mirror shows is not true, so the image of Reason, in the acts and the speech which the brute soul represents, or rather shows, is not true.  I say that what gentle Lady soever doubts should “go with her, mark the grace In all her acts.”  I do not say man, because one can derive experience more modestly from the woman than from the man; and I say she will find that “Downward from Heaven bends An angel when she speaks.”  For her speech, because of its exalted character and because of its sweetness, kindles in the mind of him who hears it a thought of Love, which I call a celestial Spirit; since from Heaven is the source and from Heaven the intention thereof, as has been already narrated.  From which thought I pass to a firm opinion that this Lady is of miraculous power, that there is “A power in her by none of us possessed.”  Her actions, by their suavity and by their moderation, “Rival in calls to Love that Love must hear.”  They cause Love to awaken and again to hear whenever he is sown by the power of bountiful Nature.  Which natural seed acts as in the next treatise is shown.

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