The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 298 pages of information about The Banquet (Il Convito).

Then when I say, “Fair in all like her, fairest she’ll appear Who is most like her,” I intend to narrate how the goodness and the power of her soul are good and useful to others; and, firstly, how useful it is to other women, saying that she is “Fair in all like her,” where I present a clear or bright example to the women, from gazing at which they can make their beauty seem gentle in following the same.  Secondly, I relate how useful she is to all people, saying that her aspect assists our faith, which is more useful to the whole Human Race than all other things beside; for it is that by which we escape from Eternal Death and acquire Eternal Life; and she assists our Faith, for the first foundation of our Faith is on the miracles performed by Him who was crucified, who created our Reason, and willed that it should be less than His power.  He performed these miracles, then, in His own name for His saints; and many men are so obstinate that they are in doubt of those miracles if there be the least mist or cloud around them; and they cannot believe any miracle unless they have visible experience of the same; and this Lady is a thing visibly miraculous, of which the eyes of men daily can have experience, and which can make the other miracles appear possible to us.  Wherefore it is manifest that this Lady, with her marvellous aspect, assists our Faith.  And, therefore, finally I say: 

                           We, content to call
    Her face a Miracle, have Faith made sure: 
    For that God made her ever to endure.

And thus ends the second section of the second principal part of the Song according to its Literal meaning.


Amongst the Works of Divine Wisdom, Man is the most wonderful, considering how in one form the Divine Power joined three natures; and in such a form how subtly harmonized his body must be.  It is organized for all his distinct powers; wherefore, because of the great concord there must be, among so many organs, to secure their perfect response to each other, in all the multitude of men but few are perfect.  And if this Creature is so wonderful, certainly it is a dread thing to discourse of his conditions, not only in words, but even in thought.  So that to this apply those words of Ecclesiastes:  “I beheld all the Work of God, that a Man cannot find out the Work that is done under the Sun.”  And those other words there, where he says:  “Let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God:  for God is in Heaven, and thou upon Earth:  therefore let thy words be few.”  I, then, who in this third section intend to speak of a certain condition of such a creature, inasmuch as, through the goodness of the Soul, visible beauty appears in his body, I begin timorously uncertain, intending, if not fully, at least partially, to untie such a knot as this.  I say, then, that since the meaning of that section is clear, wherein this Lady is praised on the part of the Soul, we are now to proceed and to see how it is when I say:  “Her aspect shows delights of Paradise.”  I praise her on the part of the body, and I say that in her aspect bright gleams appear which show us pleasant things, and amongst others those of Paradise.

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