The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 298 pages of information about The Banquet (Il Convito).
custom is not equal to nature, which is the source of such a passion.  And therefore the man is more praiseworthy who guides himself and rules himself when he is of an evil disposition by nature, in opposition to natural impulse, than he who, being gifted with a good disposition by nature, carries himself naturally well; as it is more praiseworthy to control a bad horse than one that is not troublesome.  I say, then, that those little flames which rain down from her beauty destroy the innate, or the natural, vices, to make men understand that her beauty has power to renew Nature in those who behold it, which is a miraculous thing.  And this confirms that which is observed above in the other chapter when I say that she is the helper of our Faith.

Finally, when I say, “Lady, who may desire Escape from blame,” I infer, under pretext of admonishing another, the end for which so much beauty was made.  And I say that what lady believes her beauty to be open to blame through some defect, let her look on this most perfect example; where it is understood that it is designed not only to improve and raise the good, but also to convert evil to good.  And, finally, it is subjoined that she is “God’s thought,” that is, from the Mind of God.  And this to make men understand that, by design of the Creator, Nature is made to produce such an effect.

And thus ends the whole of the second chief part of the Song.


The order of the present treatise requires, after these two parts of the Song have been discussed, according to my intention, that we now proceed to the third, in which I intend to purify the Song from a reproof which might be unfavourable to it.

And it is this, that before I composed it, this Lady seeming to me to be somewhat fierce and haughty against me, I made a little ballad, in which I called her proud and angry, which appears to be contrary to that which is here reasoned; and therefore I turn to the Song, and, under colour of teaching it how it is proper that it should excuse itself, I make an excuse for that which came before.  And this, when one addresses inanimate things, is a figure which is called by rhetoricians, Prosopopoeia, and the Poets often use it.  “My Song, it seems you speak this to oppose,” The intention of which address, to make it more easy of understanding, it behoves me to divide into three sections:  first, one affirms wherefore excuse is necessary; then, one proceeds with the excuse, when I say, “Though Heaven, you know;” finally, I speak to the Song as to a person well skilled in that which it is right to do when I say, “Be such excuse allowed.”

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