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

Leaving this digression, which has been needful for seeing the Truth, I return to the proposition, and I say that, as our eyes call, that is, judge, the star other than it really is as to its true condition, so this little ballad judged this Lady according to appearance, other than the Truth, through infirmity of the Soul, which was impassioned with too much desire.  And this I make evident when I say that “fear possessed her soul.”  For this which I saw in her presence appeared fierce or proud to me.  Where it is to be known that in proportion as the agent is more closely united to the patient, so much the more powerful is the passion, as may be understood from the opinion of the Philosopher in his book On Generation.  Wherefore in proportion as the desired thing draws nigh to the person who desires it, so much the greater is the desire; and the Soul, more impassioned, unites itself more closely to the carnal part, and abandons reason more and more; so that the individual no longer judges like a man, but almost like some other animal, even according to appearance, not discerning the Truth.  And this is the reason why the countenance, modest according to the truth, appears disdainful and proud in her.

And that little ballad spoke, according to that judgment, as sensual and irrational at once.  And herein it is sufficiently understood that this Song judges this Lady according to Truth, by the disagreement which it has with that other Song of harmony between it and that ballad.  And not without reason I say, “When I come near to her glance,” and not when she comes within mine.  But in this I wish to express the great power which her eyes had over me; for, as if I had been transparent, through every part their light shone through me.  And here it would be possible to assign reasons natural and supernatural, but let it suffice here to have said as much as I have; elsewhere I will discourse of it more suitably.  Then when I say, “Be such excuse allowed,” I impose on the Song instruction how, by the assigned reasons, it may excuse itself there where that is needful, namely, where there may be any suspicion of this opposition; for there is no more to say, except that whoever may feel doubtful as to the matter wherein this Song differs from the other, let him look at the reason which has been here stated.  And such a figure as this is quite laudable in Rhetoric, and even necessary when the words are to one person and the intention is to another; because it is always praiseworthy to admonish and necessary also; but it is not always suitable in the mouth of every one.  Wherefore, when the son is aware of the vice of the father, and when the subject is aware of the vice of the lord, and when the friend knows that the shame of his friend would be increased to him by admonition from him, when he knows that it would detract from his honour, or when he knows that his friend would not be patient, but enraged at the admonition, this figure is most beautiful and most useful.  You may term it dissimulation; it is similar to the work of that wise warrior who attacked the castle on one side in order to draw off the defence from the other, for the attack and the design of the commander are not aimed at one and the same part.

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