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

Wherefore as the friendship conceived through honest affection is true and perfect and perpetual, so is that philosophy true and perfect which is generated by upright desire for knowledge, without regard to aught else, and by the goodness of the friendly soul; which is as much as to say, by right appetite and right reason.  And it is possible to say here that as true friendship amongst men is, that each love each entirely, so the true Philosopher loves each part of Wisdom, and Wisdom each part of the Philosopher, so as to draw him wholly to herself, and to allow no thought of his to stray away to other things.  Wherefore Wisdom herself says in the Proverbs of Solomon, “I love those who love me.”  And as true friendship of the mind, considered in itself alone, has for its subject the knowledge of good effects, and for its form the desire for the same, even so Philosophy considered in itself alone, apart from the Soul, has understanding for its subject, and for its form an almost divine love to intellect.

And as the efficient cause of true friendship is Virtue, so the efficient cause of Philosophy is Truth.  And as the end of true friendship is true affection, which proceeds from the intercourse proper to Humanity, that is, according to the dictates of Reason, as Aristotle seems to think in the ninth book of the Ethics, so the end of Philosophy is that most excellent affection which suffers no intermission or defect, that is, the true happiness which is acquired by the contemplation of Truth.

And thus it is now possible to see who this my Lady is, in all her causes and in her whole reason, and why she is called Philosophy; and who is a true Philosopher, and who is one by accident.

But in some fervour or heat of mind the one and the other end of the acts and of the passions are called by the word for the act itself or the passion; as Virgil does in the second book of the AEneid, where he calls Hector, “Oh, light” (which was the act) “and hope” (which is the passion) “of the Trojans:”  for he was neither the light nor the hope, but he was the end whence came to them their light in council, and he was the end in which was reposed their hope of safety; as Statius writes in the fifth book of the Thebaid, when Hypsipyle says to Archemorus, “Oh, consolation of things and of the lost country! oh, honour of my servitude!” even as we say daily, showing the friend, “See my friendship;” and the father says to the son, “My love;” and so it is that, through long custom, the Sciences, in which most fervently Philosophy finds the end to which she looks, are called by her name, such as the Natural Science, the Moral Science, and the Metaphysical Science, which last, because most necessarily she looks to her end in that chiefly and most fervently, is called the First Philosophy.

Now, therefore, since it has been seen what the true Philosophy is in its essence; which is that Lady of whom I speak; how her noble name through custom is communicated to the Sciences, and the first science is called the First Philosophy, I may proceed further with her praise.

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