The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

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

The Song says “from Heaven,” to give people to understand that not only Philosophy, but the thoughts friendly to it, are abstracted from all low and earthly things.  Then afterwards it says how she strengthens and kindles love wherever she appears with the sweet persuasions of her actions, which are in all her aspects modest, gentle, and without any domineering assumption.  And subsequently, by still greater persuasion to induce a desire for her company, it says:  “Fair in all like her, fairest she’ll appear Who is most like her.”  Again it adds:  “We, content to call Her face a Miracle,” find help in it, where it is to be known that the regard of this Lady was freely ordained to arouse a desire in us for its acquisition, not only in her countenance, which she reveals to sight, but also in the things which she keeps hidden.  Wherefore as, through her, much of that which is hidden is seen by means of Reason (and consequently to see by Reason without her seems a miracle), so, through her, one believes each miracle in the action of a higher intellectual Power to have reason, and therefore to be possible.  From whence true Faith has its origin, from which comes the Hope to desire the Future, and from that are born the works of Charity, by which three Virtues we mount to become Philosophers in that celestial Athens where Stoics, Peripatetics, and Epicureans, by the practice of Eternal Truth, concur harmoniously in one desire.


In the preceding chapter this glorious Lady is praised according to one of her component parts, that is, Love.  In this chapter I intend to explain that passage which begins, “Her aspect shows delights of Paradise,” and here it is requisite to discuss and praise her other part, Wisdom.

The text then says that in the face of this Lady things appear which show us joys of Paradise; and it distinguishes the place where this appears, namely, in the eyes and the smile.  And here it must be known that the eyes of Wisdom are her demonstrations, whereby one sees the Truth most certainly; but her persuasions are in her smile, in which persuasions the inner Light of Wisdom reveals itself without any veil or concealment.  And in these two is felt that most exalted joy which is the supreme good in Paradise.  This joy cannot be in any other thing here below, except in gazing into these eyes and upon that smile.  And the reason is this, that since each thing naturally desires its perfection, without which it cannot be at peace, to have that is to be blessed.  For although it might possess all other things, yet, being without that, there would remain in it desire, which cannot consist with perfect happiness, since perfect happiness is a perfect thing, and desire is a defective thing.  For one desires not that which he has, but that which he has not, and here is a manifest defect.  And in this form solely can human perfection be acquired, as the perfection of Reason, on which, as on its principal

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