The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

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

Then when I say, “Rain from her beauty little flames of fire,” I proceed to another joy of Paradise, that is, from the secondary felicity, happiness, to this first one, which proceeds from her beauty, where it is to be known that Morality is the beauty of Philosophy.  For as the beauty of the body is the result of its members in proportion as they are fitly ordered, so the beauty of Wisdom, which is the body of Philosophy, as has been said, results from the order of the Moral Virtues which visibly make that joy.  And therefore I say that her beauty, which is Morality, rains down little flames of fire, meaning direct desire, which is begotten in the pleasure of the Moral Doctrine; which desire removes it again from the natural vices, and not only from the others.  And thence springs that happiness which Aristotle defined in the first book of Ethics, saying, that it is Work according to Virtue in the Perfect Life.

And when it says, “Fair one, who may desire Escape from blame,” it proceeds in praise of Philosophy.  I cry aloud to the people that they should follow her, telling them of her good gifts, that is to say, that by following her each one may become good.  Therefore it says to each Soul, that feels its beauty is to blame because it does not appear what it ought to appear, let her look at this example.  Where it is to be known that the Morals are the beauty of the Soul, that is to say, the most excellent virtues, which sometimes through vanity or through pride are made less beautiful or less agreeable, as in the last treatise it was possible to perceive.  And therefore I say that, in order to shun this, one looks at that Lady, Philosophy, there where she is the example of Humility, namely, in that part of herself which is called Moral Philosophy.  And I subjoin that by gazing at her (I say, at Wisdom) in that part, every vicious man will become upright and good.  And therefore I say she has “a spirit to create Good thoughts, and crush the vices.”  She turns gently back him who has gone astray from the right course.

Finally, in highest praise of Wisdom, I say of her that she is the Mother of every good Principle, saying that she is “God’s thought,” who began the World, and especially the movement of the Heaven by which all things are generated, and wherein each movement has its origin, that is to say, that the Divine Thought is Wisdom.  She was, when God made the World; whence it follows that she could make it, and therefore Solomon said in the Book of Proverbs, in the person of Wisdom:  “When He prepared the Heavens, I was there:  when He set a compass upon the face of the depth; when He established the clouds above; when He strengthened the fountains of the deep; when He gave to the sea His decree, that the waters should not pass His commandment; when He appointed the foundations of the Earth:  then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him, and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him.”  O, ye Men, worse than dead, who fly from the friendship

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