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

        Where Virtue is, there is
          A Nobleman, although
        Not where there is a Nobleman
          Must Virtue be also.

        So likewise that is Heaven
          Wherein a star is hung,
        But Heaven may be starless; so
          In women and the young

        A modesty is seen,
          Not virtue, noble yet;
        Comes virtue from what’s noble, as
          From black comes violet;

        Or from the parent root
          It springs, as said before,
        And so let no one vaunt that him. 
          A noble mother bore.

        They are as Gods whom Grace
          Has placed beyond all sin: 
        God only gives it to the Soul
          That He finds pure within.

        That seed of Happiness
          Falls in the hearts of few,
        Planted by God within the Souls
          Spread to receive His dew.

        Souls whom this Grace adorns
          Declare it in each breath,
        From birth that joins the flesh and soul
          They show it until death.

        In Childhood they obey,
          Are gentle, modest, heed
        To furnish Virtue’s person with
          The graces it may need.

        Are temperate in Youth,
          And resolutely strong,
        Love much, win praise for courtesy,
          Are loyal, hating wrong.

        Are prudent in their Age,
          And generous and just,
        And glad at heart to hear and speak
          When good to man’s discussed.

        The fourth part of their life
          Weds them again to God,
        They wait, and contemplate the end,
          And bless the paths they trod.

      How many are deceived!  My Song,
        Against the strayers:  when you reach
    Our Lady, hide not from her that your end
      Is labour that would lessen wrong,
        And tell her too, in trusty speech,
    I travel ever talking of your Friend.

CHAPTER I.

Love, according to the unanimous opinion of the wise men who discourse of him, and as by experience we see continually, is that which brings together and unites the lover with the beloved; wherefore Pythagoras says, “In friendship many become one.”

And the things which are united naturally communicate their qualities to each other, insomuch that sometimes it happens that one is wholly changed into the nature of the other, the result being that the passions of the beloved person enter into the person of the lover, so that the love of the one is communicated to the other, and so likewise hatred, desire, and every other passion; wherefore the friends of the one are beloved by the other, and the enemies hated; and so in the Greek proverb it is said:  “With friends all things ought to be in common.”

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