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

Wherefore I, having made a friend of this Lady, mentioned above in the truthful exposition, began to love and to hate according to her love and her hatred.  I then began to love the followers of Truth, and to hate the followers of Error and Falsehood, even as she does.  But since each thing is to be loved for itself and none are to be hated except for excess of evil, it is reasonable and upright to hate not the things, but the evil in the things, and to endeavour to distinguish between these.  And if any person has this intention, my most excellent Lady understands especially how to distinguish the evil in anything, which is the cause of hate; since in her is all Reason, and in her is the fountain-head of all uprightness.

I, following her as much as I could in her work as in her love, abominated and despised the errors of the people with infamy or reproach, not cast on those lost in error, but on the errors themselves; by blaming which, I thought to create displeasure and to separate the displeased ones from those faults in them which were hated by me.  Amongst which errors one especially I reproved, which, because it is hurtful and dangerous not only to those who remain in it, but also to others who reprove it, I separate it from them and condemn.

This is the error concerning Human Goodness, which, inasmuch as it is sown in us by Nature, ought to be termed Nobility; which error was so strongly entrenched by evil custom and by weak intellect that the opinion of almost all people was falsified or deceived by it; and from the false opinion sprang false judgments, and from false judgments sprang unjust reverence and unjust contempt; wherefore the good were held in vile disdain, and the evil were honoured and exalted.  This was the worst confusion in the world; even as he can see who looks subtly at that which may result from it.  And though it seemed that this my Lady had somewhat changed her sweet countenance towards me, especially where I gazed and sought to discover whether the first Matter of the Elements was created by God, for which reason I strengthened myself to frequent her presence a little, as if remaining there with her assent, I began to consider in my mind the fault of man concerning the said error.  And to shun sloth, which is an especial enemy of this Lady, and to describe or state this error very clearly, this error which robs her of so many friends, I proposed to cry aloud to the people who are walking in the path of evil, in order that they might direct their steps to the right road; and I began a Song, in the beginning of which I said, “Soft rhymes of love I used to find,” wherein I intend to lead the people back into the right path, the path of right knowledge concerning true Nobility, as by the knowledge of its text, to the explanation of which I now turn my attention, any one will be able to perceive.

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