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IL

VI

CON

TO

BANQUET

THE

*e
OF

ALIGHIERI

DANTE

BY

TRANSLATED

ELIZABETH

WITH

AN

SAYER

PRICE

LL.D.,

PROFESSOR

LITERATURE

ENGLISH

OF

UNIVERSITY

MORLEY

HENRY

BY

INTRODUCTION

AT

LONDON

COLLEGE,

LONDON

GEORGE

AND

ROUTLEDGE
BROADWAY,
GLASGOW

LUDGATE

AND

1887

NEW

HILL

YORK

SONS

INTRODUCTION.

translation of Dante's

THIS

is from
of Dante
on

has

it by
whole

the

Vita

to

body

to

starts

and

to

love

the

love

of

of

and

within

us.

to

the

world

to

for

also
noble

Banquet, he

in the
In

material
Divine

the

come,

that

and

Of
had

of the

this great

many

believe,never
reader, except

the

life

mature

and

power
world

about

the Poet

passes

final union

of the

moral

Comedy,

the

points

that

to

declares

Life,

New

the

glory of

the crowning
series,

work

Love

has, of

and there have been translators


translators,

book

fragment

the

passes

rises to the

works

those

love

and

also

distinct place,

human

with
Beatrice,the beatifier,

of God.
course,

with

knowledge

God

have

genius

life to dwell

Among

masterpiece. In

career

the

works.

"

only,but

Comedy

Convito

the

the great

In

us

love

of his other

his

on

divine.

the

his Divine

English

for the

chief pleasure of her

and

Nuova

leadingup

Man

it

made

the first in

"

enthusiasm

lady whose

not
translating,

the

as

of

the hand

Convito

that
of the

yet been

by

shows
Convito

the

youth

But

of love.

that unites these two

placed within
translation

of

reach

of the

its poems

the

has, I

English

only into

INTRODUCTION.

unrhymed

in Mr.

measure

Vita Nuova

fourteen

the

But

songs.

its

Justicefor

have

had

been

broughtto
was

less than

no

The

time.

had

"

able in

book

like

science of the Middle


to

points,
say,

but
ingenious,

how
to

earth

of the
to

no

seven

of

to

from

come

have been

the

of
But

theoryof

part true.

no
useful,

man

of

noble

the heavens

doubt, to

mind,
made

is not

that

as

seven

to

the

called

to seize
most

was

thingis to

of the

here

his

for his human

endeavours

main

Man

on

"

the reader

joinseach
reasoning

source

reasoner

Dante

with

The

heavens, and

flinch from

reasoningthat

unhappy

heaven, and bids

Godward,

only

in

the mistaken

one

Ages.

his mind

make

not

of the

since Aristotle

this,
shaped by

best the forms

them,

knowledge of

the

It is

minds

the Mind

must

littleadvance

made
"

study at their

all the

knowledge is

first laid its foundations.

guide

have

to

was

and within

the mediaeval

Philosopher taken by

the

"

two

or

one

men's

of
lifting

of this volume

Dante's

Science
is

upon

the

without them

the world

reader

Nature.

who

that all

theme, show

ingeniousdialectics of

and

clear,and

showing forth
togetherin creation,

Creator.
the

is

close.
highspiritual

by knowledge of
bound

the intended

of the last book, which would

to the matter

glancesforward

Its aim

plan

where

four books

are

designed,
includingthree only of

fifteen were

be

in 1835.
Convito,"published

and the

Convito is a fragment. There

The

of the

"

Lyell's Poems

Charles

observe

sciences

everywherejoins

lifthis head

and

look

truth
light.If spiritual

up,

could

rightand ]perfectknowledge, this would

world of dead

souls from the firsttillnow

; for

INTRODUCTION.

knowledge
fills it
that

he

as

should

men

food

all the

for

with

can

suggested

has

which

may

before

he

his

hand,

joined

the

of

began
and
voice

his

found

been
have

the

for

which

been
work
the
of

on

of
and

their

Dante

to

the

1887.

sense

he

content

earth

to

of

Banquet

for

mind

the

name

and
the
its

Xenophon

Divine

songs

praise

than

in

three
time

some

was

and

the

Death
into

passed

"

Comedy,

known

made

doubt,

no

was,

stayed
that

song

heaven.

H.

April

the

But

downward

Commentary.

completion

let

ours.

to

the

Dante's

is not

them

Plato

more

written

is

at

soul.

life, after
of

so

knowledge

the

of

it to

Love.

He

look

of

are

Banquets

close

the

and

bids

"

the

by

at

trace

no

of

Convito

Dante's

written

dishes

But

of

God.

and

wonder

from

and

of

He

aspiration

heavenward

and

need.

they
whose

kind,

another

Wisdom

sheep,

as

rises

soul

Spirit

will
much.

so

ignorance,

of

the

be

us,

think

true

of

full

be

may

at

we

the

may,

mysteries

divine

the

it

what

be

known

back

that

faulty knowledge

little

of

looking

in

centuries,

future

M.

THE

BANQUET

ALIGHIERL

DANTE

OF

jfirst treatise*
CHAPTER

I.

Philosophersays in the beginningof the first


naturallydesire Knowledge."
Philosophy: All men
of which
The
reason
be, that each thing,
may
nature, tends
impelled by the intuition of its own
ledge
Knowits perfection
towards
as
; hence, forasmuch
is the final perfectionof our
Soul, in which
all naturally
ultimate happiness consists,
are
we
our
subjectto the desire for it.
noble
are
deprived of this most
Verily,many
within
the man
and
perfection,
by divers causes
As

the

"

him, which

without

from

him

remove

the

use

of

Knowledge.
Within

the

impediments ;
other

on

that

the

it

one

on

be two
defects
or
may
the part of the Body, the

can

the

receive

dumb,

and

their like.

when

evil

triumphs

parts

the

in it, so

part of the

unfitlydisposed,so

are

nothing :
On

the

On

the part of the Soul.

it is,when

Body

there

man

as

with

the deaf

and

part of the Soul it is,


that

it becomes

the

follower of vicious

deceived,that on
in contempt.
everything
the man, two
be understood, of which

account

Without

causes

they

cannot

The

itself the

of

of men, so that
quietness of speculation.

greater number

live in

the

other is the fault of the

is born

manner

the
necessity,
of
firstis the management
which
of civil affairs,
fitly

stagnation.The
family and conduct
to

in like

may

so

it holds

of them

comes

one

other of

draws

it is

pleasures,
throughwhich

much

the

AL1GHIER1.

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

io

placewhere

person

and

reared,which will ofttimes be not only


without any School whatever,but may be far distant
from studious people.The two firstof these causes"
the firstof the hindrance from within,and the firstof
the hindrance
from without
not
are
deservingof
and
blame, but of excuse
pardon ; the two others,
than the other,deserve blame
althoughthe one more
"

and

are

to be detested.

Hence, he who reflects well, can


manifestlysee
that they are
few who can
attain to the enjoyment
of Knowledge, though it is desired
by all,and
almost
for

ever

Oh,
where

innumerable
famished
blessed
the

are

Bread

the

are

fettered

who

ones

live

of this food.

those

few who

sit at

that

table

of

Angels is eaten, and wretched


those who can
feed only as the Sheep. But because
is naturally
each man
to each man, and each
friendly
friend grievesfor the fault of him whom
he loves ;
they who are fed at that high table are full of
towards
those whom
mercy
they see strayingin
one

pasture with

the

creatures

who

eat

grass

and

acorns.

And

forasmuch

as

Mercy

Benevolence, those who


offer their good
liberally

know
wealth

the

is

how,
to

the

Mother
do
true

of

always
poor,

FIRST

THE

and

like

are

thirst

natural

the

herd,lie
gather up

common

and

there

at

falls from

them, by the

the wretched

I know
by little,

sit not

feet of

I find in that which

which

sweetness

what

from

the

the pasture of
those who
sit

the

at

cools

water

I,then, who

having fled

the blessed table,but

II

whose

livingstream,

before-named

TREATISE.

I collect little

life of those whom

for the
mercifully
myself,I have reserved
unhappy ones, not forgetting
to their eyes long
something which I have shown
them greatly
desirous.
ago, and for this I have made
Wherefore, now
wishingto prepare for them, I mean
to make
a
common
Banquet of this which I have
bread
of that needed
shown
without
to them, and
food such as this could not be eaten by*them
which
left behind

have

their feast ; bread


know, without it,would
at

fit for
be

Banquet whose

members

venomous

retain

no

food whatever.

whosoever
of

domestic

sit at this

so

his stomach

as

humours,
But

that

so

let those

they be,who, pressedby

civil and

forth in vain.

should

one

which

meat,

unfitlydisposedthat
tongue, nor palate: nor any

vice ; inasmuch
and
hurtful

of

no

are

he has neither teeth,nor


follower

such

furnished

therefore I desire that

And

of

moved

; and

me

life,have

come

is full
it will
to

us,

the management
felt this human

hunger,and at one table with others who have been


in like bondage, let them sit. But at their feet let
have been the slaves of
us
place all those who
sloth,and who are not worthy to sit higher: and
then
bread

let these
which

and
I

those

will

cause

eat

of

them

my
to

dish,with the
taste

and

to

digest.
The

meat

at this

teen
repast will be preparedin four-

different ways, that is,in fourteen


of whose themes will be of Love and some

Songs,some
of Virtue:

OF

BANQUET

THE

12

the

which, without

DANTE

ALIGHIERI.

present bread, might have

some

obscurity,so that to many they might be


of their form
than
account
on
acceptable more
because
of their spirit. But this bread is the present
Exposition. It will be the Lightwhereby each colour
of their design will be made
visible.
if in the present work, which
And
is named
the Banquet, the glad Life Together"
"Convito"
I desire that the subject should
be discussed
more
the New
Life
I
maturely than in the Vita Nuova
do not
in any degree to undervalue
therefore mean
that Fresh
it ; seeing
Life, but greatlyto enhance
shadow

of

"

"

"

how

it is for that

reasonable

one

and

it is fit to

age

at another

manners

are

demonstrated
treatise

of

Nuova)at

and

and
work

temperate.
in

one

; because
way
age in another
fit and
praiseworthyat one
age

improper

are

speak

be fervid and

to

for this to be mature

passionate,and
At

age

blameable

and

with
this

suitable

at

argument

In

Book.

another,as

that

in

way,
certain
which
will be

the

first Book

fourth

(Vita

youth I spoke ; and


in this latter I speak after my
youth has already
since my
And
true
passed away.
meaning may be
other than that which the aforesaid songs show
forth,
I mean
by an allegoricexposition to explain these
the entrance

into my

after the literal argument


shall have
that the one
with
out : so
argument

give

relish to those

who

are

the

been

reasoned

the other shall

guests invited

to

Banquet. And of them all I pray that if the feast


be not so splendid as befits the proclamationthereof,
let them
impute each defect, not to my will but
this

my

means,

since

Liberality.

my

will here

is to

full and

lovi

THE

FIRST

TREATISE.

II.

CHAPTER

preparing for

IN

servants

that it is clean from

Banquet
bread,and

the

I, who

in

the proper
all blemish ; wherefore

writingstand

the present

well-ordered

to take

wont

are

every

13

see

in servant's

place,intend
to
two
remove
firstly
spots from this exposition
which at my repast stands in the placeof bread.
The

to be unlawful

is,that it appears

one

for any

to
speak of himself; the other,that it seems
be unreasonable
to
speak too deeply when giving
explanations.Let the knife of my judgment pare
to

one

away from the present treatise the unlawful and the


One does not permitany Rhetorician
unreasonable.

speak of

to

from
of

no

he

this is the
one

man

without

doubt

for

any

which
one

here
to

necessary

And

arises,I
blame

althoughneither may
is,that anythingwhich
than that which

And

cause.

removed, because he can speak


praiseor blame of those of whom
two
causes
commonly induce a

speaks; which
to speak of himself.

man
a

himself without

have
is

is wrong

in order
say

than

to

that

to

remove

it is

worse

praisehimself,

to be done.

The

is
essentially
wrong
through accident.

reason
worse

For

tially
openly to bring contempt on himself is essenbecause a man
to his friend,
it to
owes
wrong
take account
of his fault secretly,
is more
and no one
to himself than
the man
himself.
In the
friendly
chamber
of his thoughts,
he should reprove
therefore,
himself and weep over
his faults,
and not before the ;
world.
is but seldom
blamed
when
Again, a man
he has not the power
the knowledge requisite
or
to
: but he is always blamed
when
guide himself aright
v/eak of will,because our
good or evil dispositions
man

THE

14

measured

are

he

who

fault,while
he
therefore,

reveals
his

know

evil of himself.
avoid

it

as
evil,

let him no more


'fault,
man
praisehimself

; inasmuch

were

the words

which

he has

lauds

himself

esteemed
not

to

unless

reveals

it cannot

as

; it is praisein appearance,

For

be

he

good

have

it is

it is to

be done
honour
dis-

excess

infamyin

stance.
sub-

that of

Hence, he who

belief
and

man,

speak

to prove

assurance.

his

proves

in

spoken

are

inward

not

Wherefore

will.

self-laudation become

such

except

If

that he knows
his
proves
his want
of goodness ; if,

himself

he

A LIGHTER!

strengthof

the

by

blames

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

that

he

is

not

this befalls him

evil conscience, which

an

and
by self-praise,

in

he

revealingit

so

he

himself.

blames

and
And, again, self-praise
for this reason,
shunned
equally,
Because

there is

justjudgeof himself, so
Hence
it happens
him.
own
judgment the measures
and

self-blame
that

much

to

be

it is false witnessing.

who

man

no

are

can

be

true

will self-love deceive

that every man


has in his
of the false merchant,

buys with the other.


Every man
weights the scales against his own
wrong-doing, and adds weight to his good deeds ;
and the quantityand the weight
that the number
so
of the good deeds appear
to him to be greaterthan
if they were
tried in a justbalance ; and
in like
the evil appears
less. Wherefore
manner
speaking
of himself
with
praise or with blame, either he
with regard to the thing of which he
speaks falsely
by the fault of his judgspeaks,or he speaksfalsely
ment

who

sells with

And
is

and

as

the

the

and

one,

one

is

untruth,so

since to acquiesceis
therefore,
who
praises or who blames
wrong

face of any

man

; because

the

man

is the
to

thus

other.

admit, he
before

the

appraised

THE

neither

can

the

error

FIRST

TREATISE.

15

acquiescenor deny without fallinginto


of either praisingor
blaming himself.

which
the way of due correction,
taken without reproofof error, and which
Reserve

understood.

Reserve

also the

corrects

of due

way

be

cannot

if

honour

be taken without mention


glory,which cannot
been
that have
of virtuous works, or of dignities
worthilyacquired.
in truth,returning
And
to the main
argument,
for
I say, as before,that it is permittedto a man
And
to speak of himself.
reasons
requisite
amongst
the several requisite
evident :
most
two
are
reasons
the one
iswhen a man
avoid great dangerand
cannot
infamy,unless he discourse of himself; and then it
and

is conceded

for the

reason,

that

to

take

the

less

of the only two paths,is to take as it


objectionable
Boethius
And this necessity
moved
were
a good one.
to speak of himself,in order that under
pretext of
Consolation he might excuse
of
the perpetualshame
his imprisonment,
by showing that imprisonmentto
be unjust; since no other man
him.
to justify
arose
And
this reason
moved
St. Augustine to speak of
himself in his Confessions ; that,by the progress
which was
of his life,
from bad to good, and from
good to better,and from better to best,he might
which, from truer
give example and instruction,
could receive. Therefore,if either
no
one
testimony,
of these reasons
excuse
me, the bread of my moulding
is sufficiently
cleared from its firstimpurity.
The

fear of shame

the desire to

moves

me

; and

am

moved

give instruction which others truly


unable to give. I fear shame
for having followed
are
he may
reads
conceive who
as
passionso ardently,
the afore-named
Songs,and sees how greatlyI was
ruled by it ; which shame
ceases
entirelyby the

by

16

OF

BANQUET

THE

DANTE

ALIGHIERL

present speech of myself,which

that

proves

not

passionbut

virtue may have been the moving cause.


I intend also to demonstrate
the true meaning of

those

could not perceiveunless


Poems, which some
I relate it,because
it is concealed
under the veil
of Allegory; and this it not only will give pleasure
to hear,but subtle instruction,
both as to the diction
and as to the intention of the other writings

CHAPTER

MUCH

fault is in that
some

as

III.

in the

grave
man

who

and, before he had


And

move
thingwhich is appointedto reand yet encourages
it ; even
evil,
might be sent to quella tumult,
quelledit,should begin another.

forasmuch

side,it behoves

as

bread

my

is made

cleanse

it

clean

on

the

other,
in order to shun this reproof
which
: that my
writing,
one
may term, as it were, a Commentary, is appointed
the before-mentioned
to
remove
obscurity from
Songs, and is,in fact,itself at times a little hard
This obscurity
is here intended,in
to understand.
does not occur
order to avoid a greater defect,and
throughignorance. Alas ! would that it might have
pleasedthe Dispenserof the Universe that the cause
have
of my
been ; that others
excuse
might never
might neither have sinned againstme, nor I have
I say,
suffered punishmentunjustly
; the punishment,
the pleasure
of exile and poverty ! Since it was
of the
one

citizens of the most

me

to

beautiful and

on

the most

famous

daughterof Rome, Florence,to cast me out from her


most
sweet bosom
(whereinI was born and nourished
and in which, with her
to the heightof my
even
life,
goodwill,I desire with all my heart to repose my

THE

soul,and

weary

TREATISE.

FIRST

the

end

to

17

time which

is

given to

through almost all the land in


cant
almost a mendiwhich this languagelives a pilgrim,
of
showing forth againstmy will the wound
is often unjustly
Fortune,with which the ruined man
reproached. Truly I have been a ship without a
me),

I have

gone

"

"

sail and
lands

without

and

shores

rudder,borne

may have
whom
not

value

ports and

dry wind which blows from


I have
appeared vile in the
report
perhaps through some
in other form.
In the sightof

the

by

doleful poverty; and


of many,
who
eyes

work

to divers

imaged me
only my person became vile,but each
already completed was held to be of less
than that might again be which remained yet

to be done.

The

wherefore

happens (not only to


but to all),
it now
me
here briefly
to touch
me
pleases
And
it is because rumour
firstly,
upon.
goes beyond
the truth ; and then,what is beyond the truth restricts
and
stranglesit. Good report is the first-born ofV
kindlythoughtin the mind of the friend ; which the
mind of the foe,although it may
receive the seed,
reason

this

conceives not.
That

which

mind

gives birth to it in the first


as
place,so to make its giftmore
fair,
by the charity
of friendship,
keeps not within bounds of truth,but
When
does that to adorn
one
passes beyond them.
a
tale, he speaks against his conscience ; when
it is chanty that causes
him to pass the bounds, he
speaks not againstconscience.
The second mind which receives this,not only is
with the exaggerationof the firstmind, but
content
its

own

report adds

and
embellish,

which

so

its

by

it also

own

effect of endeavours

this action,and

by

receives

the

from

the

to

tion
decep-

goodwill

THE

BANQUET

ALlGHIERL

DANTE

OF

generated in it,good report is


it should

than

dissent of the
firstmind.

be ; either with
conscience ; even

made

the
as

ample

more

or

the

with

the

consent

it was

the third

And

mind does this ;


receiving
and the fourth ; and thus the exaggerationof good
And
ever
so, by turning the aforesaid
grows.
in the contrary direction,
motives
one
can
perceive
is made
to
why ill-fame in like manner
grow.
Wherefore
Virgilsays in the fourth of the ^Eneid :
Let Fame
live to be fickle,
and grow
she goes."
as
then,he who is willing
Clearly,
perceivethat the
may
alone is always larger,
image generatedby Fame
whatever it may be, than the thing imaged is,in its
"

true

state.

CHAPTER

IV.

HAVING

the reason
previouslyshown
why Fame
magnifiesthe good and the evil beyond due limit,
in this chapter to show
it remains
forth those
which make evident why the Presence restricts
reasons
in the oppositeway, and
having shown this I will
the principalproposition.I say, then,
return
to
that

for three

his Presence

causes

of less value than he is.


do

not

and

The

say of age, but of mind

these

are

in

the

judge :

makes

person
firstis childishness,
I

; the second

the

third

is envy ;
is human

impurity; and this is in the person judged. The


thus : the greater part
reason
one
can
first,
briefly
of men
live accordingto sense
and not accordingto
reason,

after the

manner

of children,and

the like of

judge thingssimply from without ; and the


goodnesswhich is ordained to a fitend theyperceive
not, because the eyes of Reason, which they need in
these

THE

TREATISE.

FIRST

closed.

Hence, they soon


judge according to their

perceiveit,are
all that they can, and
see
sight.
order

19

to

opinionthey form on the


good fame of others,from hearsay,with which, in
the presence of the person judged,their imperfect
they amend not accordingto
judgment may dissent,
because
they judge merely according to
reason,
that which
they have first
sense, they will deem
the person
heard to be a lie as it were, and dispraise
who
was
praised. Hence, in such men,
previously
almost
and such are
all,Presence restricts the one
forasmuch

And

and
often

sad

friends and

envy

second

is

men

as

these

are

stant
incon-

soon

the

cause

of

use

observation

comparisonis

due

Such

cloyed; they are often gay and


from
brief joys and
sorrows
; speedy
speedy foes ; each thing they do like

are

without
children,
The

any

the other.

and

fame

as

reason.

from

these

for envy

cause

of evil

reasons

is,that

to the vicious ; and

judgment,because

it does

permitReason to argue for that which is envied,


and the judicial
power is then like the judge who
hears only one
side.
as
Hence, when such men
these perceivea person to be famous, they are
because they compare
members
immediatelyjealous,
and
of the
they fear,on account
powers ; and
not

excellence
accounted

of

such

an

of less worth

one,
; and

to

be

themselves

these

passionatemen,
not onlyjudge evilly,
but,by defamation,they cause
others to judge evilly.Wherefore
with such men
their apprehensionrestricts the acknowledgmentof
good and evil in each person represented; and I say
this also of evil,because many
who
delightin evil
deeds
The

have

envy towards
third observation

evil-doers.
is of human

which
frailty,

THE

20

BANQUET

OF

DANTE

ALIGHIERI.

acceptson the part of him who is judged,and from

one

which

familiar conversation

In evidence

is not

of this,it is to

be

stained in many
parts ; and, as
is without spot." Now,
none
"

altogetherfree.

known
St.

says

the

that

man

is

man

Augustine,
is stained

passion,which he cannot always resist ;


fault of limb ; now,
by some
now, he is blemished
he is bruised by some
blow from
Fortune
he
; now,
is soiled by the ill-fame of his parents, or of some
Fame
relation : things which
does not bear
near
with her, but which
hang to the man, so that he
reveals them
by his conversation ; and these spots
the brightness
of goodness,
shadow
cast some
upon
less bright and
that they cause
it to appear
so
this is the reason
And
less excellent.
why each
in his own
prophet is less honoured
country ; and
this is why the good man
ought to givehis presence
to few,and his familiarity
to stillfewer,in order that
his name
be received and not despised. And
may
with

some

this third observation


as

for the

argument.

good, if we
Wherefore

may

be the

reverse

the

it is

same

for the evil

conditions

clearlyevident

of the
that

is free,the
from which
no
one
imperfections,
Presence restricts rightperceptionof the good
of

the

evil in every

one,

than

truth

seen

and

desires.

above, I myself have


visibly
present to all the Italians,

Hence, since,as has been

been, as

more

by

it were,
which I perhaps

said

vile than truth


made
more
am
by
desires,not only to those to whom
repute had
my
made
alreadyrun, but also to others,whereby I am
that with a more
the lighter
me
lofty
; it behoves
styleI may give to the present work a littlegravity,
through which it may show greater authority. Let
this suffice to excuse
of my
the difficulty
mentary.
com-

FIRST

THE

TREATISE.

V.

CHAPTER

it remains
is for

which
and

is

this bread

SINCE

to

cleared

now

it from

excuse

of accidental spots,
substantial one, that

being in my native tongue and not in Latin ;


by similitude one may term, of barley-meal
of

not

three

by

choose

rather than

the

one

the avoidance

second

this it is

from

which

reasons

moved
One

the other.

to

me

springs

Unfitness

of inconvenient

from the readiness of

the third from

And

flour.

wheaten

excused
briefly
from

21

the

Liberality
well-adjusted
;
for one's

the natural Love

Native

own

these things,
with the grounds for
Tongue. And
I mean
them, to the stayingof all possible
reproof,
in due

order to

That

which

to

the end

And

in view

is courage
thus he who

others,ought
suited

to

directlyleads them to a
of dispositions
best adapted
use
at in knighthood
; as the end aimed
of mind
and
strengthof body.
is ordained

have

the

to

service

those

which
dispositions
submission,knowledge

to

Because

human

commends

most

that end ; as
obedience,without which

well.

and

adorns

most

actions,and which
good result,is the

in this form.

out

reason

any

if he is not

one

is unfit to

subjectto

of
are

and

serve

of these

each

he proceeds in his service always with


conditions,
fatigueand trouble,and but seldom continues in it.
If he is not obedient,
he never
serves
except as in
his wisdom
he thinks fit,
and when
he wills ; which
is rather the service of

friend than

of

servant.

Hence, to escape this disorder,this commentary is


which is made
fit,
to the under-written
as
a servant
Songs,in order to be subjectto these,and to each
of theirs. It must
be conscious
separatecommand

THE

22

of the wants

servant, not

in the

ALIGHIERI.

DANTE

of its lord,and

would
dispositions
Latin

OF

BANQUET

obedient

be all wanting to
a

language of

it if it

were

are

all

native,since the songs

people. For,

our

which

to him

the

in

first

he would
be
place,if it had been a Latin servant
in nobility,
in virtue,
not
a
subjectbut a sovereign,
and
because
in beauty; in nobility,
the Latin is
perpetualand incorruptible
; the language of the
vulgar is unstable and corruptible.Hence we see
in the ancient writingsof the Latin Comedies
and
Tragediesthat they cannot change,being the same
Latin that we
have ; this happens not with our
now
native tongue, which, being home-made, changes
in the cities of Italy,
if
at pleasure. Hence
we
see
will look carefully
back
we
fiftyyears from the
extinct,
present time, many words to have become
and to have been born,and to have been altered.
But if a little time transforms them thus, a longer
So that I say that,if
time changes them
more.
those who departed from this life a thousand years
back
to their cities,
come
they would
ago should
believe those cities to be inhabited by a strange
people,who speak a tongue discordant from their
On this subjectI will speak elsewhere more
own.
completelyin a book which I intend to write,God
the
on
willing,
Language of the People."
not
was
subject,but sovereign,
Again, the "JL,atin
throughvirtue. Each thinghas virtue in its nature,
u

which

does

that

better it does
hence

call that

we

or

fitted ;
runs

we

it

we

to

which

so

much

the

active,doing that
ascribe

his

virtue

of

virtue

to which

sword

that

; and

virtue

more

lives

virtuous who

man

and much,
swiftly
see

it is ordained

for which

the

it has

life contemplative

he is best
horse

that

to

the

end

he is ordained

cuts

through hard

TREATISE.

FIRST

THE

23

do so.
to
things well, since it has been made
is ordained
to express human
Thus speech,which
thought,has virtue when it does that ; and most
virtue is in the speechwhich does it most.
Hence,
the Latin reveals many
forasmuch
ceived
as
things conwhich the vulgartongue cannot
in the mind
express,

even

as

those know

who

have

the

use

of

language,its virtue is far greater than that of


the vulgartongue.
but sovereign,
because of
Again, it was not subject,
calls beautiful whose
its beauty. That
thing man
because beauty results
parts are duly proportionate,
from
their harmony ; hence, man
be
to
appears
beautiful when his limbs are duly proportioned
; and
call a song
beautiful when
the voices in it,
we
accordingto the rule of art, are in harmony with
each other.
Hence, that languageis most beautiful
and this
in which the words most
fitly
correspond,
than
in the present
in the Latin
they do more
Language of the People,since the beautiful vulgar
Hence, one
tongue follows use, and the Latin,Art.
virtuous and
concedes it to be more
more
beautiful,
noble.
And
one
so
more
concludes,as first proposed
Latin
that
that
the
would
is,
Commentary
;
have been the Sovereign,not the Subject,
of the
Songs.
either

CHAPTER
HAVING
could

shown
not

have

how
been

the

VI.
the

present

Commentary

subjectof Songs

written in

native tongue, if it had been in the Latin, it


remains to show how it could not have been capable
our

or

obedient to those

Songs ;

and

then it will be shown

THE

24

BANQUET

DANTE

OF

AlIGHlERL

how, to avoid unsuitable disorder,it


speak in the native tongue.
I say

that Latin
for my

Lord

would

not

needful

was

have been

to

capable

the

Vernacular,for this reason.


The
is requiredchiefly
servant
to know
two things
is the nature of his lord, because
: the one
perfectly
there are lords of such an
that they
asinine nature
command
the oppositeof that which
they desire ;
and there are others who, without speaking,
wish to
servant

be understood
will not

and

let the

served ; and

servant

these variations

present work

ordered

do

it.

are

others who

that which
And

is

because

I do not intend in the


in men,
would
be
to show, for the digression
are

enlargedtoo much, except


such

to

move

needful,unless they have

there

as

that
speak in general,

beasts, as it were, to whom


is of littleworth.
reason
Wherefore, if the servant
know
of his lord,it is evident that
not the nature
other thingis,
he cannot
him perfectly.The
serve
men

as

that it is

these

are

for
requisite

the servant

to

know

also the

friends of his lord ; for otherwise he could not honour


them, nor serve
them, and thus he would not serve
the friends are the
as
: forasmuch
perfectly
parts of a whole, as it were, because their whole is
wish or its opposite. Neither would the Latin
one
Commentary have had such knowledge of those
thingsas the vulgar tongue itself has. That the
Latin cannot
be acquainted
with the Vulgar Tongue
and with its friends,
is thus proved. He who knows
anything in general knows not that thingperfectly
;
his lord

even

as

knows
not

he
not

if it be

knows

the
; for

who

knows

from

afar off

one

animal,

because
he knows
perfectly,
a
a dog, a wolf, or
he-goat. The Latin
but not sepaVulgar tongue in general,
rately
if it should know
it would
it separately

that

animal

that it should

thus, what

25

Vulgar Tongues,because

all the

know

TREATISE.

FIRST

THE

know

more

one

might

soever

man

it is not

right

than the other ; and


possess the complete

ledge
the Latin tongue, the use of that knowshow him all distinctions of the Vulgar.

knowledgeof
would
But

this is not

so, for

be

if he
distinguish,

tongue of Provence

one

used to the Latin

from

the

German,

nor

that of Provence

the

can

the vulgar Italian tongue


distinguish

German

not

Italy,the vulgar

of

native

does

from

hence, it is evident that the Latin

cognizantof the Vulgar. Again, it is not


to
cognizantof its friends,because it is impossible
the friends without
know
knowing the principal
;
hence,if the Latin does not know the Vulgar,as it
its
is proved above, it is impossiblefor it to know
friends.
Again, without conversation or familiarity,
to know
it is impossible
men
; and the Latin has no
in any languageas the
conversation with so many
and consequently
Vulgar has,to which all are friends,
the friends of the Vulgar.
know
cannot
And
this,that it would be possibleto say, is no
is not

with
does converse
contradiction ; that the Latin
friends of the Vulgar : but since it is not
some

all,it is not perfectly


acquaintedwith
friends,whereas perfectknowledge is required,

familiar with
its

and

defective.

not

CHAPTER
HAVING
not

proved

have

could

not

who

obedience.

been

been
the

True

the Latin

Commentary

capableservant,

have
has

that

VII.

an

obedient

I will tell how


one.

must

have

it

dient
is obe-

He

which
good disposition
obedience

could

is called

three

things,

26

THE

OF

BANQUET

DANTE

without

which

and

under
bitter;entirely

not

it cannot

; with

three

due

thingsit

be

and

ALIGH1ERL

it should

be

control,and

sweet,
pulsive
im-

not

excessive ; which
mentary
impossiblefor the Latin Com-

measure,

was

not

have ; and, therefore,


it was
impossible
That
be obedient.
to the Latin
it would

to

for it to

by such
an
argument as this : each thingwhich proceedsby an
and consequently
is bitter,
inverse order is laborious,
and not sweet ; even
to sleepby day and to wake
as
and not forwards.
by night,and to go backwards
For
is to
the sovereign,
the subjectto command
proceed in the inverse order ; because the direct
order is,for the sovereignto command
the subject
;
have

been

as
impossible,

and

and
thus it is bitter,

the

bitter command

is

said,is evident

not

; and

sweet

because

to

it is

impossibleto give sweet


when
the subjectcommands,
obedience, it is impossible,
for the obedience
of the sovereign to be
Hence
if the Latin is the sovereign
of the
sweet.
Vulgar Tongue, as is shown above by many reasons,
and the Songs,which
in placeof commanders,
are
in the Vulgar Tongue, it is impossiblefor the
are
Then
is obedience entirely
argument to be sweet.
commanded, and in no way spontaneous,when that
which
the obedient
man
does, he would not have
of

done

without

his

to

back, and

carry

one,

commanded,
would

have

me

to

if without

say

that my

but

is in

been

that

in

whole

in

or

part,

And, therefore,if it might


long robes upon
carry two

commandment.

be commanded
my

will,either

own

commandment
obedience

is not

part spontaneous
of

the

Latin

should

entirely

; and

such

Commentary,

consequentlyit would not have been obedience


What
such might have been
entirelycommanded.
that the Latin,without the command
appears by this,
and

FIRST

THE

TREATISE

27

have

of this Lord, the Vernacular,would

expounded
expound,as he

many partsof his argument (anditdoes


who searches well the books written in Latin
which the Vulgar Tongue does
perceive),
Again,obedience is within bounds,and

may

nowhere.
not

sive,
exces-

it goes to the limit of the command, and


further ; as Individual Nature is obedient to versal
Uniwhen

no

Nature

when

she

thirty-twoteeth

makes

in

the man,
she
and no more
and no less ; and when
makes five fingers
and no
the hand, and no more
on
less ; and

the Law

Neither
would

only in

would

the

not

only in

the

the

excess,

but

in each

one

would

have

not

been

obedient.

been

the executor

That

the

he

have

limit,but
not

have

would

not

have

been

of his

Lord,

usurper, one
Lord, namely,these Songs,

This

is ordained

Commentary
and

servant, commands

its

would

of the commandment

easilyprove.
this

Latin

thus

; and

within due

consequentlyit

that neither would

which

been

this,but it
and not
defect,

done

sinned

and
intemperate,

to

have

Latin

have

obedience

can

to

less.

no

and

Justicewhen he
commands, and no more

is obedient

man

that which

does
and

the

desires that

for

their

they shall be
far intelligent

explainedto all those whose mind is so


that when
understand,
they hear speech they can
and
when
be understood,
they speak they can
And
no
one
doubts, that if the Songs should
command
by word of mouth, this would be their
commandment.

But

the

explainedthem, except
that

the

forasmuch

rest
as

could
the

desire to understand
than

Latin

would

to the learned

not

number
those

have
of

men

not
:

understood.
unlearned

have
and

so

Hence,
men

who

may be far greater


the learned,it follows that it could not havd

Songs

OF

BANQUET

THE

28

DANTE

fulfilledits commandment

is understood

which

Tongue,

so

ALIGHIERI.

well
both

the

as

by

Native

the Learned

Again, the Latin would have


explainedthem to peopleof another language,as to
to others ; and
the Germans, to the English,and
the Unlearned.

and

have

it would

here

exceeded

their commandment.

I say, their
againsttheir will,speaking freely,
meaning would be explainedthere where they could
it in all their beauty.
not convey
And, therefore,let each one
know, that nothing
which is harmonized
by the bond of the Muse can
be translated from its own
language into another,
without
and
breaking all its sweetness
harmony.
And
this is the reason
not translated
was
why Homer
from Greek into Latin,like the other writings
For

that

we

why

the

have

of the

verses

of music
from

of the Greeks.

and

Hebrew

Psalms

And
are

this is the
without

harmony ; for they were


into Greek, and from Greek

in the firsttranslation allthat sweetness

and

And, thus is concluded


the

beginningof

the

that which

reason

sweetness

translated
into Latin,
vanished.

proposed in
chapterimmediatelybefore this.
was

VIII.

CHAPTER

that,in order
provedby sufficientreasons
it would be rightthat
to avoid unsuitable confusion,
the above-named
Songs be opened and explainedby
a
Commentary in our Native Tongue and not in the
Latin,I intend to show again how a ready Liberality
SINCE

it is

makes

me

select this way

and

leave the other.

It is

in three
then, to perceivea ready Liberality
possible,
which go with this Native Tongue, and which
things,
would

not

have

gone

with the Latin.

The

firstis to

THE

FIRST

TREATISE.

29

is to give useful things;


; the second
many
without being asked for it.
the third is to givethe gift

giveto
For

but to

give to and
give to and to

inasmuch

as

it has

God, who is the


again,to give to
to

one

is good ;
person
is ready goodness,

assist many
similitude to the

without
impossible

is

many
as

good giftsof

of the Universe.

Benefactor

forasmuch

one,

assist

to

to

one

be

is included

giving
many.

without

givingto
assists many
does good to
he
because
many,
and to the other ; he who
does good
assists one
one
to one
only : hence, we see the imposersof the laws,
if they are for the common
good,hold the
especially
Again, to
eyes fixed whilst compiling these laws.
give useless things to 'the receiver is also a good,
shows himself at least to
he who gives,
inasmuch
as
fore
be a friend ; but it is not a perfect
good, and thereit is not ready: as if a knight should give to a
and as if the doctor should give to
doctor a shield,
a
knight the written aphorismsof Hippocrates,or
But

give to

to

one

may
who

rather the technics of Galen


say that

"

the face of the

that of the

good

in

And

; because

giftought to

that is,that
receiver,"

him,"and that it be
in him
readyliberality
forasmuch

the wise
be

it be

men

similar to
suitable to

useful ; and therein it is called


who thus discriminates in giving.
moral

discourses

usuallycreate
desire to see
in this chapterI intend
their origin,
a
demonstrate
four reasons
to
sity
briefly
why of necesthe gift(in order that it be ready liberality)
should
be
useful to him
who
receives.
Firstly,
But

because
action
and

virtue must

as

sad in every
hence,if the giftbe not cheerful in the giving

in the

be cheerful

and

not

in it there is not perfectnor


receiving,
ready virtue. And this joy can springonly from the
which resides in the giverthroughthe giving,
utility,

30

THE

and

which

OF

BANQUET

the

to

comes

DANTE

ALIGHIERI.

receiver

ceiving. In the giver,then,


that on
in doing this,
foresight,
the benefit of

remain

all other

the benefit of the


one

and

the

it will be

there

re-*

be

must

the

his part there shall


inherent virtue which is above

an

advantages;

through the

and

that to the receiver

come

thinggiven. Thus the


other will be cheerful,
and consequently
both
that is,a liberality
readyliberality,
of the

use

prompt and well considered.

Secondly,because virtue ought always to move


thingsforwards and upwards. For even as it would
be a blameable action to make
a spade of a beautiful
sword, or to make a fair basin of a lovelylute ; so it
is wrong
to move
anything from a placewhere it
and to carry it into a placewhere it
may be useful,
may
work

be

less useful.

And

it is blameable

since

to

vain,it is wrong not merelyto put the thing


in a
in a placewhere it may be less useful,
but even
place where it may be equallyuseful. Hence, in
order that the changingof the place of a thingmay
because
be laudable,
it must
always be for the better,
it ought to be especially
praiseworthy
; and this the
not
giftcannot
be, if by transformation it become
if
more
precious,
precious.Nor can it become more
it be

in

not

the

useful to

more

giver. Wherefore,one
be useful to him

who

receiver than
that the

concludes

the

to

giftmust

receives it,in order that it may

be in itselfreadyliberality.

Thirdly,because the exercise


itselfought to be the acquirerof
life has
make

need

life happy.

receiver

is

But

friend,it

utility
stamps
which

of these,and

on

the

the food

must

that the
be

virtue

the

friends.

end

For

of
our

of virtue is to

giftmay

make

the

useful to him, because


the

image
and
friendship,

memory
of

the

of

of the
the

gift,

firmer

the

much

so
impression,

hence, Martino

TREATISE.

FIRST

THE

greater is the utility;

the

wont

was

31

to

say,

will fade

Never

fore,
giftGiovanni made me." Wherebe its
in order that in the gift there
may
be ready,
and that it may
virtue,which is Liberality,

from

mind

my

the

who

be useful to him

it must

the act of virtue should

since
Finally,

forced, it

receives it.

action,when

is free

which

*be

person

is shown

free,not

goes

ingly
will-

his

keeping
when
the face turned thitherward ; it is forced action,
he goes againsthis will ; which is shown
by his not
he
the place whither
looking cheerfullytowards
its appointed
goes : and thus the giftlooks towards
place when it addresses itself to the need of the
to

receiver.

any

place;

And

since

by

itself to

address

it cannot

need

in order
except it be useful,it follows,

may

be with

that

the

free action,that

the virtue be

that

that

it

free,and

giftgo freelyto its object,which is the


be to the
receiver ; and consequentlythe giftmust
of the receiver,
be a
in order that there may
utility
therein.
prompt and reasonable Liberality
The third respectin which one
observe a ready
can
is givingunasked
Liberality,
; because, to give what
is asked,is,on
one
side,not virtue,but traffic; for,
the receiver buys,although the giver may
sell ;
not
and
Seneca
so
nothing is purchased
says "that
more
dearlythan that whereon prayers are expended."
Hence, in order that in the gift there be ready
and that one
Liberality,
perceive that to be in
may
it,there
and
is

must

the

be

giftmust
besought costs

now,

because

freedom

from

be unasked.
us

so

dear, I

it will be

treatise of this book.

each

act

Wherefore
do not

of traffic,
that which
to

mean

fullydiscussed

in

argue
the last

THE

32

BANQUET

OF

DANTE

CHAPTER
A

LATIN

three

Commentary

above-mentioned

ALIGHIERL

IX.

would

be

wanting in

conditions,which

in order that in the benefit conferred

must

all the
cur,
con-

there may

be

Mother
ready Liberality
; and our
Tongue possesses
all,as it is possibleto show thus manifestly.The
Latin would
to

memory
learned men,
have had

have

served many
recall
; for if we
that which
is discoursed of above, the
not

without

the Italian tongue, could not


this service. And those who know
Latin,if

who they are, we shall find that,


clearly
out of a thousand
one
ably
only would have been reasonserved by it,because
they would not have
received it,so
they to avarice,which
prompt are
them
from each nobility
of soul that esperemoves
cially
And
of them,
desires this food.
to the shame
I say that they ought not to be called learned men
:
because they do not acquireknowledge for the use
of it,but forasmuch
as
they gain money or dignity
thereby; even as one ought not to call him a harper
who keeps a harp in his house to be lent out for a
and not to use it for its music.
price,
I say
proposition,
Returning,then,to the principal
how
the Latin would have
that one
can
see
clearly
given its good giftto few, but the Mother Tongue
the willingness
of heart
For
will serve
many.
which
awaits this service,is in those who, through
misuse of the world, have left Literature to men

we

who

wish to

have

see

made

of her

harlot ; and

these nobles

other
princes, barons, knights, and
many
whose
noble
people,not only men^ but women,
language is that of the people and unlearned.
Again, the Latin would not have been giver of a
are

TREATISE.

FIRST

THE

33

the Mother
as
Tongue will be ; forasmuch
gift,
it is used ;
as
as
nothing is useful except inasmuch
existence with inactive goodness.
is there a perfect
nor
of gold, and
Even
so
pearls,and other treasures

useful

which

subterranean,

are

of the miser

in

are

wherein

the treasure

of this

Commentary

for whose

service

lead

to

men

is

it is

of

this

in

use

these

treatise ; and

earth

gifttruly
the explanation of the Songs,
to
It seeks especially
made.
virtue, as

to

in whom

true

seen

design those
is sown,
nobility

described
all

almost

are

will be

This

treatise.

that will be

manner

is the

hand

The

concealed.

and

wisdom

by the process
only could have
after the

was

in the

are

than

place

lower

which

those

men

in the

of the

fourth

people,

chapter are named


there is no
And
above.
contradiction,though some
them
be amongst
learned man
; for,as says my
may
of the
in the first book
Master
Aristotle
Ethics,
HOPS
swallow
the ^pring." It is,
One
nflf. make
Tongue will give the
then, evident that the Mother
have
would
Latin
not
useful
given
thing where
it. Again, the Mother
Tongue will give that gift
have
would
the Latin
not
given,
unasked, which
because
it will give itself in form of a Commentary
But this
for by any person.
asked
which
was
never
for Commentary
cannot
one
say of the Latin, which
and for Expositions to many
writingshas often been
in request, as one
can
perceive clearlyin the opening

as

those

noble

are

which

in this

"

of many
And
moved
Latin.

book.

thus
me

to

it is evident
use

the

that

Mother

ready Liberality
Tongue rather than
a

BANQUET

THE

34

OF

DANTE

ALIGHIERL

CHAPTER

X.

who, at
greatlyneeds excuse
and so honourable
its provisions,
'not of wheateri
bread of barley,
HE

the

must

be

from

that

reason

which

which
has

feast

the

been

long

noble in

in its guests, sets


flour : and evident

make

can

so

man

depart

custom

of

the use of Latin in writinga Commentary.


as
others,
evident ;
he would
make
the reason
And, therefore,
for the end of new
things is not certain,because
of them has never
been had before : hence,
experience
the ways

used

process and

and

observed

are

estimated

both

in

in the end.

is moved
Reason, therefore,

to

command

that

when
look about
him
he
diligently
enters
a
new
path, saying, that, in deliberating
about new
be clear which
must
things,that reason
make
Let
a man
can
departfrom an old custom."
no
one
marvel,then,if the digression
touchingmy
apology be long ; but,as is necessary, let him bear
its lengthwith patience.
Continuing it,I say that,since it has been shown
how, in order to avoid unsuitable confusion and from
I fixed on the Commentary in
readiness of liberality,
the Mother
Tongue and left the Latin,the order of
I
the entire apologyrequiresthat I now
prove how
attached myselfto that throughthe natural love for
man

should

"

my native tongue, which is the third and last reason


which
I say that natural love
moved
to this.
me
the lover principally
moves
to three things
: the one
is to exalt the loved

the
object,

second

is to be

jealous

thereof,the third is to defend it,as each one sees


these three thingsmade
to happen ; and
constantly
Mother
me
adopt it,that is, our
Tongue, which
I love and have loved.
and accidentally
naturally

was

moved

TREATISE.

FIRST

THE

35

in the first placeto exalt it.

And

it
:
by this reason
happens that it is possibleto magnify things in
conditions of greatness,and nothingmakes so
many
great as the greatness of that goodness which is the

that I do

mother
And

no

exalt

and

it may

be

seen

greater goodnesscan

is his

virtuous action,which

man

own

the greatness of true dignityand


of true
true power, of true riches,
renown,

pure

greatness I
which
I

cause

he had
him

of greatness.
have than that of

of all other forms

preserver

goodness,by
of true

which

honour, of

of true and
friends,
are
acquiredand preserved: and this
that
as
give to this friend, inasmuch
of goodnessin latent power and hidden,
-

to have

in action and revealed in its own

which is to declare thought.


operation,
Secondly,I was moved
by jealousyof it. The
anxious
to
jealousyof the friend makes a man
secure
lastingprovision
; wherefore, thinkingthat,
from the desire to understand
these Songs,some
learned
unman

would

have

translated the Latin

mentary
Com-

into the Mother

Tongue ; and fearingthat


the Mother
Tongue might have been employed by
who would
have made
it seem
one
some
ugly,as he
did who
translated the Latin
of the
Ethics,"I
endeavoured
in myself more
to employ it,trusting
than in any other. Again, I was
moved
to defend
it from its numerous
who
it and
depreciate
accusers,
commend
the Langue d'Oc, sayothers,especially
ing,
"

that the latter is

more

beautiful and

better than

this,therein deviatingfrom the truth. For by this


Commentary the great excellence of our common
Lingua di Si will appear, since (through it,most
be
as
lofty and most
fitly,
originalideas may
and easilyexpressedas if it were
by
sufficiently,
the Latin
which
show
cannot
its virtue in
itself,

because

things rhymed
which

OF

BANQUET

THE

36

of

AL1GHIERL

accidental

therewith

connected

are

DANTE

that

"

ornaments

is,the rhyme

rhythm,or the regulatedmeasure


; as it is
the splendour of
with the beauty of a lady when
the jewelsand of the garments excite more
ration
admithan
she herself. He, therefore,
who wishes
she is
to judge well of a lady looks at her when
alone and her natural beauty is with her, free from
the

and

all accidental

So

ornament.

it will

Commentary, in which will be


the proprietyof
the syllables,

Tongue, which
full of most
since

the
to

the

good

and

sweet

the

and

confusion

their shame

do

may

will

amiable

the

with

this

of
facility

conditions, and
in

Mother

our

perceive to be
beauty. But,

in its intention

to

show

of the accuser, I will tell,


the Italian
those who
accuse

malice

of

language,wherefore
this I shall

most

the

made

are

observer

determined

it is most

error

which

orations

the sweet

seen

be

in

they are moved to do this


a
specialchapter,in order

be

; and

that

notable.

more

CHAPTER

XL

of the evil
perpetualshame and abasement
the Mother
commend
of Italywho
men
Tongue of
I say that
their own,
other nations and depreciate
their action proceeds from five abominable
causes
:
To

the

the first is blindness

of discretion ; the

chievous
second, mis-

self-justification
; the third,greed
; the

and

fourth,an

last,vileness

of

invention

mind, that

of envy ; the fifth


And
is,cowardice.

of these grave faults has a great


for few are those who are free from them.
each

one

of vainglory

following,

Of the

one
first,

part of the

As

the sensitive

with

its eyes,

has

soul

37

thus.

reason

can

inasmuch
things,

learns the difference of

which

as

it

they are

the rational part has its eye


much
it learns the difference of things,inas-

externally
; so

coloured
with

TREATISE.

FIRST

THE

which

is ordained

each

as

discretion.

And

he

as

to

this is

; and

end

some

the eyes
the guidance of

is blind with

who

always according to
others judging evil and good ; so he who is blinded
from the lightof discretion,
ment
always goes in his judgaccordingto the cry, rightor wrong as it may
the guide is blind, it must
be.
Hence, whenever
of

sense

goes

follow
must

what

that

to

come

blind
bad

leans

soever

man

Therefore

end.

fall into the

"

Mother

cry has

This

Tongue, for

him

it is written

that, If the blind lead the blind,both


ditch."

on

long raised against our


which will be argued
reasons

been

the

below.
After
who

this cry

the

blind

above

men

mentioned,

with one
the
it were
hand
as
on
infinite,
shoulder of these false witnesses,
have fallen into the
are

ditch

of false

And

forasmuch

opinion,from

which

they know not


how to escape.
From
the use of the sightof discretion
of the people are
the mass
debarred,because
each beingoccupiedfrom the earlyyears of his life
with some
trade,he so directs his mind to that,by
force of necessity,
that he understands
nought else.
well

as

the

habit

of

virtue,moral

as

cannot
intellectual,
possiblybe had all on a
be
sudden, but it must
acquired through long
as

custom, and
some

art, and

as

these

care

not

in
people place their custom
to discern other things,
it is

impossibleto them to have


happens that often they
Death!"

and

discretion.
cry

aloud

"Let 'Life die!" because

Wherefore
"

some

it

Long live
one
begins

THE

38

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

ALIGHIERL

this is the most


the cry.
And
their blindness.
For this reason

people vain, because

glory of

the

without

discernment.

persons
; for if a

sheep and not men


a
leap over
precipiceof
would
cause

some

the others

he

be

to

are

sheep

thousand

be

it to

sees

These

termed

others

dangerous defect in
Boethius
judges

should

feet,all the

if one
follow after it ; and
sheep, for
or
other, in crossinga road, leaps,all

when

they see nothingto leap


And
I once
saw
over.
leap into a well,
many
had leaptinto it,believingperhapsthat
because one
it was
leaping a wall ; notwithstandingthat the
and
shepherd,weeping and shouting,with arms
breast set himself againstthem.
The
second
faction against our
Mother
Tongue
There
springsfrom a malicious self-justification.
who
would
rather be
are
thought masters
many
than be such; and to avoid the opposite that is,to
be held not to be such
they always cast blame on
the material they work on, or upon the instrument ;
the iron given to him,
the clumsy smith blames
as
and the bad harpistblames
the harp,thinkingto
leap,even

"

"

the

cast

music
it from

of

the

bad

the iron and

upon

themselves.

few, who
orators

blame

; and

to

excuse

the

upon

there

Thus

desire that

blade

man

may
themselves

or

for

on

the material,that is,their

and

are

speakingbadly,they

accuse
own

and

of the

harp,and
and

some,

hold

them

for not
or

bad

to

lift

not

to

be

speaking,

throw

blame

Mother

Tongue,
they are not

praisethat of other lands,which


he who
wishes to see
required to employ. And
wherefore this iron is to be blamed, let him look at
the work
which good artificers make
of it,and he
of those who, in casting
the malice
will understand
blame upon it,think therebyto excuse
themselves.

THE

FIRST

TREATISE,

39

ginning
these,Tullius exclaims in the bethe book
De
of his book, which he names
the Roman
because in his time theyblamed
Finibus,"
And
thus I
Latin, and praisedthe Greek grammar.
the Italian
vilify
say, for like reasons, that these men
that of Provence.
tongue, and glorify
Mother
third faction against our
The
Tongue
springsfrom greed of vainglory. There are many
other
who, by describingcertain things in some
language, and by praisingthat language,deem
to be more
themselves
worthy of admiration than
And
them
in their own.
if they described
doubtedly
unto learn well a foreign
tongue is deserving
of some
praisefor intellect; but it is a blameable
thing to applaud that language beyond truth,to
one's self for such an acquisition.
glorify
So
The fourth springsfrom an invention of envy.
that,as it is said above,envy is always where there
is equality.Amongst the men
of one
nation there
is the equalityof the native tongue ; and because
how
from
to use
knows
it like the other,therenot
one
The
envious man
then argues,
springsenvy.
not blaming himself for not
knowing how to speak
like him who does speak as he should,but he blames
that which is the material of his work, in order to rob,
the work on that side,
him who does
by depreciating
speak,of honour and fame ; like him who should
find fault with the blade of a sword, not in order to
throw blame on the sword, but on the whole work of

Againstsuch

as

"

the master.
The

fifth and

last faction

springsfrom vileness of
mind.
The magnanimous man
self
himalways praises
in his heart ; and so the pusillanimous
on.
man,
the contrary,always deems
himself less than he is.
And
because to magnify and to diminish always have

ALTGHIERL

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

40

respectto something,by comparisonwith which the


makes himself greatand the smallman
large-minded
makes himself small,it results therefrom
minded
man

always makes others less


magnanimous man
others
makes
than they are, and the pusillanimous
therefore with that measure
always greater. And
his
wherewith
a man
measures
himself,he measures
which are as it were
a
own
things,
part of himself.
his own
It results that to the magnanimous man
better than
they are, and
things always appear
those of others less good ; the pusillanimous
man
always believes his thingsto be of little value,and
that the

those of

others of

Wherefore

worth.

many,
of this vileness of mind, depreciate
their

account

on

much

native tongue, and


such as
these are

Italywho

hold

all

that of others ; and


wicked
abominable
men

applaud
the

this

preciousMother

of

in vile

Tongue

contempt, which
inasmuch

if it be vile in any case, is so only


it sounds
in the evil mouth
of these

as

adulterers,under
of whom

men

whose

spoke in

the first argument.

CHAPTER
IF

flames

windows
there
answer

to

house,and

fire within

were

Yes

"

"

otherwise

pass between
if love for my
answer

of those

"

Yes

me

the

and

that

above.

to

would

one

should

if another
not

questionand
man

languageis
him, after

who

in me, and

the

should
how

the most.

the

should

if

ask

well know

might be mocking

would

own
"

visiblythrough the

if any
it,and

him, one

to

judgewhich

Not

XII.

of fire should issue


of

blind

those

guidance go

answer

ask

me

if I should

arguments

pounded
pro-

TREATISE.

FIRST

THE

41

ithas to be proved that not only


But, nevertheless,
love for it exists in me, and
love,but the most perfect

againits adversaries must


this to him who
strating
is
friendship
I

say

will understand

the friend of it,and

I became

tell how

Whilst

be blamed.

demon-

well,I

will

then how

my

confirmed.
writes

(as Tullius

that

in his book

on

from the opinionof the


not dissenting
Friendship,
opened up in the eighthand in the ninth
Philosopher
of the Ethics)Neighbourhood and Goodness
are,
Bene-'
of the birth of Love:
the causes
naturally,
of the
the causes
are
volence,Study,and Custom
there have been all these
And
growth of Love.
the love which I
to produceand to strengthen
causes
Native
bear to my
Language, as I shall briefly
in
the nearer
A thingis so much
demonstrate.
portionas it is most nearlyallied to all the other\
the
kind ; wherefore,of all men
thingsof its own
and of all the Arts,
is nearest
to the father,
son

pro-],
'

is nearest

Medicine

Musician, because

to

they are

that whereon

man

thus his

Native

the

to

than

earth the nearest

because
lives,
own

Music

allied to them

more

Of all parts of the

the others.

to it. And

the Doctor, and

he is most

Language

is

united

is nearest

united to it ; for it,


him, inasmuch as he is most
before any other.
and
it alone,is first in the mind

to

And

not

inasmuch

only of
as

itself is it

it is united with

united,but by accident,
the persons

nearest

to

and his
him, as his parents,and his fellow-citizens,
Mother
own
people. And this is his own
Tongue,
which is not only nearest, but especially
the nearest
to each man.
if near
Therefore,
neighbourhood be
the seed of friendship,
is said above, it is manifest
as
that it has been
I bear

to

my

one

Native

of the

causes

of the love which

Language,which

is

nearer

to

than

me

bound

is most

people,that

to

the

the inheritance
and

because

it,gave rise
first-born

cause,

firstin each

stands

alone which

whereby that

above-mentioned

The

others.

the

AL1GHIERI.

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

42

the custom

to

should

sons

mind

of the

succeed

to

relatives ;
therefore the most
relatives,

solelyas being the

the nearest

nearest

beloved.
made

Again, Goodness
here it is to be known

anythingis
to

be

loveable

friend to

it.

goodness inherent in
thing; as in manhood

in that

quite free

womanhood

in

to

which
alone

is most

that is the most

human

is in the rational part,

says

the

Philosopherin

or

This
the

much
virtue

loveable in him

this is

and

that is,in the Will.


as

all

hair ; as in the setter


in the greyhound to be

have

is loveable in man,

be

from

good scent, and as


it is native,so
in proportionas
swift. And
is it delightful.
the more
Hence, althougheach

to

And

that all

well bearded, and


the face

over

me

which
Justice,

rather in the intellectual,


is

so

loveable

fifth book

of

that
the

love it, such


thieves and
as
Ethics, its enemies
robbers ; and, therefore,we
that its opposite,
see
is especially
that is, Injustice,
hated ; such
as
falsehood,
theft,
treachery,
ingratitude,
rapine,deceit,
and their like ; the which
such inhuman
are
sins,
himself from the infamy of
that,in order to excuse
that a man
such,it is granted through long custom
has been said above, and
as
may speak of himself,
may say if he be faithful and loyal. Of this virtue
I shall speak hereafter more
fullyin the fourteenth
treatise ; and here quittingit,I return
to the proposition.
Having proved,then, that the goodness
of a thing is loved the more
the more
it is innate,
it is to be loved and commended
the
more
for itself,
it remains
to see
what that goodness is. And
we

THE

FIRST

TREATISE.

43

that,in all speech,to express a thought well


and
clearlyis the thing most to be admired and
commended.
This, then, is its first goodness. And
Mother Tongue, as is made
forasmuch
as this is in our
it is manifest that it has
evident in another chapter,
of the love which I bear to it ; since,
been the cause
as has been
said, Goodness is the producerof Love."
see

"

XIII.

CHAPTER
HAVING
those

said how

in the

things which

two

Tongue

Mother
have

made

me

there

are

its friend,

I will
and its innate goodness,
to me
is,nearness
and through
tell how by kindness and union in study,
is conthe benevolence
firmed
of long use, the friendship
I say that I for myself
and grows.
Firstly,
have received from
it the greatest benefits.
And,
it is to be known
therefore,
that,amongst all benefits,
that is the greatest which
is most
preciousto him
thai
who
as
receives it ; and nothing is so precious
through which all other thingsare wished ; and all
of
the other things are
for the perfection
wished
him
who
wishes.
man
a
as
Wherefore, inasmuch
second
have two perfections,
first and one
one
may
him to
him to be, the second causes
(thefirst causes
the
be good),
if the Native Language has been to me
of the one
and of the other,I have received
cause

that

from
been

it the greatest benefit.


And
the cause
of this condition in

The efficient cause


briefly.
is not one
only,but among
is the

hammer

chief of
are

the

for the existence of

causes

things

efficient causes

many

others,hence

the efficient

have
that it may
be shown
can
me

the

of the

fire and

one

the

sword-blade,

44

ALIGHIERL

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

This my
is especially
so.
althoughthe workman
Mother
Tongue was the bond of union between my
the fire is the
who spoke with it,even
as
forefathers,
the smith

the iron and

link between

makes

who

knife ; therefore it is evident that it


in some
birth,and so it was
way
my

the

in
co-operated
the

cause

of

my
being. Again, this my Mother Tongue was
introducer into the path of knowledge,which is the
with it I entered
inasmuch
ultimate perfection,
as
Latin
into the
Language, and with it I was
taught; the which Latin was then the way of further
my

advancement

for

me.

And

so

it is evident

and

that this my
language has been my
great benefactor. Also it has been engaged with me
thus prove.
in one
self-same study,and this I can
Each
;
thing naturallystudies its self-preservation
known

by

me

hence, if the Mother Tongue could seek anything


be to
oi itself,
it would seek that ; and that would
of the greateststability
for itself a position
secure
:
but greater stability
it could not secure
than
by
unitingitselfwith number and with rhyme.
And
this self-same study has been mine, as is so
evident that it requires
no
testimony; therefore its
been
have
and
the same,
one
study and mine
is confirmed and
whereby the harmony of friendship
increased.

Also

benevolence

of

between

long use

us

there

for from

has
the

been

the

beginningof
life I have had with
it kind fellowship
and
my
conversation,and have used it,when deliberating,
and questioning
if friendship
interpreting,
; wherefore,
increases throughlong use, as in all reason
appears,
it is manifest that in me
it has increased especially,
for with this my
Mother
Tongue I have spent all
And
thus one sees
that to the shapingof
my time.
this friendship
there have co-operatedall causes
of
:

THE

and

birth

have

which

Bread,

with

Poems

ought

of

it

our

time

new

day
in

day

that

in

to

that

clear

made

this

enough

of

nature

attend

be.

under-written

the

the

that

gathering

see

can

is

and

to

its

grain.

serve

up

Sun,
shall
darkness

gives

with
which

set,
and

light

This

it.
shall
and
in
to

stell

when

give
because

gloom
them

and
will

rise

no

which

with

barley-bread

themselves

satisfy

overflow

shall

are

be

will
will

our

fault

to

and

of

eaten,

of

is

Meat

is

Love,

ought

one

that

viands.
This

that

be

and

Wherefore,
the

the

to

concluded

backwards

reasons,

which

blemishes,

is, and

it

eyes

afore-stated

the

up

the

it be

Perfect

most

So

it.

for

casting

Thus,

the

but

Love,

45

let

Therefore,

growth.

only

not

TREATISE.

FIRST

more.

full

my
be

that

new

the

light

sun

to

the

sand
thou-

baskets

Light,
of

those

sun

this
who

of

this

third

the

who

YE

that

Thoughts

you

Soul

of

Voice

fed

that

once

Thought

that

oft fled

it beheld
whom

Of
That

One

Now

And

"

And

dread

Such

Of

the

opposite
the

It says,
That

Looked

"of

troubled
she

siid, " Her

Why

long

to

be ! "

thought aside,
might

his

where

sight.

"

O, ill-starred !

glory
"

bear

When

I gaze

on

tender

into

they
death

beam.

consoled

once
"

dream

The

weeps,
that

eyes,

humble

the

lies

salvation

Lady's

anguish

doubted

Vet, vainly warned,

feet.

me

outward

the

to

asks,

eyes

sweet,

was

regard

Soul

one

effectual

breaks

thought

to

the

angel in the

Still,therefore, the

rays.

Father's

your

her

in this

of

now

crowned

to

so

seeks

sighs

tears,

grieving heart

drives

fixes my

intently

gaze

her
star's

With

quivers

Who

says,

Must

Nor

Lady

"

with

me

hears

there

it discoursed

that

heart

my

on

said,

appears

masters

That

This

Soul

the

heed

you

glorified,

sweetly

so

brought

always

it,and

the
up

Lady

cares

in your

Thought

There

new

condemns

descends

Spirit that

life has

my

life I lead.

within

weeps

impart

can

I pray

the

Spirit that

you

therefore

about

heart,

my

by you,

heart's

I tell the
sad

The

but

none

I shall say

What

to

it stands,

where

To

is within

that

thought,

of

intent

move,

is moved

that

Heaven,

To

Heaven

reasoning

Hear

treatise.

Seconb

tTbe

her

such
and

flies

me

thine

as

eyes
of her

words

my

to

stir,'

die.

?"

SECOND

THE

"

Thou

"

"

dead, but in

art not

Soul of

Dear

TREATISE.

ours

vain

lost in

so

47

dismay,
thy distress,"

voice of tenderness.
Whispers a spirit
This Lady'sbeauty darkens all your day,
Vile fear possesses you ; see, she is lowly,
Pitiful,
courteous, though so wise and holy.

Think

thou to call her Mistress


then
thyself,

thou delude

Save

High miracles

evermore

shall there shine

thee,so divine

before

That thou shalt say, O Love, when


True Lord,behold the handmaid
Be it unto

adore,
of the Lord,
!"

accordingto thy Word

me

song, I do believe there will be few


Wio
toilto understand thy reasoning;

My

Bat if thou pass, perchance,to those who


No skillto give thee the attention due,
Then

pray

let them
I,dear last-born,

TD find at least a music in my

bring

rejoice

voice.

CHAPTER

I.

I, the servant, with preliminarydiscourse


in the precedingTreatise,
have with all due care
and
prepaiedmy bread, the time now
summons,
having
requires
my shipto leave the port: wherefore,
SINCE

trimrred the mizen-mast

desirq I

and

voyage,
at

be

food may

happy

supper.

more

to the wind

reason

with the

ocean

healthful

of my

the end

comes

the

enter

of

hope

in order

before
profitable,

the table I wish to show

on

to be

haven

But

of

the

how

an

of my
easy

reached

that my
first dish

it ought to

I say then, as is narrated in the first


that this exposition
must be Literal and Allechapter,
be

eaten.

gorcal;
tha

and

it is

to

make

to
possible

this

one
explicit

understand

should
book

know

in four

The
does

one

not

ought to

it

that

and
different ways,
in this manner.
chiefly

ALIGHIERI.

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

48

be

explained

Literal,and this is that which


such as is the
extend beyond the text itself,
is termed

ing,
thingwhereof you are discoursexample of which is the third
an
appropriate
Song, which discourses of Nobility.
and it is that which
Another is termed Allegorical,
of that

fit narration

the veil of fables,and

is concealed under

under

concealed
says that
tame, and

beautiful Untruth

Orpheus with

the

that
signifies

him, which

when

Ovid

to follow

stones
man

with ihe instrument

gentleand

those follow his will whf) have

makes

and

wise

as

cruel hearts

of his voice makes

humble,

the

and

Truth

the wild beasts

his lute made

the trees

made

is

livingforce of knowledge and of art jwho,


having not the reasoninglife of any knowledge
in order thjat
And
this
whatever, are as the stones.
hidden thing should be discovered by the vrise,
it
the

not

will be

the

demonstrated

in the

this

take
theologians

last Treatise.

meaning

otherwise

Verily
tian do

the poets : but, because my


intention here is
the way of the poets, I shall take the

tofollow

Allegoric

sense

The
which

it is used

accordingas
third

the

readers

books, for their


descendants

is termed

sense

own

as

Christ ascended

the poets.
Moral ; and this

by

ought intentlyto search br in


advantage and for that of their

Uien

espy in the Gospel,


for the Transfiguration,
the Mount
one

can

that,of the twelve Apostles,He


three.
sense

From

which

sense,

secret

is termed

supernatural
; and

took

with

understand

can

one

that in the most

but littlecompany.
The fourth sense

i|that

thingswe

Him

!"nly

in the

IVpral
ought to lave

Mystical,that is,atbve
this it is,when
spiritually

SECOND

THE

TREATISE.

49

expounds a writingwhich even in the Literal


bears express
reference
sense
by.the thingssignified
Glory ; as one can
to the Divine things of Eternal
in that Song of the Prophet which
see
says that by
the exodus of the peopleof Israel from Egypt Judaea
is made
holy and free. That this happens to be
less
Not
true accordingto the letter is evident
that in the
it means
true is that which
spiritually,
one

Soul's

liberation from
from

Soul

the

its powers.
in
But

alwaysgo

Sin

(or

in

it is made

Sin)

the

holy

demonstrating these, the


that in whose sense
as
first,
which

without

included,and

it would

of

exodus
and

free in

Literal

must

the others

are

be

impossible
the others.
and irrational to understand
Especially
in the Allegorical,
is it impossible
because,in each
sible
thingwhich has a within and a without,it is imposto

the

to

to the

come

without.

within

if you do not firstcome


Wherefore, since in books the

meaning is always external,it is impossible


the Allegorical,
reach the others,especially
out
withfirstcoming to the Literal.
Again, it is impossible,
because in each thing,natural and artificial,
it
without having
to proceedto the form
impossible

Literal
to

is

first laid down


should

be.

the

matter

Thus, it

the

gold to

not

firstlaid down

come,

is

upon

which

impossiblefor

if the matter, that

and

prepared;

or

the
the

form

form

of

is
is,its subject,
for the form

of

the ark to come,


if the material,that is,the wood, be
and prepared. Therefore, since
not first laid down
the

Literal

is

always the subjectand the


of the others,especially
of the Allegorical,
it
matter
is impossibleto come
first to the meaning of the
others before coming to it. Again, it is impossible,
because in each thing,
natural and artificial,
it is immeaning

possible
laid,

in the

as

house,

demonstration

since

especially

of

first to

the

it

possible

were

would

proceed

error.

Hence,

book
in

of

due

the

order

which

in

in

apart

from

us

not

are,

and

the

demonstrate

been

if

less

are

appears

them

if

the

"

the

that

is, by
that

well

to

that

Nature

knowledge

other

it would

is

meanings,

understood

Literal

first

proceed

we

say
to

way

therefore,

Literal,

so

this

as

that

one

much
the

in

says

know

we

it would

with

knowledge,

well

so

evidently

as

for

if

Again,

and

desires

which

that

know

innate

to

Nature

it, inasmuch

desires

they

Philosopher

come

therefore,

and,

fatigue

search

our

from

we

much

to

ordered,

so

of order

the

as

be

the

be

interpreting,

that.

to

of

up

must

impossible

coming

is,out
wit-h

building

of

it is

it could

Physics,

proceeding

which

"

be
had

irrational
not

first

demonstrated.

I, then,
order

and

that

the

first

Therefore,

mind.

methods

before

irrational, that

be

other

others

be

demonstration

Allegorical,

the

the

be

Literal
the

of

foundation

foundation

in

must

and

Knowledge,

also

so

LIGHTER!.

the

unless

proceed

to

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

50

of

each

after

is, the

for

these

Song,

that

hidden

incidentally
to

firstlyupon

will

discourse

Truth,
on

place

the
and

will

reasons

and

other
time.

discourse

in

its Literal
of

its

sometimes

meanings

as

meaning,

Allegory,
I

due

will

may

that
touch

be

venient
con-

THE

SECOND

TREATISE.

II.

CHAPTER

then, I

BEGINNING,
had

that

say

the

star

in that circle which

revolved

twice

51

of
causes

Venus
the

eveningand the morning to appear, accordingto the


two
varyingseasons, since the death of that blessed
with the Angels,and
Beatrice,who lives in Heaven
that gentleLady, of
Earth with my soul ; when
on
whom

made

mention

at

the

end

of the

"Vita

Nuova," first appeared before my eyes, accompanied


in my mind.
And,
by Love, and assumed a position
in the littlebook
referred
has been stated by me
as
because
of her gentlegoodness than from
to, more
choice of mine, it befell that I consented
to be her
For
she appeared impassionedwith such
servant.
life that the spirits
for my
sad widowed
of
to her ; and, so
friendly
especially
my eyes became
disposed,they then depictedher to be such that
sorrow

good-willwas content to
image. But because Love
my

nor

grows

but

desires

there

where

great

nor

time

there

and
are

itself to that
espouse
is not born
\,
suddenly,

in haste,
perfection
food for thought,especially
antagonistic
thoughtswhich

comes

to

impede it,there must needs be, before this new Love


could be perfect,
the thought
a great battle between
of that which
of its food and
was
antagonistic
to

it,which

that

still held

the

fortress of my mind
for
For the one
succoured
was

gloriousBeatrice.
side continually
on
one
by the ever-present vision,
and
the other on
the oppositeside by the memory
of the past. And
the help of the ever-present sight
increased each day, which
could
not
do,
memory
in opposing that which to a certain degree prevented
from turningthe face towards the past. Whereme

52

THE

fore

it

hard

loud

to

which

seemed

whence

the

came

full

celestial

virtuous

virtue

; and

began

third

the

intelligent understanding

Heaven

move,

then

be

In

the

preface
the

that

order

order

intend
that

the

it may

of

taken

be

will

the

all the

keep through

is

proposed Song

I intend

in

are

the

speech

the

which

follow

in

due

above.

of

it,as
order

it will

to

the

speak

to

be

to

and

usual

of
is

the

who

Venus,

in

the

which

made
various

last lines,wherein
work

all these

demonstrated,

as

itself,as
three
has

as

lines

is

spirituallyamidst

is in the

listen

to

Angels,

Heaven

first,in

then,
three

more

them

of that,

verse

induced

by

that

Treatise

within

first

second

I felt

third

it were,

the

to

say

I say,

contained

call

The

which

The

begins

comfort

should

we

this

rather

or

say,

after

that

thoughts.
man

to

thereof.

manifest

one

necessary

others,

first is the

revolution

movers

that

so

others.

Intelligencesare

certain

of

Song,

be

in

in which

form

which

well,

The

what

For

thought."

of

principalparts.
to

of

! who

You

"

longer

no

explanations
which

to

which

perceive its meaning.

to

easy

part

power

say

of

its divisions

first know

must

the

to

in

that

thought,

new

intent

the

failed

towards

even

power,

struggle,

the
had

voice

victory of the

of

from

so

it, and

support

that

me

my

up

not

myself

to

lifted

could

also

wonderful, and

so

(to excuse

cry

it

courage)

was

me

endure, that

to

with
in

seemed

ALIGHIERL

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

the
if to

parts
been

are

said

THE

SECOND

TREATISE.

53

III.

CHAPTER

the Literal meaning


easily
perceive
may more
of the first division,to which \ve now
attend,it

THAT
is

we

to
requisite

know

who

and

what

are

those

who

audience, and what is that


my
And
which I say is moved
third Heaven
by them.
I will speakof the Heaven
firstly
; then I will speak
summoned

are

of those whom

to

I address.

And

althoughwith regard
thingsit is possible

concerningthose
but little,
reason
can
to know
yet so much as human
discern givesmore
delightthan the best known and
certain of the thingsjudged by the sense
most
;
accordingto the opinionof the Philosopherin his

to

the truth

book

on

Animals.

of the
then, that concerningthe number
held
Heavens
and their site,
different opinionsare
by many, althoughthe truth at last may be found.
Aristotle
believed,followingmerely the ancient
that there might be
foolishness of the Astrologers,
onlyeightHeavens, of which the last one, and which
contained
all,might be that where the fixed stars
that beyond it
are, that is,the eighthsphere,and
there could be no
other.
Again, he believed that
the Heaven
of the Sun
might be immediate with
that of the Moon, that is,second to us.
And
this
opinionof his,so erroneous, he who wishes can see
in the second book on
Heaven
and the World, which
is in the second
of the Books
Natural
on
History.
In fact,he excuses
himself for this in the twelfth
book of the Metaphysics,
where
he clearlyproves
himself to have followed also another opinionwhere
he was
obligedto speak of Astrology. Ptolemy,
that the eighthsphereis moved
then,perceiving
by
I say,

54

THE

OF

BANQUET

seeingits

movements,

many
the

DANTE

ALIGHIERI.

depart from

circle to

rightcircle,which turns from East to West,


of Philosophy,
which
constrained by the principles
of necessity
desires a Primum
Mobile,a most simple
be outside the
to
supposed another Heaven
one,
Heaven
of the fixed stars, which
might make that
I say is completed
in twentythat is,
in twenty-four
hours nearly,

from

revolution

East

to

which

West

three hours,fourteen parts of the fifteen of another,


countingroughly. Therefore,accordingto him, and

accordingto that
Philosophysince
are

and

is held

Astrologyand

in

those movements

moveable

nine

evident

which

Heavens

were

the

in

there

seen,

site of which

determined,accordingto

an

Art

is

which

is termed

Arithmetical and Geometrical,


Perspective,
by which and by other sensible experiencesit is
and reasonablyseen, as in the eclipses
of the
visibly
Sun
it appears
that the Moon
is below
sensibly,
the Sun ; and as by the testimonyof Aristotle,
who
with his own
he says
saw
eyes, accordingto what
in the second book
and the World, the
Heaven
on
Moon, being new, to enter below Mars, on the side
not
and Mars
concealed
to remain
so
shining,
long
that he re-appearedon
the other brightside of the
Moon, which was towards the West.

CHAPTER
AND

the

first that

order

they

is ; the second
is that where

the

Sun

of

the

enumerate

IV.
houses

is ; the

this,that

is that where

is that where

Venus

is

the

the

Moon

Mercury

is ; the fourth
fifth is that where

is ; the third
is that where

Mars

is ; the

SECOND

THE

sixth

is that where

Saturn

Jupiteris ; the seventh


the eighth is that of the

55
is that

Stars ;
the ninth is that which is not visible except by that
is mentioned
which
movement
above, which they

where

is ;

TREATISE.

sphere,diaphanous,
designate the great Crystalline
rather all transparent. Truly,beyond all these,
or
the Catholics place the Empyrean
Heaven, which
of Flame, or rather
is as much
as
to say, the Heaven
Heaven
the Luminous
they assign it to be
; and
immoveable, in order to have in itself,
accordingto
this
each part,that which its material desires. And
Mobile
the Primum
has
is why that first moved
such extremelyrapid motion.
For, because of the
which each part of it has to
fervent appetite
most
each
Divine
be united with
part of that most
of Peace, in which
it revolves with
Heaven
so
is almost
much
its velocity
desire,
incomprehensible.
is the placeof
this quietand peacefulHeaven
And
from above beholds the
that Supreme Deity who
whole.
This is the place of the blessed Spirits,
accordingas Holy Church teaches,which cannot
Aristotle seems
to feel this,
speak falsely
; and even
understands
him well,in the first book
to him who
This
and the World.
is the highest
of Heaven
bound of the World, within which the whole World
is included, and
beyond which there is nothing.
alone in the
it is in no
formed
And
place,but was
term
Protonoe.
First Mind, which the Greeks
This
is that magnificenceof which the Psalmist
spoke
he sang to God :
when
Thy gloryis raised above
"

"

"

the Heavens."
"*"""

it

.,

this which is discussed,


So,then,gatheringtogether
that there may be ten Heavens, of which
seems

the

Heaven

mention

is made

be

the

third ; whereof
I intend to
in that part which

of Venus

may

below

the

itself;and

the

Heaven
to

and

not

ninth

as

ALIGHIERI.
be

has
Crystalline
has

ninth

that

known
two

them

firm

firm

each

polesas

and

respect. And each


which
the others,has a circle,
in any

mutable

even

it is to

And

demonstrate.

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

56

fixed,
the

one,
one

may

Heaven
the equator of its own
; which
equally,
from one
in each part of its revolution,is remote
term

from

pole and
any

the other,as

other round

circle has

rolls

apple or
And this
sensibly
perceive.

thingcan

an

in its movement

swiftness

more

he who

than

any

other part of its Heaven, in each Heaven, as he may


each
perceivewho considers well. And
part, in
to it,moves
much
the
so
proportionas it is nearer

swiftly
; so

much

the slower

in

proportionas it
and
remote
^is more
to the pole; since its
nearer
of necessity
revolution is less,and it must
be in one
self-same time with the greater. I say again,
that in
to the equatorial
proportionas the Heaven is nearer
the more
much
noble is it in comparison to
so
circle,
its poles;since it has more
motion and more
actuality
more

and

life and

more

that which
virtue.
stars

is above

Hence

are

more

and
itself,

the stars

Venus,

upon the back


of which I now

and

more

nearer

touch

has
consequently

in the Heaven

full of power

proportionas they are


And

form

more

amongst
to

from
more

of the fixed

themselves

in

that circle.

of this circle in the Heaven

of

which
speak, is a littlesphere,
revolves by itself in this Heaven, the circle of which
call Epicycle; and as the great sphere
Astrologers
revolves about two poles,so does this littlesphere:
and
has this little sphere the equatorial
so
circle ;
and so much
the more
noble it is in proportionas itis nearer
to those : and in the arc, or rather back, of
this circle is fixed the

most

And, although it may

be

brilliantstar of Venus.
said that there

are

ten

SECOND

THE

TREATISE.

57

accordingto strict Truth, this number does


all : for that of which mention
not comprehend them
in which
the star is fixed,
is made, the Epicycle,
rather sphere; and it has
is a Heaven
or
by itself,
with that which bears it,althoughit
not one
essence
and with
like to it than to the others,
be more
may
and
the one
it is called one
Heaven, and they name
Heavens

the

other

from

and

the

other

the
stars

the

How

star.

be

may

is

other

not

Heavens

for

present

discussion ; let it suffice that the nature of the third


Heaven, with which I am at present concerned,has
been

told,and

concerningwhich

needful has been

shown.

CHAPTER

SINCE
what

it has been

It is then

V.

shown

this third Heaven

it remains
itself,

all that is at present

to show

in the

precedingchapter

is,and how
who

those

it is ordered
are

who

move

in
it

known, in the firstplace,that the


thereof are .substances apart from material,

movers

to be

that is,Intelligences,
which

the

common

peopleterm

of these creatures, as of the Heavens,


different persons have had different ideas,although

Angels:

and

the truth may be found.


There were
certain Philosophers,
of whom
Aristotle appears to be one
in his

Metaphysics,
althoughin the first book
and
Earth
he appears
to
incidentally
who
\vise,
only believed these to be
there

think
so

revolutions in the Heavens, and


saying,that the others would have been
are

Heaven

on

other-

many
no

more

as

in
eternally
which was
much
inasvain,without operation,
impossible,
as their being is their operation. There
were

BANQUET

OF

others,like Plato,a

most

THE

58

only so

not

ALIGHlERL

DANTE

excellent

as
Intelligences

many

who

man,

there

place
ments
move-

are

there are
as
speciesof
Heaven, but even
of things; as of one
that is,manners
species
things,
all mankind, and of another all the gold,and of
are
and so with all : and
another all the silver,
they are
in

of

opinionthat

as

the

of
Intelligences

generators of those

are

kind, so these
each

being a type of
Ideas,which is as

universal forms

and

its

:
species

much

Heavens

each

movements

generators of the

were

one

them

the

to

as

after his

other

and

things,

Plato calls
so

say,

many

natures.

called

Gods

and

Goddesses,
althoughthey could not understand those so philosophicall
Plato did ; and
as
they adored their
images,and built large temples to them, as to
Juno, whom
they called the Goddess of Power ; as
to Vulcan,whom
they called the God of Fire ; as to
Pallas,or rather Minerva, whom
they called the
Goddess
of Wisdom
to Ceres, whom
; and
they
called the Goddess
of Corn.
Opinions such as
these the testimony of the Poets makes
manifest,
for they describe to a certain extent
the mode
of
The

the

Gentiles

Gentiles

faith ;

and

remains

of

both
it is

in

them

their

sacrifices and

testified also

in

in their

names,
many
of places and

in names
or
antiquity,
ancient
he who
will can
as
buildings,
easilyfind.
And
althoughthese opinionsabove mentioned might
be built upon
a
reason
good foundation by human
and by no slight
not
knowledge,yet the Truth was
seen
from
by them, either from defect of reason
or
defect of instruction. Yet even
it was
by reason
that very numerous
to see
possible
the creatures
were

above

mentioned

understand.

And

who
the

are

not

one

reason

such

as

men

is this :

can

no

one

THE

TREATISE.

SECOND

nor
doubts, neither Philosopher,
nor
Christian,nor any one of any

either the

whole

the

or

that

Blessedness,and
most

perfectstate.

here

Human

Gentile,nor
sect, that

Jew,
they are

greater part full of


blessed

those

ones

in

are

have

may

Beatitudes,

two

only

not

that

as

of

"

all
a

Therefore,since that which

Nature

Beatitude, but

59

is
one

the

that of the

Civil Life and

it would
Contemplative,
these Celestial Beings
be irrational if we should see
to have the Beatitude of the Active
Life,that is,the
Civil,in the government of the World, and not to
which
is the most
have that of the Contemplative,
excellent and
But

Civil government
their intellect is

beyond

one

this

Divine

-and

"

much

so

this latter life is

more

its Beatitude
much

rather

the

beloved, so

more

the

much

more

thing is more
image of God
"

beloved

more

the

if it has been

of God
vast

more

has

vast,

more

has He

vivifyingpower

so

it

given to

'

the

to

that there may


is not

; and

been

more

than

creatures

the

is it in the

it is evident that this life is

and if it be

of

the

proportionas

the

Beatitude

other,because
and perpetual,
there must
be
templation.
ministry,who live only in con-

because

in

the

have

cannot

And
Divine

has

which

that

since

others

Divine.

most

than

be

the

effects tend

to

that

tenth

book

opposed
in the

other ; therefore one


much
largernumber
to

which
of

show.

Aristotle

concludes
of those
And
seems

this
to

the

Ethics,that to the
separate substances the ContemplativeLife must be
be imperative
requisite
; as also the Active Life must
them.
to
Nevertheless,in the contemplation of
of the Heaven
certain truths the revolution
follows,
which is the government of the World ; which
is,as
state

it were,

Civil government

ordained

and

compre-

contemplation of
ruling Intelligences. The

the

the

effect is greater than

no

give

cannot

the

Divine

the

Human

it in

which

that

Intellect

it has

is the

by the

if we,

God

that

quite evident
number.

of the Divine.

adduce

it
the

for

concerning this

; since

likewise

excellence, which

the

overpowers

to

is

which

we

strated
fullydemon-

not

wonder

eyes

let

Nor

reasons

to

great

possible to

present.

are

ought

we

by

able

this

in

were

other

and

been

them

reasons

if these

stated, and

innumerable, it

made

suffice

let these
marvel

one

could

other

Many

but

has

He

lect
Intel-

is dominated

have

to

almost

SpiritualCreatures

create

any

above

reason

others, understand

many

that the Human

proportion to the superiorpower

Hence,

cause

all,especiallyof

Divine, but

the

dominate

not

the

wherefore, since

of

cause

is,

is,that

reason

because

not

that

movers,

other

cause,

Intellect,it follows

does

see

the

in the

bended

by

ALIGHIERI.

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

60

their

at

of the

Human

the

book
Philosopher says in the second
of the Metaphysics, and
he affirms their existence.
have
from
not
/Though we
perception of them
any
Jwhich our knowledge can begin,yet some lightfrom

Mind,

as

their

most

vivacious

intellect, inasmuch
mentioned
who

has

luminous,
of

the

the

intellect

passes

closed, so

prisoned by

the

oi

others,

many

closed

eyes

bat, for

perceive

we

and

because

light which

with

as

reasons

shines

essence

affirms

even

air

aboveas

he

to

be

brightness or
through the pupils; as

long

organs

the

little

some

otherwise

not

the

our

upon

of

as

our

are

the

soul

body.

the

eyes

is bound

of

ray
it is

the
and

SECOND

THE

61

TREATISE.

VI.

CHAPTER

that,through defective instruction,


the Truth
the ancients
not
saw
concerningthe
SpiritualCreatures, although the people of Israel
in part instructed by their Prophets,through
were
whom
by many modes of speechand in many ways
Bat
God had spoken to them, as the Apostle says.
from
who
came
therein instructed by Him
are
we
made
who
them, by Him who preGod, by Him
serves
them, that is,by the Emperor of the Universe,
who
is Christ the Son of the Supreme God, and the
Son of the Virgin Mary, a woman
truly,and the
daughter of Joseph and Anna
very Man, who was
slain by us in order that He
might bring us Life ;
who
the Light which
was
enlightensus in the
as
Darkness, even
John the Evangelistsays ; and
of those things which
He
told us the Truth
we
could not have known
without Him, nor
seen
truly.
The firstthingand the firstsecret which He showed
of the before-mentioned
us
was
one
Beings or
This was
that one, His great Legate,
creatures.
the Angel Gabriel,who
to Mary, a young
came
damsel of thirteen years, on the part of the Heavenly
Saviour.
This our
mouth,
Saviour,with His own
said,that the Father could give Him many Legions
of Angels. This He denied not, when it was
said to
Him
His Angels
that the Father had commanded
that they should minister unto Him
and should serve
Him.
Wherefore, it is evident to us that these
IT

has been

said

"

creatures

Spouse

are

and

Solomon
from

the

in

great

Secretary,Holy
"

says

very

Who

Desert, full

is

this

of those

number

; since

Church,
that

of

cometh

things which

His

whom
forth

give

ALIGHIERL

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

62

"

her friend ?

leaningupon
delight,
preachesthese most
innumerable

She

; and

that

to
more

in

divides them

firstis that of the

almost

into three Hierarchies,

the

of the

second

Thrones

these

; and

the first Hierarchy

make

orders

Angels,the

third of

Archangels,the
three

be

to

affirms.

holds and
The

creatures

and
believes,

holy,or rather Divine,


each Hierarchyhas three orders,
the Church
of spiritual
creatures

orders

that nine

says,

say, three

is to

: and
Principalities
so

noble

"

not

"

first

as

to creation,for the others


as
are
nor
nobility,
created together,
but first
noble, and all were
perceptionof their
degree, according to our

exaltation.
after them

the

Virtues ; then the Principalities


; and these make
second Hierarchy.

the

there

Then

these

Above
above

and

the third
And

the

are

all

the

are

the

are

Powers

and

Seraphim ;

the

and

Cherubim,

these

make

Hierarchy.

the most

is the number

that in which

Majesty

Dominations

potent

reason

in which

the orders

is in Three

are.

for their

tion
contempla-

the Hierarchies are, and


" For, since the Divine

stance,
Persons,which have one subit is possible to contemplate them
triply.
For it is possible
to contemplate the Supreme Power
of the Father,^
which the first Hierarchygazes upon,
and which we
namely, that which is firstby nobility,
last. And
enumerate
it is possibleto contemplate
the Supreme Wisdom
of the Son; and upon
this the
second
And
it is possibleto conHierarchygazes.
template
the Supreme and most
fervent Charity of
the Holy Spirit;and
this the third Hierarchy
upon
to us, gives of the gifts
gazes, which, being nearest
which

it receives.

TREATISE.

SECOND

THE

63

to regard each person


And, since it is possible

in

in each Hierarchythere
so
Trinitytriply,
three orders which contemplatediversely. It is
are
possibleto consider the Father having regard to
of the
but Him
none
; and this is the contemplation
of the First Cause than any
Seraphim,who see more
It is possible
to consider the
other AngelicNature.
Father
accordingas He has relation to the Son,
the Divine

Him, and how

apart from

is

He

that is,how

united

contemplationof the
the
It is possibleagain to consider
Cherubim.
Father accordingas from Him
proceedsthe Holy
and how united
and how it is apart from Him
Spirit,
this is the contemplationof the
with Him
; and
with

Him

this is the

; and

Powers.
And

in like way
and the Holy

Son

possibleto contemplatethe
Spirit.
it is

plative
Wherefore,there must be nine orders of contemSpiritsto gaze into the Light,which alone
beholds itselfcompletely. And
this is not the place
to

be silent so

these

orders

much
some

were

created,perhaps
restore

which

as

one

lost

in number

as

soon

of

the

Nature

Human

I say, that of all

word.

as

they

tenth

to

part,

created.

was

were

The

declare the glory


numbers, the orders,the Hierarchies,
of the movable
Heavens, which are nine ; and the
tenth
And

therefore

declare the
His

this

announces

Psalmist

gloryof God, and

handiwork."

believe that the


are

the

Unity

and

"

God

The

Heavens

the Firmament

showeth

says

Wherefore
movers

of
stability

it is

of the Heaven

of the order of the

Angels,and
Archangels,and those

may be the
the Thrones, in whom

the Love

being innate,they do

their work

reasonable

of the Moon

those of
of Venus

of

to

the

Mercury
may

be

Holy Spirit
conformably to it,

which

ALIGHIERL

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

64

that the revolution

means

The

full of Love.

of that

Heaven

of the said Heaven

form

is

takes

by whose glow souls here below


kindled to love accordingto their disposition.
are
that Heaven
because
the ancients perceived
And
of Love, they said that
to be here below the cause
of Venus, as Virgiltestifies in
the son
Love
was
Venus
of the ^Eneid, where
the first book
says
this

from

to

Love

"

Father, who

virtue

Oh

! son,
takest

Typhceus," And
of his

heed

no
so

when
Metamorphoses,

to Love
ar"e

Ovid

"

Thrones

this Heaven

Son,

not

the

of

great

darts

of

testifiesin the fifth book


he says that Venus
said
power." And there
my

my arms,
which are ordered
in number

of the

virtue, son

my

to the

government

of

great, concerningwhich

the

and the Astrologers


have thought
Philosophers
accordingas they held different opinions
differently,
concerning its revolutions. But all may be agreed,
as
as
to how
movements
are, in this,
many
many
it makes.
Of this,
abbreviated in the book of the
as
Aggregationof the Stars,you may find in the better
demonstration
of the Astrologersthat there are
three : one, according
the star moves
towards its
as
as the Epicycle
moves
Epicycle; the other,according
with its whole Heaven
equallywith that of the Sun ;
the third,according as the whole of that Heaven
the movement
of the starry sphere
following
moves,
from West to East in one
hundred
degree.
years one

So

that to these Three

Movers.

Movements

there

are

Three

Again, if the whole of this Heaven moves


and turns with the Epicyclefrom East to West once
in each natural day, that movement,
whether
it be
caused by some
whether it be through
or
Intelligence
the rapid movement
of the Primum
Mobile, God
it seems
knows, for to me
presumptuous to judge.

SECOND

THE

TREATISE.

65

lution
caringfor that alone,the revoproduce,
proper to that sphere which each one moves.
noble form of the Heaven, which has in
The most
of this passiveNature, revolves,
itselfthe principle
for this ;
touched by the Moving Power, which cares
and I say touched,not by a bodilytouch,but by
which directs itselfto that operation.And
a Power
I begin to speak
those to whom
these Movers
are
I put my inquiry.
and to whom

These

Movers

CHAPTER
to that which

ACCORDING

VII.
is said above

in the third

this treatise,
in order to understand well
the firstpart of the Song I comment
site
on, it is requi-

chapterof
to

Movers
has

discourse
; and

been

those

of

in the

discussed.

Heavens, and of their


three precedingchaptersthis
I say, then, to those whom
I

of the Heaven
of Venus :
proved to be Movers
with the intellect
Ye who, writh thought intent
(i.e.,
"the third Heaven
alone, as is said above),
Hear reasoningthat is within my heart ;
and
move,
I do not say
Hear
because they hear any sound,
of hearing; but I say
for they have no sense
Hear,"
meaning with that hearing which they have,which
is of the understanding
throughthe intellect. I say,
Hear reasoningthat is within my
heart,"within
which as yet has not appearedexternally.It
me,
that throughout this Song, acis to be known
cording
the one
to
and
the
sense
(the Literal),
other sense
the Heart is concerned
(theAllegorical),
with the secret within, and not any other special
"

"

"

"

"

"

"

66

part of the soul


hear

When

body.

or

that which

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

I wish

ALIGHIERT.

I have called them

say, I

to

assigntwo

to

reasons

is the
One
why I ought fitlyto speak to them.
novelty of my condition,which, from not having
been
experiencedby other men, would not be so
understood
by them as by those who superintend
this reason
I
such effects in their operation.And

touch upon

when

I say

The

thoughtsI impart."
man

receives

relate it to him

benefit
who

"

To

alone

you

other

its

is : when

reason

he ought
injury,

or

bestows

or

new
a

first to

inflicts it,if he

can,

rather than to others ; in order that,if it be a benefit,


he who receives it may show himself grateful
towards
the benefactor,
and, if it be
the doer
And

this

thereof to
reason

that is moved
where

it stands ;

"

let
injury,

gentlemercy

I touch

by

an

upon

you,

my

that

is

is
namely,your revolution,

when

with

him

sweet

I.say

words.

"

Heaven,
life has
brought To
to
operation,
say, your

that which

has drawn

into the present condition ; therefore I conclude


say that my speech ought to be to them, such
said ; and I say
I should
That

here

"

lead

Therefore

to

you

me

and
as

is

'tis need

speak about the life I lead." And


after these reasons
I beseech them to listen
assigned,
I speak.
when
But, because in each manner
of speechthe speaker
that is,to the
ought to look to persuasion,
especially
pleasingof the audience,as that which is the beginning
of all other persuasions,
do the Rhetoricians,
as
and
the most
powerful persuasionto render the
audience
attentive is to promise to say new
and
wonderful
things,I add to the prayer made for
this persuasion,or embellishment,
attention,
cing
announto them
intention to speak of new
my
things,
that is,the division which

is in my

mind

; and

great

TREATISE.

SECOND

THE

67
I say

of their star ; and


power
this in those last words of this firstpart :

namely,the
things,

To

you I'lltellthe heart's new


The sad Soul weeps within

Voice of
A

that
Spirit

cares

always

it,and there

hears

her tears,

condemns

Spiritthat descends through your star'srays.

understandingof these words, I say


that this Spiritis no other than a frequentthought
this new
and beautify
how to commend
Lady. And
other than another thought,accomthis Soul is no
panied
with
which, repudiatingthat
acquiescence,
of that
and beautifies the memory
commends
Spirit,
the last
But, again, because
glorious Beatrice.
is held by that
sentiment of the mind, acquiescence,
I call it the Soul,
assisted,
thoughtwhich memory
accustomed
and the other the Spirit
to
are
; as we
call the City those who
hold it,and not those who
and
be
the other may
fightit,although the one
the
I say also,that this Spiritcomes
citizens.
on
to the full

And

of the

rays

the

rays

star, because
of each 'Heaven

their virtue descends

desires to know

one
are

the

way

into

by

thingshere below.
since the rays are no other than a lightwhich
from the source
of Light throughthe air even
the
thing illuminated,and
light has no
except the star, because

their star,through the


such virtue that in our

far

which
And
comes

to the
source

is transparent,

I say not that this Spirit,


this thought,
comes
their Heaven
but from their star. And
entirely,

from

has

the other Heaven

that

very great power,


from us, about

its Movers, is of

nobilityof
souls,and

in other

it
things,

that it is so
notwithstanding
hundred
and sixty-seven
one

it is to the centre

times

farther than

which

is three thousand

two

hundred

of the Earth,
and

miles,
fifty

THE

And

this is the Literal

the

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

68

of the firstpart of
exposition

Song.

VIII.

CHAPTER
WHAT
is to

be

of

first

the

how

understood

experiencedfrom

this part has


describes the
as

their

what

the

said ; and
was

clearlyenough the Literal


part. In the second, there

I have said shows

meaning
I

ALIGHIERL

the

qualityof

one

the

and

that

upon

being lost,in

In

these

within

was

manifest

strugglewithin

divisions.

two

cause

it makes

the

and

first

place it
oppositions,
according
Then

me.

other

voice

which
firstly

the

me

what

of

narrate

opposition

described

what

passage which is the second


third of the Song. In evidence,

of that part and the


it
then, of the meaning of the first division,
is to be known

that

part of their form


Man

by Reason,

thingsmust

which

and

which

named

is the noblest and

by Sense, nor
when
therefore,

not

is less noble ;
should
the living
man, one

Reason, which

be

understand

by

that

best, as

by aught else
one
speaks of
the man
using

is his

especialLife,and is the action


of his noblest part
whoso
And, therefore,
departs
from Reason
and uses onlythe Senses is not a living
but a livingbeast,as says that most excellent
man,
Ass live."
Boethius,"JLe^the
RightlyI speak,because thoughtis the rightact
of reason, wherefore the beasts who have it not do
not think ; and I speak not only of the lesser beasts,
but of those who have a human
writh the
appearance
of a sheepor of some
other abominable beast. I
spirit
fed my grieving
heart"
say then: "Thought that once
thought,that is,of the inner life
was
sweet
"

"

"

"

SECOND

THE

TREATISE.

69

insomuch
that is,pleasing,
it is persuasive,
as
(sweet,
or
beautiful,
gentle,delightful)
; this thought often
sped away to the feet of the Father of those Spirits
I speak, that is, God ; that is to say,
to whom
of the
that I in thought contemplated the realm
Blessed.
Thought that once fled up to the Father s
cause
the final cause
feet." And
I name
immediately,beI say,
I ascended there above in thoughtwhen
to let you underThere I beheld a Lady glorified,"
stand
certain
that I was
certain,and am
by its
in Heaven
fore
that she was
graciousrevelation,
; wherefor
times how this was
I, thinkingmany
possible
"

"

thither,rapt,

went

me,

speak of

I
to let you

go

where

Of

me

she

it

its sweetness,

quently
subse-

Then

were.

the effect of this

understand

that it made

as

thought,in
which

And

gone.

of this I

such

was

desirous of Death, that I also

was

order

might

speak there

sweetlyit discoursed to me That


And
Soul said, With her would I might be !
is the root of one
of the struggles
which
was
"

whom

'

And

me.

that

and

is

that

Soul, that
because
Spirit,

not

Blessed

thought sent
as

known

it is to be

Thought,
see

the

so

'

on

that

stated

mission

in

the

which
it

; the

"

here

this
in

terms

one

ascended

was

to

especial

an

Soul

is understood,

precedingchapter,as

with acquiescence.
thought in general,
Then, when I say, Now One appears that
the thought aside/' I touch the root of the
saying how that previousthoughtwas
struggle,
"

drives
other
wont

be the lifeof me, even


another appears, which
as
makes
that one
I say, "drives the
cease
to be.

to

thought aside,"in order to show that


for naturallythe opposing
antagonistic,
aside
to

the

other, and

yieldthrough want

that which
of power.

to

one

drives

is driven

And

be

one

appears

I say

that

OF

BANQUET

THE

;o

thought,which
taking hold of me

newly

this

that it
that

the

much

"

and

masters

in

with

me

heart,that is, my

that my

ALIGH1ERI.

DANTE

Soul, saying

subduing my
such
inner
shows

countenance

powerful in

is

appears,

effectual

might

trembles
life,
it in

some

"

so
new

appearance.

I show the power of this new


Subsequently
by its effect,saying that it makes me
regard on a Lady, and speaks to me
"

thought
"

fix

my
of
words

before the eyes


allurement,that is to say, it reasons
of my
affection,in order the better to
intelligent
induce

promisingme

me,

is its salvation.
to

the Soul

And

that the

in order to make

experiencedin love,it

into the eyes of this


the anguishof laboured sighs. And
no

one

mode

to gaze

of

rhetoric

sightof
says

her eyes
this credible
that it is for
who

woman

it is

fears

beautiful

when

externallyit appears that


embellish it
you disembellish a thing,and yet really
within.
This new
thoughtof love could not induce
mind
to consent, except by discoursing
of the
my
virtue of the eyes of this fair Lady so profoundly.

CHAPTER
Now

that

it is shown

born,

and

the

IX.
how

and

whereof

Love

is

antagonist that fought with me, I


must
proceed to open the meaning of that part in
which different thoughtscontend
I say
within me.
one
must
that,firstly,
speak on the part of the Soul,
that is,of the former thought,
and then of the other ;
for this reason, that always that which
the speaker
intends most
to say he ought to reserve
especially
in the background,
because that which is said finally,

SECOND

THE

remains
since I
that

TREATISE.

of the hearer.

in the mind

most

speak further,and
performs the work of

to

to

mean

which

speak, rather than of


reasonable
work, it was

that

discourse

of

whom

to

undoes

mention

of the

of that which

then

undone, and

Therefore,

those

which

first to

condition

of the

discourse

71

this

and

to

part which

was

generated by

was

the other.

doubt,which is not to be passed


explanation. It would be possiblefor

here arises

But

without

over

to

one

any

say

Since

Love

is the

effect of these

I speak,and that of the first


to whom
Intelligences,
that of the new
Love might be the same
as
Love,
why should their virtue destroythe one, and produce
the other ? since it ought to preserve the first,
for
the

ought

each

that

reason

protect what

loves

cause

it loves.

its effect,and

To

this

question
can
one
easilyreply,that the effect of those Spirits,
as has been
said,is Love : and since they could not
it except in those who
are
save
subjectto their
revolution,
they transfer it from that part which is
is within reach,
to that which
beyond their power
from the soul departed out of this life,
into that
human
is yet living
which
transfers in
nature
; as
the human
of the father to the
form its preservation
son,

to

because

it

in

cannot

this

father

preserve

its effect : I say effect in as far as


perpetually
and body are
united,and not effect in as far as
soul,which is divided from the body,lasts for
in

nature

than

more

human.

And

thus

soul
that
ever,

is the

questionsolved.
But

since the

touched

upon,

that ; because
conclusion

to

immortalityof
I

to

will

make

discourse

the

mention

the

Soul

is here

digression upon

of that will make


I

have

made

of

fit

that

ALIGHIERL

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

72

I do not intend
livingand blessed Beatrice,of whom
to speak further in this book.
For
propositionI say that, amongst all the
that is the most
vile,
foolish,the most
bestialities,
and

which

damnable

most

wherefore, if

after this life;

be

all
writers,

this,that in

in

agree

turn

all

over

of the other wise


us

there

is

some

Aristotle
especially

this

principle.And
everlasting

other life to

no

we

or
philosophers

of

books, whether

believes

Soul ; this
to desire ; this Tullius
each stoic seems
especially
Old Age.
in that book on
to desire,
seems
especially
faith

the
law

the

seems

Tartars,and

describe

human

that

it when

man

he

is certain

denies

one

no

to

even

perfect

most

This

below.

affirms

Aristotle

Each

the

is

nature

here

natures

which
impossibility

an

horrible.

be

would

have

who

if all these could be deceived,

And

result

there would

the

on

spoken according
to desire; this
of the Gentiles seems
to desire,
Jews, Saracens,and
among
all other peoplewho live accordingto

civil law.

some

book

that

in

each of the Poets

This
to

desire

to

seems

all

of
:

and

says, in the twelfth


is the most
perfectof

Animals, that man


who
live
all the animals.
Therefore, since many
are
mortal,as are the brute animals,and all
entirely
be, whilst they live,without that hope of the
may
other life ; if our
hope should be in vain,our want
On

book

would

be

There

have

that

and

animal,
is

greater than
been

many
thus it would

man,

would

impossible;

and

which

is his chief

cause

of the

that
who

any

have

other

given this

animal.
life for

follow that the most

perfect
be the most
imperfect,which
that that part, namely, reason,
would
be in him
the
perfection,

chief defect

say of the whole.

of

And

which

again

seems

it would

strange
follow

to

that

SECOND

THE

TREATISE.

Nature, in contradiction

hope

many

have

hastened

mind

to death

since

if there

be

immortal

put

; since it is said that

of the

were

no

be

must

the

of

body

that

they
life; and this also is impossible.
continual experienceof our

might live in the other


Again, we have
in the divination
immortality
could not

have

herself,could

to

in the human

this

73

dreams, which

our

immortal

part in

revelation.

This

us,

part

think
if one
incorporeal
corporealor incorporeal,
cerning
opinionswhich I find con-

may be either corporealor


well and closely.I say
different

of the

because

informed,by

immediate

an

and

is moved,

the

informer ; and
immortal
there is

rather

or

informer,ought

the

proportion to
mortal

which

That

this.

to

have

between

the

proportion.

no

by the most truthful


doctrine of Christ,which is the Way, the Truth, and
the Light : the Way, because by it without impediment
we
;
go to the happinessof that immortality
the Truth, because it endures
no
error
; the Light,
in the darkness
of worldly
because it enlightens
us
ignorance. This doctrine,I say, which above all

Again, we

other

assured

are

makes

reasons

of it

certain of it ; for it has been

us

our
given to us by Him who sees and measures
which
whilst
we
cannot
see
immortality,
perfectly
is mingled with the mortal.
immortal
But we
our
it by faith perfectly
it
see
see
we
by reason
; and
with the cloud of obscurity
which grows from the

mixture

of

ought to

be the most

are

in

us

the

and

mortal

I thus

equallycertain,after
and
with

with

whom

immortal.

powerful argument that


thus affirm.;
and
believe,
this life,
to

better life there where


"

the

that

pass

to

This
both
I

am

that other

glorious
Lady lives,

it was
soul was
when
enamoured
my
as will be set forth in the next
struggling,
chapter.

X.

CHAPTER
RETURNING

to

ALIGHlERL

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

74

that in that

I say
proposition,

the

begins A foe so strong I find him that


manifest that which
I intend to make
he destroys,"
was
discoursingin my Soul, the ancient thought
I show the cause
againstthe new ; and first briefly
I say :
This oppositenow
of its lamentation,when
Of the crowned
dream
breaks the humble
angel in
is that especial
the glory-beam." This one
thought
"

which

verse

"

of which

that it was

it is said above

wont

to

be the

sorrowingheart. Then when I say, Still,


Soul weeps,"it is evident that my Soul
therefore,
my
is still on
its side,and speaks with sadness ; and I
of lamentation,as
if it
say that it speaks words
might wonder at the sudden transformation,
saying:
lifeof the

"

The

tender star,'It says, ' that once


was
soler,
my conflies.'
It can
well say consoler,for in the
great loss which I sustained in the death of Beatrice
"

'

"

this

thought,which

ascended

into

Heaven, had given

consolation.
my Soul much
Then
afterwards I say, that all my
Soul,of which I say, That troubled

to

"

of itself,
and

excuse

this is made
1

When

that

that

speaks againstthe

evident there

"

That

troubled

eyes ; and
one

into thine eyes Looked


she ?
And
she speaks of them
and
against them

things:
this

thought,my
one,"turns in

woman

'

the

first is,she
saw

them.

"

blasphemes the
And

here

you

asked,
I say

three

hour when
must

know,

into
althoughmany thingsin one hour can come
the eyes, trulythat which comes
line
by a straight
into the point of the pupil,that trulyone
sees, and
that only is sealed in the imaginative
part. And
this is,because the nerve
by which the visible spirit

SECOND

THE

is directed

runs

TREATISE.

part, and

that

to

75

thereupon truly

the eye of another so that it


is not seen
by it ; for as that which looks receives
the form of the pupilby a rightline,
so
by that same
eye cannot

one

look

on

line its form

passes into that eye which gazes.


times in the direction of that line a

And

many

shaft

flies from
is

the bow

light. Therefore,

mine
"When

The

when

she ? "

eyes looked
her
did

other ?

whom

of Love, with

eyes

ask,

it is

as

When

"

much
look

mine

and

each

weapon

first into
as

ask,

to

each

into

"

second

point is

disobedience, when

in that which

it says,

"

Of

their

reproves

her, why doubted

"

it proceeds to the third


Then
they my words ?
thing and says that it is not right to reprove them
but for their disobedience ; for it says
for precaution,
it
speaking of this woman,
that, sometimes, when
might be said, Her eyes bear death to such as I,"
if she could have opened the way
of approach. And
indeed one
ought to believe that my Soul knew of its
inclination ready to receive the operationof this
own
"

power,

and

therefore

dreaded

agent takes full effect

it ; for the act of the

the

patient who has the


inclination to receive it,as the Philosophersays in
the second
book
the Soul.
on
And, therefore,if
could have the spiritof fear, it would
fear
wax
into the rays of the Sun, which would
most
to come
is to yield
not turn it into stone, since its disposition
to that strong operation.
Lastly,the Soul reveals in its speech that their
presumption had been dangerous when it says, Yet
vainlywarned, I gazed on her and die." And thus
it closes its speech,to which the new
thoughtreplies,
will be declared in the following
as
chapter.
in

"

ALIGHIERL

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

76

XI.

CHAPTER

of that part in which the Soul speaks,


is undone, has been
that is,the old thought which

meaning

THE

in

Now,

shown.

of the

shown

in the

into

will divide
"

begins

Thou

its last

words,

but the

cause

be

dead

is

and

two

"

It

And

thee."

to

understand

is not

it

is

continuing
art dead

thyselfseemest

to

into

which

who

of this woman

here

says,

that thou

true

thou

it well,I

first part, which

in the

deadly dismay

new

dead," it then

wherefore

fallen because
vilely
to

that

not

art

be

"

part,in order

dead," which

the

must

antagonistic
this part is contained
entirely
art not
which begins, Thou

stanza

or

verse

in which

part

thoughtspeaks;

order, the meaning

due

be

to

has

thou

;
to

art

appeared

observed

that,

Consolation,each sudden
change of things does not happen without some
And
this is expressedin the reproof
flurryof mind.
the spirit
voice of
of that thought which is called
tenderness,"when it gave me to understand that my
"consent
towards it ; and thus,one
can
was
inclining
"easilycomprehend this,and recognizeits victory,
when
it alreadysays,
Dear
Soul of ours,"therein
making itself familiar. Then, as is stated,it com*mands
where it ought to rebuke that Soul,in order
as

Boethius

says

his

in

"

"

to

her

induce
"

it to

come

to

her ; and

therefore it says to

See,she is lowly,Pitiful,
courteous, though so
wise and holy."
These are two things
which are a fitremedy for the
fear with which the Soul appeared impassioned
; for,
the individual to hope well,
firmlyunited,they cause
and especially
all other goodness
Pity,which causes
to shine forth by its light.Wherefore Virgil,
speaking
:

SECOND

THE

TREATISE.

77

of ^Eneas, in his greater praisecalls him compassionate,


that is not pity such as the
pitiful
; and

it,which

people understand

common

is to

lament

of others ; nay, this is an especial


is called Mercy, Pity,Compassion ; and

the misfortunes

over

effect which

compassion is not a passion;


of mind, prepared to
rather a noble
disposition
receive Love, Mercy, and other charitable passions.
See also how courteous, though so
Then
it says :
wise and holy."
Here it says three thingswhich, accordingas they
the person
be acquiredby us, make
can
especially
ful
beautipleasing.It says Wise. Now, what is more
than knowledge? It says Courteous.
in a woman
excellent than
be more
can
Nothing in a woman
it is

But

passion.

"

neither

courtesy. And

peopledeceived

the wretched

are

in this

even

common

word, for they believe

liberality
; for liberality
is an especial,
and not a generalcourtesy. Courtesy
is all one
cause
with honesty,modesty,decency; and bethe custom
the virtues and good manners
were
in Courts
the opposite is the
now
as
anciently,
that courtesy is no

custom, this word

other than

taken

was

word, if it should now


would
of Italy,
especially
than

baseness.

is here

meant

the two

is

be
how

would

much

vice

this
are

Courts,

well accompanied
especially

virtuous

wanting by

the

could express no other


Holy. The greatness which
virtues ; because

afore-mentioned

much

from

taken

; which

and

It says

lightwhich reveals
clearly.And
person
how

be

the Courts

from

the

and

good

how

much

the

it is that
evil of

knowledge

custom

does

there

not

!
light

How

much

madness

to

seen

it be for the wretched

to
stupidand vicious,

be

be

by

this

madmen

with

seem

the
and
to

and

light! Better
high in station,

of low estate,that neither

world

in the

infamous.
siastes

"

the Sun
to

after this life they should

nor

Truly

There

ALIGHIERI.

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

78

is

for such

under

seen

thereof

owners

their hurt."
it laysa
subsequently

Then

is,on

my

Soul, that

Lady : Think
promisingmy
"

her when

command

it should

to call her Mistress

thou

Save

High

even

its

evermore,"

quitecontent with
perceptionof all her

clear

accomplishments
; and
then
thou delude thyself,

otherwise

one

Soul that it will be

it shall have

miracles

it,that

on

call this

now

wonderful
"

the

namely;riches kept for

so

in Eccle-

says

evil that I have

sore

Solomon

be

then this

one

says

shall there

shine

"

before

thee ;
neither does it
And
to the end of that stanza.

speak
here

meaning of all that which I say in


this Song,speakingto these Celestial Intelligences.
ends

the Literal

CHAPTER

XII.

FINALLY, accordingto that which the letter of this


Commentary said above, when I divided the principal
parts of this Song, I
discourse
And

to

the

turn

back

Song,

same

with the face of my


and I speak to that.

in order

that this part may be understood


more
I say that generally
in each Song there is what
fully,
is called a Tornata,because the Reciters,who
nally
origiwere

that when

-accustomed

the song

was

it,so

to

compose
sung, with

contrived

certain

part of

the song they could return to it. But I have rarely


it with that intention ; and, in order that others
done
this I have seldom
perceive,
may
placed it with the
of the Song, so long as
sequence
which is necessary to the measure.
it was
it when
to
requisite

it is in the

express

But

rhythm

I have

used

somethinginde-

THE

SECOND

TREATISE.

79

meaning of the Song, and which was


needful for its embellishment,as it will be possible
in this and in the other Songs.
to perceive
I say at present,that the goodness
And, therefore,
and the beauty of each discourse are
parted and
divided ; for the goodness is in the meaning, and
the beauty in the ornament
of the words.
And
the
and the other are
with delight,
one
although the
delightful.Wherefore, since
goodness is especially
the goodness of this Song might be difficult to
because of the various persons who are led
perceive,
distinctions are
to speak in it,where
so
quired
remany
the beauty would
be easy to see, it
; and
seemed
of the Song that by
to me, of the nature
attention might be paid to the beauty
more
men
some
And
of the words than to the goodnessof matter.
pendentof

the

this is what

I say in that
But, because it often

part.

happens that to admonish


it is usual
seems
presumptuous in certain conditions,
for the Rhetorician
to speak indirectly
to
others,
his words, not to him for whom
he speaks,
directing
but towards
another.
And
is
truly this method
maintained
here ; for to the Song the words go, and
the men
the meaning of them.
to
I say then :
My Song, I do believe there will be few Who toil
understand
I state the
to
thy reasoning."And
First,because thou speakest
cause, which is double.
with fatigue with fatigue,
I say, for the reason
which
is stated ; and then because thou speakestwith difficulty
I say, as to the noveltyof the
with difficulty,
meaning. Now afterwards I admonish it,and say :
"

"

"

But if thou pass perchanceby those who


No skill to give thee the attention due,
Then

let them
pray I,dear last-born,
At least to find a music in my voice.

bring

rejoice

THE

For

in this I desire to
is said

what

ALIGHIERL

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

8o

no

say

above, except

"

other

Oh,

accordingto

men,

who

you

Song,do not therefore


refuse it ; but pay attention to its beauty,which is
great, both for construction,which belongsto the

cannot

meaning of

the

see

Grammarians

and

this

for the order

of the discourse,

belongsto the Rhetoricians ; as well as for the


rhythm of its parts,which belongsto the Musicians."
that
looks well can
see
For which things he who
this is the entire
there may be beauty in it. And
Literal meaning of the first Song which is prepared
for the firstdish in my Banquet.
which

CHAPTER

XIIL

meaning has been sufficiently


must
now
we
proceed to the Allegorical
explained,
and true exposition.
And, therefore,
beginningagain
SINCE

Literal

the

the firsthead, I say that when


chief delightof my Soul in former
from

so

stung with

availed

sadness

that

no

I had

lost the

time,I

consolation

left

was

whatever

after some
Nevertheless,
time,my mind,
took heed, since
reasoningwith itself to heal itself,
me.

neither my

it,to

own

turn
one

And

nor

to

had
I

that of another
the

method

adopted when
set myself to

which

availed to
a

fort
com-

certain

consolate
dis-

he looked

solation.
for Con-

read

book

that

of

in which, when
to
Boethius, not known
a
many,
captiveexile,he had consoled himself. And, again,

hearingthat Tullius had written another book, in


he had spoken words
which,treatingof Friendship,
for the consolation of Lsdius,a most
excellent man,
the death of his friend Scipio,
on
I set myselfto read

THE

SECOND

TREATISE.

Si

althoughat first it was difficult to me to


I entered into
enter into their meaning, yet, finally,
that I
the knowledge of grammar
much
it so
as
with some
slight
together
power of intellect,
possessed,
of intellect I
enabled me
to do : by which
power
formerlybeheld many thingsalmost like a person in
And

it.

dream,

as

it is wont

and

beyond

his purpose

appears

cause

I, who

in the Vita

be seen
may
to be that a

as

not

sought to

man

Nuova.

And

seekingfor silver,
gold,whose hidden

goes

he finds

perhapswithout the Divine Will


found not only
console myself,

;
a

for my
tears, but words of authors and of
which I judged
sciences and of books ; reflecting
on

remedy

that

so

myselfto
to

was

that my love for her chased away


ing
destroyedall other thought. Wherefore I, feel-

sweetness

and

who
Philosophy,

the

Lady of these
authors,of these sciences,and of these books, might
be a supreme
thing. And I imagined her in the form
of a gentleLady ; and I could imagine her in no
if
other attitude than a compassionateone, because
the sense
of Truth beheld her,hardlycould
willingly
with this imagination
from her.
And
it turn away
I began to go where she is demonstrated
truthfully,
and
that is,to the Schools of the Religious,
to the
of the Philosophers
disputations
; so that in a short
time, perhapsof thirtymonths, I began to feel her

well

the

much

rise from

virtue of this

the

thoughtof

the firstLove

if

wondering at
in the speech of the proposed
condition under
the figure
the Lady with whom
I was
was
worthy
any Vernacular

new

one,

as

myself,opened my mouth
Song,showing my
of other things: for of
enamoured, no rhyme of
to speak openly,
the hearers so well preneither were
pared
that they could have easilyunderstood
the
words without figure
faith have been
: neither would

"2

to the true

them

givenby
I

inclined

was

thought,the

the

figurative
believed,

to
was

that love, it would

to

I then

believed of this.
intent of

meaning,as

truth of the whole

; since if the

that

ALIGHIERL

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

not
"

beginto speak :

Ye

be

who,

move."

third Heaven

because,as has been said,this Lady was the


daughter of God, the Queen of all,the most noble
And

most

who

these Movers

to be

it remains
Philosophy,

beautiful

and

and

were,

seen

this third Heaven.

what

accordingto the
here it is
order which has been gone through. And
and to explanation
not needful to proceedto division,
of the letter,
for,having turned the fictitiousspeech

And

of
firstly

away

from

third Heaven,

the

it utters to that which

that which

through,this meaning

by the expositionjustgone
evident.
made
is sufficiently

XIV.

CHAPTER
IN

order

Heaven,"

to

what

see

has

one

I desire to express

and

then

will

one

was

Science,and by

from

three

with

the

needful

to

resemblances

meant

first

the

by

see

Heaven
mean

is

in

what

by
place

this word

how

and

the

other
Heaven

round

which

one

fixed centre.

moves

alone

Heaven

this third

why

I say that by Heaven


the Heavens
"the Sciences,"

revolution

of its movement,

perceive

us.

is the

revolves round

"third

to

the

Heavens

Sciences,especially
by the
in which
number
they must
appear ;
seen
Third.
by discussingthat word

similitude

it means,

of

the
For

not

; and

order

and

will be

as

The
and

one

each

its centre, which,

have

on

thus each

first
the

movable
account

Science

SECOND

THE

for

its

round

moves

subject,which

demonstrates

Science

no

that.

presupposes
illumination

of the

not

foundation,but
similitude
other.

the

is

the
each

For

things; and thus each


And
things intelligible.
in
inducingof perfection

visible

illuminates

Science

its own

and

one

83

itself moves

second

The

illuminates

Heaven

TREATISE.

the

the third similitude is the

thingsso inclined. Of which induction,as to the


that is,of the substantial generation,
firstperfection,
the
are
all the philosophers
agree that the Heavens
although they attribute this in different
cause,
from
the Movers, as Plato,Avicenna,
ways : some
the stars
from
and
themselves,
Algazel; some
the human
souls,as Socrates,and also
especially
Plato and Dionysius the Academician
some
; and
the

celestial virtue which

from
the

seed,

Thus

the

as

Aristotle

Sciences

the

and
the

are

other

cause

in

heat of

Peripatetics.
us

of

the

of
perfection
; by the use
which we can
concerningthe Truth, which
speculate
the Philosophersays
ultimate perfection,
is our
as
of the Ethics,when he says that
in the sixth book
Truth is the good of the intellect. Because of these
other resemblances,
and many
it is possibleto call
Science,Heaven.
Now
it remains to see why it is called the third
Heaven.
it is requisite
Here
to reflect somewhat
with regard to a comparisonwhich exists between
induction

of the

is in the natural

second

the order of the Heavens

Wherefore, as

has

Seven

next

Heavens

then there

are

and

above

one

two

and

been
to

us

Heavens

that

of the

Sciences.

previouslydescribed,the
those of the Planets ;
above these,the Mobile ;

are

all, Quiet.

To

the

Seven

first N\

correspondthe Seven Sciences of the Trivium and of


the QuadriviwH)namely,Grammar, Logic,Rhetoric,

84

THE

OF

BANQUET

ALIGHIERI.

DANTE

Arithmetic, Music, Geometry, and Astrology. To


the eighth Sphere, i.e.,to the starry, correspond
Natural
Science,which is termed Physics,and the
is termed
first Science, which
Metaphysics. To
the

ninth

Sphere correspondsMoral Science ; and


to the Quiet Heaven
correspondsDivine Science,
which is designatedTheology.
the reason
And
to be
why this is,remains briefly
I

seen.

likened
find

Moon

the

Grammar

unto

not

are

of

because

it is

the shadow

rarityof

which

other

no

at
to

proper

stars

is

is

the

one

other than

the
it
is
the

which

wherefrom

end

no

look

be

to

seen

Moon

possibleto

if you

which
is in it,

body,in

its

For

in the

seen

the

Heaven

comparison to it.
well,two thingsare

which

find

that

say

the rays of the Sun can


to strike back againas in the

ness,
parts ; the other is the variation of its bright-

other

which

shines

now

on

other,accordingas the Sun


Grammar
properties
the rays

of

has

reason

can

the words

of
especially

side,and

one

sees

it.

for,because

find
; and

now

And

on

the

these two

of its

infinity,

in it in parts,
this
it shines now
on

no

end

on
that,inasmuch as certain words,certain
side,now
declensions,certain constructions,are in use which

which
formerly were
again will be ; as Horace
says in the beginning of
his book on the art of Poetry,
when he says :
Many
words will spring up again which
have now
fallen
not

were

formerly,and

many

"

out

of use."

And

Logic

the Heaven
because

the smallest
diameter

is

of

two

star in
no

more

Mercury may be compared to


: that
properties
Mercury is

Heaven, that the


than two

hundred

amount

and

of its

thirty-two

Alferganoputs it,who says that


twenty-eighth
part of the diameter of the

miles,accordingas
it is one

of

SECOND

THE

is six

Earth, which

TREATISE.

85

five hundred

thousand

miles ;
concealed by

the other property is,that it is more


And
these
the rays of the Sun than any other star.
in Logic : for Logic is less in
are
two
properties
than

substance

and the

in the old Art

with

much

so

it is

; and

new

text

perfectly
is found

as

concealed

more

Science, inasmuch

other

any

it is

Science,for
in

terminated

compiledand
than

other

any

it

as

proceeds

and probablearguments
sophistical

more

than

other.

any

the

And

brightnessof
behold, far more

its aspect, which


than any other

its appearance,

evening.

is

for Rhetoric

in

aims
principally
morning, when

that

at

the

sweetness.

Rhetorician

the

distant parts.
And
the Heaven
Arithmetic

of

because

lightall

is that the eye

propertiesare

lightilluminates

with

Number

one

the

itself

reason

Science

reasons

cannot

in

at

gaze

of

under

And
with

for their subjects

and

Number,

some

the consideration

and
continuity,

infinite number.

its first and

it.

Arithmetic,which

always proceeds in

of

in

informed

are

these ; as in Natural
Science
is the subject,
which
movable

itself three

Letters

by

of

body

evening,

be

may

all its Sciences

all considered

are

is

It appears
in the
speaks before the

the other stars

the other

its

other

compared to
one
: the
is,
properties

two

his

two

to

sweet

star ; the

in
appears
it speaks

of the Sun

that with

these

is the

one

is most

to

the

hearer ; it
is, afterwards,when
of

face

compared

in the
morning, now
in Rhetoric :
these two properties
are
of all Sciences,
the sweetest
since it
now

And

be

may

: the
properties

of two

because

Rhetoric

of Venus

Heaven

And

the

movable

has

body

this has
of

in,
in

Natural

chiefest consideration

is to

THE

86

OF

BANQUET

DANTE

ALIGHIERL

the

consider

of natural objects,
which are
principles
and form ; in which
three,that is,matter, privation,
is seen, and not only in all together,
this Number
but again in each one, as he who
considers subtly
perceive.Wherefore,Pythagoras,accordingto
may
what Aristotle says in the firstbook of the Physics,
established as the principles
of natural things,
the
all thingsto be
equaland the unequal ; considering
The
Number.
other property of the Sun
is again
in

is the Science of
Number, of which Number
Arithmetic,that the eye of the intellect cannot gaze
at it. For Number, inasmuch
it is considered in
as
seen

is infinite;
itself,
the

And
Music

this

and

Heaven

because

of

we

Mars

understand.

cannot

be

may

compared

to

of two

properties. One is its most


beautiful relative position
; for, when
enumerating
the movable
Heavens, from which one soever
you
begin,either from the lowest or from the highest,
may
this Heaven

is the fifth; it is the central

of Mars

of all,that is,of the


and
up

of the fourth.
and

burns

of fire; and
sometimes

the

of
first,

the second, of the third,


other is,that this Mars dries

The

because his
things,
this is why it appears

more

and

sometimes

densityand rarityof

which

of themselves

one

are

in the firstbook

on

heat

is like to that

flamingin colour,
less,accordingto

the vapours which


often kindled, as
Meteors.

follow it,
is determined

And, therefore,

Albumassar

says that the kindlingof these vapours


the death of Kings and the change of Kingsignifies
doms
; for

of
they are the effects of the dominion
the
Mars.
And, therefore,Seneca
says that, on
death of Augustus,he beheld on high a ball of fire.
And
in Florence,at the beginning of its destruction,
in the air,in the form
there was
of a cross, a
seen
the planet
of these vapours
following
great quantity

SECOND

THE

Mars.
is all
songs,

And

these two
is

as
relative,

from

which

in harmonized

seen

words

harmony

sweeter

relation is

87
in Music, which

are
properties

the

the

proportionas

TREATISE.

and

in

results in

beautiful,which

more

because there
beautiful,
especially
is in it a special
harmony. Again, Music attracts
which
it were
are
as
to itself human
chiefly
spirits,
from the heart, so that they almost cease
vapours
in this Science

is

all labour ;
it,and the power
from

to

the
And

of
spirit

so

is the whole

of all those
which

sense,

the Heaven

soul when

flies as
spirits

it hears
it were

receives the sound.

Jupitercan be compared to
Geometry because of two properties.The one is,
that ft moves
between
two
Heavens, repugnant to
its good tempering,
namely, that of Mars and that
of Saturn.
Hence
Ptolemy says, in the book
alluded to, that Jupiteris a star of a temperate
complexion,midway between the cold of Saturn
and the heat of Mars.
The
other is,that amongst
all the stars
these

of

it appears

things
Geometry moves

in

white, as
the

if silvered.

-Science

And

of

Geometry.
between
two
thingsantagonistic
between
the point and the circle,
to it ; as
and
I
circle freelyanything that is round, either a
term
body or superfices
; for,as Euclid says, the pointis
the beginningof Geometry,and, accordingto what
he says, the circle is the most
perfectfigurein it,
which

must

that between

are

therefore
the

have

reason

for its end

so

between
as
point and the circle,
the beginningand the end, Geometry moves.
And
these two are
to its certainty
antagonistic
; for the
is immeasurable, and the
point by its indivisibility
of its arc, it is impossibleto
account
circle,on
and
therefore it is impossibleto
perfectly,
square
measure
precisely.And again,Geometry is most

THE

88

inasmuch

white,

and
itself,

in

ALIGHIERI.

DANTE

it is without

as

certain

is most

OF

BANQUET

spot of

it

and

error,

by its handmaid,

called

Perspective.
And

the

because
One

of

Heaven
which

of

is the

it

be

can

slowness

has

Saturn

of

properties
Astrology.

two

compared

to

the

through

its movement

and
signs ; for twenty-nine years
more,
according to the writings of the Astrologers, is the
The
other is,that
time
that it requires in its orbit.

twelve

all

above

the

other

properties are

two

in

circle, as

the

these
planets it is highest. And
in Astrology, for in completing its
acquirement of this Science, the

of time

greatest space

is revolved, because
than

more

are

Sciences, and
those

to

And
as

who

again,

would

it is the

Aristotle
the

on

the

Soul,

acquire good

highest of

of

other

noble

for

of
of

those

its

that

and
the

which

is defect

springs

that

is its

it must

says,

And

be

it is

nobleness
Science

high

the
if any

on

most
one

of

is noble

of

its

subject

its

than
and

is the

any

high,
ment
move-

and

noble,

any

defect, even

because
as

perfect and

most

believe

there

that

the part of the Science, but,

through

imputed.

it.

in

because

more

subject,which

is without

from

requisite

his book

of

high,

above

; and

in it,it is not

Ptolemy

the
this

certainty, which

regular principle.
as

of

Heavens

is

mentioned
afore-

all the others, because,

is

mentioned

high

the

judgment

commencement

Science

nobility,and because
its certainty. And
and

of

long experience

in the

says

other

any

its demonstrations

our

negligence, and

to

SECOND

THE

TREATISE.

XV.

CHAPTER
the

AFTER
seven

others,which

must

made

of the

proceed to

now

the

be compared
Starry Heaven
may
and to Metaphysics
of three properties,

Physicsbecause
because

we

I have

three,as has been often stated.

are

that the

I say
to

comparisonswhich

first Heavens,

89

of three others.

For

it shows

us

of

things,such as the multitude of


the Galaxy, that white circle
such as
and
stars
which the common
peoplecall the Path of St. James.
of the poles,and keeps the
It shows to us also one
itself two

visible

other hidden

from

us.

And

it shows
; and

to

us

one

ment
move-

another,which
from
West
it
it makes
to East, it keeps almost, as
hidden
from us.
Therefore, in due order are
were,
be seen, first the comparisonwith the Physical
to
and then that with the Metaphysical.
shows
I say that the Starry Heaven
us
many
of Egypt
stars ; for,accordingto what the wise men
have seen, even
to the last star which
appeared to
in the Meridian, they place there twenty-two
them
thousand bodies of stars,of which I speak. And
in
this it has the greatestsimilitude with Physics,if
these three numbers, namely, Two, and
Twenty,
and Thousand, are
regarded well and subtly. For
the local movement,
which is of
by the two is meant
necessityfrom one
point to another ; and by the
the movement
of the alteration,
twenty is signified
for,since from the ten upwards one advances not
this ten with the other nine and
except by altering
with itself;
and the most
beautiful alteration which
it receives is its own
with itself,
and the firstwhich
it receives is the twenty ; reasonably
by this number
alone from

East to West

THE

9o

OF

BANQUET
is

the said movement


is
name,

and

the
signified

ALIGHIERL

DANTE

signified.And

by

the thousand

of increase,which

movement

in

that is,this thousand, is the greater number,


is not possible
to increase stillmore
except by

this. And these three movements


alone,
multiplying
in the
it is demonstrated
observed in Physics,
as
are
fifth chapterof his firstbook.
because
of the Milky Way, this Heaven
has
And
with Metaphysics. Wherefore,it
a great similitude
that concerningthis Galaxy the
is to be known
have had different opinions. For the
Philosophers
at some
followers of Pythagorassaid that the Sun
time or other went
astray from his path,and, passing
through other parts not suitable to his fervent heat,
he burnt the place through which he passed, and
there remained
of the conflagration.
that appearance
moved
And
I believe that they were
by the fable of
Phaeton, which Ovid relates in the beginningof the
second
said,
part of his Metamorphoses. Others
such as Anaxagoras and Democritus, that it was
the
lightof the Sun reflected into that part. And these
with demonstrative reasons, theyproved over
opinions,
and
over
again. What Aristotle may have said of
this is not so easy to learn,because his opinionis not
found to be the
and

same

one

translation

I believe that it might

for
translators,
the

in

Galaxy

in the

in the other ;
be due to the error of the

new

he

one

as

to say

seems

that

collection of vapours under the stars


of that part which
always attract them ; and this
does not
In the old
seem
to be the true
reason.
is

translation he says that the Galaxy is no other than


of fixed stars in that part, so small that
a multitude
we

cannot

distinguishthem
the

that

they cause
Milky Way.

And

from

whiteness

it may

be

here

which
that the

below, but
we

call

Heaven

the -i
in

SECOND

THE

that part is

Ptolemy

since the
which

by

is

Galaxy

cannot

we

if

see,

Aristotle.

share with

to

seem

opinion Avicenna

this

and

light;

fore,
There-

effect of those

an

those

understand

we

stars

things

Metaphysics treats of the


understand
cannot
similarly

their effect alone, and

first substances,which

91

therefore retains and

dense, and

more

represents that
and

TREATISE.

we

it is evident that the


except by their effects,

StarryHeaven has a great similitude to Metaphysics.


the
Again, by the pole which we see is signified
thingsknown to our senses, concerningwhich,taking
them universally,
the Science of Physicstreats ; and
is signified
the
do not see
by the pole which we
things which are without matter, which are not
sensible,concerning which Metaphysicstreats ; and
therefore

the

with the

one

said

Heaven

Science

and

Again, by
two

Sciences

the
:

by

great similitude

with the other.


it

movements

two

for

has

these
signifies
in which

the movement

every

and makes
revolution from point
a new
day revolves,
to point,it signifies
thingsnatural and corruptible
which dailycomplete their path,and their material
is changed from
form
form ; and
to
of this the
Science of Physicstreats.
And
sensible
by the almost inwhich

movement

it makes

from West

to

East

by one degree in a hundred years, it signifies


things
which received from God the beginning
incorruptible,
of their creation,
and will have no
end ; but of these
Metaphysicstreats. Therefore I say that this move^
ment
those things,
for it began this revolution
signifies
which

will have

being to
Heaven
revolved

return

will not
a

commencement

end

no

to

one

return

little more

; the

end

self-same

of the

point,to

revolution
which

this movement,
which
than the sixth part from

by

of the world

; and

we

are

now

this
has
the

in the

summation
con-

it is

Thus

celestial movement.

of the

the

wait

verilywe

of the world, and

last age

ALIGHIERI.

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

t)2

StarryHeaven, on account of many


of
be compared to the Science
properties,
may
Physics and Metaphysics.
The
Heaven, which, as the Primum
Crystalline
counted,has a sufficiently
Mobile, has been previously
evident comparison to Moral
Philosophy; for Moral
accordingto what Tommaso
says upon
Philosophy,
in
the second book of the Ethics,teaches us method
evident that the

the other Sciences.

Philosophersays in the
Ethics, legal Justicerequiresthe

For
the

the

as

be learnt,and

they be

be abandoned, that
the said

all those

day

receive

could

Heaven

their power

would

rule

from

Heaven

the Earth

to

they may not


taught: thus,
the daily
revolution

below

the virtues

over

that,but

little of

below, and littleof their


hold that,if it could be possible

descend
we

for this ninth Heaven


of the

Sciences

which

send

and

of

parts. For, if the revolution of


not

Wherefore

aspect.

its movement

of all the others ; from

of their several
this

learnt and

rules with

Heaven

revolution
every

in order that

commands,

fifth book

would

not

Saturn

not

to move,

again be

seen

the third part


in any

part

be for fourteen years


half concealed
and
from any place on the Earth,
a
Jupiterwould be hidden for six years, and Mars for

almost
and

so

Venus

be hidden
space

from

whole

would

year, and the Sun for


eighty-twodays and fourteen hours
a

meaning
and

neither

hundred

(I say days,
time as so many
much
days measure);
and Mercury,almost like the Sun, would

and

would

of fourteen
all

one

reappear, and the Moon


days and a half would be

for the
hidden

here below there would


people. Verily,
the life of animals, nor
generation,nor

be
of

THE

month,

nor

be

there would

plants;

nor

be, would

some

time, and

life of

happiness,and

there

of old.

wou

the stars

would

Moral

be

would
all books

for

hidden

generation nor

no

would

in vain, and

be

it is

Therefore

Philosophy

be

Sciences

the other

to

we

nor

Universe

of

the movement

cease

day,

the whole

otherwise,should

Not

all discoveries

night,nor

no

; but

year

be disordered,and
be in vain.

TREATISE.

SECOND

dent
evisufficiently

comparison between this Heaven


and Moral
Philosophy.
of its
Heaven, because
Again, the Empyrean
Science,
Peace, bears a similitude to the Divine
that there

which

is

is full of all Peace

; which

endures

conflict

no

of
sophistical
arguments, on account
the most
which
excellent
is
certaintyof its subject,
God.
ciples
And
of this He
Himself
speaks to His dis:
My peace I give to you : My peace I leave
unto
you," giving and leavingto them His doctrine,
is this Science whereof
which
I speak.
Solomon
of this Science :
Sixty are the
says
and
eighty the friendlyconcubines ; and
queens,
is my
youthful virginswithout number ; but one
dove
and
All the Sciences
he
perfectone."
my
and friends,
terms
and virgins
he calls
queens,
; and
of

opinionor

of

"

"

this

dove, because

one

strife ;
causes

us

Soul

easy

to

see

calls this

one

perfectlythe

blemish

of

perfect,because

it

without

Truth

v/hich

in

our

finds Peace.

And
the

he

and

it is

therefore

Sciences
to

see

the

comparison

having been
that by the

Rhetoric, which has been


Heaven, as appears above.

thus

of the

Heavens

reasoned

Third
likened

out, it is

Heaven
unto

to

the

mean

Third

OF

BANQUET

THE

94

DANTE

CHAPTER
BY

the

who

similitudes

these

Movers

Tullius,who
has

as

me,

the

by

rays
that fair

word

to

are

of it is
I

whom

Heaven

even

possibleto
speak ; what
as

Boethius

of their

the sweetness

before

see
are

and

speech sent

stated,to the Love, which

been

that most

studyof

the

XVI.

spoken

of that

the Movers

ALIGHIERL

is

by
gentleLady, Philosophy,

of their star,which is the written word of


Therefore in each Science the written
one.

light,which that Science


reveals. And, this being made
manifest,it is easy
the true meaning of the firstverse
of the purto see
posed
Poem
of the exposition,
Figurative
by means
and Literal. And
of this self-same exposition
by means
understand
the second verse,
can
one
sufficiently
it says, This Spiritmade
to that part where
even
look on a fair Lady : where it should be known
me
that this Lady is Philosophy
; which trulyis a Lady
full of sweetness, adorned
with modesty,wonderful
for wisdom, the glory of freedom, as in the Third
where her Nobilitywill be described,it is
Treatise,
made

is

star

full of

manifest.

seeks where

And

his

then

Salvation

where

it says
lies,Must gaze

"

Who

intently
in this Lady's eyes;" the eyes of this Lady are
her demonstrations,
which
look straightinto the
the Soul,and set it
enamour
eyes of the intellect,
free from the trammels
of circumstance.
Oh, most
and
sweet
ineffable forms, swift
stealers of the
human
that

mind, which appear


is, in the eyes of

discourses

to

her

faithful

is

Salvation,whereby

at

you,

and

is saved

in these

Philosophy,when
friends ! Verily in

he is made
from

demonstrations,

the

blessed who
death

of

she
you
looks

Ignorance

SECOND

THE

joys
anguish,
fear

it says, " Nor


debarred,"the wish

the labour

not

is to

study and

of

95

dread

Where

Vice.

and

TREATISE.

the

the

sighsof
if he
signify,

strife of

flicting
con-

which flow forth ever


multiplying
opinions,
from the living
Springin the eyes of this Lady, and
then her lightstillcontinuing,
they fall away, almost
And
like littlemorning clouds before the Sun.
now
her friend,remains
free and
become
the intellect,
the atmosphere is
as
full of certain Truth, even
rendered
pure and bright by the shining of the
midday Sun.
third passage
The
again is explainedby the
far as to where
Still
it says,
Literal exposition
as
it is desirable 4:o
therefore the Soul weeps." Here
"

attend

to

in these words

observed
the sake
received

the

leave

follows

he

Then

there

other

to

which
of my
intellect,
close attachment.
And

eyes
most

peers,"it

My

miserable

and

endowed

with

then

it says,
"

says,

contrary

by
that

this
one

love

the

Lady

the

to

one

him.

on

eyes,"has
the hour

there
Souls

no

when

into the

entered

the

of

of this

cause

where

it says,

free

set

from

vile

"

gazed
to

means

be

to

for desertion

more

was

is

greater

Of my
it says,
except that bitter was
of this

follow the

must

"

the firstdemonstration

"

bestow

where

meaning

ought not for


forgetthe service

occasion

gives

be

may

man

lamentation

he

other,whereby

whom

that

other, the

honest

followed,with
the

which

sense

of the greater friend to


from the lesser ; but if one

and

one

moral

certain

and from vulgar habits,


pleasures,
And
understandingand memory.
Her eyes bear death,"and then it
on

her

that which

die," which

and
is said

Lady. And therefore


Spiritspeaks here on

above

of

it is to
one

appears

Salvation
be

side

known
and

the

BANQUET

THE

96

there

speaks

other

on

OF

DANTE

the

other

contrariwise, according
above.

the

Spiritsays

one

Then

No.

says

the

if here

other

the

where

stanza

made

is

wonder

no

there

dispute

two

which

it is

Yes, and

in

; which

that

to

Wherefore

evident

ALIGHIERI.

Spirit
A

"

it says,

which
thought is meant
it is
born of my
was
deep contemplation ; wherefore
that
be known
to
by Love, in this Allegory, is
is the
that deep contemplation which
always meant
mind
to that
earnest
applicationof the enamoured
Then
when
it is enamoured.
it
object wherewith
shall shine High miracles
before thee,"
There
says,
of the
that through her the adornments
it announces
of tenderness,"

voice

sweet

"

will be

miracles

which

she

it speaks
is to

demonstrates

the

see

truly,that

the

of the

cause

in the

beginning
Philosopher seems
the
contemplation

as

Metaphysics the
to
feel, saying that, through
of these
adornments, men
began to be enamoured
And
with
this Lady.
concerning this word, i.e.,
miracle, in the following treatise I shall speak more
then follows of this Song is sufficiently
fully. What
explained by the other exposition.
of

the

book

; and

miracles

of the

adornment
same,

seen

And
say

thus

the

that

after

enamoured
beautiful

the

at

affirm

and

of the

on

and

most

Universe,
of

to

end

the
the

of

Lady

Second

with

first Love

whom
was

Treatise,I
I

the

became
most

excellent
which

daughter of the Ruler


daughter Pythagoras gave

Philosophy. And
Treatise, which is brought in
Banquet.
name

this

here
for the

ends

the Second

first dish

at

my

{Treatise,

Ubfrfc

LOVE, reasoningof my Lady in my mind


oft of her will say
With constant
pleasure,
Things over which the intellectmay stray ;
music

of

That

the Soul hears

and

That

I want

His

make

words

If I would

power

sweet

Reason

kind

and cries,Ah,
feels,

tellwhat

to

thus

tellof her what

First,all that

so

thus I

me,

see

I hear,

make

cannot

its own

leave ; and of what may


be known
of words to make it clear.
Leave part, for want
blame wit and words, whose force
If my Song fail,
I needs

must

in Love's discourse.

Fails to tellall I hear

The

Sun

Till it reach
As

in travel round

not

sees

her abode,
Love

she of whom

All minds

of Heaven

Her, Maker

Beyond

that she

saw

thing
to

me

at

sing.

her worth

thought

into their minds

has

brought.

good, and poured,

was

Nature, fulness

our

find her in their

his peace

Love

fair

causes

wonder

Mortals, enamoured,
When

so

the earth,

of His

Power

On

her pure soul,whence


shone this holy dower
Through all her frame, with beauty so adored

That

from

the eyes she touches heralds fly


with longings,
heavenward
with a

Heartward

her fair frame Virtue Divine

On

As

on

Fair

the
one

angel that beholds

who

An
A

angel when
power

descends
His

face.

doubt, go with her,mark

In all her acts.

in her

Downward

sigh.

from

Heaven

the grace
bends

she

speaks,who can attest


of us possessed.
by none
U

graceful

The

Rival

in calls

Fair

in all like

Who

face

For

that, He

Her

shows

aspect

in her

Seen

dazzle

They
And

Words

Good

thoughts,

From

from

it

Song,

My

The
This

seems

of

Eyes

may

when
She

judged

My
My

her

glance, there's
Song,

and

Lady,

take

to

and

dread.

when
all

thou

homage

to

call
and

oppose
:

divine,

morose.

is

know,

called

soul

meek,

or

of mine

you

truly,by

not

calm

this

Song

cause

sister

your

Possessed
Her

have

innate

desire

may

not

disdainful
you

that

thought, thy teaching seek.

whom

Heaven,

fire,

vices

who

one

sister

of

praise.

create

speak

you

lowly Lady

Though

as

their

speak

the

one,

is God's

sister called

Your

So

Fair

blame

who

saying

crush

and

gaze

my

little

spiritto

vile.

her,

eyes

beauty little flames

living with
others

the

them

on

face

dwelling-place.

his

to

Sun

that

suffice

her

Escape

fix

I cannot

endure.

smiling

as

the

as

Made

Make

there

sure

Paradise,

in her

them

must

from

Rain

and

reason,

since

of

call

made

to

ever

appear
to

Faith

delights

eyes

brought

Love

her

made

hear

content

have

all

to

must

she'll

We,

Miracle,

Her

love

her, fairest
her.

forth

shows

that

love

to

like

is most

she

that

acts

ALIGHIER1.

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

98

bright and

ever

find

this

Lady proud

what

obscure.

star

seemed

when
still,
Be

such

canst,
I

can

pure,

come

excuse

approach
pay.

but

fear
near

allowed,
her,

say

THIRD

THE

TREATISE.

99

I.

CHAPTER

treatise is described how my second


preceding
took itsrise from the compassionate
countenance
Lady ; which Love, findingmy Soul inclined to

IN the
Love
of

its ardour,after the

of

manner

kindled

was
fire,

from

slightspark into a great flame ; so that not only


during my waking hours,but during sleep,its light
a

And
vision into my mind.
excited to behold
the desire which Love
threw

either to
impossible
And
not
only of her

it would

how

great

this

Lady,

many

be

but of all those persons who


either as acquaintances
or

tell or to make
I thus

was

had
as

any

were

were

closed

the tabernacle

to

Oh

relations.

when the eyes of


nights,
in sleep,that mine, wide

fixedlyupon

desirous,

nearness

the

many

stood.
under-

her,

! how

other persons
open,

gazed

Love.

of my

fire must
of necessity
rapidlyincreasing
be seen, it being impossible
for fire to remain
to speak of the Love
hidden, the desire seized me
that I could no
And
longer restrain within me.
although I could receive but little help from my
And

as

counsel,yet, inasmuch

own

of Love
to

the

or

it many

from

my
times, I

three

and
deliberated,

love,which
For

sees.

way

of

honour

person.

assisted

reasons

is the

to one's

exist between

honour

And
One

no

more

to

lawful
one's

nigh
that,in

saw

beautiful

more

that which

mends
com-

in this deliberation
of

them

of all the rest,as

source

there is no

doing

me.

will

promptness, I drew

own

speakingof Love, there could be


more
nor
profitablespeech than
the beloved

the

as, either from

nor

self-

was

every

one

courteous

more

self than

friend ; and, since


the unlike,wherever

by doing
cannot
friendship
one

sees

friend-

is understood, thither
this

from

And
learnt

the

should

bad
evil

man

ought

to

of him

friend ; the
his friend
blame

consider well the aforesaid


himself with his
The

second

ringerin

reason

that

was

any

that

in

who

other

his

to

wish

friend,for

seem

your
opinion is formed

man

blame.

great lessons may

two

is,never

one

likeness

publicpraiseor

runs

reason

wherever

; and

is understood

ship,likeness

ALIGHIERI.

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

ioo

has

vicious
case

made

is, that

be

no

the
one

because,if you
publicly,
reason, he but pointsto

his eye.
the desire for the duration

friendship
; wherefore it is to be known, as the
of the Ethics,in
Philosopher
says in the ninth book
of unequal positionit is
of persons
the friendship
of that friendship,
for the preservation
for a
requisite,
certain proportion
to exist between
them, which may
to a similarity,
reduce the dissimilarity
between
as
and the servant.
.the master
vant
For,although the serof this

cannot

render

that is conferred
best that he

on

the

him, yet

can, with

that that which

benefit to

same

so

he

much

ought to

the master
render the

solicitude and

is dissimilar in itselfmay

will
free-

become

which
through the evidence of good-will,
confirms
the friendship,
and
it.
proves
preserves
Wherefore
I, consideringmyself lower than that
Lady, and perceivingmyself benefited by her,
endeavoured
to praiseher accordingto my
ability.
will
And, if it be not similar of itself,
my prompt freesimilar

and

do more,
proves at least that if I could I would
thus it makes
its friendship
similar to that of

this

gentleLady.

The

for,as

only

third

reason

Boethius

was

an

argument

of

prudence;

"

It is not sufficient to look


says,
is before the eyes, that is,at the
at that which

Present ; and,therefore,
is given
Prudence,Foresight,

THIRD

THE

TREATISE.

101

beyond to that which may happen."


I say that I thought that for a long time I might
with levityof mind, on
be reproachedby many
hearing that I had turned from my first Love.
this reproach,there was
no
Wherefore, to remove
the Lady was
better argument than to state who
who
had thus changed me
; that,by her manifest
excellence,
perceptionof her
they might gain some
virtue ; and that,by the comprehensionof her most
that all
exalted virtue,they might be able to see
could be in that mutability
of mind
: and,
stability
stable.
therefore,
they should not judge me lightand unI then began to praisethis Lady, and if not
to us, which

in the

looks

suitable manner,
I
at least as well as
could at first; and I began to say :
ing
Love, reasonof my
This Song chiefly
Lady in my mind."
most

"

has three parts. The firstis the whole of the firsttwo


manner.
stanzas, in which I speak in a preliminary
The

second

is

stanzas,in which

whole

the

the

of

is described

that which

the praise
of that gentleLady
i.e.,
"

begins:
earth."

The

Sun

sees

not

six

following

is

intended,

; the firstof which

travel

in

round

the

The

third part is in the last two stanzas, in


which, addressing
myselfto the Song, I purifyit from
all doubtful

remain

And
interpretation.

to be discussed

now

in due

CHAPTER

TURNING,
as

then, to
a

Proem

I say that it is

first
this

these

three parts

order.

II.

the First Part, which


or

Preface

divided
fitly

to

the

into three

Song

was
or

posed
com-

Poem,

parts. In the

place,it alludes to the ineffable condition of


theme ; secondly,
it describes my insufficiency

THE

102

ALIGHIERI.

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

; and this second


speak of it in a perfectmanner
tell of her what thus I
If I would
part begins:
I excuse
hear." Finally,
myselffor my insufficiency,
for which they ought not to layblame to my charge;
I say :
If my Song
this part when
and I commence
to

"

"

fail."

begin,then : Love, reasoningof my Lady in my


mind," where in the firstplaceit is to be seen who
this speakeris,and what this placeis in which I say
in his true
that he is speaking. Love, taking him
is no
him subtly,
other than
and considering
sense,
union
of the Soul with the beloved
the spiritual
object; into which union,of its own nature, the Soul
hastens sooner
or
later,accordingas it is free or
for that natural disposition
impeded. And the reason
be this : each substantial form proceeds from its
may
First Cause, which is God, as is written in the book of
from that First
Causes ; and theyreceive not diversity
but from the secondary
Cause, which is the most simple,
"

Wherefore, in the

descends.

"

The

bounties

throughthe

material

into which

book

same

the infusion of the Divine

of
treatiug

when

the

from

and

causes,

good giftsmake

and

it is written,
Goodness

diverse

of that which

concurrence

of its cause,

that that which

body
so

each

Divine
can

has

some

form

in

in

way
some

in

be divided

by

receives them."

and

the

an

way

these, almost

Nature.

of the

he affirms
of

round

round
essentially
has

the

essence

that the Divine

communicated

in
participate
nobler the form, the

that Divine

says when

the firstcause

not
itself;

the other stars


And

Alfarabio
been

has

in

Nature

as

to

in the

form,
of the
Nature

these,but
same

the nature
more

things,

Wherefore, since each effect retains somewhat


nature

it

does

way
of the

ticipated
par-

that
Sun.

it retain of

THE

form of all those which

is the

noblest

generatedunder Heaven,
Nature

natural

since it is most

And

are

from the Divine

more

103

Soul,which

the human

Wherefore
receives

TREATISE.

THIRD

to

wish

than any other.


to be in God,

reads,the first
the
thingis to exist,and before that there is nothing,
with all possible
Soul desires to exist naturally
human
since its existence
And
desire.
depends upon God,
desires and
and is preservedby Him, it naturally
longsto be united to God, and so add strengthto its
own
being. And since,in the goodness of Human
Nature, Reason givesus proofof the Divine,it follows
Soul is united therewith
the Human
that,naturally,
much
the sooner, and so
so
by the path of the spirit
in proportionas those good
much
the more
firmly,
of
qualities
perfect
; which
appear more
appearance
is achieved accordingas the power
of the
perfection
Soul to produce a good impressionis strong and
and obscure.
And
this unioii)/.
or is trammelled
clear,
is that which we
call Love, whereby it is possible
to"x
know
that which is within the Soul,by lookingat!
for

in the book

as

those

it loves

whom

Love, which

Lady

quoted

in the

one

world

without,

This

is the union

in whom

revealed

above

to

so

is that

me,

since from

him

gazing at
this Lady

and

of my Soul with that gentle


much
of the Divine
Light was

speakerof

continuous

whom

were
thoughts

speak ;
born,whilst

the wondrous
considering
made
was
one
spiritually

who

power

with

of
my

Soul.
The

placein

the Mind.
does not
and

which

But
attach

in
more

second

book

say,
on

that he

thus

speaks is
Mind, one

sayingthat it is the
meaning to this than

therefore it is to be

signifies.I

I say

what

this Mind

before ;

properly
in the
then, that the Philosopher,
the Soul, when
speaking of its
seen

THE

104

and he
one

are, to

either with all the


feels,
for the
And

to

power

that
is

is the

these

are

powers

foundation

other,which

is

move

Soul

moves

with

one

that
alone ;

conjoinedwith feeling.
he says, it is most
dent
evithat the
entwined
so

other ; and that which


of itself be divided ; but the

of the

foundation

or

senses

that which

accordingto

one

has three
principally
Feel,and to Reason :
it is possible
to make

Soul

the

Live,to
says also to Move, but
since every
with feeling,

powers,

this

that

says
which

powers,

ALIGHIERT.

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

can

is built upon

apart from

be

it,cannot

its foundation.

Therefore,the Vegetative power,


whereby one lives,is the foundation upon which one
that is,sees, hears,tastes,smells,
and touches ;
feels,
and this vegetative
of itselfcan
be the Soul,
power
in all the plants. The Sensitive
we
see
as
vegetative,
exist without that. We
find nothingthat
cannot
and does not live. And
this Sensitive power is
feels,
the foundation
of the Intellectual,
that is,of the
Reason ; so that,in animate
mortals,the Reasoning
is not

power

found

Sensitive is found
and

in the

animal,as
these

without
without

birds,and
we

see.

Sensitive.

Reason,

in the

And

is the

the

as

But

in the

and
fishes,

in any

that Soul which

the

beasts,
brute

contains all

perfectof all. And the


the nobility
Human
of the highest
possessing
is Reason, participates
in the Divine
power, which
of an eternal Intelligence
:
Nature, after the manner
for the Soul is ennobled
and denuded
of matter
by
in proportionas the Divine
that Sovereign Power
Light of Truth shines into it,as into an Angel ; and
is therefore called by the Philosophersthe
Man
powers
Soul

Divine

Animal.

In this most
as

most

noble part of the Soul

tues,
virmany
the Philosopher
in the third
says, especially
are

THIRD

THE

chapter
a

Soul,

which

is called

Ratiocinative,

called

this there

which
that

Mind

it

is

Judging.
others

designated
understand,

to

that

evident

part of

highest, noblest

the

with

the

are

sought

is

in that

says
the

and

power,

we

Wherefore

meant

; and

virtues, and

excellent

word, which

one

is

Inventive

noble

that

is, Mind.

that

the

is in it

which

one

rather deliberative

most

in

are

that there

says

virtues,as Aristotle

as

these

all

And

he

105

Scientific,and

or

certain

are

place, such

same

by

where

of the

virtue

TREATISE.

by

man's

Soul.
it is

And
the

substances

Divine

plainly be
who

he

of

it

in the

mind

when

God,

first
"

men

he

of

then
"

says

can

predicatesit of
Thou, and God
"

of

and

man

predicated,as

Philosophy

to

of

only

is this Mind

says

thee

placed

so, for

Boethius, who

in

seen

where

men,

be

to

seen

he

Thou

dicates
predost

Model, Thou
everything from the Divine
beautiful
in
One, bearing the beautiful World

produce
most

animals
the
to

that

or

amcnti
can

as

and

it could

dementi,

perfect and

most

appear

not

seem

of brute

defective
that it

be, predicated ; and

that

perceive

now

it does

in

termed

are

predicated

ever

who

men

many

these

it

was

perfect part,

most

be,

of

; nay,

such

one

Neither

mind."

Thy

the

is,without

that

it is Mind

precious part

of the

Latin

ought
fore
there-

Tongue

mind.

Hence

which
Soul

in

is the
in which

is God.

And

that is the
to

me

of my

place

where

Lady.

I say

that

Love

courses
dis-

OF

BANQUET

THE

io6

III.

CHAPTER
NOT

without

work

in my

to

do

cause

that this Love

I say

was

at

in order
reasonably,
is,by the placein which

; but it is said

mind

explainwhat

ALIGHIERT.

DANTE

this Love

that each
Wherefore, it is to be known
shown
above,
thing,as is said above, for the reason
has its especial
Love, as the simplebodies have Love
innate,each in its proper place. Therefore the Earth
it works.

always descends
above

always ascends
such

as

to
near

ference
the centre, the fireto the circumof the Moon, and
the Heaven

towards
are

that.

The

bodies firstcomposed,

the minerals, have

love

for the

generationis ordained, and in


which
they increase,and from which they have
the loadstone
see
Wherefore, we
vigour and power.
from the place of its
always receive power
mated,
generation.Each of the plantswhich are firstaniwith
that is, first animated
a
vegetative
soul has most
evident love for a particular
place,
accordingas its nature may require; and therefore
certain plantsalmost alwaysgrow by the side
see
we
place

where

their

of the streams, and certain others upon the mountain


tops, and certain others grow by the sea-shore,or
the foot of

which, if they are transplanted,


hills,
either die entirely
live a sad life,as it were, like
or
The brute beasts
a being separatedfrom his friend.
have a most
evident love,not only for places,
but we
at

see

also their love towards

their

love for

each

other.

Men

have

and excellent ; and


thingsperfect
since Man, althoughhis Soul is one
substance alone,
because of his nobility,
partakesof the nature of each
of these things,
he can
possess all these affections,
and he does possess them
all. By his part in the
own

THE

nature

of the

downwards

it loves

more

of the second

Because

the

TREATISE.

107

it tends
simplebody,as earth,naturally
his body
he moves
therefore,when

becomes

upwards,he

THIRD

placeof

weary.

nature, of the mixed

its

body,

and even
generation,
is of
one
naturally

time ; and therefore each


in his own
placeand
power

in his

own

time

the
more

than

in

Wherefore,one reads in the Historyof


Hercules,and in the greaterOvid, and in Lucan, and
with the Giant
in other Poets, that when
fighting
who was
named
Antaeus, every time that the Giant
the earth at
on
was
weary, and laid his body down
of Hercules,
full length,
either by the will or strength
new
strengthand vigour then surged up in him,
drawn
wholly from the Earth, in which and from
which
he was
produced; Hercules,perceivingthis,
at last seized him, and havingcompressedand raised
him above the Earth,he held him so tightly,
without
quered
allowinghim to touch the Earth again,that he conAntaeus by excess
and killed him.
of strength,
Accordingto the testimonyof the books, this battle
took placein Africa.
And
because of the third nature, that is,of the
Man
much
has a love for a certain food, not inasplants,
any

other.

it affects the senses, but in so much


it is
as
nutritious ; and that particular
food does the work of
as

that most

perfectNature, while certain other food,


therefore we
acts but imperfectly.And
dissimilar,
that certain food will make
see
men
handsome, and
and very brightly
tain
coloured, and cerstrong-limbed,
other food will do the opposite
of this.
And
by the fourth nature, of the animals,that is,
the sensitive,
Man
has the other love,by which he
loves according
like the
to the sensible appearance,
beasts ; and this love in Man especially
has need of

THE' BANQUET

io8

OF

ALIGHIERI.

DANTE

operationin the
throughsightand touch.
given,especially
delights
of

control,because
And

its excessive

of the fifth and

because

last nature, which

is

Nature, and, to use a better phrase,


has by it the
the Angelic,namely, the Rational,Man
the true

Human

Love

of Truth

born

true

intercourse

eighthbook

Virtue ; and

and

this Love

from

is

from the honest


perfectfriendship
of which the Philosopher
speaks in the
ship.
of the Ethics,when he treats of Friend-

and

this nature is termed Mind, as is


Wherefore, since,
proved above, I spoke of Love as discoursingin my
the
Mind
in order to explain that this Love
was
Friendshipwhich is born of that most noble nature,
that is,of Truth and Virtue,and to exclude each
false opinion,
by which my Love might be suspected
to springfrom pleasure
of the Senses.
I then say,
make
With
constant
to
pleasure,"
people understand its continuance and its fervour.
I say that it often whispers Thingsover
And
which
the intellect may
stray."And I speaktruth,because
when reasoning
of her,often soughtto
my thoughts,
draw conclusions
of her, which I could not comprehend,
and I was
alarmed,so that I seemed almost like
oi;e
dazed,even as he who, lookingwith the eye alonga
direct line,sees
firstthe nearest thingsclearly
; then,
it sees
them
less clearly
proceeding,
; then, further
immense
on, doubtfully
; then, proceeding an
way,
the sight
is divided from the object,
and sees nothing.
And
this is one
unspeakablethingof that which I
have -taken for a theme ; and consequently
I relate
"

"

the other when


His words

I say
make

music of

That

the Soul hears and

That

I want

power

to

so

sweet

kind

and cries,
Ah,
feels,

tellwhat

thus I

see

me.

THE

And

because

That

to

tell it,I say that


that I want
me,

unspeakablething,
lower
complete and perfectfol-

intellect

hears and

the Soul

feels ;

been

"

And

as
hearing,

cause,

exalted

nature

which

has

ineffable parts of this matter


have
must proceedto discuss words that

even

as

to
intellect,

concerningher which
of light,
but which
body,unable
reflect them

"

own

And

"

needs

manner

the

omit

my
to

much

of the truth

mind
like rays
my
receives like a transparent

into

mind

gatherup

the

ends

thereof

this I express in that


First,all that Reason cannot make
must

And

leave."

Then, when

I say,

be known," I say that not even


to
I do understand
I sufficient,
because
am

of what

that which

twofold

shone

back.

following
part :
its

in

from

of my Lady surpasses all,


in the way
For I am
been told.
compelled,by the

poverty of my

and

to the

of the sound.

we
discussed,
describe my insufficiency.
I say, then, that my
arises
insufficiency

double

I say,

IV.

CHAPTER
that the two

sees.

to the sweetness

as
words, and feeling,

NOW

169

this is the other

And

the tongue is not


of all that the

that

how

not

"

power."

"

I know

laments, saying, Ah,

soul

my

TREATISE.

THIRD

can

my tongue is not so eloquent that it could tell that


which is discoursed in my thoughtsconcerningher.
It may be seen, therefore,
that,with respect to the

Truth, it

is very little that I shall say ; and this


redounds
in
to her great praise,if well considered,
that which
it is
intention.
And
the main
was

possibleto

say that this form

of

speech came

indeed

no

THE

from

the

OF

BANQUET

DANTE

ALIGHIERL

workshop of Rhetoric,which

laysits hand

upon

the main

on

intention.

every

side

Then, when
myself for my

I excuse
Song fail,"
which ought not, then,to be blamed when others
fault,
that my words are far below the dignityof this
see
I say that, if the defect is in my
Lady. And
rhymes,that is,in my words, which are appointedto
ness
the weakdiscourse of her,for this are to be blamed
of our speech:
of the intellectand the abruptness
blame wit and words,"which are
overpoweredby
follow it entirely,
that they cannot
the thought,
so
there where the thought is born of love,
especially
because there the Soul searches more
deeplythan
for any one
be quite possible
elsewhere.
It would
and accuse
dost excuse
to say : Thou
thyselfall in
for blame, not for
one
breath,which is a reason
the blame, which is
as
escape from blame, inasmuch
mine, is cast on the intellect and on the speech;
for,if it be good, I ought to be praisedfor it in so
I ought to
it is so ; and if it be defective,
much
as
be blamed.
To this it is possibleto reply,
briefly,
that I do not accuse
but that I excuse
myself
myself,
in truth. And
therefore it is to be known, according
in the third book
to the opinionof the Philosopher
of the Ethics,that man
is worthy of praiseor of
blame
only in those thingswhich it is in his power
to do or not to do ; but in those thingsover
which
it says,

If my

"

"

he

has

no

power

praise,since

to

blame

deserves

neither

blame

nor

either the

attributed to

parts of the

he

some

man

the

man

praise or blame is to be
other,althoughthe thingsmay be
himself.
Therefore,we ought not
because his body, from his birth,

be ugly,since it was
not in his power
may
it beautiful ; but our
blame
should fall
of
disposition

the matter

whereof

he

is

to
on

make

the evil

made, whose

THE

was

source

TREATISE.

THIRD

And

of Nature.

defect

in

so

even

we

for the

beauty of form
for he was
not
have from his birth,
he may
which
the maker of it ; but we
ought to praisethe artificer,
that is,Human
Nature, who shapesher material into
much
so
beauty when she is not impeded. And
therefore the priestsaid well to the Emperor who
laughed and scoffed at the uglinessof his body:
The Lord, He is God : It is He that hath made
us,

ought not

to

praisethe

man

"

ourselves ; and these are the words of the


Prophetin a verse of the Psalms, written neither more
"

and not

we

less than

nor

accordingto

the

replyof

therefore let the wicked

And

that,if they put

the Priest.

evil-born

their chief

ones

ceive
per-

in the adornment

care

be with all modesty ;


of their persons, it must
of
for to do that is no other than to adorn the work

another,that is,Nature,
proper

and

to

their

abandon

own

work.

I say that our


Returning,then,to the proposition,
intellect,
throughdefect of the power throughwhich
it sees
organicpower, that is,the imagination,is not
because the imaginaable to ascend to certain things,
tion
cannot
help it and has not the wherewithal,such
the substances apart from matter, which (ifwe
as
are
have any knowledge of them) we
cannot
can
fully
comprehend.
is not to blame
for this,
because he
the man
And
Nature

of this defect ; nay, Universal


did this,
which is God, who wills that in this

life we

be without

was

the

me

not

the

maker

it would

cause,

this
be

light. And

because

presumptuous

to

He

argue

was
cerning
con-

it. So that if my earnest thoughttransported


tellect,
into a place where my imaginationfailed my inI

was

understand.

not

to blame

if I could

not

possibly

Again, a bound is
each operationthereof
; and

Nature

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

H2

set

ALIGHIERI.

to

; but

our

not

understandingin
versal
by us, but by Uni-

therefore it is to be known

that

of the

wider in thought
are
understanding
and wider in speech than in signs.
than in speech,
Hence, if our thought,not only that which fails in a
but also that which in a perfect
tellect
inintellect,
perfect
attains its end, is the conqueror
of speech,we
the bounds

not

are

it.

to

And

blame, because
therefore

we

myself when

whose

force Fails to

that

prove

I say

excuse

not

are

"

the makers

Blame

do

truthfnlly

wit and

tell all that I hear

of

words,

Love

course
dis-

"

clear ought to appear


the
for,sufficiently
which alone we
should regardin respect to
good-will,
;

merits that
And

thus is

of this

human.

are

Song

explainedthe

now

which

flows from

my

CHAPTER
DISCOURSE
made

its

the

on

hand.

V.

first part of the

meaning open

proceed to the second


which, three divisions
contained

firstprincipal
part

and

and
clear,

; for the
are

Song

has

now

it is needful to

clearer

of
perception
desirable,
accordingas it is

in three sections.

For

in the first part I

and generally,
in the
praisethat Lady entirely
as
Soul so in the body ; in the second
part I descend
to especialcommendation
of the Soul ; and in the
to especial
third,
praiseof the body. The firstpart
Sun
in travel round
sees
not
begins: "The
the
earth ;
the second
begins: Her Maker saw that
she was
good ; the third begins: Rain from her
"

"

"

"

THE

beauty

little flames

divisions in due
:

"

fire ;

are

The

"

113

these- parts
to be discussed.

of

order
"

I say then

TREATISE.

THIRD

Sun

and

in

not

sees

or

travel round

known, in order to
how the Earth is
have perfect
thereof,
understanding
I say
In the first place,
circled round by the Sun.
the whole body
that by the Earth I do not here mean
and
of the Universe, but only that part of the sea
land, followingthe common
speech,which is thus
one
to designate
wont
it,whereupon some
exclaims,
all the World," meaning this
has seen
This man
part of the sea and land." This World Pythagoras
the

earth ;

where

it is

be

co

"

"

and

his followers asserted to be


said that there

they also
he

and

said that

revolved
the Sun

from
was

he

both

were

to

West,

East

circled round

and

now

was

in the centre

was

another

was

they called

similar to it : and

not

of

seen.

of the stars,and

one

that
in

one

this revolution

by

us, and

Antictona

sphere which

one

and

And

oppositeto it,

he

now

was

seen,

said that the fire

he

the
these,considering

fire to be

body than the water and than the


Earth, and giving the noblest centre to the four
when it appeared
simplebodies ; he said that the fire,
to ascend,according
to strict truth descended
to the
Then "Plato was
of another opinion,
and he
centre.
which he called Timseus,that
in a book of his,
wrote
the Earth with the sea was
indeed the centre of all,
but that its whole sphererevolved round its centre,
the firstmovement
of the Heavens,but much
following
slower on account
of its gross material,
and because
a

of

the

These
Of

noble

more

immense

distance

opinionsare

Heaven

and

to

whom

freely
;

and

confuted

from

that

in the

the

second

chapter,
sopher,
gloriousPhilo-

World, by that
Nature
opened her

by him

it is therein

first moved.

secrets

proved that

most

this

BANQUET

THE

H4

World, the Earth, is


And
his
all eternity.

OF

DANTE

of

itself stable and


which

reasons,

those other

in order to break

ALIGHIERL

fixed

to

Aristotle states
to affirm

opinions and

truth, it is not my intention here to narrate ;


let it be enough for those to whom
I speak,
therefore,
that this Earth is
his great authority,
to know, upon
fixed,and does not revolve,and that it,with the sea,

the

of the Heavens.

is the centre

round

this centre

which

revolution

fixed

Poles,and

round

which

all

The

Pole.

Southern

almost

circle
which

part of Heaven

under

is in Aries

Libra.

and

revolve

all the discovered

Pole ; the other is hidden


discovered Earth, that is,the

all the

almost

Heavens

as
we
see
even
continuously,
; in
there must
of necessitybe two
distant from these
a circle equally
revolves.
Of these two
especially

Poles,the one is visible to


Earth,that is,the Northern
from

These

spreadfrom
the Sun

is that

them

revolves when

Wherefore,it

it

is to be known

that if a stone could fallfrom this Pole of ours, itwould


fall there beyond into the sea
preciselyupon that
surface
would

the sea, where, if a


always have the Sun above
of

I believe that

head ; and

going

in

be

may

straightline

almost

little

to

understand

less.

or

better

could

stone

that

part of the

ocean

ball

opposite to

Maria

Rome
in

seven

to

where

direct

thousand

five

distance

hundred

which

the

place,
miles,
order
is in

Maria,
the other Pole, that is,the
that it would
fall upon
fall,
; and

this second

line to

that

say, that there


that its name
be
may

place a city,and
say again that if from
a

seven

of his

Imagining,then,in

what

that

Southern,

to

the North, the

to

be, he

the middle

Rome

thousand

two

more

or

from

could

man

is
I

stone

preciselyon
believe
would

that

this
from

fall,
going

South, the distance may


hundred miles,a littlemore

be
or

THE

TREATISE

THIRD

',

\
may

have

whatever
two

here

And

less.

the

us

of

name

part

hundred

let

draws

one

miles

the line,is ten


the

between

half the circumference


that is,
of Maria

citizens

hold

the soles of the

^'l^',,

which
imagine another city,
from
Lucia ; and the distance,

the

thousand
the other,

and

one

^^

that the

of this ball,so
soles of the

feet site
oppocitizens of Lucia.

feet of the

imaginealso a circle upon this ball which is


in every part equi-distant
from Maria as from Lucia.
stand
I believe that this circle,
accordingto what I underand by
by the assertions of the Astrologers,
that of Albertus Magnus in his book On the Nature
the Properties
of the Elements,
of Places and on
in his ninth
and
also by the testimony of Lucan
book, would divide this Earth uncovered by the sea
end
in the Meridian,almost throughall the extreme
Let

us

of the
other
naked

first climate, where

people the Garamanti,who


to

whom

when

Rome

there

Having

marked

came

flyingfrom
out

Cato
the

these three

amongst

are
are

with

the

almost
the

dominion

placesupon

always
people of

of

Caesar.

this

ball,

how the Sun circles round it.


see
easily
I say, then, that the Heaven
of the Sun revolves
from West to East, not directly
againstthe diurnal
that is,of the day and
liquely
movement,
night,but obwhich is /
againstthat, so that its mid-circle,
equallybetween its Poles, in which is the body of
the Sun, cuts into two oppositeparts the circle of
first Poles,in the beginningof Aries and
the two
in the beginningof Libra ; and it is divided by two
from it,one
towards the North and one
towards
arcs
the South ; the points of these two
said arcs
are
from the first circle in every part by
equi-distant
twenty-three
degrees and one point more, and the
of Cancer,and the other is the
one
point is the tropic

one

can

-v

OF

BANQUET

THE

n6

tropicof Capricorn;
in the sign of Aries

ALIGHIERI.

DANTE

be that Maria

therefore it must
can

when

see,

the

Sun

sinks

the mid-circle of the first Poles,this Sun

below

to

below, or rather the sea,


half of its body
of which only one
like a millstone,
this come
see
risingup after the
appears, and can
much
that
of a vine-press,
of the screw
so
so
manner
it completesninety-onerotations,or a little more.
When
these rotations are completed,its ascension is
it ascends
in proportion
almost as much
as
to Maria
that is,of the equalday and
to us in the half-third,
could stand in Maria, with his
night; and if a man
face always turned to the Sun, he would see that Sun
it
the right. Then
by the same
way
pass by on
another ninety-one rotations,
a
or
to descend
seems
little more,

so

the Earth,
itself; and

same

would

same

other

if

of six

of

months'

duration, and

be

also that

the

are,

as

said

stand

the

in

one

Lucia,

Sun,

is possible

in the year

night of
has the day

one

circle where

the

he

one

the
the

Gara-

above,upon this ball,can


the Sun revolve precisely
above them, not after
see
but of a wheel, which
the fashion of a mill-stone,
in any part be seen
cannot
except the centre, when
it goes under
Aries.
And
then it is seen
to depart
from
its place immediatelyabove
and go towards
Maria ninety-onedays,or a little more, and by so
manti

has been

when

number

same

Therefore,it

placeshave
and

the

see

it to ascend

sees

towards

the left.

to

lengthof time ;
has the night.

It must

could

man

always turned

that these

see

itselfwith

around

it pass

see

to

day

face

then

Maria,

as

And

of rotations.
his

below

that it circles round

so

rather sea, not


showing the whole
then it is hidden,and Lucia beginsto

to descend

with

much

or

it,which, the
and

Earth

the

round

revolve

THE

TREATISE.

THIRD

117

to return to its position


; and then,when it has
many
so
turned
back, it goes before Libra, and even
departsand goes towards Lucia ninety-onedays,or
a

returns to its position.


many
this place always has the day equal with the

And

night,either
and

twice

and

two

in

and

little more,

so

this side

on

year

or

it has the

littlewinters.

that,as the Sun

on

of intense

summer

It must

goes,

heat,

also be that the two

nary
midway from the two imagithe Sun variously,
Cities and the mid-circle,
see
to,
from, and near
accordingas they are remote
these places.
Now, by what has been said,this can be seen by
it is well
him who has good understanding,
to which
to givea little fatigue. He
can
now
perceivethat,
by the Divine Providence,the World is so ordained
and
that the sphere of the Sun, being revolved
turned round to one
point,this ball whereon we are
in every part receives an equal share of lightand
darkness.
Oh, ineffable Wisdom, Thou which didst
thus ordain ! Oh, how poor and feeble is our mind
when
seeking to comprehend Thee ! And
you,
O men,
benefit and pleasureI write,in
for whose
distances,which

what

are

fearful blindness do you


eyes upwards to these

your

fixed in the mud

of your

live if you
but
things,

one

part

can

travels round

proceed to

to which

this

them

VI.

precedingchapteris shown

the Sun

keep

raise

foolishness.

CHAPTER
IN the

never

after what

the Earth

so

that

ner
mannow

meaning of the
thoughtbelongs. I say, then,that
demonstrate

the

OF

BANQUET

THE

nS

ALIGHIERI.

DANTE

begin to praisethat Lady by


comparisonwith other things. And I say that the
round the Earth, sees nothingso gentle
Sun, circling
it follows that she
that Lady ; wherefore
as
is,
accordingto the letter,the most gentleof all things
first part I

in that

that the

shines

sun

it says :
And
upon.
that
it is to be known

"

wherefore
hour ;
in two
understood

"

"

Till the
hour

"

is

Astrologers. The
one
is,that of the day and of the nightthey make
twelve of the day, twelve of the
hours
twenty-four
night,however long or short the day may be. And
these hours are short and long in the day and night
night increase and
according as the day and
by

the

these hours

the

ways

"

diminish.

And

Church

it says, Prima, Tertia,Sexta, and

Nona

uses
"

when

first,
third,

ninth ; and these are


hours temtermed
poral.
other mode
The
is,that,making of the day

sixth,and
and

of the

times
hours, the day somenighttwenty-four
has fifteen hours
and
the night nine ; and
the night has sixteen and the day eight,
sometimes
according as the day and night increase and
diminish ; and
these hours equal at
they term
the Equinox, and those that are
termed
temporal
are
always the same, because, the day being equal
to the night,
it must
happen thus.

Then

wonder
I say, "All Minds of Heaven
at her worth,"I praiseher,not havingrespectto any
other
Heaven
think

when

thing.

And

behold

her, and

that the

of that

that peace
be known

gentle Lady when


them.
which delights

that

each

of
Intelligences
peoplehere below
of
they have more

that the

I say

Mind

or

And

here it is to

Intellect in Heaven

above, accordingto that which is written in the book


Of Causes, knows that which is above itselfand that
which

is below

itself; therefore it knows

God

as

its

Cause

TREATISE.

THIRD

THE

119

that which

; therefore it knows

is below

itself

its effect.

as

And

is the

God

since

universal

most

of

cause

is to know
Him
to know
all,according
everything,
all the
to the degree of the Intelligence
; wherefore
the human
form in as far as it
know
Intelligences
in the Divine
is by intention fixed or determined
The
know
Mind.
especially
moving Intelligences
of it,
it ; since they are
the most
especialcauses
and of every kind of form ; and
they know the
know
far as they can
most
as
it,as their
perfect,
rule and

pattern.

And

if this human

is not

it is not
perfect,

image, but
is formed.

than

express
Mind.

by

the fault of the said copy or


of the matter
from which the individual
Therefore

wonder

Heaven
other

form, copiedand individualized,

at

that

image
And

virtue

of

her

she

of the

when

I say, "All

worth,"I wish
is thus
made,
human

form

each

Mind

that

qualitywhich

there

in those

Minds

to express
as

even

in the

above

no

the

Divine

beholds

exists

in

her

especially
and shape,

angelicMinds which build up


with
And
to
Heaven, things that exist below.
confirm
I
this, I subjoin when
Mortals,
say,
Love
enamoured, find her in their thought When
his peace into their minds
has brought,"
where it is
that each thingespecially
to be known
desires its perfection,
"

and

desire finds peace


each thingis desired.

for that peace


this is that desire which

calm, and
And

in that its every

always makes

and

every

for there is no
pleasureappear incomplete,
joy or
pleasureso great in this life that it can quench the
thirst in our
Soul, for always the desire for that
in the Mind.
And
since this
perfectionremains
I say that people
Lady is truly that perfection,

here

below

receive

most

peace

; for she

For
as

AL1GHIERL

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

120

they have
their thoughts.
high a degree

great delightwhen
then

abides

in

in
Lady, I say, is perfect
Nature
for Human
it is possible

this

as

to be.

Maker
that she was
Her
I say,
saw
good,"I prove that not only this Lady is the most
than the most
in the human
race, but more
perfect
"

when

Then

inasmuch
perfect,
Goodness

than

more

his best work

most

loves the

God

restricted

not

good

to the amount

by

any

due

to

dues.

that

far

forasmuch

And

rest

receives from

human

reasonablybelieve

can

so

she

as

each

as

than

more

the

Divine

Wherefore

one

Master

loves

the other work,

human

being far above the


His Bounty is of necessity
as
limit,His love has no regard

him

who

but it overflows
receives,

of power and grace.


blessings
I say here,that this God, who
Wherefore
gave life
or
being to this Lady, through love or charityfor
her perfection
pours into her of His Bounty beyond
in

and
gifts,

in the

the limits of the amount


Then
this

when

that

I say,
been
has

which

to

our

nature.

her

On

pure soul,"I prove


with reasonable
mony,
testi-

said

know

says in the second


the Soul is the act of the

that,as
chapter,On
Body ; and

act, it is its Cause

as

book

before

gives us

due
"

to

; and

the Philosopher
the

Soul,

if it be

it is written

in

its
the

quoted,On

Causes,each Cause infuses


of the goodnesswhich it receives
into its effect some
from its own
Cause, which is God."
Wherefore,
since in her are
wonderful
much
seen
so
so
things,
the part of the body that they make
each
on
beholder
desirous to see
those things,
it is evident
that her form, which
is her Soul,guides it as
its
"

proper

Cause

goodnessof

and
God.

receives

the gracious
miraculously

TREATISE.

THIRD

THE

12 1

proved,by that appearance, which


exceeds the due appointment of our
nature, which
has been said above,that
in her is most
as
perfect,
with good giftsand
this Lady is by God
endowed
made
a noble
thing. And this is the whole Literal
meaning of the firstsection of the second principal
And

thus

is

part.

VII.

CHAPTER
HAVING

Lady generally,both
the Soul and accordingto the Body,
accordingto the
praiseher specially
this

commended

accordingto
I proceed to
Soul.
And

firstI

praiseher

Soul for its

goodness,that
it for a goodness

is great in itself; then I commend


that is great in others,and useful to
And

that second

her fair frame


to

be known

Virtue

"
I say, firstly,
On
"
descends ; where it is

Divine

that the Divine

Goodness

and otherwise they could


things,
althoughthis goodness springsfrom
it is received diversely,
accordingto
of virtue in the recipients.
Wherefore
Of

World.

part beginswhen

all

the book

the

Causes

"

good giftsforth upon


each thing receives

The

descends

exist ; but,
the First Cause,
not

the

more

or

less

it is written in

First Goodness

thingsin

into

sends His

Verily
from this stream
accordingto
of its virtue and
the manner
its being." And
we
have a sensible,livingexample of this in the
can
Sun.
We
is one
the lightof the Sun, which
see
fountain,to be variously
thing,derived from one
received
Albertus
substances ;
as
by material
Magnus says in his book On the Intellect,that
certain bodies,through having mixed
in themselves
one

stream.

an

ALTGHIER1.

DANTE

the
of transparent brightness,
soon
as
so
them
they become so brightthat,by the

excess

Sun

OF

BANQUET

THE

122

sees

of lightwithin them, their aspect is


multiplication
and from themselves
hardlydiscernible,
they render
such as is
back to others great splendouror brilliancy,
goldand any gem. Sure I am that by beingentirely
but
transparent,not only do they receive the light,
it ; nay, they pass it on,
that they do not intercept
like stained glass,
coloured with their own
to
colour,
other things. And
there are
certain other bodies
so
overpoweringin the purityof the transparency
that they become
radiant as to overpower
the
so
look at
adjustmentsof the eye, and you cannot
without
them
fatigueof sight; such as are the

Certain

mirrors.

that
is the Earth.

but
Thus

others

are

so

little lightcan
the Goodness

free from

parency,
trans-

receive ; as
of God is received

they

sundrywiseby the sundry substances,that is,in


without grossness
are
one
way by the Angels,who
of matter, as if transparent through their purityof
otherwise by the human
form ; and
Soul, which
although on one side it may be free from matter,
another side it is impeded : even
the man
on
as
is all in the water but his head, of whom
who
one
in the wrater, or
cannot
say that he is entirely
of it. Again otherwise it is received
out
entirely
by the animals,whose soul is wholly comprised in
in

of

I say that the soul of animals receives


Goodness
of God
in proportion as
it is

; but

matter

the

ennobled.

Again

minerals ; and
others,because
most
to

is it received

otherwise

by

the Earth

is most

remote, and

the First most

is alone

otherwise

most

the Earth, than

out

by
by

the
the

and therefore
material,
of all

proportion

simple and most high Cause, which


that is to say, God.
Intellectual,

TREATISE.

THIRD

THE

123

although here below there may be placed


generaldegrees of excellence,nevertheless,singular
degreesof excellence may also be placed; that is to
And

Souls

amongst human

say, that

another.

than
bountifully

more

Soul may receive


since in the
And

one

intellectual order of the Universe

ascends

one

and

by degrees almost continuous from the


and from the highestto
lowest form to the highest,
in the visible order of things;
see
the lowest,as we
and between the AngelicNature,which is intellectual,
descends

one

there may
rise to the other as it were

the

heightof

For

men
many
that it seems

condition

in the

that

almost

it

that

than

speciescould

Otherwise

Angel
be continued

not

Such

be.

cannot

the

of

these

as

be

and
other

no

the

no

firmly

noble

so

low

be

can

to be asserted and

be some
that there may
men
condition so exalted that it can

descent.

of such

believed
of

Human

the brute animals,

vile and

so

bestial,so it is

other than

the

from

break

any

see

we

as

be

not

may

step,but the

no

through
continuously

degrees; and
perfectsoul of

the

Soul and the most

again,there

be

Soul

the Human

and

human

every side,which
Aristotle calls,in the
on

Ethics,Divine ; and such a one


that this Lady is,so that the Divine Virtue,

seventh

book

I say
after the

Angel,

into her.

Then

by

into the

that it descends

manner

descends

this

of the

when
the

it in those

"

I say,

Fair

experiencethat
which
operations

Soul, wherein

the

the

which

be

wont

to

Wherefore

amongst

the

it is
are

doubt," I

possibleto
to

proper

Light shines
speech and in

Divine

quickly,that is,in
are

who

one

termed

conduct

it is to be known

animals

speaks,and

has

prove

of

have

the rational
forth

more

the actions,
and

that

deportment.
only man

conduct

and

124
acts

OF

BANQUET

THE

which

ALIGHIERI.

DANTE

he alone

because
called rational,

are

has

And

if any one
might wish to
that a certain bird can
speak,
say, in contradiction,
of the magpie and of the
as
appears true, especially
in himself.

Reason

parrot ; and that


by rule,as
things,

beast

some

performsacts,or

rather

in the ape and in some


appears
other ; I replythat it is not true that they speak,
that they have
nor
rules,because they have not
which

Reason, from

these

proceed ;
things must
the principleof these
neither is there in them
that is ;
what
they know
operations
; neither do
that by those acts someneither do they understand
thing
is intended ; but that only which they see and
the image of somebody
hear they represent,even
as
be reflected in a glass. Wherefore, as in the
may
mirror
the corporalimage which the mirror shows
is not true, so
the image of Reason, in the acts
and
the speechwhich
the brute soul represents,
or
rather shows, is not true.
I say that what gentle
doubts should
the
Lady soever
go with her,mark
"

one

derive

can

than

woman

that

all her

In

grace

"

exalted

speaks."

of

the

from

which

this
"

Lady
power

Rival

in

and

the

Heaven

is of
in her

pass

miraculous

angel

to

of its
ness,
sweet-

hears

celestial
and

been

its

who

source

has

of

him

I call

is the

An

speech,because

of

the

she will find

bends

because

mind

as
thereof,
thought I

actions,by their
"

her

Love, which

intention

From

in

I say

Heaven

For

because

say man,

modestlyfrom

; and

man

from

character

thought
since

the

from

kindles

not

experience more

Downward
she

when

I do

acts."

from

it

;
Spirit

Heaven

alreadynarrated.
firm opinion that

power,

that

there

is

of us possessed." Her
by none
suavityand by their moderation,

calls to

Love

that

Love

must

hear."

THIRD

THE

They

Love

cause

he

whenever

again
of

power

seed

natural

125

and

the

by

sown

Which

Nature.

awaken

to

is

TREATISE.

acts

hear

to

bountiful

in the

as

next

treatise is shown.
Then

she'll appear
the
how
narrate
are

her, fairest

in all like

I say, "Fair
Who
is most

when

like

her," I

to

of her soul

the power

goodnessand

intend

how useful
useful to others ; and, firstly,
sayingthat she is Fair in all
women,

good and

"

it is to other

brightexample
make
from gazing at which they can
to the women,
their beauty seem
gentle in followingthe same.
Secondly,I relate how useful she is to all people,
faith,which is
saying that her aspect assists our
present a clear

like her," where

whole

the

or

than

Race

Human

all

more

useful

to

other

things

escape

from

beside ; for it is that by which


we
Death
and
Eternal
acquire Eternal

Life ; and
of
Him

and
He

she

Faith

our

who

assists
is

Faith,for

our

created

who
crucified,

was

it should

willed that

performed by

miracles

the

on

tion
the firstfounda-

His

less than

be

performed these miracles,then,in

Reason,

our

His

own

power.
name

obstinate that
for His saints ; and many
are
so
men
they are in doubt of those miracles if there be the
least mist

or

cloud

around

them

; and

believe any miracle unless they have


of the same
; and this Lady is

they cannot
visible experience
a
thingvisibly
dailycan have

miraculous,of which the eyes of men


experience,and which can make the other miracles
Wherefore
it is manifest that
possibleto us.
appear
this Lady, with her marvellous
aspect, assists our
I say :
Faith.
And, therefore,
finally
We,
Her

face

For

that God

Miracle,have
made

her

content

Faith
ever

to

made

to

call

sure

endure.

126

And

THE

thus

OF

BANQUET
ends

principal
part
meaning.

the

DANTE

second

of the

section

the Works

of the

Song accordingto

CHAPTER
AMONGST

ALIGHIERL

second

its Literal

VIII.

of Divine

Wisdom,

Man

is the

wonderful,consideringhow in one form the


Divine Power
joined three natures ; and in such a
It
his body must
be.
form how subtlyharmonized
is organized for all his distinct powers
; wherefore,
there must
because of the great concord
be, among
their perfectresponse
to secure
so
organs,
many
but
to each
other,in all the multitude of men
is so wonif this Creature
few are perfect.And
derful,
it is a dread
certainly
thing to discourse of
in thought.
his conditions,
not onlyin words, but even
of Ecclesiastes :
So that to this apply those words
I beheld all the Work
of God, that a Man
not
canmost

"

find out

the Work

th'atis done

under

the Sun."

there,where he says : Let


thine heart be hasty to utter anythingbefore
not
God : for God is in Heaven, and thou upon Earth :
therefore let thy words
be few."
I, then, who in
this third section intend to speak of a certain condition
of such a creature, inasmuch
as, through the
goodness of the Soul, visible beauty appears in his
body, I begin timorouslyuncertain,intending,if not
to untie such a knot as this.
at least partially,
fully,
I say, then, that since the meaning of that section is
clear,wherein this Lady is praisedon the part of
the Soul,we
how it is
to proceedand to see
are
now
when I say :
Her aspect shows delights
of Paradise."
And

those

other words

"

"

THE

praiseher

in her

TREATISE.

THIRD

the part of the

on

aspect brightgleams
noble

most

state of

body, and

I say that
which show
us

appear

others those of Paradise.

and amongst
things,
pleasant
The

127

all,and

that which

is the

of every good, is to be at peace within one's


this content
is
self ; and this is to be happy. And
truly(althoughin another manner) in her aspect ; so
crown

that,by lookingat her, the people find

sweetlydoes

her

; but

perpetualin
And

since

content

person

in

Beauty
another

Paradise
some

so

the eyes of the beholders


for the Peace that is

attainable

by

any

man.

ful
might ask where this wonderthis Lady, I distinguish
in her
which
human
pleasureand

in

parts, in

two

way,

is not

one

appears

feed

peace,

Wherefore
it is to be
appear.
known
that in whatever
part the Soul most fulfils
its office,
it strives most
to adorn that part,
earnestly

displeasuremost

we

its work

there it does

and

see

that in the

office more

than

Face

in any

most

subtly.

of Man,

where

other outward

Wherefore

it fulfilsits

part, it works

subtlythat,by making itself subtle therein as


it causes
much
that no face
its material permits,
as

so

is like

which

another,because its utmost power over matter,


is dissimilar in almost all,is there broughtinto

action ; and

because

in the

face

the

Soul

works

if in those two

placesall
the three Natures of the Soul had jurisdiction,
that is,
in the Eyes and in the Mouth, these it chiefly
adorns,
and there it spends its care
all beautiful if
to make
it can.
And
in these two
placesI say that those
Seen in her
pleasuresof content
appear, saying:
eyes and in her smilingface ; the which two places,
of a beautiful comparison,may
be desigby means
nated
in
especially

two

places,as

"

"

the balconies of the


house

of

the

body,

she

woman

being

who
the

dwells in the
Soul ; because

128

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

ALIGHIERI.

it were, the
shows itself so

Soul

there,although veiled,as
itself. The

shows

Soul

the eyes that it is possible,


to know
if you look attentively.
Six
which

often

in
evidently

its present passion

Soul
of
passionsare proper to the human
the Philosophermakes
mention
toric,
in his Rhenamely, Grace, Zeal, Mercy, Envy, Love, and
; and

Shame

with

whichever

of these

the

Soul

is

into the window


of the
impassioned,there comes
of it, unless it be repressed
Eyes the semblance
within, and shut from view by great power of will.
Wherefore
one
some
formerlyplucked out his eyes
should
that an inward
shame
not appear
without,as
Statius the Poet says of the Theban
GEdipus when
he says that with eternal nighthe loosed his damned
shame.
It reveals itselfin the

glassas

it

except

And

were.

coruscation

of

like colour behind

Mouth,
is

what

smile

Soul's

the

laugh
a
delight,
light
or

shot

outwardlyfrom that which shines within ? And


for a man
therefore it is right
to reveal his Soul by a
cheerfulness,smilingmoderatelywith
well-tempered
due restraint,
and with
of the
a
slightmovement
limbs ; so that the Lady, that is,the Soul, which
then, as has been said,shows herself,
may
appear
and

modest,

dissolute.

not

Cardinal

the Four

Virtues

Therefore
commands

the
us

book

thus

"

on

Let

that is,without
thy smile be without loud laughter,
cacklinglike a hen."
Ah, the sweet wonder of my Lady's smile,which
is

And
smile

but in the eyes !


I say of these delights
seen
Love
brought them there
seen

never

"

place;"
twofold

where
form.

it is

possibleto

First,the Love

in her eyes and


as to his dwelling

consider

Love

in

of the Soul, peculiar

THE

THIRD

TREATISE.

129

universal Love,
proper to these places; secondly,
which inclines thingsto love and to be loved,which
or

ordains the Soul to rule these parts.


I say, " They dazzle
Then, when

myself for this,that


exceeding beauty that I can
force ; and
to its overpowering
but littleconcerning
it for two
that those thingswhich appear
excuse

intellect ; and

our

made

that

"

They

Reason,"

of such
it appears
tell but little,
owing
I say that I
The
reasons.

can
one

say

is,

in her

I tell how

dazzle Reason,

power
aspect overthis conquest is

as

sunbeams

our

when the Sun overpowers our feeble sight,


if not
eyes,"
also the healthyand the strong. The other is,that
the man
look fixedly
cannot
because the Soul
at it,
becomes
inebriate therein ; so
that incontinently,
after gazingthereat,it fails in all its operations.
I say,
Rain from her beautylittle
Then, when
I recur
flames of fire,"
since
to discourse of its effect,
of it is not possible.Wherefore
to discourse entirely
it is to be known
that all those thingswhich subdue
that it is unable to see what theyare,
so
our
intellect,
most
to be discussed in their effects ;
are
suitably
"

wherefore
and

of God, and

of the firstmatter

of His
we

separate substances,
thus have

can

ledge.
know-

some

And

Lady

therefore I say that the beauty of that


rains littleflames of fire,
meaning the ardour

of Love

and

of

with a spirit,"
Charity, Made living
that is,Love
which is
informed
by a gentle spirit,
direct desire,
throughwhich and from which "to create
Good thoughts;
but it
and
it not only does this,
crushes and destroysits opposite,
the innate vices
which are especially
the foes of all good thoughts.
"

"

And

here it is to be known

vices in the Man


as

certain

men

to

of

which

that there

certain

naturallydisposed;
complexionare disposed

he

choleric

are

is

THE

130

to anger

/^natural.

OF

BANQUET
:

and

such vices

Others

ALIGHIERL

DANTE

these

as

the vices of

are

innate,that is,

are

habit,for which

not

complexion,but habit,or custom, is to blame ;


such as intemperance,
and especially
intemperancein
wine.
But these vices are subdued and put to flight
is made
virtuous
by good habits, and the man
thereby without findingfatiguein his moderation,
the Philosophersays in the second book
of the
as
Ethics.
Truly there is this difference between the
natural passionsand the habitual,that through use
of good morals the habitual entirely
vanish,because
their origin,
the evil habit,is destroyedby its opposite
is in the
the source
of which
; but the natural,
complexion of the passionateman, although they
much
by good morals,yet they
lighter
may be made
do not entirely
disappearas far as regardsthe first
but they almost
wholly disappear in act,
cause,
because
custom
is not
equal to nature, which is
the source
of such a passion. And
therefore the
is more
man
praiseworthywho guides himself and
rules himself when
he is of an
evil disposition
by
than he who,
nature, in oppositionto natural impulse,
being giftedwith a good disposition
by nature,
carries himself naturally
well ; as it is more
worthy
praisethe

to control

troublesome.
which
or

her

rain down

horse than

bad

say,

then, that those

from

her

the natural,vices,to

beauty has

behold
confirms

power
it,which is

that which

chapter when

one

I say

is not

little flames

beautydestroythe innate,

make

to

that

men

renew

Nature

miraculous

is observed

that she

that

understand
in those

thing.
above

is the

who
this

And

in the other

helper of

our

Faith.
I say,
Finally,when
Lady, who
I infer,under
Escape from blame,'''
"

may

desire

pretext of

THE

TREATISE.

THIRD

131

admonishing another, the end for which so much


I say
And
that what
made.
beauty was
lady
believes her beauty to be open to blame
through
this most
some
defect,let her look on
perfect
example ; where it is understood that it is designed
raise the good, but also to
not only to improve and
evil to good. And, finally,
it is subjoined
convert
that she is God's thought,"
that is,from the Mind
of God.
And
this to make
understand
men
that,by
to produce
design of the Creator, Nature is made
"

such

effect.

an

And
of the

thus ends

the whole

of the second

Song.

CHAPTER
THE
two

chief part

IX.

order of the present treatise requires,


after these
according
parts of the Song have been discussed,

that we
now
proceed to the third,
my intention,
the Song from a reproof
in which I intend to purify

to

which

might be unfavourable to it.


And
it is this,that before I composed it,this
fierce and
to be somewhat
Lady seeming to me
haughty againstme, I made a littleballad,in which
I called her proud and angry, which appears
to be
contrary to that which
I turn

it how
make

an

when
this,

to

the

is here

reasoned

Song, and, under

it is proper that it should


for that which came
excuse

; and

fore
there-

ing
colour of teachexcuse

before.

I
itself,

And

is a figure
things,
and the
which is called by rhetoricians,
Prosopopoeia,
Poets often use it.
My Song, it seems
you speak
this to oppose." The intention of which address,to
one

addresses

"

inanimate

make

OF

BANQUET

THE

132

it

more

easy

of

DANTE

it
understanding,

divide into three sections

to

ALIGHIERI.

one
first,

behoves

me

affirms wherefore

is necessary ; then,one
proceedswith the
I say,
when
Though Heaven, you know ;"

excuse

"

excuse,

I speak
finally,

the

to

skilled in that which


"

such

Be

I say,

Song as to a
is rightto do

it

then,in the firstplace:

that

as

the

father,so

sister which
work

is in

I say,

may

is wrought

by

"

My Song, it seems
sayingof a sister Song

I say sister ;
similitude,

is called

woman

same

when

allowed."

excuse

you speak this to oppose The


of mine."
For the sake of

for

well

person

sister who

call that

man

the

is born

worker

same

of

work
; for

a
our

degree a thingbegotten. And I say


why it seems
opposed or contrary to that sister Song,
count
divine,
saying: This lovelyLady whom
you
some

"

Your

sister called disdainful and

morose."

This

sation
accu-

being affirmed,I proceed to the excuse, by


quoting an example,wherein the Truth is quiteopposite
it is quite
the appearance
of Truth, and
to
of Truth
for
possibleto take the false semblance
I
Truth
itself,
regardingTruth itself as Falsehood.
Though Heaven, you know, is ever high and
say :
and
find a star obscure ;
fail,
pure, Men's eyes may
"

"

where
and

it is shown

lightto

second
and

as

visible,as

Of

the Soul and

Sensation.

in

it is the

be

book

it is not

that

Other

property of colour

Aristotle affirms in the


in the book

indeed, are
things,

their property to be so,

nor

form, height,number, motion,


to

be

but
visible,

to be

and

Sense

tangible,

rest,which

Sense, and
subjectto the Common
which
we
senses
comprehend by union of many
;
but of colour and lightit is the property to be visible,
because with the sightonly we
comprehend them.
These
visible things,
both those of which
it is the
are

said

on

THIRD

THE

TREATISE.

133

subjectto the Common


Sense,
inasmuch
within the eye ;
come
as
they are visible,
but their form ; through the
I do not say the things,
but by intention,
as
transparent medium, not really,
it were
throughtransparent glass.And in the humour
is in the pupilof the eye this current which
which
makes
the form visible is completed,because
that
property and

with

glassbacked

lead ;

that

so

stops ;

that

so

which

mirror

the form

has

it cannot

strikes there,after the

farther on, but

ball,and

like

behind

is closed

humour
its

those

pass

of

manner

which

does

not

in the transparent medium, having reached


appear
thereon ; and this is
the disc behind,shines brightly

the

the

why

reason

image

only in

appears

the

glass

has lead at the back.

which

this

From

pupilthe

visual

which
spirit,

is continued

the part of the Brain, the anterior,


where
the sensitive power
without loss of time,
is,suddenly,
from

it to

depictsit

as

in the clear

spring of

fountain ; and
that its vision be
a

Wherefore, in order
that is,such as the visible thingis
truthful,

thus

see.

we

throughwhich

the medium
must

be without

of the

pupil;

any

the form

colour,and

otherwise

the

pupil.

And

this is the

also the humour

visible form

reason

itself,

to the eye

comes

so

stained of the colour of the medium

in

and

would

be

of that of the

why they who

wish

thingsappear of a certain colour in a mirror


that colour between
the glassand the lead,
interpose
the glassbeing pressedover
it.
Plato and
other Philosopherssaid, indeed, that
because the visible came
not
into the
our
sightwas
to

make

eye,

but

because

the visual virtue went

visible form.

And

Philosopherin
Having

that book

this

opinion is
of his

thus considered

on

out

confuted

Sense

and

to

the

by

the

tion.
Sensa-

this law of vision,one

134

THE

OF

BANQUET

DANTE

ALIGHIERL

easily
perceivehow, although the star is always
in one
bright,clear,and resplendent,and
way
receives no
change whatever
except that of local
is proved in that book on Heaven
as
and
movement,
the World, yet from many
it may appear dim
causes
can

and

obscure

the

medium,

; since it may

appear

thus

on

account

of

the

tinually.
atmosphere, that changes conThis medium
ness,
changes from lightto darkaccordingto the presence or absence of the
Sun ; and
of the Sun
the
during the presence
medium, which is transparent,is so full of lightthat
it overpowers
the star, and
therefore it no
longer
brilliant. This medium
also changes from
appears
to dense, from
rare
dry to moist, because of the
of the Earth which rise continually.The
vapours
medium, thus changed,changes by its densitythe
image of the star, which passes through it,makes it
appear dim, and by its moisture or drynesschanges

it in colour.

In

through the
of

like

it may
thus appear
that is,the eye, which on

manner

visual organ,

is
because of fatigue,
or
infirmity,
changed into some
degree of dimness or into some
So it happensvery often,
degreeof weakness.
owing
of the pupil becoming suffused
to the membrane
with blood, on account
of some
produced
corruption
by weakness, that thingsall appear of a red colour ;
account

and

some

therefore
to the

the

star

appears

so

coloured.

And

sightbeing weakened, there results in


it some
of the spirit,
that thingsdo not
so
dispersion
almost in the same
united,but scattered,
appear
way
as
our
writingdoes on a wet pieceof paper. And
this is the reason
when
why many
they
persons,
wish to read,remove
the paper to some
distance from
the eyes, in order that the image thereof may
come
within the eye more
easilyand more
subtly,and
owing

THE

THIRD

TREATISE.

135

is left impressed on
the sight
thereby the lettering
and connectedly. For like reason
more
distinctly
the star

was

also may

appear
of this in the same

born,for,by tryingthe

labour of
that the

blurred ; and I had experience


year in which this Song
eyes

very

the visual spirits


were
reading,
stars all appeared to me
to

white

much
so

be

in

the

weakened
blurred

by

of long repose in
by means
and by coolingthe ball of the
shady and cool places,
with
spring water, I re-united the scattered
eye
which
I restored to their former
good
powers,
some

mist

and

condition.
And
are
us

thus,for

the

reasons

visible causes
many
different to what it

why the
reallyis.

CHAPTER

above,there

mentioned
star

can

appear

to

X.

which has been needful for


digression,
and I
seeingthe Truth, I return to the proposition,
call,that is,judge, the star
eyes
say that, as our
other than it reallyis as to its true condition,so
this little ballad judged this Lady accordingto
appearance, other than the Truth, throughinfirmity
of the Soul,which was
impassionedwith too much
LEAVING

desire.

this

And

this I make

evident

when

I say

that

possessed her soul." For this which I saw in


her presence appeared fierce or proud to me.
Where
that in proportion
it is to be known
the agent is
as
much the more
more
so
closelyunited to the patient,
powerfulis the passion,as may be understood from
ration.
in his book On Genethe opinionof the Philosopher
in proportion
Wherefore
the desired thing
as
"

fear

136

ALIGHIERL

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

the
the person who desires it,so much
sioned,
impasgreater is the desire ; and the Soul, more
unites itself more
closelyto the carnal part,

nigh to

draws

and

abandons

and

more

reason

more

that the

so

longerjudges like a man, but almost


other animal,even
like some
accordingto appearance,
And
this is the reason
not discerningthe Truth.
why the countenance, modest accordingto the truth,
appears disdainful and proud in her.
And
that little ballad spoke,according to that
And
judgment,as sensual and irrational at once.
that this Song
understood
herein it is sufficiently
agreement
judges this Lady accordingto Truth, by the diswhich
it has with that other Song of
And
that ballad.
it and
not
harmony between
individual

without

no

and
glance,"

when

not

When

"

I say,

reason

she

come

within

comes

her

to

near

But

mine.

the great power which her


me
; for,as if I had been transparent,
eyes had over
through every part their light shone through me.
be possibleto assign reasons
And
here it would
in this I wish

and

natural
have

said

to express

but
supernatural,
much

as

of it

as

I have

let it suffice here

; elsewhere

to

I will discourse

suitably. Then when I say, Be


such excuse
tion
allowed,"I impose on the Song instruchow, by the assigned reasons, it may
excuse
that is needful, namely, where
itself there where
of this opposition
there may
be any suspicion
; for
there

is

more

no

feel doubtful
differs from
which

has

this is

"

more

as

the
been

to

say,

except that whoever

to

the

matter

other,let him
here

quite laudable

when

the

intention is to

words
another

stated.
in
are

wherein
look
And

at

such

Rhetoric,and
to

; because

one

may

this
the
a
even

Song

reason

figureas
sary
neces-

and
the
person
it is always praise-

THE

worthy to admonish
not
always suitable
Wherefore, when the
when

father,and
of his

be

from

him,

when

from

his

friend would

is

friend

You

to

the work

castle
from

on

other,for

commander

are

Also,

in

the

Lady

and

at

one

man

and

off the

most

the

defence
the

design of
the

and

speak

to

the

at

attacked

the

this

on

that

; it is similar

who

that it ask

of her ;
to
to

part.

same

Song,

ought not
praising another, ought not
a

knows

enraged

draw

to

attack

command

infer that

may

in order

nition
admo-

it would

beautiful

warrior

aimed

of this

he

when

most

wise

not

lay a

permission
one

side

one

the

that

of

by

that

it dissimulation

term

may

him

to

patient,but

be

the vice of

that the shame

knows

or

admonition, this figure is


useful.

knows

he

one.

every

of

aware

increased

honour,
not

of

it is

of the vice of the

aware

subject is

would

also ; but

mouth

the

son

the

137

necessary

in

friend

detract
his

and

the

when

lord, and

the

TREATISE.

THIRD

whereby

be

presumptuous
take
it for

mind
that it is pleasingto the
granted in his own
believes
one
often, when some
person praised,because
he is bestowing praise,
it is taken
as
blame, either
through defect of the speaker or through defect of
it is requisiteto have
who
hears.
Wherefore
him

much

discretion

this

matter

; which

asking permission, in
that this Song or
Poem

to

tantamount

which

in

I say

discretion
the

is

in

way

should

ask

for it.

And

thus

treatise ;

requires
Truth, to

ends

wherefore
the
be

the whole
the

Literal
order

of

meaning
the

work

of this
now

Allegorical exposition, followingthe


proceeded with.

OF

BANQUET

THE

138

DANTE

XL

CHAPTER
RETURNING
of the
of

the

as

now,

Song,

Intellect

ALIGHIERT.

the order

I say
who

praiseexcites
naturally
praised; and to know

to the beginrequires,
ning
that this Lady is that Lady
is called Philosophy. But

desire to know

the

person

the

thing may be to know


and in all that
what it is considered to be in itself,
ning
pertainsto it,as the Philosophersays in the beginthe name
of the book On Physics; and
may
reveal this when
it bears some
meaning, as he says
in the fourth chapterof the Metaphysics,
where it is
said that the definition is that

which

reason

the

name

signifies.Here, therefore,it is necessary, before


to prove and to
proceedingfarther with her praises,
what this
say what this is that is called Philosophy,
this has been demonstrated,
name
signifies
; and when
the present Allegorywill be more
cussed.
disefficaciously
And
this

firstof all I will state who

; then

first gave

I shall

proceedto its signification.


I say, then,that anciently
in Italy,
almost from the
beginning of the foundation of Rome, which was
hundred
and fifty
seven
or
less,
years, a little more
before the advent of the Saviour,accordingas Paul
Orosius writes,about the time of Numa
Pompilius,
second king of the Romans, there lived a most
noble
named
who was
Philosopher,
Pythagoras. And that
he might be livingabout that time appears
from
something to which Titus Livius alludes incidentally
in the first part of his History. And
before him
called the followers of Science,not Philosophers
they were
name

but
most

fame.

ancient
The

Wise
Wise

Men

such

as

wrere

those

Men,

who

still live in

first of them

had

the

name

Seven

popular
of Solon,

THIRD

THE

TREATISE.

I39

Chilon, the third Periander,the fourth


Talus,the fifthCleobulus,the sixth Bias,the seventh
con-1
Pittacus.
Pythagoras,being asked if he were
sidered to be a Wise
and
Man, rejectedthis name,
of
stated himself to be not a Wise Man, but a Lover
Wisdom.
And from this circumstance it subsequently
that any man
studious to acquireknowledge,
arose
called a Lover of Wisdom, that is,
a Philosopher
was
;
Philo
is equivalent
in Greek
for inasmuch
to
as
fore,
and
Love
to Wisdom, theresophia is equivalent
"Philo and sophia" mean
the same
Love of
as
Wisdom.
Wherefore
it is possible
that those
to see
make
that name
which
words
is
two
Philosopher,
the second

"

"

"

"e

as

much

"

"

as

to say

Lover

may be observed that it is not


but of humility.
From
as

from

Therefore

of Wisdom.
a

term

it

of arrogance,

this sprang naturally


the word
philosophy,
the word friend springsnaturally
the word

Wherefore
it is possibleto see, considering
friendship.
the signification
of the first and
second
to
word, that philosophyis no other than friendship
to
a
wisdom, or rather to knowledge ; wherefore
certain degree it is possibleto call every man
a
philosopher,
according to the natural love which
generates a desire for knowledge in each individual.
But since the natural passionsare common
to all
do not
we
specifythose passions by some
men,
distinctive word, applied to some
individual who
shares our
common
nature, as when we say, John is
the friend of Martin, we
do not mean
to signify
bear to all
merely the natural love which all men
but we
the friendship
the
founded
mean
men,
upon
natural love which is distinct and peculiarto certain
individuals.
Thus we
do not term
a philosopher
any one
because

of

the love

common

to

us

all.

It is

BANQUET

THE

i4o

the intention
book

of the

or

OF

meaning

ALIGHIERL

DANTE

of

in
Aristotle,

Ethics,that that

man

may

the

be

eighth

called

friendshipis not concealed from the


also the beloved person
person beloved,and to whom
is mutual ; and
is a friend,so that the attachment
either for mutual
be so
this must
benefit,or for
And
thus, in order
pleasure,or for credit's sake.
be love to
it must
be a philosopher,
that a man
may
of the sides friendly
which makes
one
Wisdom
; it
make
the other side
which
be study and care
must
and manifestation of
that familiarity
also friendly,
so
them ; because
benevolence
may springup between
be called
cannot
without love and without study one
and
be both the one
but there must
a philosopher,
friend whose

the other.
sake

of

pleasuregiven
dental,
accibut
for
or
friendship,
the Ethics
as
demonstrate, so philosophy
for delight or
profitis not true philosophy,but
Wherefore
accidental.
one
ought not to call him
who
for some
true philosopher
a
pleasureor other
in some
degree; even
may be a friend of Wisdom
there are
who
take delightin repeating
as
many
songs and in studyingthe same, and who delightin
studying Rhetoric and Music, and who avoid and
abandon
the other Sciences,
which
all members
are
of Wisdom's
body. One ought not to call him a
who
true philosopher
is the friend of Wisdom
for
the sake of profit
the Lawyers, Doctors,
; such as are
and almost all the Religious
Men, who do not study
for the sake of knowledge,but to acquire money
or
dignity; and if any one would give them that which
they seek to acquire,they would not continue to
ship,
study. And as amongst the various kinds of friendis for profitmay
that which
be called the
And

for the
friendship
profitis not true

as

THE

so
friendship,

meanest

share

the

in

TREATISE.

THIRD

such

of

name

men

as

141

these

Philosopherthan

have
any

less
other

people.
friendshipconceived through
honest affection is true and perfectand perpetual,
so
is that philosophytrue and
perfectwhich is generated
by upright desire for knowledge, without
regard to aught else,and by the goodness of the
soul ; which is as much
to say, by right
as
friendly
And
it is possible
to say
appetiteand rightreason.
here that as true friendship
is,that
amongst men
the true
each love each entirely,
so
Philosopher
Wherefore

as

the

part of Wisdom,

loves each

and

Wisdom

each part

him
to draw
so
as
Philosopher,
wholly to
and to allow no thought of his to stray away
herself,
Wisdom
herself says in
to other things. Wherefore
the

of

the

Proverbs

of Solomon,

"

love

those

who

love

sidered
friendshipof the mind, conin itself alone,has for its subjectthe knowledge
and for its form the desire for,
of good effects,
the same,
so
even
Philosophyconsidered in itself
alone,apart from the Soul, has understandingfor
and for its form an almost divine love to
its subject,

And

me."

true

as

intellect.
And

as

efficient

the

Virtue,

so

Truth.

And

the
as

cause

of true

efficient

cause

the

of true

end

is
friendship
of Philosophy is
is true
friendship

which
the
intercourse
affection,
proceeds from
tates
to
Humanity, that is,according to the dicproper
of Reason, as Aristotle seems
to think in the
ninth book of the Ethics,so the end of Philosophy
is that

intermission
which
And

is

excellent

most
or

defect,that is, the

acquiredby
thus

affection which

it is

now

the

true

suffers

no

happiness

contemplationof Truth.
possibleto see who this my

BANQUET

THE

142

OF

AL1GHIERL

DANTE

and
in her whole
reason,
Lady is,in all her causes
is a
and
why she is called Philosophy ; and who
true
Philosopher,and who is one by accident.
But

in

and

the other

are

called

passion ;
^Eneid,

fervour

some

of

end

where

he

the

for

the

in

Virgil does

as

and

acts

word

the

by

the

of

heat

or

calls

the

mind
the

of

passions

itself

act

second
"

Hector,

one

the

or

the

book

of

Oh,

light

"

"

act) and hope


(which is the
neither
the
the Trojans :
for he was
the end
whence
the
light nor
hope, but he was
the
their lightin council,and
he was
to them
came
end in which
was
reposed their hope of safety: as
the

(which was
passion) of

"

"

"

Statins

in the

writes

Hypsipyle says
of things and of
"

servitude
"

See

My

love ; "

the

custom,

name,

such

which
end

most

which

she

the

as

the
most

in that

whom

custom

I
is

first science

proceed

speak;

how

is called

further

with

to

the
her

sophy
ferventlyPhilocalled

looks, are

Natural

Science,

the

Metaphysical Science,
necessarilyshe looks to
is called
most
fervently,

her

communicated

the

to

says

that, through long

which

chieflyand
the First Philosophy.
Now, therefore,since it has
true Philosophyis in its essence
of

father

it is

so

to

Science, and
last,because

the

and

Sciences,in
end

Moral

"

and

finds the
her

of the
"

friendship;

"

her

even

Thebaid, when
to
Archemorus,
Oh, consolation
the lost country ! oh, honour
of my
as
we
say daily,showing the friend,

my

son,

by

fifth book

been
; which

noble
the

First

praise.

seen

what

is that
name

the

Lady

through

Sciences, and

Philosophy,I

the
may

TREATISE.

THIRD

THE

XII.

CHAPTER
IN

the firstchapterof this treatise the

moved

this

to

me

Song

which

reason

fullydiscussed that it
for one
discuss it further,

is

so

longernecessary to
can
easilyenough recall to mind what has been said
and
in this exposition
:
therefore,following the
for the Literal meaning, I shall run
divisions made
of the
through the Song, turningback to the sense
is

no

be

it may

letter where

needful.

"

say,

Love,

By Love I
reasoningof my Lady in my mind."
the jabqur and gains I took to acquirethe
mean
what
wishes to know
If one
love of this Lady.
in two
be here considered
labour, it can
ways.
the
to
"There is one
man
study which leads
the]
daily use of Art and Science ; there is another^
study which he will employ in the acquireduse.
first is that which

The

I call

which
j^oye,

fillsmy

exalted ideas
and most
with new
continually
the anxious
of this Lady : even
as
pains which
takes to acquire a friendship
to do ;
wont
are
one
is wont
a
man
for,when desiringthat friendship,
to take anxious
thoughtconcerningit. This is that
study and that affection which usuallyprecedesin
when
the begettingof the friendship,
men
already
is born, and desires and
strives
side Love
on
one

mind

be

that it may

born

Philosophyis
have

become

the

on

other ; for,as
the
when
Soul

friends,so

that

the

one

is said
and

above,

Wisdom

is loved

by

the other.
Neither
stanza

reasoned

is it

in
out

the
as

again

needful

discuss

that

first

was
explanation,which
in the Literal exppsiProem

present
the

to

ALIGHIERI.

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

I44

the first argument thereof,it is


tion ; since,from
the meaning in this the
out
easy enough to make
second
We

one.

proceed,then, to

may
the

begins

and
treatise,

Sun

"The

in

not

sees

that

to

part, which

the second

travel

I say,

placewhere

Earth."

the

round

that as, when


discoursingof
of
handles it suitably
by means

it is to be known

Here

sensible

thing,one
insensible thing,so of an
an
intelligible
thing,one
In the
of an
unintelligible.
by means
fitly
argues
Literal sense
one
speaks of the Sun as a substantial
it is fit,
and sensible body ; so now
by image of the
and Unintelligible,
Sun, to discourse of the Spiritual
that is,God.
is no
There
visible thing in all the world more
worthy to serve as a type of God than the Sun, which
and then all
illuminates with visible lightitself first,
a

the celestial and

elemental

bodies.

Thus, God

minates
illu-

firstwith intellectual

Himself

and then
light,
the celestial and other intelligible
beings. The Sun\
vivifies all things with his heat, and if anything is
destroyedthereby,it is not by the intention of the ;
but

cause,

it is

an

accidental effect : thus God

vivifies

thingsin His Goodness, and, if any suffer evil,it


is not by the Divine intention,
but the effect is acci-j
dental.
For, if God made the Angels good and evil,
He
did not make
both by intention,
but He made
the good only ; there followed afterwards,beyond
all

His
not

far

so

foreknow

beyond

His

in Himself

intention that God


their wickedness

ones

; but

could

; but

so

not

great

the

ture
crealovingdesire to produce the Spiritual
that the foreknowledgethat some
would come

was

to

of the evil

intention,the wickedness

from

bad

end

neither could

nor

should

prevent God

continuingthe production
; as it would

not

be

to the

praiseof

flowers of
should

Nature

tree

TREATISE.

THIRD

THE

refuse to

145

if,knowing of herself that the

she
certain part must
perish,
produce flowers on that tree, and
in

trees
productionof fruit-bearing
I say, then,that God, who
circles
envain and useless.
as
and
and understands all,in His encircling
so
His understanding
sees
noble,
nothingso gentle,
this Philosophy.
shines on
when
He
He
sees
as
all
see
For, although God Himself,beholding,
may
inasmuch
the distinction of things
as
thingstogether,

should

is in

abandon

Him

the

in the

same

way

as

the effect is in the

those thingsalso apart and dis-N


cause, yet He sees
noble of
He sees, then,this Lady the most
tinct
all

inasmuch
absolutely,

her in Himself

and

in her

recalled

as

most

essence.

He
perfectly
If what

sees

"

has been

mind, Philosophy is a
is in God,
lovinguse of Wisdom
; which especially
is Supreme Wisdom, and Supreme
because in Him
where
Love, and Supreme Action ; which cannot be elseIt
except inasmuch as it proceedsfrom Him.
is,then,the Divine Philosophyof the Divine Being,
since in Him
nothingcan be that is not part of His
Essence ; and it is most
noble,because the Divine
Essence is most
noble,and it is in Him in a manner
perfectand true, as if by eternal wedlock ; it is in
the other Intelligences
in a less degree,as if plalove from whom
lover receives
as if a virgin
no
_tonic,
full and complete joy,but contents himself by gazing
the beauty of her countenance.
on
Wherefore
it is
possibleto say that God sees not, that He does
not intently
regard,anythingso noble as this Lady ;
I say anything,inasmuch
He
and distinguishes
as
sees
the other things,as has been
said,seeing
Himself
to be the cause
of all. Oh, most
noblel
and most
excellent heart,which is at peace in the j
said

above

be

to

bride
but

OF

BANQUET

THE

146

of the

Ruler

of

the

and
sister,

DANTE

ALIGHIERI.

Heaven; and not


daughter beloved

bride

only,

above

all

others.

CHAPTER
HAVING

seen

in the

XIII.

beginningof

the

praisesof

this

Lady how subtlyit is said that she is of the Divine


Substance,as was first to be considered,we proceed
to consider her as she is in the Intelligences
that
now
All minds
of Heaven
wonder
at
proceed thence.
her worth,"where it is to be known
that I say,
minds
of Heaven," making that allusion to God which has
"

"

been

mentioned

above

who
Intelligences

the

country, who

; and

from

are

exiled

this

one

from

excludes
the eternal

because
study Philosophy,
love in them is entirely
extinct,and for the study of
has been alreadysaid,Love is necesas
sary.
Philosophy,
One
that the spirits
of Hell
sees, therefore,
are
deprivedof the sightof this most beautiful Lady ;
the
and, since she is the blessingof the intellect,
deprivationof her is most bitter and full of every
can

never

sadness.
when

I say,
thought,"I

"

Mortals,enamoured, find her


descend
show
in their
to
how, she
also may
into the Human
come
in a
Intelligence
secondarydegree; with which Human
Philosophy
I then
proceed through the treatise,
praisingit.
I say, then,that the mortals who
find her in their
thought in this life do not always find her there,
but only When
Love his peace into their hearts has
brought; wherein there are to be seen three points
Then,

"

"

"

"

which

The

are

alluded to in this text.

firstis when

"

one

says,

Mortals,enamoured,"

to make

it seems

because

TREATISE.

THIRD

THE

147

distinction in the human

it must be made ; for,


according
necessity
ing
to what
manifestly
appears, and which in the followreasoned out,the greatest
treatise will be specially
live more
accordingto the Sense than
part of men
accordingto Reason ; and those who live according
of this Lady,
be enamoured
to the Sense can
never
ever.
have no
since of her they can
apprehensionwhatof

race, and

The

point is

second

his peace

into their minds

to make

appears

when

Love
it says, "When
has brought,"where
it

distinction of time.

And

that is

for,although the separate Intelligences


the Human
Intelligence
Lady continually,
do so ; since Human
cannot
Nature, besides that
which givesdelight
to the Intellect and the Reason,
has need of many
for its support
thingsrequisite
which contemplation
furnish forth. Therefore
cannot
is sometimes
Wisdom
habitual only,and not
our
actual ; and this does not happen to the other Intelligenc
in their intellectual
which alone are perfect
necessary ;
gaze at this

And

nature.

so, when

our

soul is not

in the act

of

cannot
one
contemplation,
truly say that it is in
Philosophy,
except inasmuch as it has the habit of it,
and the power of being able to arouse
it ; sometimes,
she is with the peoplewho are enamoured
therefore,
of her here below,and sometimes
not.
The
third point is,when
it speaks of the time
when those peopleare with her,namely,when
Love
has brought into their minds his peace ; which means
no

other than when


since he

the

does

man

is in the act of contemplation,

strive to feel the peace of


that Lady except in the act of contemplation.
And
thus one
how this Lady is firstly
in the
sees

Mind

of

not

God, secondlyin

the

other separate Intel-

I48

THE

OF

BANQUET

DANTE

ALIGH1ERI.

and afterwards
ligences
throughcontinual contemplation,
in the human
intellect through interpreted
who
has her for his
contemplation.But the man
standing
notwithLady is ever to be termed a Philosopher,
that he may
be always in the final
not
act of Philosophy,for it is usual to name
other
after

men

their

habits.

Wherefore

call any
performingvirtuous
we

virtuous,not merely when


of
actions,but from having the habit or custom
virtue. And
call a man
he
we
when
even
eloquent,
is not speaking,from his habit of eloquence,
that is,
of speakingwell.
man

And

of this
has

part, there will

encomiums

giftsis

in
Philosophy,

to

prove

bestowed

afterwards

Beyond

great

Human

saw
our

that she

which

part of

following
her good
say, then,

Nature,fulness

capacityof

it makes

althoughinto

good, and poured,

was

her pure Soul,whence


Through all her frame.

the

the

Nature.

On

For

be

now

gence
Intelli-

Human

Maker

Her

on

how

which

our

of His

shone

Nature

beautiful and

Power

this

holy dower

is subdued

virtuous.

by it,

Wherefore,

the habit of that

what
Lady one may someit is not possibleto say that any one
come,
who enters thereinto properlyhas that habit ; since
the first study,that whereby the habit is begotten,
cannot
acquirethat philosophy. And here
perfectly
her lowly praise; for,perfect
one
sees
or
imperfect,
she never
of perfection. And because
loses the name
of this her surpassing
it says that the Soul
excellence,
of Philosophy shone Through all her frame,"that is,
that God ever
impartsto her of His Light.
"

Here

we

may

recall to mind

what

is said

above,

TREATISE.

THIRD

THE

149
*"*"

is

that Love

form of

Soul ; which
and such
of Wisdom,

is called her
use

therefore here

and
Philosophy,

is manifest

Love
use

bringswith

beauty, that is to say, contentment


condition of the time, and contempt for
other

which

make

men

in the

it a

derful
won-

under
those

any

things

their masters.

happens that those other unhappy


their own
who
ones
thereon,and think over
gaze
fall into the
defects from the desire for perfection,
where it says :
weariness of sighs; and this is meant
That from the eyes she touches heralds fly Heartheavenward
with a sigh."
ward with longings,
Wherefore

it

"

XIV.

CHAPTER

after the generalpraises


exposition,
the part of the
on
descends to the especial,
one
firstly
the text
Soul, then on the part of the body, so now
to descend
to
proceedsafter the generalencomium
As
it is said above,
the especialcommendation.
for its material subject
Philosophyhere has Wisdom
the habit of contemplation
for its form, and
Love
and
As

in the Literal

for the union

Wherefore

of the two.

in this

which
subsequentlybegins," On her fair
passage
to praise
form Virtue Divine descends,"I mean
Love,
which
that

is

part of Philosophy. Here

for

another

there is

thinginto
the

virtue

things that
thingsinto their

the

attain it.

no

descend
other

way

from

than

one

to

thing into
reduce

that

evidentlyin
descending into
the patients,
are
they bring those
similitude as far as they are able to

similitude ; as we
agents, for their virtue

its own

natural

to

it is to be known

see

OF

BANQUET

THE

150

ALIGHIERI.

DANTE

Sun, pouring his rays down on


this Earth, reduces the things thereon to his own
similitude of lightin proportion
as
theyby their own
able to receive light of his light.
are
disposition
Thus, I say that God reduces this Love to His own
it is possiblefor it to bear
much
Similitude
as
as
We

see

that the

creative

the

beholds

And

Him.

likeness to

it alludes to

act, saying,
face."

"

As

the nature

the

on

Angel

of
that

again it is to be known
that the first Agent, who is God, paints His Virtue
of direct radiance,and on
on
some
thingsby means
fore
of reflected splendour; wheresome
thingsby means
into the separate Intelligences
the Divine Light
shines without
interposingmedium
any
; into the
others it is reflected from those Intelligences
which
His

Where

firstillumined.

were

But

since

Splendour, for
thereof

is here

mention
the

will show

more

the

of

Light and
perfect understanding
made

difference

between

those

the

I say
opinionof Avicenna.
of Philosophers
that it is the custom
to speak of
Heaven
as
Light,inasmuch as Light is there in its
primevalSpring,or its firstorigin. They speak of it
of Light while it passes throughthe medium
as
a ray
from its source
into the first body in which it has
its end ; they call it Splendour where it is reflected

words, accordingto

back

from

some

part that has received illumination.

I say, then, that the Divine Virtue or Power draws


Similitude without any interthis Love into Its Own
posing
medium.
And

it is

in this,that
its objectof
are

Love

eternal which
to

make

evident,especially
is Eternal,so must
the Divine Love
as
that those things
be eternal,
so
necessity
to
possible

love,for

He

loves.

the Wisdom

this

And

thus it makes

into which

this

this Love

THE

THIRD

Wherefore

strikes is eternal.
"

am

Time

to

as

of her

created,I

was

I shall not

of Solomon

this Wisdom

And

fail"
says

in the

beginning
is openly alluded
eternity

Gospel of John, her


it is possibleto observe.
there,where

results that
other

Time

come

established for ever."

am

of the

to,

the

in the Proverbs

And
"

in

and

151

it is written

beginning,before

the

From

TREATISE.

became

Loves

And

this Love

obscure

and

therefore

it

shines,all the
almost
extinct,

objectsubdues and overpowers all


other objectsin a manner
beyond all comparison;
therefore the most
excellent Philosophersin
and
their actions openly demonstrate
it,whereby we
that they have treated all other thingswith
know
Wherefore
indifference except Wisdom.
Democritus,
of his own
neglectingall care
person, trimmed
the hair of his head, nor
his
neither his beard, nor
nails. Plato,indifferent to the riches of this world,
the son
for he was
of a
despisedthe royal dignity,
bated
king. Aristotle,caring for no other friend,comwith his own
best friend,even
with
the
since its eternal

Plato, his dearest

above-named

friend

after Philosophy.

And

why do we speak of these,when we


find others who, for these thoughts,
held their life in
contempt, such as Zeno, Socrates,Seneca,and many
? It is evident,
that in this Love the
more
therefore,
Divine Power, after the manner
of an Angel,descends
into men
the text pre; and to give proof of th'is,
sently
Fair
exclaims :
who
one
doubt, go with
her, mark the grace In all her acts." By "Fair
is meant
the noble soul of judgment,free in its
one
"

"

own

power,

which

be

called

cannot
are

not

is Reason

; hence

the other souls

Ladies,but handmaids, since they


sopher
for themselves,but for others ; and the Philothat
says, in the first book of Metaphysics,

152

THE

that

thing is free

OF

BANQUET
which

for others.

It says,
In all her acts,"that

within

is

"

go

at

cause

ALIGHIERI.
of

not

her,mark the grace


thyselfthe companion

that which

in part it alludes to
bends
An
from
Heaven

it ; and

itself and

with

is,make

look

of this Love, and

DANTE

will be found

this, saying,

Angel when
she speaks,"meaning that where
Philosophy is in
action a celestial thought stoops down, in which this
of
discourses beyond the power
or
being reasons
"

Downward

Human
The
to

Nature.

Song

understand

says

that

"from
not

Heaven," to give people


only Philosophy,but the

abstracted from all low


to it,are
thoughtsfriendly
and earthly
things. Then afterwards it says how she
strengthensand kindles love wherever she appears
with the sweet persuasions
of her actions,which are
in all her aspects modest, gentle,
and without any
domineeringassumption. And subsequently,
by still
pany,
greater persuasionto induce a desire for her comFair in all like her, fairest she'll
it says :
is most
like her." Again it adds :
We,
appear Who
find help in it,
face a Mjracle,"
content
to call Her
that the regard of this Lady
where it is to be known
desire in us for its
a
was
freelyordained to arouse
not
only in her countenance, which she
acquisition,
she
reveals to sight,but also in the thingswhich
Wherefore
of
keeps hidden.
as, through her, much
of Reason
is seen
that which
is hidden
by means
(and consequentlyto see by Reason without her
a
seems
miracle),so, through her,one believes each
miracle in the action of a higher intellectual Power
and therefore to be possible. From
to have reason,
from which
whence
true Faith has its origin,
comes
the Hope to desire the Future, and from that are
of Charity,
born the works
by which three Virtues
"

"

TREATISE.

THIRD

THE

153

by the

Philosophersin that celestial


and
where
Stoics, Peripatetics,
Epicureans,I\J
of Eternal Truth,concur
harmoniously
practice

in

desire.

Athens

one

become

to

mount

we

XV.

CHAPTER

Lady is praised
precedingchapterthis glorious
accordingto one of her component parts,that is,Love.
In this chapterI intend to explain that passage which
of Paradise,"and
begins, Her aspect shows delights
here it is requisite
to discuss and
praiseher other
IN the

"

part, Wisdom.
then says that in the face of this Lady
thingsappear which show us joys of Paradise ; and
the placewhere this appears, namely,
it distinguishes
The

text

here it must
And
be
eyes and the smile.
strations,
her demonthat the eyes of Wisdom
are
whereby one sees the Truth most certainly;

in the

known

but

in her smile,in which


are
persuasions
reveals
the inner Light of Wisdom

her

without

any veil
is felt that most

or

concealment.

And

suasions
per-

itself

in these two

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

without
to

that smik.

upon

since

be

exalted

each

And

the

thing naturallydesires

which
blessed.

it cannot
For

is

reason

its

this,that

perfection,

peace, to have that is


althoughit might possess all

be

at

things,yet, being without that, there would


remain
in it desire,
consist with perfect
which cannot
and
since perfect
thing,
happiness,
happinessis a perfect
desires not that
desire is a defective thing. For one
other

which

OF

BANQUET

THE

I54

he

has,but

ALIGHIERL

DANTE

that which

he has not, and

here

is

human
can
solely
of Reason,
the perfection
be acquired,
as
perfection
on
which, as on its principal
part,our essential being
all depends. All our other actions,
to feel or hear,
as
to take food,and the rest,are
throughthis one alone ;
So that,if
and not for others.
and this is for itself,
that the man, inasmuch
that be perfect,
it is so perfect
each desire fulfilled,
and thus he
he is a man,
sees
as
therefore it is said in the Book of
is happy. And
a

manifest defect.

And

in this form

casteth away Wisdom


and Knowledge
suffers the
is unhappy," that is to say, he
the habit of Wisdom
privationof happiness. From

Wisdom

'"

Whoso

happy and
content, accordingto the opinionof the Philosopher.
One sees, then,how in the aspect of this Lady joys
it follows

of

that

man

learns

be

to

appear, and therefore one


of Wisdom
quoted above, when

Paradise

Book

reads

in the

speaking of
the Eternal Light ;
Majesty of God."

shiningwhiteness of
Mirror without blemish,of the
a
which
it says,
Then
when
the intellect
Things over
myself,saying that I can
stray,"I excuse
may
of their
account
say but little concerningthese,on
it is to be known
overpoweringinfluence. Where
these things dazzle our
that in any way
intellect,
inasmuch
as
they affirm certain thingsto be, which
intellect is unable to comprehend, that is,God
our
and the first Matter
and Eternity,
which
tainly
cermost
they do not see, and with all faith they believe
And
what
even
,to be.
they are we cannot understand ; and so, by not denying things,
it is possible
to some
to draw
near
knowledge of them, but not
"

her,

She is a

"

otherwise.

Truly here
doubt

how

it is

to
possible

it is that Wisdom

have
can

some

make

very

strong

the

man

THE

THIRD

TREATISE.

155

completelyhappy without being able to show him


certain thingsperfectly
; since the natural desire for
knowledge is in the man, and without fulfilment of
be fully
the desire he cannot
happy. To this it is
that the natural desire in
to replyclearly,
possible
of
each thing is in proportionto the possibility
reachingto the thing desired ; otherwise it would
is impossible
which
to itself,
;
pass into opposition
have worked
in vain,which
also
and Nature would
is impossible.
its perIt would pass into opposition,
for,desiring
fection,
desire its imperfection,
it would
since he
fulfil his
desire always to desire,and never
would
the cursed miser falls,
into this error
desire. And
does
and
not
perceivethat he desires always to
to reach to an
impossible
desire,going backwards
amount.

Nature

worked

have

also would

in

vain, since it

end ; and, in
in this life to that
desire is proportioned

would

not be ordained

to any

human
fact,
knowledge

One
cannot
to have here.
possible
pass
that pointexcept through error, which is outside the
thus it is proportionedin
And
natural intention.
the Angelic,and it is limited in Human
Nature, and
the
in proportion
it finds its end in that Wisdom
as
of each can
nature
apprehend it.
And
this is the reason
why the Saints have no
attains the
since each one
envy amongst themselves,
which

end

it is

of his

desire,and

the

desire of each is in due

fore,
goodness. Wheresince to know
as
God
and certain other things,
to our
Eternityand the first Matter, is not possible
ledge,
have no desire for that knowwe
Nature, naturally
and hereby is this doubtful questionsolved.
I say,
Then
when
Rain from her beauty little

proportionto

the nature

"

of his

156

ALIGHIERI.

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

I proceedto another joy of Paradise,


fire,"
that is,from the secondaryfelicity,
to this
happiness,
first one, which proceedsfrom her beauty,where it
that Moralityis the beauty of Philois to be known
sophy.
For as the beauty of the body is the result
in proportion
of its members
as
ordered,
they are fitly
the beautyof Wisdom, which is the body of Philosophy,
so
as has been
said,results from the order of the
Virtues which
Moral
visiblymake that joy. And
therefore I say that her beauty,which is Morality,
little flames
rains down
of fire,meaning direct
desire,which is begottenin the pleasureof the Moral
desire removes
Doctrine ; which
it again from the
natural vices,and not only from
the others.
And
thence springsthat happinesswhich Aristotle defined
of Ethics, saying,that it is Work
in the firstbook
accordingto Virtue in the Perfect Life.
flames of

And

when

Escape

from
I cry

it says,

"

Fair

aloud

to the

of
them
her, telling
that by followingher

follow
say,

good

who

desire
may
sophy.
blame," it proceedsin praiseof Philo-

Therefore

one,

people that they should


her good gifts,
that is to
each

it says to each

become
may
Soul,that feels its
one

beauty

is to blame

it

appear, let her look at this


it is to be known
that the Morals

ought

Where

to

because

it does

not

what

appear

example.
are

the

beauty of the Soul,that is to say, the most excellent


through vanity or through
virtues,which sometimes
in
as
prideare made less beautiful or less agreeable,
the last treatise it was
possibleto perceive. And
shun
to
therefore I say that, in order
this,one
looks at that Lady, Philosophy,there where she is
self
the example of Humility,namely, in that part of herI subjoin
which is called Moral Philosophy. And
that by gazing at her (I say, at Wisdom) in that

THIRD

THE

vicious

part,

every

good.

And
Good

create

TREATISE.

will become

man

therefore

I57

she

has

crush

the

I say

thoughts,and

"

upright and
a
spiritto

vices."

She

gentlyback him who has gone astray from the


rightcourse.
in highestpraiseof Wisdom, I say of her
Finally,
of every good Principle,
that she is the Mother
ing
sayGod's
who
she
that
is
began the
thought,"
of the Heaven
the movement
World, and especially
and wherein
each
by which all thingsare generated,
that is to say, that the
has its origin,
movement
She was, when God made
Divine Thought isWisdom.
the World
it follows that she could make
it,
; whence
said in the Book
of Proverbs,
and therefore Solomon
When
of Wisdom
He preparedthe
in the person
:
Heavens, I was there : when He set a compass upon
the face of the depth ; when He established the clouds
above ; when
He strengthenedthe fountains of the
deep ; when He gave to the sea His decree,that the
when
He
should not pass His commandment;
waters
appointed the foundations of the Earth : then I was
by Him, as one brought up with Him, and I was
daily His delight,rejoicingalways before Him."
than dead,who flyfrom the friendship
O, ye Men, worse
of Wisdom, open your eyes, and see that before
she was
the Lover
of you, preparingand
were
you
ordaining the process of your being! Since you
made
she came
that she might guide you, came
were
turns

"

"

to you

in your

likeness ; and, if all of you cannot


into her presence, honour her in her friends,

come

and

own

follow their

to you

as
counsels,

of them

the will of this eternal

your

ears

Just

is

increaseth

Empress

announce

Close not

the path of the


Solomon, who tells you
a
shining Light, which goeth forth and
Follow
to the day of salvation."
even

to
as

who

"

158

THE

after

them,

you

as

this

most

BANQUET

behold

And

of

brief

life.

of

which

enough

easily

it

as

that

at

me

the

beginning

the

did

seemed

she

to

of

smiled

in

me,

that

Song,
is

time,

treatise

From

explanation
the

is

end.

this,
of

that

and

from

we

be

to

is

that

proceed

and

which

not

her

see

her

is

evident.

farther,

on

given
of

meaning
is

as

she

altogether

that

refrain

not

was

Literal

to

Wisdom,

turned

could

dainful
dis-

known

appeared

she
I

much
inas"

insomuch

for

defect

the

explained

persuasions

the

stanza,

Lady

which

me,

say,

the

is

of

the

except

Philosophy

on

to

of

Allegory

therefore,

it

her

But

side.
the

not

be

this

body,

disdainful,

me

demonstrations.

my

her

understand

not

called

this

path

last

exposition,

there

to

on

The

can

Where

part

to

glance

morose."

for

yet

that

the

in

be

to

Commentary

refrain,

ought

Song.

Literal

and

on

morose,

the

says

the

present
for

by

which

guidance

close

intended

i3

for

light

the

ALIGHIERI.

works,

may

we

meaning

true

their

beacon

here

DANTE

OF

the
It

and

this

ttbe

rhymes of love

SOFT

treatise.

jpourtb

I used to find

must
leave,
thought,I now
Not without hope to turn to them again;
But signsof a disdainful mind
That in my Lady I perceive

Within

my

closed the way

Have

since time suits me

And

to

now

wait,

the softer style

I put away

Proper to love

rhyme subtle and

Nobleman's

Shall tellhow

severe

estate

by worth,hold false and vile


judgment that from wealth derives a
Is

The

strain.

accustomed

to my

won

First

Peer.

that Lord

callingon

dwells within her eyes,


C ontainingwhom, my Lady learnt
Who

Herself
One

love and

to

raised to
far

As

Descent
To

as

of

make

prize.

Empire held,

he could

see,

wealth, and

generous

ways,

Nobility.

wise,
Another,lightly
That sayingturned aside,
Perchance
The

And

of generous

for want

second

ways

denied.

source

followers of him

Are

Those
The

all the

men

who

noble in whose
wealth

has

rate

families

long been great.

160

THE

BANQUET

DANTE

OF

ALIGHIERI,

"^

And

"*

long among

so

us

has had sway,


call him a Nobleman,

falsehood

The
That

men

Though worthless,who
I

nephew
Of

But

he who

the Truth

Who

from

Whoever
man

livingtree
and

speak untruth

what

view,
the other side,
less than

was

riches make

defile ;

take worth away


vile.
nature

their want

can

They

by

are

paintergivesa
is not

That
tower

Wealth

And

is

flowing.

incomplete

is,let this declare

bringsno

peace, but

hence

uprightmind,

To
Stands

stream

great the heap may

However
It

knowing

leans above

far away

form

of his

vile and

How

true.

worth

not

Although they can

That

see.

erred ;

so

Proceeding,on

No

not

truth,

set the false in

First

No

less than

he may

more

Emperor

To

shown,

was

walks

Though

Nor

know

shall define

The

For

may

upon the earth


with the dead :

Is counted

The

the Truth has fled,

though he

Will

sum

vile he has become

whom

And

the Truth

sees

say,

son,

worth such

one

How
To

or

am,

can

its own

the

be

care.

true,
firm althoughthe flood of wealth
purpose

Sweep onward

out

of view.

TREATISE.

FOURTH

THE

the vile

have

will not

They

descent

noble,nor

Turn

parent vile produce a

From
For

Yet this,they say,


Since

time

By

course

be,

can

halts

reason

behind,
birth

to noble

they suit

of time defined.
this

It follows then from


all

That

race

eminent.

ever

Their

161

high or base,

are

Or that in Time

Beginning to

there
our

was

never

race.

hold,
they ;
yet, if Christians,

that I cannot

But

Nor

As
And

and
false,
now

As
What
A

their words

intellect reproves

Sound

away.

I seek to tell,

it appears

is,whence
true

turns

to me,

what

comes,

signsattest

Nobility.

I say that from


Each Virtue

root

one

firstly
springs,
Virtue,I mean, that Happiness
To man, by action,
brings.
Ethics

This,as the
Is habit of

That
So

teach,

rightchoice

holds the

means

between

extremes,

spake that noble voice.

Nobilityby right
No
Than
As

other
to

sense

good,
import its subject's

vileness makes

Such virtue shows


To

has had

him

bad.

its good

intellect,
two
thingsagree in

others'

For when

Producingone

effect.

one,

162

THE

OF

BANQUET
One

from

must

Or each

one

is,there is
Nobleman, although
Virtue

there is

where

Not

then

more,

the other is inferred.

From
Where

each,and

as

ALIGHIERL

other come,
from a third,

one

be

If each

DANTE

be also.

Virtue

Must

Nobleman

So likewise that is Heaven


Wherein
Heaven

But
In
A

is

star

may
and

women

hung,

be starless ;

so

the young

modesty is seen,
noble yet ;
Not virtue,
virtue from what's

Comes

black

From

It

as
springs,

And

let

so

They

are

no

before,
that him

vaunt

one

bore.

Gods

as

root

said

mother

noble

violet ;

comes

the parent

Or from

noble,as

Grace

whom

placedbeyond all sin :


only givesit to the Soul

Has
God

He

That
That

finds pure within.

seed of

Happiness

Falls in the hearts of

few,

by God within the Souls


Spread to receive His dew.

Planted

this Grace

Souls whom
Declare
From

it in each

birth that

They

show

adorns

breath,

joinsthe flesh and soul

it until death.

In Childhood
Are
To

they obey,
gentle,modest, heed

furnish Virtue's person


The

graces

it may

need,

with

FOURTH

THE
Are

temperate in Youth,

And
Love
Are
Are

163

TREATISE.

resolutely
strong,
much, win praisefor courtesy,
loyal,
hatingwrong.

prudentin

And

their Age,

generous

and

just,

glad at heart to hear and speak


When
good to man's discussed.

And

The

fourth part of their life


Weds
them again to God,

They wait,and contemplatethe end,


And bless the pathsthey trod.
How

Our

many

deceived !

are

My Song,

Againstthe strayers: when you reach


Lady, hide not from her that your end

Is labour that would

lessen wrong,

tellher too, in trusty speech,


I travel ever talking
of your Friend.
And

CHAPTER

opinionof the
who discourse of him, and as by experience
wise men
is that which bringstogether
and
we
see
continually,
unites the lover with the beloved ; wherefore Pythagoras
become
one."
says, "In friendship
many
the thingswhich
-And
united naturally
are
municate
comthat
their qualities
insomuch
to each other,
it happens that one
sometimes
is wholly changed
of the other,the result being that
into the nature
into the
the passionsof the beloved person
enter
is
that the love of the one
so
person of the lover,
LOVE, accordingto

communicated

to

the

I.

the other,and

and
desire,

every other

of the

are

one

unanimous

beloved

so

likewise hatred,

passion; wherefore the friends


by the other,and the enemies
F

AL1GHIERL

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

64

hated ; and so in the Greek proverbit is said


friends all thingsought to be in common."
Wherefore
mentioned

I,having made

in the truthful

above

love and to hate


I then

began to

accordingto

since each

none

are

to

is reasonable

between
most

my
to

friend of this

Lady,
exposition,
began to

her love and

hated

be

to

her hatred.

uprightto
and to
things,
And

excellent

the
distinguish

if any

Lady

evil in

for itself and

loved

except for

and

these.

With

Truth,and to hate
as she does.
Falsehood,even

thing is

be

the evil in the

"

love the followers of

the followers of Error and


But

hate not

the

endeavour

to

as

understands

how
especially

which
anything,

much

as

but
things,
distinguish

has this intention,

person

of hate ; since in her is all Reason, and


fountain-head of all uprightness.

I, followingher

of evil,it

excess

I could

is the

cause

in her is the

in her work

and despisedthe errors


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

in her

and

condemn.

This

is the

which, inasmuch

as

concerning
it is

sown

in

Human

us

Goodness,
by Nature, ought

so
Nobility; which error was
strongly
and
entrenched
intellect
by weak
by evil custom
that the opinionof almost all people was
falsifiedor
deceived by it ; and from the false opinion sprang
false judgments,and
from false judgments sprang
and unjust contempt ; wherefore
unjust reverence

to

be termed

error

THE

the

good

and

in the world

TREATISE.

held in vile

were

honoured

FOURTH

exalted.
even

as

and
disdain,

This
he

that which

gazed

Matter
which

and

the

of
reason

presence

sought to
Elements

discover
was

who

were

confusion

looks

subtly
it. And
though it
somewhat
changed
where*
me, especially

see

may result from


that this my Lady had
seemed
her sweet
towards
countenance
at

the evil

the worst

was

can

165

the

whether

created

first\

by God, for
frequenther/

strengthenedmyself to
if remainingthere with
as
little,

her assent,

began to consider in my mind the fault of man


which
And
to shun sloth,
concerningthe said error.
is an
especialenemy of this Lady, and to describe
this error
which robs
or
state this error
very clearly,
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
I said,"Soft rhymes of love I used to find,'
which
wherein I intend to lead the people back into the
rightpath,the path of rightknowledge concerning
true Nobility,
as
by the knowledge of its text, to
I now
the explanationof which
turn my
attention,
will be able to perceive.
any one
And
since the intention of this Song is directed
it was
to a remedy so
well to speak
not
requisite,
needful to
under any figureof speech ; but it was
that speedy might be
prepare this medicine speedily,
the restoration to health,which, being so corrupted,
I

hastened

to

hideous

death.

It will not,

then, be

requisitein the expositionof this Song to unveil


allegory,but simply to discuss its meaning
any
according to the letter. By my
Lady I always
her who
is spoken of in the precedingSong,
mean
that is to say, that Light of supreme
virtue, Philo-

*"

THE

166

ALIGHIERI.

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

the flowers of true Nobility


rays cause
forth in mankind
and to bear fruit in the

sophy,whose
to

blossom
of

Nobilitythe

concerningwhich true
proposedSong fullyintends to treat.

sons

men

II.

CHAPTER

now
undertaken,
explanation
in order to render the meaning of the proposedSong
clear and distinct,
it is requisite
to divide that
more
firstpart into two parts,for in the firstpart one
speaks

IN the

in the

the

beginningof

of

manner

Preface ; in the second,


discussion is continued; and the
Proem

or

subjectunder
second
part begins

in the

stanza, where

it says

raised

to

the

One
As

far

Descent
To

The

or

of

the

Empire held,

he could see,

as

of

wealth, and generous

make

ways,

Nobility.

firstpart, again,
can

divisions

commencement

members.

In

departfrom

comprehendedin three
the first it states why I
of speech; in the second,

be

my usual mode
I say of what it is my
intention to discourse ; in the
third,I call upon that Helper who most can aid me
to

establish Truth.

The

second

member,

clause,or

now."
since time
suits me
begins: "And
I
that Lord."
The third begins:
First calling
on
compelledto abandon the soft
say then that I was
accustomed
to search
rhymes of Love which I was
for in my
and I assignthe reason
or cause
;
thoughts,
I say that it is not because I have given
wherefore
up all intention of making rhymes of Love, but*

division

"

FOURTH

THE

because

aspects have

new

have

which

speech of

TREATISE.

in my
Lady
of material
for present
it is to be known
that it

deprived me
Where

Love.

167

appeared

here say that the gestures of this Lady are


disdainful and angry
accordingto appearance
only,

does

as

not

be

may

in the tenth

seen

treatise ; for at another


is

^ow

contrary

bitter,

oi

there be

with

has been

suits

"

action ; but
for my
wait
reasonably time must

second, and
first,

onwards

celestial movement,

which

here

below

of the herbs

otherwise
to
even

; and

receive
so

all

be

in

one

acts, and

our

Aristotle

says in the
number
of movement,

the

; and

the number

of

the

things
informing

prepares

is

and

flowers,and
is

manner

one

the Winter

season

prepared

from another.
seed, differing
it is founded
as
Mind, inasmuch

the

our

how

seen

ways any
prepared in one way in the
to receive into itselfthe informing

the Earth

beginningof Spring
power

passed over
most
powerful

receive in various

to

For

power.

be

to

on

on
speech.
especially
Time, according to what
fourth chapter of Physics,is

the

it says in the

it is to

reason

"

that is whereu* \

there is

dry foot,because

here

..

that which

is not

appear

obscure,may

sm^

said,what

And

preceding

and

sweet

And

"

I say,

discourse.

time

"

be

c}ear ancj appear

when

as

even

words

Truth

clearlyci"x,.ot,

seen

to

the

I say that the ance


appearthis can
be,
; and how

thing can

--4-i^r j^

Afterwards
I say,
intend

time

to the

self-same

one

chapterof

And
upon

the temper of the body,which has to follow the revolution


of the Heaven, at one
time is disposedin one
way, at another time in another way
which
are, as it were, the seeds of
to
discreetly

be

withheld

or

; wherefore

words,

actions,ought very

uttered ;

they should

THE

68

be

spoken with

be

well

such

DANTE

sound

ALIGHIERI.

that

judgment

good fruit follow from them


spent so sparinglythat barrenness

or

is the result of their defective utterance.


a

they may

received,and

withheld

not

OF

BANQUET

suitable time

should

be

fore
there-

And

chosen, both

for him

speaks and for him who must hear : for if the


speakeris badly prepared,very often his words are
hurtful ; and if the hearer is ill-disposed,
or
injurious
A~
those words
which
are
good are ill received.

who

-1

-therefore Solomon

in Ecclesi^^

says
'

time

speak,and
within
^-""^

to

"

to

be

inere

'

silent-"

1S

Where'

myself that my dispositionto


of Love was
which has
disturbed,for the cause
in the precedingchapter,
been mentioned
it seemed
that the time might suit me
time which
to me
now,
it the fulfilment of every
bears with
desire, and
in the guiseof a generous
giver to those who
appears
St.
grudge not to await him patiently.Wherefore
in the fifth chapter:
hold,
BeJames says in his Epistle,
waiteth for the preciousfruit
the husbandman
of the Earth, and hath long patience for it,until he
receive the early and
the latter rain."
For
all our
gently
or
or
vexations, if we
inquiredilisorrows,
cares,
into their origin,
proceed,as it were, from not
I say, "since
the time
knowing the use of time.
suits,"I will leave my
pen alone, that is to say, the
sweet
or
gentle styleI used when I sang of Love ;
and I say that I will speak of that worth whereby a
is trulynoble.
man
And
it is possibleto
understand
in
worth
as
fore I

"

many

power

ways, here I intend to


of Nature, or rather a

her, as will be
to

and

discourse
severe."

on

assume

goodness

in what

follows ;
this subjectwith a

seen

worth

"

to

bestowed

be

by
and I promise
rhyme subtle

FOURTH

THE

Wherefore

it is

may be considered
in a wide and in

in
a

the last and


make.

In

in the

double

narrow

sense,

sense.

it should

And

reference to
a

the

subjectmust

be

taken

therefore

words, which

which

in

of the

sound
be

not

and

to

for all

regulated

; and thus it is
and
understood
in

"severe,"with
which
to such
style,
and pleasing
; and it
the meaning of the

it says

sweet

subtle,"with

says

that is to say,
In the narrow

it is understood

sense,

language which, with numbers


time,falls into rhymed consonance
this Proem.

rhyme

penultimatesyllableit is usual

the wide

that

that

that concordance

as

that

desired

169

know

requisiteto

it is understood

sense,

TREATISE.

regard to
proceedwith subtle argument

and

putation.
dis-

subjoin: hold false and vile The judgment


again it is promised to confute the
; where
that is,
judgment of the people full of error : false,
And

"

"

removed

from

affirmed

and

is to

be

the

fortified

observed

to
firstly,

Truth

treat

by

that

of the

; and

vile,that is

vileness of mind.
in

this

Proem

Truth, and

then

to

to

say,
And
it

promise,
confute

the False ; and in the treatise the


for,in the firstplace,I confute the

oppositeis done,
False,and then
not
rightly
appear

treat

of the

more

excellent.

Truth, which does


accordingto the promise. And therefore it is to be
known
that,although the intention is to speak of
both, the principalintention is to handle the Truth ;
and the intention is to reprove
the False or Untrue,
in so far as by so doing I make
the Truth
appear
here, in the

And

speak of
which

the Truth

creates

first

place,the promise is to
accordingto the chief intention,

in the minds

of the hearers

hear ; for in the firsttreatise I reprove

the

desire to
False

or

ALIGHlERl.

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

iyo

opinionsbeing chased
be received more
freely. And
away, the Truth may
this method
of human
was
adopted by the master
who
argument, Aristotle,
always in the first place
fought with the adversaries of Truth, and then,
having vanquished them, revealed or demonstrated
Untrue

Truth

that,the

in order

false

itself.

I
when
Finally,
appeal to Truth

who

Lord

"

say,
to

First

be with

on
calling

that Lord,"

being that
that is
Philosophy,
Truth

me,

dwells

in the eyes of
And
indeed
to say, in her demonstrations.
is that Lord ; for the Soul espousedto Truth

Truth
is the

of

bride

Truth, and otherwise it is a slave or servant


deprivedof all liberty.
And
it says, "my
Lady learnt Herself to love
and prize,"
because this Philosophy,
which has been
said in the precedingtreatise to be a loving use
of Wisdom, beholds herself when
the beauty of her
eyes

appears

her.

to

And

what

else is there to be

PhilosophicSoul not onnl


contemplatesthis Truth, but again contemplatesher
own
contemplationand the beauty of that,again
with
revolving upon herself,and being enamoured
herself on account
of the beauty of her firstglance?
Preface
thus ends this which; as a Proem
And
or
said, except that

the

in three divisions,
heads

the present treatise.

CHAPTER
HAVING
now

seen

follow

it must
clearly,
are

three.

the
the

III.

meaning of the Proem, we must


it
treatise,and, to demonstrate

be divided

into its chief parts,which

FOURTH

THE

one
first,

In the

TREATISE.

treats of

!7l

Nobilityaccordingto the

opinionof other men ; in the second, one treats of


it accordingto the true opinion; in the third,
one
addresses speech to the Song by way of ornament
to
that which has been said. The second
part begins:
I say that from
Each
root
one
Virtue firstly
ceived
desprings." The third begins: How
are
many
! My Song, Against the strayers."
And
after
these generalparts,it will be rightto make other divisions,
in order to make
the meaning of the demonstration
clear.
if it
marvel
Therefore,let no one
proceedwith many divisions,since a great and high
work is now
on
hands, and one that is but little
my
entered upon
by authors ; the treatise must be long
"

"

and

the reader

subtle into which

if I

unfold

to

am

text

then, that this first part

I say,

with me,
accordingto the
enters

it bears.

which

meaning

the
perfectly

now

is

divided

now

the opinionsof others


first,
are
futed
placed; in the second, those opinions are conthis second
part begins: Whoever
; and
tree." Again, the first
shall define The man
a living
into

two

for in the

"

part which
the

variation

the

second

the

Common

all

reason

of
is

the
the

two

and

clauses

opinion
variation

People, which
;

"

has

remains

this

second

of

of

the
the

is naked
clause

the

first is

Emperor ;
opinion of
or
or

void

of

division
"

I say then, One


wise."
Another, lightly
raised
to
Empire," that is to say, such an one
made
of the
it is
use
Imperial Office. Where
of Suabia, the last
to be known
that Frederick
Emperor of the Romans
(I say last with respect to
the present time, notwithstandingthat Rudolf, and
elected after his death
Adolphus, and Albert were
and from his descendants),
being asked what Nobility

begins:

OF

BANQUET

THE

I72

"

might be, replied that


good manners."
that

I say

A,nd

there

who, pondering

and

part, removed

the

riches.

And

anck

was

of less wisdom,

another

was

first,that is,to the ancient

the

to

he

as

it

revolving this definition in every


last particle,that is, the
good

held

and

manners,

AL1GHIERI.

DANTE

have

to

seems

the

doubted

text,

and not
perhaps through not having good manners,
it
wishing to lose the title of Nobility, he defined
himself
noble, namely,
according to that which made

possessionof
And

those

that

been

this cry

said,
two

no

first is, that


true

appears

all
reason

see

other
as

the

The

in

of

the

to

especialchapter.

the

to
to

have
The

whatever

that

number

be

cannot

the

authority of

that

the

may

one

conquers

the

with

argue

which

been

to

seem

Truth, which

intend

other,

has

as

of them.

says

And

Emperor.

with

support

is, the

second

power

all,

bark.

greatest

authority,I

intention

many

Philosopher

helper and powerful


And,
firstly,one
authority until the
our

men

the

to

entirelyfalse.
definition
by an
better

have

arguments
the

almost

make
people who
long pedigree, and who
generations ; since in

opinions (although one,


whatever)
consequence

grave

very

of

all the

go

all

is that

opinion

through

almost

two

is of

it

who

rich

do

These

this

after

noble

men

have

that

I say

saying

wealth.

ancient

it is

one

strong

aid.

treat

understand

cannot
roots
or

of

it

found.

are

discourse

Imperial

of

them

It
in

is
an

THE

FOURTH

TREATISE.

CHAPTER
radical foundation

173

IV.

of

ing
ImperialMajesty,accordof Human
tion,
Civilizato the Truth, is the necessity
which is ordained to one
end, that is,to a Happy
Life.
Nothing is of itself sufficient to attain this
external help,since man
has need of
without some
things which one person alone is unable to
many
And
therefore the Philosophersays
that
obtain.
And
is naturally
a
as
man
companionableanimal.
the
a
man
requires for his sufficient comfort
domestic
companionship of a family,so a house
requiresfor its sufficient comfort a neighbourhood;
THE

otherwise

there

be

would

wants

many

to

endure

happiness.And since
all requirements,
there
cannot
a neighbourhood
satisfy
be the City. Again,
for the satisfaction of men
must
for its Arts and Manufactures
the Cityrequires
to
have an environment, as also for its defence,and to
have brotherlyintercourse with the circumjacent
or
adjacentCities,and thence the Kingdom.
mind in restricted possession
But since the human
of the Earth finds no peace, but always desires to
discords and
acquireGlory,as we see by experience,
which

wars

would

must

be

obstacle to

an

arise between

realm

and

realm.

These

the tribulation of Cities ; and through the Cities,


of the neighbourhoods
hoods,
; and through the neighbour-

are

of the
men

; and

thus is the

and

through the houses, of


preventedor
happinessof man
; and

Wherefore,

obstructed.
wars,

houses

to

the

remove

in

order

causes

to

prevent these

of them

throughall

Race
given to the Human
be Monarchy,
of necessity
to possess it,there must
that is to say, one sole principality
; and there must

the Earth, so

far

as

it is

be

ALIGHIERL

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

174

Prince, who, possessingall,and

one

desire more, holds the


the limits of the kingdoms, so

'able to

Kings
that

be
may
repose, and in

peace

the Cities may


hamlets may
this rest the neighbouring

need, which, being obtained, men


is that end

which
these

dwell

together
obtain all they
live happily,

love ; in this love the houses

in mutual

might

reasons

Philosopher,for
that when

for which

he

be

man

can

born.

was

applied the

says, in

the

within

content

them, wherein

between

being

not

And

words

book

to

the

of

On

Politics,

thingsare ordained to one end, one


of those must
be the rulingpower, and all the others
must
be governed by that.
Even
in
as
we
see
a
ship that the different offices and the different
to different ends in that ship are
ordained to
means
end alone^that is to say, to reach the desired port
one
by a safe voyage, where as each officer orders his
many

work

own

to the proper

considers

all these ends, and

; and

one

We

end,

as

plainlybe

seen

Universal

Union

one

ordains those to the final


voice

all must

obey.

bodies and in the


religious
all those thingswhich are ordained

has

been

that to

Wherefore

said.

attain

the

perfectionof

Race

of the Human

it

there

must

can

the
be

the different
it were,
who, considering
of the World, and ordainingthe different

Pilot,as

conditions
and

needful

whole

offices,
may

the universal

without

governments
because
he

or

to

this

office is

of all Governors
says is Law

to

he

over

possess

incontestable

addition, because
the government ;

any

appointed

and

hold

this office is well

And

what

who

this also in the

see

one

there is one

so

this is the Pilot,


whose

bodies,in
military
to

end, even

the

office of Command.

designatedEmpire,
it
and

all other

is of
so

he

who

is

designated Emperor,
is the

all,and

Governor, and

ought by

all to

be

THE

TREATISE.

FOURTH

obeyed ; and every


and
authorityfrom

I7$

other government
the government

derives
of

vigour

this

man.

that the

ImperialMajesty and
Family.
Authority is the most exalted in the Human
No
doubt
be possiblefor some
it would
to
one
cavil,
saying,that although the office of Empire may
the
be requiredin the World, that does not make
Prince rationally
authorityof the Roman
supreme,
thus it is evident

And

it is the

which

intention
Power

since the Roman


nor

by

which

decree
to

seems

of the treatise to

was

of Universal
be

prove ;
Reason

not by
acquired,
Election,but by Force,

opposed to

Reason.

To

this

one

easilyreply,that the election of this Supreme


Official must
primarilyproceed from that Council
that is,God; otherwise the
which foresees all things,
have been of equal benefit for
not
election would
all the people,since,before the pre-ordained
Official,
who
had the good of all at heart.
there was
none
in ruling,and
since
And
a
a
gentler nature
subtle in acquirand a more
ing
stronger in maintaining,

can

never

was

and

never

will be

than

that of the

can
see
by experience,and
People,as one
that of the Holy People,in whom
was
especially
the noble Trojan blood ; to that office it
blended
elected by God.
was
Wherefore, since,to obtain it,
could it be approached,
not without very great power
exalted and most
humane
and to employ it a most
this was
the peoplewhich was
benignitywas required,
most
fitly
preparedfor it. Hence not by Force was
it assumed
in the first place by the Roman
People
but by Divine Ordinance, which is above all Reason.
And
Virgil is in harmony with this in the first
he says, speaking in the
book of the yEneid, when
On these [thatis,on the Romans] I
person of God :
to their
nor
impose no limits to their possessions,

Latin

"

BANQUET

THE

176

duration ; to them

the

the efficient cause


even

cause,

And

the
and

wras

instrumental

an

cause

is the

thus, not

Cause, has

the

are

been

of

moving

force,but
the

originof

Empire.
that this is

evident

most

; and

Divine

the Roman

there

the soul of the workman

knife,and

and

given boundless Empire."


moving cause, as he believed

the blows of the hammer

as

even

ALIGHIERI.

I have

Force,then,was not the


who
was
cavilling
; but
cause

DANTE

OF

reasons,

Empress, and

to

have from God

it is

so

which
have

by two
that City to be
an
birth,
especial

possibleto
prove

from

God

see

But since
success.
especial
in this chapterwithout too great lengthit would not
and long chapters
be possible
to discuss this subject,
the enemies
of Memory, I will again make
are
a
digressionin another chapterin order to prove the
here alluded to, which are not without utility,
reasons
and may give great pleasure.
to

an

CHAPTER
IT is
which
human

no

for wonder

cause

if the

beyond measure
often appears to
foresight,

Divine

Providence,
all angelicand
to proceed mysteriously,

surpasses
since

many
their motives from men.
wonder

V.

when

the

times
But

execution

us

human

actions

there is great
of the Eternal

conceal
cause

for

Counsel

discern it.
can
proceedsso evidentlythat our reason
therefore in the beginningof this chapterI can
And
speakwith the mouth of Solomon, who, in the person
of Wisdom, says in his Proverbs :
Hear, for I will
speak of excellent things!"
Divine Goodness
The
unmeasureable, desiringto
conform
again to Itself the Human
Creature,which,
"

THE

FOURTH

TREATISE.

177

of the firstMan,
throughthe sin of the prevarication
was
thereby,it
separatedfrom God and deformed
was

decided, in that

most

Divine

Consistoryof

the

should

descend

the

only Heaven,
; and

when
one

it is

but

Earth

Earth,

the best,

and

that
Trinity,

since at His

And

union.

to

exalted

the Son

united
of God

accomplish this
into the world,not

to

advent
must

most

be

in

of
disposition

the

position
best dis-

the

Earth

is

that is to say, all subjectto


been said above, by Divine Providence

Monarchy,

Prince,as

has

people-and what city


the Roman
should fulfil this,and that people was
And
nation, and that city was
gloriousRome.
since the Inn also wherein the Heavenly King must
of necessitybe most
must
enter
cleanlyand most
ordained
most
a
Holy Race, from
pure, there was
which, after many excellent or just ancestors, there
Woman
should
be born
more
a
perfectthan all
others,who should be the abode of the Son of God.
the Race
of David, from which
And
this race
was
of the Human
born the gloryand honour
was
Race,
therefore it is written in
that is to say, Mary. And
Isaiah :
A virginshall be born of the stem of Jesse,
it

was

ordained

what

"

and

of his roots."
shall grow
And
out
And
it
the father of the aforesaid David.

branch

Jessewas
happened at one periodof time that when David was
then
was
born, Rome
born, that is to say, yEneas
the originof the
which was
from Troy to Italy,
came
the written word
most
noble Roman
as
City,even
bears witness.
Evident
enough, therefore,is the
Divine election of the Roman
Empire by the birth
of the Holy City,which
with
was
contemporaneous
the root of the race
from which Mary sprang.^
it is to be mentioned
And
that, since
incidentally
in a
this Heaven
was
began to revolve,it never

78

had

made

again by

virtue

who

high,He
as

was

when

ever

nor

it

was

alone,Prince
even

Luke

as

therefore

able

be

may

will be

DANTE

when

than
disposition

better

even

OF

BANQUET

THE

ALIGHIERL

He

descended
who

it and

is its

on

Ruler,

of their arts the Mathematicians


discover.

to

from

The

World

never

perfectly
prepared as then,
man
governed by the voice of one
and Commander
of the Roman
people,
the Evangelistbears witness.
And

there

was

so

Universal

Peace, which

never

will be, for the Ship of the


ever
again nor
Human
Family rightlyby a sweet pathway was
haven.
Oh, ineffable and
hasteningto its rightful
of God, which in Heaven
Wisdom
incomprehensible
above
didst prepare, so
long beforehand,for Thy
advent
into Syria and here in Italyat the same
time !
And
oh, most foolish and vile beasts who
to
pasture in the guise of men
you who
presume
speak againstour Faith,and professto know, as ye
spin and dig,what God has ordained with so much
be on
and your
forethought curses
you
tion,
presumpwas

"

"

and

him

on

who

believes in you

And, as has been said above, at the end of the


the Roman
precedingchapter,
People had from God
not only an
success
birth,but an especial
especial
;
the first father
from Romulus, who
was
for,briefly,
of Rome, even
to its most
perfectera, that is,to
the time of its predicted
was
Emperor, its success
achieved not only by human, but by Divine means.
For
if we
consider
first
the Seven
Kings who
governed it Romulus, Numa, Tullus,Ancus Martius,
Servius Tullius,
it
and
who
the Tarquins,
as
were,
"

were,

the

shall be

nurses

able to

and

tutors

of its Childhood

"

we

find,by the written word of Roman


History,especiallyby Titus Livius, those to have
of different natures, according to the opporbeen

FOURTH

THE

tunityof

TREATISE.

of time.

advancing tract

the

179

If

we

sider,
con-

emancipated
then,its Adolescence,when it was
from the regaltutorship
by Brutus, the firstConsul,
its firstsupreme
Prince,we shall find
to Caesar,
even
it exalted,
not with human, but with Divine citizens,
into whom, not human, but Divine love was
inspired

loving Rome ; and this neither could be nor


end intended by
ought to be, except for an especial
God throughsuch infusion of a. heavenlyspirit.And
Divine inspiration
who
will say that there was
no
almost
infinite
he rejectedan
in Fabricius when
to abandon
of gold because he was
amount
unwilling
in

his

the Samnites
Curius, whom
said, when
refusinga
corrupt, who

country ?

in

or

attempted to
very largequantityof gold for
that

the

gold,but
there
his

was

Who
the possessors of the gold ?
in Mutius
Divine inspiration
no

wherewith
will
son

Who
Who

have

because

he had

say of
to death

could

of his country,
desire to possess

citizens did not

Roman

hand

own

love

from

endured

burning

failed in the

it had

thought to
Torquatus, who

will say

deliver Rome

sentenced

his

blow
Who
own

love to the Public Good, that he


this without

will say this of the Brutus


will say it of the Decii and

Divine

Helper ?

before mentioned

of the Drusi, who

Who
will
their lives for their country ?
say of the captiveRegulus of Carthage,sent to Rome
to exchange the Carthaginianprisonersfor Roman
laid down

prisonersof war, who, after having explained the


objectof his embassy, gave counsel againsthimself,
moved
to
through pure love to Rome, that he was
do
alone ?
this by the impulse of Human
Nature
Who
will say it of Ouinctius Cincinnatus,who, taken
from the plough and made
after the time of
dictator,
office had expired,
refusingits continuspontaneously

THE

iSo

followed

ance,

OF

BANQUET
his

ALIGHIERL

Who

plough again?

Camillas,banished

chased

and

to deliver Rome

come

DANTE

will say of

into exile,who,

her enemies, and

from

having
having

returned
accomplishedher liberation,
spontaneously
into exile in order not to offend againstthe authority
of the Senate, that he was
without Divine inspiration

O,

Cato, who

shall

speak of thee ? Truly, to speak freely


is not possible
better to be silent
; it were
follow Jerome, when, in the Preface of the

of thee
to

Bible where
better

to

be

must

of

heart

to

presume

and

sacred

most

and

he
be

alludes to Paul, he says that it were


silent than
say little. Certainlyit

evident, remembering the


of the

these

that such
citizens,
wonders
could not have been without some
lightof
the Divine Goodness, added
to their own
goodness
men

And

of nature.
excellent

other

lives of

men

Providence

Divine

be

it must

in the

worked

hand

with

the

all

His

the voice

known

hands
so

own

Rome

hands

when

many

did

the

land, if

the

not

undertaken

did

the

chief

God

interfere

having taken
Capitolby night,

caused
this to be
goose
interfere with His own
God

not

three

Hannibal, having lost


bushels

Scipio the
expeditioninto
And

of

wished

Romans

blessed

fought

that

of freedom

put His

the Franks,

with

his

God

held in his hands


not

stealth the

of

Africa,the

God

the Albans

alone

war

in the

citizens

carried into

recovery

alone

And

when,

did not

And

by

of

arm

beginning for

Roman

one

Rome, attacked

and

And

the

in

Romans

of
liberty

with

the

times

Divine

of the Roman

buildingup

the battle wherein

to

dominion, when
the

with which

instruments

were

Empire, wherein
many
appeared to be present.
own

evident that these most

did

not

rings were
to

abandon

had
younger
Africa for the

God

interfere

with

His

own

TREATISE.

FOURTH

THE

when

hands

181

citizen of humble

new

station,Tullius,defended, against such a citizen as


?
fore
Yes, surely. WhereCatiline,the Roman
liberty

inquirefurther to see
in
birth and an especial
that an especial
success
were
decreed
of God
the Mind
to that holy City. And
of a firm opinion that the stones which
I am
certainly
in her walls are
remain
worthy of reverence
; and it
is asserted and proved that the ground whereon
she
stands is worthy beyond all other that is occupied
by man.
one

should

not

need

to

CHAPTER

VI.

a
ABOVE, in the third chapter of this treatise,
of
promise was made to discourse of the supremacy
the
Imperial Authority and of the Philosophic
since the ImperialAuthorityhas
Authority. And
been
now
discussed,my
digressionmust
proceed
further in order to consider that of the Philosopher,
accordingto the promise made.
is the meaning
And here we
first see what
must
of this word ; since here there is a greater necessity

to

understand

it than

there

was

above

in the argument

ImperialAuthority,which, on account
It is
of its Majesty,does not seem
to be doubted.
then to be known
that Authority is no other than
on

the

the act of the Author.

word, that is to say, Auctore, without this


One
third letter,
be derived from two
roots.
c, can
is from
is much
in grammar
a
use
verb, whose
to tie words
or
to bind
abandoned, which signifies
that is,A U I E O ; and whoso looks well at it
together,
This

in its firstvowel

or

that
will clearly
perceive
syllable

THE

182

BANQUET

it demonstrates
a

tie of

in

DANTE

ALTGHIERL

it itself,
for it is constituted

words,that is,of

the soul and


them

OF

bond

five vowels

of every

word,

solelyof

alone,which

are

and

composed of
image of a ligature

the
twisted way, to figure
; for beginningwith the A, then it twists round
into the U, and comes
straight
through the I into
a

the E, then

it revolves and

round

turns

into the O

that

trulythis figurerepresents A, E, I, O, U,
which is the figureor form of a tie ; and how much
Autore (Author)derives its originfrom this word,
learns from the poets alone,who
have bound
one
their words togetherwith the art of harmony ; but
this signification
do not at present dwell.
on
we
so

The

other

root

from

which

the

"Autore"

word

(Author) is derived, as Uguccione testifies in the


beginning of his Derivations,is a Greek word,
in Latin
means
Autentim," which
worthy of
faith and obedience."
And thus
Autore"
(Author),
derived from this,is taken for any person
worthy
this
to be believed and
obeyed ; and thence comes
word, of which one treats at the present moment,
that is to say, Authority. Wherefore
can
see
one
that Authority is equivalentto an
act
worthy of
"

"

"

faith and

obedience.

[Here is a

small break

in the

containing
original,
such words as
some
Worthy, nay, most worthy,of
obedience and of faith is Aristotle :]hence it is evident
that his words are a supreme
and chief Authority.
That Aristotle is most
ence,
worthy of faith and obediand
thus prove.
one
can
Amongst workmen
"

Manufactures, which
final work of Art, or to one

artificers of different Arts


are

all directed

to

one

and

building,the Artificer or Designer of that work


must
be
completely believed in, and implicitly
alone beholds the
who
obeyed by all,as the man

THE

ultimate

end

FOURTH

of all the

sword-cutler

must

bridle-maker

and

and

is

man

master

to

Human

how

Hence

since all human

is that of human

artificer who

considers

and

in

man,

the

that

aim

and

be

believed

far

so

And

obedience.

is the

it aims

as

since those who

desire this end

and

their desires

as

are

althoughthey exist
each
rightly
There

were

itwere

in

us

difficult to
human

at

firstand
believed

this end

that

its final
aim
most

Men

numerous,

was

end

whereon

desire

ancient

of human

of

different,
singularly
it was
theless
neveruniversally,

appetiteor

many
the chief of whom

so

is

all

discern

then

are

he

leader

it is requisite
that this our
to know
operation,
each one
of life,which
naturallydesires,in
searched for by the Wise
ancient
times was
and

in

in order

and

master

which

is

is Aristotle ; wherefore

Aristotle

Reason

very

the

actions

to
life,

he

as

to
ought especially

obeyed ; and he
worthy of faith
see

are

appointed inasmuch

demonstrates, it

ends.

knight,so must the


and the shield-maker,
appointedto the profession

saddle-maker

aim, which

and

183

believe in the

knighthood. And

requirean

most

other

all those trades which


of

and

TREATISE.

might repose.
the
philosophers,

Zeno, who

life to be

saw

and

solelya rigid
regardto any

honesty,that is to say, rigidwithout


in following
Truth and Justice,
one
to show no sorrow,
of any
to show
no
joy,to have no sense
passion
whatever.
And
they defined thus this honest uprightness
that which, without bearing fruit,
is to
as
be praisedfor reason
of itself. And
these men
and
their sect were
called Stoics ; and that glorious
Cato
of them, of whom
in the previous
was
one
chapter I
had not courage
enough to speak.
Other
and
who
saw
philosophersthere were
believed

otherwise

; and

of these the first and

chief

84

was

who
philosopher,

seeingthat
were

each

directed

Nature

by

named

was

animal

AL1GHIER1.

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

Epicurus,who,
it is born

as

soon

as

to

its rightend, which

is

it

as

shuns

said that this end or aim


pleasure,
of ours
was
enjoyment. I do not say greedy enjoyment,
voluntade,but I write it with a /, voluptate,
that
is,delight or pleasurefree from pain ; and
therefore between
was
pleasureand pain no mean
placed. He said that pleasurewas no. other than no
to say in the first chapter
pain ; as Tullius seems
of these, who from Epicurus are
And
Finibus.
De
named
Torquatus,a noble Roman,
Epicureans,was
descended
from the blood of the glorious
Torquatus

pain and

seeks for

I made

of whom

mention

above.

There

were

others,

Socrates,and then from


his successor, Plato,who, lookingmore
and seeing
subtly,
that in our actions it was
to sin,and that
possible
and

one

they had

sinned

said that
little,

our

defect,measured to
choice,is virtue,and virtue

own

our

in too

without

and

excess

of

mean

and

much

in too

action,without
the due

their rise from

they called it action with


called Academicians, as was
And these were
virtue.
his nephew ; they were
thus
Plato and Speusippus,
called from the placewhere Plato taught,that is,the
Academy ; neither from Socrates did they take or
assume
any word, because in his Philosophynothing
who had his surname
affirmed.
was
Truly Aristotle,
and Xenocrates
of Chalcedon, his comfrom Stagira,
panion,
through the genius,almost Divine, which
had put into Aristotle,knowing this end by
Nature
is the

aim

of

of the

means

man

; and

Socratic

method, with

Moral
reduced
it were,
Aristotle.
and especially

as
file,

began to
were

reason

Academic

Philosophyto perfection,
And

since

Aristotle

they
walking hither and thither,
say, and his companions,Peripa-

while

called,he, I

the

which
tetics,

means

of
perfection

since the

attained,the
and

all those

are

called

doctrine
t.s

"tc-i
as

it were.
was

to this

the

as

same

this

who

Moralityby

attached

And

walkers about.
Aristotle

thei"*clves

was

extinct,

became

of Academician

name

185

TREATISE.

FOURTH

THE

this sect

to

these

people hold the


of the World
through all
of th^ s^ernment
it may
be termed
catholic opinion,
a
: and
Wherefore
it is possible
totle
to see that Aristhe Indicator and the Leader
of the people
~'a
Peripatetics

And

mark.

this is what

I wished

to

prove.

all together,
the principal
Wherefore, collecting
intention is manifest,that is to say, that the authority
of

whom

him

we

understand

Philosopheris full of

to

be

the

vigour,and

supreme
in no

complete
repugnant to Imperial Authority. But the
way
Imperialwithout the Philosopheris dangerous; and
this without that is weak, not of itself,
but through
is united
the disorder of the people: but when
one
with the other they are
togethermost useful and
full of all vigour; and therefore it is written in that
the Light of Wisdom,
Book
Love
of Wisdom
:
who
before the people,"that is to say,
all you
are
unite PhilosophicAuthority with the Imperial,in
order to rule well and perfectly.O, you miserable
rule at the present time ! and O, most
ones, who
"

who
ruled !
are
you
Authority is united with your

miserable

ones,

For

no

sophic
Philo-

governments,

through suitable study nor by counsel ; so


that to all it is possibleto repeat those words
from
Woe
Ecclesiastes :
to thee,O land, when
thy King
is a child,and
thy Princes eat in the morning ;
and
land
is it possibleto say that which
to
no
follows :
Blessed art thou, O land, when
thy King
is the son
of nobles, and
thy Princes eat in due
and not for drunkenness/'
for strength
season,
neither

"

"

"

i86

THE

Ye

BANQUET

enemies

of

OF

God,

DANTE

look

ALIGHIERI.

flanks,ye who
have seized the sceptres of the kingdoms of
Italy.
And
I say to
you, Charles,and to you, Frederick,
Kings,and to yo", ye other Princes and Tyrants,see
who sits by the side of y^
in council,and count how
times a day this aim 01 i"man
many
life is indicated
to you
by your councillors. Bettei ~^\" ft
be for you, like swallows,to flylow down
than, like
make
loftycircles over carrion.
*tESE
"'r"t 4*.,
to

your

%4

*"/f
CHAPTER
SINCE

it is

how

seen

VII.

much

the

ImperialAuthority

Philosophicare to be revered,which .must


for us to
support the opinions propounded,it is now
into the straight
return
path to the intended goal.
I say, then, that this last opinionof the Common
Peoplehas continued so long that without other cause,
is termed
without inquiryinto any reason, every man
Noble who may be the son
or
nephew of any brave
although he himself is nothing. And this is
man,
what the Song says :
and

the

And

long among

so

us

This falsehood has had


That

call him

men

sway,

Nobleman,

Though worthless,who
I

nephew
Of

Wherefore

it

is

one

am, or son,
worth such

to

be

dangerous negligence to
take

root

uncultivated

for

even

and
field,

as

can

say,

sum.

observed

that

allow

opinion to
multiply in the

weeds

surmount

it is most

this evil

and

cover

the

ear

THE

of the

corn,

FOURTH

TREATISE.

187

that,looking at it from

so

the wheat

appears

wherefore

it

distance,

the corn
is lost ;
finally
the evil opinionin the mind, neither chastised nor
so
increases and multiplies,
that the ear of
so
corrected,
Reason, that is,the true opinion,is concealed and
buried as it were, and so it is lost. O, how
great
is my
undertakingin this Song, for I wish now to
weed the field so full of wild and woody plantsas is
this field of the common
opinionso long bereft of
! CertainlyI do not intend to cleanse all,
tillage
but only those parts where
the ears
of Reason
are
not
overcome
entirely
; that is,I intend to lift up
little lightof Reason
some
again those in whom
stilllives through the goodnessof their nature ; the
others need only as much
the brute beasts :
as
care
less miracle

seems

to

not, and

to

me

lead back

it is

that it would
to

Reason

him

not

be

in whom

extinct than to bringback to Life him


entirely
who has been four days in the grave.
Then
the evil quality
of this popular opinionis
if it were
narrated suddenly,
as
a horrible thing; it
strikes at that,springing
forth from the order of the
the Truth
sees
confutation,saying, But he who
will know
vile he has become," in order to
How
make
its intolerable wickedness,
people understand
for not only is
lie especially,
saying,that those men
the man
scended
vile,that is,not Noble, who, althoughdefrom
good people,is himself wicked, but
also he is most
I quote the example of
vile ; and
the rightpath being indicated,
where, to prove this,
it is fit for me
and to reply
to propound a question,
to that questionin this way.
There
is a plain with certain paths,a field with
hedges,with ditches,with rocks, with tanglewood,
with all kinds of obstacles ; with the exceptionof
"

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

188

ALIGHIERL

paths. And it has snowed so much


straight
and presents one
that the snow
covers
everything,
smooth
on
every side,so that no trace of
appearance
Here
from
comes
a
man
any path is to be seen.
its two

part of the country, and

one

house

which

is

behind

him.

Another

wishes

to

to

he wishes

other

to

go

to

side ; and

by his
industry,that is, through prudent foresightand
through the goodness of genius, guided solelyby
himself,he goes through the rightpath whither he
meant
to go, leaving the printsof his footsteps

needful

go

to

the

on

after this man,


and he
that mansion, and to him it is only

follow

the

comes

there ;
strays from

footprintsleft

but

the
fault this man
through his own
without a guide has known
path,which the firstman
how to keep ; this man,
though it is pointedout to
him, loses his way through the brambles and the
rocks, and he goes not to the place whither he is
bound.

ought to be termed excellent,


who
first.
went
brave, or worthy ? I reply: He
How
? I reply:
would you designatethat other man
As most
vile." Why is he not called unworthy or
cowardly, that is to say, vile ? I reply: Because
unworthy, that is, vile,he should be called who,
forward
having no guide,might have failed to walk straighthad a guide,his error
; but since this man
rise higher; and therefore he is to
and his fault can
Which

of these

men

"

be

called,not vile,but most vile. And likewise he


is
elder of his race
who, by his father or by some

ennobled,and does not continue in a noble course,


but he is most
not only is he vile,
vile,and deserving
of as much
contempt and infamy as any other villain,
if not
himself

of

more.

from

And

because

man

may

this vile baseness, Solomon

preserve
lavs this

command

him

on

TREATISE.

FOURTH

THE

who

has had

189

brave and excellent

chapterof
twenty-second

ancestor, in the

Proverbs

landmark,which thy fathers


have
set." And
previouslyhe says, in the fourth
chapterof the said book : The path of the Just,"
is as the shininglight,
that is,of the worthy men,
the perfectday ;
that shineth more
and more
unto
the way of the wicked is as darkness,and they know
not at what
they stumble."
And
when
it says,
though he walks upon
Finally,
the earth Is counted with the dead," to his greater
is dead,
disgraceI say that this most worthless man
it is to be known
that
seeming still alive. Where
the wicked man
may be trulysaid to be dead, and
he who goes astray from the path trodden
especially
And
this it is possibleto
by his good ancestor.
"

Remove

the ancient

not

"

"

"

thus

prove

On

the

book
says in the second
live is to be with the living
; and

Aristotle

as

Soul,to

many ways of living as in the plants


to vegetate and
to feel
to vegetate; in the animals
and to move
to move,
to vegetate, to feel,
; in men
since there

and

to

are

"

reason,

thingsought to

rather

or

understand

to

be denominated

it is evident that in animals

; and

since

the noblest part,


in the
to live is to feel

by

"

brute animals,I say ; in man, to live is to use reason.


Wherefore,if to live is the life or existence of man,
and if thus to depart from the use
of Reason, which
is his

is
life,

thus is that
And

does

to
man

depart

from

life

or

existence,even

dead.

he not

departfrom the use of Reason


who does not reason
think concerningthe aim of
or
And
his life?
does he not departfrom the use of
Reason who does not reason
think concerningthe
or
he does so
path which he ought to take ? Certainly
depart; and this is evident especiallyin him who

has the

OF

BANQUET

THE

i 90

DANTE

ALIGH1ERI.

before him, and


footprints

looks not at them

therefore Solomon

says in the fifth chapterof


He
shall die without
Proverbs :
instruction ; and
in the greatness of his folly
he shall go astray,"
that
and

"

is to

who

does

who

is dead

becomes

follow his master

not

and
disciple,

; and

such

an

is

one

vile.

most

And
say

he

say,

of him
How

that

as

second
stand

is he
man

remained

it would

be

possiblefor

and

dead

yet he walks ?

is dead, but

he

some

as

beast

to

one

reply,

he

has

alive ; for as the Philosophersays in the


book
On
of the Soul
the Soul, the powers

the figureof the quadrangle


as
itself,
stands upon
the triangle,
and the pentagon stands
upon the quadrangle; so the sensitive stands upon
the vegetative,
and the intellectual stands upon the
sensitive. Wherefore, as, by removing the last side
of the pentagon, the quadrangle remains, so
by
removing the last power of the Soul,that is,Reason,
the man
no
longer remains, but a thing with a
sensitive soul only,that is,the brute animal.
And
this is the meaning or intention of the second
part of the devised Song, in which are placed the
opinionsof others.
upon

CHAPTER
THE

most

the root
says
to

the

which

is Discretion.

of Reason

thereuponin

know

branch

beautiful

VIII.

For

grows
as

up

from

St. Thomas

prologueto the book of Ethics,


of one
thing to another is the

the

order

One
; and this is Discretion.
proper act of Reason
fruits of this
of the most
beautiful and sweetest

is the

branch

TREATISE.

FOURTH

THE

reverence

which

the

191

lesser

Tullius,in the
the greater. Wherefore
when
of the Offices,
speaking of the

owes

to

first chapter

beauty which

is
Uprightness,
says that reverence
is
part of that beauty; and thus as this reverence
its oppositeis baseness
so
the beautyof Uprightness,
it
of uprightness
and want
; which opposite quality
is possible
or rather as
to term
irreverence,
impudent
boldness,in our Vulgar Tongue.
And therefore this Tullius in the same
placesays :

.shines forth in

"

treat with

To

contemptuous

indifference that which

only is the act of an


dissolute person,"
which means

others think of one, not


but also of
other

except that arrogance

and

gant,
arrono

dissolute conduct

which is the beginning


self-knowledge,
Wherefore
of the capacity for all reverence.
I,
both
all reverence
(and bearingmeanwhile
desiring
the
to remove
to the Prince and to the Philosopher)
of some
in order
from the minds
men,
infirmity
afterwards to build up thereuponthe lightof truth,
before I proceedto confute the opinionspropounded,
will show
how, whilst confutingthose opinions,I
argue with irreverence neither againstthe Imperial
Majesty nor againstthe Philosopher.For if in any
part of this entire book I should appear irreverent,
it would not be so bad as in this treatise ; in which,
I ought to appear Noble,
whilst treatingof Nobility,
show

and

want

not

of

vile.

that I do not presume


I will prove
firstly
of the Philosopher
againstthe authority
; then I will
that I do not
against Imperial
prove
presume
Majesty.
I say, then, that when
the Philosophersays,
that which
is impossible
to be
to the most
appears
to
entirelyfalse/'I do not mean
speak of the
And

"

THE

I92

external
which

BANQUET

OF

appearance,

that

DANTE

ALIGHIERI.

is,the sensual,but

of that

within, the rational ; since the


sensual appearance,
according to most
people,is
times
in the common
most
false,especially
many
thingsappreciable
by the senses, wherein the sense
appears

is often

deceived.

people the

Sun

diameter

and

the

to

body

of the

of the

Earth

the

the

with

made

Earth

we

know

that

to

most

of the width of a foot in


appears
this is most
false,for, according

inquiry and
has

reason

the

Thus

Sun

and

discoverywhich human
its skill,the diameter
of

is five times

also

one-half

its diameter

in

much

as

time

is six

more,

thousand

as

that
since
five

miles,the diameter of the Sun, which to


of sight presents the appearance
the sense
of the
of one
width
thousand
seven
foot,is thirty-five
hundred
and
it is evident
fiftymiles. Wherefore
that Aristotle did not understand
or
judge it by the
which it presents to the sense
of sight.
appearance
if I intend only to oppose false trust
And
therefore,
in appearance
according to the senses, that is not
done againstthe intention of the Philosopher,
and
therefore I do not offend againstthe reverence
which
hundred

is due

And

to him.

that

intend

to

confute

the

appearance
is manifest ; for those people
accordingto the sense
who
judge thus, judge only by what they feel or

thingswhich fortune can give and


take away.
For, because they see great alliances
and
made
high marriages to take place,and the
the largepossessions,
wonderful palaces,
ships,
great lordthey believe that all those things are the
be
of Nobility nay, they believe them
to
causes
Nobilityitself. For if they could judge with any
of reason, they would say the contrary,
appearance
think

of those

"

FOURTH

THE

TREATISE.

is,that Nobilityis the cause


in the sequel of
be seen

that
will

it may

be

seen

when

he

that

of these

as
things,

this treatise.

And

speak not against


due to the Philosopherwhilst conreverence
futing
this error, so I speak not againstthe reverence
I intend
due to the Empire ; and the reason
as

even

the

But

to show.

argues before the


ought to use much caution

reasons

the Rhetorician
adversary,
in his speech,in order that
derive

thence

Truth.

I, who

of

193

so

many
if my

material

or

the

adversarymay

wherewith

to

not

the

disturb

speak in this treatise in the presence


fore,
cannot
adversaries,
spe.akbriefly
; whereshould be long,let no one
digressions

marvel.
I say, then,that,in order to prove that I am
not
irreverent to the Majesty of the Empire, it is requisite,
in the first place,
to
say that

due

is

reverence

submission

by

see

what

other than

no

is.

reverence
a

confession

of

evident

sign; and, having


between
them.
seen
this,it remains to distinguish
Irreverent expresses privation,
not reverent
expresses
irreverence is to disavow
negation; and, therefore,
the due submission
by a manifest sign. The want
of
A

is to

reverence
man

can

In

deny

an

refuse
or

submission

refuse

as

one

confession,and
another

this

the

due

In
properlyis to disavow.
can
deny offendingagainst

way, the man


the Truth
when
he does
this is proper
to deny that he is

not, and

due.

thing in a double
can
deny offending

way, the man


againstthe Truth when he abstains from
sense.

not

not

confess

that which

is

for the
as
negation; even
man
mortal is to deny
entirely
properlyspeaking. Wherefore, if I deny or refuse
due to the ImperialAuthority,
reverence
I am
not
but I am
not
irreverent,
is not
reverent ; which

THE

I94

OF

BANQUET

against

forasmuch

reverence,

Imperial Authority
offend

Life, but

Life, offends
not

And

stones.

be

cannot
stones

be

Death, which

is

Death

the

dead, but

in this

Imperial Authority,
refuse

it,but

boldness,

could

be

greater
the

be

not

more

of

Nature

of

two,

and

this

Truth's."
that

be

that
case,

seen

is to
I

am

Majesty.
intend

or

to

this

say,

it

the

prove

this

I,
the
or

neither

blamed.
if it

reverent,
fall

that

to

Master

If

into

by

not

and

not

seen

to

long argument

in the

chapter

next

the

of

are

the

is

reverent,

manifest

not

be

sophers,
of Philo-

mind

am

in

seen

friends

the

one

deny

be

beginning

submission

is to

be

be

to

will

as

that

or

remains

It must

not

deny

is

it would

rightfully subject

not

the

to

if I

be

"

said

how

the

manner,

which

to

Truth,

says

reverence,

refuse

and

is in

reverence

Truth, their

have

deny

to

deny

to
to

is,

If

like

thing

error

he

is the

one

that

subject,and

In

since

of

and

Ethics, when

live

irreverent

Aristotle, guards, in
book

of

verence
irreverence, that is, into irre-

true

Against

sequel.

not

privation,which

reverent,

reverence,

does

thing

one

to

have

to

nor

that

Life, they should

presumption

called

and

of

not

presumption,

nor

it would

But

not

am

am

not

living.

not

ought

case

is

of the

subject

not

privation

expresses

in decease

live

to

die

to

thing, for

since

not

called

who

not

except

are

it offends

as

wherefore,

ALIGHIERL

as

even

live is another

to

DANTE

sign

due.

It

to

disavow,

how,
the

in

is

this

Imperial

wherewith

following.

THE

FOURTH

TREATISE.

CHAPTER

195

IX.

is,in approvingor in
the Emperor, I am
not
to him, it is necessary to
not held in subjection
that which has been argued prerecall to mind
viously
in the fourth
concerningthe ImperialOffice,
namely,that to promote the
chapterof this treatise,
of human
Life,ImperialAuthoritywas
perfection
designed; and that it is the director and ruler of all
and justlyso, for however
far our
our
operations,
far the Imperial
extend themselves,so
operations
and beyond those limits it
Majestyhas jurisdiction,
To

in this case, that


approvingthe opinionof

see

how

does not reach.

But

is restricted
certain

by

God

so
limits,

as

by
this

each Art

in all her

kind
man-

Imperial Office within


Imperial Office is confined

the

within certain bounds.

wondered

and Office of

at,for the Office and


we
operations

see

to

And

it is not

to be

the Arts of Nature


be limited.

wish to take Universal

For

if

Nature,it has jurisdiction


far as the whole World, I say as far as Heaven
as
and Earth extend ; and this within a certain limit,
third chapterof the book on
as is proved by the
and by the firstchapter,
of Heaven
and the
Physics,
Then
the jurisdiction
of Univeral Nature
World.
is limited within a certain boundary,and consequently
the individual;
of which
also He
is the
Limiter who is limited by nothing,
that is,the First
Goodness,that is,God, who alone with infinite capacity
the
Infinite.
that
we
comprehends
And,
may
the limits of our
see
it is to be known
operations,
that those alone are our
ject
operationswhich are suband to Will ; for,if in us there is the
to Reason
that is not human, but natural.
digestive
operation,
we

196

THE

And

BANQUET

it is to be

OF

DANTE

that

known

ALIGHIERL

is ordained

Reason

our

four

to be considered ; for
operations,
separately
those are operations
which Reason onlyconsiders and
does not produce,neither can
produce,any one of
them, such as are the Natural facts and the Supernatural

to

and
which
act which

the Mathematics.
it considers

and

And
does

those
in its

are

tions
opera-

own

proper
the arts of

such as are
rational,
which it considers
speech. And those are operations
and does in material beyond itself,
such as are the
Mechanical
Arts.
And
all these operations,
although
the considering
them
is subjectto our will,
they in
their essential form are not subject
will ; for
to our
although we might will that heavy thingsshould
mount
they would not be able
upwards naturally,
ascend ; and
to
although we might will that the
syllogismwith false premissesshould conclude with
of the Truth,itcould not so conclude ;
demonstration
and althoughwe
might will that the house should
stand as firmly
when leaningforward as when upright,
it could not be ; since of those operations
are
we
their discoverers ;
not
are
we
properlythe factors,
Another
ordained them
and made
them, the great
God.
Maker, who alone can Will and Do All
which our Reason
There
also are operations
siders
conand which lie in the act of the Will,such as
to offend and
to rejoice
; such as to stand firm in
the battle and to flyfrom it ; such as to be chaste
and to be lewd ; these are
subjectto our
entirely
will,and therefore we are called from them good
and evil,because such acts are
own
our
entirely
;
are

called

"

for

so

far

as

will

our

can

obtain power, so far do our


since in all these voluntary

And
extend.
operations
there is some
equityto preserve and some
operations
which equitymay be lost through
to shun
iniquity
"

FOURTH

THE

TREATISE.

197

throughnot knowing what it is,


or
through not wishing to follow it the written
invented,both to point it out
Reason, the Law, was
two

causes,

either

"

to

us

and

to

command

its observance.

Wherefore

could know
this,that is,
Augustine says : If men
Equity,and knowing it would obey it,the written
fore
Reason, the Law, would not be needful/' And thereit is written in the beginningof the old Digests
"

or

Books

of the

Civil Law

and

"

The

written

Reason

of

Equity." To write
is the business
to show forth and to enforce this,
this,
of that Official Post of which one
speaks,that of the
Emperor, to whom, as has been said,in so far as
and no
own
our
operationsextend,we are subject,

is the Art

farther.

of Goodness

For

this

reason

trade

the artificersand

to be

subjectto

in each

Art

the scholars

the chief and

are

and
and

to the master

in each

ought
of their

the subjection
beyond their callings
the superiority
So that it is
ceases.
ceases, because
if
to speakof the Emperor in this manner,
possible
will representhis office figuratively,
and say that
we
"he may be the rider of the Human
Will, of which
horse how it goes without its rider throughthe field
in miserable Italy,
is evident enough,and especially
for its right government.
left without
means
any
And
it is to be considered that in proportion
as
a
fit for the Master's art, so much
the
thing is more
plied,
; for the cause
being multigreateris the subjection
is the effect multiplied.Wherefore it is to
so
that there are thingswhich are such
be known
pure
Arts
that
Nature
is
their
or
instrument ;
simple
as rowing with an
even
its
oar, where the Art makes
which
instrument
is a natural moveby impulsion,
ment
of the corn, where the Art
; as in the threshing
makes
its instrument,
which is a natural quality.
trades and

Art

198

THE

And

in

this

thingsin
these
less
the
as

DANTE

a man
especially

chief and

the

OF

BANQUET

ALIGHIERL
to be

ought

of the Art.

master

And

subjectto
there

is the instrument of Nature, and


lesser Arts ; and in these the artificersare

which

are

Art

in givingthe
as
subjectto their chief,
Earth,where one must await the will of
of the harbour

to sail out

natural

the

await

are

therefore

of
disposition

often

we

port,where

or

to

Nature

must

one

the weather

in these

see

seed

; and

thingscontention

and the greaterto ask counsel


amongst the artificers,

Arts,but

not

them

; and

there

And

of the lesser.

appear

therefore

these the scholars

have

to

thingswhich are
with
relationship

some

often deceived ; and in


subjectto a master, neither

men

are

not

are

other

are

they bound to believe in him so far as regards


ship
relationthe Art.
to have some
Thus, to fish seems
the virtue of the
with navigation
; and to know
with
herb or grass seems
to have some
relationship
since
agriculture
; for these Arts have no generalrule,
and beneath
fishing
may be below the Art of hunting,
are

its command
be below
most

; to

know

the science of

the virtue of the herb

medicine,or

noble

Those

teaching.
thingswhich have

the other Arts

in like

been

of servants, of armies, of
dignity; and in all these we

be seen
in the
may
rules in those Arts which
are

of sufficient age to fillsome

subject
;

to

there

such
are

many

law

the laws of
in

successors

may
doubt

Emperor without
There are
whatever.
suspicion
the followers of Nature, such as
the

; and

argued concerning

manner

ImperialArt, for there are


are
pure or simpleArts,as

to

may
rather below its

be

marriage,
offices of

subject
entirely

and

without

any

other laws which


to

constitute

are
man

office in the administration


as

this

others which

we

are

appear

entirely
to

have

FOURTH

THE

TREATISE.

with
relationship

some

he

is deceived

and

was

the

199

ImperialArt

who

; and

here

believes that the

perial
Im-

as
judgment in this part may be authentic,
is laid down
nature
of youth,whose
by no Imperial
fore,
judgment,as itwere, of the Emperor. Render, there-

unto

God

that which

is God's.

Wherefore

it is

to be allowed,because it was
nor
believed,
said by Nero the Emperor that youth is beauty and
strengthof body; but credit would be givento the
philosopherwho should say that youth is the crown
to be

not

or

summit

of the

natural

evident that to define

life.

And

therefore it is

Nobilityis not

the function of

Imperial; and if it is not in the nature of the


Art, when we are treatingof Nobilitywe are not
we
are
not
subjectto it ; and if we are not subject,
bound
therein ; and this is the
to yield reverence
have sought.
conclusion we
with all freedom,
with all liberty
of
Now, therefore,
mind, it remains to strike to the heart the vicious
therebycausing them to fall to earth,in
opinions,
order that the Truth
of this my victory
by means
the Art

hold the field in the mind of him for whom


may
is good that this Light should shine clear.

CHAPTER
SINCE
have
been

the
now

shown

X.

opinions of others concerningNobility


been brought forward,and since it has
that it is lawful for

I shall
opinions,

man

.itto be.known

to confute

me

those

proceedto discourse concerning


Song which confutes those opinions,
now

that part of the


as has been
beginning,
define The

it

said above

"Whoever

shall

therefore it
livingtree." And
that in the opinionof the Emperor,
a

BANQUET

THE

200

OF

DANTE

ALIGHIERI.

in one
althoughit states it defectively
part, that is,
where he spoke of "generous ways,"he alluded to
of the Nobility
the manners
; and therefore the Song
does

intend

not

part, which

to

reprove

that part : the other

is

entirelyopposed to the nature of


it does intend to confute,which cites two
Nobility,
Descent
of wealth," "The
thingswhen it says:
that is,time and riches,
wealth has long been great,"
which are entirely
as has been
apart from Nobility,
said,and as will be shown farther on ; and,therefore,
"

in this confutation
firstwe

the

deny

idea that time

begins:

"

can

They

divisions

two

made

are

then
Nobilityof riches,
cause
Nobility. The

will not

have

in the

confute the
second

the vile Turn

part

noble."

that,riches beingreproved,not
only is the opinionof the Emperor reprovedin that
but also entirely
that
part which alludes to the riches,
people,which was founded
opinionof the common
solelyupon riches. The first part is divided into
that the
two : in the first it says in a generalway
in his definition of Nobility
Emperor was erroneous
;
why or how that is ;
secondly,it shows the reason
and this beginsthat second part, For riches make
It is to be

known

"

Nobleman."

no

"

then, Whoever shall define The man a living


he will speak untruth,inasmuch
tree,"that,firstly,
and
less than truth,"inasmuch
he says
as
tree,"
and does not say rational,
which
as he says
living,"
is distinguished
from
is the difference whereby Man
I say,

"

"

"

the

Beast.

erroneous

I say that in this way


in his definition,
he who
held
Then

saying Emperor, but


has been
as
Empire,"to indicate,
is beyond the bounds
this question
Office,not

Office.

In

like

manner

I say

"one

he

was

Imperial
raised

to

above, that
the Imperial

said
of

that

he

errs

who

THE

TREATISE.

FOURTH

201

that is,"descent
placesa false subjectunder Nobility,
of wealth,"and then proceedsto a defective form, or
that is, generous ways,"which do
rather difference,
but only a
not contain any essential part of Nobility,
"

And

small part,as will appear below.


omitted,althoughthe text may

be

it is not

to be

that
silent,

my

in this part did not err in the


of the
but only in the mode
parts of the definition,
definition,
although,
accordingto what fame reportsof
the

Lord

Emperor

and a great scholar ; that is /


logician
be made
to say, the definition of Nobility
more
can
or
sufficiently
by the effects than by the principles
since it appears to have the placeof a first
premisses,
which it is not possible
to notify
or
principle
premiss,
by first things,but by subsequentthings. Then,
when
I say,
For riches make
not worth," I show
how they cannot
possiblybe the cause of Nobility,
because they are vile. And
I prove that they have
because they are disjoined
not the power
to take it away,
much
from Nobility. And
I prove these
so
to be vile by an
especialand most evident defect ;

him, he

was

"

and

I do

this when

I say,

"

How

I conclude,by
Finally,
is said above
And
To

hence the
its own

riches

are

virtue of that which

uprightmind,

out

that which

disunited

the effect of union

true,

purpose

althoughthe flood of wealth

Sweep onward
proves

from

of view

is said

above, that those


Nobilityby not following

with it.

Where

that,as the Philosopherexpresses


which
the

make

plete."
incom-

Stands firm

which

vile and

anythingmust
being of the thingout

it is to be known

it,all the things


firstexist perfectly
within
of which that other thing

202

THE

is made.
of the

BANQUET
Wherefore

OF

DANTE

AL1GHIERI.

he says in the seventh chapter


"
When
one
thingis generated

Metaphysics:
from another,it is generatedof that thingby being
in that Being."
Again, it is to be known that each thingwhich
becomes
change
corrupt is thus corruptedby some
and each thing which is changed or
or
alteration,
altered must
be conjoinedwith the cause
of the
change,even as the Philosopher
expresses it in the
seventh chapterof the book on
Physicsand in the
first chapter on
Generation.
These thingsbeing
propounded,I proceedthus, and I say that riches,
another
as
man
believed,cannot
possiblybestow
and to prove how great is the difference
Nobility,
between
I say that they are unable to take
them
Nobility away from him who possesses it. To
bestow it they have not the power, since by nature
they are vile,and because of their vileness they are
here by vileness one
opposed to Nobility. And
which is directly
means
baseness,throughdegeneracy,
oppositething
oppositeto Nobility: for the one
be the maker
of the other, neither is it
cannot
to be, for the reason
given above,which is
possible
added to the text, saying, No paintergives
briefly
form That
is not of his knowing." Wherefore
a
no
painterwould be able to depictany figureor
form if he could not firstdesignwhat such figure
or
form ought to be.
Again, riches cannot take it away, because they
far from Nobility; and, for the reason
so
are
viously
prethat which
alters or corrupts anynarrated,
thing
be conjoined
with that thing,
fore
and theremust
it is subjoined
No
leans above
tower
a
:
That
which
far away
is flowing,"
stream
means
than to accord with that which has
nothing more
"

"

been
away,
tower

TREATISE.

FOURTH

THE

203

said,that riches cannot take Nobility


previously
sayingthat Nobilityis,as it were, an upright
riches a river flowing swiftlyin the
and

distance.

XL

CHAPTER

only to prove how vile riches are.


and how
disjoinedand far apart they are from
Nobility; and this is proved in two little parts of
the text, to which at present it is requisite
to pay
what
I
attention,and then,those being explained,
have said will be evident,namely,that riches are
vile and far apart from
Nobility,and hereby the
riches will be perfectly
stated above against
reasons
proved.
vile and incompleteWealth
I say then, How
is,"and to make evident what I intend to say it is
IT

remains

now

"

to

known

be

that the vileness

or

baseness

of each

of that thing,
thingis derived from the imperfection
and Nobilityfrom its perfection
in pro: wherefore
portion
it is noble in its nature ;
as a thingis perfect,
in proportionas it is imperfect,
it is vile. And
if riches are
it is evident that
therefore,
imperfect,
they are vile or base. And that they are imperfect,
the text
However
brieflyproves when it says :
be, It brings no peace, but
great the heap may
in which it is evident,
care
not only that they are
;
but most
and therefore they
imperfect,
imperfect,
"

"

vile ;

and

Lucan

bears

witness

this

are

most

when

he says, speakingof those same


out
riches : Withstrife or
the Laws
contention
or
opposition,

would

to
"

perish,and

you,

Riches,the

basest

part of

204

THE

BANQUET

OF

DANTE

ALIGHIERL

the cause
of Battles."
or
It is
are
things,
you move
in three
possiblebrieflyto see their imperfection
in the indiscriminate
things quite clearly:firstly,
in which they fallto a person'slot ; secondly,
manner
in their dangerous increase ; thirdly,
in their hurtful
possession.
that which I demonstrate concerning
And, firstly,
this is to clear up a doubt which
to arise,
seems
and lands,may
have in their
for,since gold,pearls,
essential being perfect
form and act, it does not seem
true to say that they are
imperfect. And therefore
that inasmuch as by themselves,
must
one
distinguish
of them it is considered,
and
they are perfectthings,
but gold and pearls; but inasmuch
they are not riches,
of man
as they are
appointedto the possession
perfection
and in this way they are full of imthey are riches,
is not an unbecoming or impossible
; which
from
different points of
thing, considered
view,to be perfectand imperfect. I say that their
cretion,
be observed in the indisimperfectionfirstly
may
in
of their arrival,
or
unwisdom, or folly,
which
distributive Justiceshines forth,
but complete
no
almost always; which iniquity
is the
iniquity
proper effect of imperfection.For if the methods
all may
or ways
are
considered,
by which they come
be gatheredtogetherin three methods, or kinds of
by simple chance, as
ways : for,either they come
when without intention or hope theycome
upon some
discoverynot thought of; or they come
by fortune
which
is aided by law or
right,as by will,or
testament, or succession ; or they come
by fortune,
the helper of the Law, as
ful
by lawful or unlawprovision
by art, or skill,
; lawful,I say, when
or
by trade,or deserved kindness ; unlawful,I say,
when either by theft or rapine. And
in each one of

FOURTH

THE

these three ways, one


of which I speak,for
to

the

good

sees
more

hidden

the

present themselves

TREATISE.

that

205

character
inequitable

often to the wicked


which

treasures
; and

this is

than
covered
dis-

are

evident,
placein the
so

proof. I saw the


side of a hill,
or
mountain, in Tuscany,which is called
Falterona,where the most vile peasant of all the
than a bushel
country, whilst digging,found more
which
awaited
had
of the finest Santelena
silver,
than
thousand
him
a
perhaps for more
years.
this iniquity,
Aristotle
And
order
in
to
see
the Man
is subject
said that in proportion as
much
the
less is he
the
the
to
so
Intellect,
that it has

no

need

than

I say that oftener to the


good befall legal inheritance

And

slave of Fortune.
wicked

of

the

to

concerningthis I
do not wish to bringforward any proof,
but let each
his own
immediate
turn his eyes round
one
bourhood,
neighthat concerningwhich
and he will see
I
silent that I may not offend or bringshame
to
am
Would
that might be which was
to God
some
one.
demanded
by the Man of Provence, namely, that
the man
who is not the heir of goodness should lose

and

property by

the

inheritance

times
rich

to

the

succession

of wealth.

wicked

more

; and

And

I say
than to the

for the unlawful


provision,
good,because they refuse it ;

never

and

that

good

comes

what

many
comes

to

the

good man
would endeavour
ever
to enrich himself by force or
fraud ?
That would
be impossible,
for by the mere
choice of the enterprise
he would no more
be good.
the lawful gains of wealth but rarely
And
fall to the
lot of the good, because,since much
anxiety or
anxious care is requiredtherein,
and the solicitude of
the good is directed to greaterthings,
the good man
is rarely
solicitous enough to seek them.
Wherefore

206

THE

BANQUET

it is evident

that

OF

in

DANTE

each

ALIGHIERI.

these

way

riches

fall

unjustlyor

therefore our
Lord
inequitably
; and
called them
wicked
He
when
or
said,
unrighteous
Make
of
to yourselvesfriends of the Mammon
and encouragingmen
to be
unrighteousness,"
inviting
liberal with good gifts,
which
the begettersof
are
friends. And
what a beautiful exchange he makes
who givesfreelyof these most
imperfectthingsin
order to have and to acquireperfectthings,
such as
the hearts of good and
are
worthy men ! This
tainly
exchange it is possibleto make every day. Cer"

this is

new

different from

commerce,

the

others,
which,thinkingto win one man by generosity,
has won
therebythousands and thousands. Who lives
because of his
not again in the heart of Alexander
royalbeneficence ? Who lives not again in the good
or
Saladin,or the good Marquis of
King of Castile,
Monferrat,or the good Count of Toulouse, or Beldal Bornio,or Galasso da Montefeltro,
when
tramo
is made
mention
of their noble acts of courtesy and
?
would
do
not only those who
liberality
Certainly
the same
had theythe power, but those even
willingly,
who would die before they would do it,bear love to
the memory
of these good men.

CHAPTER
As

has been

XII.

said,it is possibleto

of riches not

see

the

tion
imperfec-

onlyin their indiscriminate advent,


but also in their dangerous increase ; and that in
this we
the
clearly,
may perceivetheir defect more
makes
mention
of it,saying of those riches,
text
be It brings no
However
great the heap may
"

THE

FOURTH

TREATISE.

207

"
thirst and
peace, but care ; they create more
defective and insufficient. And
increase more

render
here it

thingsmay fail in
such a way that on the surface theyappear complete,
the shortcomingis
but, under pretext of perfection,
those defects so
have
concealed.
But they may
is seen
revealed that the imperfection
openly
entirely
do not
those thingswhich
And
the surface.
on
reveal their defects in the first place are the most
dangerous,since very often it is not possibleto be
in the
as
we
see
on
guard againstthem ; even
traitor who, before our
face,shows himself friendly,
faith in him, and
that he causes
to have
us
so
hides the defect of
under
pretext of friendship,
crease,
in their inAnd
in this way riches,
his hostility.
are
for,submittingto
dangerouslyimperfect,
our
they bringjustthe
eyes this that they promise,
contrary. The treacherous gains always promise
that,if collected up to a certain amount, they will
is requisite
to know

make
with

that defective

collector full of every


this promise they lead the
the

the vice of Avarice.

And,

satisfaction ; and
Will into
Human

for this reason,

Boethius

them, in his book of Consolations,


dangerous,
who dug
saying, Oh, alas ! who was that firstman
that wished
selves,
to hide themup the preciousstones
and who
dug out the loads of gold once
covered by the hills,
dangeroustreasures ?
The treacherous ones
promise,if we will but look,
to remove
to bring
every want, to quench all thirst,
satisfaction and
this they do to
sufficiency
; and
in the beginning,
confirmingpromise to
every man
certain point in their increase,
and then,as soon
a
their pilerises,
and rein place of contentment
as
freshment
they bring on an intolerable fever-thirst ;
and
beyond sufficiency,
they extend their limit,
calls

"

"

208

THE

create

OF

BANQUET
desire to

DANTE

amass

ALIGHIERI.

and, with this,fear


new
gain.

more,

and

of the
anxiety far in excess
Then, truly,
they bringno peace,
than a man
had in the
more
trouble,

he

in that book
"

them.

without

was

I at

And

more

care,

firstplacewhen

therefore Tullius

Paradoxes, when

on

but

says,

riches
execrating

time

firmlybelieved the money of those


ships,
or
magnificentmansions, or riches,or lordmen,
or
voluptuousjoys,with which especially
they
are
shackled,to be amongst thingsgood or desirable,
no

since I

certain

saw

especiallydesire
because

at

in the abundance

men

wherein

those

time is the thirst of

no

of them

they abounded ;
quenched ;
cupidity

they tormented by the desire for the


increase of those thingswhich they possess, but also
in the fear of losingthem."
they have torment
And
the words
and even
all these are
of Tullius,
thus they stand in that book which has been mentioned.
only are

not

And, as a stronger witness to this imperfection,


hear Boethius,speakingin his book of Consolation :
"

If the Goddess

of Riches

riches tillthey were


thrown

countless

the

by

up

the

as

sea

as

when

stars

to

were

expand

numerous

and
the

as

tiply
mulsands

the tempest, or
would
shine,still Man

tost

that

by

weep."
And
reduce

because
this to

stillfurther

againstthem
Lucilius,how
much

how

much

every

and

writer,every poet,and how

Scripture.All

againstthese

false enticers to

mind

Solomon

exclaim

Divine

Call to

much

needful to

againstthem, how much


when
is Seneca,especially
writingto
much
Horace, how much Juvenal,and,

his father David

how
briefly,

proof,note

testimonyis

Truthful

cries aloud

sin,full of all defect.


what your own
also, in aid of faith,
'

TREATISE.

FOURTH

THE

209

those men
who
eyes have seen, what is the life of
when
far they live securely
how
follow after riches,

is,
they have piledthem up, what their contentment
how peacefully
they rest.
else daily endangers and
What
destroyscities,
the fresh
as
countries,individual persons, so much
of some
?
man
heapingup of wealth in the possession
ment
wakens
to the fulfilHis accumulation
new
desires,
it is not possibleto attain without
of which
one.
injuryto some
And
what else does the Law, both Canonical and
Civil,intend to rectify
except cupidityor avarice,
with its heaps of riches,and which
which
grows
seeks to resist or
the Law
prevent. Truly,the
make
it sufficiently
Canonical and the Civil Law
if the first sections of their written word
are
clear,
evident it is,nay, I say it is most
read.
How
evident, that these riches are, in their increase,
imperfect
entirely
; when, beingamassed, naught else
but imperfection
can
possibly
springforth from them.
And

this is what

the text

which is not to
question,
without
be passed over
being put and answered.
Some
calumniator
of the Truth
might be able to
desire in their acquisition,
by increasing
say that if,
riches are
imperfectand therefore vile,for this
science or knowledge is imperfectand vile,
reason
in the acquisition
creases,
inof which
the desire steadily
But

here arises

says.

wherefore
one

doubtful

"

Seneca

says,

If I should

have

foot in the grave, I should stillwish to learn."


But it is not true that knowledge is vile through

imperfection.By

distinction of the

increase of desire is not

vileness.

That

in
Philosopher,

it is
the

consequences,

knowledge the cause


perfectis evident, for
in

sixth

book

of the

of
the

Ethics,says

THE

210

OF

BANQUET

that science

DANTE

ALIGHIERL

of
knowledge is the perfectreason
certain things. To
this questionone
has to reply
whether
briefly
; but in the firstplaceit is to be seen
in the acquisition
of Knowledge the desire for it is
and
enlargedin the way suggestedby the question,
whether
that

or

the argument be rational.

not

the

only in

Wherefore

I say
of knowledge and
acquisition

human
riches,but in each and every acquisition,
desire expands,althoughin different ways ; and the
is this

reason

bestowed

by

that the supreme


desire of each thing
Nature in the firstplaceis to return to
:

its firstsource.

And

since God

is the First Cause

Souls,an'd the Maker of them after His Own


Image, as it is written, Let us make Man in Our
the Soul especially
desires
Image,after Our likeness,"
As a pilgrim,
who
to return
to that First Cause.
journeyedbefore,
goes along a path where he never
of

our

"

may believe every house that he sees in the distance


it to be so, may direct
to be his inn,and,not finding
his belief to the next, and
house until he reach the
soon

as

it enters

directs its eyes


day'stravel to
it sees

which

so

travel

inn, even

so

the untrodden

our

house

its supreme
good ; and therefore
to have

of its

whatever

in itself some

thing
goodness,

it thinks to be the supreme


good. And because
knowledgeat firstis imperfect,
owing to want of
and

to

Soul,as
this life,

path of
good,the sum

to

seems

from

on

its
perience
ex-

instruction,
good things that
but little appear great to it ; and therefore in
are
the firstplaceit begins to desire those.
So we
see
littlechildren desire above all thingsan
apple; and
then, growing older,they desire a little bird ; and
then, being older,desire a beautiful garment ; and
then a horse,and then a wife,and then moderate
wealth, and then greater wealth, and then still
want

of

this

And

more.

as

live

we

happens because
for which

is found

thingsthat
to
possible

that

one

none

search

is

desirable

it were

the

God, at the
proceedsfrom

point of

greater do

and

this is the

But, thus

Wherefore

in

it is
under

almost

way

whole, and
good, which

that

so

and

the

the desirable
all ;

made,

the

farther

is
is
it

pointtowards the basis,so much


the desirable good things appear
human
reason
why, by acquisition,

the

the

desires become

of

basis

of these

thingstands

Soul
the other in the eyes of our
pyramidal,for the least firstcovers
as

211

in

further.

seek

we

on

see

TREATISE.

FOURTH

THE

broader

this

the

after the other.

one

is lost

through error, even


in the roads of the earth ; for as from one
as
cityto
another there is of necessity
excellent direct road,
an
and often another which
branches
from that,the
branch

pathway

goes into another part, and of many


others some
do not go all the way, and
some
go
farther round ; so in Human
Life there are different
road

roads,of which one


and
most
misleading,

is the
some

truest,and

are

another

less right,
and

some

the
less

And
that the str.aightest
road to
see
as we
wrong.
the citysatisfiesdesire and gives rest after toil,
and
that

which

in

the

opposite direction never


satisfies and never
can
give rest, so it happens in
our
follows the rightpath
Life. The
who
man
attains his end, and gains his rest.
The
who
man
follows the wrong
attains it,but with
path never
much
fatigueof mind and greedy eyes looks always
goes

before him.

Wherefore,althoughthis argument does


replyto the questionasked above,at
which
to the reply,
us
causes
opens the way
that each desire of ours does not proceed in
in

one

way

alone.

But

because

this

not

tirely
en-

least it
to

its

see
pansion
ex-

chapter

212

THE

OF

BANQUET

DANTE

ALIGH1ERI.

is somewhat

prolonged,we will reply in a new


wherein
chapterto the question,
may be ended the
whole disputation
which it is our
intention to make
againstriches.

CHAPTER
IN

XIII.

question,I say that it is not possible


ledge
to affirm properlythat the desire for knowdoes increase,
although,as has been said,it
does expand in a certain way.
For that which
properlyincreases is always one ; the desire for
knowledge is not always one, but is many ; and one
desire fulfilled,
another
comes
that, properly
; so
but it is
speaking,its expansion is not its increase,
advance of a succession of smaller thingsinto great
of
things. For if I desire to know the principles
I know
natural things,
as
soon
as
these,that desire
replyto

the

is satisfied and

there

is

an

end

of

it.

If I then

why and the wherefore of each


this is a new
desire altogether.
of these principles,
one
I
desire am
Nor by the advent of that new
to which the other might
deprivedof the perfection
lead me.
Such an
expansion as that is not the
but of new
of imperfection,
cause
perfection.That
however, is properlyincreased
expansion of riches,
succession is seen
is always one, so that no
which
therein,and therefore no end and no perfection.
if the adversarywould say, that if the desire
And
of natural thingsis one
the first principles
to know
is
thing,and the desire to know what they are
desire to know

another,so

the

is the

desire for

and the desire


thing,
I replythat it is not

for

hundred

thousand

true ; for the

marks

marks
is

hundred

one

another,
is part

of the thousand
to

and

of the

the whole

TREATISE.

FOURTH

THE

213

it,as part of a line


along which one proceeds

is related to
line

by one impulse alone ; and there is no succession


there,nor completionof motion in any part. But
of natural thingsare is
what the principles
to know
not

the

same

the

one

is not

as

to know

what

each

one

of them

part of the other,and theyare

is ;

related

diverginglines along which one


does not proceedby one
impulse,but the completed
succeeds the completed moveof the one
ment
movement
because
of the other. And thus it appears that,
of the desire for knowledge,knowledge is not to be
called imperfect
in the same
way as riches are to be
of the desire for them,
called imperfect,
account
on
ledge
the question
as
put it ; for in the desire for knowwith the
the desires terminate
successively
attainment of their aims ; and in the desire for riches,
is solved.
NO
; so that the question
Again, the adversarymay calumniate,sayingthat,
althoughmany desires are fulfilledin the acquisition
which is the
of knowledge,the last is never
attained,
which does not gain
of that one
desire,
imperfection
its end ; and that will be both one
and imperfect.
that it is not a truth which
Again one here replies
is brought forward in opposition,
that is,that the

to

each

other

last desire is

as

attained ; for our natural desires,


in the third treatise of this book, are all

is

never

proved
ledge
tendingto a certain end ; and the desire for knowis natural,so that this desire compasses
a
certain end, although but few, since they walk in
the" wrong path,accomplishthe day'sjourney. And
as

he who

understands

On
chapter,

the

the Commentator

Soul,learns

this of him

in the
; and

third
fore
there-

Aristotle says, in the tenth chapterof the Ethics,


againstSimonides the Poet,that man
ought to draw

214

THE

near

to Divine

he shows
And

OF

BANQUET

that

thingsas
our

power

DANTE

much

ALIGHIERI.

is possible
; wherein

as

tends towards

certain end.

in the firstbook

of the Ethics he says that the


demands
in its knowledge
certainty

Mind
disciplined
of things in proportionas
their nature
received
in which
he proves that not only on the
certainty,
side of the man
desiringknowledge,but on the side
of the desired objectof knowledge,attention ought
be given; and therefore St. Paul says :
Not
to
much
tion."
knowledge,but rightknowledge in modera"

So

that

in

whatever

way

the

desire

for

either generally
or particuknowledge is considered,
larly,
it comes
to perfection.
And
and
since knowledge is a noble perfection,
is not lost,
throughthe desire for it its perfection
is the case
with the accursed riches,
must
as
we
how injurious
note
briefly
they are when possessed,
and this is the third notice of their imperfection.
It is possible
is
that the possession
of them
to see
for two
that it is the cause
reasons
: one,
injurious
of evil ; the other,that it is the privation
of good.
the timid posIt is the cause
of evil,
which makes
sessor
or hateful.
wakeful,watchful,and suspicious

great is the fear of that

How

carries wealth
when

man

who

knows

he

him, when walking abroad,


home, when not only wakeful or
not only the fear that
sleeping,

about

dwellingat
watching,but when

he may lose his property,but fear for his lifebecause


he possesses
these riches ! Well do the miserable
merchants
the

know, who

leaves which

travel

the wind

throughthe World,
stirs

on

the

trees

that

cause

they are bearingtheir wealth


with them ; and when
they are without it,full of
and thus
confidence
they go singingand talking,
the Wise
their journey shorter ! Therefore
make
them

to tremble

when

says
empty, he

215

enters

his road

on

of thieves."
presence
desires to express in the fifth book,

sing

can

this Lucan

And

traveller

If the

"

Man

TREATISE.

FOURTH

THE

the

in

O, the
praisesthe safetyof poverty :
of the poor Life !
safe and secure
O, narrow
liberty
thrift ! O, not again deem
and
dwelling-places
riches to be of the Gods ! In what
temples and
within what
palace walls could this be, that is to
the
of striking
have no fear,
tumult or other,
in some
when

"

he

of Caesar ? "

hand

And

how Caesar
he depicts
says this when
night to the little house of the fisher

Lucan

by
Amyclas
came

to

great is the

the

cross

that

hatred

each

bears

man

how

And

Sea.

Adriatic

the

to

from
possessor of riches,either through envy, or
the desire to take possessionof his wealth ! So
it is,that often and

true

piety,the

great and

and

most

the

Italians

Po

and

on

Boethius

meditates

son

can

have,

in the second

the

both

filial

father ;
experienceof this
of the

death

evident

most

the banks

due

often,contrary to

the

on

of the Tiber.

chapter of

banks

of the
therefore

And

his Consolations

hateful."
Avarice makes men
Certainly
Nay, their possessionis privationof good, for,
those riches,
does not give freely
a man
possessing
with generosity,
which is a virtue,
which is a perfect
good, and which makes men
magnificentand
beloved ; which
does not lie in possession
of those
Wherefore
riches,but in ceasingto possess them.

says

"

Boethius

in the

same

book

says

"

Then

money
the use

is

of
good when, bartered for other things,
by
generosityone no longerpossesses it." Wherefore
the baseness of riches is sufficiently
proved by all
these remarks

of his ; and therefore the


uprightdesire and true knowledge never

man

with

loves them

an

216

THE

BANQUET

OF

DANTE

ALIGHIERI.

and, not lovingthem, he does not unite himself to


them, but alwaysdesires them to be far from himself,
except inasmuch

they

appointed to some
since
necessary service ; and it is a reasonable thing,
be united with the imperfect.So
the perfect
cannot
that the curved line never
we
see
joinsthe straight
it is not of line
line,and if there be any conjunction,
but of point to point. And
thus it follows
to line,
which is uprightin desire,
that the Mind
and truthful
in knowledge,is not disheartened
at the loss of
wealth : as the text asserts at the end of that part.
And
by this the text intends to prove that riches
in the distance past the upright
as
a river flowing
are
of Reason, or rather of Nobility
that
tower
; and
these riches cannot
take Nobilityaway
from
him
who
has it. And
in this manner
in the present
Song it is argued againstriches.
as

are

CHAPTER
confuted

in that part
advanced
it was
in support of riches,it
Time
to confute it in that part where
now

HAVING
wherein
remains

is said to be

the

XIV.
of other

error

men

"

Nobility,
saying, Descent of
wealth ;
and this reproofor confutation is made
in
that part which
begins: They will not have the
in the firstplaceone
confutes
vile Turn noble." And
of an argument taken from those men
this by means
themselves who err in this way ; then,to their greater
confusion,this their argument is also destroyed; and
a cause

of

"

"

it does this when

it says, " It follows then from this."


Finallyit concludes,their error being evident,and it

being therefore

time

does this when

it says,

to
"

attend

to the Truth

Sound

intellct reproves."

and

it

FOURTH

THE

TREATISE.

217

I say, then,"They will not have the vile Turn


that the opinion
it is to be known
Where
noble."
of these

erroneous

peasant in the
called
a

Nobleman

peasant in like

persons is,that a
first place can
never
; and

the

manner

can

is the

be Noble

never

is

possiblybe

who

man

who

man

son

of

; and

destroystheir own
argument when
to Nobility,
adding
they say that Time is requisite
"descent."
For it is impossible
that word
by process
of Time
to the generationof Nobility
to come
which declares it to be imposin this way of theirs,
sible
Noble
for the humble
by
peasant to become
any work that he may do, or through any accident ;
this breaks

and

or

declares the mutation

Noble

son

to

be

of

peasant father into

impossible.For
peasant,and his

if the

son

of the

again is also a
be possible
to
always,it will never
discover the place where
can
begin to be
Nobility
established by process of Time.
And
if the adversary,
wishing to defend himself,
will begin at that periodof
should say that Nobility

peasant is also
peasant,and so

Time

when

the low

estate

son

of the ancestors

will be

I replythat this goes againstthemselves,


forgotten,
there will be a transmutation
for even
of necessity
of
into another,or
peasant into Noble, from one man
from father to son, which is againstthat which they
propound.
And
if the adversary
should defend himself pertinaciousl
saying that indeed they do desire that
it should be possiblefor this transmutation
to take
placewhen the low estate of the ancestors passes
into oblivion,
althoughthe text takes no notice of
this,it is rightthat the Commentary should reply
therefore I replythus : that from this
to it. And
which they say there follow four
very great diffi-

*2i8

THE

BANQUET

OF

DANTE

ALIGHIERL

culties,so that it cannot


possiblybe a good
argument. One is,that in proportionas Human
Nature might become
the slower would be the
better,
which is a very great inconvenience
generationof Nobility,
as
a thingis honoured
; since in proportion
for its excellence,
much
the more
is it the cause
so
of goodness; and Nobilityis reckoned amongst the
thus : If Nobiis shown
lity,
good. What this means
which I understand
as
a
good thing,should be
generatedby oblivion,
Nobilitywould be generated
in proportionto the speedinesswith which
men
the sooner
for so much
would
might be forgotten,
oblivion descend upon
all. Hence, in proportion
as
much
the sooner
would
men
so
might be forgotten,
they be Noble ; and, on the contrary,in proportion
held in
to the lengthof time duringwhich they were
remembrance, so much the longerit would be before
they could be ennobled.
The
second
is,that in nothing apart
difficulty
would it be possible
from men
this distinction,
to make
that is to say, Noble
or
Vile, which is very
inconvenient ; since,in each speciesof thingswe see
the image of Nobilityor of Baseness,wherefore we
often

call

falcon noble
vile.

one

horse

one

and

one

the

ancestors

of

baseness

for
possible

not be

cause

vile ; and one


pearlnoble and
to
possible

make

if the oblivion of the


of

ancestors

oblivion of them

one
one

proved ;

is the
the

and

vile ; and

that it would

And

this distinction is thus


humble

noble

or
Nobility,

never

to

was,

be, since

rather

it is not
oblivion is

remembrance, and in those other


animals,and in plants,and in minerals,lowness and
loftiness are
not observed, since in one
they are
natural or innate and in an equalstate,and Nobility
and likewise
be in their generation,
cannot
possibly
a

destruction

of

THE

FOURTH

TREATISE.
'
i

neither
the

vileness

baseness ; since one


regards
the other as habit and privation,
which

can

and

one

to
possible

are

in them

in the

occur

it would

to exist between

And

nor

be

not

the

fore
subject
; and therefor a distinction
possible

same

and

one

the other.

if the

adversaryshould wish to say, that in


other thingsNobility
is representedby the goodness
of the thing,but in a man
it is understood
because
there

is

remembrance

no

of

his humble

or

base

wish to

would

replynot with words,


but with the sword, to such bestiality
it would be
as
other thingsgoodness as
for
to give to
a
cause
Nobility,and to found the Nobilityof men
upon
or oblivion as a firstcause.
forgetfulness
The third difficulty
is,that often the person or
before the generator,
thing generatedwould come
which is quiteimpossible
to prove
; and it is possible
condition,one

this thus

Let

have

might

us

been

peasant who

that Gherardo

suppose

the

grandson

drank

ever

of

Cagnano, and that oblivion


his grandfather
will be
; who
da Cammino

Gherardo
not

with

agree

Certainlyno
wish

to

was

in

me

one,

was

treasured.

of

or

not

bold

enough

? and

man

and

the

to say that

he

who

his

memory

If oblivion had

not

will

Noble

was

presumptuous he
so,

vile

yet overtaken

had

vile

most

Sile

saying that

however

be, for he

always be

the

of

the

da Cammino

yet

may

will
taken
over-

so
proposed in opposition,
the
and
that he might be great through Nobility,
as
so
even
clearly,
Nobilityin him might be seen

his ancestor,

one

does

see

as

is

it,then it would

before the founder of his


and

have

been

could
Nobility

firstin him

have existed ;

this is
The

in the extreme.
impossible
fourth difficulty
is,that such
would have been
grandfather,

the posed
supheld Noble after
a

man,

THE

220

he

who

dead

was

it thus
there
and

Let

might

let

DANTE

ALIGHIERL

Noble

whilst alive ; and a


thing could not be. One proves
not

was

inconvenient

more

OF

BANQUET

suppose that in the age of Dardanus


of his low ancestors,
be a remembrance
us

this
suppose that in the age of Laomedon
might have passedaway, and that oblivion

us

memory
had overtaken
Laomedon

it.

Noble

was

his lifetime.

Accordingto

We,

and Dardanus

was

opinion,
each in
vile,
of the

the remembrance

whom

to

has

of Dardanus

ancestors

the adverse

not

shall

come,

we

say
Noble ?

vile,and dead a
And
is not this contrary to the legend which
says
the son of Jupiter(forsuch is the
that Dardanus
was
fable,which one ought not to regardwhilst disputing
might wish
philosophically)
; and yet if the adversary
that which the
to find support in the fable,
certainly
thus it is
fable veils destroyshis arguments.
And
proved that the argument, which asserted that oblivion
is the cause
is false.
of Nobility,
that

Dardanus

livingwas

XV.

CHAPTER

argument, the Song has confuted

SINCE, by their own

is not requisite
to
them, and proved that Time
it proceedsimmediatelyto confound their
Nobility,
premisses,since of their false arguments no rust
which
is disposed towards
remains
in the mind
Truth

; and

from

then

it is not
for

this."

son

to be

in their

follow.

it says, " It follows


that if
it is to be known

when

Where

for
possible

Noble

advanced
must

this it does

peasant
born

of

to become
a

opinion,of

humble
two

Noble, or
as is
father,
a

difficulties

one

FOURTH

THE

The

first is,that there

is,that

other

TREATISE.

the World

be

can

221

Nobility
; the
been always full

no

have
may
alone the Human

of men, so that from one


be descended
; and this it is
If

Nobilityis

been
their

peasant

beget it in himself,or
on

the

to his son,

born ; and
such
born ; and
son

the

the

as

such

is the

being able

not

man

basis of
to

father to pass it
he was
as
always is the same

man

humble

father

was

born,

so

is the

this process from one


condition
even
by the firstparent ; for such

so

is reached

onwards

that

times

many
opinion,the

not
can-

to prove.
possible
generatedafresh,and it has

not

stated

Race

father,that is,Adam, so must the


whole
Race
Human
be, because from him to the
be possibleto find,
it will not
modern
nations
accordingto that argument, any change whatever.
himself was
Noble, we are all Noble ;
Then, if Adam
if he was
vile,we are all vile or base ; which is no
as

the

was

other

first

than to

remove

the

the
and thus it is to remove
conditions,
the Song states this,which
And
all
what
is advanced, saying,"That
base."
be

And

if this is not

descended

from

Nobles

and

follows

some

from

high

are

or

any nation is to
of neis to be called vile,
cessity.
vileness into

Race
away, the Human
different ancestors, that

taken

from

conditions.

so, then

called Noble, and any


from
Transmutation

being thus

these

distinction between

from

Nobility
must

be

is, some

vile persons, and


there never
Time

so

the

was
Song says, "Or that in
Beginning to our race,"that is to say, one beginning;
false
this is most
it does not say beginnings. And
accordingto our Faith,
accordingto the Philosopher,
which cannot
lie,
accordingto the Law and ancient
For althoughthe Philosopher
belief of the Gentiles.

does

not

assert

the

succession from

one

first man,

THE

222

OF

BANQUET

yet he would
men,

which

And

Plato

have

ALIGHIERI.

essential

one

being

possiblyhave

cannot

would

DANTE

have

that all

to

be

in all

different
men

origius.
depend upon

idea

or
alone,and not on more
many, which is
to give them
only one beginning. And undoubtedly
Aristotle would
laugh very loudly if he heard of
two speciesto be made
out of the Human
Race, as
of horses and asses ; and (may Aristotle forgive
me)
who
think in this
one
asses
might call those men
For accordingto our
Faith (whichis to be
way.
it is most
Solomon
as
preservedin its entirety)
false,

one

makes

and

men

the

evident where

of

sons

"'Who
mount

the

brute

Adam,"

knows

he draws

distinction between

animals,for
and

if the

he

calls

this he does when

of
spirits

the

sons

men

"all

he

says
of Adam

upwards,and
?

"

if those of the beasts go downwards


that it is false accordingto the

And

Gentiles,let the testimony of Ovid in the first


chapterof his Metamorphoses prove, where he treats
of the constitution of the World
accordingto the
rather belief of the Gentiles,
or
Pagan belief,
saying:
he did not say
Man
is born
Men ; he said,
Man
is born,"or rather, that the Artificer of all
thingsmade him from Divine seed,or that the new
tained
earth,but latelyparted from the noble ether,reseeds of the kindred Heaven, which, mingled
formed the son of Japhet
with the water of the river,
into an image of the Gods, who govern all." Where
he asserts the first man
to have been one
evidently
that I
But
alone ; and therefore the Song says,
had
cannot
hold," that is,to the opinionthat man
not one
beginning; and the Song subjoins,Nor yet
if Christians they." And
it says Christians,not
rather Gentiles,
whose
or
opinionalso
Philosophers,
the Christian opinion is of
is adverse, because
"

"

"

"

"

"

"

"

"

THE

FOURTH

greater force,and

223

is the

destroyerof all calumny,


minates
lightof Heaven, which illu-

to the supreme

thanks

TREATISE.

it.
when

Then

I say,

"

Sound

and turns
words As false,

intellect reproves their

away,"I conclude

this

error

confuted,and

I say that it is time to open the


I say,
eyes to the Truth ; and this is expressedwhen
As it appears to me."
"And
I seek to tell,
now
It
to be

is

evident

now

those

men

sound

to

minds

that

the words

vain, that is,without

are

crumb

of
or

I say sound
without
not
be said to be sound
Our intellect may
or
cause.
I say intellect for the noble part of
And
unsound.
our
Soul, which it is possibleto designateby the

particleof

Truth

word

common

when
healthy,
of

sickness

"

and

Mind."

it is not
mind

or

It may be called sound


obstructed in its action

body, which

is to

know

things are, as Aristotle expresses it in


chapteron the Soul.
For, owing to the sickness of the Soul,I
three horrible infirmities in the minds

of

the

have

or

by

what
third

seen

men.

vanity,for many men


are
so
presumptuous that they believe they know
and, owing to this,they assert thingsto
everything,
facts. Tullius especially
be facts which
not
are
this vice in the firstchapterof the Offices,
execrates
in his book
and St. Thomas
againstthe Gentiles,
saying: There are many men, so presumptuous in
all
who believe that they can
their conceit,
compass
deeming all that appears
thingswith their intellect,
is caused

One

by

natural

"

to them

to

be

true, and

count

as

false that which

it arises that
Hence
to them."
appear
selves
themtheynever attain to any knowledge ; believing
inquire,
to be sufficiently
learned,they never
they never listen ; they desire to be inquiredof,and
does

not

224

when

THE

BANQUET

OF

DANTE

ALIGHIERI.

questionis put, bad enough is their reply.


Of those men
Solomon
speaksin Proverbs : Seest
thou
that is hasty in his words ? there is
a
man
more
hope of a fool than of him."
of mind
Another
is caused
infirmity
by natural
for many
weakness
or
men
are
so
smallness,
vilely
obstinate or stubborn that they cannot
believe that
it is possible
either for them
for others to know
or
these never
of themselves
as
things; and such men
seek knowledge,nor ever
reason
; for what other men
at all. And
not
againstthese men
say, they care
Aristotle speaksin the firstbook of the Ethics,declaring
those men
to be insufficient or unsatisfactory
hearers of Moral
Philosophy. Those men
always
the despairof all
like beasts,
a lifeof grossness,
live,
learning.
of mind
third infirmity
is caused
The
by the
of such light
are
levityof nature ; for many men
fancy that in all their arguments they go astray,
when
and
a
even
they make
syllogismand have
concluded, from that conclusion they fly off into
subtle argument.
to them
most
another,and it seems
They start not from any true beginning,and truly
they see nothingtrue in their imagination.Of those
the Philosophersays that it is not rightto
men
trouble about them, or to have business with them,
that againsthim
saying,in the firstbook of Physics,
denies the first postulateit is not right to
who
dispute. And of such men as these are many idiots,
their ABC,
and who would
know
who
not
may
and in
wish to disputein Geometry, in Astrology,
the Science of Physics.
Also through sickness or defect o
body, it is
sick ; even
for the Mind
to be unsound
or
possible
as with those
as through some
primaldefect at birth,
a

"

THE

who

born

are

FOURTH

TREATISE.

fools,or

225

through alteration

in the

And
of this mental
brain,as with the madmen.
the Law
In him
infirmity
speaks when it says :
who
makes
a Will
or Testament,at the time
when
he makes the Will or Testament,
health of mind, not
health of body,is required."
"

But
mind
and

those

to

body

or

whole

intellects which
not

are

from

infirm,but

are

sickness of

free,
diligent,

in the

lightof Truth, I say it must be


evident that the opinionof the people,which has
been
stated above, is vain, that is,without any
value whatever,worthless.
Afterwards
the Song subjoins
that I thus judge
them

to be false and
"

says,

and

Sound

vain ; and this it does when it


intellect reproves their words As false,

away."

turns

time to demonstrate
that it is

now

in whom

afterwards

I say that it is
the Truth ; and I say

or

prove
rightto state what

Nobilityis,and
man

And

how

it is

it exists ; and

kind

of

thingtrue

possibleto know the


I speak of this where I

say:
And
As

What

now

I seek to tell

it appears to me,
is,whence comes,

A true

signsattest

Nobility.

CHAPTER
"

what

XVI.

THE

in God, and all those shall


King shall rejoice
be praisedwho
swear
by him, for closed is the
mouth
of those who
speak wicked things."These
here propound in all truth ; because
words
I can
each true King ought especially
to love the Truth.

Wherefore

it is written

in the

Book

of Wisdom,
H

THE

226

"

same

that

OF

DANTE

ALIGHIERI.

Light of Wisdom, you, who stand before,


is this
people,"and the Light of Wisdom
Truth.
I say, then, every King shall rejoice
the most
false and
most
injuriousopinion

Love

the

BANQUET

the

of

the

to

this

wicked

and

deceitful

men

who

of
spoken iniquitously

time

have

up
Nobility is

confuted.
to proceed to the discussion
requisite
of the Truth
according to the division made
above, in the third chapter of the present treatise.
This
second
begins, I say
part, then, which
Each
Virtue
that from
root
one
firstly
springs,"
intends to describe this Nobilityaccordingto the
Truth, and this part is divided into two : for

It is

now

"

in

the

first the

intention

is to

prove

what

this

to
Nobilityis ; and in the second how it is possible
it dwells,and this second
recognizehim in whom
part begins, Such virtue shows its good." The first
part, again,has two parts ; for in the first certain
thingsare sought for which are needful in order to
perceivethe definition of Nobility
; in the second,
looks for its definition,
and this second
one
part
begins, Where virtue is,there is A Nobleman."
That
into the treatise,
enter
we
perfectly
may
two
things are to be considered in the first place.
The
one
is,what is meant
by this word Nobility,
taken alone,in its simplemeaning ; the other is,in
what path it is needful to walk in order to search
definition. I say, then,that,if
out the before-named
of speech,
will pay attention to the common
use
we
of
by this word Nobilityis understood the perfection
in each thing; wherefore
nature
it is preits own
dicated
but also of all things;
not only of the man,
calls a stone
for the man
noble, a plant or tree
noble,a horse noble,a falcon noble,whatever is seen
"

"

THE

FOURTH

TREATISE.

227

to be

in its nature.
And
therefore Solomon
perfect
is the land whose
says in Ecclesiastes,Blessed
King is Noble;" which is.no other than saying,
whose King is perfect
of
accordingto the perfection
the mind and body ; and he thus makes this evident
when
he writes,
by that which he says previously,
Woe
unto the land whose
King is a child." For
that is not a perfect
is a child,
if not
man, and a man
and by the
by age, yet by his disordered manners
the Philosopher
evil or defect of his life,
teaches
as
"

"

of the Ethics.

in the firstbook
There
this word

believe that

that which

is to be named

this is most

false,
for,if

things which were


would
in their species

those
known

noble.

most

most

by

men
they say that it
; and
many
verb which stands for to knozv,
that is,

But

nosco.

is meant

peoplewho

by

from

comes

the

Noble

known

and

foolish

some

are

Thus

noble

the shoemaker

this could

named

most

in their

be,
best

and

be
species

the

the obelisk of St. Peter would

be

in the world ; and Asdente,


Noble than
of Parma, would be more
stone

della
of his fellow-citizens ; and Albuino
Noble than Guido da Castello
Scala would be. more

any

di

one

Reggio.

and

therefore

can

come

non

vile

were

non

This
seventh

thing is
its

Each

own

from

one

of those

false that nobile

it is most
cognosce",

thingsis most

to

know.

It

false,
(noble)
from

comes

is as it
(notvile)
; wherefore nobile (noble)
vile (notvile).
in the
perfectionthe Philosophermeans
Each
he says :
when
chapterof Physics,
it touches and joins
when
especially
perfect
"

proper

or

then

relative virtue ; and

it is

It is,
especially
perfectaccording to its nature.
it is
when
then, possibleto call the circle perfect
that is,when it is joinedwith its own
trulya circle,
H

THE

228

or

nature,

and

there
the

distant

from

has

figure of

the

nor

almost

full moon,
And

that

ALIGHIERL

is

be

egg

loses

circle

which

an

because

thus

commonly,

in

has

in

Nobility, expresses

this is that

for which

in order

enter

clearlyinto

that part which

order

in

proceed
Nobility

which

to

be

to

find

to

the

species,as
first

Therefore
when

know

to

necessary

Christ

fruits ye

way

the

And
before

this

are

"

Nobility

to

see

word
their

primarily
of

discussion

how

must

one

of

Human

leads.

argument

things

which

of

are

I
one

possible by essential
highest perfection,it is

the

that

Gospel

Beware

we

the

the

definition

define

to

know

definition

fruits,which
will be

shall

seeks

an

is not

this

sense,

seen

the

their

in

speaks,

their

which

and

reads

one

of

it is not

define

principlesto

form

explain.

present

all men,

are

it is not

possible

one

to

then, that since in those

say,

the

it is intended

it remains

Secondly,

which

things perfection of

all

more

equally

its nature

it is

nature, and
to

the

that

general

is

and

its

circle."

circle

its virtue

in

noble

That

evidently

or

it which

in

point

in

complete

called

circumference.

that

Noble,

perfect.

then

it may

is when

DANTE

virtue, it is then

relative

proper

This

OF

BANQUET

them."
seek

of

false

of

their

by

St. Matthew,

prophets

And

is to

moral

and

is the

seed,

in

be

seen

intellectual
as

in

effects.

by

direct

by
virtues

the
of

its definition

fullyevident.
these
one

can

are

those

proceed

two
to

the

things

we

others, as

previous part of this chapter.

must

is said

see

in

THE

FOURTH

TREATISE.

CHAPTER
those

SINCE

before the text

understand
have

XVII.

thingswhich

two

been

and

seen

proceed with
then begins:

the text

229

it seemed

could be

needful to

proceeded with

remains
understood,it now
to
and to explainit,and the text

I say that from


Each Virtue

one

root

firstly
springs,
Virtue,I mean, that Happiness
To man, by action,
brings.
And

subjoin:
This,as the Ethics teach,
Is habit of rightchoice ;

placingthe

whole

it is defined

by

definition of the Moral

the

of Ethics,in which

Virtues

Philosopherin the second


two thingsprincipally
are

as

book
stood.
under-

from one
first
is,that each Virtue comes
or
originalcause
principle
; the other is,that by
the Moral Virtues,
Each Virtue
I mean
and this is
evident from the words, "This, as the Ethics teach."
that our
it is to be known
Hence
most
rightand
since on every side
proper fruits are the Moral Virtues,
tinguished
disthey are in our power ; and these are differently
and enumerated
by different philosophers.
to me
But it seems
rightto omit the opinionof other
in that part where the divine opinionof Aristotle
men
of mouth
is stated by word
therefore,
wishing
; and
One

"

"

to

describe

pass
his

what

those

Moral

discoursingof
briefly
opinion.
on,

There

are

eleven Virtues named

Virtues
them

by

are,

will

according to
the said Philo-

230

The

sopher.
and

OF

BANQUET

THE

DANTE

firstis called

bridle to moderate

our

ALIGHIERL

Courage,which is sword
boldness and timidity
in

thingswhich are the ruin of our life. The second is


Temperance, which is the law and bridle of our
gluttonyand of our undue abstinence in those things
of our
for the preservation
life. The third
requisite
which
is the moderator
of our giving
is Liberality,
and of our receiving
thingstemporal. The fourth is
which is the moderator of great expenMagnificence,
ditures,
making and supportingthose within certain
fifth is Magnanimity, which
is the
limits. The
and acquirer
of great honours
and fame.
moderator
sixth is the Love
of Honour, which
is the
The
and regulator
moderator
to us of the honours of this
seventh is Mildness,which moderates
The
World.
and
excessive
undue
or
our
our
patience
anger
The
external misfortunes.
eighth is
againstour
which makes
live on
us
good terms with
Affability,
The ninth is called Truth, which makes
other men.
in boasting ourselves over
and above
moderate
us
ourselves below
what
we
are, and in depreciating
in our
what
are
we
speech. The tenth is called
of intercourse,
which makes
pleasantness
Eutrapelia,
in joys or pleasures,
moderate
us
causing us to use
The
eleventh
is Justice,
in due measure.
them
which teaches us to love and to act with uprightness
in all things.
And

each

of

these

Virtues

is to say, vices ; one


in
these Moral Virtues
And

enemies,that
in defect.
middle

has

stations between

two
excess
are

collateral
and

one

the centres

them, and those Virtues


that is to say,
all spring from one
root or principle,
from the habit of our own
good choice. Wherefore,
in a general sense, it is possibleto say of all,that
they are a habit of choice standing firm in due
or

THE

moderation

happy

; and

FOURTH

these

in their active

says in the firstbook

TREATISE.

231

those which

are

as
operation,

the

of the Ethics when

make

man

Philosopher
he

defines

Happiness,saying that Happiness is virtuous action


in a perfect
life.
By many, Prudence, that is,good, judgment or
wisdom, is well asserted to be a Moral Virtue. But
Aristotle

numbers

that

Virtues,although it is
pointsout the way by
without
it they could

amongst

the

Intellectual

the

guide of the moral,and


which they are formed, and
not be.
Verily,it is to be
known
that we
have in this life two happinesses
can
felicitiesby followingtwo
different roads, both
or
which lead us to them : the one
good and excellent,
is the Active Life and the other is the Contemplative
Life, wrhich (although
by the Active Life one may
has been said,
to a good state of Happiness)
as
attain,
sopher
leads us to supreme
Happiness,even as the Philoproves in the tenth
Christ affirms it with His

book
own

of the Ethics ; and


Lips in the Gospel of

Luke, speaking to Martha, when replyingto her:


"Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and troubled
ful/'
about many
one
thing alone is needthings: verily,
meaning,that which thou hast in hand ; and He
adds :
Mary has chosen the better part,which shall
And
from her."
not be taken away
Mary, according
written in the Gospel,
is previously
to that which
for the
no
care
at the feet of Christ,showed
sitting
service of the house,but listened only to the words
"

of the Saviour.

explainthis in the moral sense,


templative
wished
Lord
to show
our
thereby that the ConLife was
supremely good, althoughthe
Active Life might be good ; this is evident to him
who will givehis mind to the words of the Gospel.
For

if

we

will

BANQUET

THE

232

DANTE

OF

ALIGHIERL

be

It would

possible,
however,for any one to say,
in argument againstme : Since the happinessof
the
excellent than
Contemplative Life is more
that of the Active Life,and both may be, and are,
the fruit and end of Nobility,
why not rather have
proceededin the argument along the line of the
Intellectual Virtues

than

of the

Moral

To

this it

that in all instruction it


to replybriefly,
possible
of the
is desirable to have regard to the capability
is
learner,and to lead him by that path which

is

him.

Wherefore,since the
be,and are, more
generaland
seen
others,and are more

easiest to
appear to
than the

appearances,

it was

convenient

more

proceedalong that path

to

for thus

indeed

Moral

in

and

outward

more

ful
use-

by the other ;
knowledge of

shall attain to the

we

required

more

than

Virtues

by arguing of profitfrom the wax, as


from the honey,for both
by arguingof profit
and the other proceedfrom them.

the bees
as
one

CHAPTER
IN

the

Virtue

how

each

first

that is, a
principle,

and

the

present

text

the

XVIII.

preceding chapter has


Moral

well

been
from

comes

good

bears

upon

determined

root, or

one

habit

of

choice ;
that, until the

"

Nobilityby right." In this


part which begins:
allowpart, then, it proceeds,by a way that is able,
to

teach

that

otherwise

or
singly,
Nobility as an

taken

founded
says

upon

that,when

each

Virtue

above,
proceeds from
generally,

effect from
a

mentioned

its cause,

and

it is

which
philosophical
proposition,
two
things are found to meet

THE

in one,

both

third,or

one

because

one

could

two

233

things must be reduced to a


to the other,as an
effect to a cause
:
thinghaving stood first and of itself,
it
except it be from
be

not

both

the effect of the

one

TREATISE.

these

exist

cannot

FOURTH

separate first cause,

; and

one

the effect of

if those

third,or

else

other,each would have had a


which
is impossible.It says,

then,that
Such

virtue shows

its good

others' intellect,

To

For when

thingsagree in

two

Producingone

one,

effect,

from other come,


Or each one from a third,

One

must

If each be

it is to

proceed by
be

to

say

be

that the

of water, when
beautiful and
laudable
many
first cause
or

known

evident

an

one

the other is inferred.

From

Where

each, and more, then

as

we

is the

the clouds

us, and

as

not

it would

generative
principle
by a
; but certainly

suitable induction.

thingsin

does

one

demonstration

cold

see

that here

For

if there

are

is the

principle
of them
all,reason
requireseach to
be reduced
to that first cause, which comprehends
more
reasonablyto be
things; and this ought more
of those thingsthan that which
called the principle
comprehends in itself less of their principle.For
the

trunk

of

all the

other

branches,ought

as

beginning and
those

branches

cause

the

tree, which
of
cause

one

contains
to

be

or

encloses

called the first

branches, and not


of the trunk,so Nobility,
those

comprehends each and every Virtue (as the


other actions or
and many
contains the effect)
cause
it ought
operationsof ours which are praiseworthy,
which

OF

BANQUET

THE

234

DANTE

ALIGHIERL

for such ; that the Virtue may be reduced


rather than to the other third which is in us.
to it,
to be held

(namely,
says that the positiontaken
Moral
Virtue comes
from one
root, and

Finallyit
each

that

that such Virtue


is stated

and

Nobilityunite

above,and

that therefore

the

reduce

to

and that if the

the other,or

in

one

it is
both

thing,as
requisite

third ;
contains the value of the other and
to

one
one

to

from that it proceedsrather than from the other

more,

third)may be considered as a rule


before intended.
as
set forth,
v/as
thus ends

And

this passage

CHAPTER

and

established and

this presentpart.

XIX.

preceding part are discussed three


certain definite thingswhich were
necessary to be
this good thingof
before we
seen
define,if possible,
ing
which we
speak,it is rightto proceedto the followpart,which begins: Where Virtue is,there is
in the

SINCE

"

it is desirable to reduce this into

parts. In the first a certain thing is proved,

two

; in

the

is

found

sought
Comes

comes

has

before

which

"

And

Nobleman."

virtue

more

upon

and

second, concluding,the
; and

from

this

what's

second

noble, as

left

proved
un-

definition

part begins:
From

black

violet."

In evidence

mind

touched

been

of the firstpart,it is to be recalled to

that it says
and extends

is worth
that,if Nobility
previously
farther than Virtue,Virtue

rather

proceed from it,which this part now


proves,
and produces
namely,that Nobilityextends farther,
of Heaven, saying that wherever
there is
a
copy

will

THE

FOURTH

Virtue

there is

known

that

TREATISE.

Nobility. And

(as it

is written

235

here

in the

it is to
Books

be

of the

Law, and is held as a Rule of the Law) in those


thingswhich of themselves are evident there is no
need of proof; and nothing is more
evident than
that Nobilityexists wherever
there is Virtue,and
each thing,
commonly speaking,that we see perfect
accordingto its nature is worthy to be called Noble.
It says
a

star

then

likewise that is Heaven

hung, But Heaven


Nobilitywherever

wherever

beautiful

Heaven

So

is

there is
Virtue

"

and

there
suitable

Wherein

be starless." So
may
there is Virtue,and not

with
Nobility. And
example ; for trulyit is
is

a
a

in which

and various stars shine.


In
many
this Nobilitythere shine the Moral and the Intellectual
Virtues

there shine

in it the

good dispositions
bestowed
by nature, piety,and religion
worthy
; the praiseas
passions,
Modesty and Mercy and many
others ; there shine in it the good gifts
of the body,
that is to say, beauty,strength,
and almost perpetual
health ; and
Heaven
that

so

many

are

the

stars

which

stud

its

at if
it is not to be wondered
certainly
and
divers effects in Human
they produce many
Nobility;such are the natures and the powers of

those

stars, assembled

and

contained

within

one

of which
simple substance,through the medium
stars, as through different branches,it bears fruit in
all earnestness, I
with
various ways.
Certainly,
far as
so
make
bold to say that Human
Nobility,
many

of its fruits

are

considered,excels that of the

Divine in
Angel,althoughthe Angelicmay be more
its unity.
into such
Of this Nobility
of ours, which fructifies
the Psalmist had perception
fruits and so numerous,
O
he composed that Psalm which begins:
when
"

236

THE

Lord

our

how

God,

all the Earth

"

at the Divine

saying: "What
him

Thou

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

ALIGHIERI.

admirable

where

he

is

Thy
praisesman,

Name
as

through
if wondering

affection for this Human


that

is man,
hast made

Thou, God,

him

littlelower

Creature,
dost

visit

than the

him with glory and


Angels ; Thou hast crowned
the works
of Thy
honour, and placed him over
hands."
suitable
it was
a beautiful and
Then, truly,
comparisonto compare Heaven with Human
Nobility.
and the
Then, when the Song says, In women
A
modesty is seen, Not virtue,noble yet,"
young
it proves
that Nobilityextends
into parts where
noble yet,"alluding
Virtue is not ; and it says,
to
Nobilityas indeed a true safeguard,being where
there is shame
or
modesty, that is to say, fear of
and youths,where
dishonour,as it is in maidens
shame
or
modesty is good and praiseworthy
; which
shame
but a certain good
or
modesty is not virtue,
and the young,"
passion. And it says, In women
pher
that is to say, in youths; because,as the Philosoexpresses it in the fourth book of the Ethics,
nor
shame, bashfulness,
modesty,is not praiseworthy
of studious habits,
in men
good in the old nor
it is fit that they beware of those
because to them
In youths
thingswhich would lead them to shame.
such caution is not so much
and maidens
required,
the fear of receivingdisand therefore in them
honour
fault is praiseworthy. It
through some
and it is possible
to account
springsfrom Nobility,
their timid bashfulness to be Nobility. Baseness
and ignobleways
produce impudence : wherefore it
is a good and excellent sign of Nobilityin children
"

"

"

and

persons
their shame
shame

of tender years when, after some


fault,
is paintedin their face,which blush of

is then the fruit of true

Nobility.

THE

FOURTH

TREATISE.

CHAPTER

XX.

WHEN

it proceedsto say,
noble,as From black comes

"

Comes

237

virtue from what's

the text advances


violet,"
to the desired definition of Nobility,
by which one
what this Nobilityis of which
see
so
may
many
people speak erroneously.It says then,drawing a
conclusion
from
that which has been said before,
that each Virtue,or rather its generator, that is to
stands firm in
say, the habit of rightchoice,which
due moderation,will springforth from this,
that is,
Nobility. And it givesan example in the colours,
saying,as from the black the violet,so this Virtue
springsfrom Nobility.The violet is a mixed colour
of purpleand black,but the black prevails,
and the
colour is named

from

it.

And

thus

the Virtue is

thing of Nobilityand Passion ; but,because


the Virtue takes its name
from it,
Nobilityprevails,

mixed

and

by

Then

is called Goodness.
that which

has been

afterwards

said,that

no

it argues,

ought

man

to

boastfully,I am of such and such a race or


family; nor ought he to believe that he is of this
And
Nobilityunless the fruits of it are in him.
immediatelyit renders a reason, saying that those
who have this Grace, that is to say, this Divine thing,
"

say

"

are

almost

Gods
has

and

no

God

alone,with

one

Divine

as

even

as

the
whom

it were,
power

spot of vice,
bestow this except
respectof persons,

without
to

there is no

Scripturemakes

manifest.

And

it

appear too extravagant when it says, "They


in the
are
as
Gods/' for as it is argued previously
there
as
even
seventh chapterof the third treatise,

does not

are

men

Noble

most

vile and

and Divine.

And

bestial

so

are

men

most

this Aristotle proves in the

chapterof

seventh

poet

OF

BANQUET

THE

238

Ethics

therefore,let
of

Uberti

those

not

Because

:m, say,

the text

by

of the

of such

am

of Homer
who

men

those

Florence,nor
"

ALIGHIERI.

DANTE

the
of the

are

Visconti

familyor

of

race,

Noble," for the Divine seed fallsnot into a race


vidual
indiof men, that is,into a family;but jt falls into^
and, as will be proved below, the
persons,
I

am

does
family

make

not

individual persons
Noble, but
make
the familyNoble.

the individual persons


Then when it says,

"

God

onlygivesit to the Soul,"


that is,of the
the argument is of the susceptive,
subjectwhereon this Divine giftdescends,which is
indeed d Divine gift,
according to the word of the
Apostle : Every good giftand every perfectgift
from above, proceedingfrom the Father
of
comes
Light." It says then that God alone impartsthis
"

Grace

the Soul that He

to

of that

whom

man

fit to

and

He

receive

sees

to

sees

in his

own

pure, within

be

the Soul

perfectly
prepared

proper

person

this

action; for,according as the Philosopher


in the second
chapter Of the Soul, things
be prepared for their agents and
qualified

Divine
says
must
to

if the Soul is perfectly


receive their acts ; wherefore
imto receive this
prepared,it is not qualified

blessed

Divine

and

stone, if it is

badly cut

Guido

which

as

precious

prepared,wherever

or

it is

receive the celestial virtue ; even


as
Guinizzelli said,in a Song of his

cannot
imperfect,

that noble

infusion,even

will
begins: To gentle hearts Love ever
for the Soul to be unqualified
repair."It is possible
defect of temper, or perhaps through
through some
some

"

sinister circumstances

person

lives,and

Divine

radiance

of such

men

as

into
never

of the time in which

Soul

shines.

these,whose

so

unhappy
And

Souls

as

it may
are

the

this the
be

said

deprivedof

THE

this

FOURTH

TREATISE.

Light, that they


the

towards

the

wherein

North, or
lightof the

reflected from

another

are

deep valleysturned

as

rather
Sun

239

subterranean
enters

never

part which

has

caves

unless it be

caught its rays.

has been
Finally,it deduces, from that which
previouslysaid, that the Virtues are the fruit of
and that God
Nobility,
placesthat Nobilityin the
Soul which
has a good foundation.
For to some,
that is,to those who have intellect,
who are but few,
it is evident that human
Nobilityis no other than
the seed of Happiness.
That

seed of

Happiness

Falls in the hearts of few,


Planted

by

God

Spread to
that

within

the Souls

receive His dew ;

say, whose

is to

body is in every part perfectly


prepared,ordered,or qualified.
For if the Virtues
the fruit of Nobility,
and
are
acquired through
Happiness is pleasureor sweetness
or
by them, it is evident that this Nobilityis the
if one
said.
And
seed of Happiness, as has been
considers well, this definition comprehends all the
four arguments, that is to say, the material,the
formal, the

the

and
efficient,

final :

much
material,inasspread to receive,"

it says, "to the Soul


material
and
is the
subject of

as

which

formal,inasmuch
inasmuch
"

Soul ;
Heaven's

as

it says,

it says,
final,inasmuch
as

blessing.And

"

"

Planted

Nobility;
"

That

seed ; efficient,
within the
God

by

of Happiness,"
it says,
thus is defined this our good
"

as

from
gift,which descends into us in like manner
the Supreme and
SpiritualPower, as virtue into a
preciousstone from a most noble celestial body.

THE

240

OF

BANQUET

CHAPTER
THAT

have

ALIGHIERI.

DANTE

XXI.

perfectknowledge of
in us
Human
Goodness, as it is the originalcause
it is requisite
be called Nobility,
of all good that can
in this especial
to explainclearly
chapterhow this
may

we

Goodness

descends

more

into

us.

the first

place,it comes
by the Natural way,
and then by the Theological
way, that is to say, the
Divine and Spiritual.In the firstplace,
it is to be
known
that man
is composed of Soul and body ;
but that Goodness
or
Nobilityis of the Soul,as has
In

been

said,and is after the

of seed from

manner

the

By different philosophersit has


been differently
argued concerningthe difference in
Souls ; for Avicenna
and Algazelwere
of opinion
our
that Souls of themselves and from their beginning
Divine

were

Virtue.

Noble

or

Base.

Plato

and

others

some

were

opinion that they proceededby the stars, and


less accordingto the nobility
of
Noble more
were
or
the star.
of opinionthat all were
Pythagoraswas
of one
not
Souls, but with
nobility,
only human
of

human

Souls those of the brute animals

of minerals ; and
all the difference in the bodies is form.

trees

were

would

they

and

to

be
seem

the forms

defend
seen

his

it might
opinion,

to be in all.

somewhat

But since

distant from

and

of the

he said that
If each

be that Truth
on

the surface

the

Truth, one
but
opinions,

proceedaccordingto those
accordingto the opinion of Aristotle and of
And
therefore I say that when
Peripatetics.
human
seed falls into its receptacle,
that is,into
must

not

matrix, it bears with it the virtue

Soul,and
generative

the virtue

or

one

the
the
the

of the
power
of Heaven,
power
or

THE

the virtue

and

bound

FOURTH

or

nature

the

of the

power

together,that
of

TREATISE.

seed.

is the

generatingSoul
or

or

bestows

virtue prepares
which
power,

seed, the

Soul

involution
and

prepares
virtue which

the

power

soon

of the Mover
or

the
the

power

for the celestial virtue

produces,from
in life; which, as

the power
passiveintellect

or

complex

or

power or
; and the formative

the organs

receives from
the

aliments united

It matures

material for the formative

241

as

produced,

of the Heaven

which

mind,

of the

potentially

brings together in itself all the universal forms


and so much
accordingas they are in its producer,
the less in proportionas it is farther removed
from
the first Intelligence.
difficult
Let no one
marvel if I speak what seems
to understand
a miracle how
; for to myselfit seems
it is possible
to arrive at a conclusion
even
ing
concernit,and to perceiveit with the intellect. It is
the
not
a
thing to reveal in language,especially
language of the Vulgar Tongue ; wherefore I will
did the Apostle:
as
Oh, great is the
say, even
prehensible
of God : how incomdepth of the riches of Wisdom
are
Thy judgments,and Thy ways past
of
And
since the complex nature
findingout !
less good, and the
the seed may
be better and
be better
of the receiver of the seed may
disposition
of the dominant
and less good, and the disposition
be good and better and
Heaven
to this effect may
which
are
best,which varies in the constellations,
continuallytransformed ; it befalls that from the
"

"

human

seed

and

from

these virtues

or

powers

the

less pure ; and according


or
produced more
into it the virtue or
to its purity there descends
it is
as
of the possible
or
passiveintellect,
power
if ifc
called,and as it has been spoken of, And
Soul

is

happen

OF

BANQUET

THE

242

ALIGHIERI,

DANTE

through the purityof

the

Soul
receptive
separateand absolute,

that

the intellectual power is indeed


free from all corporeal
shadow, the Divine

Goodness

in it,as in a thing sufficient to receive


multiplies
in the Soul of
that good gift; and then it multiplies
this intelligent
being,accordingas it can receive it ;
and this is that seed of Happiness of which
we
speak at present. And this is in harmony with the
opinionof Tullius in that book on Old Age when,
For this
speaking personallyof Cato, he says :
descended
into us from the
reason
a celestial spirit
into a placewhich
having come
highesthabitation,
is adverse to the Divine
Nature
and to Eternity."
"

And

in such

Soul

as

this there is its own

individual

intellectual power, and the Divine


power ; that is to say, that influence which has been
Therefore it is written in the book On
mentioned.
Noble

"Each

Causes:
is to

the

and

power,

the

say,

Divine."

animal,
there

And

Soul has three

are

the
some

that
operations,
and
the
intellectual,
men

who

hold such

opinionsthat they say, if all the precedingpowers


in their
to unite in the productionof a Soul
were
best disposition,
arrangement, order,that into that
Soul would
descend
much
of the Deity that it
so
would

be

it

as

this is almost
the Natural
the

were

another

God

Incarnate

all that it is possible


to say

; and

concerning

way.

to say that,
Theological
way it is possible
when
the Supreme Deity, that is,God, sees
His
creature
so
prepared to receive His good gift,
freely
He imparts it to His creature
in proportionas it
is prepared or qualified
because
to receive it. And
these gifts
proceedfrom ineffable Love,and the Divine
is appropriate
Love
therefore it
to the Holy Spirit,
is that they are called the giftsof the Holy Spirit,

By

THE

FOURTH

TREATISE.

243

the Prophet Isaiah distinguishes


as
which, even
them, are
namely, Wisdom, Intelligence,
seven,
Counsel, Courage,Knowledge, Pity,and the Fear
of God.
O, good green blades, and good and
wonderful
And

the seed !

O,

seed, who

admirable

and

benign

dost

prepare

the

blessed

are

only wait
ground for Thee
those

who

for

Sower

human

wherein

till the

to

land

to

of

the

nature

to

sow

O,

fit it to

such seed !

receive

Here

it is to be known

that the firstnoble

shoot

which

germinates from this seed that it may be


is the desire or appetiteof the mind, which
fruitful,
in Greek
is called "hormen;" and
if this is not
well cultivated and held upright by good habits,
the seed is of little worth, and it would
be better
if it had

not

And

been

therefore

also in the second


himself

accustom

passions,in

order

sown.

Augustine urges, and Aristotle


should
book of Ethics,that man
to do good, and
to bridle in his

St.

that

this shoot

which

has

been

strong through good habits,


grow
may
confirmed
that it may
in its uprightness,
so

mentioned
and

be

and
fructify,
of Human

from

Happiness.

CHAPTER
IT

issue the sweetness

its fruit may

is the commandment

XXII.

Philosophers
they have spoken,

of the Moral

that, of the good giftswhereof


Man

ought

to

put his thoughtand

into the effort to


to the

make

receiver. Wherefore

them

as

his anxious
useful

I,wishingto

as

care

possible

be obedient

to such

mandate, intend

[Convito]as

useful

parts. And

because

to

be

able

to

of

sweetness

each

BANQUET
of

one

its

in this part it occurs


to me
somewhat
concerning the

Happiness, I

Human

be

to render this my

possiblein

as

reason

there could not

ALIGHIERL

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

244

consider

that

useful discourse,
especially

more

it not ; for as the Philosopher


of Ethics,and Tullius in that
says in the firstbook
book Of the Ends of Good
and Evil,he shoots badly

to

at the mark

but
not

who

sees

ill advance

it not.

towards

begin with

it is
we

know

who

those

this sweet

of
perception

final rest for which

our

can, most

this mark

useful and

in order to

work.

And

Divine

Goodness

Even

it is most

we

it.

thus

man

can

joy who does


Wherefore,since

live and

most

aim

necessary
at it the bow

labour

as

it is to

see

of this

our

essential to make

it

inviting
the mark
when
do not see
those who
to
simply
pointedout.
Leaving alone,then,the opinionwhich
Epicurus the philosopherhad concerningit,and
likewise had, I intend to come
that which
Zeno
summarily to the true opinion of Aristotle and of
the other Peripatetics.
As it is said above,of the
cause
original
shoot,which

of

sown
our

in us, from the


there springsup a
production,

the Greeks

and

term

infused

"hormen,"

of the soul.
say, the natural appetite
And
it is with the blades of corn
as

that is to

which, when
they first shoot forth,have in the beginning one
similar appearance,
being in the grass-like
stage,
and
like,
unthen, by process of time, they become
this Natural
which
so
appetite,
springsfrom
the Divine
Grace, in the beginning appears as it
unlike that which
not
were
comes
nakedly from
Nature ; but with it,even
the herbage born of
as
various grainsof corn, it has the same
appearance,

THE

as

but

it

were

in

and
and

men

FOURTH

not

TREATISE.

only

in the

in beasts there

245

blades

is the

of

corn,

litude.
simi-

same

And

as

it appears that every animal,as soon


it is born, both rational and brute beast,loves

and
itself,

fears and

flies from

those

thingswhich
adverse to it,and hates them, then proceeding
are
has been
said.
And
there begins a difference
as
between them in the progress of this Natural appetite,
for the one
road, and the other to
keeps to one
another ; even
the Apostle says :
as
Many run to
the goal, but there is but one
who
reaches it."
Even
thus these Human
appetitesfrom the beginning
run
through different paths,"nd there is one
fore,
path alone which leads us to our peace ; and thereleavingall the others alone,it is for the treatise
of that one
who beginswell.
to follow the course
I say, then, that from the beginninga man
loves
the distinguishi
himself,although indistinctly
; then comes
of those thingswhich to him are more
or
"

less ; to
follows

be

more

after and

or

less loved

flies from

hated ; and

or

either

more

or

he
less

not only
righthabit distinguishes,
he loves in a secondary
in the other thingswhich
for he even
in himself which
distinguishes
manner,
in himself
thing he loves principally
perceiving
; and

accordingas

he

the

divers parts,those which are the noblest in him


loves most.
But, since the noblest part of man

is the

Mind, he

loves

that

more

than

the

Body ;
through

and
thus, loving himself principally,
himself other things,
and of himself lovingthe better
part most, it is evident that he loves the Mind more
it
than the Body or any other thing; and the Mind
other thing he
than any
is that, naturally,
more
ought to love.
of
in the use
Then, if the Mind always delights
and

DAN7"E

OF

BANQUET

THE

246

ALIGHIERI.

the beloved

thing,which is the fruit of love,the use


beloved is especially
of that thingwhich is especially
of our
Mind
is especially
: the use
delightful
ful
delightto us, and that which is especially
to us
delightful
becomes
our
Happiness and our Beatitude,beyond
which there is no greaterdelightor pleasure,
nor
any
equalto it,as may be seen by him who looks well at
the precedingargument.
And
no
one
ought to say that every appetiteis
Mind ; for here one
understands
Mind
solelyas that
which
belongsto the Rational part,that is,the Will
the Intellect ; so that if any one
should wish
call Mind
the appetiteof the Senses,here it has
and

no

doubts
it have any abiding; for no one
Rational appetiteis more
noble than the

place,nor

can

the

that

to

Sensual,and

therefore

this of which

we

to

more

be

loved ; and

so

is

speaking.
of our
The
Mind
is double, that is to say,
use
Practical and Speculative(itis Practical insomuch
of acting)
the one
and
it has the power
as
; both
in their use, but that of
the other are
delightful
has been said
as
Contemplationis the most pleasing,
The

above.

are

now

of the Practical

use

is to

act

in

or

that is to say, honestly or


through us virtuously,
uprightly,with Prudence, with Temperance, with
tive
Courage,and with Justice. The use of the Speculais not to work or act throughus, but to consider
the

works

of God

Beatitude

other

form

which

is the sweetness

our

and

of

Nature.

and

of the

This

and

the

Supreme Happiness,
before-mentioned
seed,

To this often such seed


clearlyappears.
does
not
or
attain, through being ill cultivated,
through its tender growing shoots beingperverted.
it is quitepossible,
In like manner
tion
by much correcas

now

and

cultivation of him

into whom

this seed does

THE

FOURTH

TREATISE.

fall

to induce it by the process


primarily,
of
after goodness, so
that it\may
steady endeavour
attain to the power
of bearing this fruit. AnH
it
of grafting
the nature
is, as it were, a method
of
not

another
No

upon

different stock.

can
therefore,

man,

his natural root

if from

hold himself excused


the

man

does

not

; for

produce

it is possible
for him to have it by the profruit,
cess
of grafting
; and in fact there would be as many
who should be graftedas those are who, sprung from
a good root, allow themselves
to grow degenerate.
Of the two ways
of goodness,one
is more
full of
bliss than the other,as
is the Speculative,
which
of our
noblest part without
is the use
any alloy,
and which, for the root, Love, as has been said,
is
to be loved as the intellect. And
in this
especially
of this part
life it is not possibleto have the use
which is to see
God, who is the Supreme
perfectly,
much
Being to be comprehended by the Mind, except inassweet

the

as

intellect considers

Him

His
through His effects,

may
the

seek

this Beatitude

Him

Works.

and

beholds

And

that

we

the

and not
supreme,
other,that is,that of the Active Life,the Gospel
as

teaches us, if we
will look at it well.
says that Mary Magdalene,and Mary the

of St. Mark

Mark

James, and Mary Salome went to find the


Saviour in the Tomb, and they found Him
not, but
they found a youth clothed in white, who said to
seek the Saviour, and I tell you that
You
them :
but
He is not here ; and therefore be not affrighted,
and Peter that He goeth
go and tell His disciples
before you into Galilee ; and there ye shall see Him,
He said unto you." By these three women
as
may
be understood the three sects of the Active Life,that
the Stoics,and the Periis to say, the Epicureans,
mother

of

"

OF

BANQUET

THE

248

ALIGHIERL

DANTE

who go to the Tomb, that is to say, to the


patetics,
of corruptible
present World, which is the receptacle
things,and seek for the Saviour,that is,Beatitude,
and they find it not ; but they find a youth in white
garments, who, according to the testimony of
was
an
Matthew, and also of the other Evangelists,
therefore Matthew
And
said :
The
Angel of God.
Angel of the Lord descended from Heaven, and
and rolled back the stone from the door,and
came
like lightning,
it. His countenance
sat upon
was
The Angel is this
and his raiment white as snow."
from God, as it has
Nobilityof ours which comes
been said,of which our argument speaks,and says to
"

each

of these

one

is,to whoever

sects, that
the

perfectHappiness in

Life,that it is not
and Peter,that is,
disciples
Active

here ; but go and tell the


seek for it and
tell those who

astraylike Peter, who

seeks

who

are

gone

Him, that He will


tude
go before them into Galilee ; meaning that the Beatior
Happiness will go before us into Galilee,that
is,into Contemplation; Galilee is as much as to say,
is

Whiteness

Whiteness.
more
light,

than

so

full of

thingwhich

is below.

denied

full of material

colour

other ; and

thus,Contemplation
Spiritual
lightthan any other

any

more

is

had

those

it says, " He will go before you," but it does


stand
underHe will be with you,"to make
us
say,

And

"

not

contemplationGod always goes


is it ever
possibleto us to attain to
Him, our Supreme Bliss. And it says,
ye see Him, as He said unto you ;" that

that in
before.
Him
"

Nor

here,to

There

is to

shall

our

say, there

you

wrill receive

is,of the Happiness as


here,as it is established that

that

And

thus

it appears

of His

it is
you

that

promised to

may
our

Sweetness,
you

receive it

Beatitude, this

THE

FOURTH

TREATISE.

249

Happiness of which we speak,firstwe are able to


find imperfectin the Active Life,that is,in the
operationsof the Moral Virtues,and then almost
perfectin the operationsof the Intellectual Virtues ;
which
two
operationsare speedy and most direct
to lead to the Supreme Bliss,
which
it is not
ways
possibleto have here below, even as appears by that
which

has been

said.

CHAPTER

SINCE

the

definition

XXIII.
of

Nobility is sufficiently

demonstrated, and since in all its parts it has


been made
that wre can
as
as
so
explicit
possible,
who is the Nobleman, it seems
now
see
right to
proceedto the part of the text which begins, Souls
this Grace adorns,"in whom
whom
appear the signs
the Noble Man.
to know
by which it is possible
This
In the first it
part is divided into two.
affirms that this Nobilityis resplendent,
and that it
shines forth manifestly
during the whole life of the
Noble Man
it appears specifically
in
; in the second
and this second part begins, In Childhood
its glory,
they obey." With regard to the first part, it is to
that this Divine
be known
seed, which has been
previously
spoken of,germinatesimmediatelyin our
Soul, combining with and changing its form with
each form of the Soul,accordingto the exigencyof
that power.
It germinates,
then, as the Vegetative,
it
the Sensitive,and
the
as
as
Rational, and
branches out throughthe virtues or powers of all of
and sustaining
them, guidingall those to their perfection,
itselfin them always,
to the pointwhen,
even
"

"

THE

250

OF

BANQUET

with that part of our


to the highestand
seed

in Heaven

part which
"

In

DANTE

ALIGHIERL

Soul which
the most

; and

has been

dies,it returns

never

Sower
glorious

it expresses

mentioned.

of the

this in that first


Then

when

it says,

Childhood

they obey, Are gentle,modest," it


shows how we
can
recognizethe Noble Man by the
apparent signs,which are the Divine operationof
this goodness. And
this part is divided into four,
as

it is made

to

represent four different ages, such

Adolescence, Youth, Old Age, and Extreme


Old Age.
The second part begins, Are temperate
the third begins, Are prudent in their
in Youth ;
Age ; the fourth begins, The fourth part of their
is contained
life." Herein
the purpose of this part
with regard to which
in general,
it is desirable to
know
that each effect,
inasmuch
it is an effect,
as
it
receives the likeness of its cause
in proportion
as
it.
is capableof retaining
has been said,and
as
Wherefore, since our
life,
also the life of every livingcreature
here below, is
is revealed in all such
caused by Heaven, Heaven
effects as these,
not, indeed,with the completecircle,
Thus
but with part of it,in them.
its movement
be not onlywith them, but beyond them, and as
must
arch of liferetains (and I say retains,
not only of
one
almost all the
creatures)
men, but also of other living
ascendingand descending,
they must be, as it
lives,
as

"

"

"

"

were,

"

similar in appearance

to the form

of the arch.

of lifewhich at present
then,to our course
Returning,
are
we
seekingto understand,I say that it proceeds
of this arch, ascendingand descending.
after the manner
And
this arch

should

it is to be known
be

material of the seed

equal to
from

in its nature, did not

which

that the ascent


its
we

of

descent,if the
so
plex
comspring,

impede the

law of Human

THE

But

Nature.

qualitymore
effect

FOURTH

that the arch

251

is of

root

stronger to endure

better
in

one

in

another,being subjectto the


it happens
heat,which is our life,

of the

nutriment

humid

less,and

than

more

the

since
or

TREATISE.

of the life of

than that
of greater extent
shortened by a violent death

is of less

man

one

or

of

another,life being
accidental
or
by some
injury; but that which is called natural by the people
it is said by the Psalmist,
is that span of which
Thou
settest up a boundary which it is not possible
since the Master among
those here
to pass." And
had perception
of this arch of which
Aristotle,
living,
to be of opinionthat our life
now
we
speak,and seems
and one
should be no other than one
ascent
descent,
therefore he says, in that chapterwhere he treats of
is no other than
Youth
and of Old Age, that Youth
the top of this arch may
increase of life. Where
an
be,it is difficultto know, on account of the inequality
which has been spoken of above, but for the most
"

part I believe between


man

and

year,

believe

it is at the

the thirtieth and


that

in the

the fortieth

natural
perfectly
this

And

thirty-fifth
year.

reason

weight with me : that our Saviour Jesus Christ


natural man, who chose to die in the
a perfect
was
not suitable
thirty-fourth
year of His age ; for it was
for the Deity to have
place in the descending

has

segment
not

wish

summit
even

His

to

dwell

in this life of

of it,since He

from
death

conform
was

; neither is it to be believed that

childhood.
makes

with

about

His

had
And

been

ours

even

in the

the sixth hour

when

Luke
He

the

part

day

of

willed that to

this evident,for He
life; wherefore

to

lower

of the

the hour

would

He

says

that it

died,that

is to

fore
pointof the day ; wheresay, the heightor supreme
to comprehend by that,as it were,
it is possible

THE

252

OF

BANQUET

DANTE

ALIGHIERL

the height
thirty-fifth
year of Christ was
or
Truly this arch is not
pointof His age.
supreme
but if we follow
in the Scriptures,
half distinguished
the four connecting links of the differing
qualities
of which
to each one
which are in our composition,
one
part of our age, it is
appears to be appropriated
divided into four parts,and they are called the four
which is appropriated
ages. The firstis Adolescence,
moist ; the second is Youth, which
to the hot and
is appropriated
to the hot and dry ;- the third is Old
to the cold and dry; the
Age, which is appropriated
Old Age, which is appropriated
fourth is Extreme
to
the cold and moist, as Albertus
Magnus writes in
And
these parts
the fourth chapterof the Metaura.

that at -the

or

divisions

made

are

in

similar

in Spring,in Summer, in Autumn,


year
in the day even
And
it is the same
Winter.
"

sixth in the
which

reason

from

and
Gentiles

and

to the

to

even

the

vespers

onwards.

And

said that the chariot of the

therefore the
Sun

had

horses ; they called the first Eoo, the second


the third Eton, the fourth Phlegon,even
as
writes

in

in

ninth,leavingthe
of this part,or division,
middle
for the
is understood,and then even
to vespers,

third hour, and

then

in the

manner

the

second

concerningthe parts or
it is to
And, briefly,

book

of

the

divisions of

four

Piroi,
Ovid

Metamorphoses
the day.

be known

that,as it has been


the sixth chapterof the third treatise,

said above

in

the Church

makes

use

of the hours

temporalin

the

day,which hours are twelve in each


of sunlight
day, long or short accordingto the amount
the sixth hour,that is,the midday,
; and because
noble of the whole day, and has in
is the most
division of the

are
virtue,the Offices of the Church
approximatedthereto in each side,that is,from the

it the

most

THE

prime, and
and

FOURTH

thence

TREATISE.

onwards

therefore the Office of

253

much

as

possible;
is,the tertius,
as

prime,that

is said at the end

part and

of that part, and that of the third


of the fourth is said at the beginning
; and

before
therefore,
day, it is termed
when

nones,

and

the clock strikes in


half-third
that

in

or

division

division of the

mid-tertius ;
the clock

or

has

mid-

struck,

thus

mid-vespers.
let each one
know that the right
And, therefore,
and lawful nones
ought always to strike or sound at
the beginningof the seventh hour of the day,and let
this sufficeto the present digression.

CHAPTER
RETURNING

to

the

XXIV.

I say
proposition,

that Human

four ages or stages. The firstis


into,
called Adolescence,that is,the growth or increase of
Life is divided

life; the

Youth, that is,the age


which
and for this reason
can
one
give perfection,
because no man
understands this Youth
to be perfect,
can
give except of that which he has ; the third is
called Old Age ; the fourth is called Senility,
Extreme
Old Age, as has been said above.
Of the first no
one
doubts, but each wise man
that it lasts even
to the twenty-fifth
year ;
agrees
and

up
increase

second

to

and

that

is called

time

our

the embellishment

Soul

waits

of the

for

body.

the

While

many and very great changes in the person,


the pov/er
the rational part cannot
possess perfectly
wills that,
of discretion ; wherefore,the Civil Law

there

are

cannot
previousto that age, a man
without a guardianof perfectage.

clo certain

things

OF

BANQUET

THE

254

Of the second,which

DANTE

is the

ALTGHIERL

heightof

the
life,
But leavingthat
write concerning

taken by many.
variously
and medical men
which philosophers
it,and returningto the proper argument, we
may
in
whom
in
and ought
most
men
one
can
say that,
to be guided by natural judgment,that age lasts for

time

is

our

twenty years. And


that
is,

conclusion

the

which

reason

leads

me

to this

the

heightor supreme pointof our


bow is in the thirty-fifth
much
or
arc
year ; just so
this age has of ascent, so much
it ought to have
as
of descent ; and this ascent passes into descent,as it
the centre,where one
would hold
were, at the point,
the bow in the hand, at which place a slight
flexion
be discerned.
of opinion,
We
are
then, that
may
Youth
is completedin the forty-fifth
year.
Adolescence
And
is in the twenty-five
as
years
which proceedmounting upwards to Youth : so the
of
descent,that is,Old Age, is an equal amount
time which succeeds to Youth
Age
; and thus Old
in the seventieth year.

terminates
But

beginning of
been

Adolescence

because

said

because

taking it in the way


from
about eightmonths

at

which

"

life strives to

our

begin

not

life

but

"

does

the
has

birth ; and
curbs itself

ascend, and

in the descent ; because the natural heat is lessened


do little,
and the moist humour
is increased,
and can
that it is less able
so
quality,
to evaporate and be consumed
; ithappensthat beyond
Old Age there remains
of our lifean amount, perhaps,
not

in

but
quantity,

of about
this time

ten

years,

in

littlemore

of life is termed

Senility.Wherefore

we

which

caused

littleless ; and

Old

Extreme

know

may well say that he was


and
because of his perfection
one

or

of Plato
a

son

of

because

Socrates

to

Age, or
(of whom

Nature, both
of his

love

him

tenance,
coun-

when

THE

firsthe

FOURTH

TREATISE.

255

him),that he lived eightyand one years,


accordingto the testimonyof Tullius in that book
On
Old Age.
I believe that if Christ had
And
been crucified,
not
and if He might have lived the
length of time which His life accordingto nature
could have passed over, at eightyand one
years He
would have been transformed
from the mortal body
saw

into the eternal.

Truly,as has been said above,these ages may be


longer or shorter accordingto our complexion or
temper and our constitution or composition
; but,as
that I observe this proporto me
they are, it seems
tion
in all men, as has been said,that is to say, that
in such men
the ages may be made
longeror shorter
of the whole term
of the
accordingto the integrity
natural life.

we

Throughout all these ages this Nobilityof which


speak manifests its effects in different ways in

the ennobled
the

the

in

one

age

and
in

us

of

nature

; and

different

demonstrate.

good

our

progress
see

to

we

Where

write

be

rather than at another.


due

order

held
The

present,

be

makes

known
forward

powers,

we

as

forward

therefore it is that different


to

at

it is to

upright nature
the reasoning
the plants make

deportment are

proceeds in

this part of

it is that which

Song, concerning which

intends
that

Soul ; and

progress
and

manners

reasonable
ennobled

at

Soul

path,employing
along a single

each of its powers


in its time and season, or even
as
they are all ordained to the final productionof the

perfectfruit.
in his book

On

And

Tullius

is in

harmony with
putting aside

Age. And
which
Virgilholds

Old

this
the

in the ,/Eneid
sense
figurative
concerningthis different progress of the ages, and
that be which Egidiusthe hermit mentions in
letting

256

OF

BANQUET

THE

ALIGHIERI.

DANTE

the first part On


the Government
of Princes,and
that be to which
Tullius alludes in his book
letting
Of

that alone which


and following
Reason
Offices,
of herself,
I say that this firstage is the door
can
see
and
and
the path through which
along which we
enter into our
good life, And this entrance must of
have certain thingswhich the good Nature,
necessity
which failsnot in thingsnecessary, givesto us ; as we
that she givesto the vine the leaves for the prosee
tection
of the fruit,and
the little tendrils which
enable it to twine round its supports,and thus bind
sustain the weight of
up its weakness, so that it can
its fruit. Beneficent Nature gives,
then,to this age
four thingsnecessary to the entrance
into the City of
the Good
The first is Obedience,the second
Life.
the third Modesty,the fourth Beauty of the
Suavity,
Body, even as the Song says in the first section of
that like one
who
this part. It is,then,to be known
who
would
how
has never
been in a city,
not know
to find his way

about

from

is accustomed

who

one

the streets

without

them,

to

adolescent

who

enters

into the Wood

life would

not

know

how

if it

not

were

Neither
obedient

would
to

to

pointed out

even

of Error

keep to
to

instruction

him

commands,

and

of this

good path

by

his

elders.
not

were

therefore

at

this

might be possible
for some
to speak thus : Then, is that man
one
shall follow evil guidance
to be called obedient who
well as he who shall believe the good ? I reply
as
that this would not be obedience,but transgression.
in one
For if the King should issue a command
way
in another,
and the servant giveforth the command
it would
not be rightto obey the servant, for that
would be to disobeythe King ; and thus it would be
age

obedience

is necessary.

Here

it

the

the

the instruction avail if he

their

so

THE

FO

UR TH

transgression.And
he

intends

to

therefore
his

correct

commandment

"

TREA

57

Solomon
and

son,

Listen,my

TISE.

says, when
this is his first

to the instruction

son,

of

him
thy father." And then he seeks to remove
immediatelyfrom the counsel and teachingof the
wicked man, saying, My son, if sinners entice thee,
"

thou not."

consent

Wherefore,as
the

breast

lightof

soon

of the

the Mind

mother

does

not

so

even

in him, he

appears

the correction of the


And

he is born,the

as

and
father,

soon

him

an

some

as

ought to

turn

to

the father to instruction.

let the father take heed


set

clingsto

son

example

in

that he himself
work

action

or

that is contrary to the words of the correction ; for


footto the prints
naturallywe see each son look more
of the

than to those of other

feet
paternal

And

therefore the Law, which

and

commands
to

appear

Thus

his

sons

it appears

father should

always honourable

that obedience

was

and

upright
in this

necessary

writes in the Book

therefore Solomon

age ; and

providesfor this,says

life of the

that the

men.

of

sustains
humbly and obediently
shall be
his justreproofsfrom the corrector
to
men
glorious.And he says shall be,"to cause
understand
that he speaks to the adolescent,who

Proverbs, that he who

"

in his present age.


should reflect on me because I have
be

cannot

so

due to the father and

not

to

to the father all other obedience

wherefore

obey

men,

oughtto

I say

that

be referred ;
"

Apostlesays to the Colossians : Sons,


for such is the will of
fathers in all things,

the

your

God."

other

if any one
said obedience is
And

the son
if the father be not in this life,
is said by the father in
to refer to that which
And

ought

his last Will


the

son

tate,
father ; and if the father die intesought to refer to him to whom the Law

as

258

THE

BANQUET

OF

DANTE

ALIGHIERL

authority
; and then ought the masters
and elders to be obeyed,for this appears to be a
reasonable charge laid upon the son
or
by the father,
by him who stands in the father's place.
But because this present chapterhas been long,on
in
of the useful digressions
which it contains,
account
another chapter
other thingsshall be discussed.

commits

his

CHAPTER

XXV.

good in Adolescence,is
only this Soul,naturally
obedient,but also gentle; which is the other thing
in this age to make
a
good entrance
necessary
throughthe portalof Youth.
have a perfect
It is necessary, since we
cannot
Aristotle expresses it in the
life without friends,
as
eighthbook of Ethics ; and the seed of the greater
in the first
number
of friendships
to be sown
seems
because in it a man
beginsto be gracious
age of life,
is acquiredby
the contrary. Such graciousness
or
gentlerules of conduct,as are sweet and courteous
speech,gentle service courteouslyrendered, and
actions kindly done
or
performed. And therefore
Solomon
SurelyGod
says to the adolescent son :
scorneth the scorners
; but He givethgrace unto the
lowly." And elsewhere he says : Put away from
thee a froward
mouth, and perverse lipsput far
Wherefore
from thee."
it appears that,as has been
is necessary.
said,this suavityor affability
Likewise
to this age the passion of modesty is
which
is good
necessary ; and therefore the nature
it in this age, even
the Song
and noble shows
as
And
since modesty is the clearest sign,
in
says.
NOT

"

"

THE

FOURTH

TREATISE.

259

of Nobility,
because there itis especially
Adolescence,
necessary to the good foundation of our
life,at
which the noble nature
aims,it is rightto speak of
it somewhat.
three passions
By modesty I mean
or strong feelings
necessary to the foundation of our
good life : the one is wonder, the next is modesty,
the third is shame, althoughthe common
peopledo
not

discern this distinction.

And

all three of these

for this reason


: at this age
necessary to this life,
it is requisite
and desirous for knowto be reverent
ledge
are

; at this age
so
as
self-controlled,

due

bounds

at

it is necessary
not

this

to

to be
requisite
transgressor pass beyond

age

or

it is necessary
be
to
accustomed
not to grow

so
as
penitentfor a fault,
And
all these thingsthe aforesaid
to doing wrong.
passionsor strong feelingsdo, which vulgarlyare

called shame

; for wonder

is

an

of the

amazement

at
beholdinggreat and wonderful things,
them in some
hearingthem, or feeling
way or other ;
as
for,inasmuch
they appear great, they excite
in him who sees them ; inasmuch
as
reverence
they
him
who
wonderful,they make
perceives
appear
And
them.
them desirous of knowledgeconcerning
tions
therefore the ancient Kings in their palaces
or habitaworks in gold and in marble
set up magnificent

mind

and
them

at

of art, in order that those who should see


and therefore reverent
should become astonished,

works

into the honourable conditions of the King.


inquirers
Therefore Statins,
the sweet Poet,in the firstpart of
when Adrastus, King
the Theban
History,
says that,
covered with the skin
of the Argives,
saw
Polynices
of a lion,
and saw
Tydeus covered with the hide of
the replythat
wild boar, and recalled to mind
a
Apollo had given concerning his daughters,he
and
reverent
became
amazed, and therefore more
I

BANQUET

THE

260

ALIGHIERl.

DANTE

OF

desirous for

ing,
knowledge. Modesty is a shrinka
drawing-back of the mind from unseemly
into them ; even
as
things,with the fear of falling
and
in good women,
in
in virginsand
we
see
more

adolescent

or

young

only when
urged to do
not

flashes

tempted

but

when

the

first book

the

even

mind,

which either
face,
rosy-red. Wherefore
the

are

they are
so,

across

who

men,

some

do wrong, and
fancied joy

the

feelingis depictedin
flushes
or
palewith fear,

grows

the

to

that

modest

so

before-mentioned

poet, in

of the Thebaid

alreadyquoted,says
that when Acesta the nurse
of Argia and Deiphile,
the daughtersof King Adrastus,led them before the
of the
eyes of their holy father into the presence
that is to say, Polynicesand Tydeus,
two
pilgrims,
the virginsgrew
pale and blushed rosy-red,and
their eyes shunned
the glance of any other person,
and theykept them fixed on the paternal
face alone,
if there were
as
safety. This modesty how many
does it bridle in,or repress ?
On how many
errors
immodest
questions and impure things does it
much
dishonest greed does
impose silence ! How
it repress ! In the chaste woman,
againsthow many
evil temptationsdoes it rouse
not only in
mistrust,
her !
How
her,but also in him who watches over
unseemly words does it restrain ! for, as
many
Tullius says in the firstchapterof the Offices :
No
action is unseemly which
is not unseemly in the
and Noble
the Modest
naming." And furthermore,
Man
could speak in such a manner
that to a
never
"

*'

his words

woman

she

could

every
which
woman

man

hear.
who

would
!

be

would

not

be

Alas, how great


seeks for honour, to
deemed

and

decent

evil in the

is

the

mention

mouth

such
evil

as

in

things
of any

THE

Shame

is

FOURTH

TREATISE.

fear of dishonour

and from this fear there


for the

which
fault,

which
grief,

261

has

mitted,
throughfault comsprings
up a penitence

in itself a

is a chastisement and

bitter

sorrow

or

preservative
against

future

wrong-doing. Wherefore this same


poet says,
in that same
was
part,that when Polynices
questioned
Adrastus
tated
by King
concerning his life,he hesiat first through shame
to speak of the crime
which he had committed
and also
againsthis father,
for the sins of GEdipus,his father,
which appeared to
remain

in the shame

his

of the

son

; therefore he named

his ancestors, and


his country,
and his mother ; and therefore it does indeed appear
that shame
is necessary
that age.
to
And
the

not

noble

father,but

reveals in this age, not only obedience,


and
gentleness,
modesty, but it shows
affability,
nature

beauty and

as

the

Song

presses
ex-

To furnish Virtue's person with The graces


need."
Here it is to be known
that this work
:

it may

agilityof body, even

"

of beneficent Nature
for

our

Soul

must

is also necessary to our good life,


work in the greater part of all its

with a bodilyorgan ; and then it works


operations
well when the body through all its parts is well proportioned
and appointed. And
when it is well proportioned
then it is beautiful throughand appointed,
out
and in all its parts ; for the due orderingor proportion
of our limbs produces a pleasing
impression
of I know
not what of wonderful
harmony ; and the
that is to say, the health of mind
good disposition,
and body,throws over all a colouring
to behold.
sweet
And
the

thus to say that the noble nature takes heed for


monious,
it fair and hargraces of the body, and makes

saying that it prepares it


ordained for
renders it fit to attain the perfection
and those other thingswhich have been discussed
is tantamount

and
it :

to

262

THE

BANQUET

OF

DANTE

ALIGHIERL

to be

to Adolescence,which the noble


requisite
Mind, that is to say, the noble Nature,furnishes forth
to it in the firstyears of life,
as
growth of the seed
therein by the Divine Providence.
sown
seem

CHAPTER

SINCE
we

can

XXVI.

the firstsection of this part,which shows


recognizethe Noble Man by apparent

is reasoned

out, it is

how

signs,

rightto proceed to the second


which begins: Are temperate in Youth, And
section,
resolutely
strong."
cence
It says, then,that as the noble Nature in Adolesthe Spring-time
of Youth
or
obedient,
appears
and modest, the beautifier of its person, so in
gentle,
Youth
it is temperate,strong,and loving,
courteous
and loyal; which five thingsappear
to be, and
are,
inasmuch
have
to our
as
we
perfection,
necessary
respect unto ourselves. And with regard to this it
that justas the noble Nature
is desirable to know
in the firstage, it is preparedand ordained
prepares
of Universal
Nature,which
by the care or foresight
Nature
ordains and appointsthe particular
whereto attain its perfection.
ever
existing,
This perfection
of ours
be considered
in a
may
double sense.
It is possible
to consider it as it has
and we
ought to possess this in
respect to ourselves,
our
Youth, which is the culminating
pointof our life.
it has respect to
It is possibleto consider it as
others,and since in the firstplace it is necessary to
be perfect,
the perfection
and then to communicate
this secondary
to others,it is requisite
to possess
after this age, that is to say, in Old Age,
perfection
"

THE

FOURTH

TREATISE.

263

will be said

ful
subsequently.Here,then,it is needthat which was
to recall to mind
argued in the
twenty-secondchapter of this treatise concerning
the appetiteor impulsewhich
is born in us.
This
does aught else but to
appetiteor impulse never
as

and

to

is to

be

pursue

which

that

fliesfrom

flee,and whenever it pursues that


and
pursued,and as far as is right,
which is to be fled from, and as much

then is the man


within
right,
perfection.Truly,this appetiteor
is

as

have

must

the limits of his


natural

impulse

for its rider ; for as a horse at


noble it may be by nature, by itself

Reason

however
liberty,
without the good rider does not conduct
itself well,
thus this appetite,
however
noble it may
even
be,
must
obey Reason, which guidesit with the bridle
the bridle when
and spur, as the good knight uses
that bridle is termed Temperance,
he hunts.
And
marks

which

limit up to which
it is lawful to
the spur in flight
to turn the horse

the

pursue ; he uses
away from the placefrom
and

is

which

he would

this spur is called Courage,or


that pointsout the
a Virtue

rightto stop, and


And

combat.

^Eneas

thus
as

rather

Virgil,our
under

the

even

imity,
Magnanwhich

placeat

resist evil

to

flee away

to

mortal

greatest Poet,

influence of

it

presents
re-

powerful

age

that part of the ^Eneid wherein this


which
is typified,
part comprehends the fourth

and

the

self control

in

fifth and

the

sixth

books

of the

^Eneid.

ceived
when, having remuch
Dido
from
so
pleasure,as will be
and enjoyingso
spoken of in the seventh treatise,
in order to
much delectation with her,he departed,
follow the uprightand praiseworthy
path fruitfulof
good works, even as it is written in the fourth book
that when
What
of the JEneid !
impetus was

And

what

self-restraint was

that

BANQUET

THE

264

DANTE

ALIGH1ERL

the fortitude alone with

had

/Eneas

OF

Sybillato

enter

Hades, to search for the Soul of his father


Anchises, in the face of so many
dangers,as it is
into

in the sixth book

shown

it appears

that in

our

of the ^Eneid.

Youth, in order
Temperate and

to

Wherefore
be

in

our

be
must
we
Brave.
The
perfection,
this for us, even
secures
as the Song
good disposition
expresslystates.
Again, at this age it is necessary to its perfection
to be Loving ; because
at this age it is requisite
to
look behind and before,as being midway over
the
The
arch.
youth ought to love his elders,from
he has received his being,and his nutriment,
whom
and

his instruction,
so

that he

not

may
his

appear

grateful.
un-

ought to love
juniors,
since,in
for
loving them, he gives them of his good gifts,
when
in after-years,
the younger
which
friends are
he may
be supported and honoured
prospering,
by
the poet named
And
them.
above,in the fifthbook
He

before-mentioned,makes

it evident

that ^Eneas

sessed
pos-

this

when he left the aged


lovingdisposition,
recommended
to Acestes,and
set
Trojansin Sicily,
the fatiguesof the voyage ; and
free from
them
in the same
when he instructed,
place,Ascanius his
in joustingor in
men,
son, with the other young
feats of
Love

arms

; wherefore

is necessary,

even

it appears

the

Song says.
Courtesy is necessary, for,
it is rightor beautiful to be
as

Again, to this age


althoughto every age
of courteous
manners,
possessed
necessary,

because, on

with its gravityand


if it has been

that to this age

to

this age

it is especially

the contrary,Old

its severity,
cannot

possess

Age,
tesy,
cour-

wanting in this youthfulperiodof


Old Age it is the same
life ; and with Extreme
in a
that most
noble poet,in the
greater degree. And

THE

sixth book

FOURTH

TREATISE.

before-mentioned,
proves

265

that yEneas

sessed
pos-

this courtesy,when
he says that ^Eneas, then
in order to pay
honour
to the dead
body of

King,
Misenus, who had been the trumpeter of Hector,and
afterwards
accompanied ^Eneas, made himself ready
and
took the axe
to assist in cuttingthe logs for
the fire which must
burn the dead body,as was
their
Wherefore

this courtesy does indeed appear


therefore the noble
to Youth
; and

custom.
to

be

necessary
Soul reveals it in that age, as has been said.
Again, it is necessary to this age to be Loyal.
Loyalty is to follow and to put in operationthat which
the Laws

and

command,

this

is necessary
especially
in the young
the adolescent,
it has
man
as
; because
been said,on
of his minority,
merits ready
account
of greater expepardon ; the old man, on account
rience,
but not a follower of the Law
ought to be just,
except inasmuch as his uprightjudgment and the Law
are

at

one

he

ought
justmind.
and
take
said

that

each
was

to be

; and

were

almost

The

delightin

young

is not

man

that

obedience

poet says, in the fifthbook


-^Eneas

without

any

able to follow the dictates of his

it is sufficient that he should

did

when

he

Law
own

able to do this,

obey
even

the Law, and


as

the before-

mentioned,
previously

instituted

the

games

in

anniversaryof his father's death, for


he promised for the victories he loyally
gave to
victor,accordingto their ancient custom, which

Sicilyon
what

it

as

the

their Law.

Wherefore, it is evident that,to this age, Loyalty,


sary,
Courtesy,Love, Courage,and Temperance are necesthe Song says, which at present I have
as
even
reasoned
them

all.

out

; and

therefore

the

noble

Soul

reveals

266

THE

BANQUET

OF

DANTE

CHAPTER
THAT

section

which

ALIGHIERI.

XXVII.
the text

puts forward

having
been reasoned out and made
clear,showsufficiently
of uprightness
which the noble Soul
ing the qualities
puts into Youth, we go on to pay attention to the
third part, which begins,
"Are prudentin their Age,'*
the Song intends to show
in which
those qualities
which the noble Nature reveals and ought to possess
in the third age, that is to say, Old Age. And it says
that the noble Soul in Old Age is prudent,
is
is just,
liberal and cheerful,
willingto speak kindlyand for
the good of others,
and ready to listen for the same
And
truly
reason, that is to say, that it is affable.
these four Virtues are most suitable to this age. And,
in order to perceivethis,
it is to be known
that,as
Tullius says in his book On Old Age, Our life has
and one
a certain course,
simplepath,that of natural
moral goodness; and to each part of our
age there
is given a season
for certain things." Wherefore,as
is given,as has been said above,that
to Adolescence
of which it may attain perfection
and maturity,
by means
and maturity
to youth is given perfection
so
in order that the sweetness
of its perfect
fruit may be
himself and to others ; for,as
to the man
profitable
Aristotle says, man
is a civil or polite
animal,because
it is required
of him to be useful,
not onlyto himself,
Wherefore
but to others as well.
reads of Cato,
one
that he believed himself to be born not only to himself,
but to his country and to all the world.
Then
which is acquiredin Youth,
after our own
perfection,
follow that which may givelight
there must
not only
but to others as well ; and a man
to one's self,
ought
"

to open

and

broaden

like

rose

as

it were,

which

THE

can

TREATISE.

267

longerremain

no

sweet

FOURTH

which

odour

to be the

closed,and spread abroad the


is bred within ; and this ought

in that third age which

case

have

we

now

in hand.
Then

be

it must

Prudent, that is to say, Wise.


of the
And, in order to be this,a good memory
and a good
thingswhich have been seen is requisite,
for
knowledge of present things,and good foresight
thingsof the future. And, as the Philosophersays
for the
in the sixth book of Ethics,it is impossible
who is not good to be wise ; and therefore he is
man
who
acts with cunning
not to be called a wise man
but he is to be called an astute
and with deception,
one

would

might indeed

know

how

knife in the

pupilof

As

man.

no

call him

wise

with the

to draw

the eye,
knows
who

pointof

he is not

so

even

who

man

to be

bad

thing
well,in the doing of which he must always first
If we
consider well,good
other person.
injuresome
counsel springsfrom Prudence, which leads or guides
other men,
to a good end in human
and
a
man,
this is that giftwhich Solomon, peraffairs. And
ceiving
himself to be placedas ruler over the people,
it is written in the Third Book
asked of God, even
as
wait for counsel
does the prudentman
of Kings ; nor
foreseeingthe
to be asked of him ; but of himself,
he givescounsel or advice ; like
need for it,unasked
the rose, which not only to him who goes to her for
odour freely
her sweet
gives it,but also to any one
called

who

wise

man

passes near.
Here it would

be

to do

how

for
possible

any

doctor

or

lawyer
advice,

counsel or
shall I carry my
say: Then
before it be asked of me,
and shall I give it even
I
art or skill?
fruit from my
and shall I not
to

reap

replyin

the words

of

our

Saviour

"

Freelyye

have

268

THE

OF

BANQUET

DANTE

ALIGHIERL

received,freely
give."
that those

counsels

art, and which

I say, then, Master Lawyer,


which have no
respect to thine

proceedalone

from

that

time

the tenth

good sense or
which God gave thee (whichis the prudence
wisdom
of which we
speak),thou oughtestnot to sell to the
children of Him
who
has given it to thee.
or
sons
But those counsels which belong to the art which
thou hast purchased,thou mayst sell ; but not in
such

but

way

that at

any

part of

them

set apart and givenunto God, that


may be fitly
the Divine proto whom
is,to those unhappy ones
tection

is all that is left.


at this age

Likewise

order

man
judgments and
law to other men.
be a lightand
And
a
may
because this particular
Virtue,that is to say, Justice,
to
seen
was
by the ancient philosophers
appear
of this age, they entrusted the governperfectin men
ment

that

the

rightto be Just,in
the authority
of the

it is

of the cities to those

men

who

had

attained

that age ; and therefore the collegeof Rectors was


Senate.
called the
Oh, my
unhappy, unhappy
heart is wrung
with pityfor thee
I read, whenever
I write, anythingwhich

country ! how
whenever
may

reference to Civil Government

have

in the

my

last treatise of this book


to

the

present let this

But since

cussed,
Justicewill be disslightnotice of it

suffice.
Also
a

at this age

thing

is then

most

man

ought to

be liberal,
because

suitable when

it

gives most

satisfaction to the due


to

the

due

possibleto

requirementsof its nature : nor


requirements of Liberalityis it ever
satisfaction than at this age.
give more

will look well at the argument of Aristotle


in the fourth book of Ethics, and at that of Tullius
For

in

if we

his

book

Of

desires
Offices,Liberality

to

be

THE

seasonable

FOURTH

TREATISE.

269

in

place and time ; so that the liberal


not injurehimself nor
man
other men
may
; which
thing it is not possibleto have without Prudence
and without Justice,
Virtues that previousto this
age
it is impossible
to have or possess in perfection
in
the Natural

way.
Alas ! ye base-born
who
rob the widows

despoilthose

ones, born under evil stars,ye


and
orphans,who ravish or

who

who
steal from and
possess least,
the homes
of other men,
or
and with
usurp
occupy
furnish forth feasts,
that spoilyou
horses,
women,
arms,

robes,money;

you

build marvellous

you

do deeds

than

to

therewith

take
the

of

you

wonderful

wear

garments,

palaces; and you believe that


this is no other
: and
great liberality

the

cloth from

thief and

ought to laugh,O
than at the
liberality
one

the

altar and

his table !

Not

tyrants,at
thief who

your

should

invited guests into his house to his


his table the cloth stolen from
upon

to

cover

otherwise
bounteous
lead

the

feast,and place
with
the altar,

signs inwoven, and should not


believe that other men
might perceivethe sacrilege.
Hear, O ye obstinate men, what Tullius says against
Of Offices :
Certainlythere are
you in the book
who rob
desirous of being great and glorious,
many,
selves
that they may
some
give to others,believingthemif they enrich their
to be esteemed
good men

the

ecclesiastical

"

friends

with

what

the Law

allows.

But

this is

so

oppositeor contrary to that which ought to be done,


that nothingis more
wrong."
At this age also a man
ought to be Affable,to
speak for the good of others,and to listen to such
course
to dissince it is good for a man
speechwillingly,
kindlyat an age when he is listened to. And
for
of authority,
this age also has with it a shadow

THE

270

which

OF

BANQUET
it appears

reason

to be listened
likely
period of life. And

after the

ALIGHIERL

that the

to than

aged

in

person

is

man
a

more

younger

of most

that

Truths it seems

DANTE

good and beautiful


ought to have knowledge

man

long experienceof

On
says, in that book
Cato the elder : " To me

Age,

in the

is increased

Tullius

person

of

the desire and

longerthan I
And
that all four of these thingsare
wont."
am
rightand proper to this age, Ovid teaches,in the
seventh
chapter of Metamorphoses, in that fable
where
he writes how Cephalus of Athens
to
came
which Athens
^Eacus the King for help in the war
that ^Eacus,an
had with the Cretans.
He
shows
old man, was
prudentwhen, having,through pestilence
of the air,lost almost all
caused by corruption
his people,he wisely had
to
recourse
God, and
besought of Him the restoration of the dead ; and
for his wisdom, which in patience
possessedhim and
restored
caused him to turn to God, his peoplewere
the

remain

Old

life. Wherefore

delightto

in conversation

in greater number
when
he
that he was
just,
to

him

before.

than

He

that ^Eacus

says

shows
was

the

divider and the distributor of his deserted land to his

people.

new
or

He

liberal when

for aid

"

shows

that ^Eacus

was

generous
he said to Cephalus,
after his request

O Athens

! ask

not

me

doubt
but take it yourself;

render

to
not

the

the forces which


of my
us,

state

nay,

we

this island possesses, nor


and realm ; troops are
not
have

them

defence ; it is indeed
and without excuse."

in

excess

happy

ance,
assist-

strengthof
the power

wanting to

for offence

time to

and

giveyou aid,

Alas,how many thingsare to be observed in this


it is sufficient
man
reply! but to a good,intelligent
Ovid puts it. He
for it to be placed here,even
as

THE

shows

FO

that ^Eacus

UR

TH

TREA

TISE.

affable when

was

he described,in

long speech to Cephalus,the historyof the pestilence


which destroyedhis people,
and the restoration
of the same, which he tells readily.
It is clear enough, then, that to this
age four
because the noble Nature reveals
thingsare suitable,
them
in it,even
the Song says.
And
as
that the
example given may be the more
memorable, ^Eacus
a

the father of Telamon


and
says that he was
of Phocus, from which
and
Telamon
sprang
and from Peleus Achilles.

have

we

which

the

what

when

to that

as

it issued

life; the
it has
and

Old

that it does two

God

to

other

text

intends

to

the one, that it returns


it departed
haven whence

things:

port or

into the

forth to enter

is,that it blesses the


it has

made, because

of this

sea

which

voyage

straight,
upright,

been

and

the bitterness of storm

without

good, and

the

lifeWeds

Soul does in the last age, that


Age, that is,Senility.And it

the noble

is,in Extreme

discussed,
is,to that

that
last,
part of their

"

show

been

the

proceed to

begins, The fourth


again to God," by which

them

says

has

section which

to

now

Ajax

XXVIII.

CHAPTER
FOLLOWING

Peleus

tempest.
And
says
as

here

it is to be known

in that book

it were,

voyage and a
who dies thus

On

port

Old

Age,

haven

or

placeof

rest.

is like the

approachesthe port

or

that,even
us

And

Tullius

natural death

the

to

as

after

long

our

the Virtuous

Man

good mariner; for,as

haven, he

is,

he

strikes his sails,

gently,with
thus we
ought
and turn
affairs,

feeble

and

ALIGHIERL

enters
steering,

strike

to
to

DANTE

OF

BANQUET

THE

272

God

the

with

sails of

all

our

heart

our

Even

port.

worldly
and mind,

with all
into that haven
come
may
and all peace.
sweetness
have from our
And
in this we
own
proper nature
for in such a death
great instruction in gentleness,

so

that

as

this there is

one

but
bitterness,

pain nor

no

ripeapple easilyand without


Soul
from its branch, so our
itself from the body wherein
Aristotle,in his book On
says that the death which
And
is without
sadness.
from

of his

his

worldly affairs
the

in

and

rendered

of old

says

Soul;

works

good

were

detaches

without

griefseparates

it has dwelt.
Youth

Age,

in old age
who
comes

us

him

to

as

Old

and

overtakes

citizens of the

the noble

meet

itself

violence

long journey,before he enters into the gate


city,the citizens thereof go forth to meet him,

those

do

so

as

even

and

they do
which
of contemplation,

acts

God

unto

and

and

thoughts.
of

person

Life go forth to
of
thus because

Eternal

Cato

Hear

the

from

withdrawn

Tullius

what

elder

It

"

seems

upliftmyself in the
I loved,
greatest desire to see, your fathers,whom
I knew
and not only those whom
myself,but also
I have heard spoken." In this age,
those of whom
then, the noble Soul renders itself unto God, and
to

that

me

alreadyI

the

awaits

itself it

to

return

it

and

to

have

port.

home

have

crossed

O,

that

seems

the

to

to have

seems

of this life with

end

to

see, and

reached

reached
the

miserable

the

wide
men

it goes
Father's
the

out

end

City; to
sea

and

and

desire ; and
from
the Inn

much

mansion
of

; to

long journey

itself it
returned

vile,who

itself

run

seems

into

to

the

into this

THE

FOURTH

TREATISE.

port with sails unfurled


find

broken

rest, are

wrecked
chose

to enter

you

should

fury of the wind and


Truly the Knight Lancelot
sails unfurled,
most
nor
our

itwith

Italian Guido

there where

the

by

in the harbour.

not

noble

; and

273

da

Montefeltro.

These

noble

Spiritsindeed furled the sails after the voyage of


this World, whose
rendered
cares
were
to Religion
in their long old age, when
they had laid down each
to
earthlyjoy and labour. And it is not possible
because of the bond of matrimony,
excuse
any man
which
hold him
in his old age, from
turning
may
to Religion,
he who adopts the habit of St.
even
as
Benedict
and St. Augustine and St. Francis
and St.
Dominic
and
the like mode
of life,
but also it is
possibleto turn to a good and true Religionwhilst
remaining in the bonds of matrimony, for God asks
of us no more
than the religious
heart.
And
fore
thereSt. Paul
a

Jew

"
For he is not
:
says to the Romans
cumcision
is one
outwardly; neither is that cir-

which

which
is

letter ;
And
the

which

the

time

because

when
Soul

which

it

such

flesh.

But

he

in this age blesses likewise


well bless it ;
is past, and
it may
Memory turns back to them, the

Soul

not

she

gain.

port, examines

passed along

her

upright deeds, without

possiblefor her
is hasteningwith
And

good merchant, who,

possess

the

one

remembers

were

port whither

is

Noble

that

Noble

with

in

inwardly; and circumcision


of the heart,in the spirit,
and not in the
whose
praiseis not of men, but of God."

Jew

is that

is outward

the
when

to

come

wealth

such

Noble

Soul

does

he

draws

near

his cargo, and


such a highway

this treasure,and

to

says:
as

"If

that,I

I should

not

nor

like the
to

I had

should
have

the

his
not
not

where-

274

THE

with

to

ing ;

"

OF

BANQUET
in
rejoice

my
therefore

and

DANTE

city,to
he

AL1GHIERL

which

blesses the

am

approach*
he

voyage

has

made.
And

that these two

that great poet Lucan


book

of

his

when
he
Pharsalia,
Cato, and entreated

returned

to

take her

back

by

which

suitable to this age


representsto us in the second

thingsare

in his fourth and

Marcia

the

Noble

Soul

says that Marcia


him that he would
Extreme

Old

is meant,

Age,

and

we

thus

depict the symbol of it in all Truth.


Marcia
a
was
virgin,and in that state typifies
Adolescence ; she then espoused Cato, and in that
Youth
state typifies
; she then bore sons, by whom
the Virtues which are becoming to young
are
typified
as
previouslydescribed ; and she departed
men,
from Cato and espoused Hortensius,by which
it is
and
to Old
came
typifiedthat she quittedYouth
are
also,by whom
Age. She bore sons to this man
typifiedthe Virtues which befit Old Age, as previously
said.
Hortensius
died,by which is typified
the end of Old Age, and Marcia, made
a widow, by
which
widowhood
Old
is typifiedExtreme
Age,
returned
in the early days of her widowhood
to
the Noble
Soul turningto
Cato, whereby is typified
Old Age.
And
God
in the beginning of Extreme
what
more
was
worthy to typifyGod
earthlyman
than Cato ?
None, of a certainty.And what does
can

Whilst
there was
blood in
say to Cato ?
[thatis to say, Youth],whilst the maternal power
in me
[thatis,Age, which is indeed the Mother
"

Martia
me
was

Powers, as has been previously


shown
or
proved],I," says Marcia, fulfilled all
[thatis to say, that the Soul
thy commandments
stood firm in obedience
to the Civil Laws]." She
of all other Virtues

or

"

THE

"

says

And

have

been

and

took

in

that

give happiness
that

the

longer the
to

Him

who

And

and

weary,

thee, being

to

other

that

"

Now,"
void

am

longer able

no

husband

say, I

to

"

that is to say,

well

to

that

it has

no

produce, that is,feeling all its


feeble,turns to God, that is,
grown
need
of members
of the body.
no
to

have
has

"

Marcia

am

Soul, knowing

power

members
to

to the

Noble

275

husbands," that is
fruitful periods of life.

I return

empty,

TREATISE.

two

two

"

Marcia,

says

FOURTH

Give

says,

the

me

ancient

covenanted

the name
alone of
privilegesof the beds ; give me
the Marriage Tie ;
that is to say, the Noble
Soul
O
to
God,
now
Lord, give me
says
my
repose
"

"

and

"

rest

may

And

the

have

after

heartily." By

me

stirred

and

spouse

of

baseborn

and

this life under


of Cato

Cato's

discourse

signs
them

move

they
the

be

said

from

wishes

men

! you

who

the

name

of

espouse

He

made.

prefer to
Hortensius

Soul

life

that

show

to

that

creature

this

that

me

didst

me,

Cato

the Noble

causes

depart

to

of

of

after

me

urge

say

wife

but

away,

long."

so

or

may

was

two

life

the

as

God

is

was

unhappy
depart from
rather

than

From

the

me

these

and

God,
the

it may

desires

gracious to

is, that

drive

not

in

reasons

that

is, that

didst

thou

Two

one

dead,

am

other

the

says,

least whatsoever

at

me

Thine

called

this ; the

say

Give

"

says,

"

Marcia

to

Soul

name

which

it

grace
was

into the close

comes

fit to

make

touching

of

the

in him
Nobility reveals
Nobility ; because
all,through all the ages of his life.
of

THE

BANQUET

CHAPTER
the

SINCE
in each

period of

or

Man, and by which


which

without

XXIX.
those

has demonstrated

Song

age

ALIGHIERL

DANTE

QF

it is

he cannot

life appear

possibleto
be, even

signswhich

in the
know

Noble

him,

the Sun

as

and

cannot

lightor the fire without heat,the text


cries aloud to the People in the concluding part of
this treatise on
and it says :
How
Nobility,
many
deceived !
are
They are deceived who, because they
of ancient and famous
and because
are
lineage,
they
descended
of excellent and Noble fathers,
believe
are
themselves
in themselves
to be Noble, yet have
no
it
to which
Nobility. And here arise two questions,
is right to attend
of this treatise. It
at the end
would
be possiblefor Manfredi
but
da Vico, who
ever
Whatis called Praetor and
now
Prefect,to say:
be without

"

"

be, I recall

I may
elders,who
of their

deserved

Nobility,and

investiture

they

the

at

the

mind

they

Romah

and

the

merited

the

one

for

the

Pavia

of

scions
and

of the

the

of

of the

People honour and reverence."


question.The other is,that it would

from

honour

Emperor, and
of receivingthe Rose
of
Pontiff : I ought to receive

coronation

the honour

merited
from

Gold

I represent my
the Office of Prefecture because
to

families

of

San

And
be

this is

possible

Nazzaro

Piscitelli of

di
"

Naples to say : If
has
been
described,that
Nobility is that which
is,that it is Divine seed graciouslycast into the
human
or
Soul, and the progeny,
offshoots,
have,
is evident, no
as
Soul, it would not be possible
to

but

of

its progeny
this is opposed to the

term

any

or

offshoots

opinion

of

Noble

those

who

THE

that

assert

FOURTH

our

TREATISE.

is the

race

Noble

most

in these

cities."
the first questionJuvenal replies
in the

To

Satire,when
"

What

he

is the

glory which
serve

mantle

himself

cover

honours

it

and

were

of this

from

the past,except that they


cloak to him who may
wish to

or

with

him

for

except

of all these

use

remain

as

beginswith exclaiming,as

eighth '/.

them, badly

who

talks

of

as

his

he

live ;

may

ancestors, and

their great and wonderful


works, giving
mind
and vile actions ?
to miserable
And

points out

"

his

own

this satirical poet asks


Noble, because of his
of his
a

Then

Giant."

as

this

memory

It is

race

"

"

Who

good

will call that

race,

other than

no

is not

worthy

to call the Dwarf

he says to such an one


and the statue
erected in

afterwards
thee

Between
of thine

there

ancestor

except that its head


thine

who

man

And

is alive."

in this

is

other

no

is of

marble

(withreverence

similarity
dis-

and
I say

the poet, for the statue of marble


has
in
remained
of metal, which

it)I disagreewith
or

of

wood

or

of some
worthy brave man,
memory
descendant
in effect from
the wicked

always

statue

have

heard

confirms

of the

good

differs much
:

because

good opinionin
renown

or

the

those who

fame

of

him

begets good opinion in


others.
But the wicked
or
son
nephew does quite
the good opinionof those
the contrary : he weakens
of the goodness of his ancestors.
who
have heard
It
in his thought:
For some
one
says to himself
cannot
possiblybe true, all this that has been said

whose

statue

it is, and

it

"

sees

to

ancestors, since from their seed one


he ought
offshoot such as that." Wherefore

this man's

about
an

receive not

honour, but dishonour,who

bears fals"

evil witness

or

OF

BANQUET

THE

278

ALIGHIERL

DANTE

against the good.

therefore

And

of the brave man


says that the son
strive to bear good witness to the father.

Tullius

he who
in my judgment, even
as
excellent man
deserves to be shunned
and

listened to, even

not

from
and

good ancestors
the good man

not

to

see

that

all

by

an

people

descended

man

to

ought to

close his eyes

be

fore,
Where-

defames

deserves

infamous

banned

by

all ;

in order

castinginfamy upon
remains in Memory alone.
And
present to the first questionthat

goodnesswhich

the

the vile

so

ought to

let this suffice at

man

moved.

was

To

the second

questionit is possibleto replythat

Soul ; and indeed it is true that


fore
Whereit is called Noble, but it is in a certain way.
that every whole is composed
it is to be known

of itselfhas

race

there is

of its parts,and

simple essence
one

essence

no

is said

same

to

whole
essence

which
with

certain whole

in its parts, as
in all and in each

this which
way

be
has

to

be

in the
not

the parts,as

in

man

individual

in the
whole.
common
a

one

which

heap

has

there

is

part ; and

part is said in the


There

is another

essential form
of

corn

; but

or

there

which
results from
secondary essence
many
in themselves
and
true
a
grains,which
possess
And
in such a whole as this they
primary essence.
of the parts in a secondary
said to be the qualities
are
way ; wherefore it is called a white heap,because the
Truly
grainswhereof the heap is made are white.
is more
in the grainsin the
this white appearance
first place,and in the second
place it results in the
it is possible
whole heap, and thus secondarily
to call
it is possibleto call a
it white ; and in such a way
Wherefore
it is to be known, that as
Noble.
race
is

THE

FOURTH

in order to make

be most

numerous,
be more
must

Men

TREATISE.

white
so

to

the white

heap
make

numerous

279

Noble

than

the

race

grainsmust
the Noble

others,so

that

their

goodness, with its good fame or renown, may


the oppositequalitywhich is within.
cover
And
as
from a white heap of corn
it would
be possibleto
pick up the wheat grain by grain, and substitute,
the whole heap
grain by grain,red maize, till,
finally,
would
or
mass
change colour,so would it be possible
for the good men
of the Noble
race
to die
out
one
to spring up
by one, and the wicked ones
fame
or
therein,who would so change the name
thereof,that it would have to be called,not Noble,
but vile,
base.
or
And

let this be

sufficient

answer

to

the

second

question.

CHAPTER

XXX.

in the third chapter


previously
this Song has three principalparts,
of this treatise,
reasoned
whereof
been
have
or
two
argued out,
and
the firstof which begins in the aforesaid chapter,
the second in the sixteenth (sothat the first through
and the second
through fourteen chapters,
thirteen,
of
passes on to an end, without counting the Proem
the treatise on the Song, which is comprised in two
must
in this thirtieth and last chapterwe
chapters),
brieflydiscuss the third principalpart, which was
for
refrain and as a speciesof ornament
made
as
a
this Song; and it begins: "My Song, Against the
strayers."
that every good
it is chiefly
Here
to be known

As

it has been

shown

28o

workman,
and

at the end

embellish

leave

his

it

hands

worthy

more

OF

BANQUET

THE

much

so

much

of fame.

in this part, not


of one.

as

of his

as

ALIGHIERL

DANTE

work, ought to ennoble


that it may
as
possible,
the more
precious,and
to do

this I endeavour

And

good workman,

but

as

the

lower
fol-

then, "My Song, Against the strayers."


Against the strayers"is a phrase,as, for example,
from the good friar,
Thomas
of Aquinas, whp, to a
of all
book of his,which
he wrote
to the confusion
those who
Faith, gave the title
go astray from our
Contra Gentili,"
I say, then,
Against the Heathen.
I

say,

that

thou

"

"

"

Thou

shalt

go,

which

is

as

much

as

to

say

and it is now
time, not to
perfect,
is
stand still,
but to go forward,for thy enterprise
'when
reach Our
Lady, hide not
great. And
you
art

now

lessen
her that your end Is labour that would
"
wrong.' Where it is to be observed that,as our Lord

from

pearlsbefore swine,"
advantage,and it is injury
fiLsopthe poet says in the first

ought not to
says, "We
because it is not to their
to the

cast

pearls; and, as
worth to a
fable,a littlegrainof corn is of far more
cock than a pearl,
and therefore he leaves the pearl
and picksup the grainof corn
: reflecting
on
this,as
to the Song
a
caution,I speak and give command
that it reveal its high office where this Lady, that is,
And
where
that most
Philosophy,will be found.
her dwelling-place
noble Lady will be found when
in which
she finds her
is found, that is,the Soul
this Philosophydwells not in wise men
And
Inn.
alone, but likewise,as is proved above in another
she is
the love for her inhabits,
wherever
treatise,
And
to such as these,"I say to the Song,
there.
because
to them
"thou
mayst reveal thine office,
"

THE

the

thereof

purpose

thoughts

will

And

of

be

bid

talking

is

one

love

and

Philosophy

the

to

O,

what

which

is

by

giving

her

whose

of

the

will

it

be

281

and

useful,

them

by

its

in."
this

to

say

Lady,

"

travel

ever

Friend."
her

Friend.

other,
does

For

that

Nobility

not

much

so

always

the

seeks

her

aside

turn

does

her,

most

sweet

other.

any
a

given
to

own

Divine

TREATISE.

gathered

your

Nobility

glance

FOURTH

to

her

her

in

the

title

abode
Mind.

beautiful

and

great

is

the

last

of
in

is

ornament

part

Friend,
the

most

of

this

the
secret

this

Song,
of

Friend

depths

NOTE
ON

THE

DATE

OF

THE

CONVITO.

IT is natural to suppose that Dante's death at Ravenna


in
caused the Convito,a work of his latter years, to
1321
be leftunfinished. But there are arguments that have been
dwelt upon by writers who regardthe Convito as
especially
of the Divine Comedy,
a work
begun before the conception
and dropped when the Poet's mind became intentupon that
masterpiece.
One
argument is that the Divine Comedy is nowhere
mentioned or alluded to in the Convito. But as the place
for the Convito is midway between the Vita Nuova,
designed
which precededit,
to
and the Divine Comedy, which was
references to the poem which was not yet before the
follow,
reader would
Another

have been

fault in art.

the shadow

in

from the fourteenth

chapter
where (on page 84 in this volume)
Treatise,
the rarity
of its
is ascribed to
the Moon

argument is drawn

of the Second

"

the rays of the Sun can find no end whereto strike back againas in the other parts."In the

body,in
from

second

which

canto

of the

Beatrice
Purgatorio,

opposes

that

it may
be inferred that Dante had learnt
whence
opinion,
(the
and he speaksof this againin a later canto
better,
former opinion.This leads to an
as
a
twenty-second)

inference that the Second

Treatise

was

written before 1300.

passage in the third chapterof


the First Treatise (onpages 16 and 17 in this volume),in
which Dante
speaksof his long exile and poverty. The
Attention is due also to

exile and

the

wanderingsof

Dante

began

after the year

284

NOTE

ON

He

1300.

THE

DATE

befriended

was

THE

OF

Guido

by

CON

da

VI TO.

Polenta

in

Uguccione della Faggiolain Lucca, by


Malaspinain the Lunigiana,
by Can Grande della Scala
in Verona, by Bosone
de' Raffaelli in Gubbio, by the
Patriarch Pagano della Torre in Udine.
In 1311, when
the Emperor Henry of Luxembourg went
to Italy,
Dante
had some
hope of return, which passed away in 1313
that Emperor died in Buonconvento.
when
Dante
mained
reRavenna, by

in exile.

In

him

1321

his patron, Guido

Novello

da

embassy to Venice,in which he


unsuccessful.
The sea way beingblocked,he had to
was
return
by land,and he was struck by the malaria which
caused his death by fever on the i4th of September in that
This reference to long exile leads to an inference
year, 1321.
Polenta,sent

on

an

that the First Treatise was

written much

later than

1300.

there is a
But,again,

passage in the third chapterof the


Fourth Treatise (on page 171 of this volume)that points
to

an

Frederick

earlierdate.

Emperor

of Suabia is named

as

the

who

held,
As far as he could see,
of wealth,and generous

Descent
To

calls him

Dante

adds,

"

make

Nobility.

"the

last

Emperor

ways,

of the

Romans,"and
withstanding
say last with respect to the present time,notthat Rudolf,and Adolphus,and Albert were

elected after his death and from his descendants."


of the Romans

that famous

was

Frederick

This last

II.,who

died

Dante said in his Treatise on the


in 1250, and of whom
"
Frederick
heroes,
Language of the People: The illustrious
Caesar and

his

scorned what
of the time

was
came

son

Manfredi,followed
mean

out

so

after

that all the best

of their Court.

eleganceand

compositions

Thus, because their

all the poems of our predecessors


royalthrone was in Sicily,
called Sicilian." Rudolf I. of
in the VulgarTongue were

NOTE

THE

ON

DATE

THE

OF

CONV1TO.

285

Hapsburg,founder of the ImperialHouse of Austria,


was
elected Emperor in 1273, after a time of confusion and
nominal

rule.

died in 1291,
of Nassau
was

He

and, instead of his

son

Albert,Adolphus
next
elected Emperor.
But in June 1298 Albert obtained election;
Adolphus was

deposed,and

was

rival. Albert

was

soon

afterwards killed in battle with his

murdered

the 6th of

May, 1308,and,
succeeded by
was

on

after an

of seven
interregnum
months,he
Henry VII. of Luxembourg. Now, Dante's listdoes not go
from Albert to Henry. It is assumed, therefore,
on
that

this passage must

have

year 1308.
There is another
the

pointsto

passage

Treatise

Fourth
a

been written before the end

at

(on page

chaptervi. of
this volume) that

the close of
in

186

like inference of date.

enemies of God, look

of the

Dante

writes:

"Ye

flanks,
ye who have seized
the sceptresof the kingdoms of Italy. And I say to you,
and to you, Frederick,
Charles,
Kings,and to you, ye other
Princes and Tyrants,see who sits by the side of you in
council."
Charles

to

your

Charles and Frederick here addressed

The

II. of

Anjou, King

of

were

Naples,and Frederick

of

King

Charles died in the

that
inferred,
therefore,

the four treatisesof

Aragon, King

of

Sicily;and

year 1310.
It has been

the Con vito were

not

written

Treatise may have been begun

The
consecutively.
some

Second

time after the death of

1290, time being allowed


completionof the Vita Nuova and a

in
Beatrice,

after 1290 for the


periodof devotion

studies. That Second Treatise having been


philosophic
the Fourth,may have
the Treatise on Nobility,
firstwritten,
to

followed ; and this may have been written before the


end of the year 1298. The Third Treatise may have been
the Second and the
to connect
written later,and made
next

which
Introduction,
has in it clear indication of a later date,may have been
was
when the whole design
broughtinto shape.
written last,
Fourth.

The

First Treatise,
or General

NOTE

286

Various

ON

THE

planfor an
and
fifteentreatises,
whole work

The

references
the

to

to

matter

chapterof

OF

THE

CONVITO.

have been used for dating


this finalarrangement

reasons

of the

in

DATE

seems

Ethical survey of human


knowledge
date is the year 1314.
the suggested
to have been planned. Besides the

the Fifteenth

there is a glanceforward
Treatise,

of the Seventh

Treatise in the

the Fourth.

of date is not of great importance,


and this
question
console us thoughwe know that it can never
be settled.
it is onlytouched upon to show the significance
of one

The
may
Here
or

twenty-sixth

two

historicalailusk"nsvin"the book.

PRINTED

BY

BALLANTYNE,

LONDON

AND

HANSON

EDINBURGH

AND

CO.