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Full Online Book HomeNonfictionsThe Banquet (il Convito) - The Second Treatise - Chapter VII
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The Banquet (il Convito) - The Second Treatise - Chapter VII Post by :lanacode Category :Nonfictions Author :Dante Alighieri Date :July 2011 Read :1512

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The Banquet (il Convito) - The Second Treatise - Chapter VII

The Second Treatise - CHAPTER VII

According to that which is said above in the third chapter of this
treatise, in order to understand well the first part of the Song I
comment on, it is requisite to discourse of those Heavens, and of
their Movers; and in the three preceding chapters this has been
discussed. I say, then, to those whom I proved to be Movers of the
Heaven of Venus: "Ye who, with thought intent" (_i.e._, with the
intellect alone, as is said above), "the third Heaven move, Hear
reasoning that is within my heart;" and I do not say "Hear" because
they hear any sound, for they have no sense of hearing; but I say
"Hear," meaning with that hearing which they have, which is of the
understanding through the intellect. I say, "Hear reasoning that is
within my heart," within me, which as yet has not appeared externally.
It is to be known that throughout this Song, according to the one
sense (the Literal), and the other sense (the Allegorical), the Heart
is concerned with the secret within, and not any other special part of
the soul or body. When I have called them to hear that which I wish to
say, I assign two reasons why I ought fitly to speak to them. One is
the novelty of my condition, which, from not having been experienced
by other men, would not be so understood by them as by those who
superintend such effects in their operation. And this reason I touch
upon when I say: "To you alone its new thoughts I impart." The other
reason is: when a man receives a benefit or injury, he ought first to
relate it to him who bestows or 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 an injury, let
him lead the doer thereof to gentle mercy with sweet words. And this
reason I touch upon when I say: "Heaven, that is moved by you, my life
has brought To where it stands;" that is to say, your operation,
namely, your revolution, is that which has drawn me into the present
condition; therefore I conclude and say that my speech ought to be to
them, such as is said; and I say here: "Therefore to you 'tis need
That I should speak about the life I lead." And after these reasons
assigned, I beseech them to listen when I speak.

But, because in each manner of speech the speaker especially ought to
look to persuasion, that is, to the pleasing of the audience, as that
which is the beginning of all other persuasions, as do the
Rhetoricians, and the most powerful persuasion to render the audience
attentive is to promise to say new and wonderful things, I add to the
prayer made for attention, this persuasion, or embellishment,
announcing to them my intention to speak of new things, that is, the
division which is in my mind; and great things, namely, the power of
their star; and I say this in those last words of this first part:

To you I'll tell the heart's new cares: always
The sad Soul weeps within it, and there hears
Voice of a Spirit that condemns her tears,
A Spirit that descends through your star's rays.

And to the full understanding of these words, I say that this Spirit
is no other than a frequent thought how to commend and beautify this
new Lady. And this Soul is no other than another thought, accompanied
with acquiescence, which, repudiating that Spirit, commends and
beautifies the memory of that glorious Beatrice. But, again, because
the last sentiment of the mind, acquiescence, is held by that thought
which memory assisted, I call it the Soul, and the other the Spirit;
as we are accustomed to call the City those who hold it, and not those
who fight it, although the one and the other may be citizens. I say
also, that this Spirit comes on the rays of the star, because one
desires to know that the rays of each Heaven are the way by which
their virtue descends into things here below. And since the rays are
no other than a light which comes from the source of Light through the
air even to the thing illuminated, and the light has no source except
the star, because the other Heaven is transparent, I say not that this
Spirit, this thought, comes from their Heaven entirely, but from their
star. And their star, through the nobility of its Movers, is of such
virtue that in our souls, and in other things, it has very great
power, notwithstanding that it is so far from us, about one hundred
and sixty-seven times farther than it is to the centre of the Earth,
which is three thousand two hundred and fifty miles. And this is the
Literal exposition of the first part of the Song.

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