Quae ubi poeticas Musas uidit nostro assistentes toro fletibusque meis uerba dictantes, commota paulisper ac toruis inflammata luminibus: Quis, inquit, has scenicas meretriculas ad hunc aegrum permisit accedere, quae dolores eius non modo nullis remediis fouerent, uerum dulcibus insuper alerent uenenis? Hae sunt enim quae infructuosis affectuum spinis uberem fructibus rationis segetem necant hominumque mentes assuefaciunt morbo, non liberant.
When she [Philosophy] saw that the Muses of poetry were present by my couch giving words to my lamenting, she was stirred a while; her eyes flashed fiercely, and said she, "Who has suffered these seducing mummers to approach this sick man? Never do they support those in sorrow by any healing remedies, but rather do ever foster the sorrow by poisonous sweets. These are they who stifle the fruit-bearing harvest of reason with the barren briars of the passions: they free not the minds of men from disease, but accustom them thereto."
Prose I, lines 7-9; translation by W.V. Cooper
Si operam medicantis exspectas, oportet vulnus detegas.
If you expect a physician to help you, you must lay bare your wound.
Prose IV, line 1; translation by W.V. Cooper
Unde haud iniuria tuorum quidam familiarium quaesiuit: `si quidem deus', inquit, `est, unde mala? Bona uero unde, si non est?
Wherefore not without cause has one of your own followers asked, "If God is, whence come evil things? If He is not, whence come good?"
Prose IV, line 30; translation by W.V. Cooper
Nec speres aliquid nec extimescas,
exarmaueris impotentis iram;
at quisquis trepidus pauet uel optat,
quod non sit stabilis suique iuris,
abiecit clipeum locoque motus
nectit qua ualeat trahi catenam.
If first you rid yourself of hope and fear
You have dismayed the tyrant's wrath:
But whosoever quakes in fear or hope,
Drifting and losing his mastery,
Has cast away his shield, has left his place,
And binds the chain with which he will be bound.
Videsne igitur quanto in caeno probra volvantur, qua probitas luce resplendeat? In quo perspicuum est numquam bonis praemia, numquam sua sceleribus deesse supplicia.
Thou seest, then, in what foulness unrighteous deeds are sunk, with what splendour righteousness shines. Whereby it is manifest that goodness never lacks its reward, nor crime its punishment.
Prose III, line 1; translation by H. R. James
Nam si uti corporum languor ita vitiositas quidam est quasi morbus animorum, cum aegros corpore minime dignos odio sed potius miseratione iudicemus, multo magis non insequendi sed miserandi sunt quorum mentes omni languore atrocior urguet improbitas.
For if vicious propensity is, as it were, a disease of the soul like bodily sickness, even as we account the sick in body by no means deserving of hate, but rather of pity, so, and much more, should they be pitied whose minds are assailed by wickedness, which is more frightful than any sickness.
Prose IV; line 42; translation by H. R. James
For as faintness is a disease of the body, so is vice a sickness of the mind. Wherefore, since we judge those that have corporal infirmities to be rather worthy of compassion than of hatred, much more are they to be pitied, and not abhorred, whose minds are oppressed with wickedness, the greatest malady that may be.
Vis aptam meritis uicem referre:
Dilige iure bonos et miseresce malis.
If you would give every man as he deserves, then love the good and pity those who are evil.
Poem IV, lines 11-12; translation by Richard H. Green
Video, inquam, quae sit vel felicitas vel miseria in ipsis proborum atque improborum meritis constituta.
I see how happiness and misery lie inseparably in the deserts of good and bad men.
Quis enim cohercente in ordinem cuncta deo locus esse ullus temeritati reliquus potest?
What place can be left for random action, when God constraineth all things to order?
Prose I; translation by H. R. James
Sic quae permissis fluitare videtur habenis
Fors patitur frenos ipsaque lege meat.
Thus, where'er the drift of hazard
Seems most unrestrained to flow,
Chance herself is reined and bitted,
And the curb of law doth know.
Poem I, lines 11-12; translation by H. R. James
For when every judgement is the act of hym that judgeth, it behoveth that every man performe hys worke and purpose, not by any forayne or straunge power or facultie, but by his owne proper power, and strength.
While Boethius, oppressed with fetters, expected each moment the sentence or the stroke of death, he composed, in the tower of Pavia, the Consolation Of Philosophy; a golden volume not unworthy of the leisure of Plato or Tully, but which claims incomparable merit from the barbarism of the times and the situation of the author.
Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Ed. H.H. Milman. Vol. III. Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1845. p. 405.
Boethius is a singular figure. Throughout the Middle Ages he was read and admired, regarded always as a devout Christian and treated almost as if he had been one of the Fathers. Yet his Consolations of Philosophy, written in 524 while he was awaiting execution, is purely Platonic; it does not prove that he was not a Christian, but it does show that pagan philosophy had a much stronger hold on him than Christian theology. Some theological works, especially one on the Trinity, which are attributed to him, are by many authorities considered to be spurious; but it was probably owing to them that the Middle Ages were able to regard him as orthodox, and to imbibe from him much Platonism which would otherwise have been viewed with suspicion. . . . The tone of the book is more like that of Plato than that of Plotinus. There is no trace of the superstition or morbidness of the age, no obsession with sin, no excessive straining after the unattainable. There is perfect philosophic calm—so much that, if the book had been written in prosperity, it might almost have been called smug. Written when it was, in prison under sentence of death, it is as admirable as the last moments of the Platonic Socrates. One does not find a similar outlook until after Newton. . . . [Boethius’s] combination with great learning and zeal for the public good was unique in that age. During the two centuries before his time and the ten centuries after it, I cannot think of any European man of learning so free from superstition and fanaticism. Nor are his merits merely negative; his survey is lofty, disinterested, and sublime. He would have been remarkable in any age; in the age in which he lived, he is utterly amazing.
Bertrand Russell, The History of Western Philosophy, London: Routledge, 1996. p. 344-345, 347.
Ancient belief in a cosmos composed of spheres, producing music as angels guided them through the heavens, was still fluorishing in Elizabethan times. ...There is a good deal more to Pythagorean musical theory than celestial harmony. Besides the music of the celestial spheres (musica mundana), two other varieties of music were distinguished: the sound of instruments...(musica instrumentalis), and the continuous unheard music that emanated from the human body (musica humana), which arises from a resonance between the body and the soul. ...In the medieval world, the status of music is revealed by its position within the Quadrivium—the fourfold curriculum—alongside arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy. Medieval students... believed all forms of harmony to derive from a common source. Before Boethius' studies in the ninth century, the idea of musical harmony was not considered independently of wider matters of celestial or ethical harmony.