Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius

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Ancius Manlius Severinus Boethius (480–525) was a Roman Christian philosopher, poet, and politician.


De Consolatione Philosophiae (The Consolation of Philosophy)[edit]

  • Qui cecidit, stabili non erat ille gradu.
    • For he that is fallen low did never firmly stand.
      • Book I, Metrum 1, line 22; translation by W.V. Cooper
  • 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."
      • Book I, Prosa 1, 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.
      • Book I, Prosa 4, line 1; 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.
      • Book I, Metrum 4, lines 13-18
  • Nam in omni adversitate fortunae infelicissimum est genus infortunii fuisse felicem.
    • In every adversity of fortune, to have been happy is the most unhappy kind of misfortune.
      • Book II, Prosa 4, line 2
  • Quis est enim tam compositae felicitatis ut non aliqua ex parte cum status sui qualitate rixetur?
    • Who hath so entire happiness that he is not in some part offended with the condition of his estate?
      • Book II, Prosa 4, line 12
  • Adeo nihil est miserum nisi cum putes, contraque beata sors omnis est aequanimitate tolerantis.
    • Nothing is miserable but what is thought so, and contrariwise, every estate is happy if he that bears it be content.
      • Book II, Prosa 4, line 18
  • Quodsi putatis longius vitam trahi
    mortalis aura nominis,
    cum sera vobis rapiet hoc etiam dies
    iam vos secunda mors manet.
    • But if you think that life can be prolonged by the breath of mortal fame, yet when the slow time robs you of this too, then there awaits you but a second death.
      • Book II, Metrum 7, lines 23-26; translation by W. V. Cooper
  • Quis legem det amantibus?
    Maior lex amor est sibi.
    • Who can give law to lovers? Love is a greater law to itself.
      • Book III, Metrum 12, lines 47-48
  • 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.
      • Book V, Metrum 1, lines 11-12; translation by H. R. James

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