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]

  • 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, section 3
  • 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.
    • Translation: 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, section 4
  • In every adversity of fortune, to have been happy is the most unhappy kind of misfortune.
    • Book II, section 4, line 4
  • Who hath so entire happiness that he is not in some part offended with the condition of his estate?
    • Book II, section 4, line 41
  • Nothing is miserable but what is thought so, and contrariwise, every estate is happy if he that bears it be content.
    • Book II, section 4, line 64
  • From thee, great God, we spring, to thee we tend —
    Path, motive, guide, original and end.
    • Book III, section 9, line 27
  • Quis legem det amantibus?
    maior lex amor est sibi.
    • Who can give law to lovers? Love is a greater law to itself.
      • Book III, section 12, line 47
  • Good men seek it by the natural means of the virtues; evil men, however, try to achieve the same goal by a variety of concupiscences, and that is surely an unnatural way of seeking the good. Don't you agree?
    • Book 4, Prose 2, 524. Translated from Latin by Richard Green.
  • Sic quae permissis fluitare uidetur 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, section 2, lines 21-4

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