The Consolation of Philosophy

By Boethius; P. G. Walsh | Go to book overview

To crown with glittering office their ambitions,
Such blessings leave them cold.

Relentless greed devours those earlier gains,
Reopens wide its jaws;
Can headlong lust be curbed by any reins, 15
Be bounded by fixed laws?

Thirst for possessions✳ blazes all the more,
The more those gifts extend;
With anxious sighs, believing he is poor,
The rich man hates to spend.'✳


Chapter 3

'So if Fortune were to argue a case like this against you, you would 1 not be able to utter a word in reply--or if you can adduce some
justification for your complaint, now is the time to come out with
it, for the opportunity is yours.'

Then I said: 'True, these are plausible arguments. Thickly 2
smeared as they are with the sweet honey of rhetoric and music,
they afford momentary pleasure as we listen to them. But when
people are unhappy, awareness of their misery runs deeper, so
once these words cease to echo in our ears, the grief implanted in
our hearts outweighs them.'

'I grant that,' she rejoined. 'The fact is that as yet, such words are 3 no cure for your sickness. At this stage they serve merely as a
poultice for the pain which stubbornly resists all healing. When the 4 time is ripe, I shall apply remedies to penetrate deep within the skin.

'But you should not count yourself as wretched--or have you
forgotten the number and extent of your blessings✳? I pass over 5 the fact that as an orphaned child you were looked after by people
of the greatest distinction; and when you were chosen to marry
into the leading family in the state, you gained the affection of
your in-laws from the start, even before the marriage-alliance was
cemented. This is the most precious form of kinship that exists.
Was there a single person who did not proclaim that you were 6 supremely blessed through the lustre of your wife's family,
through her chaste demeanour, and through the prospect of
male children to follow? I make no mention of those distinctions 7

-23-

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The Consolation of Philosophy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface and Acknowledgements v
  • Contents vii
  • Abbreviations viii
  • Introduction xi
  • Summary of the Treatise li
  • A Note on the Text liii
  • Bibliography liv
  • Book I 3
  • Chapter 1 3
  • Chapter 2 5
  • Chapter 3 6
  • Chapter 4 8
  • Chapter 5 13
  • Chapter 6 15
  • Chapter 7 18
  • Book 2 19
  • Chapter 1 19
  • Chapter 2 21
  • Chapter 3 23
  • Chapter 4 25
  • Chapter 5 28
  • Chapter 6 32
  • Chapter 7 34
  • Chapter 8 37
  • Book 3 40
  • Chapter 1 40
  • Chapter 2 41
  • Chapter 3 44
  • Chapter 4 46
  • Chapter 5 48
  • Chapter 6 49
  • Chapter 7 50
  • Chapter 8 51
  • Chapter 9 53
  • Chapter 10 57
  • Chapter 11 61
  • Chapter 12 65
  • Book 4 71
  • Chapter 1 71
  • Chapter 2 73
  • Chapter 3 77
  • Chapter 4 80
  • Chapter 5 94
  • Book 5 97
  • Chapter 1 97
  • Chapter 2 99
  • Chapter 3 100
  • Chapter 4 104
  • Chapter 5 108
  • Chapter 6 110
  • Explanatory Notes 115
  • Index and Glossary of Names 166
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