The Consolation of Philosophy

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

Book 3

Chapter 1

Philosophy had by now ended her song. As I listened eagerly, its1 sweetness had held me spellbound, and I remained dumbstruck
with my ears still pricked, so it took me a moment to respond.
'You are indeed the greatest comfort for weary spirits,' I said.2 'What refreshment you have brought me with the depth of your
judgements and the sweetness of your songs! I no longer count
myself unable to bear the future blows of Fortune. So far from
dreading those remedies which you said would sting a little more, I
am eager to hear them, and I pressingly demand them.'

Then she replied: 'Yes, I became aware of that when you seized3 on my words so silently and hungrily. I anticipated this reaction
from you, or to put it more truthfully, I myself elicited it. The
medicines remaining for you to take are the kind which are bitter
on the tongue, but sweet when swallowed. As for your saying that4 you are keen to hear them, your enthusiasm would grow white-hot
if you realized the goal to which I intend to lead you.'

'What goal is that?' I asked.
'The goal of true happiness,' she replied. 'You too dream of it,5 but your mind cannot focus on it because of the shadowy figures
obtruding on your sight.'

'Lead on, I beg you,' I said. 'Do not hesitate for a moment, but6 show me what true happiness is.'

'I shall do so,' she replied, 'and gladly, for your sake. But first I7 shall try to depict and express in words something more familiar to
you, and once you have that in mind, you can turn your gaze in the
other direction, and acknowledge the beauty of true happiness.'

He who intends to sow in virgin soil,
Will first remove the brushwood with much toil,
Brambles and ferns with scythe he will restrain;
Thus Ceres enters, laden with fresh grain.

-40-

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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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