The Consolation of Philosophy

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

wickedness of those who enjoy them! I boast no knowledge of the 3 delight which their impact brings, but whoever is willing to recall
his low inclinations will know that the outcome of pleasure is
melancholy. If such pleasures can make men blessed, there is no 4 reason why beasts of the field cannot likewise be called blessed, for
they devote themselves to speedy fulfilment of their bodily needs.✳
Most honourable of all pleasures should be the joy which a wife 5 and children bring, yet the reality was mirrored all too truly when
it was said that someone had found that his children turned the
screw on him.✳ I need not remind you that you yourself have had
experience at other times, and are concerned now, with how much
the fortunes of your children gnaw at you, whatever their
situation. In this matter I approve the epigram of my dear protégé 6 Euripides, who remarked that the misfortune of the childless man
is a happy one.✳

'All pleasures take this road:
Those who indulge they goad.✳
Then, like the bees that swarm,✳
Having yielded honey's charm,
They flee; but on the heart 5 A lasting sting impart.'


Chapter 8

'Thus it is beyond doubt that these paths to happiness turn out to 1 be byways, and cannot guide a man to the goal that they promise.
Indeed, I shall point very briefly to the ills in which they are 2enmeshed. What, then, is your choice? Will you seek to amass 3 money? In that case you will rob its owner. Or would you like to be
a luminary? You will go on your knees before the one who confers
positions, and in your longing to excel all others in status, you will
demean yourself by abject begging. Or is it power for which you 4 long? Then you will be exposed to the plotting of your subjects,
and dangers will overhang you. Or would glory be your aim? Then 5 you are beset by every sort of hardship, and you lose all peace of
mind. Or would you opt for a life of pleasure? But who would not 6 scorn and spurn one who was a slave to that most tawdry and frail
of things, the body?

-51-

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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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