Front Page Titles (by Subject) VIII - The Consolation of Philosophy
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VIII - Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy [520 AD]
King Alfred’s Version of the Consolations of Boethius. Done into Modern English, with an Introduction by Walter John Sedgefield Litt.D. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1900).
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Pp. 17-18. THEN said the Mind, ‘I confess myself guilty on every point, and I am so sore stricken with remorse for my sin, that I cannot answer you.’
Again Philosophy spake, ‘It is still by reason of thine unrighteousness that thou art brought nearly to despair, and I would have thee not despair, but be ashamed of thine error. For he who despairs is without hope, while he who is ashamed is in the way to repentance. If thou wilt but call to mind all the worldly honours thou hast received since thy birth to this day, and reckon up the joys against the sorrows, thou canst not well say thou art poor and unhappy, for I took thee when young, untrained, and untaught, and made thee my child and brought thee up in my discipline. How then is it possible to speak of thee as aught but most happy, when thou wast dear to me ere thou knewest me, and before thou knewest my discipline and my ways, and before I taught thee in thy youth such wisdom as is hidden from many an older sage, and when I furthered thee with my teachings so that thou wast chosen of men to be a judge? If however thou wilt say thou art unhappy because thou no longer hast the fleeting honours and joys that thou once didst have, still thou art not unblest, for thy present woe will pass away even as thou sayest thy joys have passed. Dost thou think such change of state and sadness of mood come to thee alone, and have never befallen, nor will befall, any other man? Or dost thou think that in any human mind there can be aught enduring and without change? If for a while anything endures in a man, death snatches it away, and its place knows it no more. And what are worldly riches but a foretokening of death? For death cometh to no other purpose but to take life. So also riches come to a man to rob him of that which is dearest to him in the world, and this they do when they depart from him. Tell me, O Mind, since naught in this life may endure unchanging, which deemest thou the better? Art thou to despise these earthly joys, and willingly give them up without a pang, or to wait till they give thee up and leave thee sorrowing?’
[Pp. 17-18. ]In chap. viii a good deal is omitted relating to Boethius’ distinctions and blessings. Chap. ix is a condensation of bk. ii. metr. 3.