Front Page Titles (by Subject) XII - The Consolation of Philosophy
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XII - 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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THEN Philosophy began to chaunt a lay, and sang thus; she added song to her discourse, and these were her words: ‘He that would build a house to last must not place it high on the hilltop; and he that desireth Divine Wisdom cannot find it with pride. Again, he that would build an enduring habitation should not set it on sandhills. So also, if thou will build up Wisdom, base it not on covetousness, for as the crumbling sand drinketh up the rain, so covetousness swalloweth up the fleeting goods of this earth, being ever athirst for them. No house may stand for long on a high hill if a very mighty wind assail it; nor again one that is built on crumbling sand, by reason of the heavy rains. So too the soul of man is undermined and moved from its place when the wind of sore hardship assaileth it, or the rain of excessive anxiety. Whoever would seek eternal happiness must flee from the perilous beauty of this earth, and build the house of his mind upon the firm rock of humility, for Christ dwelleth in the Valley of Humility, and in the memory of Wisdom. Therefore it is thatthe wise man spendeth all his life in joy unchangeable and freedom from care, despising these earthly delights and those that are evil, and putting his hope in the joys to come, that are eternal. For God encompasseth him on every side, living as he doth ever in the joys of the soul, though the wind of adversity blow against him, and the ceaseless care begotten of worldly pleasures.’