Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy

LCL 74: 230-231

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agnosceres!” “Quonam?” inquam. “Ad veram,” inquit, “felicitatem, quam tuus quoque somniat animus, sed occupato ad imagines visu ipsam illam 20 non potest intueri.” Tum ego: “Fac obsecro et quae illa vera sit, sine cunctatione demonstra.” “Faciam,” inquit illa, “tui causa libenter. Sed quae tibi causa notior est, eam prius designare verbis atque informare conabor ut ea perspecta cum in 25 contrariam partem flexeris oculos, verae beatitudinis speciem possis agnoscere.


Qui serere ingenuum volet agrum, Liberat arva prius fructibus, Falce rubos filicemque resecat, Ut nova fruge gravis Ceres eat. 5Dulcior est apium mage labor, Si malus ora prius sapor edat. Gratius astra nitent ubi Notus Desinit imbriferos dare sonos. Lucifer ut tenebras pepulerit 10Pulchra dies roseos agit equos. Tu quoque falsa tuens bona prius Incipe colla iugo retrahere. Vera dehinc animum subierint.䀝


Tum defixo paululum visu et velut in augustam suae mentis sedem recepta sic coepit: “Omnis


Consolation III

“Where?” I asked.

“To that true happiness,” said she, “which your spirit, too, dreams of, but cannot see as it really is because your sight is too occupied with images.”

Then I said: “Tell me, show me without delay, I beg you, what that true happiness is.”

“I shall willingly,” she answered, “for your sake. But first I shall try to describe in words and delineate a subject better known to you, so that, when you have seen that clearly, you may, since you will then have turned your eyes on its opposite, recognize the appearance of true blessedness.”


Whoever wants to sow a virgin field, First clears the ground of scrub, And with his sickle cuts down fern and bramble, That Ceres may come, heavy with new grain. Bees’ honey is sweeter far If first a bitter flavour bites the mouth. The stars shine brighter When the south wind has ceased its noisy rain. When the morning star has driven away the dark, Fair the day drives its rosy steeds. So must you too, who now have eyes Only for false goods, first begin To draw your neck from the yoke, That then the true may slip into your mind.


Then for a little her look was cast down and, as if withdrawn into the depths of her noble mind, she

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.boethius-consolation_philosophy.1973