Consolation of Philosophy, The

The Perturbations of Passion.

Stars shed no light
Through the black night,
When the clouds hide;
And the lashed wave,
If the winds rave
O'er ocean's tide,—
Though once serene
As day's fair sheen,—
Soon fouled and spoiled
By the storm's spite,
Shows to the sight
Turbid and soiled.
Oft the fair rill,
Down the steep hill
Seaward that strays,
Some tumbled block
Of fallen rock
Hinders and stays.
Then art thou fain
Clear and most plain
Truth to discern,
In the right way
Firmly to stay,
Nor from it turn?
Joy, hope and fear
Suffer not near,
Drive grief away:
Shackled and blind
And lost is the mind
Where these have sway.



CH. I. Philosophy reproves Boethius for the foolishness of his complaints against Fortune. Her very nature is caprice.—CH. II. Philosophy in Fortune's name replies to Boethius' reproaches, and proves that the gifts of Fortune are hers to give and to take away.—CH. III. Boethius falls back upon his present sense of misery. Philosophy reminds him of the brilliancy of his former fortunes.—CH. IV. Boethius objects that the memory of past happiness is the bitterest portion of the lot of the unhappy. Philosophy shows that much is still left for which he may be thankful. None enjoy perfect satisfaction with their lot. But happiness depends not on anything which Fortune can give. It is to be sought within.—CH. V. All the gifts of Fortune are external; they can never truly be our own. Man cannot find his good in worldly possessions. Riches bring anxiety and trouble.—CH. VI. High place without virtue is an evil, not a good. Power is an empty name.—CH. VII. Fame is a thing of little account when compared with the immensity of the Universe and the endlessness of Time.—CH. VIII. One service only can Fortune do, when she reveals her own nature and distinguishes true friends from false.

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