Consolation of Philosophy, by Boethius Book II. Song VIII.
Chance Crowning a Sleeping Man
‘But that thou mayst not think that I wage implacable warfare against Fortune, I own there is a time when the deceitful goddess serves men well — I mean when she reveals herself, uncovers her face, and confesses her true character. Perhaps thou dost not yet grasp my meaning. Strange is the thing I am trying to express, and for this cause I can scarce find words to make clear my thought. For truly I believe that Ill Fortune is of more use to men than Good Fortune. For Good Fortune, when she wears the guise of happiness, and most seems to caress, is always lying; Ill Fortune is always truthful, since, in changing, she shows her inconstancy. The one deceives, the other teaches; the one enchains the minds of those who enjoy her favour by the semblance of delusive good, the other delivers them by the knowledge of the frail nature of happiness. Accordingly, thou mayst see the one fickle, shifting as the breeze, and ever self-deceived; the other sober-minded, alert, and wary, by reason of the very discipline of adversity. Finally, Good Fortune, by her allurements, draws men far from the true good; Ill Fortune ofttimes draws men back to true good with grappling-irons. Again, should it be esteemed a trifling boon, thinkest thou, that this cruel, this odious Fortune hath discovered to thee the hearts of thy faithful friends — that other hid from thee alike the faces of the true friends and of the false, but in departing she hath taken away her friends, and left thee thine ? What price wouldst thou not have given for this service in the fulness of thy prosperity when thou seemedst to thyself fortunate? Cease, then, to seek the wealth thou hast lost, since in true friends thou hast found the most precious of all riches.’
Love is Lord of All.
Why are Nature’s changes bound
To a fixed and ordered round?
What to leaguèd peace hath bent
Every warring element?
Wherefore doth the rosy morn
Rise on Phoebus’ car upborne?
Why should Phoebe rule the night,
Led by Hesper’s guiding light?
What the power that doth restrain
In his place the restless main,
That within fixed bounds he keeps,
Nor o’er earth in deluge sweeps?
Love it is that holds the chains,
Love o’er sea and earth that reigns;
Love — whom else but sovereign Love? —
Love, high lord in heaven above!
Yet should he his care remit,
All that now so close is knit
In sweet love and holy peace,
Would no more from conflict cease,
But with strife’s rude shock and jar
All the world’s fair fabric mar.
Tribes and nations Love unites
By just treaty’s sacred rites;
Wedlock’s bonds he sanctifies
By affection’s softest ties.
Love appointeth, as is due,
Faithful laws to comrades true —
Love, all-sovereign Love! — oh, then,
Ye are blest, ye sons of men,
If the love that rules the sky
In your hearts is throned on high!