Five hundred years after Horace and Virgil, Boethius raises his eyes above the turmoil of life and reminds his readers of the permanent truth and order of the Universe, which he sees as driven by divine love. It is a rather different message than “carpe diem” and, as England locks down a second time under Covid, a salutary reminder that the world will carry on. For more information about Boethius, here is a link to his poet page.
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Si vis celsi iura tonantis
pura sollers cernere mente,
aspice summi culmina caeli.
illic iusto foedere rerum
veterem servant sidera pacem.
non sol rutilo concitus igne
gelidum Phoebes impedit axem
nec quae summo vertice mundi
flectit rapidos ursa meatus
numquam occiduo lota profundo
cetera cernens sidera mergi
cupit oceano tinguere flammas.
semper vicibus temporis aequis
Vesper seras nuntiat umbras
revehitque diem Lucifer almum.
sic aeternos reficit cursus
alternus amor, sic astrigeris
bellum discors exulat oris.
To understand the lofty Thunderer’s laws
with true insight and objectivity, lift your eyes
to the highest rooftop of the heavens.
There, bound by the just covenant of creation,
stars keep the ancient peace. The Sun blazes,
aglow with flame: but it does not impede
the icy transit of the Moon, nor does
the Great Bear, untouched by ever setting
in the sea, wheeling on her brisk round
at the very apex of the cosmos, feel that she
must quench her own fires in the Ocean
because she sees that other stars dip in.
Forever, to the steady beat of time,
the evening star says lateness and the dark,
the morning star brings back the kindly day.
Love, waning and waxing, thus drives
the eternal cycle, thus outlaws war and strife
from the coasts that fringe the sea of stars.