Boethius's De Consolatione Philosophiae and the Lamentatio/Consolatio Tradition1)





Philip Edward Phillips






Boethius's De Consolatione Philosophiae opens with the narrator lamenting his fall from Fortune's favor and his exile to a prison cell, where he awaits execution. Contrasting his past happiness with his present distress, the narrator writes that his Muses, who had previously inspired his songs in happier days, now attend on him and console him as he blames Fortune for offering him fickle goods that have been taken away from him. Recalling the closing lines of the tragedy, Oedipus the King―“Count no mortal happy till he has passed the final limit of his life secure from pain”(ll. 1529-1530)1)Boethius's final lines call attention to the narrator's conviction that human beings cannot be properly regarded as happy until their final day because happiness is fragile and can be taken away by Fortune as easily as it can be granted. In the elegiac tradition of Vergil, Seneca, and Ovid (in particular, the Tristia, that recounts the Roman poet's happy youth and his sudden fall), Boethius's opening meter, which is written in elegiacs in the Latin original, presents many of the commonplaces of lament. These commonplaces will soon be swept away by Lady Philosophy, the narrator's true source of consolation, who will dismiss the empty rhetoric of the strumpet muses and provide her own songs and arguments meant to lead the speaker back to his “true home.”

     Some critics, such as F. Ann Payne and Joel C. Relihan, have recently argued that Boethius's most famous and influential work is primarily a Menippean satire. In Chaucer and Menippean Satire, Payne argues that the Consolation is a work whose aim is to reveal with ironic awareness that the freedom offered to Boethius by Lady Philosophy is ultimately “not available to man, who though he can imagine it, cannot experience it.”1) Elsewhere, Payne writes, “Satire is neither comforting nor comfortable. Menippean satire is a frightening, brilliant form and The Consolation is a frightening, brilliant book.”1) Echoing Payne's assertion that Boethius's masterpiece is primarily a Menippean satire, Relihan, in his recent translation of the Consolation, writes: “[The] Consolation lays claim to the genre of consolation, a moral exhortation, an address to one who is bereaved, an argument that death is not to be feared.... The title is a paradox at best; Philosophy's consolation is not a consolation according to the practices of the genre.... If anything, it is about the consolation that death itself provides.”1) Relihan ultimately concludes that Boethius's work falls not within the genre of consolation but in the “comic genre of Menippean satire, which delights in multiple points of view, the presence of many genres of literature within a single work, and the frustration of expectations.”1)

     Although I acknowledge that the Consolation bears some structural similarities―namely its prosimetric style―to what Payne and Relihan call Menippean satire, I maintain that Boethius's De Consolatione Philosophiae is primarily a consolation that employs topics of the lamentatio/consolatio tradition in order to dramatize the fallen narrator's educational journey from despair to hope, a journey facilitated by Lady Philosophy, who assumes the significant roles of Socratic teacher and spiritual physician. I shall argue, therefore, that the Consolation is not a bitter, satirical work but rather that it is a work of philosophical optimism whose consolation, both for the grieving narrator and for the reader, is based upon the premise that the universe is governed by eternal reason, a belief initially “forgotten” by the narrator but eventually restored through the application of Lady Philosophy's “gentler” and “stronger” remedies.



Consolation as Menippean Satire


Both Payne and Relihan refuse to see the Consolation as comforting and claim instead that the work fails to provide the narrator with any answers, arguments based to some degree on what they term the “silence” at the end of the work. According to Payne, Menippean satire is a highly intellectual but comical form that parodies “all that the human mind has ever succeeded in formulating and call[s] into play and juxtapose[s] the extreme perceptions of total intelligence.”1) There are “resolvers” in such works, such as Lady Philosophy, Payne argues, but there are no “resolutions”; there is “profound concern with ultimate questions but no trust in any one's ‘ultimate’ answer.”1) What Menippean satire questions, writes Payne, is not deviations from an ideal standard, but the very possibility of ideal standards.

     In her discussion, Payne draws upon the work of Bakhtin, who relates Menippean satire to a group of writings in antiquity called serio-comical and names as the three dominant characteristics of this group (which includes the Socratic dialogue) an insistence on examining everything in terms of the present, a deeply critical attitude toward myth, and a love of multifariousness and discordance, to which he adds a list of fourteen conventions of the genre.1) To Bakhtin's list Payne appends a list of her own which consists of seven more conventions,1) all of which reinforce her position that Menippean satire seeks ultimately to satirize the possibility of an acceptable norm. While the conventions of testing a philosophical idea, asking ultimate questions, presenting a journey into another land (Utopian), and making use of other genres (such as prose and verse) from Bakhtin's list can be applied to Boethius's Consolation, many of the conventions do not apply. Those that do apply are not necessarily limited to the form of Menippean satire but can occur in Socratic dialogue, allegory, and dream visions. As for the characteristics appended by Payne, most of them suggest the futility of the journey, which is endless. She maintains that in Menippean satire “any norm that tries to provide an end” is satirized. Payne also asserts that philosophical/religious optimism is empty: “No God or unquestionable authority is represented [in Menippean satire]. The satire is based on the feeling that there is probably no abstract certainty outside of us that we can know, merely the infinitely elating possibility that there might be, if only we could get by the claptrap of our own concoctions.”1)

     Payne's position finds support from Relihan, who considers the Consolation to be “a soulful work, but of a man who does not find the answers he seeks.”1) Views such as these, however, fail to take into account the profound influence that Boethius's work had throughout the Middle Ages precisely because it provided a means of comfort to those who suffer spiritually and because it offered a well-argued and clearly presented model of a universe governed by a benevolent and rational God. Payne's unfounded opinion that “laughter hovers over this dialogue of the Consolation1) seems to ignore the author's serious commitment to Neoplatonic logic and Christian theology. As Henry Chadwick argues, Boethius saw “revelation and reason . . . as parallel ways of discerning reality,” and the Consolation ultimately does achieve its end by offering “an exclusively Neoplatonic doctrine of redemption, which is nevertheless capable of being read in a Christian sense with the minimum force to the text.”1) I maintain, therefore, that rather than satirizing Boethius's search for truth and Lady Philosophy's sometimes exasperating but ultimately successful instruction, the Consolation affirms the positive ideas it embodies and effectively conveys them through the genres of lamentatio and consolatio in an effort to achieve comfort through an acceptance of the eternal summum bonum, or highest good.




Boethius and the Topics of Lamentatio and Consolatio


Boethius's Consolation responds to the intensely personal and human feelings of loss so great that the speaker momentarily loses sight of the philosophical path that he had previously been following. Like Orpheus, he turns his head for only a moment and in that moment loses all that he has gained through a lifetime of study. The message of the Consolation is that one can reestablish one's relationship with the truth and restore the stoic equanimity that comes through aspiring toward a possession of the highest good. The process for Boethius is one of loss and recovery. The narrator's loss of Fortune's gifts paradoxically becomes the means by which he can put into clearer perspective the difference between partial goods and the highest good. While Lady Philosophy adopts the Platonic position that the expression of emotion undermines the equanimity of the soul and prevents one from fulfilling one's excellence, she nevertheless allows the narrator to vent his complaints through his emotional lamentations. Lamentation soon gives way, however, as Lady Philosophy begins to reveal the narrator's wound his having forgotten his true home. Michael Means, who regards Boethius's work as the model consolation, writes:


The influence of the consolatio tradition lies in what is taught and its effect on the narrator. The subject matter taught is typically philosophical or theological, and its effect on the narrator is to remove him from a state of misery to one of peace or acceptance or attainment of his goal. The Boethian consolatio goes beyond the ancient consolation genre by presenting the consolatory arguments in the form of mater-pupil dialogue in which the pupil, at first skeptical, full of his own grievances, and argumentative, is brought through the give-and-take of pedagogical dialectic to his final education.1)


Ultimately, therefore, Boethius's work is best categorized as a consolatio that achieves its pedagogical purpose of educating and enlightening the narrator, restoring his confidence in the rationalorderoftheuniverse,and providing him the opportunity to ask larger questions concerning evil and free will. While some answers remain beyond human comprehension (even though Lady Philosophy does an admirable job of explaining the most vexing problems concerning the nature of Fortune, the problem of evil, and the coexistence of free will and Providence), the narrator can stoically accept his fate with hope.

     William Race notes that expressions of grief and condolence occur throughout Graeco-Roman poetry in many genres, including epic, tragedy, elegy, lyric, and pastoral poetry, and that the emphasis on lament or consolation may vary according to the demands of the occasion. When combined, he argues, lament and consolation respond as two voices: one of emotion and one of reason. “In the lamentatio, the passions hold sway; the language is contorted to reflect the intense emotion and hyperbole is the dominant mode; frequently there are rhetorical questions and bitter reproaches. In the consolatio, the appeal is to the mind: the language is more straightforward and its intention is to calm the passions and to instruct the intellect.”1) Based on many examples, mostly from lyric poetry, Race singles out a list of the standard topics of lament: 1) a list of mourners, 2) disfigurement of the deceased or of the mourners, 3) praise of the deceased, 4) the contrast of past and present, 5) a description of the last day, 6) the finality of death, and 7) complaints. He further notes that “the lamentatio tries as much as possible to immerse the audience in particulars, and thereby arouse the emotion (pathos) of pity though a vivid portrayal of details.”1) While the first and third topics belong more properly to the elegy, the others are well represented in Boethius's meters lamenting the narrator's fall and his questioning of God's sovereignty. Indeed, elegiac complaints and the contrasting of past and present are hallmarks of Boethius's various laments throughout the Consolation. The topics of consolation, Race continues, are more varied than those of lament, since there is a multitude of ways for assuaging grief. The major topics of lament include: 1) a “manly consolation” in which the mourner acknowledges that death is common to all men, that grief is futile, that time will cure, and that one must endure, 2) commemoration, through funeral rites and a tomb, or being memorialized in poetry, and 3) apotheosis, that is, through translation to heaven or deification.1) In a significant endnote, Race adds:


Another important topic is the fact that death releases us from the ills of this life, but it mainly occurs in philosophical prose . . . [such as] in Plato's Phaedo, where Socrates must paradoxically console his friends for having to go on living, while he finds his joyful release in a death for which philosophy has been preparing him all his life. The topic was also a favourite of the Epicureans and Stoics.1)


Of these topics, Boethius's Consolation seems to include aspects of the manly consolation but with the recognition that death need not be feared because those things of true value are internal and grounded in God. While Boethius's narrator never seems to reach the same overt level of joyful acceptance, the suggestion throughout the work is that the narrator, like Socrates and other martyrs for philosophy, will not be abandoned by Lady Philosophy but strengthened by her support to face death with equanimity.

     These topics of lament and consolation may be applied to Boethius's Consolation in order to see how Lady Philosophy leads her patient to his ultimate recovery. The work's opening lament, 1m1 (“Carmina qui quondam”),1) poignantly reveals the depth of the narrator's despair over the loss of his worldly goods, position, and honor. It is dominated by emotion, and it is the sole expression of the despairing narrator, uninfluenced by Lady Philosophy's teachings later in the work. Contrasting his past happiness found in composing poetry, the narrator now succumbs to tears as the verses he pens with the aid of the Muses are elegies of despair. The source of the narrator's distress emerges as he complains that Fortune herself has changed toward him:


Dum levibus male fida bonis fortuna faveret,

Paene caput tristis merserat hora meum.

Nunc quia fallacem mutavit nubila vultum,

Protrahit ingratas impia vita moras.1)


Then, while Fortune favored him, the narrator says that he could have borne such a sad hour, but now, since Fortune's face has changed, the narrator can only produce songs of sorrow. He even goes so far as to question the happiness that he previously enjoyed, recalling the closing lines of Oedipus. In 1p1, the first prose section of the Consolation, Lady Philosophy emerges at the prisoner's bedside. An allegorical abstraction, Lady Philosophy appears before the narrator in a robe of dusty, imperishable but torn, material, representing the neglect and the misuse of truth by those philosophers of years past who sought to present partial truth as the whole truth. Upon hearing Boethius's lament, Lady Philosophy banishes the strumpet muses, charging that their songs merely serve to acclimate the narrator to his sickness of mind.


Quis,” inquit, “has scenicas meretriculas ad hunc aegrum permisit accedere quae dolores eius non modo nullis remediis foverent, verum dulcibus insuper alerent venenis? Hae sunt enim quae infructuosis affectuum spinis uberem fructibus rationis segetem necant hominumque mentes assuefaciunt morbo, non liberant.”1)


Her primary charge, reminiscent of Plato's concern in the Republic, is that poetry, particularly elegiac verse, can enslave the rational mind to the unruly passions. The narrator's sickness, as Lady Philosophy begins to diagnose it, is a disturbed mind (“nostrae mentis perturbatione”)1) that is cast down with grief. Nevertheless, Lady Philosophy herself proceeds to make use of poetry to bring about her patient's cure. Like Plato, Lady Philosophy's use of poetry in the Consolation suggests that it is not poetry itself, but the uses to which it can be put, that can create harm.

     In 1p3 Lady Philosophy expands upon the subject of her torn garments and establishes a relationship between Boethius and philosophy akin to that of other martyrs for truth. Lady Philosophy poses a rhetorical question to her student/patient, Boethius, to remind him that he is neither the first to suffer for the sake of the truth nor the last: “Nunc enim primum censes apud improbos mores lacessitam periculis esse sapientiam?”1) More importantly, Lady Philosophy assures the narrator that he will not have to face his trials alone; his teacher and guide, Lady Philosophy, recognizes his labors and maintains his innocence in the face of the accusations leveled against him. She reminds him that his likely fate, martyrdom, was the fate of another champion of the truth, Socrates. This notion of martyrdom would connect the Consolation to the philosophical tradition mentioned by Race as well as to the Stoical tradition of Marcus Aurelius's Meditations and Seneca's Epistles, in which one may rise above misfortune through the strength of reason. Although the forces of error and stupidity are large, Lady Philosophy insists to Boethius that we should hold them in contempt. Wisdom, she maintains, will withdraw her forces into the citadel of the mind. There, she argues, “At nos desuper inridemus vilissima rerum quaeque rapientes securi totius furiosi tumultus eoque vallo muniti quo grassanti stultitiae adspirare fas non sit.”1) The enemies of truth can only take away those things that are of no value; they cannot disturb the equanimity of a mind focused on the summum bonum.

     The narrator reveals the severity of his illness to Lady Philosophy in 1m5 (“O stelliferi conditor”), which is another lament, and a significant one for our discussion. In this meter, the narrator misuses the hymn form by initially praising God for ruling the physical world according to reason, but then calling into question God's sovereignty in respect to humanity. The despairing Boethius opens with epithets characteristic of a poem of praise, referring to God as the “maker of the circle of stars” who spins the whirling heavens and who binds the constellations with laws (1m5.1, 3-4). The narrator refers to God's sedes, his eternal throne, and praises God for ordering the seasons and the years by his power. However, praise soon gives way to elegiac questioning and complaints when the narrator charges:


Omnia certo fine gubernans

Hominum solos respuis actus

Merito rector cohibere modo.

Nam cur tantas lubrica versat

Fortuna vices?1)


God governs the world according to reason, but he does not apply that reason to human beings, or so the narrator suggests. Why else, the despairing patient asks, must the good suffer while the evil prosper? In his formal petitions, which conclude the meter, the speaker requests that God apply his  steadfast law  to human affairs as he does to all other things: “Rapidos rector comprime fluctus/Et quo caelum Regis immensum/ Firma stabiles foedere terras.”1) Although Boethius seems to affirm that he believes the universe to be governed by a rational God, his lament (1m5) suggests his confusion regarding God's sovereignty, applying to the heavens only and not to the affairs of men. Based upon the speaker's requests at the end of the meter, Lady Philosophy can make a more accurate diagnosis of her patient: she redefines his exile as spiritual, not physical.

     The juxtaposition of physical and spiritual exile becomes more apparent when the speaker laments the loss of his precious library. Lady Philosophy responds to his complaint by making the memorable point that it is not one's library (or material goods) but rather one's well-furnished mind that is of true value. Boethius has forgotten himself and his true home, but he can find his way back with Lady Philosophy's help:


An ignoras illam tuae civitatis antiquissimam legem, qua sanctum est ei ius exulare non esse quisquis in ea sedem fundare maluerit? Nam qui vallo eius ac munimine continetur, nullus metus est ne exul esse mereatur. At quisquis eam inhabitare velle desierit, partier desinit etiam mereri.1)


Lady Philosophy's point is that it is not physical but spiritual exile that causes the narrator's unhappiness, and that exile has not been imposed upon him but rather is self-imposed. The narrator's mind is disturbed because he has forgotten his true citizenship. Returning to Boethius's complaint about losing his personal library, Lady Philosophy reiterates her previous teaching that comfort comes from within and not from without. The learning found in ancient volumes is more important than the volumes themselves: “Itaque non tam me loci huius quam tua facies movet nec bibliothecae potius comptos ebore ac vitro parietes quam tuae mentis sedem require, in qua non libros sed id quod libris pretium facit, librorum qondam meorum sententias, collocavi.”1)

     The means for the narrator's recovery comes in 1p6, when Lady Philosophy applies a combination of catechism and Socratic dialogue to investigate her patient's mental state and to plan a cure. Lady Philosophy leads the narrator to acknowledge that God is the source of all things and that he governs the world according to reason. This premise, then, becomes the basis for Boethius's recovery. Lady Philosophy demonstrates to the narrator that God is both the source of all things and the end that human beings seek. Boethius's acknowledgment that the world, including the lives of human beings, is governed by a rational God makes it possible for Lady Philosophy to move on to her stronger remedy (2p4-end) after the discussion of Fortune and later for the narrator to pray properly with Lady Philosophy in 3m9 in preparation for their discussion of the summum bonum.

     Far from an ironic, satirical statement, 3m9 embodies Boethius's confidence in the beautiful order and divine symmetry of the universe, held together and governed by the beginning and end of all things, the principle of absolute sufficiency in whom the philosopher can find the means to rise above his earthly misfortunes. Like 1m5, 3m9 begins by invoking God through direct address, praising his powers and listing his relevant epithets:


O qui perpetua mundum ratione gubernas

Terrarum caelique sator qui tempus ab aevo

Ire iubes stabilisque manens das cuncta moveri,

Quem non externae pepulerunt fingere causae

Materiae fluitantis opus, verum insita summi

Forma boni livore carens, tu cuncta superno

Ducis ab exemplo, pulchrum pulcherrimus ipse

Mundum mente gerens similique in imagine formans

Perfectasque iubens perfectum absolvere partes.1)


Lady Philosophy's song is a hymn that appropriately praises those attributes of God in which she desires her patient to participate. The God she describes is wholly self-sufficient, and from the vantage of eternity he puts both time and matter into motion. The God she describes is also a just God, whose justice extends to the created world. By praising God's perfection and self-sufficiencywithoutincludingelegiacquestions or complaints, Lady Philosophy models the correct form of prayer for the benefit of her student, Boethius, whose emotional laments have caused his vision to be limited and his prayers to be ineffectual. In order to regain knowledge of self and to make possible an opportunity for happiness, even in the face of imprisonment and death, Boethius must turn away from his material concerns and fix his mind on the summum bonum, whose very form resides within God and, indeed, is God himself. By reaching out humbly to his source of being though prayer, Boethius, under Lady Philosophy's tutelage, can slowly begin to remember his true end and his final home. The petitions that conclude Lady Philosophy's hymn reveal to the narrator and to the reader a comfort with the mystery of God and a trust that God will properly govern the world according to Providence. She ultimately asks for greater clarity of vision and for access to the source of the summum bonum, that through participation one can attain the good:


Da pater augustam menti conscendere sedem,

Da fontem lutrare boni, da luce reperta

In te conspicuos animi defigere visus.

Dissice terrenae nebulas et pondera molis

Atque tuo splendore mica!1)


Unlike 1m5, 3m9 does not question God's sovereignty and justice but rather asserts the need for human beings who desire serenity to call upon the source of serenity for aid. Recognizing God as the “beginning, driver, leader, pathway, [and] end”1) is the first step toward spiritual recovery for Lady Philosophy's patient. Because Boethius accepts the premise that the universe is governed by a rational, omniscient, and just God, he proves himself ready to undergo Lady Philosophy's stronger remedy, which will involve a detailed discussion of the nature of the summum bonum that will give hope to her patient.





Boethius's De Consolatione Philosophiae reveals the consolation that a good education can afford. Lady Philosophy banishes the muses for the same reason that Plato wishes to exclude poetry from the well-ordered state: lamentation can accustom the mind to grief and suffering when the mind should set itself above emotions. Lady Philosophy applies Plato's view in her stronger remedy, but she grants room for the venting of emotions in her weaker remedy. As Plato maintains in the Republic, poetry should most properly celebrate the gods and good men in hymns and encomia, respectively. It is for this reason, I believe, Boethius grants prominence of place to his famous hymn, 3m9, which praises God as the rational governor of the universe as well as the beginning and end of all things. Awaiting death in his prison cell, Boethius's narrator corrects the error of 1m5 by petitioning God in 3m9 to allow his mind to rise up to contemplate the goodness and absolute sufficiency of the summum bonum. By fixing his eyes once again upon the summum bonumand not on the cold earth―and by following the instruction of his teacher, Lady Philosophy, the narrator comes to realize that it is not the library that he has lost but rather the ideas remembered from the books contained therein that matter most.

     To Boethius's medieval translators, the Consolation's appeal rested in the book's message that even within the prison cells of our lives we may ascend to the highest level of freedom paradoxically through our subordination to the highest good. An ironic statement about the limitations of human understanding and the fragility of theological systems would not have garnered the number of translators and commentators as did Boethius' masterpiece. Ultimately, Boethius's “silence” at the end of the Consolation does not reveal the narrator's bitterness and frustration but rather the narrator's tacit acknowledgement that there is comfort and peace in Lady Philosophy's closing injunction: “Aversamini igitur vitia, colite virtutes, ad rectas spes animum sublevate, humiles preces in excelsa porrigite. Magna vobis est, si dissimulare non vultis, necessitas indicta probitatis, cum ante oculos agitis iudicis cuncta cernentis.”1) In the end, the Consolation is both a book of comfort for the prisoner and for his readers as well as a book of praise for the serenity found in the contemplation of the summum bonum.

(Middle Tennessee State University)









Boethius. Tractates, The Consolation of Philosophy. Trans. H. F. Stewart, E. K. Rand, and S. J. Tester. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England: Harvard University Press, 1973.

Chadwick, Henry. Boethius: The Consolations of Music, Logic, Theology, and Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981.

Means, Michael. The Consolatio Genre in Medieval English Literature. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1972.

Payne, F. Ann. Chaucer and Menippean Satire. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1981.

        . Review of Noel Harold Kaylor, Jr. The Medieval Consolation of Philosophy. Carmina Philosophiae 2 (1993): 110-114.

Race, William H. Classical Genres and English Poetry. London: Croom Helm, 1988.

Relihan, Joel C. Ancient Menippean Satire. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.

        . Introduction. Boethius. Consolation of Philosophy. Trans. and Ed. Joel C. Relihan. Indianapolis and Cambridge: Hackett, 2001.

Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Greek Tragedies, Volume 1. Ed. David Grene and Richard Lattimore. Trans. David Grene. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1960.









Boethius's De Consolatione Philosophiae and the Lamentatio/Consolatio Tradition


Dr. Philip Edward Phillips


While some critics argue that Boethius's De Consolatione Philosophiae participates in the tradition of Menippean satire, this paper maintains that Boethius's masterpiece is primarily a consolation that employs topics of the lamentatio/consolatio tradition in order to dramatize the fallen narrator's educational journey from despair to hope, a journey facilitated by Lady Philosophy, who assumes the significant roles of Socratic teacher and spiritual physician. The paper argues, furthermore, that the Consolation is not a bitter, satirical work but rather a work of philosophical optimism whose consolation, both for the grieving narrator and for the reader, is based upon the premise that the universe is governed by eternal reason, a belief initially forgotten by the narrator but eventually restored through the application of Lady Philosophy's gentler and stronger remedies.

1) An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Medieval English Studies Association of Korea International Conference, held at Seoul National University on November 17, 2001. I am grateful to the conference organizers and participants for their thought- provoking comments and questions, from which the current paper benefited.


2) Sophocles, Oedipus the King, Trans. David Grene, in Greek Tragedies, Volume 1., Ed. David Grene and Richard Lattimore (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1960), 176.


3) Payne, F. Ann, Chaucer and Menippean Satire (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1981), 82.


4) Payne, F. Ann, Review of Noel Harold Kaylor, Jr., The Medieval Consolation of Philosophy, Carmina Philosophiae 2 (1993): 110-114.


5) Relihan, Joel C., Introduction, Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy, Translated and Edited by Joel C. Relihan (Indianapolis and Cambridge: Hackett, 2001), xi.


6) Ibid, xi-xii.


7) Chaucer and Menippean Satire, 4.


8) Ibid.


9) Ibid, 7-9.


10) Ibid, 9-11.


11) Ibid, 10.


12) Relihan, Joel C., Ancient Menippean Satire (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993), 193.


13) Chaucer and Menippean Satire, 18.


14) Chadwick, Henry, Boethius: The Consolations of Music, Logic, Theology, and Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981), 220-222.


15) Means, Michael, The Consolatio Genre in Medieval English Literature (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1972), 18.


16) Race, William H., Classical Genres and English Poetry (London: Croom Helm, 1988), 86.


17) Ibid, 92-93.


18) Ibid, 104.


19) Ibid, 116.


20) 1m1.1. All citations and translations of the Consolation are taken from Boethius, Tractates, The Consolation of Philosophy, Translated by H. F. Stewart, E. K. Rand, and S. J. Tester, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England: Harvard University Press, 1973).


21) 1m1.17-20. “While fortune favored me /How wrong to count swiftly-fading joys /Such an hour of bitterness might have bowed my head./Now that her clouded cheating face is changed/My cursed life drags on its long, unwanted days.”


22) 1p1.28-34. “Who let these theatrical tarts in with this sick man? Not only have they no cures for his pain, but with their sweet poison they make it worse. They are they who choke the rich harvests of the fruits of reason with the barren thorns of passion. They accustom a man's mind to his ills, not rid him of them...”


23) 1p1.51.


24) 1p3.15-17. “Do you think that this is the first time that Wisdom has been endangered and endangered by a wicked society?”


25) 1p3.46-49. “But [in Wisdom's citadel] we are safe from all their mad tumult and from our heights we can laugh at them as they carry off all those worthless things; we are protected by such a wall as may not be scaled by raging stupidity.”


26) 1m5.25-29. “With a sure purpose ruling and guiding all,/Man's acts alone/You will not, though you rightly could, constrain./Why else does slippery fortune change so much?”


27) 1m5.46-48. “Ruler, restrain their rushing waves [fortune's seas] and make the earth/Steady with that stability of law/By which you rule the vastness of the heavens.”


28) 1p5.15-20. “Surely you know the ancient and fundamental law of your city, by which it is ordained that it is not right to exile one who has chosen to dwell there? No one who is settled within her walls and fortifications need ever fear the punishment of banishment: but whoever ceases to desire to live there has thereby ceased to deserve to do so.”


29) 1p5.20-25. “So I am moved more by the sight of you than of this place. I seek not so much a library with its walls ornamented with ivory and glass, as the storeroom of your mind, in which I have laid up not books, but what makes them of any value, the opinions set down in my books in times past.”


30) 3m9.1-9. “O you who in perpetual order govern the universe,/ Creator of heaven and earth, who bid time ever move,/And resting still, grant motion to all else; Whom no external causes drove to make/Your work of flowing matter, but the form/Within yourself of the highest good, ungrudging; from a heavenly pattern/You draw out all things, and being yourself most fair,/A fair world in your mind you bear, and forming it/In the same likeness, bid it being perfect to complete itself in perfect parts.”


31) 3m9.22-26. “Grant, Father, to my mind to rise to your majestic seat,/Grant me to wander by the source of the good, grant light to see,/To fix the clear sight of my mind on you./Disperse the clouding heaviness of this earthly mass/And flash forth your brightness.”


32) 3m9.28.


33) 5p6.172-176. “Turn away then from vices, cultivate virtues lift up your mind to righteous hopes, offer up humble prayers to heaven. A great necessity is solemnly ordained for you if you do not want to deceive yourselves, to do good, when you act before the eyes of a judge who sees all things.”