Wednesday, October 7, 2009

timely advice from Boethius

"Boethius (480-524) is, after Plotinus, the greatest author of the seminal period [Late Antiquity], and his De Consolatione Philosophiae was for centuries one of the most influential books ever written in Latin... Until about two hundred years ago it would, I think, have been hard to find an educated man in any European country who did not love it."

Alas, what wretched ignorance leads
Mankind from the path astray!
Who looks on spreading boughs for gold,
On vines for jewels gay?
What man sets nets on mountain-tops
For feasts of rich sea-food?
What huntsman has the wild goat
Upon the sea pursued?
The very ocean’s depths men know
Beneath the waves on high;
They know which strand is rich with pearls,
Which shores with purple dye;
They know the bays for tender fish,
For shellfish where to try.
But in their blindness they do not know
Where lies the good they seak:
That which is higher than the sky
On earth below they seek.
What can I wish you foolish men?
Wealth and fame pursue,
And when great toil wins false reward,
Then may you see the true!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this insight. I've got to, as the playing child called out, "pick up and read."