Quisquis volet perennem
cautus ponere sedem
stabilisque, nec sonori
sterni flatibus Euri,
et fluctibus minantem
curat spernere pontem:
montis cacumen alti,
bibulas vitet harenas.
illud protervus Auster
totis viribus urget,
hae pendulum solutae
pondus ferre recusant.
fugiens periculosam
sortem sedis amoenae
humili domum memento
certus figere saxo.
quamvis tonet ruinis
miscens aequore ventus,
tu conditus quieti
felix robore valli,
duces serenus aevum,
ridens aetheris iras.
(Boëthius, De Consolatione Philosophiae 2.4 metrum)

Who wants to build in prudence
Everlasting foundations,
Sure-footed, not to be leveled
By the loud-moaning East Wind;
Who longs to scorn the deep sea,
Waves that threaten disaster –
He must reject the summits
And the parched sands of the seashore.
The one the brawling South Wind
Smashes with all its forces;
The other, noncohesive,
Won’t bear settling structures.
Run away from all these dangers,
Fatal, pleasant locations;
On humble rock, remember,
Build your home in complete trust.
Though winds may roil the oceans,
Thunder, rain down destruction –
Still you, concealed in silence,
Blessed with powerful ramparts,
Will pass a tranquil lifetime,
Will deride the air’s anger.
(tr. Joel C. Relihan)



Quisquis composito serenus aevo
fatum sub pedibus egit superbum
fortunamque tuens utramque rectus
invictum potuit tenere vultum,
non illum rabies minaeque ponti
versum funditus exagitantis aestum
nec ruptis quotiens vagus caminis
torquet fumificos Vesaevus ignes
aut celsas soliti ferire turres
ardentis via fulminis movebit.
quid tantum miseri saevos tyrannos
mirantur sine viribus furentes?
nec speres aliquid nec extimescas:
exarmaveris impotentis iram;
at quisquis trepidus pavet vel optat,
quod non sit stabilis suique iuris,
abiecit clipeum locoque motus
nectit qua valeat trahi catenam.
(Boëthius, De Consolatione Philosophiae 1.4 metrum)

In tranquillity, life secure and settled,
Upright, feet on the neck of peacock Fortune,
Looking squarely at fate, benign or brutal –
He, unconquered, who kept his bearings, dreads not
The insanity of the ocean’s menace,
When it churns up the waves from depths abyssal;
Nor Vesuvius, when from fractured chimneys
Fire flies spiraling up with smoke at random;
Nor bright trails of the lightning bolts, accustomed
To demolish the lofty towers of princes.
Tell me, why are the weak in awe of tyrants,
Feral, violent, but without true power?
If you hope for and fear for nothing ever
Then you’ve broken the sword of the madman’s anger.
But a coward who dreads or longs for something,
Who cannot stand his ground upon his own rights,
Has discarded his shield; out of position,
He has fashioned the chain he’ll wear in slavery.
(tr. Joel C. Relihan)