Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Anicius Severinus Boethius (d. 524)
The Government of the World
Roman Poets of the Later Empire
From the ‘Consolation of Philosophy’: Translation of L. P. D.

O FRAMER of the jeweled sphere,
  Who, firm on thy eternal throne,
Dost urge the swift-revolving year
  The stars compel thy laws to own;—
The stars that hide their lesser light        5
  When Luna with her horns full-grown
Reflects her brother’s glories bright,
  Paling—she too—when he draws nigh,
In his great fires extinguished quite;
  As Hesper up the evening sky        10
Leads the cold planets, but to fling
  Their wonted leash aside, and fly
At Phœbus’s bright awakening;—
  Thou who dost veil in vapors chill
The season of the leaf-dropping        15
  With its brief days, rekindling still
The fires of summer, making fleet
  The lessening nights;—all do thy will;
The year obeys thee on thy seat;
  The leaves that Boreas bore amain        20
Return once more with Zephyr sweet;
  Arcturus tills the unsown grain,
And Sirius burns the waving gold;
  The task thy ancient laws ordain
All do,—the allotted station hold.        25
  Man’s work alone dost thou despise,
Nor deign his weakness to enfold
  In changeless law. Else wherefore flies
Sleek Fortune’s wheel so madly round?
  The good man bears the penalties        30
Of yon bold sinner, who is found
  Enthroned, exultant, apt to grind
His blameless victim to the ground!
  Virtue is fain in caverns blind
Her light to hide; and just men know        35
  The scourgings meet for baser kind.
Mendacious Fraud reserves no blow
  For men like these, nor Perjury;
But when they will their might to show,
  Then conquer they, with ease and glee,        40
The kings unnumbered tribes obey.
  O Judge unknown, we cry to thee!
To our sad planet, turn, we pray!
  Are we—we men—the meanest side
Of all thy great creation? Nay!        45
  Though but the drift of Fortune’s tide
Compel her wasteful floods to pause!
  And, ruling heaven, rule beside
O’er quiet lands, by steadfast laws.

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