Saturday 23 March 2013

Boethius's Complaint

Boethius' Complaint

Who wrought my studious numbers 
Smoothly once in happier days,  
Now perforce in tears and sadness 
Learn a mournful strain to raise. 
Lo, the Muses, grief-dishevelled, 
Guide my pen and voice my woe;  
Down their cheeks unfeigned the tear drops  
To my sad complainings flow!  
These alone in danger's hour  
Faithful found, have dared attend  
On the footsteps of the exile 
To his lonely journey's end.  
These that were the pride and pleasure 
Of my youth and high estate  
Still remain the only solace  
Of the old man's mournful fate.  
Old? Ah yes; swift, ere I knew it,  
By these sorrows on me pressed  
Age hath come; lo, 
Grief hath bid me  
Wear the garb that fits her best. 
O'er my head untimely sprinkled 
These white hairs my woes proclaim,  
And the skin hangs loose and shrivelled  
On this sorrow-shrunken frame.  
Blest is death that intervenes not 
In the sweet, sweet years of peace,  
But unto the broken-hearted,  
When they call him, brings release!  
Yet Death passes by the wretched,  
Shuts his ear and slumbers deep;  
Will not heed the cry of anguish,  
Will not close the eyes that weep.  
For, while yet inconstant Fortune  
Poured her gifts and all was bright,
Death's dark hour had all but whelmed me 
In the gloom of endless night.  
Now, because misfortune's shadow 
Hath o'erclouded that false face,  
Cruel Life still halts and lingers,  
Though I loathe his weary race.  
Friends, why did ye once so lightly  
Vaunt me happy among men?  
Surely he who so hath fallen  
Was not firmly founded then.

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