Boethius 2.p8, on the Occasion of the Boethian Acolyte’s Marriage to the Ember Poet

Boethius on Love

Quod mundus stabili fide
concordes uariat uices,
quod pugnantia semina
foedus perpetuum tenent,
quod Phoebus roseum diem
curru prouehit aureo,
ut quas duxerit Hesperos
Phoebe noctibus imperet,
ut fluctus auidum mare
certo fine coherceat,
ne terris liceat uagis
latos tendere terminos,
hanc rerum seriem ligat
terras ac pelagus regens
et caelo imperitans amor.
Hic si frena remiserit,
quicquid nunc amat inuicem
bellum continuo geret
et quam nunc socia fide
pulchris motibus incitant
certent soluere machinam.
Hic sancto populos quoque
iunctos foedere continet,
hic et coniugii sacrum
castis nectit amoribus,
hic fidis etiam sua
dictat iura sodalibus.
O felix hominum genus,
si uestros animos amor
quo caelum regitur regat!

This world with faithful stability
in concord varies with contraries,
seeds of struggles
by everlasting troth are held in union.
The sun draws rosy dawns
With his golden chariot
So that his sister the Moon may govern
The night summoned by the evening star.
And the waves of the passionate seas
Are contained by a certain limit,
Nor may the earth by rambling
Stretch out beyond its bounds.
What binds these several things,
holding sway over earth and sea and sky, is Love alone.
If this Love were remiss in His rulership,
Everything now joined by reciprocated love
would wage continual war
And what now fellowships in faith and
By beautiful motions are made alive,
Would fight to dissolve the design.
By sacred union this law of love
also brings together people,
This Love gathers true lovers
into sacred matrimony,
Yes, this Love disciples his devotees
In commitment to their companions.
O happy race of humanity,
Pray the Love which governs the Heavens
May also guide your hearts.


I read my translation of Boethius’s poem to my wife at our wedding reception. She, being more talented than I am, composed a poem of her own, which you can read here.

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