Gold THE GEOFFREY CHAUCER PAGE


Love Binds the Warring Elements of the Universe

Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy, Book IV, metrum 6




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`If thou wouldst diligently behold with unsullied mind the laws of the God
of thunder upon high, look to the highest point of heaven above. There, by
a fair and equal compact, do the stars keep their ancient peace. The sun is
hurried on by its whirl of fire, but impedes not the moon`s cool orb. The
Bear turns its rushing course around the highest pole of the universe, and
dips not in the western depths,

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and though it sees the other constellations sink, it never seeks to quench
its flames in the ocean stream. In just divisions of time does the evening
star foretell the coming of the late shadows, and, as Lucifer, brings back
again the warming light of day. Thus does the interchanging bond of love
bring round their neverfailing courses; and strife is for ever an exile
from the starry realms. This unity rules by fair limits the elements, so
that wet yields to dry, its opposite, and it faithfully joins cold to heat.
Floating fire rises up on high, and matter by its weight sinks down. From
these same causes in warm spring the flowering season breathes its scents;
then the hot summer dries the grain; then with its burden of fruits comes
autumn again, and winter`s falling rain gives moisture. This mingling of
seasons nourishes and brings forth all on earth that has the breath of
life; and again snatches them away and hides them, whelming in death all
that has arisen. Meanwhile the Creator sits on high, rules all and guides,
king and Lord, fount and source of all, Law itself and wise judge of
justice. He restrains all that stirs nature to motion, holds it back, and
makes firm all that would stray. If He were not to recall them to their
true paths, and set them again upon the circles of their courses, they
would be torn from their source and so would perish. This is the common
bond of love; all seek thus to be restrained by the limit of the good. In
no other manner can they endure if this bond of

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love be not turned round again, and if the causes, which He has set, return
not again.
Translated by: W.V. Cooper, J.M. Dent and Company. London, 1902.
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