Commentary Cons. Phil. Book 1 Metrum 1
Boethius (hereinafter: B.), imprisoned and alone, bewails his condition.
Meter: Elegiac couplets. The first line is dactylic hexameter, the second (called the pentameter) contains two hemiepes. In the hexameter caesura is regular after the first syllable of the third foot. No substitutions are allowed in the second hemiepes of the pentameter.
- line 1
qui: "(I) who . . ."
studio florente: ablative absolute; studium here, "eagerness, enthusiasm."
peregi: < perago, "accomplish, complete."
- line 3
lacerae: "tattered, bedraggled."
scribenda: < scribo; neuter plural accusative, gerundive of necessity: "things that must be written."
Camenae: the native Latin name for the Muses.
- line 4
elegi: "elegiac verses."
ora: < os, oris: "mouth, face." Plural for singular is common in poetry.
- line 5
Has: sc. Camenas.
peruincere: "prevail upon," treated as a verb of hindering governing ne-clause in line 6 (AG 558b).
- line 6
comites: predicative, "as companions."
- line 7
Gloria: in apposition with the subject of solantur (i.e., Camenae).
felicis: The final syllable is closed, and thus long, before the caesura.
- line 8
maesti: modifies senis (genitive < senex).
- line 9
inopina: "unexpectedly"; adjectives in agreement with the subject often have adverbial force.
- line 10
iussit: governs accusative/infinitive.
suam: the reflexive takes its antecedent from the subject of the sentence, hence dolor.
- line 11
Intempestiui: "out of season," because B. is too young for cani (sc. capilli), "grey hair."
- line 14
maestis: sc. annis (line 13).
- line 15
quam: exclamatory, to be taken closely with surda . . . aure.
auertitur: here used in an active sense (comparable to the Greek middle voice: other Hellenisms will occur in B.): "[death] turns away [the wretches]."
- line 16
saeua: with adverbial force: "cruelly."
- line 17
Dum: In late Latin, dum with subjunctive is interchangeable with circumstantial cum.
leuibus: leuibus . . . bonis ablative, "with good things [that are] insubstantial."
male: "scarcely, not at all," a common way of negating an adjective (here: fida) in poetry.
bonis: leuibus . . . bonis ablative, "with good things [that are] insubstantial."
- line 18
merserat: pluperfect indicative (< mergo) instead of perfect, for an unreal statement (paene has the force of a negative); translate as simple past tense. Cf. LHS 328, Zusätze b, on the rhetorical pluperfect.
- line 19
nubila: "cloudy, gloomy," modifies fortuna understood as the subject.
- line 21
me felicem: sc. esse; accusative/infinitive with iactastis (= iactavistis).
- line 22
stabili: stabili . . . gradu ablative of description. Stabilis appears often in the Consolatio, in emphatic positions, to hint at the alternative to the mutability of fortune's world (cf. e.g., 1M4.16, 2M8.1, 3M9.3).
gradu: stabili . . . gradu ablative of description.