Commentary Cons. Phil. Book 1 Metrum 5
If the world at large is so harmoniously governed, B. complains (lines 1-24), why are human affairs alone the toy and sport of arbitrary Fortune (lines 25-48)?
Meter: Anapestic dimeter, with diaeresis between the metra. Dactyls may replace anapests except that there are no dactyls in the last foot and dactyls and anapests may not appear in the same metron. A spondee may appear in any foot, but there may be no more than three spondees in a line.
- line 1
conditor: in later Latin usually "creator."
- line 2
perpetuo: perpetuo . . . solio: "an enduring throne."
nixus: < nitor, "rest upon."
solio: perpetuo . . . solio: "an enduring throne."
- line 5
ut: governs through line 12.
pleno: pleno . . . cornu: a way of saying that the moon is full.
lucida: modifies luna (line 7).
cornu: pleno . . . cornu: a way of saying that the moon is full.
- line 6
fratris: i.e., Phoebus (the sun); final syllable closed before diaeresis.
obuia: "opposite" (with dative), modifies luna (line 7).
- line 7
- line 9
Phoebo propior: "closer to Phoebus" i.e., as day nears.
- line 11
algentes: algentes . . . ortus: "chilly risings."
Hesperos: Greek nominative form, "[as] the evening star." Hesperos (evening star) and Lucifer (morning star) are the names given to whatever planet (usually Venus or Jupiter) shines brightest at dawn and at dusk. B.'s point in these lines is that the same planet can be evening star now, and morning star a few weeks from now.
ortus: algentes . . . ortus: "chilly risings."
- line 13
Lucifer: "[as] the morning star." Hesperos (evening star) and Lucifer (morning star) are the names given to whatever planet (usually Venus or Jupiter) shines brightest at dawn and at dusk. B.'s point in these lines is that the same planet can be evening star now, and morning star a few weeks from now.
- line 14
14: lines 14-18: winter and summer.
frondifluae: "leaf-flowing"; a word not otherwise attested in surviving Latin authors, perhaps coined (on Greek models) by Boethius himself.
- line 17
agiles: since in ancient time-reckoning there were twelve hours of daylight and twelve hours of darkness every day, in every season, then in summer the night hours would seem unusually swift.
nocti: dative of reference (with force of a genitive: see on 1P4.36).
- line 18
18: lines 14-18: winter and summer.
- line 19
19: lines 19-20: fall and spring.
- line 20
20: lines 19-20: fall and spring.
Zephyrus: "the west wind."
- line 21
Arcturus: "Bear-watcher" (hence the aptness of uidit), prominent in the evening sky in early spring.
- line 22
Sirius: the "dog-star"; it rises just before dawn in the hottest part of summer, whence we speak of the "dog days."
segetes: < seges, "cornfield."
- line 24
stationis: "post," a military term.
- line 26
respuis: "you refuse," takes complementary infinitive (cohibere).
- line 30
debita: nominative singular, modifies poena and takes a dative.
- line 33
- line 36
crimen iniqui: a monometer (one metron).
- line 37
ipsis: sc. nocentibus.
- line 41
gaudet: The subject is effectively fortuna (29), but a better reading (cf. Gruber) is gaudent; subject is then drawn from ipsis (37).
- line 45
homines: in apposition with pars (44).
fortunae salo: this second metron consists of a spondee plus a cretic ( - - - u -).
- line 47
quo: the antecedent is foedere (48).
- line 48
firma: imperative < firmo.