Translation Cons. Phil. Book 2 Prosa 3
1 `If Fortune should thus defend herself to you,' said Philosophy, `you would have naught, I think, to utter on the other part. But if you have any just defence for your complaining, you must put it forward. We will grant you the opportunity of speaking.'
2 Then I answered, `Those arguments have a fair form and are clothed with all the sweetness of speech and of song. When a man listens to them, they delight him; but only so long. The wretched have a deeper feeling of their misfortunes. Wherefore when these pleasing sounds fall no longer upon the ear, this deep- rooted misery again weighs down the spirit.'
3 `It is so,' she said. `For these are not the remedies for your sickness, but in some sort are the applications for your grief which chafes against its cure.
4 When the time comes, I will apply those which are to penetrate deeply. But that you may not be content to think yourself wretched, remember how many and how great have been the occasions of your good fortune.
5 I will not describe how, when you lost your father, men of the highest rank received you into their care: how you were chosen by the chief men in the state to be allied to them by marriage; and you were dear to them before you were ever closely related; which is the most valuable of all relationships.
6 Who hesitated to pronounce you most fortunate for the greatness of your wives' families, for their virtues, and for your blessings in your sons too?
7 I need not speak of those things that are familiar, so I pass over the honours which are denied to most old men, but were granted to you when yet young. I choose to come to the unrivalled crown of your good fortune.
8 If the enjoyment of anything mortal can weigh at all in the balance of good fortune, can your memory of one great day ever be extinguished by any mass of accumulated ills? I mean that day when you saw your two sons proceed forth from your house as consuls together, amid the crowding senators, the eager and applauding populace: when they sat down in the seats of honour and you delivered the speech of congratulation to the king, gaining thereby glory for your talent and your eloquence: when in the circus you sat in the place of honour between the consuls, and by a display of lavishness worthy of a triumphing general, you pleased to the full the multitude who were crowded around in expectation.
9 `While Fortune then favoured you, it seems you flaunted her, though she cherished you as her own darling. You carried off a bounty which she had never granted to any citizen before. Will you then balance accounts with Fortune?
10 This is the first time that she has looked upon you with a grudging eye. If you think of your happy and unhappy circumstances both in number and in kind, you will not be able to say that you have not been fortunate until now.
11 And if you think that you were not fortunate because these things have passed away which then seemed to bring happiness, these things too are passing away, which you now hold to be miserable, wherefore you cannot think that you are wretched now.
12 Is this your first entrance upon the stage of life? Are you come here unprepared and a stranger to the scene? Think you that there is any certainty in the affairs of mankind, when you know that often one swift hour can utterly destroy a man?
13 For though the chances of life may seldom be depended upon, yet the last day of a lifetime seems to be the end of Fortune's power, though it perhaps would stay.
14 What, think you, should we therefore say; that you desert her by dying, or that she deserts you by leaving you?'