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The Old English Boethius with Verse Prologues and Epilogues Associated with King Alfred

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The Old English Boethius boldly refashions in Anglo Saxon guise a great literary monument of the late antiue world The Consolation of Philosophy Writing from prison around 525 CE Boethius turned to philosophy to transform his personal distress into a powerful meditation on fate free will and the human capacity for virtue in a flawed fallen world King Alfred and his Eala þte þhis moncyn wǣre gesǣlig gif heora wǣre riht ond gestaðelod ond swa geendebyrd swa swa þa oðre gesceafta sindon

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Prose and verse only in this case with Old English prose alternating with alliterative verseChaucer and ueen Elizabeth each turned The Consolation of Philosophy into English giving it an unrivalled pedigree of translators but King Alfred was the first to bring it to a wider vernacular audience Verse prologues and epilogues associated with the court of Alfred fill o Ac þu ðe fortruwudest for þinre rihtwisnesse and for þinum godan willan; wendest þæt þe nanwuht unrihtlices on becuman ne meahte swelce þu wolde þa lean eal þinra godena weorca on þisse weoruld habban Hu meahtest þu sittan on middum gemænum rice þæt ðu ne sceolde þæt ilce ge þolian þæt oðre men Hu meahtes þu bion on midre þisse hwearfunga þæt ðu eac mid ne hwearfode Hwæt singað þa leoðwyrhtan oðres be ðisse woruld buton mislica hwearfunga þisse worulde Hwæt is þe ðonne þæt þu þærmid ne hwearfie Hwæt recstu hu ge hwearfigen nu ic siemle mid þe beo Đe wæs þios hwearfung betere forðæm þæt ðe þissa woruldsælða to wel ne lyste and þæt ðu þe eac betre na gelefdeĐeah þæm feohgitsere cume swa fela welena swa þara sondcorna bið be þisum sæclifum oþþe þara steorrena ðe þiostrum nihtum scinað ne forlæt he þeah no ða seofunga þæt he ne seofige his ermða Þeah nu God gefylle þara weligra monna willan ge mid golde ge mid seolfre ge mid eallum deorwyrðnessum swa ðeah ne bið se ðurst gefylled hiora gitsunga Ac sio grundlease swelgend hæfð swiðe mænegu westu holu on to gadrianne Hwa mæg þæm wedendan gietsere genoh forgifan Swa him mon mare selð swa hine ma lyst

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Hand picked circle of scholars in ninth century England recognized the perennial relevance of Boethius’s themes They reshaped the Latin text into an Old English version that preserves the essence while accommodating a new audience the Roman Fabricius for example becomes the Germanic weapon smith Weland The translation even replicated Boethius’s alternation of Was only translation of Boethius's The Consolation of Philosophy available in the college library nearby Would like to read a translation from the LatinReading a translation of something this old shows how different the modern mind is from the medieval The book tackles big uestions such as the age old problem of evil in a clear but sometimes hard to digest way And yet sometimes I smiled at how similar the arguments resemble those of contemporary theologians like John Piper Fifteen centuries and Christians are still saying much the same thing to pursue God is felicity


4 thoughts on “The Old English Boethius with Verse Prologues and Epilogues Associated with King Alfred

  1. says:

    Eala þte þhis moncyn wǣre gesǣlig gif heora wǣre riht ond gestaðelod ond swa geendebyrd swa swa þa oðre gesceafta sindon


  2. says:

    Was only translation of Boethius's The Consolation of Philosophy available in the college library nearby Would like to read a translation from the LatinReading a translation of something this old shows how different the modern mind is from the medieval The book tackles big uestions such as the age old problem of evil in a clear but sometimes hard to digest way And yet sometimes I smiled at how similar the arguments resemble those of contemporary theologians like John Piper Fifteen centuries and Christians are still saying much the same thing to pursue God is felicity


  3. says:

    Ac þu ðe fortruwudest for þinre rihtwisnesse and for þinum godan willan; wendest þæt þe nanwuht unrihtlices on becuman ne meahte swelce þu wolde þa lean eal þinra godena weorca on þisse weoruld habban Hu meahtest þu sittan on middum gemænum rice þæt ðu ne sceolde þæt ilce ge þolian þæt oðre men? Hu meahtes þu bion on midre þisse hwearfunga þæt ðu eac mid ne hwearfode? Hwæt singað þa leoðwyrhtan oðres be ðisse woruld buton mislica hwearfunga þisse worulde? Hwæt is þe ðonne þæt þu þærmid ne hwearfie? Hwæt recstu hu ge hwearfigen nu ic siemle mid þe beo? Đe wæs þios hwearfung betere forðæm þæt ðe þissa woruldsælða to wel ne lyste and þæt ðu þe eac betre na gelefdeĐeah þæm feohgitsere cume swa fela welena swa þara sondcorna bið be þisum sæclifum oþþe þara steorrena ðe þiostrum nihtum scinað ne forlæt he þeah no ða seofunga þæt he ne seofige his ermða Þeah nu God gefylle þara weligra monna willan ge mid golde ge mid seolfre ge mid eallum deorwyrðnessum swa ðeah ne bið se ðurst gefylled hiora gitsunga Ac sio grundlease swelgend hæfð swiðe mænegu westu holu on to gadrianne Hwa mæg þæm wedendan gietsere genoh forgifan? Swa him mon mare selð swa hine ma lyst


  4. says:

    While definitely an interesting read in its own right this should not be called a translation of Boethius' original Consolation A derivative work or an adaptation perhaps


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