Happiness is Fleeting: Expect Misery

Boethius, Consolatio Philosophiae 1.1:

“I, who once perfected poems while my zeal was at its height, am now, in tears, compelled to embrace a sadder metre. Behold! The mangled Muses dictate what I should write, and these elegies drench my face with real tears. These, at least, no terror could deter from following my path as my lone companions. Once the glory of my happy, vibrant youth, they now console me for my fate as a sad old man. Unexpected old age has come, hastened by misfortunes, and pain adds yet another age to that. My hair, grey before its time, falls from my head, and my loose skin trembles on my weakened body. It is a happy death, which does not intrude upon our happy years, but comes when called in our sadder days. Alas! Death turns a deaf ear to the wretched, and in her savagery, refuses to close my crying eyes! While Fortune, hardly faithful, favored me with trifling gifts, one sad hour nearly buried me. Now that she, cloud-like, has changed her deceitful countenance, my accursed life draws on these unpleasing delays. Why, my friends, did you boast so often that I was happy? He who has fallen never had a stable step.”

carmina qui quondam studio florente peregi,
flebilis heu maestos cogor inire modos.
ecce mihi lacerae dictant scribenda Camenae
et ueris elegi fletibus ora rigant.
has saltem nullus potuit peruincere terror,
ne nostrum comites prosequerentur iter.
gloria felicis olim uiridisque iuuentae,
solantur maesti nunc mea fata senis.
uenit enim properata malis inopina senectus
et dolor aetatem iussit inesse suam.
intempestiui funduntur uertice cani
et tremit effeto corpore laxa cutis.
mors hominum felix, quae se nec dulcibus annis
inserit et maestis saepe uocata uenit.
eheu, quam surda miseros auertitur aure
et flentes oculos claudere saeua negat!
dum leuibus male fida bonis fortuna faueret
paene caput tristis merserat hora meum;
nunc quia fallacem mutauit nubila uultum
protrahit ingratas impia uita moras.
quid me felicem totiens iactastis, amici?
qui cecidit, stabili non erat ille gradu.

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