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Works of the great poets

Of Partial Truths

Boethius *

This discord in the pact of things,
This endless war twixt truth and truth,
That singly hold, yet give the lie
To him who seeks to yoke them both-
Do the Gods know the reason why?

Or is truth one without a flaw,
And all things to each other turn ?
But the soul, sunken in desire,
No longer can the links discern,
In glimmering of her smothered fire.

Then why with travail does she yearn
To find the hidden mysteries?
Knows she the things for which she burns?
Yet who will seek what he has got?
Yet who will seek
he knows not what?

How shall he follow the unknown?
How shall he find it, and when found,
How shall he know it? Did the soul
Once see the universal mind,
And know the part and know the whole?

Now sunken in the mirth of sense,
Not wholly doth the soul forget,
Still grasps the whole, lets go the part:
And therefore whoso seeks the truth
Shall find in no wise peace of heart.

For neither does he wholly know,
And neither doth he all forget:
But that high thing which once he saw,
And still remembers, that he holds,
And seeks to bring the truth forgot
Again to that which he has yet.


* Boethius was a forth-century Roman philosopher and senator.
Known as St. Severinus, Boethius was executed under the Emperor
Theodoric on false charges. He wrote the Consolation of Philosophy.


Boethius

     

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