Boethiustr. James Harpur

Cum polo Phoebus roseis quadrigis
lucem spargere coeperit,
pallet albentes hebetata uultus
flammis stella prementibus.
Cum nemus flatu Zephyri tepentis
uernis inrubuit rosis,
spiret insanum nebulosus Auster,
iam spinis abeat decus.
Saepe tranquillo radiat sereno
immotis mare fluctibus,
saepe feruentes Aquilo procellas
uerso concitat aequore.

Rara si constat sua forma mundo,
si tantas uariat uices,
crede fortunis hominum caducis,
bonis crede fugacibus!
Constat aeterna positumque lege est
ut constet genitum nihil.
‘Everything flows.’ Heraclitus
‘How quickly the world’s glory passes away!’
........................................Thomas à Kempis

The sun god in his rose-flecked chariot
colours the dawn with spreading light
and faces of the fading stars grow pale
before the onslaught of his flames.
The temperate west wind ushers in the spring
and groves become a blur of pink;
but if the ravening south wind runs amok, then
it destroys the glorious blackthorn.
The sea is often like a glowing sheet
until the north winds make it seethe.

Since nature’s beauty rarely stays the same
but goes through changes all the time
have faith in short-lived wealth, and put your trust
in riches that will turn to dust!
The only constant that God’s law has fixed
is that no constancy exists.

Published in PN Review, vol. 34 no. 1

Transl. Copyright © James Harpur 2007

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