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tion of her gifts; expérience had satisfied him of CHA P. their real value; he had enjoyed them without XXXIX. guilt ; he might resign them without a sigh, and calmly disdain the impoterit malice of his enemies, who had left him happiness, since they had left him virtue. From the earth, Boethius ascended to heaven in search of the SUPREME GOOD ; explored the metaphysical labyrinth of chance and destiny, of prescience and free-will, of time and eternity; and generously attempted to reconcile the perfect attributes of the Deity, with the apparent disorders of his moral and physical government. Such topics of consolation, so obvious; šo vague, or so abstruse, are ineffectual to subdue the feelings of human nature. Yet the sense of misfortune may be diverted by the labour of thought; and the sage who could artfully combine in the same work, the various riches of philosophy; poetry, and eloquence, must already have possessed the intrepid calmness, which he affected to seek. Suspense, the worst of evils, was at length determined by the ministers of death, who executed, and perhaps exceeded, the inhuman mandate of Theodoric. A strong cord was fastened round the head of Boethius and forcibly tightened, till his eyes almost started. from their sockets; and some mercy may be discovered in the milder torture of beating him with clubs till he expired*. But his genius survived to VOL. VII.



* He was executed in Agro Calventiano (Calvenzano, between Marignano and Pavia). Anonym. Vales. p. 723. by order of Eusebius count of Ticinum or Pavia. The place of his confinement is styled the baptistery, an edifice and name peculiar to cathedrals. It is claimed by the perpetual tradition of the church of Pavia. The tower of Boethius subsisted till the year 1584, and the draught is yet preserved (Tiraboschi, tom. iü. p.47,48.).

CHAP. diffusé a ray of knowledge over the darkest ages xxxix. of the Latin world; the writings of the philoso

pher were translated by the most glorious of the English kings *, and the third emperor of the name of Otho removed to a more honourable tomb the bones of a catholic saint, who, from his Arian persecutors, had acquired the honours of martyrdom, and the fame of miracles t. In the last hours of Boethius, he derived some comfort from the safety of his two sons, of his wife, and of his father-inlaw, the venerable Symmachus. But the grief of Symmachus was indiscreet, and perhaps disrespect

ful: he had presumed to lament, he might dare to Death of revenge, the death of an injured friend. He was Symma. chus,

dragged in chains from Rome to the palace of RàA. D. 325. venna; and the suspicions of Theodoric could only

be appeased by the blood of an innocent and aged

senator I. Remorse Humanity will be disposed to encourage any and death of Theodo report which testifies the jurisdiction of conscience ric,

and A. D. 526. August 30.

* See the Biographica Britannica, ALFRED, tom. i. p. 80. 2d edition. The work is still more honourable if performed under the learned eye of Alfred by his foreign and domestic doctors. For the reputation of Boethius in the middle ages, consult Brucker (Hist. Crit. Philosoph. tom. iii. p. 565, 566.).

+ The inscription on his new tomb was composed by the preceptor of Otho the third, the leamed Pope Silvester II. who, like Boethius himself, was styled a magician by the ignorance of the times. The Catholic martyr had carried his head in his hands a considerable way (Baronius, A. D. 526, No 17, 18.); yet, on a similar tale, a lady of my acquaintance once observed, “ La distanco n'y fait rien; il n'y a que le premier pas qui coute."

# Boethius applauds the virtues of his father-in-law (1. i. pros. 4. p. 59. 1. ii. pros. 4. p. 118.). Procopius (Goth. 1. i. c. 1.), the Valesian Fragment (p. 724.), and the Historia Miscella (1. xv. p. 105.), agree in praising the superior innocence or sancity of Symmachus ; and in the estimation of the legend, the guilt of his murder is equal to the imprisonment of a pope.



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and the remorse of kings; and philosophy is not c HA P. ignorant that the most horrid spectres are some- XXXIX. times created by the powers of a disordered fancy, and the weakness of a distempered body. After a life of virtue and glory, Theodoric was now de. scending with shame and guilt into the grave: his mind was humbled by the contrast of the past, and justly alarmed by the invisible terrors of futurity. One evening, as it is related, when the head of a large fish was served on the royal table *, he sud. denly exclaimed, that he beheld the angry countenance of Symmachus, his eyes glaring fury and revenge, and his mouth armed with long sharp teeth which threatened to devour him. The monarch instantly retired to his chamber, and, as he lay trembling with aguish cold, under a weight of bed-clothes, he expressed in broken murmers to his physician Elpidius, his deep repentance for the murders of Boethius and Symmachus f. His malady increased, and after a dysentery which continued three days, he expired in the palace of Ravenna, in the thirty-third, or, if we compute from the invasion of Italy, in the thirty-seventh year of his reign. Conscious of his approaching end, he divided his treasures and provinces between his two grand. sons, and fixed the Rhone as their common bound

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* In the fanciful eloquence of Cassiodorius, the variety of sea and river fish are an evidence of extensive dominion ; and those of the Rhine, of Sicily, and of the Danuabe, were served on the table of Theodoric (Var. xii. 14.). The monstrous turbot of Domitian (Juvenal. Satir. Üï. 39.) had been caught on the shores of the Adriatic.

+. Procopius, Goth. I. i. c. 1. But he might have informed us, whether he had received this curious anecdote from common report, or from the mouth of the royal physician,

CHAP, ary*. Amalaric was restored to the throne of XXXIX. Spain. Italy, with all the conquests of the Ostro

goths, was bequeathed to Athalaric; whose age did not exceed ten years, but who was cherished as the last male offspring of the line of Amali, by the short lived marriage of his mother Amalasuntha with a royal fugitive of the same blood †. In the presence of the dying monarch, the Gothic chiefs and Italian magistrates mutually engaged their faith and loyalty to the young prince, and to his guardian mother; and received in the same awful moment, his last salutary advice, to maintain the laws, to love the senate and people of Rome, and to cultivate with decent reverence the friendship of the emperor ‡. The monument of Theodoric was erected by his daughter Amalasuntha, in a conspicuous situation, which commanded the city of Ravenna, the harbour, and the adjacent coast. A chapel of a circular form, thirty feet in diameter, is crowned by a dome of one entire piece of granite from the centre of the dome, four columns arose, which supported, in a


*Procopious, Goth. 1. i. c. 1, 2. 12, 13. This partition had been directed by Theodoric, though it was not executed till after his death. Regni hereditatem superstes reliquit (Isidor. Chron. p. 721. edit. Grot.).

+. Berimund, the third in descent from Hermanric, king of the Ostrogoths, had retired into Spain, where he lived and died in obscurity (Jornandes, c. 33. p. 202. edit. Murator.). See the discovery, nuptials, and death, of his grandson Eutharic (c, 58. p. 220.). His Roman games might render him popular (Cassiodor. in Chron.), but Eutharic was asper in religione (Anonym. Vales. p. 722, 723.).

. See the counsels of Theodoric, and the professions of his successor, in Procopius (Goth. 1. i. c. 1, 2.), Jornandes (c. 59. p. 220, 221.), and Cassiodorius (Var. viii. 1-7.). epistles are the triumph of his ministerial eloquence.


vase of porphyry, the remains of the Gothic king, c H A P. surrounded by the brazen statues of the twelve xxxix. apostles *. His spirit, after some previous expia. tion, might have been permitted to mingle with the benefactors of mankind, if an Italian hermit had not been witness in a vision to the damnation of

Theodoric t, whose' soul was plunged, by the ministers of divine vengeance, into the vulcano of Lipari, one of the flaming mouths of the infernal world I,

* Anonym. Vales. p. 724. Agnellus de Vitis Pont. Raven. in Muratori Script. Rerum Ital. tom. ii. P. i. p. 67. Alberti Descrittione d'Italia, p. 311.

+ This legend is related by Gregory I. (Dialog. iv. 36.), and approved by Baronius (A.D. 526, No 28.); and both the Pope and Cardinal are grave doctors, sufficient to establish a probable opinion.

† Theodoric himself, or rather Cassidorius, had described in tragic strains the vulcanos of Lipari (Chuver. Sicilia, p.406. 410.) and Vesuvius (iv. 50.).

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