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Alan of Lille – Fortune

November 9, 2014

“For Fortune complete rest is flight, permanence is change, to stand still is to revolve to be in a fixed position is to run to and fro, a fall is an ascent. For her reasoned procedure is to be without reason, reliability is to be reliably unreliable, devotion is to be devotedly undevoted. She is fickle, unreliable, changeable, uncertain, random, unstable, unsettled. When one thinks that she has taken a stand, she falls and with a counterfeit smile she feigns joy. She is rough in her gentleness, overcast in her light, rich and poor, tame and savage, sweet and bitter. She weeps as she smiles, roams around as she stands, is blind as she sees. She is constant in fickleness, steadfast in faltering, true to falsehood, false to truth, unchangeable in changeability. She keeps this constant rule – that she is not constant; she faithfully maintains this one principle – that she knows not how to be faithful; she remains true to this one tenet – that she ever goes her unsettled way.“

(from Anticlaudianus, or The good and perfect man [written between 1181 and 1184], translated by James J. Sheridan [1973])


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