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Nature Things

Nature Things

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Published by John Strohl

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Published by: John Strohl on Jun 25, 2012
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ProvidedbyTheInternetClassicsArchive.Seebottomforcopyright.Availableonlineathttp://classics.mit.edu//Carus/nature_things.htmlOntheNatureofThingsByLucretiusTranslatedbyWilliamElleryLeonard----------------------------------------------------------------------BOOKIProemMotherofRome,delightofGodsandmen,DearVenusthatbeneaththeglidingstarsMakesttoteemthemany-voyagedmainAndfruitfullands-foralloflivingthingsThroughtheealoneareevermoreconceived,Throughtheearerisentovisitthegreatsun-Beforethee,Goddess,andthycomingon,Fleestormywindandmassycloudaway,FortheethedaedalEarthbearsscentedflowers,FortheewatersoftheunvexeddeepSmile,andthehollowsofthesereneskyGlowwithdiffusedradianceforthee!Forsoonascomesthespringtimefaceofday,AndprocreantgalesblowfromtheWestunbarred,Firstfowlsofair,smittotheheartbythee,Foretokenthyapproach,OthouDivine,AndleapthewildherdsroundthehappyfieldsOrswimtheboundingtorrents.Thusamain,Seizedwiththespell,allcreaturesfollowtheeWhithersoeverthouwalkestforthtolead,Andthencethroughseasandmountainsandswiftstreams,Throughleafyhomesofbirdsandgreeningplains,Kindlingthelureofloveineverybreast,Thoubringesttheeternalgenerationsforth,Kindafterkind.Andsince'tisthoualoneGuidesttheCosmos,andwithouttheenaughtIsrisentoreachtheshiningshoresoflight,Noraughtofjoyfuloroflovelyborn,TheedoIcraveco-partnerinthatverseWhichIpresumeonNaturetocomposeForMemmiusmine,whomthouhastwilledtobePeerlessineverygraceateveryhour-Whereforeindeed,Divineone,givemywordsImmortalcharm.LulltoatimelyrestO'erseaandlandthesavageworksofwar,ForthoualonehastpowerwithpublicpeaceToaidmortality;sincehewhorulesThesavageworksofbattle,puissantMars,HowoftentothybosomflingshisstrengthO'ermasteredbytheeternalwoundoflove-Andthere,witheyesandfullthroatbackwardthrown,Gazing,myGoddess,open-mouthedatthee,Pasturesonlovehisgreedysight,hisbreath
 
Hanginguponthylips.HimthusreclinedFillwiththyholybody,round,above!PourfromthoselipssoftsyllablestowinPeacefortheRomans,gloriousLady,peace!ForinaseasontroubloustothestateNeithermayIattendthistaskofmineWiththoughtuntroubled,normidsucheventsTheillustriousscionoftheMemmianhouseNeglecttheciviccause.WhilsthumankindThroughoutthelandslaymiserablycrushedBeforealleyesbeneathReligion-whoWouldshowherheadalongtheregionskies,Gloweringonmortalswithherhideousface-AGreekitwaswhofirstopposingdaredRaisemortaleyesthatterrortowithstand,WhomnorthefameofGodsnorlightning'sstrokeNorthreateningthunderoftheominousskyAbashed;butratherchafedtoangryzestHisdauntlesshearttobethefirsttorendThecrossbarsatthegatesofNatureold.Andthushiswillandhardywisdomwon;Andforwardthushefaredafar,beyondTheflamingrampartsoftheworld,untilHewanderedtheunmeasurableAll.Whencehetous,aconqueror,reportsWhatthingscanrisetobeing,whatcannot,Andbywhatlawtoeachitsscopeprescribed,ItsboundarystonethatclingssodeepinTime.WhereforeReligionnowisunderfoot,Andushisvictorynowexaltstoheaven.IknowhowharditisinLatianverseTotellthedarkdiscoveriesoftheGreeks,Chieflybecauseourpauper-speechmustfindStrangetermstofitthestrangenessofthething;YetworthofthineandtheexpectedjoyOfthysweetfriendshipdopersuademeonTobearalltoilandwaketheclearnightsthrough,SeekingwithwhatofwordsandwhatofsongImayatlastmostgloriouslyuncloudFortheethelightbeyond,wherewithtoviewThecoreofbeingatthecentrehid.Andfortherest,summontojudgmentstrue,UnbusiedearsandsinglenessofmindWithdrawnfromcares;lestthesemygifts,arrangedFortheewitheagerservice,thoudisdainBeforethoucomprehendest:sincefortheeIprovethesupremelawofGodsandsky,Andtheprimordialgermsofthingsunfold,WhenceNatureallcreates,andmultipliesAndfostersall,andwhithersheresolvesEachintheendwheneachisoverthrown.ThisultimatestockwehavedevisedtonameProcreantatoms,matter,seedsofthings,Orprimalbodies,asprimaltotheworld.IfearperhapsthoudeemestthatwefareAnimpiousroadtorealmsofthoughtprofane;But'tisthatsamereligionoftenerfarHathbredthefoulimpietiesofmen:
 
AsonceatAulis,theelectedchiefs,Foremostofheroes,Danaancounsellors,DefiledDiana'saltar,virginqueen,WithAgamemnon'sdaughter,foullyslain.ShefeltthechapletroundhermaidenlocksAndfillets,flutteringdownoneithercheek,Andatthealtarmarkedhergrievingsire,Thepriestsbesidehimwhoconcealedtheknife,Andallthefolkintearsatsightofher.WithadumbterrorandasinkingkneeShedropped;normightavailhernowthatfirst'Twasshewhogavethekingafather'sname.Theyraisedherup,theyborethetremblinggirlOntothealtar-hitherlednotnowWithsolemnritesandhymenealchoir,Butsinlesswoman,sinfullyforedone,Aparentfelledheronherbridalday,MakinghischildasacrificialbeastTogivetheshipsauspiciouswindsforTroy:SucharethecrimestowhichReligionleads.Andthereshallcomethetimewheneventhou,Forcedbythesoothsayer'sterror-tales,shaltseekTobreakfromus.Ah,manyadreamevennowCantheyconcocttoroutthyplansoflife,Andtroubleallthyfortuneswithbasefears.Iownwithreason:for,ifmenbutknewSomefixedendtoills,theywouldbestrongBysomedeviceunconqueredtowithstandReligionsandthemenacingsofseers.Butnownorskillnorinstrumentistheirs,Sincemenmustdreadeternalpainsindeath.Forwhatthesoulmaybetheydonotknow,Whether'tisborn,orenterinatbirth,Andwhether,snatchedbydeath,itdiewithus,OrvisittheshadowsandthevastycavesOfOrcus,orbysomedivinedecreeEnterthebruteherds,asourEnniussang,WhofirstfromlovelyHeliconbroughtdownAlaurelwreathofbrightperennialleaves,RenownedforeveramongtheItalianclans.YetEnniustooineverlastingverseProclaimsthosevaultsofAcherontobe,Thoughthence,hesaid,norsoulsnorbodiesfare,Butonlyphantomfigures,strangelywan,AndtellshowoncefromoutthoseregionsroseOldHomer'sghosttohimandshedsalttearsAndwithhiswordsunfoldedNature'ssource.ThenbeitourswithsteadymindtoclaspThepurportoftheskies-thelawbehindThewanderingcoursesofthesunandmoon;Toscanthepowersthatspeedalllifebelow;ButmosttoseewithreasonableeyesOfwhatthemind,ofwhatthesoulismade,AndwhatitissoterriblethatbreaksOnusasleep,orwakingindisease,UntilweseemtomarkandhearathandDeadmenwhosebonesearthbosomedlongago.SubstanceisEternal

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