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Titus Lucretius Carus “On the Nature of Things”, Book 1

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Titus Lucretius Carus

”On the Nature of Things”
Book 1

English translation by Lamberto Bozzi (2019)

Titus Lucretius Carus

De Rerum Natura
Liber Primus

Source: Wikisource

O Mother of Aeneas’ race, delight
Of men and gods, nourishing Venus, you
Who under the moving stars breathe life to
The sea teeming with ships, to the land fertile;
All living species are conceived through you

And after birth perceive the Sun’s shining smile.
The winds and clouds of the celestial sphere
Fade away when you, o goddess, appear;
Under your feet the Daedalian earth scatters
Sweet flowers; the expanse of the sea waters

Beams at you and the sky, once again clear,
With diffuse luminosity glitters.
For as soon as the day’s Spring-like beauty
Is brought to light, and Favonius, now free,
Breathes with vigour again, o goddess it’s you

The birds of the air welcome, and your approach too:
In their hearts being deeply perturbed
By your vital force quite uncurbed.
Thus, wild beasts and heads of cattle prance
On luxuriant grazing lands and swim

Across wild rivers. Lost in a pleasant trance
Everyone eagerly follows each whim
Of yours wherever it may lead him to.
And at last, through land and sea and impetuous
Rivers and leafy nests of birds and luscious

Green fields, you instil love in all hearts to
Ensure that each respective generation
Of the species is allowed due propagation,
As a result of passionate desire.
As you alone govern nature and nothing

Without you appears in the sky’s bright choir,
Or indeed becomes joyous or pleasing,
I call for your partnership while I compose
These verses on the nature of things with our
Memmius whom you, o goddess, chose

As a man great for all seasons, a flower
Of all virtues. More than ever grant to
My words eternal elegance, o goddess,
And make sure, meanwhile, to impose a curfew
On wild warlike engagements on the vastness

Of all seas and lands, for you alone can make
Mortals happy, because war’s cruel contests
Are governed by almighty Mars who often rests
On your lap, forever wounded for love’s sake;
And so, looking up at your reclined smooth cervix,

He feasts his eyes on you, panting, o goddess,
And reclines under your face, almost breathless.
Embracing him on your lap, o goddess, you fix
His supine figure and from your mouth effuse
Sweet words asking him, o illustrious goddess,

To grant the Romans a life of peacefulness.
For in these times ruinous for our country
Neither can we work in tranquillity;
Nor can Memmius’ famous descendants dismiss
The affairs of State in a moment like this.

All different gods, as such, necessarily
Enjoy the supreme peace of immortality,
Are quite distant, have nothing at all to do
With our personal concerns, being immune to
All sorrows and hazards and, as such,

Rely on their forces, neither needing us
Nor valuing our worth, nor feeling the touch
Of anger. O Gaius, as for the rest,
Lend your ears and your sagacious breast
Free from all cares, to the truly expressed

Doctrine, so that my presents, with true zeal
Made for you alone, shouldn’t be despised
Before having been appropriately appraised.
As it’s for you that I’ll begin to deal
With the supreme laws, before Heaven

And the gods, and will also reveal
The first origin of all things and then
The way nature creates them all, letting
Them grow, nourishing them and dissolving
Them after they’re consumed. Again

These, in our own system we, as usual,
Call matter and generators of things,
Primeval bodies from which springs
And derives all that is deemed primal.
When on this earth, quite in the open,

Human life lay in a harsh condition,
Oppressed by cumbersome superstition
Ferociously looking down on men,
From the celestial region a mortal,
A Greek, first cast an oblique

Eye at it. Neither the traditional
Fame of the gods, nor lightnings
Nor thunderclaps were the things
Which restrained him, as all the more
Excited was his soul’s fiery force in being

The first to try to pry open Nature’s door.
The lively energy of his soul, therefore,
Was victorious and did extensively swing
Over and above the world’s flaming
bulwarks; his mind went through the immense

Expanse of the Universe from whence
He tells us what can be born or cannot be;
And lastly what law to every single thing
Assigns powers of limited consequence,
And also a conclusion immutably

Settled. Accordingly Religion having
In turn been trampled underfoot and crushed, then
Victory makes us all equal with heaven.
What I’m afraid of in this connection
Is that you may by accident determine

This to be but an initiation
To the principles of an evil doctrine,
And set out on the path of the wicked.
While very often, on the other hand,
That religion breeds evil and crooked

Deeds. Thus in Aulis the chosen band
Of the Danaan captains, the pride
Of the warriors, soiled with Iphigenia’s
Blood, and in a most horribly way, Trivia’s
Altar pedestal. After the ribbon tied

Around the young woman’s virginal head
Fell on either cheek, in equal measure spread,
She soon realized that her father
Was sadly standing before the altar,
And the priests, near him on the sacred site,

Were concealing their daggers from her eyes,
While the populace were crying at her sight.
Having lost her speech she collapsed, by surprise,
On her knees. And no help did the poor girl then acquire
For having called the King her father sire;

Shaking from fear she was led
To the altar by soldiers, not to fulfil
A solemn sacred liturgy until
The moment she was meant to wed,
Escorted by a luminous nuptial train,

But as a grieving chaste victim to be
Destroyed by her own father, impiously,
To propitiate the fleet’s lucky and timely
Departure. Indeed Religion’s scourge
Could men to such extreme misdeeds urge.

But one day perhaps you too, terrified
By the prophets’ horrible words, will
Forsake us and go over to their side.
For their many frauds can surely kill
Your life’s principles and then instil

Terror into your life. And rightly so,
For if men could envisage a certain end
Of their tribulations they would contend
With religion and the prophets’ threats also.
Now there is no reason to put up a fight

For the fear of death and its eternal plight,
Since we ignore the nature of our soul,
Whether it is born or instead insinuates
Itself into human beings at birth and dies
With us when the death bell begins to toll,

Or visits Orcus’ darkness and the marshy spates,
Or if, by divine intervention, flies
Into other animals, as our Ennius used to sing,
He who first from delectable Helicon did bring
A wreath of perennial fronds, and whose reputation

Shone brightly all over the Italic nation.
Although Ennius’ immortal verses maintain
That there are indeed temples in the domain
Of Acheron where souls and bodies remain
But as a kind of exceptionally pale

Images. There appeared to him, in that vale,
Homer’s likeness, ever thriving,
Who approaching him and shedding
Bitter tears began to explain the nature
Of things with words. Thus we must investigate

All that abides above us in the azure
skies, what action plan is there to regulate
The motions of both the Sun and the Moon, by what
Force all things on Earth are governed and
First to sagaciously scrutinize the upshot

Of the soul and its nature and what pictures indeed
Appear to us when we are lost in a dreamland,
Or awake and ailing, leave our mind scared and worried;
So much so that we seem to hark and see the faces
Of those whom after death the earth embraces.

Nor does it slip my mind it’s hard to explain
With Latin verses the obscure discoveries
Of the Greeks, and treat many categories
With words having quite a different strain,
From our poor tongue and altered to

Illustrate theories fresh and new.
But your worth and the expected delights
Of our cherished friendship urge me to make
All efforts to stay up in the serene nights
and Meditate what words and verses can
Give light to the mind for their own sake,
At last, and let you the occult well scan;

Neither the rays of the Sun nor the day’s clear
Arrows are therefore needed to dissipate
The soul’s obscurity and intense fear,
But rather the knowledge of nature’s right.
This is the concept core, we begin right here:

Nothing ever comes from nothing by divine
Will. And to be sure, terror is the confine
Encircling mortals as they see in heaven
And on earth many phenomena happen
Of whose effects the causes they can’t see,

And therefore ascribe to divinity.
So once we’ve seen nothing can be
Created out of nothing then, at that
moment, we’ll truly grasp what we
Are looking into and the place whereat

All things are made and how, and free
From anything that the gods begat.
Well, if out of anything all species
Were born none of them would need
A seed; and to begin with, men’s babies

Could be generated by the sea, and scaly
Fishes by the earth. The sky could give birth to
Birds. Cattle and domestic animals, too,
And all kinds of wild beasts would populate
Fields and deserts due to a chance birthright;

Nor indeed would the same fruits just derivate
From trees, as is the custom, but could be quite
Permutable: all trees could all fruits bear.
If there were no generative seeds, certainly,
For every single one, how could there exist

An origin certain for everything? Yet
As it’s certain seeds which create all bodies, really,
Then each is created where there coexist
Its pristine substance and required seeds; and that
Is the reason why all cannot all beget,
For each seed has a force innate and secret.

Why do we see a rose blossom in Spring,
Besides, and wheat mature in the Summer heat,
And grapes respond to the call of the Fall,
If not because in every single thing

Certain clustered seeds, having effloresced
When in season, potent life brings out then
The tender buds to be safely sun blessed?
If they were just born out of nothing they would
Come forth at once, no matter where and when,

In the course of the year, as no pristine things could
From generative groupings barred be
When the season’s clime turns contrary again;
Nor would it be then necessary
A certain stretch of time for the unfolding

Of beings through the aggregation
Of seeds if indeed they could, out of nothing,
Grow up and turn with no gestation
From delicate babies into young men.
Seedlings just sprouted from the earth would then

All of a sudden stand tall, which is unlikely as all
Beings, as is well known, grow by degrees
From their own seeds to preserve their own species;
So you can realize that all things alive
Their growth and food from their own stuff derive.

Moreover without regular rainfall, equally
Distributed through the year, the earth can’t possibly
Produce luxuriant crops, nor on the other hand
The nature of all living beings, without feed,
Can propagate the species and also withstand

The blows life deals. Many living beings, indeed,
Share many common seeds, as in common, too,
Are many letters in the words we construe,
Because nothing exists, and nothing breeds
Without the presence of primordial seeds.

Lastly, why couldn’t nature produce men so
Big as to be able to wade across the sea
And tear mountains asunder and also
Have their own existence surpass many
Generations’ living span, except that

Birth-giving humans owe their format
To a certain pre-determined quantity
Of matter programmed to pursue
To the end what it gives birth to.
As nothing comes out of nothing; a seed,

Beyond doubt, is what things which are born need
To soar into the sky’s sweet breezes. And
Lastly, as we note that cultivated land
Is more fertile than unprepared ground,
And has manual labour richly crowned,

It’s clear the earth hides pristine seeds;
And so when the ploughshare proceeds
To turn the fruitful sods over we,
By working the soil, stir them up for
If they did not exist you would see

Self-generated every single thing,
With no effort on our part and more
Aptly. Thus nature dissolves every being,
Again, into its basic components, though
Without annihilating it in toto,

For if anything were, in every single mite,
Mortal it would suddenly vanish from our sight.

Of the components and their innate connection,
Whereas all things consists of eternal seeds,

And until a force comes that hits and bleeds
Their hollow elements to disintegration,
Nature doesn’t permit their end to be seen.
If, besides, the passage of time pummels
In full all things, wasting all matter, from where

Can Venus bring to the light of life again
Every animal breed and creature
And from where is produced the busy Earth’s fare
For all that was brought to this life and then
To give each species its convenient pasture?

From where do pristine springs and faraway
Rivers replenish the sea and how may
Ether fuel the stars? In fact all mortal things must
Have been crushed by infinite time and the days past
Already. For if in this stretch of time, and in the past too

There were germs of which is made, and made anew,
This universe, they surely have a deathless
Nature and each can’t return to nothingness,
Finally, the same force and cause would
Destroy, en masse, all things if they were not tied

Together by eternal matter and, more or less,
By some bonding. Indeed a mere touch could
Certainly make them fall apart far and wide,
For no eternal matter would be in action
To oppose all forces bent on their destruction.

But now, as different from each other are primordial
Couplings while matter is endowed with eternal
Life, things remain unbroken until opposition
Forceful enough comes and dismantles every single one.
Therefore no matter at all returns to nothingness

But all, by a dissolution process are bidden
Back into the primordial elements. At last
Vanish the showers Father Ether does cast
Upon Mother Earth’s womb, but the crops then
Rise glistening, and boughs turn green again

On the trees weighed down low with good fruits which, in turn,
our species and all animal species, maintain.
We see glad towns where blithe children sojourn,
And hear the newborn birds’ refrain resound
From the umbrageous forests all around;

Fat herds of cattle lie tired on the ground,
And candid milk exudes from their swollen
Udders, while their offspring, tottering
On their paws, are drunk with the pure milken
Drink. Therefore not all that seems to perish

Perishes at all. Nature recreates one thing
From another and actually suffers nothing
To be born if not helped by the finish
Of something else. Well now, as I have proved
Things can’t be created out of nothing, and

Once created, can’t likewise be removed,
And revert to nothing; in order that, by accident
You might start to doubt and countermand
My words, because a primordial element
Can’t be perceived with the eyes. First of all

An ill wind brings about a squall
Lashing the sea, swamping the big vessels and
Dispersing the clouds, swirling over the flatland;
At times scattering big trees on the fields, harassing
Tall mountains with howling and piercing forest-rending

Gusts; therefore Winds are bodies doubtlessly
Invisible, sweeping land and sea and finally
Spiriting away the clouds in the sky, then tossing
them violently by means of a sudden eddy,
And wreaking the kind of destruction outlined

When the tender mass of the water is suddenly
Carried by the flood of a river fed by a giant
Stream from the tall mountains after an abundant
Rainfall, hurling down woodland fragments and whole
Trees. Nor can strong bridges resist the onslaught

Of a flash flood: a dam is soon turned into a sinkhole
Under the aggression of a river fraught
With rain water which wreaks havoc with great uproar,
Breaking enormous rocks and charging down before
All obstacles. And thus wind gusts,

Like an impetuous river that thrusts
And destroys everything, everywhere,
with recurrent outbreaks which ensnare
All snags in a vortex coil, and quickly draw
Them into the whirlwind. So I say again

Winds are invisible bodies as they emulate
In form and results great rivers also
Which belong to the visible domain;
Then we also smell the various scents things emanate
But never see them reach our noses, though;

Nor the outbursts of heat, nor can we indeed catch sight
Of the cold or of the voices all things having quite
A corporeal nature, because they can affect
The senses. Nothing incorporeal can be
Touched, for sure. Lastly, on a shore bedecked

With garments soaked by the wave-breaking sea,
The same are dried up by the Sun’s fiery
Beams; but one can’t see how the watery
Fluid poured into them nor how it could flee
Because of the heat. So water is reduced to

Small parts which the eyes can’t possibly see.
And over the course of many solar years, too,
The inside of a ring one wears wears thin,
While constant dripping wears a rock away;
The curved ploughshare secretly wears out in

The fields. We see the blocks of the highway
Consumed under the feet of the populace, and
The bronze statues by the doors showing a right hand
Worn thin by the greeting touch of those who
Pass by. Thus we see how the wear and tear

Abates those things, but are denied the view,
Nature being envious, of which fragments at any
Given moment detach themselves. And finally,
The fragments time and nature attach to
Things, to make them gradually grow,

Are well beyond man’s meticulous scrutiny.
Nor could you clearly distinguish how salt spray
Little by little attacks and eats away
Fragments from the rocks hanging over the sea.
So Nature acts through invisible-bodied

Beings. Things are then in no way completely
Packed together; in them there is void indeed.
You’ll find this concept in many cases useful,
As it won’t let you wander on and be doubtful
Of my words in your study of the canopied

Universe. Hence there exists an empty space
Without substance at all; without it in no way
Could things move, as their inbuilt function to face
And thwart things, which all bodies must therefore obey,
Would occur at every turn with every element,

And be for all things a spatial impediment,
Because nothing would therefore start giving way;
But in fact we see with our own eyes
Many things for various motives move about
At sea, on land and up in the skies;

Without void those things would without doubt
Not only be deprived of endless motion
But also of their very generation.
Since matter, being packed down, would have been
Motionless. Besides, however solid things may

Seem, from this you can understand how in
Them there is void too: an aqueous fluid penetrates
Through rocks and crannies and oozes away
Copiously. Inside living beings food percolates,
Trees grow and in due time produce fruits;

As nourishment from the deepest roots
Reaches each tendril through trunks and branches;
Through walls and through closed mansion doors voices
Pass freely; the freezing cold enters the bones
And if no empty gaps were used as stepping stones

To let all those bodies pass, no chances
Would exist. Lastly, why do some bodies outweigh
Others although no bigger is their size?
Because if in a ball of wool the clump
Of matter is the same as in a lump

Of lead, then there should be equality
In their weight as it is the property
Of matter to push everything down, though
The weight of void is equal to zero.
Therefore what is equally big on sight,

But on the contrary is quite light,
Certainly proves to be emptier
And what, instead, is a lot heavier
Clearly shows to have within itself quite
A lesser share of void, and void we indeed

Call all that is with matter intermarried,
And which we sagaciously investigate.
I am therefore compelled to anticipate
The objection some raise against this subject
So that you may from the truth never deflect.

They say that water does not resist the squamate
And lucid creatures’ effort and opens liquid
Paths for them because fish leave behind a space
Where the parting waves form a watery trace.
And though the world may be full to the brim

Other living beings can move and change place
Too. No doubt this reasoning is out on a limb.
For where could the squamate beings go
If the waters would not give up some space?
And where could the waves then retire

If immobilised were the entire
Fish population? Then either all beings
Must be deprived of motion or all things
Are mixed with void, and the very nature
Of movement is due to this admixture.

Lastly, if two large bodies bump into
One another and then suddenly
Detach themselves, it’s necessary
That the entire void between the two
Be filled up with air which certainly

Cannot be done at the same moment,
however swift be the air current,
because it’s indispensable for air
To own every contiguous space and from there
Reach all the others. And if some think,

By chance, that every time bodies slink
From each other that is due to the condensation
Of the air, they’re wrong as then starts the formation
Of void which wasn’t there before and likewise will,
What had been void, be used for a refill.

Nor can air, diversely, be condensed that way
Nor, if it could, would shrink, I think, and convey
The condensation of its voidless parts into
One single spot. For this reason, as much as you
Hesitate and speculate, it’s necessary to

Confess that in things there is void nevertheless.
Besides I could remind you of a cohort
Of arguments in order to better support
My words, but these slight traces will suffice
To put you in the picture as regards the rest;

Indeed as dogs very often smell the precise
Spot, among the bushes, of the hidden nest
Of a wild beast roving on the mountains when
They find a sure track on the terrain, thus you
Yourself will safely tell one thing from the other

As regards this theme, and take within your ken
The obscure recesses and learn what is true.
For if you only swerve from the truth or linger,
I can certainly promise you this, Memmius: my
Tongue is going to suavely pour out,

As if from a great fountain’s spout,
my own soul’s richness, lest by and by
Fearsome old age should creep through my poor
Limbs, and all my life’s knots should untie
Before all the abundant evidence,

On any theme, is poured into your
Ears by virtue of my verses’ cadence.
But now let us weave with words our argument
Again. All nature’s elements are therefore twain
Per se, and in nature bodies and void are present.

In void move bodies in every direction;
And in fact common sense confirms the notion
That bodies exist per se, and unless credence
In their existence is an accepted value
Occult things will be outside the mind’s scope too,

And without a proper frame of reference;
Then again, without any space which we call
Void, bodies would have no place to stay at all,
Nor move anywhere or be despatched
To various directions as I told you a while ago;

Besides there’s nothing that can be detached
From every diverse body and from void also,
Almost as if to find a third nature in kind.
For whatever exists must in itself be
A thing certain, whose tangible core,

However light and small, will finally
Raise the bodies’ number, and big or
Tiny, as it may be, will increase the same,
But if it is intangible, as from no part it
Can stop a passing thing from going through its frame,

It will unquestionably be what we name
Void, a vacuum space with inanity knit.
Besides whatever exists at all will stay
Alive in itself or will somehow find a way
Or will be pushed by other forces or be

Quite viable and in proper motion also;
But action and endurance need matter though,
And cannot give space which is not void and free.
Therefore beyond void and matter a third kind
Of nature in itself can’t be counted among

The number of things, nor was it ever flung
Under our senses, nor acquired by our mind.
For all that you can name is either joined
To those two things or can be defined
As an accident. Joined is what cannot be

Cut to pieces or ruinously disjoined,
Like weight for rocks, heat for fire, fluidity,
For water, for all things tangibility,
And intangibility for void. Instead
Poverty, riches, harmony, liberty,

In whose presence or absence, when all is said,
Nature stands unchanged, we naturally name
Accidents. So time per se doesn’ t exist
But its perception depends on the same
Events, present and past too; nor the gist

Of time can be said to be perceived per se,
From motion and placid quiet sundered.
Lastly, when Helen was seized, as they say,
And the Trojan nation was massacred
In combat, one must not be led to confess,

Unwittingly, these facts exist per se;
For the past, with its irrevocableness,
has managed to obliterate already
The generation that made that history.
As for what occurred in the past, all actions

May be ascribed to regions or to nations.
Lastly, had there been no matter, no space,
Where the events of the bodies take place,
The flame of the love Helen ignited
In the breast of Alexander the Phrygian
Would have never set alight the flaunted

Battles of the cruel war, nor would the Trojan
Wooden Horse have delivered in its nigthly sleep
The Greek warriors who set on fire Pergamon’s keep;
Which Shows you all facts, indiscriminately,
Neither exist nor have matter and body;

Nor do they exist or act the same
As the empty space called void by name;
But, rather, you may quite reasonably
Call them accidents of matter and space
Where all things are generated. Again

Bodies are the seeds of things, partially,
And in part the combination taking place
From their grouping; but unaffected remain
First beginning which finally
Prevail by their solidity,

Even though it seems hard to believe you can find
Anything with such thick density intertwined.
In fact strokes of lightning go through house walls, as do cries
And sounds; iron incandesces in fire and likewise
Rocks are burned down by a flame’s savage glow;

The hardness of gold is melted by heat; like a floe
Melts bronze on the burning coals; heat and piercing
Cold imbue silver when we feel them both, holding
In our hand a cup, while the liquid drops adagio
From above, as custom is. Such is the evidence

That in things there seems to be no solid substance.
But as proper reasoning and also
The nature of things compel us, do
Listen carefully while I explain to you,
Summarily, that all those things which show

Matter solid and indestructible too,
Are those we call the seeds and primal
Bodies of things and an integral
Part of this universe. In the first place,
However, as we proved to be extremely

Diverse the twofold nature of each reality
In which things take place: body and space,
It’s necessary for each of them to exist for
Its own sake and be from all admixtures free;
For wherever may the space we call void soar

There’s no matter around; and where it is to be
Found, on the contrary, there is no empty
Space at all. Consequently first things are solid through
And through, without void. Besides, as in things brought into
Being void exists, they must have about

Them compact bodies. And without doubt
There is no proof a thing may have concealed
Void, holding it within itself, unless you admit
That within compact bodies it was sealed.
So matter which consists of a solid body

May be eternal, while other things tends to
Fall apart. On the other hand with no empty
Space all would be solid; but on the contrary
If there were no solid bodies spreading through
Space, filling it up, all that is called space would be

Empty void. Next, a body is, in turn, surely
Distinguished from void because its frame
Is neither completely compact nor really empty
And, as I gave proof to you, the same
Can interrupt empty space with its density.

These can’t be destroyed by blows from without;
Nor can, diversely, be wrecked by penetration
Into their inner core; nor, when knocked about,
In different circumstances, do they sway
As I proved to you before; Surely no collision

Of bodies can take place in an empty space;
Nothing could be fragmented or cut halfway
With a single stroke, nor let in liquids or numbing
Cold or blistering fire by which every single thing
Is destroyed. And the more void a thing hems in

The more it breaks down, being assailed from within.
Then, if first things are solid and have no void,
I did prove they’re such as cannot be destroyed.
Besides had matter not eternal been
To nothing would have reverted every single thing

Before now. And the things we see, from nothing
would have risen again. As is to be seen
In my demonstration, nothing can
Be then generated from nothing, and in-
To nothing what is born cannot revert so

The bodies of matter have a life span
Which must be eternal. Into them, also,
Everything will in the end dissolve, so that
Matter is made ready to renew
All living beings. Consequently the format

Of the seeds of things has a compacted simplicity,
If not because it does not change through
Eternity, letting things then accrue.
At last if no end to the divisibility
Of matter had been put by nature, the first

Beginnings already would have been dispersed
In the years gone by and reduced to such an extent
That no compound of them, from a given moment,
Could reach the apex of its life span;
For we notice how everything can

Sooner be dissolved than made anew;
And for this reason nothing
Could, in the days which still remain,
Regrow from what the long, infinite passing
Of time has been destroying, ruining and crushing.

There must truly be a limit to divisibility
As we see all things renew
Themselves; and for all things, too,
There are, after their kind, fixed periods of time
To let them fully attain their life’s prime.
………………………………………………………………..
Moreover although the bodies of matter
Are extremely solid, it’s possible to explain
Why some of them are instead soft and tender:
Air, water, earth and vapours, once with matter
Is airy void admixed. If on the contrary

The seeds of things were soft one could not explain
The hard stones’ and the iron’s pristine domain;
How they’re generated and by what power
They are governed; for every being, as it were,
Will then wholly lack a principle on which to be

Founded. Solid bodies of sturdy simplicity
Exist then, and their thicker aggregation
Makes all things more valid through condensation.
Again, if there’s no limit to the breaking
Up of bodies of things, a few surviving

Seeds must have crossed time eternal, anyhow,
Without having been imperilled up to now.
But as they are provided with a fragile nature
It’s illogical to think they were able to
Preserve themselves from the past to the future,

Although they were subject to a slew of shocks through
Neverending time. For to things, according to
Their kind, is a fixed time-limit finally assigned
Concerning their own life and development,
And seeing that also nature’s own commandment

Decrees what each can do and what instead is redlined;
And nothing changes, on the contrary,
All characters are preserved to such an extent
That feathered creatures, whose mottling vary
In an orderly way, must have a body meant

To be immutable too. For if the seeds
Of things could turn into quite different breeds,
(Which is from reason refuted already)
Even what could be born would be uncertain
And what cannot be born also; and lastly

By what law the seeds of things have been given
A specific power and limits well defined
From above. Nor could the generations each kind
So often reproduce with the temperament,
Habits, personal traits and ways of nourishment

Of their parents. Then, since there is certainly
A definite extreme point in those seeds, beyond
Our senses’ perception, that point surely
Has no parts and consists of so tiny
A size as not to be viable without a bond

(Now or forever) with its likes as it
Is itself a part and a basic unit
Of another thing, and then along with it
All the other similar parts in succession,
And in tight ranks, complete a body’s formation.

As these parts by themselves cannot exist
They must stick together in such a way
As to wholly prevent their going astray.
The seeds of things then have a solid simplicity,
Their infinitesimal parts indissolubly

Stick together, not as an aggregation
Of groupings of them, but to some extent really
Indestructible for their homogeneity,
From which thus nature allows no partition
Or diminution preserving the seeds for

The first things. Besides if a first thing
Were not the smallest indivisible core
Every infinitesimal body would contain
Infinite parts, because by halving
Them the halving would go on again and again,

With no limit. What will the difference be
Therefore between the biggest
Of the things and the smallest?
None at all as in the infinity
Of the Universe the ultimate

Things are likewise bound by no limit.
As true reason protests and prevents the mind
From believing all that, it’s necessary,
Having indeed been beaten, to admit
The existence of first things not already

Made up of parts, whose basic substance doesn’t vary,
And, as they exist, you must confess
They are very solid and timeless.
Finally if Mother Nature were used to
Break all things down into minuscule-sized

Pieces she couldn’t create them anew;
For the things which are not materialized
By accumulation can’t have indeed
The qualities that matter seems to need:
Various links, contacts, collisions, weight, motion,

Which are the causes of all things’ generation.
Therefore those who thought fire was the substance
Of things and that igneous only was the provenance
Of the Universe, from true reason seem to slide away.
Heraclitus their guide first entered the fray;

More illustrious was he for the obscurity
Of his language among the vain, not the wise
Greeks, who always try to sift the truth from lies.
Indeed the stolid love and admire most what they see
Hidden under convoluted words deeming true

What is pleasing to the ear and amplifies
The words’ sweet sonority. For I wonder why
So many various things could come to life through
A pure hail of fire only. In fact to no avail
Would the blazes intensify or rarefy

If the fire particles had the same nature
That the entire fire has in greater measure,
Since the heat would be more intense where more dense
The bodies cluster, and instead a lot fainter
where they are spread abroad and driven asunder.

More than that there’s nothing indeed you
Can think from such a cause might accrue;
And much less that so many things, so various
Can derive from fires dense or tenuous;
Besides, only by admitting pure void can be

Mixed with matter, fires can indeed thicken
Or lose density, but as the Muses see many
Facts which are really against their theories, and then,
Exclude the presence of pure void in things, thus,
they fear to devote themselves to more arduous

Problems, and go astray from the true way;
Nor do they realize that if within
Matter void is taken away, all
Is condensed and so out of that all
One body is formed that cannot rapidly

Send out anything as does fire that sets free,
As it burns brightly, light and warmth; hence
You can notice its particles are not dense.
But if they think, by chance, that in some other way
Fires can mix together, die out and then astray

Send their nature, and if by no circumstance
Do they abstain from that view, certainly
The blazes will disappear entirely,
And from nothing will spring forth every substance.
For all that comes out transmuted from its confines

What existed before to death promptly consigns.
Something in those fires must therefore survive
In order that all things won’t shrink to
Nothing and, from nothing born, a slew
Of seeds of things can abundantly thrive.

Consequently, as there are certain
Immutable bodies that maintain
The same nature all the time thanks to
Their mutual combination and dispersion,
And altered disposition, too,

So that things change nature through a conversion
Of substances, it follows all can thus
Perceive that first beginnings are not igneous.
It would indeed not matter should a few
First things be dispersed and thrown away

And a few should be added, in a new
Order, if they kept the nature of the blaze;
For they would then be creating fire, always.
But, as I see it, this is the truth: there exist
Some first things whose aggregation

Progression, order, position
And form originate fire until a twist
In their order changes their nature and they
Become unlike fire or any substance such
As can bodies to the senses convey,

And indeed by collision affect our touch
And again it seems quite senseless to say
That all things are fire only and no true
Thing exists among all their numbers, too,
Unless of igneous nature as Heraclitus

In person will certainly maintain, for
Starting from the senses he goes to war
Against the senses trying to overthrow
Those on which all our own beliefs also
Depend and through which the element

Called fire is known to him. He really
Thinks the senses can get a good knowledge of fire
But not of the other things that clearly
Are no less evident, which seems to me
To be both delusory and silly.

What shall we then turn to? And what can be
For us surer than our senses, through
Which we can then tell true from untrue.
Besides why should anybody do away
With everything and admit the substance

Of fire rather than deny its existence,
And then admit everything else, anyway,
Exists. Either concept is out of mental balance.
And therefore those who deemed fire to be
The substance of everything and the mainstay,

Of the entire Universe, and those who
Indicated it was air the key
Source of things, or maintained that water by itself may
Have generated all, or held the view
Earth creates all things turning them into

All species, seem to have greatly gone astray
From truth. Those should also be added who
Double the first beginnings and combine fire
With air, and earth with water, and those, too,
Who are actually convinced that the entire

Four elements: earth, fire, air and water can
Be at the root of the first things’ basic plan.
Foremost among them is the Akragantinian
Empedocles, born on the beaches of Triskelion,
The three-sided island around which the Ionian

Sea flows with blue salt spraying waves and whose narrows’
Rapid current divides its territory
From the bordering mainland of Italy.
Here is the desolate Charybdis,
Here the rumblings of Aetna threaten

To gather again the flames’ fury,
While its maw gathers violently
The conflagration’s fires and then
Hurls them again up to heaven.
And though this great Region appears in many

Ways admirable and deserving human fame,
Being wealthy and made strong by its hardy
Men, yet it doesn’t seem to have anybody
Holier, dearer and worthier of acclaim
Than that man whose divine inner songs echo

And spread about his bright inventions also;
So that he appears to hail from beyond the human pale.
Yet he and his lesser followers, by
Very far, whom I mentioned before and to
Him so inferior, but who had divinely seen through,
And well, too, many secret things, quasi

To give, from their innermost mind, more holy
And rational answers than Pythia who
Speaks from the Tripod and from the Laurel tree
Of Phoebus. Nevertheless, havoc wreaked they
As regards the seeds of matter and greatly

Fell, in their fall great. Having taken away
Void from things, at first they agree to
Admit motion and let things soft and rare stay:
Earth and all its fruits, animals, air, fire, dew;
Yet do not mix void with their body,
Secondly because they set no limit to
The subdivision of the bodies, nor to
Their breaking up, nor absolutely admit

That there may still remain in things the least bit
We can actually see of the tip of each
Body that - to our senses - seems to reach
Its lowest point, but its real extremity
Is the extreme point which nobody can see.

In addition, as they also acknowledge
The existence of soft first things, whose birth’s heritage
Is a mortal body, the sum of things must
Go all the way back to nothing, at long last,
And flourishing, too, from nothing born anew.

You’ll soon find out how either view
Is removed from what are the true
Working principles of things;
And these bodies of matter, in many ways
Inimical and toxic to each other,

Will therefore either die if brought together
Or disperse as when, free from the tempest’s stays
Strokes of lightning, winds and rainfalls burst.
Lastly, if four elements are to be found
In all things that are born, and all things melt

Back into them, why are they called first
Beginnings and not the other way around?
For from immemorial time those primal
Elements, born of each other alternately,
Change their aspect and nature entirely.

If you happen to assume that the essence
Of fire, earth, air and dewy water can mix,
Each preserving its distinctive consistence,
Nothing could then be created, nor could fix
A living being, nor a lifeless thing like a tree.

Each element of that varied mixture
Will of course exhibit its own nature,
And then it will be possible for all to see
Air with solid earth mixing away
While fire and water together stay.

In order to create bodies, first things need
To use elements in secret buried,
So that nothing could emerge as a force
To foil and curb a thing’s established course.
In fact they go back to the sky and its lights,

And say in the first place, that fire excites
Breezes which secern water which in turn
Generates earth, and from earth conversely
All is transformed, first into watery
Fluids, then into air and fire even.

There’s no end to the mutual movements,
From the earth to the stars of heaven
And back, of all the four elements;
But for first things that is out of the question.
Something immutable must exist anyway

So that things may avoid annihilation.
Each thing that changes and strays out of its way
Promptly marks of its former self the dying day.
Therefore as the elements we did mention
Before transforming themselves they must obtain

Elsewhere those things that can’t be born again,
So as to halt the full annihilation
Of every single thing.
Why not rather admit the existence
Of seeds whose nature, having by chance

Originated fire, with the subtraction
Of a few of them and the addition
Of others and a change in place and motion,
Can blow gentle breezes, and so foresee
For all things mutual changeability?

But manifest reality, you say,
Is the proof all the seeds of things grow
From the earth in the breaths of air where they
Find nourishment; if in due season, though,
No rains fall so that the stormy clouds sway

The trees, and if the Sun as a norm wouldn’t warm
Them up with its heat, fruits, trees, humanity
Couldn’t grow at all, unquestionably!
And if foods, though dry, and soft fluids didn’t rescue
Us, our life, having lost its body,

Would also give up each bone and each sinew.
Without doubt we are in fact sustained and fed
By certain things and other beings instead
By certain others. As, of course, in many ways
A lot of first bodies of matter, always

Present in many elements, are combined
With first things, therefore various beings
Are nourished by foods which vary in kind;
And it’s often a point quite salient
With which other first things the same combine,

And then what position what movement
Between each other they receive or assign;
Those seeds being the matter constituent
Of the sky, the earth, the rivers, the sea,
The crops, the fruits and the living beings

Too, which mixed in different ways, move around.
Well, shed abroad in my verses you can see,
Common to many words, many letterings,
Although one must admit verses and words sound
Unlike each other in meaning and harmony.

So much can letters achieve by permutation,
But first things can attain any combination
Which permits the birth of an infinity
Of substances of a wide variety.
Let’s now examine Anaxagoras’

Homoeomerian as the Greeks call
It, which does not translate at all
Into our own native land’s language as
Its vocabulary is poor. It’s easy
Nevertheless to expound the theory

In itself. What he wants to call, first of all,
Homoeomerian of things is this: bones are
Formed by the union of tiny boney
Particles, the viscera by far
Smaller visceral bodies, while blood crops

Up from many assembled blood drops;
Gold may derive from gold micaceous bits,
Earth is composed of earthen grains,
Fire originates from igneous snippets,
And water from water particles attains

Its substance; and he thinks and implies
That all other things are formed likewise.
Yet he does not admit the presence
Of void in things nor the existence
Of an end to body divisibility.

Therefore I conclude that in either theory
He is mistaken like those I just mentioned.
He thinks, besides, first things have a weakened
Shape, as if those bodies possess the same
Nature as first things and like them equally

Ache and die and nothing can save their frame
From ruination. For how would they, if struck violently,
Resist so as to circumvent death in the very
Death’s teeth? Fire or water or air? Which of these three?
Blood or bones? None, I presume, for all things will be

Completely mortal as those we clearly see, likewise,
Perish overwhelmed by some force under our own eyes;
And that a thing can’t collapse into nothing,
Nor rise from nothing, I have established already,
Previously. Moreover, as food builds up the body

And gives it nourishment, they can clearly see
How blood, veins, bones and also sinews
Consist of seeds from diverse tissues.
And if they say each food matter contains
Mixed particles of bones and sinews

And altogether blood molecules and veins,
In that case each food’s fluid or solid nature
Will be considered made up of a mixture
Of different things: bones, blood rotten
And good, sinews. If all the bodies then

Which grow upon the earth are there already,
The earth itself must consist of things alien
To it, which come to light from it. These words you could
Now transfer to similar arguments:
If flame and smoke and ashes are contained in wood

It should be made up of elements
Formed by various matters which from wood arise.
Besides, all the substances the earth sustains
And lets grow consist of substances, likewise,
Of various nature, all with their different strains.

At this point a slight possibility remains
To escape the argument, and Anaxagoras
Embraces it, as he claims the seeds of things
Remain unseen and commingled in all things
The particular thing which distinctly appears thus

Is the one in which more seeds are mixed, too,
similar, in the first row, and in full view.
Yet that notion is fully rejected by true
Reason, because, in the same way grains should also,
Under the crushing weight of the harsh grindstone, show

A blood mark or, instead, the body parts that are grain-fed
Should, when ground between two stones, emit blood too.
For the same reason grass and water should secrete
The sweet milk-like drops filling a woolly sheep’s teat.
Surely in the clods, when crushed, one should see

Different kinds of grass, plants and leafy
Branches minutely strewn and hidden
In the soil; in chopped wood there should appear then
Ash, smoke and embers too. But as reality
Manifestly confirms all that can’t happen,

It can with certainty be opined
That things with things are never combined,
But seeds, in common with many things, must be
In several ways in things entwined
But, as you will say, in the montane country

The neighbouring tree-crowns often collide
Under the violence of the South winds until
They blaze from the gushing of a fiery spill;
No fire for sure is to be found inside
Wood, but made of fire are the many seeds

Which by the attrition of their stampedes
Ignite the woods; for had a flame been
Hidden there, fire could not lie unseen;
It would burn the woods and torch the plantations.
Concerning what I said before, don’t you see

Already how foremost is the company
Of the other first things and their dispositions,
Again and again; and how they mutually
Exchange impulses; and how the same first things,
When slightly dislocated in their groupings,

Form fire and wood? Thus words are made
From letters which are just a shade
Different from each other; like the two sounds we utter
For things ligneous and for things igneous.
At length, if you believe already

That whatsoever you plainly see
In things can’t exist without imagining
Bodies whose matter is just like a first thing,
That is why the seeds of things must needs
Fade: they’ll start to giggle and also

Will wet their face and cheeks with salty tears.
Come now, in order to get to know
What still remains and therefore let your ears
Listen keenly. Of the theme’s obscurity
I’m well aware but a huge hope for glory

Struck my heart with a sharp thyrsus and
Ignited in my breast, simultaneously,
The sweet love for the Muses of poetry
And, inspired by it, I traverse with my
Fervid mind the still untrodden stones

Of the impervious Mount Pieria’s zones.
It helps to approach unsullied sources and
Quench my thirst; it helps to pick the first
Flowers, and try to weave around my head a grand
Wreath the like of which the Muses never laced

On anybody’s temples; for I’m one who sings,
Before anything else, of remarkable things,
Striving to free the mind from the strait ties placed
On it by superstition; then because I frame
On an arcane theme verses so clear and graced

With a sprinkling of the poetical flame.
It seems there’s a good reason for this too.
But even as physicians sweeten
With golden honey a cup’s rim to
Deceive children into drinking

An absinthial medicine, starting
From the lips so that rather than victimized
Their guileless age may be healed and galvanized.
And now, as this subject matter commonly
Seems to be arid to those who don’t fully

Grasp it, while the plebs spurn it, I wanted to
Explain our Pierian singing theory to you
And, so to speak, rub on it the Muses’ honey.
Thus if I could, with my verses, grip your mind
Until you see the whole nature of things, too,

And in what form it is expressed and enshrined;
But, as I proved the seeds of things are very
Solid, invincible, and perpetually
Fluttering through eternity, let’s now see
Whether there are bounds to their totality

Or not at all; and in the same way as we
Have discovered void, that is to say the sphere
Where everything comes to pass. Let’s inquire
Whether all its bounds are well mapped out and clear
Or its vastness and depth will never expire.

The entire universe, as it is, has no
Bound at all in any direction,
For a bound should indeed have an end also,
But precisely clear is the notion
That nothing can possess an extreme limit

Unless it is bounded by something beyond it;
A point beyond which our senses though
Do not seem to be able to go.
The universe beyond, one must confess,
Where nothing exists, has no termination,

And is therefore boundless and measureless,
And so it does not matter in which region
You choose to stay, as in every direction
From where you are all is, likewise, endless.
Furthermore let’s suppose all space to be

Finite; if one reached its extremity
And from its outer rim threw a flying
Spear, wouldn’t you prefer to believe that,
Had it been hurled where it was aimed at,
it would have gone far, unless something

Had acted, you may think, as a deterrent?
It is indeed necessary for you
To accept and choose one of the two
Theories, both allowing you no escapement,
And forcing you to acknowledge the extent

Of the boundless universe, due to
Something which either opposes it hitting
Its objective, stopping there, or proceeding
Further on, without ever reaching a boundary.
I will go on in this way and wherever you

Set an extreme goal I’ll ask about the last journey
Of the spear: no end will ever appear
In sight for the reason that the possibility
Of moving on will prolong the career
Of the lance. Besides, if the entire extent

Of the universe were bound at its extremity
By determined confines, the matter’s totality
From every side would certainly have been sent
Flowing to the bottom by the pull of gravity;
Nor could anything exist under the canopy

Of the sky, nor would the sky itself, nor the sunlight,
For, in that case, all the matter that for quite
An infinite amount of time had been lying
At the bottom would remain piled up. Instead
No break is given to every single first thing

For the reason that an absolute bottom where
The first beginnings can flow and stop is nowhere
To be found. In assiduous motion from all
Sides are things formed, while from infinity fall
Swiftly down the bodies of the matter. At

Last, we can clearly perceive with our own eyes that
One thing hems in the other: air hems in hills, and
Mountains hem in air, the sea by lands is bound
And waters all lands delimit and surround;
But the whole universe has really no outer rand,

And the depth of void and the nature of space
Are such that bolts of lightning could neither trace,
Though endlessly darting through time, its whole extent,
Nor absolutely ensure with their advance
To shorten the stretch of the void’s expanse.

So at this point void, which was never bound,
Opens its vastness to all things around,
And in all directions. Nature itself prevents
The universe from curbing its environments,
After all; Nature which forces matter to be

Bound by emptiness and emptiness in turn bound
By matter and making all things, alternately,
Infinite. Otherwise one of the two,
If not confined by its pure and simple kind,
Will extend to the far edge of void, too.

Veritably, were void to be
Enclosed within a boundary,
It couldn’t hold the infinity
Of first things, and were it to be
Enclosed within immensity
Neither the sea, nor the Earth, nor
The shining expanse of the sky, nor
Humankind, nor the sacred bodies
Of the gods could stop, even for
A single moment; and matter, yes,

Once disconnected from all its ties,
Would trail in pieces through emptiness,
Or rather it wouldn’t have created anything
Solid for, having been dispersed, it couldn’t be
Brought together. In fact every single first thing

Placed itself in the proper place, sagaciously,
Nor really sure what movements to transmit.
And again the mass of first things, in many ways hit
And pummelled by blows, have whirled around constantly
In the void, from time immemorial, going through

All sorts of motions, combinations and groupings
Making up, at last, the universe with its workings,
And keeping that order for a long time too.
Then after being launched with the right movements
They make certain that the rivers’ currents
May, with their big swells, the avid sea replenish
And that the earth warmed by the diffuse
Sunbeams may recreate its produce,
And that the animals, giving birth, may flourish;
And that the wandering stars may thrive; which they

In no way would do if their substance couldn’t be
Abundantly furnished by infinity,
As a customary compensation, for all losses, in due
Time; for just like the living beings’ nature
Without food dissolves, losing its texture,

All things must likewise dissolve themselves as soon
As nature fails to provide the opportune
Elements, being deflected by some accidents;
Nor can the external blows from every
Side preserve all those first things allied,

Notwithstanding their inner quality.
In fact by dint of blows, in quick succession,
They manage to detain part of them until
Others aggregate to that grouping and fill
It up to ensure its reintegration;

In the meantime, for all that, they are forced to
Bounce to let first things take time, with the occasion
To get away and leave their aggregation.
It’s necessary that many others too
Nevertheless arise in due succession,

And yet even though the blows may be
Sufficient, an endless quantity
Of matter is, from all sides, necessary.
In this debate, O Memmius, shy far away
From believing what people commonly say:

All things, to wit, have a trend which can coerce
Them towards the centre of the universe,
And the world’s nature brooks no outer blows then,
And in no way at all can it be broken
Asunder; for all things, from the greatest

To the lowest, to the centre incline
(in case you might think that all things can rest
On themselves) and that the huge bodies which lie
Upon the Earth’s antipodal confine
Face upwards, lying still upon the surface

Of the Earth’s nether side; like the forms we spy
Mirrored by the water; they likewise maintain
That animals walk upside down, and again
That things at our antipodes cannot fall
Into the sky any more than our bodies

Can spontaneously fly to the galaxies;
And that while they see the Sun shining bright
We admire the starry sky of the night.
And thus alternately divide with us
The seasons; therefore their nights’ duration

Is equal to our days’ length for certain.
A vain error begets false theories and thus
Only the fools who have embraced them through
A false argumentation hold them true;
For no equidistant point will ever be

Descried in the universe’s infinity,
And were there a centre, absolutely
Nothing could stand still there or rather be,
For any other reason, thrown far away
Elsewhere: for the entire place and space we

Call void must equally let the heavy
Bodies through the centre or outside it,
Wherever should their motion find it fit.
There is no place where, once bodies get there,
They can stand still in the void, having lost their

Mass weight. Nor must void a hindrance be
To anything, but it should hastily
Make way for all things, to its nature true.
For that reason things cannot consequently
Be led to aggregation by the winning attraction

Of the centre. And they imagine too
That not all bodies to the centre incline,
But only those of earth and water made:
The sea waters and the big waves from the Alpine
Slopes, and also all those almost encased

In the earth. On the contrary they explain
How whiffs of air, fire and then hot air again
Are carried away from the centre, therefore
All around the sky dome, stars flicker and the rays
Of the Sun feed themselves across the starry ways,

As all the hot air escaping from the centre gathers there;
Nor could the tallest tree tops then put forth
Leaves unless the earth gave each its food’s worth,
Little by little ……………………………………………………..

So that the flaming walls of the world shouldn’t suddenly
Fly apart, like winged creatures, having been set free
Through the immense void, so that all
The other things shouldn’t likewise fall
Behind; so that the rumbling parts of the sky

Shouldn’t fall down from above, and the soil
Should not collapse under our own feet by and by
(mixed with the things’ and the sky’s turmoil,
Which break up the bodies) sinking into
The bottomless abyss through and through;

So that in an instant nothing at all could survive
Of its remains but a desert space and, still alive
The invisible first things. For that very place
In which you might suppose they’ll die will be
For them the gate of death through which apace

Will rush matter in its entirety.
If you fully learn what I tried to explain
In my little book, where each point is again
Made clear by the one bringing up the rear,
Darkness will never make you deviate
From the way to what veiled Nature has to say
And things will thus things illuminate.

Aeneadum genetrix, hominum divomque voluptas,
alma Venus, caeli subter labentia signa
quae mare navigerum, quae terras frugiferentis
concelebras, per te quoniam genus omne animantum
concipitur visitque exortum lumina solis: [5]

te, dea, te fugiunt venti, te nubila caeli
adventumque tuum, tibi suavis daedala tellus
summittit flores, tibi rident aequora ponti
placatumque nitet diffuso lumine caelum.
nam simul ac species patefactast verna diei [10]

et reserata viget genitabilis aura favoni,
aeriae primum volucris te, diva, tuumque
significant initum perculsae corda tua vi.
inde ferae pecudes persultant pabula laeta
et rapidos tranant amnis: ita capta lepore [15]

te sequitur cupide quo quamque inducere pergis.
denique per maria ac montis fluviosque rapacis
frondiferasque domos avium camposque virentis
omnibus incutiens blandum per pectora amorem
efficis ut cupide generatim saecla propagent. [20]

quae quoniam rerum naturam sola gubernas
nec sine te quicquam dias in luminis oras
exoritur neque fit laetum neque amabile quicquam,
te sociam studeo scribendis versibus esse,
quos ego de rerum natura pangere conor [25]

Memmiadae nostro, quem tu, dea, tempore in omni
omnibus ornatum voluisti excellere rebus.
quo magis aeternum da dictis, diva, leporem.
effice ut interea fera moenera militiai
per maria ac terras omnis sopita quiescant; [30]

nam tu sola potes tranquilla pace iuvare
mortalis, quoniam belli fera moenera Mavors
armipotens regit, in gremium qui saepe tuum se
reiicit aeterno devictus vulnere amoris,
atque ita suspiciens tereti cervice reposta [35]

pascit amore avidos inhians in te, dea, visus
eque tuo pendet resupini spiritus ore.
hunc tu, diva, tuo recubantem corpore sancto
circum fusa super, suavis ex ore loquellas
funde petens placidam Romanis, incluta, pacem; [40]

nam neque nos agere hoc patriai tempore iniquo
possumus aequo animo nec Memmi clara propago
talibus in rebus communi desse saluti.
omnis enim per se divum natura necessest
immortali aevo summa cum pace fruatur [45]

semota ab nostris rebus seiunctaque longe;
nam privata dolore omni, privata periclis,
ipsa suis pollens opibus, nihil indiga nostri,
nec bene promeritis capitur nec tangitur ira.
Quod super est, vacuas auris animumque sagacem [50]

semotum a curis adhibe veram ad rationem,
ne mea dona tibi studio disposta fideli,
intellecta prius quam sint, contempta relinquas.
nam tibi de summa caeli ratione deumque
disserere incipiam et rerum primordia pandam, [55]

unde omnis natura creet res, auctet alatque,
quove eadem rursum natura perempta resolvat,
quae nos materiem et genitalia corpora rebus
reddunda in ratione vocare et semina rerum
appellare suemus et haec eadem usurpare [60]

corpora prima, quod ex illis sunt omnia primis.
Humana ante oculos foede cum vita iaceret
in terris oppressa gravi sub religione,
quae caput a caeli regionibus ostendebat
horribili super aspectu mortalibus instans, [65]

primum Graius homo mortalis tollere contra
est oculos ausus primusque obsistere contra;
quem neque fama deum nec fulmina nec minitanti
murmure compressit caelum, sed eo magis acrem
inritat animi virtutem, effringere ut arta [70]

naturae primus portarum claustra cupiret.
ergo vivida vis animi pervicit et extra
processit longe flammantia moenia mundi
atque omne immensum peragravit mente animoque,
unde refert nobis victor quid possit oriri, [75]

quid nequeat, finita potestas denique cuique
quanam sit ratione atque alte terminus haerens.
quare religio pedibus subiecta vicissim
opteritur, nos exaequat victoria caelo.

Illud in his rebus vereor, ne forte rearis [80]

impia te rationis inire elementa viamque
indugredi sceleris. quod contra saepius illa
religio peperit scelerosa atque impia facta.
Aulide quo pacto Triviai virginis aram
Iphianassai turparunt sanguine foede [85]

ductores Danaum delecti, prima virorum.
cui simul infula virgineos circumdata comptus
ex utraque pari malarum parte profusast,
et maestum simul ante aras adstare parentem
sensit et hunc propter ferrum celare ministros [90]

aspectuque suo lacrimas effundere civis,
muta metu terram genibus summissa petebat.
nec miserae prodesse in tali tempore quibat,
quod patrio princeps donarat nomine regem;
nam sublata virum manibus tremibundaque ad aras [95]

deductast, non ut sollemni more sacrorum
perfecto posset claro comitari Hymenaeo,
sed casta inceste nubendi tempore in ipso
hostia concideret mactatu maesta parentis,
exitus ut classi felix faustusque daretur. [100]

tantum religio potuit suadere malorum.

Tutemet a nobis iam quovis tempore vatum
terriloquis victus dictis desciscere quaeres.
quippe etenim quam multa tibi iam fingere possunt
somnia, quae vitae rationes vertere possint [105]

fortunasque tuas omnis turbare timore!
et merito; nam si certam finem esse viderent
aerumnarum homines, aliqua ratione valerent
religionibus atque minis obsistere vatum.
nunc ratio nulla est restandi, nulla facultas, [110]

aeternas quoniam poenas in morte timendum.
ignoratur enim quae sit natura animai,
nata sit an contra nascentibus insinuetur
et simul intereat nobiscum morte dirempta
an tenebras Orci visat vastasque lacunas [115]

an pecudes alias divinitus insinuet se,
Ennius ut noster cecinit, qui primus amoeno
detulit ex Helicone perenni fronde coronam,
per gentis Italas hominum quae clara clueret;
etsi praeterea tamen esse Acherusia templa [120]

Ennius aeternis exponit versibus edens,
quo neque permaneant animae neque corpora nostra,
sed quaedam simulacra modis pallentia miris;
unde sibi exortam semper florentis Homeri
commemorat speciem lacrimas effundere salsas [125]

coepisse et rerum naturam expandere dictis.
qua propter bene cum superis de rebus habenda
nobis est ratio, solis lunaeque meatus
qua fiant ratione, et qua vi quaeque gerantur
in terris, tunc cum primis ratione sagaci [130]

unde anima atque animi constet natura videndum,
et quae res nobis vigilantibus obvia mentes
terrificet morbo adfectis somnoque sepultis,
cernere uti videamur eos audireque coram,
morte obita quorum tellus amplectitur ossa. [135]

Nec me animi fallit Graiorum obscura reperta
difficile inlustrare Latinis versibus esse,
multa novis verbis praesertim cum sit agendum
propter egestatem linguae et rerum novitatem;
sed tua me virtus tamen et sperata voluptas [140]

suavis amicitiae quemvis efferre laborem
suadet et inducit noctes vigilare serenas
quaerentem dictis quibus et quo carmine demum
clara tuae possim praepandere lumina menti,
res quibus occultas penitus convisere possis. [145]

hunc igitur terrorem animi tenebrasque necessest
non radii solis neque lucida tela diei
discutiant, sed naturae species ratioque.

Principium cuius hinc nobis exordia sumet,
nullam rem e nihilo gigni divinitus umquam. [150]

quippe ita formido mortalis continet omnis,
quod multa in terris fieri caeloque tuentur,
quorum operum causas nulla ratione videre
possunt ac fieri divino numine rentur.
quas ob res ubi viderimus nil posse creari [156]

de nihilo, tum quod sequimur iam rectius inde
perspiciemus, et unde queat res quaeque creari
et quo quaeque modo fiant opera sine divom. [155]

Nam si de nihilo fierent, ex omnibus rebus [159]
omne genus nasci posset, nil semine egeret.
e mare primum homines, e terra posset oriri
squamigerum genus et volucres erumpere caelo;
armenta atque aliae pecudes, genus omne ferarum,
incerto partu culta ac deserta tenerent.
nec fructus idem arboribus constare solerent, [165]

sed mutarentur, ferre omnes omnia possent.
quippe ubi non essent genitalia corpora cuique,
qui posset mater rebus consistere certa?
at nunc seminibus quia certis quaeque creantur,
inde enascitur atque oras in luminis exit, [170]

materies ubi inest cuiusque et corpora prima;
atque hac re nequeunt ex omnibus omnia gigni,
quod certis in rebus inest secreta facultas.

Praeterea cur vere rosam, frumenta calore,
vites autumno fundi suadente videmus, [175]

si non, certa suo quia tempore semina rerum
cum confluxerunt, patefit quod cumque creatur,
dum tempestates adsunt et vivida tellus
tuto res teneras effert in luminis oras?
quod si de nihilo fierent, subito exorerentur [180]

incerto spatio atque alienis partibus anni,
quippe ubi nulla forent primordia, quae genitali
concilio possent arceri tempore iniquo.

Nec porro augendis rebus spatio foret usus
seminis ad coitum, si e nilo crescere possent; [185]

nam fierent iuvenes subito ex infantibus parvis
e terraque exorta repente arbusta salirent.
quorum nil fieri manifestum est, omnia quando
paulatim crescunt, ut par est semine certo,
crescentesque genus servant; ut noscere possis [190]

quicque sua de materia grandescere alique.

Huc accedit uti sine certis imbribus anni
laetificos nequeat fetus submittere tellus
nec porro secreta cibo natura animantum
propagare genus possit vitamque tueri; [195]

ut potius multis communia corpora rebus
multa putes esse, ut verbis elementa videmus,
quam sine principiis ullam rem existere posse.

Denique cur homines tantos natura parare
non potuit, pedibus qui pontum per vada possent [200]

transire et magnos manibus divellere montis
multaque vivendo vitalia vincere saecla,
si non, materies quia rebus reddita certast
gignundis, e qua constat quid possit oriri?
nil igitur fieri de nilo posse fatendumst, [205]

semine quando opus est rebus, quo quaeque creatae
aeris in teneras possint proferrier auras.

Postremo quoniam incultis praestare videmus
culta loca et manibus melioris reddere fetus,
esse videlicet in terris primordia rerum [210]

quae nos fecundas vertentes vomere glebas
terraique solum subigentes cimus ad ortus;
quod si nulla forent, nostro sine quaeque labore
sponte sua multo fieri meliora videres.

Huc accedit uti quicque in sua corpora rursum [215]

dissoluat natura neque ad nihilum interemat res.
nam siquid mortale e cunctis partibus esset,
ex oculis res quaeque repente erepta periret;
nulla vi foret usus enim, quae partibus eius
discidium parere et nexus exsolvere posset. [220]

quod nunc, aeterno quia constant semine quaeque,
donec vis obiit, quae res diverberet ictu
aut intus penetret per inania dissoluatque,
nullius exitium patitur natura videri.

Praeterea quae cumque vetustate amovet aetas, [225]

si penitus peremit consumens materiem omnem,
unde animale genus generatim in lumina vitae
redducit Venus, aut redductum daedala tellus
unde alit atque auget generatim pabula praebens?
unde mare ingenuei fontes externaque longe [230]

flumina suppeditant? unde aether sidera pascit?
omnia enim debet, mortali corpore quae sunt,
infinita aetas consumpse ante acta diesque.
quod si in eo spatio atque ante acta aetate fuere
e quibus haec rerum consistit summa refecta, [235]

inmortali sunt natura praedita certe.
haud igitur possunt ad nilum quaeque reverti.

Denique res omnis eadem vis causaque volgo
conficeret, nisi materies aeterna teneret,
inter se nexus minus aut magis indupedita; [240]

tactus enim leti satis esset causa profecto,
quippe ubi nulla forent aeterno corpore, quorum
contextum vis deberet dissolvere quaeque.
at nunc, inter se quia nexus principiorum
dissimiles constant aeternaque materies est, [245]

incolumi remanent res corpore, dum satis acris
vis obeat pro textura cuiusque reperta.
haud igitur redit ad nihilum res ulla, sed omnes
discidio redeunt in corpora materiai.
postremo pereunt imbres, ubi eos pater aether [250]

in gremium matris terrai praecipitavit;
at nitidae surgunt fruges ramique virescunt
arboribus, crescunt ipsae fetuque gravantur.
hinc alitur porro nostrum genus atque ferarum,
hinc laetas urbes pueris florere videmus [255]

frondiferasque novis avibus canere undique silvas,
hinc fessae pecudes pinguis per pabula laeta
corpora deponunt et candens lacteus umor
uberibus manat distentis, hinc nova proles
artubus infirmis teneras lasciva per herbas [260]

ludit lacte mero mentes perculsa novellas.
haud igitur penitus pereunt quaecumque videntur,
quando alit ex alio reficit natura nec ullam
rem gigni patitur nisi morte adiuta aliena.

Nunc age, res quoniam docui non posse creari [265]

de nihilo neque item genitas ad nil revocari,
ne qua forte tamen coeptes diffidere dictis,
quod nequeunt oculis rerum primordia cerni,
accipe praeterea quae corpora tute necessest
confiteare esse in rebus nec posse videri. [270]

Principio venti vis verberat incita corpus
ingentisque ruit navis et nubila differt,
inter dum rapido percurrens turbine campos
arboribus magnis sternit montisque supremos
silvifragis vexat flabris: ita perfurit acri [275]

cum fremitu saevitque minaci murmure pontus.
sunt igitur venti ni mirum corpora caeca,
quae mare, quae terras, quae denique nubila caeli
verrunt ac subito vexantia turbine raptant,
nec ratione fluunt alia stragemque propagant [280]

et cum mollis aquae fertur natura repente
flumine abundanti, quam largis imbribus auget
montibus ex altis magnus decursus aquai
fragmina coniciens silvarum arbustaque tota,
nec validi possunt pontes venientis aquai [285]

vim subitam tolerare: ita magno turbidus imbri
molibus incurrit validis cum viribus amnis,
dat sonitu magno stragem volvitque sub undis
grandia saxa, ruit qua quidquid fluctibus obstat.
sic igitur debent venti quoque flamina ferri, [290]

quae vel uti validum cum flumen procubuere
quam libet in partem, trudunt res ante ruuntque
impetibus crebris, inter dum vertice torto
corripiunt rapidique rotanti turbine portant.
quare etiam atque etiam sunt venti corpora caeca, [295]

quandoquidem factis et moribus aemula magnis
amnibus inveniuntur, aperto corpore qui sunt.

Tum porro varios rerum sentimus odores
nec tamen ad naris venientis cernimus umquam
nec calidos aestus tuimur nec frigora quimus [300]

usurpare oculis nec voces cernere suemus;
quae tamen omnia corporea constare necessest
natura, quoniam sensus inpellere possunt;
tangere enim et tangi, nisi corpus, nulla potest res.

Denique fluctifrago suspensae in litore vestis [305]

uvescunt, eaedem dispansae in sole serescunt.
at neque quo pacto persederit umor aquai
visumst nec rursum quo pacto fugerit aestu.
in parvas igitur partis dispergitur umor,
quas oculi nulla possunt ratione videre. [310]

quin etiam multis solis redeuntibus annis
anulus in digito subter tenuatur habendo,
stilicidi casus lapidem cavat, uncus aratri
ferreus occulte decrescit vomer in arvis,
strataque iam volgi pedibus detrita viarum [315]

saxea conspicimus; tum portas propter aena
signa manus dextras ostendunt adtenuari
saepe salutantum tactu praeterque meantum.
haec igitur minui, cum sint detrita, videmus.
sed quae corpora decedant in tempore quoque, [320]

invida praeclusit speciem natura videndi.

Postremo quae cumque dies naturaque rebus
paulatim tribuit moderatim crescere cogens,
nulla potest oculorum acies contenta tueri,
nec porro quae cumque aevo macieque senescunt, [325]

nec, mare quae impendent, vesco sale saxa peresa
quid quoque amittant in tempore cernere possis.
corporibus caecis igitur natura gerit res.

Nec tamen undique corporea stipata tenentur
omnia natura; namque est in rebus inane. [330]

quod tibi cognosse in multis erit utile rebus
nec sinet errantem dubitare et quaerere semper
de summa rerum et nostris diffidere dictis.
qua propter locus est intactus inane vacansque.
quod si non esset, nulla ratione moveri [335]

res possent; namque officium quod corporis exstat,
officere atque obstare, id in omni tempore adesset
omnibus; haud igitur quicquam procedere posset,
principium quoniam cedendi nulla daret res.
at nunc per maria ac terras sublimaque caeli [340]

multa modis multis varia ratione moveri
cernimus ante oculos, quae, si non esset inane,
non tam sollicito motu privata carerent
quam genita omnino nulla ratione fuissent,
undique materies quoniam stipata quiesset. [345]


Praeterea quamvis solidae res esse putentur,
hinc tamen esse licet raro cum corpore cernas.
in saxis ac speluncis permanat aquarum
liquidus umor et uberibus flent omnia guttis.
dissipat in corpus sese cibus omne animantum; [350]

crescunt arbusta et fetus in tempore fundunt,
quod cibus in totas usque ab radicibus imis
per truncos ac per ramos diffunditur omnis.
inter saepta meant voces et clausa domorum
transvolitant, rigidum permanat frigus ad ossa. [355]

quod nisi inania sint, qua possent corpora quaeque
transire, haud ulla fieri ratione videres.

Denique cur alias aliis praestare videmus
pondere res rebus nihilo maiore figura?
nam si tantundemst in lanae glomere quantum [360]

corporis in plumbo est, tantundem pendere par est,
corporis officiumst quoniam premere omnia deorsum,
contra autem natura manet sine pondere inanis.
ergo quod magnumst aeque leviusque videtur,
ni mirum plus esse sibi declarat inanis; [365]

at contra gravius plus in se corporis esse
dedicat et multo vacui minus intus habere.
est igitur ni mirum id quod ratione sagaci
quaerimus, admixtum rebus, quod inane vocamus.

Illud in his rebus ne te deducere vero [370]

possit, quod quidam fingunt, praecurrere cogor.
cedere squamigeris latices nitentibus aiunt
et liquidas aperire vias, quia post loca pisces
linquant, quo possint cedentes confluere undae;
sic alias quoque res inter se posse moveri [375]

et mutare locum, quamvis sint omnia plena.
scilicet id falsa totum ratione receptumst.
nam quo squamigeri poterunt procedere tandem,
ni spatium dederint latices? concedere porro
quo poterunt undae, cum pisces ire nequibunt? [380]

aut igitur motu privandumst corpora quaeque
aut esse admixtum dicundumst rebus inane,
unde initum primum capiat res quaeque movendi.

Postremo duo de concursu corpora lata
si cita dissiliant, nempe aer omne necessest, [385]

inter corpora quod fiat, possidat inane.
is porro quamvis circum celerantibus auris
confluat, haud poterit tamen uno tempore totum
compleri spatium; nam primum quemque necessest
occupet ille locum, deinde omnia possideantur. [390]

quod si forte aliquis, cum corpora dissiluere,
tum putat id fieri quia se condenseat aer,
errat; nam vacuum tum fit quod non fuit ante
et repletur item vacuum quod constitit ante,
nec tali ratione potest denserier aer [395]

nec, si iam posset, sine inani posset, opinor,
ipse in se trahere et partis conducere in unum.

Qua propter, quamvis causando multa moreris,
esse in rebus inane tamen fateare necessest.
multaque praeterea tibi possum commemorando [400]

argumenta fidem dictis conradere nostris.
verum animo satis haec vestigia parva sagaci
sunt, per quae possis cognoscere cetera tute.
namque canes ut montivagae persaepe ferai
naribus inveniunt intectas fronde quietes, [405]

cum semel institerunt vestigia certa viai,
sic alid ex alio per te tute ipse videre
talibus in rebus poteris caecasque latebras
insinuare omnis et verum protrahere inde.
quod si pigraris paulumve recesseris ab re, [410]

hoc tibi de plano possum promittere, Memmi:
usque adeo largos haustus e fontibus magnis
lingua meo suavis diti de pectore fundet,
ut verear ne tarda prius per membra senectus
serpat et in nobis vitai claustra resolvat, [415]

quam tibi de quavis una re versibus omnis
argumentorum sit copia missa per auris.

Sed nunc ut repetam coeptum pertexere dictis,
omnis ut est igitur per se natura duabus
constitit in rebus; nam corpora sunt et inane, [420]

haec in quo sita sunt et qua diversa moventur.
corpus enim per se communis dedicat esse
sensus; cui nisi prima fides fundata valebit,
haut erit occultis de rebus quo referentes
confirmare animi quicquam ratione queamus. [425]

tum porro locus ac spatium, quod inane vocamus,
si nullum foret, haut usquam sita corpora possent
esse neque omnino quoquam diversa meare;
id quod iam supera tibi paulo ostendimus ante.
praeterea nihil est quod possis dicere ab omni [430]

corpore seiunctum secretumque esse ab inani,
quod quasi tertia sit numero natura reperta.
nam quod cumque erit, esse aliquid debebit id ipsum
augmine vel grandi vel parvo denique, dum sit;
cui si tactus erit quamvis levis exiguusque, [435]

corporis augebit numerum summamque sequetur;
sin intactile erit, nulla de parte quod ullam
rem prohibere queat per se transire meantem,
scilicet hoc id erit, vacuum quod inane vocamus.

Praeterea per se quod cumque erit, aut faciet quid [440]

aut aliis fungi debebit agentibus ipsum
aut erit ut possint in eo res esse gerique.
at facere et fungi sine corpore nulla potest res
nec praebere locum porro nisi inane vacansque.
ergo praeter inane et corpora tertia per se [445]

nulla potest rerum in numero natura relinqui,
nec quae sub sensus cadat ullo tempore nostros
nec ratione animi quam quisquam possit apisci.

Nam quae cumque cluent, aut his coniuncta duabus
rebus ea invenies aut horum eventa videbis. [450]

coniunctum est id quod nusquam sine permitiali
discidio potis est seiungi seque gregari,
pondus uti saxis, calor ignis, liquor aquai,
tactus corporibus cunctis, intactus inani.
servitium contra paupertas divitiaeque, [455]

libertas bellum concordia cetera quorum
adventu manet incolumis natura abituque,
haec soliti sumus, ut par est, eventa vocare.
tempus item per se non est, sed rebus ab ipsis
consequitur sensus, transactum quid sit in aevo, [460]

tum quae res instet, quid porro deinde sequatur;
nec per se quemquam tempus sentire fatendumst
semotum ab rerum motu placidaque quiete.
denique Tyndaridem raptam belloque subactas
Troiiugenas gentis cum dicunt esse, videndumst [465]

ne forte haec per se cogant nos esse fateri,
quando ea saecla hominum, quorum haec eventa fuerunt,
inrevocabilis abstulerit iam praeterita aetas;
namque aliud terris, aliud regionibus ipsis
eventum dici poterit quod cumque erit actum. [470]

denique materies si rerum nulla fuisset
nec locus ac spatium, res in quo quaeque geruntur,
numquam Tyndaridis forma conflatus amore
ignis Alexandri Phrygio sub pectore gliscens
clara accendisset saevi certamina belli [475]

nec clam durateus Troiianis Pergama partu
inflammasset equos nocturno Graiiugenarum;
perspicere ut possis res gestas funditus omnis
non ita uti corpus per se constare neque esse
nec ratione cluere eadem qua constet inane, [480]

sed magis ut merito possis eventa vocare
corporis atque loci, res in quo quaeque gerantur.

Corpora sunt porro partim primordia rerum,
partim concilio quae constant principiorum.
sed quae sunt rerum primordia, nulla potest vis [485]

stinguere; nam solido vincunt ea corpore demum.
etsi difficile esse videtur credere quicquam
in rebus solido reperiri corpore posse.
transit enim fulmen caeli per saepta domorum
clamor ut ac voces, ferrum candescit in igni [490]

dissiliuntque fero ferventi saxa vapore;
cum labefactatus rigor auri solvitur aestu,
tum glacies aeris flamma devicta liquescit;
permanat calor argentum penetraleque frigus,
quando utrumque manu retinentes pocula rite [495]

sensimus infuso lympharum rore superne.
usque adeo in rebus solidi nihil esse videtur.
sed quia vera tamen ratio naturaque rerum
cogit, ades, paucis dum versibus expediamus
esse ea quae solido atque aeterno corpore constent, [500]

semina quae rerum primordiaque esse docemus,
unde omnis rerum nunc constet summa creata.

Principio quoniam duplex natura duarum
dissimilis rerum longe constare repertast,
corporis atque loci, res in quo quaeque geruntur, [505]

esse utramque sibi per se puramque necessest.
nam qua cumque vacat spatium, quod inane vocamus,
corpus ea non est; qua porro cumque tenet se
corpus, ea vacuum nequaquam constat inane.
sunt igitur solida ac sine inani corpora prima. [510]


Praeterea quoniam genitis in rebus inanest,
materiem circum solidam constare necessest;
nec res ulla potest vera ratione probari
corpore inane suo celare atque intus habere,
si non, quod cohibet, solidum constare relinquas. [515]

id porro nihil esse potest nisi materiai
concilium, quod inane queat rerum cohibere.
materies igitur, solido quae corpore constat,
esse aeterna potest, cum cetera dissoluantur.

Tum porro si nil esset quod inane vocaret, [520]

omne foret solidum; nisi contra corpora certa
essent quae loca complerent quae cumque tenerent
omne quod est spatium, vacuum constaret inane.
alternis igitur ni mirum corpus inani
distinctum, quoniam nec plenum naviter extat [525]

nec porro vacuum; sunt ergo corpora certa,
quae spatium pleno possint distinguere inane.
haec neque dissolui plagis extrinsecus icta
possunt nec porro penitus penetrata retexi
nec ratione queunt alia temptata labare; [530]

id quod iam supra tibi paulo ostendimus ante.
nam neque conlidi sine inani posse videtur
quicquam nec frangi nec findi in bina secando
nec capere umorem neque item manabile frigus
nec penetralem ignem, quibus omnia conficiuntur. [535]

et quo quaeque magis cohibet res intus inane,
tam magis his rebus penitus temptata labascit.
ergo si solida ac sine inani corpora prima
sunt ita uti docui, sint haec aeterna necessest.

Praeterea nisi materies aeterna fuisset, [540]

antehac ad nihilum penitus res quaeque redissent
de nihiloque renata forent quae cumque videmus.
at quoniam supra docui nil posse creari
de nihilo neque quod genitumst ad nil revocari,
esse inmortali primordia corpore debent, [545]

dissolui quo quaeque supremo tempore possint,
materies ut subpeditet rebus reparandis.
sunt igitur solida primordia simplicitate
nec ratione queunt alia servata per aevom
ex infinito iam tempore res reparare. [550]

denique si nullam finem natura parasset
frangendis rebus, iam corpora materiai
usque redacta forent aevo frangente priore,
ut nihil ex illis a certo tempore posset
conceptum summum aetatis pervadere finem. [555]

nam quidvis citius dissolvi posse videmus
quam rursus refici; qua propter longa diei
infinita aetas ante acti temporis omnis
quod fregisset adhuc disturbans dissoluensque,
numquam relicuo reparari tempore posset. [560]

at nunc ni mirum frangendi reddita finis
certa manet, quoniam refici rem quamque videmus
et finita simul generatim tempora rebus
stare, quibus possint aevi contingere florem.

Huc accedit uti, solidissima materiai [565]

corpora cum constant, possint tamen omnia reddi,
mollia quae fiunt, aer aqua terra vapores,
quo pacto fiant et qua vi quaeque gerantur,
admixtum quoniam semel est in rebus inane.
at contra si mollia sint primordia rerum, [570]

unde queant validi silices ferrumque creari,
non poterit ratio reddi; nam funditus omnis
principio fundamenti natura carebit.
sunt igitur solida pollentia simplicitate,
quorum condenso magis omnia conciliatu [575]

artari possunt validasque ostendere viris.
porro si nullast frangendis reddita finis
corporibus, tamen ex aeterno tempore quaeque
nunc etiam superare necessest corpora rebus,
quae non dum clueant ullo temptata periclo. [580]

at quoniam fragili natura praedita constant,
discrepat aeternum tempus potuisse manere
innumerabilibus plagis vexata per aevom.

Denique iam quoniam generatim reddita finis
crescendi rebus constat vitamque tenendi, [585]

et quid quaeque queant per foedera naturai,
quid porro nequeant, sancitum quando quidem extat,
nec commutatur quicquam, quin omnia constant
usque adeo, variae volucres ut in ordine cunctae
ostendant maculas generalis corpore inesse, [590]

inmutabilis materiae quoque corpus habere
debent ni mirum; nam si primordia rerum
commutari aliqua possent ratione revicta,
incertum quoque iam constet quid possit oriri,
quid nequeat, finita potestas denique cuique [595]

qua nam sit ratione atque alte terminus haerens,
nec totiens possent generatim saecla referre
naturam mores victum motusque parentum.

Tum porro quoniam est extremum quodque cacumen
corporis illius, quod nostri cernere sensus [600]

iam nequeunt, id ni mirum sine partibus extat
et minima constat natura nec fuit umquam
per se secretum neque post hac esse valebit,
alterius quoniamst ipsum pars primaque et una,
inde aliae atque aliae similes ex ordine partes [605]

agmine condenso naturam corporis explent;
quae quoniam per se nequeunt constare, necessest
haerere unde queant nulla ratione revelli.
sunt igitur solida primordia simplicitate,
quae minimis stipata cohaerent partibus arte. [610]

non ex illorum conventu conciliata,
sed magis aeterna pollentia simplicitate,
unde neque avelli quicquam neque deminui iam
concedit natura reservans semina rebus.

Praeterea nisi erit minimum, parvissima quaeque [615]

corpora constabunt ex partibus infinitis,
quippe ubi dimidiae partis pars semper habebit
dimidiam partem nec res praefiniet ulla.
ergo rerum inter summam minimamque quod escit,
nil erit ut distet; nam quamvis funditus omnis [620]

summa sit infinita, tamen, parvissima quae sunt,
ex infinitis constabunt partibus aeque.
quod quoniam ratio reclamat vera negatque
credere posse animum, victus fateare necessest
esse ea quae nullis iam praedita partibus extent [625]

et minima constent natura. quae quoniam sunt,
illa quoque esse tibi solida atque aeterna fatendum.

Denique si minimas in partis cuncta resolvi
cogere consuesset rerum natura creatrix,
iam nihil ex illis eadem reparare valeret [630]

propterea quia, quae nullis sunt partibus aucta,
non possunt ea quae debet genitalis habere
materies, varios conexus pondera plagas
concursus motus, per quas res quaeque geruntur.

Quapropter qui materiem rerum esse putarunt [635]

ignem atque ex igni summam consistere solo,
magno opere a vera lapsi ratione videntur.
Heraclitus init quorum dux proelia primus,
clarus obscuram linguam magis inter inanis
quamde gravis inter Graios, qui vera requirunt; [640]

omnia enim stolidi magis admirantur amantque,
inversis quae sub verbis latitantia cernunt,
veraque constituunt quae belle tangere possunt
auris et lepido quae sunt fucata sonore.

Nam cur tam variae res possent esse, requiro, [645]

ex uno si sunt igni puroque creatae?
nil prodesset enim calidum denserier ignem
nec rare fieri, si partes ignis eandem
naturam quam totus habet super ignis haberent.
acrior ardor enim conductis partibus esset, [650]

languidior porro disiectis que supatis.
amplius hoc fieri nihil est quod posse rearis
talibus in causis, ne dum variantia rerum
tanta queat densis rarisque ex ignibus esse.

Id quoque: si faciant admixtum rebus inane, [655]

denseri poterunt ignes rarique relinqui;
sed quia multa sibi cernunt contraria quae sint
et fugitant in rebus inane relinquere purum,
ardua dum metuunt, amittunt vera viai
nec rursum cernunt exempto rebus inane [660]

omnia denseri fierique ex omnibus unum
corpus, nil ab se quod possit mittere raptim,
aestifer ignis uti lumen iacit atque vaporem,
ut videas non e stipatis partibus esse.

Quod si forte alia credunt ratione potesse [665]

ignis in coetu stingui mutareque corpus,
scilicet ex nulla facere id si parte reparcent,
occidet ad nihilum ni mirum funditus ardor
omnis et nihilo fient quae cumque creantur;
nam quod cumque suis mutatum finibus exit, [670]

continuo hoc mors est illius quod fuit ante.
proinde aliquid superare necesse est incolume ollis,
ne tibi res redeant ad nilum funditus omnes
de nihiloque renata vigescat copia rerum.

Nunc igitur quoniam certissima corpora quaedam [675]

sunt, quae conservant naturam semper eandem,
quorum abitu aut aditu mutatoque ordine mutant
naturam res et convertunt corpora sese,
scire licet non esse haec ignea corpora rerum.
nil referret enim quaedam decedere, abire [680]

atque alia adtribui mutarique ordine quaedam,
si tamen ardoris naturam cuncta tenerent;
ignis enim foret omnimodis quod cumque crearet.
verum, ut opinor, itast: sunt quaedam corpora, quorum
concursus motus ordo positura figurae [685]

efficiunt ignis mutatoque ordine mutant
naturam neque sunt igni simulata neque ulli
praeterea rei quae corpora mittere possit
sensibus et nostros adiectu tangere tactus.
dicere porro ignem res omnis esse neque ullam [690]

rem veram in numero rerum constare nisi ignem,
quod facit hic idem, perdelirum esse videtur.
nam contra sensus ab sensibus ipse repugnat
et labefactat eos, unde omnia credita pendent,
unde hic cognitus est ipsi quem nominat ignem; [695]

credit enim sensus ignem cognoscere vere,
cetera non credit, quae nilo clara minus sunt.
quod mihi cum vanum tum delirum esse videtur;
quo referemus enim? quid nobis certius ipsis
sensibus esse potest, qui vera ac falsa notemus? [700]

Praeterea quare quisquam magis omnia tollat
et velit ardoris naturam linquere solam,
quam neget esse ignis, tamen esse relinquat?
aequa videtur enim dementia dicere utrumque.

Quapropter qui materiem rerum esse putarunt [705]

ignem atque ex igni summam consistere posse,
et qui principium gignundis aera rebus
constituere aut umorem qui cumque putarunt
fingere res ipsum per se terramve creare
omnia et in rerum naturas vertier omnis, [710]

magno opere a vero longe derrasse videntur.
adde etiam qui conduplicant primordia rerum
aera iungentes igni terramque liquori,
et qui quattuor ex rebus posse omnia rentur
ex igni terra atque anima procrescere et imbri. [715]

quorum Acragantinus cum primis Empedocles est,
insula quem triquetris terrarum gessit in oris,
quam fluitans circum magnis anfractibus aequor
Ionium glaucis aspargit virus ab undis
angustoque fretu rapidum mare dividit undis [720]

Aeoliae terrarum oras a finibus eius.
hic est vasta Charybdis et hic Aetnaea minantur
murmura flammarum rursum se colligere iras,
faucibus eruptos iterum vis ut vomat ignis
ad caelumque ferat flammai fulgura rursum. [725]

quae cum magna modis multis miranda videtur
gentibus humanis regio visendaque fertur
rebus opima bonis, multa munita virum vi,
nil tamen hoc habuisse viro praeclarius in se
nec sanctum magis et mirum carumque videtur. [730]

carmina quin etiam divini pectoris eius
vociferantur et exponunt praeclara reperta,
ut vix humana videatur stirpe creatus.

Hic tamen et supra quos diximus inferiores
partibus egregie multis multoque minores, [735]

quamquam multa bene ac divinitus invenientes
ex adyto tam quam cordis responsa dedere
sanctius et multo certa ratione magis quam
Pythia quae tripodi a Phoebi lauroque profatur,
principiis tamen in rerum fecere ruinas [740]

et graviter magni magno cecidere ibi casu.
Primum quod motus exempto rebus inani
constituunt et res mollis rarasque relinquunt
aera solem ignem terras animalia frugis
nec tamen admiscent in eorum corpus inane; [745]

deinde quod omnino finem non esse secandis
corporibus facient neque pausam stare fragori
nec prorsum in rebus minimum consistere qui,
cum videamus id extremum cuiusque cacumen
esse quod ad sensus nostros minimum esse videtur, [750]

conicere ut possis ex hoc, quae cernere non quis
extremum quod habent, minimum consistere .

Huc accedit item, quoniam primordia rerum
mollia constituunt, quae nos nativa videmus
esse et mortali cum corpore, funditus ut qui [755]

debeat ad nihilum iam rerum summa reverti
de nihiloque renata vigescere copia rerum;
quorum utrumque quid a vero iam distet habebis.

Deinde inimica modis multis sunt atque veneno
ipsa sibi inter se; quare aut congressa peribunt [760]

aut ita diffugient, ut tempestate coacta
fulmina diffugere atque imbris ventosque videmus.

Denique quattuor ex rebus si cuncta creantur
atque in eas rursum res omnia dissoluuntur,
qui magis illa queunt rerum primordia dici [765]

quam contra res illorum retroque putari?
alternis gignuntur enim mutantque colorem
et totam inter se naturam tempore ab omni.
[fulmina diffugere atque imbris ventosque videmus.]
sin ita forte putas ignis terraeque coire [770]

corpus et aerias auras roremque liquoris,
nil in concilio naturam ut mutet eorum,
nulla tibi ex illis poterit res esse creata,
non animans, non exanimo cum corpore, ut arbos;
quippe suam quicque in coetu variantis acervi [775]

naturam ostendet mixtusque videbitur aer
cum terra simul et quodam cum rore manere.
at primordia gignundis in rebus oportet
naturam clandestinam caecamque adhibere,
emineat ne quid, quod contra pugnet et obstet [780]

quo minus esse queat proprie quodcumque creatur.

Quin etiam repetunt a caelo atque ignibus eius
et primum faciunt ignem se vertere in auras
aeris, hinc imbrem gigni terramque creari
ex imbri retroque a terra cuncta reverti, [785]

umorem primum, post aera, deinde calorem,
nec cessare haec inter se mutare, meare
a caelo ad terram, de terra ad sidera mundi.
quod facere haud ullo debent primordia pacto.
immutabile enim quiddam superare necessest, [790]

ne res ad nihilum redigantur funditus omnes;
nam quod cumque suis mutatum finibus exit,
continuo hoc mors est illius quod fuit ante.
quapropter quoniam quae paulo diximus ante
in commutatum veniunt, constare necessest [795]

ex aliis ea, quae nequeant convertier usquam,
ne tibi res redeant ad nilum funditus omnis;
quin potius tali natura praedita quaedam
corpora constituas, ignem si forte crearint,
posse eadem demptis paucis paucisque tributis, [800]

ordine mutato et motu, facere aeris auras,
sic alias aliis rebus mutarier omnis?

'At manifesta palam res indicat' inquis 'in auras
aeris e terra res omnis crescere alique;
et nisi tempestas indulget tempore fausto [805]

imbribus, ut tabe nimborum arbusta vacillent,
solque sua pro parte fovet tribuitque calorem,
crescere non possint fruges arbusta animantis.'
scilicet et nisi nos cibus aridus et tener umor
adiuvet, amisso iam corpore vita quoque omnis [810]

omnibus e nervis atque ossibus exsoluatur;
adiutamur enim dubio procul atque alimur nos
certis ab rebus, certis aliae atque aliae res.
ni mirum quia multa modis communia multis
multarum rerum in rebus primordia mixta [815]

sunt, ideo variis variae res rebus aluntur.
atque eadem magni refert primordia saepe
cum quibus et quali positura contineantur
et quos inter se dent motus accipiantque;
namque eadem caelum mare terras flumina solem [820]

constituunt, eadem fruges arbusta animantis,
verum aliis alioque modo commixta moventur.
quin etiam passim nostris in versibus ipsis
multa elementa vides multis communia verbis,
cum tamen inter se versus ac verba necessest [825]

confiteare et re et sonitu distare sonanti.
tantum elementa queunt permutato ordine solo;
at rerum quae sunt primordia, plura adhibere
possunt unde queant variae res quaeque creari.

Nunc et Anaxagorae scrutemur homoeomerian [830]

quam Grai memorant nec nostra dicere lingua
concedit nobis patrii sermonis egestas,
sed tamen ipsam rem facilest exponere verbis.
principio, rerum quam dicit homoeomerian,
ossa videlicet e pauxillis atque minutis [835]

ossibus hic et de pauxillis atque minutis
visceribus viscus gigni sanguenque creari
sanguinis inter se multis coeuntibus guttis
ex aurique putat micis consistere posse
aurum et de terris terram concrescere parvis, [840]

ignibus ex ignis, umorem umoribus esse,
cetera consimili fingit ratione putatque.
nec tamen esse ulla de parte in rebus inane
concedit neque corporibus finem esse secandis.
quare in utraque mihi pariter ratione videtur [845]

errare atque illi, supra quos diximus ante.

Adde quod inbecilla nimis primordia fingit;
si primordia sunt, simili quae praedita constant
natura atque ipsae res sunt aequeque laborant
et pereunt, neque ab exitio res ulla refrenat. [850]

nam quid in oppressu valido durabit eorum,
ut mortem effugiat, leti sub dentibus ipsis?
ignis an umor an aura? quid horum? sanguen an ossa?
nil ut opinor, ubi ex aequo res funditus omnis
tam mortalis erit quam quae manifesta videmus [855]

ex oculis nostris aliqua vi victa perire.
at neque reccidere ad nihilum res posse neque autem
crescere de nihilo testor res ante probatas.

Praeterea quoniam cibus auget corpus alitque,
scire licet nobis venas et sanguen et ossa [860]


* * * [860]

sive cibos omnis commixto corpore dicent
esse et habere in se nervorum corpora parva
ossaque et omnino venas partisque cruoris,
fiet uti cibus omnis et aridus et liquor ipse
ex alienigenis rebus constare putetur, [865]

ossibus et nervis sanieque et sanguine mixto.

Praeterea quae cumque e terra corpora crescunt,
si sunt in terris, terram constare necessest
ex alienigenis, quae terris exoriuntur.
transfer item, totidem verbis utare licebit: [870]

in lignis si flamma latet fumusque cinisque,
ex alienigenis consistant ligna necessest,
[praeterea tellus quae corpora cumque alit auget]
ex alienigenis, quae lignis oriuntur.

Linquitur hic quaedam latitandi copia tenvis, [875]

id quod Anaxagoras sibi sumit, ut omnibus omnis
res putet inmixtas rebus latitare, sed illud
apparere unum, cuius sint plurima mixta
et magis in promptu primaque in fronte locata.
quod tamen a vera longe ratione repulsumst; [880]

conveniebat enim fruges quoque saepe, minaci
robore cum in saxi franguntur, mittere signum
sanguinis aut aliquid, nostro quae corpore aluntur.
cum lapidi in lapidem terimus, manare cruorem
consimili ratione herbis quoque saepe decebat, [885]

et latices dulcis guttas similique sapore
mittere, lanigerae quali sunt ubere lactis,
scilicet et glebis terrarum saepe friatis
herbarum genera et fruges frondesque videri
dispertita inter terram latitare minute, [890]

postremo in lignis cinerem fumumque videri,
cum praefracta forent, ignisque latere minutos.
quorum nil fieri quoniam manifesta docet res,
scire licet non esse in rebus res ita mixtas,
verum semina multimodis inmixta latere [895]

multarum rerum in rebus communia debent.

'At saepe in magnis fit montibus' inquis 'ut altis
arboribus vicina cacumina summa terantur
inter se validis facere id cogentibus austris,
donec flammai fulserunt flore coorto.' [900]

scilicet et non est lignis tamen insitus ignis,
verum semina sunt ardoris multa, terendo
quae cum confluxere, creant incendia silvis.
quod si facta foret silvis abscondita flamma,
non possent ullum tempus celarier ignes, [905]

conficerent volgo silvas, arbusta cremarent.
iamne vides igitur, paulo quod diximus ante,
permagni referre eadem primordia saepe
cum quibus et quali positura contineantur
et quos inter se dent motus accipiantque, [910]

atque eadem paulo inter se mutata creare
ignes et lignum? quo pacto verba quoque ipsa
inter se paulo mutatis sunt elementis,
cum ligna atque ignes distincta voce notemus.

Denique iam quae cumque in rebus cernis apertis [915]

si fieri non posse putas, quin materiai
corpora consimili natura praedita fingas,
hac ratione tibi pereunt primordia rerum:
fiet uti risu tremulo concussa cachinnent
et lacrimis salsis umectent ora genasque. [920]

Nunc age, quod super est, cognosce et clarius audi.
nec me animi fallit quam sint obscura; sed acri
percussit thyrso laudis spes magna meum cor
et simul incussit suavem mi in pectus amorem
Musarum, quo nunc instinctus mente vigenti [925]

avia Pieridum peragro loca nullius ante
trita solo. iuvat integros accedere fontis
atque haurire iuvatque novos decerpere flores
insignemque meo capiti petere inde coronam,
unde prius nulli velarint tempora Musae; [930]

primum quod magnis doceo de rebus et artis
religionum animum nodis exsolvere pergo,
deinde quod obscura de re tam lucida pango
carmina musaeo contingens cuncta lepore.
id quoque enim non ab nulla ratione videtur; [935]

sed vel uti pueris absinthia taetra medentes
cum dare conantur, prius oras pocula circum
contingunt mellis dulci flavoque liquore,
ut puerorum aetas inprovida ludificetur
labrorum tenus, interea perpotet amarum [940]

absinthi laticem deceptaque non capiatur,
sed potius tali facto recreata valescat,
sic ego nunc, quoniam haec ratio plerumque videtur
tristior esse quibus non est tractata, retroque
volgus abhorret ab hac, volui tibi suaviloquenti [945]

carmine Pierio rationem exponere nostram
et quasi musaeo dulci contingere melle,
si tibi forte animum tali ratione tenere
versibus in nostris possem, dum perspicis omnem
naturam rerum, qua constet compta figura. [950]

Sed quoniam docui solidissima materiai
corpora perpetuo volitare invicta per aevom,
nunc age, summai quaedam sit finis eorum
nec sit, evolvamus; item quod inane repertumst
seu locus ac spatium, res in quo quaeque gerantur, [955]

pervideamus utrum finitum funditus omne
constet an immensum pateat vasteque profundum.

Omne quod est igitur nulla regione viarum
finitumst; namque extremum debebat habere.
extremum porro nullius posse videtur [960]

esse, nisi ultra sit quod finiat, ut videatur
quo non longius haec sensus natura sequatur.
nunc extra summam quoniam nihil esse fatendum,
non habet extremum, caret ergo fine modoque.
nec refert quibus adsistas regionibus eius; [965]

usque adeo, quem quisque locum possedit, in omnis
tantundem partis infinitum omne relinquit.
Praeterea si iam finitum constituatur
omne quod est spatium, si quis procurrat ad oras
ultimus extremas iaciatque volatile telum, [970]

id validis utrum contortum viribus ire
quo fuerit missum mavis longeque volare,
an prohibere aliquid censes obstareque posse?
alterutrum fatearis enim sumasque necessest.
quorum utrumque tibi effugium praecludit et omne [975]

cogit ut exempta concedas fine patere.
nam sive est aliquid quod probeat efficiatque
quo minus quo missum est veniat finique locet se,
sive foras fertur, non est a fine profectum.
hoc pacto sequar atque, oras ubi cumque locaris [980]

extremas, quaeram: quid telo denique fiet?
fiet uti nusquam possit consistere finis
effugiumque fugae prolatet copia semper.

Praeterea spatium summai totius omne
undique si inclusum certis consisteret oris [985]

finitumque foret, iam copia materiai
undique ponderibus solidis confluxet ad imum
nec res ulla geri sub caeli tegmine posset
nec foret omnino caelum neque lumina solis,
quippe ubi materies omnis cumulata iaceret [990]

ex infinito iam tempore subsidendo.
at nunc ni mirum requies data principiorum
corporibus nullast, quia nil est funditus imum,
quo quasi confluere et sedes ubi ponere possint.
semper in adsiduo motu res quaeque geruntur [995]

partibus cunctis, infernaque suppeditantur
ex infinito cita corpora materiai.

Postremo ante oculos res rem finire videtur;
aer dissaepit collis atque aera montes,
terra mare et contra mare terras terminat omnis; [1000]

omne quidem vero nihil est quod finiat extra.
est igitur natura loci spatiumque profundi,
quod neque clara suo percurrere fulmina cursu
perpetuo possint aevi labentia tractu
nec prorsum facere ut restet minus ire meando; [1005]

usque adeo passim patet ingens copia rebus
finibus exemptis in cunctas undique partis.

Ipsa modum porro sibi rerum summa parare
ne possit, natura tenet, quae corpus inane
et quod inane autem est finiri corpore cogit, [1010]

ut sic alternis infinita omnia reddat,
aut etiam alterutrum, nisi terminet alterum eorum,
simplice natura pateat tamen inmoderatum,
nec mare nec tellus neque caeli lucida templa
nec mortale genus nec divum corpora sancta [1015]

exiguum possent horai sistere tempus;
nam dispulsa suo de coetu materiai
copia ferretur magnum per inane soluta,
sive adeo potius numquam concreta creasset
ullam rem, quoniam cogi disiecta nequisset. [1020]

nam certe neque consilio primordia rerum
ordine se suo quaeque sagaci mente locarunt
nec quos quaeque
sed quia multa modis multis mutata per omne
ex infinito vexantur percita plagis, [1025]

omne genus motus et coetus experiundo
tandem deveniunt in talis disposituras,
qualibus haec rerum consistit summa creata,
et multos etiam magnos servata per annos
ut semel in motus coniectast convenientis, [1030]

efficit ut largis avidum mare fluminis undis
integrent amnes et solis terra vapore
fota novet fetus summissaque gens animantum
floreat et vivant labentis aetheris ignes.
quod nullo facerent pacto, nisi materiai [1035]

ex infinito suboriri copia posset,
unde amissa solent reparare in tempore quaeque.
nam vel uti privata cibo natura animantum
diffluit amittens corpus, sic omnia debent
dissolui simul ac defecit suppeditare [1040]

materies aliqua ratione aversa viai.
nec plagae possunt extrinsecus undique summam
conservare omnem, quae cumque est conciliata.
cudere enim crebro possunt partemque morari,
dum veniant aliae ac suppleri summa queatur; [1045]

inter dum resilire tamen coguntur et una
principiis rerum spatium tempusque fugai
largiri, ut possint a coetu libera ferri.
quare etiam atque etiam suboriri multa necessest,
et tamen ut plagae quoque possint suppetere ipsae, [1050]

infinita opus est vis undique materiai.

Illud in his rebus longe fuge credere, Memmi,
in medium summae quod dicunt omnia niti
atque ideo mundi naturam stare sine ullis
ictibus externis neque quoquam posse resolvi [1055]

summa atque ima, quod in medium sint omnia nixa,
ipsum si quicquam posse in se sistere credis,
et quae pondera sunt sub terris omnia sursum
nitier in terraque retro requiescere posta,
ut per aquas quae nunc rerum simulacra videmus; [1060]

et simili ratione animalia suppa vagari
contendunt neque posse e terris in loca caeli
reccidere inferiora magis quam corpora nostra
sponte sua possint in caeli templa volare;
illi cum videant solem, nos sidera noctis [1065]

cernere et alternis nobiscum tempora caeli
dividere et noctes parilis agitare diebus.
sed vanus stolidis haec * * *
amplexi quod habent perv * * *
nam medium nihil esse potest * * * [1070]

infinita; neque omnino, si iam ,
possit ibi quicquam consistere * * *
quam quavis alia longe ratione * * *
omnis enim locus ac spatium, quod in,
per medium, per non medium, concedere [1075]

aeque ponderibus, motus qua cumque feruntur.
nec quisquam locus est, quo corpora cum venerunt,
ponderis amissa vi possint stare inani;
nec quod inane autem est ulli subsistere debet,
quin, sua quod natura petit, concedere pergat. [1080]

haud igitur possunt tali ratione teneri
res in concilium medii cuppedine victae.

Praeterea quoniam non omnia corpora fingunt
in medium niti, sed terrarum atque liquoris
umorem ponti magnasque e montibus undas, [1085]

et quasi terreno quae corpore contineantur,
at contra tenuis exponunt aeris auras
et calidos simul a medio differrier ignis,
atque ideo totum circum tremere aethera signis
et solis flammam per caeli caerula pasci, [1090]

quod calor a medio fugiens se ibi conligat omnis,
nec prorsum arboribus summos frondescere ramos
posse, nisi a terris paulatim cuique cibatum

* * * [1094–1101]

ne volucri ritu flammarum moenia mundi [1102]

diffugiant subito magnum per inane soluta
et ne cetera consimili ratione sequantur
neve ruant caeli tonitralia templa superne [1105]

terraque se pedibus raptim subducat et omnis
inter permixtas rerum caelique ruinas
corpora solventes abeat per inane profundum,
temporis ut puncto nihil extet reliquiarum
desertum praeter spatium et primordia caeca. [1110]

nam qua cumque prius de parti corpora desse
constitues, haec rebus erit pars ianua leti,
hac se turba foras dabit omnis materiai.

Haec sic pernosces parva perductus opella;
namque alid ex alio clarescet nec tibi caeca [1115]

nox iter eripiet, quin ultima naturai
pervideas: ita res accendent lumina rebus.

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