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GREAT BOOKS OF THE WESTERN WORLD WSB «««

»»««**

»

12.

LUCRETIUS EPICTETUS MARCUS AURELIUS

13.

VIRGIL

14.

PLUTARCH

15.

TACITUS

16.

PTOLEMY

Introductory Volumes: 1.

The Great Conversation

2.

The Great

3.

The

«««« 4.

5.

Ideas

Great Ideas

I

II

»«»»»»'

*********

12.

LUCRETIUS EPICTETUS

MARCUS AURELIUS

***************tttt*t*t********tt**i************************f****************************************************t.

Mortimer J. Adler,

Associate Editor

Members of the Advisory Board: Stringfellow Barr, Scott Buchanan, John Erskine,

Clarence H. Faust, Alexander Meiklejohn, Joseph J. Schwab, Editorial Consultants:

A.

F. B.

Clark,

F. L.

Wallace Brockway,

Lucas,

Mark Van Doren.

Walter Murdoch.

Executive Editor

LUCRETIUS:

ON THE NATURE OF THINGS Translated by H. A.J.

Munro

THE DISCOURSES OF EPICTETUS Translated by

George Long

THE MEDITATIONS OF MARCUS AURELIUS Translated by

George Long

ARCHBiSHIP MiTTY HIGH SCHOOL Library to oo 00

5000 Mitty Avenue

San Jose, CA 95128-1S97

William Benton,

Publisher

ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA,

INC.

CHICAGO LONDON TORONTO GENEVA SYDNEY TOKYO

MANILA

THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO The Great Books is

published with the editorial advice of the faculties of

The University of Chicago

No

part of this work may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any in writing from the

information storage and retrieval system, without permission publisher.

© 1952 by Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.

Twenty-seventh Printing,

1984

Copyright under International Copyright Union

All Rights Reserved under Pan American and Universal Copyright Conventions by Encyclopedia Britannica,

Inc.

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 55-10321 International Standard

Book Number: 0-85229-163-9

25399

GENERAL CONTENTS

Lucretius:

On

the Nature of Things, Page 1

Translated by H. A. J.

The Discourses of Translated by

Epictetus,

Page 105

George Long

The Meditations of Marcus Translated by

Munro

Aurelius,

George Long

Page 253

LUCRETIUS

ON THE NATURE OF THINGS

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE Lucretius, C.98-C.55 b.c. Titus Lucretius Carus was born somewhere between 99 and 95 b.c, probably at Rome. The Lucretian gens to which he belonged was

entry: "Titus Lucretius the poet

was rendered insane by a after writing

one of the oldest of the great Roman houses, and it is likely that he was a member of either a senatorial or an equestrian family. In his poem he speaks to the aristocratic Gaius Memmius, to whom he dedicated his work, as to an

is

born.

He

love-philtre and,

during intervals of

lucidity,

some

books, which Cicero emended, he died by his

own hand in the forty-third year of his life." The account of St. Jerome, though perhaps based on a

lost

work

of Suetonius, has not

been traced to any earlier source and has been

equal.

found incapable of either proof or disproof.

Nothing is known of the poet's education except what might be inferred from the presence in Rome during his youth of eminent Greek teachers of the Epicurean sect who lived on terms of intimacy with members of

Historians have pointed out that love potions,

the governing class. Lucretius' reading

is

which occasionally caused madness, were ciently

common

Some

critics

poem makes and have

sion the

knowledge of the philosophical poem of Empedocles and at least an acquaintance with the works of

evidence of

ers

Of

Plato,

the other

Among

the poets he expresses highest admira-

tion for

Homer, frequently reproduces Eurip-

ides,

and shows a

The

St.

life is

editor rests

b.c.

poem as emender or on no other authority than that of

St.

Jerome.

A

letter of Cicero's to his

brother

does reveal that the poem, probably published

posthumously, was being read in 54 b.c. Donatus, in his Life of Virgil, states that

a short

Lucretius died on the same day in 55 Virgil assumed the toga virilis.

centuries after the poet's death. St. Jerome in

under the year 94

re-

critics

Cicero's relation to the

Jerome written more than four

his Chronicle

Other

pointed to the

not having received a final

greatest expositor.

its

close study of Ennius.

only account of Lucretius'

note by

its

have inferred that the whole story is a fiction invented by the enemies of Epicureanism to discredit the work of

vision.

Greek prose writhe knew Thucydides and Hippocrates. Stoics.

have argued that the supposed is compatible with the impres-

mental ailment

evi-

of his master, Epicurus, he shows

Democritus, Anaxagoras, Heraclitus,

suffi-

time of Lucretius to

necessitate a legal penalty against their use.

dent from his poem. In addition to the works

and the

at the

has the

IX

b.c. that

CONTENTS Biographical Note, Book

I,

p.

i

Book IV,

p.

44

Book

II,

p. 15

Book V,

XI

p. 61

p. ix

Book

III, p.

Book VI,

30 p.

80

LUCRETIUS

ON THE NATURE OF THINGS •BOOK ONEMother

men and

Mavors

lord of battle controls the savage

beneath the

of war,

Mavors who often

of the Aeneadae, darling of

gods, increase-giving Venus,

who

gliding signs of heaven

with thy presence

fillest

the ship-carrying sea, the corn-bearing lands, since through thee every kind of living things is

conceived, rises

up and beholds

the sun. Before thee, goddess,

the light of the winds,

flee

the clouds of heaven; before thee vent; for thee earth manifold in

and thy adworks puts

forth sweet-smelling flowers; for thee the levels

do laugh and heaven propitiated

of the sea

shines with outspread light. For soon as the

vernal aspect of day

is

disclosed,

and the

favouring breeze of Favonius unbarred ing fresh,

show

first

the fowls of the

air,

birth-

is

blow-

O

lady,

and thy entering in, throughly smitten in heart by thy power. Next the wild herds bound over the glad pastures and swim signs of thee

the rapid rivers: in such wise each

made

pris-

oner by thy charms follows thee with desire,

whither thou goest

to lead

it

on. Yes, through-

out seas and mountains and sweeping rivers

and

leafy

homes

of birds

and grassy

plains,

striking fond love into the breasts of all thou

constrainest

them each

after

its

kind

to con-

tinue their races with desire. Since thou then art sole mistress of the nature of things

without thee nothing

rises

up

and

into the divine

borders of light, nothing grows to be glad or lovely, fain

would

I

have thee for a helpmate in

writing the verses which

nature of things for our mii,

whom

I

essay to pen

own

son of the

wound

of love; and then with upturned face and shapely neck thrown back feeds with love his greedy sight gazing, goddess, open-mouthed on thee; and as backward he reclines, his breath stays hanging on thy lips. While then, lady, he is reposing on thy holy body, shed thyself about him and above, and pour from thy lips sweet discourse, asking, glorious dame, gentle peace for the Romans. For neither can we in our country's day of trouble with untroubled mind think only of our work, nor can the illustrious offset of

Memmius

in times like these be

want-

ing to the general weal. ... for what remains to

tell,

apply to true reason unbusied ears and

keen mind withdrawn from cares, lest my gifts set out for you with steadfast zeal you

a

abandon with disdain, before they are understood. For I will essay to discourse to you of the most high system of heaven and the gods and will open up the first beginnings of things, out of which nature gives birth to all things and increase and nourishment, and into which nature likewise dissolves them back after their destruction. These we are accustomed in explaining their reason to call matter and begetting bodies of things and to name seeds of things and also to term first bodies, because from them as first elements

Mem-

62]

no peer, rich as he ever is in every grace. Wherefore all the more, O lady, lend my lays an everliving charm. Cause meanwhile the savage works of war to be lulled to rest throughout all seas and lands; for thou alone canst bless mankind with calm peace, seeing that

works

himself into

thy lap quite vanquished by the never-healing

on the

thou, goddess, hast willed to have

flings

all

things are.

When human life

to

view lay foully pros-

upon earth crushed down under the weight of religion, who showed her head from

trate

the quarters of heaven with hideous aspect

lowering upon mortals, a tured

and 1

first to lift

first

to

Epicurus.

up

man

1

of Greece ven-

his mortal eyes to her face

withstand her to her

face.

Him

LUCRETIUS

2

69-149

would be

neither story of gods nor thunderbolts nor

a fixed limit to their woes, they

heaven with threatening roar could quell: they only chafed the more the eager courage of his

some way to withstand the religious scruples and threatenings of the seers. As it is, there is no way, no means of resisting, since they must fear after death everlasting pains. For they cannot tell what is the nature of the soul, whether it be born or on the contrary find its way into men at their birth, and whether it perish together with us when severed from us by death or visit the gloom of Orcus and wasteful pools

him with

soul, filling

desire to be the first to

burst the fast bars of nature's portals. Therefore the living force of his soul gained the day:

on

he passed far beyond the flaming walls of the in mind and immeasurable universe; whence he returns a conqueror to tell us what can, what cannot come into being; in short on what prin-

world and traversed throughout spirit the

or by divine decree find

its

way

powers defined, its deepset boundary mark. Therefore religion is put under foot and trampled upon in turn; us his victory brings level with heaven. 80] This is what I fear herein, lest haply you should fancy that you are entering on unholy

our stead, as sang our Ennius

grounds of reason and treading the path of sin; whereas on the contrary often and often that very religion has given birth to sinful and unholy deeds. Thus in Aulis the chosen chieftains of the Danai, foremost of men, foully pol-

though

in

pale in

wondrous

ciple

each thing has

its

luted with Iphianassa's

1

blood the altar of the

Trivian maid. Soon as the

maiden

him

had first bestowed the on the king. For lifted up in the

luckless girl that she

of father

men

she

was

carried shivering to

the altars, not after due performance of the

customary

rites to

be escorted by the clear-ring-

ing bridal song, but in the very season of marriage, stainless fall

publishing

quarters,

And

yet

with

all this

that there are Acherusian it

in

immortal verses;

our passage thither neither our souls nor bodies hold together, but only certain idols

tells

wise.

From

these places he

us the ghost of everliving

before

him and began

to

shed

Homer

salt tears

uprose

and

to

unfold in words the nature of things. Where-

we must

well grasp the principle of things

maid mid

the stain of blood, to

sun and

moon go

on, the force by

thing on earth proceeds, but above

136]

hard

Nor

it is

to

does

make

my mind fail to perceive how clear in Latin verses the

discoveries of the Greeks, especially as

points

must be

dealt with in

dark

many

new terms on

ac-

a sad victim by the sacrificing stroke of a

count of the poverty of the language and the

happy and prosperous de-

novelty of the questions. But yet your worth and the looked-for pleasure of sweet friendship prompt me to undergo any labour and lead me on to watch the clear nights through, seeking by what words and in what verse I may be able in the end to shed on your mind so clear a light that you can thoroughly scan hidden things. 146] This terror then and darkness of mind must be dispelled not by the rays of the sun and glittering shafts of day, but by the aspect and the law of nature; the warp of whose design we

father, that thus a

parture might be granted to the the evils to

102]

which

You

come by

fleet.

So great

prompt! some time or other over-

religion could

yourself

the terror-speaking tales of the seers

will seek to fall

away from

how many dreams may

Ay indeed now imagine

us.

they

you, enough to upset the calculations of

for for life

and trouble all your fortunes with fear! And with good cause; for if men saw that there was 1

sets forth

which every all we must find out by keen reason what the soul and the nature of the mind consist of, and what thing it is which meets us when awake and frightens our minds, if we are under the influence of disease; meets and frightens us too when we are buried in sleep; so that we seem to see and hear speaking to us face to face them who are dead, whose bones earth holds in its embrace.

and

speechless in terror she dropped

hands of the

out Italian clans of men.

Ennius

cheek, and soon as she saw her

down on her knees and sank to the ground. Nor aught in such a moment could it avail the name

of un-

above, the principle by which the courses of the

the ministering priests hiding the

tears,

crown

fore

in

knife and her countrymen at sight of her shed-

ding

delightful Helicon a

fading leaf, destined to bright renown through-

encircling her

fillet

itself

father standing sorrowful before the altars

beside

down from

into brutes in

who first brought

equal lengths

shed

tresses

adown each

able

in

Iphigenia.

ON THE NATURE OF

i 5 o-228

shall begin

with

this first principle,

nothing

is

ever gotten out of nothing by divine power.

and

Fear in sooth holds so in check

may

all

mortals, be-

BOOK

THINGS,

natural, since they in

when we

ing things continue

have seen that nothing can be produced from nothing, we shall then more

which we are seeking,

a fixed seed

own

matter. Furthermore

without fixed seasons of rain the earth able to put forth

again

that

you

their kind; so that

things increase in size and

all

are fed out of their

shall

3

grow from

growing preserve

be sure that

many operations go on in earth and heaven, the causes of which they can in no way understand, believing them therefore to be done by power divine. For these reasons

cause they see

I

all

its

un-

is

gladdening produce, nor

kept from food could the nature of

if

its

kind and sustain

liv-

life;

so

you may hold with greater truth that many

common to many things, common to different words,

we

bodies are

as

both the elements out of which every thing can

letters

than that

manner in which all things hand of the gods. 159] If things came from nothing, any kind might be born of any thing, nothing would re-

any thing could come into being without firstbeginnings. Again why could not nature have produced men of such a size and strength as to be able to wade on foot across the sea and rend great mountains with their hands and outlive many generations of living men, if not because an unchanging matter has been assigned for

correctly ascertain that

be produced and the

are done without the

quire seed.

Men

for instance

might

rise

out of

the sea, the scaly race out of the earth, and birds

might burst out of the sky; horned and other herds, every kind of wild beasts would haunt with changing brood tilth and wilderness alike. Nor would the same fruits keep constant to trees, but would change; any tree might bear any fruit. For if there were not begetting bodies for each,

how

could things have a fixed un-

varying mother? But in fact because things are

produced from fixed seeds, each thing is born and goes forth into the borders of light out of that in which resides its matter and first all

bodies;

and

for this reason all things cannot be

gotten out of

all

things, because in particular

things resides a distinct power. Again

we

why do

see the rose put forth in spring, corn in the

see

begetting things and what can arise out of this

matter

is

fixed?

We must admit therefore that

nothing can come from nothing, since things require seed before they can severally be born

and be brought out

we

into the

buxom

fields of

grounds surpass unfilled and yield a better produce by the

air.

Lastly since

labour of hands,

see that tilled

we may

infer that there are in

the earth first-beginnings of things

which by

turning up the fruitful clods with the share

and labouring the soil of the earth we stimulate to rise. But if there were not such, you would see all things without any labour of ours spontaneously come forth in

much

greater per-

season of heat, vines yielding at the call of

fection.

autumn,

215] Moreover nature dissolves every thing back into its first bodies and does not annihilate

if

not because,

when

the fixed seeds

of things have streamed together at the proper time, whatever

is born discloses itself, while the due seasons are there and the quickened earth brings its weakly products in safety forth into the borders of light? But if they came from nothing, they would rise up suddenly at uncertain periods and unsuitable times of year, inasmuch as there would be no first-beginnings to be kept from a begetting union by the unpropitious season. No nor would time be required for the growth of things after the meet-

things.

For

alike, the

if

aught were mortal in

thing in a

moment would

all its

parts

be snatched

away to destruction from before our eyes; since no force would be needed to produce disruption among its parts and undo their fastenings. Whereas in fact, as all things consist of an imperishable seed, nature suffers the destruction of nothing to be seen, until a force has encountered

it

sufficient to

dash things

to pieces

by a

spring out of the ground. But none of these

blow or to pierce through the void places within them and break them up. Again if time, whenever it makes away with things through age, utterly destroys them eating up all their matter, out of what does Venus bring back into the

events

it is

light of life the race of living things each after

things

grow

ing of the seed,

if

they could increase out of

nothing. Little babies

men and

trees in a

would

at

once grow into

moment would

rise

and

plain ever comes to pass, since step by step at a fixed time, as

all is

its

kind, or,

when

they are brought back, out

LUCRETIUS what does earth manifold in works give them nourishment and increase, furnishing them with food each after its kind ? Out of what do its own native fountains and extraneous rivers from far and wide keep full the sea? Out of what does ether feed the stars? For infinite time gone by and lapse of days must have eaten up all things which are of mortal body. Now if in that period of time gone by those things have existed, of which this sum of things is composed and recruited, they are possessed no doubt of an imperishable body, and cannot therefore any of them return to nothing. Again the same force and cause would destroy all of

things without distinction, unless everlasting

matter held them together, matter more or closely linked in

less

mutual entanglement: a touch

in sooth would be sufficient cause of death, inasmuch as any amount of force must of course undo the texture of things in which no parts at all

were of an everlasting body. But

in fact, be-

229-308

you may not haply yet begin

my

mistrust

in

any shape to

words, because the first-beginnings

of things cannot be seen by the eyes, take more-

over this

list

admit are

be seen. First

aroused beats

and

ships

which you must yourself of things and cannot of all the force of the wind when on the harbours and whelms huge

of bodies

in the

number

scatters clouds;

whirling eddy

sometimes

in swift

scours the plains and straws

it

them with large trees and scourges the mounsummits with forest-rending blasts: so fiercely does the wind rave with a shrill howling and rage with threatening roar. Winds therefore sure enough are unseen bodies which sweep the seas, the lands, ay and the clouds of heaven, tormenting them and catching them up in sudden whirls. On they stream and spread destruction abroad in just the same way tain

as the soft liquid nature of water,

once

and

it is

when

all at

borne along in an overflowing stream,

a great downfall of water

augments

with copious

from the high

cause the fastenings of first-beginnings one with

hills

and matter is everlasting, things continue with body uninjured, until a force is found to encounter them strong enough to overpower the texture of each. A thing

together fragments of forests and entire trees;

the other are unlike

therefore never returns to nothing, but

things after disruption go back into the bodies of matter. Lastly rains die, ether has tumbled

them

when

into the lap of

earth; but then goodly crops spring

all first

father

mother up and

boughs are green with leaves upon the trees, grow and are laden with fruit; by them in turn our race and the race of wild beasts are fed, by them we see glad towns teem with children and the leafy forests ring on all sides with the song of new birds; through them cattle wearied with their load of fat lay their bodies down about the glad pastures and the white milky stream pours from the distended udders; through them a new brood with weakly limbs frisks and gambols over the soft grass, rapt in their young hearts with the pure new milk. None of the things therefore which seem trees themselves

to be lost

is

utterly lost, since nature replenishes

one thing out of another and does not suffer any thing to be begotten, before she has been recruited by the death of some other. 265] Now mark me: since I have taught that things cannot be born from nothing, cannot when begotten be brought back to nothing, that

it

rains, flinging

nor can the strong bridges sustain the sudden force of

much

coming water:

in such wise turbid with

upon the piers with mighty force: makes havoc with loud noise and rolls under its eddies huge stones: wherever aught opposes its waves, down it dashes it. In this way then must the blasts of wind as well move on, and when they like a mighty stream have borne down in any direction, they push things before them and throw them down with repeated assaults, sometimes catch them up in curling eddy and carry them away in swiftcircling whirl. Wherefore once and again I say winds are unseen bodies, since in their works and ways they are found to rival great rivers which are of a visible body. Then again we perrain the river dashes

ceive the different smells of things, yet never

them coming

nor do

we

to

our

nostrils;

hold heats nor can

we

observe cold with the

see

eyes nor are

things

we

must

used to see voices. Yet

all

be-

these

consist of a bodily nature, since

they are able to

move

the senses; for nothing

but body can touch and be touched. Again clothes hung up on a shore which waves break

upon become

moist,

out in the sun. Yet

it

and then get dry

if

spread

has not been seen in what

way the moisture of water has sunk into them nor again in what way this has been dispelled

0N THE NATURE OF THINGS, BOOK

3°9~395

The moisture

by heat.

to small particles

Again

able to see.

therefore

is

dispersed in-

which the eyes are quite unafter the revolution of

many

I

5

Voices pass through walls and

Now

if

by what way You would see it Once more, why do we

no void

there are

parts,

on the finger is thinned on the underside by wearing, the dripping from the eaves hollows a stone, the bent ploughshare of iron imperceptibly decreases in the

not larger in size? For

worn down by

the feet of the multitude; the

lead,

it

show

their right

to be

worn down; but what bodies depart

at

any

given time the nature of vision has jealously shut out our seeing. Lastly the bodies which little and due measure, no exertion of the eyesight can behold; and so too wherever things grow old by age and decay, and when rocks hanging over the sea are eaten away by the gnawing salt spray, you

time and nature add to things by little,

constraining

them

to

grow

in

cannot see what they lose at any given moment. Nature therefore works by unseen bodies. 329]

And

jammed

one thing surpass another in weight though in a ball of

wasted by the touch of the numerous passers by who greet them. These things then we see are lessened, since they have been thus

see

body

brass statues too at the gates

hands

to be quite impossible.

streets

and we behold the stone-paved

fields,

yet all things are not

on

all sides

together and kept in by body: there

is

To have learned this will you on many accounts; it will not

through

houses shut, stiffening frost pierces to the bones.

can the bodies severally pass?

of the sun's years a ring

fly

wool

natural

is

it

there

is

just as

as there

is

in a

if

much

lump

of

should weigh the same,

body is to weigh all things downwards, while on the contrary the nature

since the property of

of void

is

ever without weight. Therefore when

a thing

is

just as large, yet

found

is

to be lighter,

more of void in it; while on the other hand that which is heavier shows that there is in it more of body and that it contains within it much less of void. Therefore that which we are seeking with keen reason exists sure enough, mixed up in things; and we call it void.

it

proves sure enough that

it

has

370] And herein I am obliged to forestall this point which some raise, lest it draw you away

from the

truth.

The waters

they say

make way

for the scaly creatures as they press on,

and

open liquid paths, because the fish leave room behind them, into which the yielding waters

may move

also void in things.

may

be good for

and change place among themselves, although the whole sum be full. This you are to know has been taken up on grounds wholly false. For on what side I ask can the scaly creatures move

suffer

you

words.

move

If

wander

to

sum

in the

of things

doubt and be to seek and distrustful of our

in

there were not void, things could not

which is the property of and hinder, would be present to all things at all times; nothing therefore could go on, since no other thing would be the first to give way. But in fact throughout seas and lands and the heights of heaven we see before our eyes many things move in many ways for various reasons, which things, if there were no void, I need not say would lack and want restless motion: they never would have been begotten at all since matter jammed on all sides would have been at rest. Again however solid things are thought to be, you may yet learn from this that they are of rare body: in rocks and caverns the moisture of water oozes through and all things weep with abundant drops; food distributes itself through the whole body of living things; trees grow and yield fruit in season, because food is diffused through the whole from the very roots over the stem and all the boughs. at all; for that

body, to

let

stream; thus other things too

forwards, unless the waters have

room? again on what

first

made

side can the waters give

place, so long as the fish are unable to

Therefore you must either

go on?

strip all bodies of

motion or admit that in things void is mixed up from which every thing gets its first start in moving. Lastly if two broad bodies after contact quickly spring asunder, the air must surely fill all the void which is formed between the bodies. Well, however rapidly it stream together with swift-circling currents, yet the whole space will not be able to be filled up in one moment; for it must occupy first one spot and then another, until the whole is taken up. But if haply any one supposes that, when the bodies have started asunder, that result follows because the air condenses, he a void

and

is

mistaken; for

is

then formed which was not before,

a void also

nor can the

air

is

filled

which

existed before;

condense in such a way, nor

LUCRETIUS

6

supposing void

it

draw

could, could

into itself

methinks without

it

and bring

its

parts to-

gether.

398] Wherefore, however long you hold out by urging many objections, you must needs in the end admit that there

is

And many more arguments

may

accumulate proof on

in order to

these slight footprints are

searching

a void in things. I

mind

to enable

itself

declares;

grounded, there will be nothing to which

we

anything by reasoning of mind. exist,

Then

again,

if

void did not

bodies could not be placed anywhere nor

move about

at all to

onstrated to you a is

call

any

little

side; as

before.

we have dem-

Moreover there

nothing which you can affirm to be

at

once

from all body and quite distinct from void, which would so to say count as the discovery of a third nature. For whatever shall exist, this of itself must be something or other. Now if it shall admit of touch in however slight and small a measure, it will, be it with a large or be it with a little addition, provided it do exist, increase the amount of body and join the sum. But if it shall be intangible and unable separate

itself,

will either

do something or

and go on

suffer

mankind

by

by the action of other things, or will be of such a nature as things are able to exist

at the very first belief in this be firm-

we

shall exist

will itself suffer

but

rest.

space which

side, this

you

can appeal on hidden things in order to prove

room and

it on you are to know will be that which we call empty void. Again whatever

any

state to

enough for a keenyou by yourself to

the general feeling of

and unless ly

the

all

396-478

hinder any thing from passing through

my words;

For as dogs often discover by smell the lair of a mountain-ranging wild beast though covered over with leaves, when once they have got on the sure tracks, thus you in cases like this will be able by yourself alone to see one thing after another and find your way into all dark corners and draw forth the truth. But if you lag or swerve a jot from the reality, this I can promise you, Memmius, without more ado: such plenteous draughts from abundant wellsprings my sweet tongue shall pour from my richly furnished breast, that I fear slow age will steal over our limbs and break open in us the fastnesses of life, ere the whole store of reasons on any one question has by my verses been dropped into your ears. 418] But now to resume the thread of the design which I am weaving in verse: all nature then, as it exists by itself, is founded on two things: there are bodies and there is void in which these bodies are placed and through which they move about. For that body exists by find out

to

in. But no thing can do and without body, nor aught furnish room

except void and vacancy. Therefore beside void

and bodies no third nature taken by be

the

left in

to fall at

number

itself

can

of things, either such as

any time under the ken of our senses

or such as any one can grasp by the reason of his

mind.

449] For whatever things are named, you will either find to be properties linked to these

two things or you will see to be accidents of these things. That is a property which can in no case be disjoined and separated without utter destruction accompanying the severance, such as the weight of a stone, the heat of

fire,

the fluidity of water. Slavery on the other hand,

poverty and riches, liberty, war, concord, and all

other things v/hich

may come and go

the nature of the thing remains these

we

are wont, as

call accidents.

Time

it is

right

we

also exists not

while

unharmed, by

should, to itself,

but

simply from the things which happen the sense

apprehends what has been done in time

past, as

what is to follow after. And we must admit that no one feels time by itself abstracted from the motion and well as

what

is

present and

calm rest of things. So when they say that the daughter of Tyndarus was ravished and the Trojan nations were subdued in war, we must mind that they do not force us to admit that these things are by themselves, since those generations of men, of whom these things were actime now gone by has irrevocably swept away. For whatever shall have been done may be termed an accident in one case of the Teucran people, in another of the countries simply. Yes for if there had been no matter of cidents,

things and no

room and

space in

which things

go on, never had the fire, kindled by love of the beauty of Tyndarus' daughter, blazed beneath the Phrygian breast of Alexseverally

ander and lighted up the famous struggles of cruel war, nor had the timber horse unknown to the Trojans wrapt Pergama in flames by its night issuing brood of sons of the Greeks; so

0N THE MATURE OF THINGS, BOOK I

479-5^3

you may

that

from

clearly perceive that all actions

first to last exist

not by themselves and

are not by themselves in the

way

nor are terms of the same kind

that

are rather of such a kind that you

them accidents of body and which they severally go on.

call

body

as void

is,

may

of the

is,

but

fairly

room

in

union of first-beginnings. But those which are first-beginnings of things no force can quench: they are sure to have the better by their solid

body. Although

it

seems

aught can be found body.

difficult to believe that

among

things with a solid

For the lightning of heaven passes

through the walls of houses,

as well as noise

grows red-hot in the fire and stones burn with fierce heat and burst asunder; the hardness of gold is broken up and dissolved by heat; the ice of brass melts vanquished by the flame; warmth and piercing cold ooze through silver, since we have felt both, as we held cups with the hand in due fashion and the water was poured down into them. So universally there is found to be nothing solid in things. But yet because true reason and the and

voices; iron

nature of things constrains, attend until

make

we

few verses that there are such things as consist of solid and everlasting body, which we teach are seeds of things and firstbeginnings, out of which the whole sum of things which now exists has been produced. clear in a

503] First of

found

all

would be empty and void space. Therefore sure enough body and void are marked off in alternate layers, cupied, the existing universe

since the universe

483] Bodies again are partly first-beginnings of things, partly those which are formed of a

7

were no empty void, the universe would be solid; unless on the other hand there were certain bodies to fill up whatever places they oc-

is

neither of a perfect full-

There are therefore cerwhich can vary void space with full.

ness nor a perfect void. tain bodies

These can neither be broken in pieces by the stroke of blows from without nor have their texture undone by aught piercing to their core nor give way before any other kind of assault; as we have proved to you a little before. For without void nothing seems to admit of being crushed in or broken up or split in two by cutting, or of taking in wet or permeating cold or penetrating fire, by which all things are destroyed. And the more anything contains within

it

of void, the

more thoroughly

it

gives

to the assault of these things. Therefore

bodies are as void, they

have shown

I

must be

matter had been eternal,

would have

solid

everlasting.

way

if first

and without Again unless

things before this

all

utterly returned to

nothing and

whatever things we see would have been born

anew from nothing. But

since

have proved

I

above that nothing can be produced from nothing,

and that what

is

begotten cannot be

called to nothing, first-beginnings

an imperishable body into which be dissolved at their

last

must be

all

re-

of

things can

hour, that there

may

then since there has been

be a supply of matter for the reproduction of

and widely dissimilar is to say of body and

things. Therefore first-beginnings are of solid

to exist a two-fold

and

no other way can they have

nature of two things, that

singleness,

which things severally go on, each of the two must exist for and by itself and quite unmixed. For wherever there is empty space which we call void, there body is not; wherever again body maintains itself, there empty void

been preserved through ages during

no wise

breaking of past ages that nothing could with-

of place in

exists. First

bodies therefore are solid

and without void. Again

since there

things begotten, solid matter

must

is

void in

exist

about

and no thing can be proved by true reason to conceal in its body and have within it void, unless you choose to allow that that which holds it in is solid. Again that can be nothing but a union of matter which can keep in the void of things. Matter therefore, which consists of a solid body, may be everlasting, though all things else are dissolved. Moreover if there this void,

in

infinite

time past in order to reproduce things. 551] Again

if

nature had

breaking of things, by

this

set

no

limit to the

time the bodies of

matter would have been so far reduced by the in a fixed time be conceived out of

reach

its

them and

utmost growth of being. For

we

see

more quickly destroyed than again renewed; and therefore that which the that anything

is

all bygone time had broken up, demolished and destroyed, could never be reproduced in all remaining time. But now sure enough a fixed limit to

long, the infinite duration of

their breaking has

been

set,

since

we

see each

thing renewed, and at the same time definite

LUCRETIUS

8

periods fixed for things each after

its

kind to

reach the flower of their age. Moreover while the bodies of matter are most solid,

way

be explained in what

all

it

may

yet

things which are

formed soft, as air, water, earth, fires, are so formed and by what force they severally go on, since once for all there is void mixed up in things. But on the other hand if the first-beginnings of things be

soft, it

cannot be explained

564-645

and so a first and single part and then other and other similar parts in succession fill up in close serried mass the nature of the first body; and since these cannot exist by themselves, they must cleave to that from which they cannot in any way be torn. a part of that other;

First-beginnings therefore are of solid singleness,

massed together and cohering

means

of least parts, not

closely by

compounded out

of a

out of what enduring basalt and iron can be

union of those

produced; for their whole nature will utterly

lasting singleness.

From them

nothing

nothing further to be worn

lack a

foundation to begin with. First-

first

beginnings therefore are strong in solid singleness,

and by

a denser

combination of these

all

parts, but, rather, strong in ever-

to be torn,

nature allows

away, reserving them as seeds for things. Again unless there shall be a least, the very smallest

things can be closely packed and exhibit endur-

bodies will consist of infinite parts, inasmuch

ing strength.

as the half of the half will always have a half

577] Again

if

no

limit has been set to the

breaking of bodies, nevertheless the several bodies which go to things must survive from eternity

up

to the present time, not yet assailed

by any danger. But since they are possessed of a nature,

frail

it is

not consistent with this that

they could have continued through eternity

harassed through ages

by countless blows.

Again too

growing and

ing its

since a limit of

sustain-

has been assigned to things each after

life

kind, and since by the laws of nature

it

what they can each do and what they cannot do, and since nothing is changed, stands decreed

but

all

things are so constant that the different

succession exhibit in their body the marks of their kind, they must sure enough have a body of unchangeable matter birds

all in

distinctive

For if the first-beginnings of things could any way be vanquished and changed, it

also.

in

would then be uncertain too what could and what could not rise into being, in short on what powers defined, its deepset boundary mark; nor could the generations reproduce so often each after its kind the nature habits, way of life and motions of the principle each thing has

its

parents.

599] Then again since there is ever a bounding point to bodies, which appears to us to be a least, there

ought

in the

same way

to be a

bounding point the least conceivable to that first body which already is beyond what our senses can perceive: that point sure enough is without parts and consists of a least nature and never has existed apart by itself and will not be able in future so to

exist, since

it is

in itself

and nothing will set bounds to the division. Therefore between the sum of things and the least of things what difference will there be? There will be no distinction at all; for how absolutely infinite soever the whole sum is, yet the things which are smallest will equally consist of infinite parts. Now since on this head true reason protests and denies that the mind can believe it, you must yield and admit that there exist such things as are possessed of no parts and are of a least nature. And since these exist, those first bodies also you must admit to be solid and everlasting. Once more, if nature creatress of things had been wont to compel all things to be broken up into least parts, then too she would be unable to reproduce anything out of those parts, because those things which are enriched with no parts cannot have the properties which begetting matter ought to have, I

mean

the various entanglements, weights,

blows, clashings, motions, by

means of which

things severally go on.

635] For which reasons they who have held be the matter of things and the sum to be

fire to

formed out of fire alone, are seen to have strayed most widely from true reason. At the head of whom enters Heraclitus to do battle, famous for obscurity

more among

the earnest Greeks fools

admire and

who

the frivolous than

seek the truth. For

like all things the

more which

they perceive to be concealed under involved

language, and determine things to be true

which can

prettily tickle the ears

and are

var-

nished over with finely sounding phrase. 645] For I want to know how things can be

ON THE NATURE OF THINGS, BOOK1

646-728

one

so various, if they are formed out of fire and unmixed: it would avail nothing for hot fire to be condensed or rarefied, if the same nature which the whole fire has, belonged to the

more more faint by their severance and dispersion. More than this you cannot think it in the power of such causes parts of fire as well.

The

to effect, far less

things fires.

could so great a diversity of

come from mere

Observe

also, if

density and rarity of

they suppose void to be

mixed up in things, fire may then be condensed and left rare; but because they see many things rise up in contradiction to them and shrink from leaving unmixed void in things, fearing the steep, they lose the true road, and do not perceive on the other hand that if void is taken from things, all things are condensed and out of all things is formed one single body, which cannot briskly radiate anything from it, in the way heat-giving fire emits light and warmth, letting you see that it is not of closely compressed parts. But if they haply think that in some other way fires may be quenched in the union and change their body, you are to know that if they shall scruple on no side to do this, all heat sure enough will be utterly brought to nothing, and all things that are produced will be formed out of nothing. For whenever a thing changes and quits its proper limits, at once this change of state is the death of that which was before. Therefore something or other must needs be left to those fires of theirs undestroyed, that you may not have all things absolutely returning to nothing, and the whole store of things born anew and flourishing out of nothing. Since then in fact there are some most unquestionable bodies which always preserve the same nature, on whose going or coming and change of order things change their nature and bodies are transformed, you are to

know

that these first bodies of things are not

For it would matter nothing that some should withdraw and go away and others should be added on and some should have their order changed, if one and all they yet retained the nature of heat; for whatever they produced would be altogether fire. But thus methinks it is: there are certain bodies whose clashings, motions, order, position, and shapes produce fires, and which by a change of order

of fire.

690] Again to say that

heat would be

intense by compression of parts,

9

change the nature of the things and do not resemble fire nor anything else which has the power of sending bodies to our senses and touching by its contact our sense of touch. that

no

all

things are

fire

real thing except fire exists in the

ber of things, as this same

man

and

num-

does, appears to

be sheer dotage. For he himself takes his stand

on the

side of the senses to fight against the

and shakes

senses

our

rests all

he

calls

belief,

known

it is

on which

their authority,

ay from which this

fire as

he believes

to himself; for

he does

that the senses can truly perceive

fire,

not believe they can perceive

other things

which are not pears to

what

me

Now

a whit less clear.

to be as false as

we

shall

all

this ap-

foolish; for to

it is

appeal? what surer

we

can

test

have than the senses, whereby to note truth and falsehood? Again why should any one rather abolish

all

things and choose to leave the single

nature of heat, than deny that

he allows anything

else to

fires exist,

while

seems

to be

be?

it

equal madness to affirm either this or that. 705] For these reasons they who have held is the matter of things and that the

that fire

sum can

be formed out of

have determined

in begetting things,

water by

itself

produces

all

and

and they who

fire,

be the first-beginning

air to

all

who

have held that

alone forms things, or that earth

things and changes into

all

the dif-

ferent natures of things, appear to have strayed

exceedingly wide of the truth; as well as they

who make

the first-beginnings of things two-

and earth with water, and they who believe that all things grow out of four things, fire, earth and air and water. Chief of whom is Agrigentine Empedocles:

fold coupling air with fire

him within

the three-cornered shores of

its

lands that island bore, about which the Ionian sea flows in large cranklings,

brine from in

its

its

and splashes up

green waves. Here the sea racing

straitened frith divides by

its

waters the

from the other's coasts; here is wasteful Charybdis and here the rumblings of Aetna threaten anew to gather up such shores of Italia's lands

fury of flames, as again with force to belch forth the fires bursting

from

its

throat

and

heaven once more the lightnings of flame. Now though this great country is seen

carry

up

to

to deserve in

kind and

is

many ways

the

wonder

of

man-

held to be well worth visiting, rich

LUCRETIUS

10

guarded by large force of men, yet seems it to have held within it nothing more glorious than this man, nothing more holy, marvellous and dear. The verses too of his godlike genius cry with a loud voice and set

good

in all

things,

729-811

the body of fire

moisture of

them

of

thing

I

in tell

and of earth and air and the water meet in such a way that none the union changes its nature, no you can be then produced out of

forth in such wise his glorious discoveries that

them, neither living thing nor thing with inanimate body, as a tree; in fact each thing amid

he hardly seems born of a mortal stock.

the medley of this discordant mass will dis-

734] Yet he and those whom we have mentioned above immeasurably inferior and far be-

play

neath him, although, the authors of

many

ex-

and godlike discoveries, they have given responses from so to say their hearts' holy of holies with more sanctity and on much more unerring grounds than the Pythia who speaks out from the tripod and laurel of Phoebus, have yet gone to ruin in the first-beginnings of things: it is there they have fallen, and, great themselves, great and heavy has been that fall; first because they have banished void from things and yet assign to them motions, and allow things soft and rare, air, sun, fire, earth, living things and corn, and yet mix not up void

cellent

in their body; next because they suppose that

there

is

no

no stop exists

limit to the division of bodies

set to their

no

that that

least at all in things; is

and

breaking and that there

though we

see

the bounding point of any thing

which seems to be least to our senses, so that from this you may infer that because the things which you do not see have a bounding point, there is a least in them. Moreover since they assign soft first-beginnings of things, which we see to have birth and to be of a body altogether mortal, the sum of things must in that case revert to nothing and the store of things be born anew and flourish out of nothing: how wide now of the truth both these doctrines are you will already comprehend. In the next place these bodies are in many ways mutually hostile and poisonous; and therefore they will either perish just as

when they have we see, when

lightnings

and

rains

met, or will a

fly

asunder

storm has gathered,

and winds

fly

asunder.

763] Again if all things are produced from four things and all again broken up into those things,

how

can they be called first-beginnings

of things any

more than things be

first-beginnings,

supposition

the

called their

being

re-

versed? For they are begotten time about and

interchange colour and their whole nature

without ceasing. But

if

haply you suppose that

its own nature and air will be seen to be mixed up with earth and heat to remain in union with moisture. But first-beginnings ought in begetting things to bring with them a latent and unseen nature in order that no thing stand out, to be in the way and prevent whatever is produced from having its own proper being. 782] Moreover they go back to heaven and its fires for a beginning, and first suppose that fire changes into air, next that from air water is begotten and earth is produced out of water, and that all in reverse order come back from earth, water first, next air, then heat, and that these cease not to interchange, to pass from heaven to earth, from earth to the stars of ether. All which first-beginnings must on no account do; since something unchangeable must needs remain over, that things may not utterly be brought back to nothing. For whenever a thing changes and quits its proper limits, at once this change of state is the death of that which was before. Wherefore since those things which we have mentioned a little before pass into a state of change, they must be formed out of others which cannot in any case be transformed, that you may not have things returning altogether

to nothing.

Why not rather hold that there are

certain bodies possessed of such a nature, that, fire, the same may, few have been taken away and a few added on and the order and motion changed, produce air; and that all other things may in the same way interchange with one another? 803] "But plain matter of fact clearly proves" you say "that all things grow up into the air and are fed out of the earth; and unless the if

they have haply produced

after a

season at the propitious period send such abun-

dant showers that the

trees reel

beneath the

soaking storms of rain, and unless the sun on part foster them and supply heat, corn, trees, and living things could not grow." Quite true, and unless solid food and soft water should recruit us, our substance would waste away and life break wholly up out of all the sinews and its

ON THE NATURE OF THINGS, BOOK

812-888 bones; for

we beyond doubt

fed by certain things, this

and

hold out, so as to escape death, beneath so strong

that other thing

a pressure within the very jaws of destruction?

are recruited

and

11

I

by certain other things. Because

many

first-

fire

or water or air?

which

of these? blood or

many

bones? Not one methinks, where everything

ways are mixed up in things, therefore sure enough different things are fed by different

will be just as essentially mortal as those things

common

beginnings

And

to

many

things in

makes a great difference things. with what things and in what position the same first-beginnings are held in union and what motions they mutually impart and receive; for the same make up heaven, sea, lands, rivers, sun, the same make up corn, trees, and living things; but they are mixed up with different things and in different ways as they move. Nay it

often

throughout even in these verses of elements common to many words,

you

see

ours

many

though you must needs admit that the lines and words differ one from the other both in meaning and in sound wherewith they sound. So much can elements effect by a mere change of order; but those elements which are the firstbeginnings of things can bring with them more

combinations out of which different things can severally be produced.

830] Let us

how

also

examine the homoeo-

meria of Anaxagoras as the Greeks term

it,

which the poverty of our native speech does not allow us to

though

it is

the thing

easy

itself.

name enough

in

our

own

tongue;

to set forth in

First of all then,

words

when he

which we

see

with the senses perish before our

eyes vanquished by facts

some

force.

But

fall away to nothing nor on the other hand grow from nothing. Again since food gives increase and nourishment to the body, you are to know that our veins and blood and bones and the like are formed of things foreign to them in kind; or if they shall say that all foods are of a mixed body and contain in them small bodies of sinews and bones and veins as well and particles of blood, it will follow that all food, solid as well as liquid, must be held to be composed of things foreign to them in kind, of bones that is and sinews and matter and blood mixed up. Again if all the bodies which grow out of the earth, are in the earths, the earth must be composed of things foreign to it in kind which grow out of these earths. Apply again this reasoning to other things, and you may use just the same words. If flame and smoke and ash are latent in woods, woods must necessarily be composed of things foreign to them in kind. Again all those bodies, to which

the earth gives food,

them

it

increases out of things

foreign to

know he

earth: thus too the bodies of flame

very small and minute bones and flesh of very small and minute fleshes and blood by the com-

ing together of

many

drops of blood, and gold

he thinks can be composed of grains of gold

and earth be fires

a concretion of small earths,

and

can come from fires and water from waters,

and everything else he fancies and supposes to be produced on a like principle. And yet at the same time he does not allow that void exists anywhere in things, or that there is a limit to the division of things. Wherefore he appears to me on both these grounds to be as much mistaken as those whom we have already spoken of above. Moreover the first-beginnings which he supposes are too

frail;

if

first-beginnings

appeal to

cannot

speaks of the homoeomeria of things, you must

supposes bones to be formed out of

I

demonstrated above for proof that things

in

kind which

rise

out of the

which

issue

from the woods, are fed out of things foreign to them in kind which rise out of these woods. 875] Here some slight opening is left for evasion, which Anaxagoras avails himself of, choosing to suppose that all things though latent are mixed up in things, and that is alone visible of which there are the largest number of bodies in the mixture and these more ready to hand and stationed in the first rank. This however is far banished from true reason. For then it were natural that corn too should often, when crushed by the formidable force of the stone,

show some mark

of blood or

some other

of the

things which have their nourishment in our

body. For like reasons

it

were

fitting that

from

when we rub them between two

they be which are possessed of a nature like to

grasses too,

the things themselves and are just as liable to

stones,

and death, and which nothing reins back from destruction. For which of them will

should yield sweet drops, in flavour like to the

suffering

blood should ooze out; that waters

udder of milk

in sheep; yes

and that often, when

LUCRETIUS

i2

clods of earth have been crumbled, kinds of grasses

and corn and

quantities;

minute

when

and

fires

leaves should be

among

lurk distributed

found

to

the earth in minute

lastly that

ash and

smoke and

should be found latent in woods,

they were broken

Now

off.

since plain

889-968

approach the untasted springs and to quaff, I love to cull fresh flowers and gather for my head a distinguished crown from spots whence to

the first

Muses have because

I

ligious scruples,

follows, you are to know that things are not so mixed up in things; but rather seeds common to many things must in many ways be mixed up and latent in things. 897] "But it often comes to pass on high mountains", you say, "that contiguous tops of

subject

rub together, the strong southwinds

constraining

them

so to do, until the flower of

flame has broken out and they have burst into

brows of none;

mind from

to release the

matter of fact teaches that none of these results

tall trees

yet veiled the

teach of great things and essay the fast bonds of reand next because on a dark

pen such lucid verses o'erlaying

I

all

with the Muses' charm. For that too would seem to be not without good grounds: just as physicians

when

wormwood

they purpose to give nauseous

smear the rim round the bowl with the sweet yellow juice of honey, that the unthinking age of children may be fooled as far as the lips, and meanwhile drink up the bitter draught of wormwood and though to children, first

a blaze." Quite true and yet fire is not innate in woods; but there are many seeds of heat, and when they by rubbing have streamed together,

beguiled yet not be betrayed, but rather by such

they produce conflagrations in the forests. But

bitter to those

the flame

if

was

forests, the fire

stored

up ready made

in the

could not be concealed for any

length of time, but would destroy forests, burn

up

trees indiscriminately.

we

Do

you now

see, as

makes a very great difference with what things and in what position the same first-beginnings are held in union and what motions they mutually impart and receive, and that the same may said a

when

a

say fires

little

little

before, that

changed

and a

it

often

arrangement produce as the words too consist

in

fir? just

means recover health and by whom

it

I now, somewhat

strength; so

since this doctrine seems generally

has not been handled,

and the multitude shrinks back from it in dismay, have resolved to set forth to you our doctrine in sweet-toned Pierian verse and o'erlay it as it were with the pleasant honey of the Muses, if haply by such means I might engage your mind on my verses, till you clearly perceive the whole nature of things, its shape and frame. 951] But since

I

have taught that most

solid

bodies of matter fly about for ever unvanquished

through

time,

all

mark now,

let

us unfold

not any limit to their sum;

changed in arrangement, though we denote firs and fires with two quite distinct names. Once again, if you suppose that whatever you perceive among visible things cannot be produced without imagining

whether there

bodies of matter possessed of a like nature, in

of convulsive

an unfathomable depth. 958] Well then the existing universe is bounded in none of its dimensions; for then it must have had an outside. Again it is seen that

and

there can be an outside of nothing, unless there

of elements only a

this

way, you will

little

find, the first-beginnings of

things are destroyed:

it

will

they will be shaken by loud

laughter and will

bedew with

come fits

to this that

salt tears face

likewise

let

is

or

is

us clearly see whether that which

has been found to be void, or room and space, in

which things

severally

go on,

is all

of

it

alto-

gether finite or stretches without limits and to

to

be something beyond to bound it, so that that is seen, farther than which the nature of this

known and hear it more distinctly. Nor does my mind fail to perceive how dark the things

our sense does not follow the thing. Now since we must admit that there is nothing outside

cheeks.

921]

Now mark

and learn what remains

be

are; but the great

hope of praise has smitten my and at the same time

the sum,

my

which

heart with sharp thyrsus,

has struck into

Muses, with which

breast sweet love of the

now

inspired

I

traverse in

blooming thought the pathless haunts of the Pierides never yet trodden by sole of man. I love

it

has no outside, and therefore

without end and of

its

limit.

And

it

is

matters not in

regions you take your stand; so

invariably, whatever position

any one has taken

up, he leaves the universe just as infinite as

before in

all

directions.

Again

if

for the

mo-

0N THE NATURE OF THINGS, BOOK I

969-1045

ment

all

existing space be held to be bounded,

supposing a borders,

man

runs forward to

its

outside

and stands on the utmost verge and

then throws a winged javelin, do you choose that when hurled with vigorous force it shall advance to the point to which it has been sent

and fly to a distance, or do you decide that something can get in its way and stop it? for you must admit and adopt one of the two suppositions; either of which shuts you out from all escape and compels you to grant that the universe stretches without end. For whether there is something to get in its way and prevent its coming whither it was sent and placing itself in the point intended, or whether it is

carried forward, in either case

it

has not

from the end. In this way I will go on and, wherever you have placed the outside borders,! will ask what then becomes of the javelin. The result will be that an end can nowhere be fixed, and that the room given for flight will still prolong the power of flight. Lastly one thing is seen by the eyes to end another thing; air bounds off hills, and mountains air, earth limits sea and sea again all lands; the universe however there is nothing outside to end. 988] Again if all the space of the whole sum were enclosed within fixed borders and were started

bounded, in that case the store of matter by its weights would have streamed together

solid

from

all sides

to the lowest point nor could any-

thing have gone on under the canopy of heaven,

no nor would there have been a heaven nor sunlight at all, inasmuch as all matter, settling down through infinite time past, would lie together in a heap. But as it is, sure enough no rest is

given to the bodies of the first-begin-

nings, because there

is

no lowest point

at all,

which they might stream together as it were, and where they might take up their positions. All things are ever going on in ceaseless motion on all sides and bodies of matter stirred to action are supplied from beneath out of into

finite space.

Therefore the nature of room and

the space of the unfathomable void are such

13

1008] Again nature keeps the sum of things from setting any limit to itself, since she compels body to be ended by void and void in turn

by body, so that either she thus renders the universe infinite by this alternation of the two, or

one of the two, in case the other does it, with its single nature stretches nevertheless immeasurably. But void I have already proved to be infinite; therefore matter else the

not bound

must be matter

void were

infinite,

and

finite neither sea nor earth

nor the

glit-

infinite: for if

tering quarters of heaven nor mortal kind nor

the holy bodies of the gods could hold their

ground one brief passing hour; since forced asunder from its union the store of matter would be dissolved and borne along the mighty void, or rather I should say would never have combined to produce any thing, since scattered could never have been brought

abroad

it

gether.

For

verily not

by design did the

beginnings of things station themselves each in its

right place guided by keen intelligence, nor

did they bargain sooth to say what motions

many in nummany ways through-

each should assume, but because ber and shifting about in

out the universe they are driven and tormented

by blows during infinite time past, after trying motions and unions of every kind at length they fall into arrangements such as those out of

which this our sum of things has been formed, and by which too it is preserved through many great years when once it has been thrown into the appropriate motions, and causes the streams to replenish the greedy sea

with copious river

waters and the earth, fostered by the heat of the sun, to renew living things to

its

produce, and the race of

come up and

gliding fires of ether to live:

and the which these

flourish, all

no wise bring to pass, up from infinite space, out of which store they are wont to make up in due season whatever has been lost. For as the nature of living things when robbed of food loses its substance and wastes away, thus all things must be broken up, as several things could in

unless a store of matter could rise

as bright thunderbolts

soon as matter has ceased to be supplied,

their course

verted in any

cannot race through in though gliding on through endless tract of time, no nor lessen one jot the journey that remains to go by all their travel: so huge a room is spread out on all sides for things without any bounds in all directions round.

to-

first-

way from

its

proper course.

can blows from without hold together

sum which' can,

it is

all

has been brought into union.

true, frequently strike

a part, until others

come and

the

They

upon and

the

di-

Nor

stay

sum can be

i

LUCRETIUS

4

completed. At times however they are compelled to

rebound and

flight, to

doing grant

in so

first-beginnings of things

enable them to

and again I repeat many bodies must rise up; nay for the blows themselves not to fail, there is need of an infinite supply of matter on all sides. 1052] And herein, Memmius, be far from bethe mass in union. Wherefore again

lieving this, that

all

things as they say press to

the centre of the sum,

and

1083] Again since they do not suppose that

to the

room and time for get clear away from

that for this reason

1046-mj

tered by love of a centre.

all

bodies press to the centre, but only those of

earth,

and those

of water, both such as descend

and those which are held

to the earth in rain

in by the earth's body, so to say, the fluid of

the sea

and great waters from the mountains;

while on the other hand they teach that the subtle element of air

and hot

fires at

the

same

time are carried away from the centre and that for this reason the

whole ether round bickers

the nature of the world stands fast without any

with signs and the sun's flame

from the outside and the uppermost and lowest parts cannot part asunder in any direction, because all things have been always pressing towards the centre (if you can believe that anything can rest upon itself) or that the heavy bodies which are beneath the earth all press upwards and are at rest on the earth, turned topsy-turvy, just like the images of

out the blue of heaven, because heat flying

we same way

and space being infinite matter as I have said must also be infinite lest after the winged fashion of flames the walls of the world should suddenly break up and fly abroad along the mighty void, and all other things follow for like reasons and the innermost quarters of heaven tumble in from above and the earth in an instant withdraw from beneath our feet and amid the commingled ruins of things in it and of heaven, ruins unloosing the first bodies, should wholly pass away along the unfathomable void, so that in a moment of time not a wrack should be left behind, nothing save untenanted space and viewless first-beginnings. For on whatever side you

strokes

;

things

see before us in the waters. In the

they maintain that living things

walk head downwards and cannot tumble out of earth into the parts of heaven lying below them any more than our bodies can spontaneously

fly

into the quarters of heaven; that

those see the sun,

we behold

when

the stars of night;

and that they share with us time about the seasons of heaven and pass nights equal in length to our days. But groundless error has devised such dreams for fools, because they have embraced false principles of reason. For there can be no centre where the universe is infinite; no nor, even if there were a centre, could anything take up a position there any more on that account than for some quite different reason be driven away. For all room and space, which we term void, must through centre, through no-centre alike give place to heavy bodies, in whatever directions their motions

tend.

Nor

when

bodies have reached

is

there any spot of such a sort that it,

they can lose their

from the centre

all

that the topmost

forth leaves at

is

fed through-

gathers together there, and

boughs of

all,

unless

trees could not

from time

put

to time

nature supplied food from the earth to each

throughout both stem and boughs, their

rea-

sons are not only false, but they contradict

each other. Space

I

have already proved to be

infinite;

shall first

determine

first

bodies to be wanting,

this side will be the gate of

through

this the

death for things,

whole crowd

of matter will

fling itself abroad. 1 1

14] If

you will thoroughly con these things,

then carried to the end with slight trouble you will be able by yourself to

understand

all

the

nature craves,

For one thing after another will grow clear and dark night will not rob you of the road and keep you from surveying the utmost

continually give place. Things cannot there-

ends of nature: in such wise things will light

and stand upon void; and that again which is void must not serve to supforce of gravity

port anything, but must, as

fore in such a

way be held

its

in union, o'ermas-

rest.

the torch for other things.

BOOK TWO It

when on

sweet,

is

trouble other's

the great sea the winds

blanket.

Wherefore

since treasures avail noth-

ing in respect of our body nor birth nor the

a pleasure

glory of kingly power, advancing farther you

its

waters, to behold from land an-

deep

distress;

not that

is

it

and delight that any should be afflicted, but

must hold that they are of no

sweet to see from what evils you are yourself exempt. It is sweet also to look upon the mighty struggles of war arrayed

mind

because

it is

along the plains without sharing yourself in the danger. But nothing is more welcome than to

hold the lofty and serene positions well for-

tified

by the learning of the wise, from which

you may wandering

look all

down upon

see

them

well; unless

may

be

service to the

when you

campus waging the mimicry of war, strengthened flank and rear by powerful reserves and great force of cavalry, and you marshall them equipped in arms and animated with one spirit,

thereupon you find that religious scru-

ples scared by these things fly panic-stricken

from the mind; and that then

fears of death

the contest

leave the breast unembarrassed

and

see

life,

of intellect, the rivalry of birth,

and day with surpassing up to the summit of power

when you

care,

your

fleet

spread

effort to struggle

these things are food for laughter

and be masters of the world. 14] O miserable minds of men! O blinded breasts! in what darkness of life and in how great dangers is passed this term of life whatits

no more than

this,

hold aloof from the body, and she in joy a feeling of pleasure fear? Therefore

we

mind

this

en-

see that for the body's naat all,

such and

is

wholly the prerogative of reason,

the whole of

life

dark? For even dread

all

withal

is

as children are flurried

more

more

gratefully at times they can minister to

choice delights, nature for her part

wants them not,

when

there are no golden

images of youths through the house holding in their right

hands flaming lamps for supply of

light to the nightly banquet,

when

the house

shines not with silver nor glitters with gold

nor do the panelled and gilded roofs re-echo to the harp,

what

time, though these things be

wanting, they spread themselves in groups on the soft grass beside a stream of water under

the boughs of a high tree

and

at

no great

pleasantly refresh their bodies, above the weather smiles

all

cost

when

and the seasons of the year

besprinkle the green grass with flowers.

Nor

do hot fevers sooner quit the body, if you toss about on pictured tapestry and blushing purple,

than

if

you must

lie

under

a

poor man's

and

things in the thick darkness, thus

in the daylight fear at times things not a

many

when

a struggle in the

such only as take away pain. Nay, though

us

men

that pain

exempt from care and

few things are needed

ture

and mere

mockeries, and in good truth the fears of

and dogging cares dread not the clash of arms and cruel weapons, if unabashed they mix among kings and kesars and stand not in awe of the glitter from gold nor the brilliant sheen of the purple robe, how can you doubt that

duration! not choose to see that nature

craves for herself

itself far

from

free

swarm forth and and wide. But if we see that

see

the striving night

ever

see

your legions swarm over the ground of the

abroad and going astray in their

search for the path of

among them

and

others

as

we

whit

to be dreaded than those which children shudder at in the dark and fancy sure to be. This terror therefore and darkness of mind

must be dispelled not by the rays of the sun and glittering shafts of day, but by the aspect and law of nature. 62] Now mark and I will explain by what motion the begetting bodies of matter do beget different things and after they are begotten again break them up, and by what force they are compelled so to do and what velocity is given to them for travelling through the great void: do you mind to give heed to my words. 66] For verily matter does not cohere inseparably massed together, since we see that everything wanes and perceive that all things ebb as it were by length of time and that age withdraws them from our sight, though yet

6

LUCRETIUS

1

the

sum

is

seen to remain unimpaired by rea-

72-151

though admitted have

no case been able

yet in

son that the bodies which quit each thing,

likewise to assimilate their motions.

from which they go, gift with increase those to which they have come, com-

motions of things, you wander far astray from

which I am telling, we have a representation and picture always going on before our eyes and present to us: observe whenever the rays are let in and pour the sunlight through the dark chambers of houses: you will see many minute bodies in many ways through the apparent void mingle in the midst of the light of the rays, and as in never-ending conflict skirmish and give battle combating in troops and never halting, driven about in frequent meetings and partings; so that you may guess from this, what it is for first-beginnings

the path of true reason: since they travel about

of things to be ever tossing about in the great

through void, the first-beginnings of things must all move on either by their own weight

an

lessen the things

former to grow old, the

pel the

and

to their prime,

Thus

the

mortals

sum

live

latter to

come

yet abide not with these.

of things

is

ever renewed and

by a reciprocal dependency. Some

nations wax, others wane, and in a brief space the races of living things are changed

runners hand over the lamp of 80]

If

and

like

life.

you think that first-beginnings of

things can lag and by lagging give birth to

or haply by the stroke of another. For

new

when

void. So far as

met and clashed, the result is a sudden rebounding in an opposite direction; and no wonder, since they are most hard and of weight proportioned to their solidity and nothing be-

to

And

you may

that

clearly see that all bodies of matter are

in restless movement, remember that there is no lowest point in the sum of the universe, and that first bodies have not where to take their stand, since space is without end and limit and extends immeasurably in all directions round, as I have shown in many words and as

has been proved by sure reason. Since this

then

is

a certain truth, sure

given to

first

enough no

rest

is

bodies throughout the unfathom-

able void, but driven

on rather

varied motion they partly,

in ceaseless

after

and

they have

goes, a small thing

this

may

give

and put you on

And

the track of knowledge. too

hind gets in their way.

it

illustration of great things

during motion they have, as often happens,

more

Of

truth,

for this reason

meet that you should give greater heed these bodies which are seen to tumble about it is

in the sun's rays, because such tumblings im-

ply that motions also of matter latent

and un-

seen are at the bottom. For you will observe

many to

things were impelled by unseen blows change their course and driven back to re-

turn the

way

that to

know

way

now

they came

way now

this

in all directions round. All

you are

derive this restlessness from the

first-

beginnings. For the first-beginnings of things

move

of themselves; next those bodies

first

which form

a small aggregate

est so to say to the

nings, are impelled

and

set in

the unseen strokes of those

larger.

first-begin-

movement by

first

bodies,

and

up bodies which are a Thus motion mounts up from the

they next in turn little

and come near-

powers of the

stir

pressed together, rebound leaving great spaces

first-beginnings

between, while in part they are so dashed

our senses, so that those bodies also move,

away

which we can discern

after the stroke as

And

to leave but small

form a denser aggregation when brought together and rebound spaces between.

all

that

leaving trifling spaces between, held fast by their

own

close-tangled shapes, these

form en-

it is

and step by

step issues forth to

in the sunlight,

though

not clearly seen by what blows they so

142]

Now what velocity

matter, you

may

words from

this:

is

act.

given to bodies

of

apprehend, Memmius, in few

when morning

first

sprinkles

during bases of stone and unyielding bodies of

the earth with fresh light and the different

iron and the rest of their class, few in number, which travel onward along the great void. All the others spring far off and rebound far leav-

birds flitting about the pathless

ing great spaces between: these furnish

with thin

more

air

and bright sunlight.

travel along the great void,

been thrown

off

us

And many which have

from the unions of things or

woods through

buxom air fill all places with their clear notes, we see it to be plain and evident to all how suddenly the sun after rising is wont at the

all things and clothe But that heat which the

such a time to overspread

them with

his light.

sun emits and that bright light pass not

ON THE NATURE OF THINGS, BOOK

I$2-22J

through empty void; and therefore they are

begotten with an

II

*7

upward tendency, and

in the

and goodly

same direction

receive

through the waves so to speak of air. Nor do the several minute bodies of heat pass on one by one, but closely entangled and massed to-

crops and trees

grow upwards, though their as in them is, all tend down-

gether; whereby at one and the same time they are pulled back by one another and are im-

houses and with swift flame lick up rafters and

peded from without, so that they are forced to travel more slowly. But the first-beginnings

spontaneously without a force pushing them

forced to travel

more

slowly, until they cleave

which are of solid singleness, when they pass through empty void and nothing delays them from without and they themselves, single from the nature of their parts, are borne with head-

long endeavour towards the one single spot to which their efforts tend, must sure enough surpass in velocity and be carried along much more swiftly than the light of the sun, and

many

race through

times the extent of space

same time in which the beams of the sun nor follow up fill the heaven throughout. the several first-beginnings to see by what law in the

.

.

.

each thing goes on. 167] But

some

in opposition to this, ignorant

of matter, believe that nature cannot without

the providence of the gods in such nice con-

formity to the ways of

men

vary the seasons

and bring forth crops, ay and all which divine pleasure the guide of life prompts men to approach, escorting them in person and enticing them by her fondlings to continue their races through the

weights, so far

wards.

beams,

And when we

fires

increase,

leap to the roofs of

are not to suppose that they do so

Even thus blood discharged from our body out and springs up on high and scatters gore about. See you not too with what force the liquid of water spits out logs and beams? The more deeply we have pushed them sheer down and have pressed them in, many of us together, with all our might and much painful effort, with the greater avidity it vomits them up and casts them forth, so that they rise and start out more than half their length. And yet meup.

spirts

thinks

we doubt

not that these, so far as in

them is, are all borne downwards through the empty void. In the same way flames also ought to be able, when squeezed out, to mount upward through the air, although their weights, so far as in them is, strive to draw them down. See you not too that the nightly meteors of heaven as they fly aloft draw after them long flames in whatever direction nature

of the year

trails of

the other things,

them a passage? Do you not perand constellations fall to the earth? The sun also from the height of heaven sheds its heat on all sides and sows the fields with

Venus, that mankind

arts of

an end.

Now when they

designed

seem

to

not come to

things for the sake of men, they

all

me

may

suppose that the gods

in all respects to

have strayed most

widely from true reason. For even

know what

if I

did not

first-beginnings are, yet this, judg-

ing by the very arrangements of heaven,

would venture

to affirm,

and

led

by

I

many

other circumstances to maintain, that the na-

no means been made power: so great are the defects

ture of the world has by for us by divine

with which

it

stands encumbered. All which,

Memmius, we will hereafter make clear you: we will now go on to explain what mains

to be told of motions.

184]

prove

to re-

Now

methinks

is

the place, herein to

no bodily thing can by its own power be borne upwards and travel upwards; that the bodies of flames may not in this

this point also that

manner

lead you into error.

For they are

has given

ceive stars

light; to the earth therefore as well the sun's

heat tends. Lightnings also you see the rains: fires

burst

now from

fly

athwart

now from

this side

that

from the clouds and rush about; the

force of flame falls to the earth

apprehend:

when

all

round.

we wish you

216] This point too herein

to

bodies are borne

downwards

own

weights, at

sheer through void by their

and uncertain spots they little from their course: you

quite uncertain times

push themselves a just and only just can call it a change of inclination. If they were not used to swerve, they would all fall down, like drops of rain, through the deep void, and no clashing would have been begotten nor blow produced among the first-beginnings: thus nature never

would have

produced aught. 225] But

if

haply any one believes that heavi-

er bodies, as they are carried

sheer through space, can

fall

more quickly

from above on

LUCRETIUS

i8

228-306

may

the lighter and so beget blows able to produce

through

begetting motions, he goes most widely astray

vided effort the bent of the mind; so that you

from true reason. For whenever bodies fall through water and thin air, they must quicken

is born from and the action first commences in the will of the mind and next is transmitted through the whole body and frame. Quite different is the case when we move on propelled by a stroke inflicted by the strong might and strong compulsion of another; for then it is

their descents in proportion to their weights,

because the body of water and subtle nature of

cannot retard everything in equal degree,

air

but more readily give way, overpowered by

on the other hand empty void cananything in any direc-

the heavier:

quite clear that

any time, but must, as its nature craves, continually give way; and for this reason all

body moves and

must be moved and borne along with though of unequal weights

things

equal

velocity

through the unresisting void. Therefore heavier things will never be able to fall from above

say bodies

found

must swerve

a little;

the least possible; lest

and

yet

we be

imagining oblique motions and

to be

should refute. For this

this the reality

we

see

and evident, that weights, so far as them is, cannot travel obliquely, when they fall from above, at least so far as you can per-

to be plain in

something

is

in

and

cient to struggle against

matter

is

if all

motion

is

ever linked to-

ever springs from

another in a fixed order and first-beginnings

do not by swerving make some commencement of motion to break through the decrees of fate, that cause follow not cause from everlasting,

on

whence have

earth,

has been forced forward,

back into

its

place.

all

living creatures here

whither the

we change at a fixed

the direction of our motions neither

time nor fixed place; but

when and

where the mind itself has prompted? For beyond a doubt in these things his own will makes for each a beginning and from this beginning motions are welled through the limbs. See you not too, when the barriers are thrown open at a given moment, that yet the eager powers of the horses cannot start forward so instantaneously as the

mind

itself desires?

the

whole store of matter through the whole body must be sought out, in order that stirred up

for-

things be done by blows through

it

fixed time.

294]

the fates the

all

itself

closely

ask, has

see that noth-

were an outward force; but that the mind does not feel an internal necessity in all its actions and is not as it were overmastered and compelled to bear and put up with this, is caused by a minute swerving of firstbeginnings at no fixed part of space and no as

power by which we go forward will leads each, by which likewise

I

we

come from nothing. For weight

ing can

been wrested from

whence,

its

is reined in and setWherefore in seeds too you must admit the same, admit that besides blows and weights there is another cause of motions, from which this power of free action it

tles

bids that

new motion

And

compelled sometimes to change

perceive ?

251] Again

suffi-

resist it?

course through the limbs and frame, and after

has been begotten in us, since

gether and a

our breast

too this something chooses, the store of

nothing swerves in any case from the straight course, who is there that can

ceive; but that

incli-

in through-

against their will and to be hurried headlong

when

I

it

Do you see then in this case that, though an outward force often pushes men on and compels them frequently to advance

nature carries on things. Wherefore again and

more than

the matter of the whole

hurried on against our

out the limbs.

on, there yet

not

all is

nation, until the will has reined

on lighter nor of themselves to beget blows sufficient to produce the varied motions by which again

follow with undi-

the heart,

not offer resistance to tion at

it

beginning of motion

the

see

the frame

all

Nor was

the store of matter ever

more

massed nor held apart by larger spaces between; for nothing is either added to its bulk or lost to

it.

Wherefore the bodies

of the

first-

moved

in the

same

beginnings in time gone by

which now they move, and will ever manner, and the things which have been wont to be begotten will be begotten after the same law and will be and will grow and will wax in strength

way

in

hereafter be borne along in like

so far as ture.

is

given to each by the decrees of na-

And no

force can

things; for there

is

change the sum of

nothing outside, either into

which any kind of matter can escape out of the universe or out of which a new supply can

ON THE NATURE OF THINGS, BOOK

307-386

and change and alter their motions. 308] And herein you need not wonder at this, that though the first-beginnings of things and burst

arise

into the universe

the nature of things

all

are

motion, yet the

all in

supreme

repose, unless

motions with nature of

is

seen to rest in

a thing exhibits

individual body. For

its

first

sum

where

things

all

the

away from our

lies far

and therefore since what you can see, they must withdraw from sight their motion as well; and the more so that the things which senses beneath their ken;

they are themselves beyond

can see, do yet often conceal their motions

we when

Thus

a great distance off.

ly flocks as

often the wool-

they crop the glad pastures on a

creep on whither the grass jewelled with

hill,

fresh

dew summons and

invites each,

and the

gambol and playfully from a distance to be blended together and to rest like a white spot on a green hill. Again when mighty legions fill with their movements all parts of the plains waging the mimicry of war, the glitter then lifts itself up to the sky and the whole earth round gleams with brass and beneath a noise is raised by the mighty trampling of men and the mountains stricken by the shouting re-echo the voices to the stars of heaven, and horsemen fly about and suddenly wheeling lambs fed to the butt; all

which

full

objects appear to us

11

19

and take any one any one kind, and you will yet find that they differ in their shapes, every one from every other. And in no other way could child recognise mother or mother child; and this we the pathless woods: then go

you

like in

see that they all can do,

known

as well

ings are.

Thus

to

and that they

one another

as

are just

human

be-

often in front of the beauteous

shrines of the gods a calf falls sacrificed beside

the incense-burning altars, breast a

warm

and

from

spirts

its

stream of blood; but the be-

reaved mother as she ranges over the green lawns knows the footprints stamped on the ground by the cloven hoofs, scanning with her eyes every spot to see

hold her

lost

if

she can anywhere be-

youngling: then she

with her

fills

moanings the leafy wood each time she desists from her search and again and again goes back to the stall pierced to the heart

her

nor can the

calf;

soft

by the

loss of

willows and grass

quickened with dew and yon rivers gliding with their banks comfort her mind and

level

put away the care that has entered into her, nor can other forms of calves throughout the glad pastures divert her its

mind and

care: so persistently she seeks

special their

ease

it

of

something

and known. Again the tender kids with know their horned dams

shaking voices

and the butting lambs the

flocks of bleating

scour across the middle of the plains, shaking

sheep; thus they run, as nature craves, each

them with the vehemence of their charge. And yet there is some spot on the high hills, seen from which they appear to stand still and to

own udder of milk. Lastly any kind of corn you like you will yet find that any one grain is not so similar to any other in the same kind, but that there runs through them some difference to

rest

on the plains

333] of

as a bright spot.

Now mark and next in order apprehend

what kind and how widely

forms are the beginnings of

differing in their all

things,

how

varied by manifold diversities of shape; not that a scanty

number

are possessed of a like

form, but because as a rule they do not

all re-

without

fail to its

in the case of

distinguish the forms. difference

we

On

a like principle of

see the class of shells paint the

lap of earth, where the sea with gentle waves beats

on the

thirsty

sand of the winding shore.

Therefore again and again

I

say

it is

necessary

semble one the other. And no wonder; for since

for like reasons that first-beginnings of things,

them that, as I have no end or sum, they must sure enough not one and all be marked by an equal bulk and like shape, one with another. Let the race of man pass before you in review, and the mute swimming shoals of the scaly tribes and the blithe herds and wild beasts and the different birds which haunt the gladdening watering spots about river-banks and springs and pools, and those which flit about and throng

and are not made by model of one, should fly about with shapes in some cases differing one from the other. 381 ] It is right easy for us on such a principle

there

is

so great a store of

shown, there

is

since they exist by nature

hand

after the exact

to explain

why

more power

the fire of lightning has

to pierce than ours

of earthly pinewood:

heavenly

fire

which

much

born you may say that the

of lightning subtle as

is

it

is

is

formed of smaller shapes and therefore passes

LUCRETIUS

20

through openings which

this

our

fire

cannot

387-468

with justice thought to be neither smooth nor

it is of woods and sprung from Again light passes through horn, but rain is thrown off. Why? but that those first bodies of light are smaller than those of which the nurturing liquid of water is made. And quickly as we see wines flow through a strainer, sluggish oil on the other hand is slow to do so, because sure enough it consists of elements either larger in size or more hooked and tangled in one another, and therefore it is that the

which class tartar of wine is formed and the flavours of elecampane. Again that hot fires and cold frost have fangs of a dissimilar kind wherewith to pierce the senses, is proved

first-beginnings of things cannot so readily be

way

hooked with barbed

pass born as

altogether

pine.

rather to have minute angles slightly project*

points,

but

ing, so that they can tickle rather than hurt the

senses; of

to us by the touch of each.

For touch, touch, ye

holy divinities of the gods, the body's feeling is,

either in,

when an extraneous thing makes its when a thing which is born in the

or

separated from each other and severally stream

body hurts

through the several openings of any thing.

by the birth-bestowing ways of Venus, or when

398] Moreover the liquids honey and milk tongue when held

excite a pleasant sensation of in the

mouth; but on the other hand the nause-

ous nature of wormwood and of harsh centaury writhes the that

mouth with

you may

a

noisome flavour; so which

easily see that the things

it,

or gives pleasure as

it

issues forth

from some

collision the seeds are disordered within the body and distract the feeling by

mutual disturbance;

their

as if haply you were hand any part of the body you please and so make trial. Wherefore the shapes of the first-beginnings must differ

yourself to strike with the

are able to affect the senses pleasantly, consist

widely, since they are able to give birth to dif-

smooth and round elements; while all those on the other hand which are found to be bitter and harsh, are held in connexion by particles that are more hooked and for this reason are wont to tear open passages into our senses and in entering in to break through the body. 408] All things in short which are agreeable to the senses and all which are unpleasant to the feeling are mutually repugnant, formed as

ferent feelings.

of

they are out of an unlike

first

shape;

lest

haply

you suppose that the harsh grating of the creaking saw consists of elements as smooth as those of tuneful melodies life

which musicians wake into to on

with nimble fingers and give shape

strings; or

suppose that the first-beginnings are

which pass into the nostrils of men, when noisome carcases are burning, and of like shape

when

the stage

is

fresh sprinkled with Cilician

444] Again things which look to us hard and dense must consist of particles more hooked

and be held in union because welded through with branch-like elements. In this

together, all

class first of all

most

diamond

stones stand in fore-

line inured to despise blows,

and

which scream out as they hold Those things which are liquid and of fluid body ought to consist more of smooth and round elements; for the several drops have no mutual cohesion and their onward course too has a ready flow downwards. All things lastly which you see disperse themselves in an instant, as smoke mists and flames, if they do not consist entirely of smooth and round, must yet not be held fast by closely brass bolts

tangled elements, so that they

ours of things which are able to feast the eyes

yet not stick together:

formed of a seed like to the seed of those which make the pupil smart and force it to shed tears or from their disgusting aspect look hideous and foul. For every shape which gratifies the senses has been formed not without a smoothness in its elements; but on the other hand whatever is painful and harsh, has been produced not without some roughness of matter. There are too some elements which are

know,

are

stout

fast to their staples.

by exhales Panchaean odours; or decide that the pleasant colsaffron, while the altar close

and

blocks of basalt and the strength of hard iron

pierce the

body and enter

that whatever

been able to

it

may

thus you

we

be able to

with biting power,

may

easily

see the senses

allay, consists

have

not of tangled but

Do not however hold it wonderful that some things which are

of pointed elements. to be fluid

you

see to be likewise bitter, for instance

the sea's moisture: because

it

is

fluid,

it

con-

smooth and round particles, and many rough bodies mixed up with these produce pains; and yet they must not be hooked so as sists

of

0N THE NATURE OF THINGS, BOOK

469-545

to hold together: you are to

know

that

though

like sort be suppressed

in

rough, they are yet spherical, so that while they on, they may at the same time hurt

something ever would

you may more readily believe that with smooth are mixed rough firstbeginnings from which Neptune's body is

back into worse

roll freely

the senses.

made

And

that

bitter, there

is

a

way

of separating these,

and of seeing how the fresh water, when often filtered through the earth, flows by into a trench

and sweetens;

for

it

it is

itself

leaves above

the first-beginnings of the nauseous saltness,

inasmuch

as

the

rough

particles

can more

readily stay behind in the earth.

478]

And now

I

go on to link to it this and from this draws its proof: the firstbeginnings of things have different shapes, but the number of shapes is finite. If this were not

so,

then once more

it

would follow

that

some seeds must be of infinite bulk of body. For in the same seed, in the single small size of any first body you like the shapes cannot vary much from one another: say for instance that first

bodies consist of three least parts, or aug-

ment them by

a

few more; when to wit

in all

possible ways, by placing each in turn at the

top and at the bottom, by

change places with the tried all those parts of

one

making

left,

first

the right

you shall have body and found

what manner of shape each different arrangement gives to the whole of that body, if after all this haply you shall wish still to vary the shapes, you will have to add other parts; it will next follow that for like reasons the arrange-

ment

will require other parts,

wish

still

if

haply you shall

again to vary the shapes.

this it results that increase of

than the

rest.

From

all

bulk in the body

upon newness of the shapes. Whereyou cannot possibly believe that seeds have an infinite variety of forms, lest you

follows fore

some to be of a monstrous hugeness, which as I have above shown cannot be proved. Moreover I tell you barbaric robes and radiant Meliboean purple dipped in Thessalian dye of shells and the hues which are displayed by the golden brood of peacocks steeped in laughing beauty would all be thrown aside surpassed by some new colour of things; the smell of myrrh would be despised and the flavours of honey, and the melodies of the swan and Phoebean force

tunes set off by the varied play of strings

would

arise

and

silenced; for

more surpassing

All things likewise might

even as

states,

we have

fall

said

they might advance to better; for reversely too

one thing would be more noisome than other things to nostril, ear and eye and

Now

all

taste.

since these things are not so, but a fixed

which bounds you must admit that

limit has been assigned to things their

sum on

each

side,

finite number Once more from summer

matter also has a

of different

shapes.

fires to chill

frosts a definite

have shown this, I will a truth which depends on

that

21

II

manner

is

path

again

is

traced out

travelled

and

back;

for

in like

every

and heat and intermediate warmths lie between those extremes, filling up in succession the sum. Therefore the things produced differ by finite degrees, since at both degree

of

cold

ends they are marked

off

by points, one at one,

another at the other, molested on the one hand

by flames, on the other by stiffening 522]

And now

that

I

have shown

frosts.

this, I will

go on to link to it a truth which depends on this and from this draws its proof: the firstbeginnings of things which have a like shape one with the other, are infinite in number. For since the difference of forms is finite, those which are like must be infinite or the sum of matter will be finite, which I proved not to be the case, when I showed in my verses that the minute bodies of matter from everlasting continually uphold the sum of things through an uninterrupted succession of blows on all sides. For though you see that some animals are rarer than others and discern a less fruitful nature in them, yet in another quarter and spot and in distant lands there may be many of that kind and the full tale may be made up; just as

we

see that in the class of four-footed beasts

snake-handed elephants are elsewhere especially numerous; for India is so fenced about with an ivory rampart made out of many thousands of these, that its inner parts cannot be reached, see but very

which we few samples. But yet though I

should grant

this point too:

so great

is

the quantity of brutes, of

be there even as

some one thing sole in its kind existing alone with a body that had birth, and let no other thing resemble it in the whole world; you

will

yet unless there shall be

matter out of which

it

an

may

infinite

supply of

be conceived and

LUCRETIUS

22

cannot be produced,

brought into being,

it

and, more than

cannot have growth and

this,

food. For though

it

should assume

I

also that birth-giving bodies of

this point

some one thing

are tossed about in finite quantity throughout

the universe, whence, where, by what force and in what way shall they meet together and combine in so vast a sea, such an alien medley of matter? They have methinks no way of uniting; but even as when great and numerous

shipwrecks have occurred, the great sea to

wont

is

tumble about banks, rudders, yards, prow,

swimming

masts and

oars, so that poop-fittings

and warning to try to shun the snares and violence and guile of the faithless sea, and never at any time to trust to it, when the winning face of calm ocean laughs treacherously; thus too if you shall once decide that are seen floating about along every shore utter to mortals a

certain first-beginnings are finite, different cur-

must

rents of matter

about through

all

scatter

and tumble them

time, so that they can never

be brought into union and combine, nor abide in

any union nor grow up and increase. But

shows that each of these

plain matter of fact

results manifestly does take place, that things

can be brought into being and

advance in growth.

you

class

It is

when

begotten

clear then that in

any

like the first-beginnings of things

are infinite, out of

which

all

supplies are fur-

nished.

Thus

mo569] tions keep the mastery always nor entomb existence for evermore, nor on the other hand can the birth and increase giving motions of things preserve them always after they are born. Thus the war of first-beginnings waged from

now

eternity

here

neither can death-dealing

is

carried

now there

on with dubious

issue:

the life-bringing elements

of things get the mastery

and are o'ermastered

in turn: with the funeral wail blends the cry

546-623

ing which

not formed by a mixing of seed.

is

And whenever

a thing possesses in itself in

larger measure

many powers and

measure

properties,

shows that there are in it the greatest number of different kinds and varied in that

it

shapes of first-beginnings. First of has in her

all

the earth

bodies out of which springs

first

rolling coolness along replenish without fail

the boundless sea, she has bodies out of which fires rise

on

is

fire

up; for in

many

spots the earth's crust

and burns, though headstrong Aetna

rages with fire of surpassing force.

Then

too

she has bodies out of which she can raise for

mankind goodly

crops and joyous trees, out of which too she can supply to the mountainranging race of wild beasts rivers, leaves, and glad pastures. Wherefore she has alone been named great mother of gods and mother of beasts and parent of our body. 600] Of her the old and learned poets of the Greeks have sung, that borne aloft on high raised seat in a chariot she drives a pair of

teaching that the great earth hangs in

lions,

the expanse of air and that earth cannot rest on earth.

To

her chariot they have yoked wild

brood however savage ought tamed and softened by the kind offices of

beasts, because a

to be

parents.

They have

head with

encircled the top of her

mural crown, because

a

fortified in

choice positions she sustains towns; adorned

with which emblem the image of the divine mother is carried now-a-days through wide lands in awe-inspiring

state.

Her

tions after old-established ritual

different na-

term Idaean

mother, and give for escort Phrygian bands, because they first

began

tell

to

that

from those lands corn

be produced

throughout the

They assign her Galli, because they would show by this type that they who have 1

world.

done violence to the divinity of the mother and have proved ungrateful to their parents, are to be deemed unworthy to bring a living off-

which babies raise when they enter the borders and no night ever followed day nor morning night that heard not mingling with

tambourines and hollow cymbals resound

the sickly infant's cries wailings the attendants

round

on death and black funeral.

horns menace with hoarse-sounding music,

And herein it

minds in Phryweapons before them, emblems of furious rage, meet to fill the thankless souls and godless breasts of the rabble with

of light;

581]

under faithful

seal,

proper you should keep

and guard, there consigned, in

memory

this truth, that there

ing whose nature consists of

is

is

is

noth-

apparent to sense, which

one kind of first-beginnings; noth-

spring into the borders of light. Tight-stretched

to the stroke of their

and the hollow pipe

gian mood.

1

They

The eunuch

all

open hands, and

stirs their

carry

priests of the cult of Cybele.

ON THE NATURE OF

624-703

terror for the divinity of the goddess.

fore

when

first

There-

borne in procession through

BOOK

THINGS,

all

II

23

their life a dissimilar appearance

the nature of their parents

ways each

and

and

retain

severally imi-

great cities she mutely enriches mortals with a

tate their

blessing not expressed in words, they strew

all

the diversity of matter in any kind of herbage,

her path with brass and silver presenting her

so great in every river. And hence too any one you please out of the whole number of living

with bounteous alms, and scatter over her a snow-shower of roses, o'ershadowing the

mother and her troops of attendants. Here an armed band to which the Greeks give the name of Phrygian Curetes, in that it haply joins in the game of arms and springs up in measure all dripping with blood, shaking with

and

these things

again differ widely from one another and are

will

upon the head, who, as the

drowned in Crete that infant cry the young band about the young babe in rapid dance arms in hand to measured tread beat brass on brass, that Saturn might not get him to consign to his devouring jaws and stab the mother to the heart with a neverhealing wound. For these reasons they escort in arms the Great Mother, or else because they

mean by

men

of bones, blood, veins,

heat, moisture, flesh, sinews;

erst

is,

of Jove,

is

when

frightful crests

represents the Dictaean Curetes story

made up

is

kind: so great

its

composed of first-beginnings of unlike shape. Furthermore whatever things are set on fire and burned, store up in their body, if nothing else, at least those particles, out of which they may radiate fire and send out light and make sparks fly and scatter embers all about. If you

nodding the

its

creatures

after

this sign that the

to be willing

goddess preaches to

with arms and valour to de-

go over

other things by a like process

all

you will thus find that they conceal in their body the seeds of many things and contain elements of various shapes. Again you see many things to which are given at once both colour and taste together with smell; especially those many offerings which are burned on the altars. These must therefore be of reasoning,

made up

of elements of different shapes; for

fend their country and be ready to be a safe-

smell enters in where colour passes not into

guard and an ornament to

the frame, colour too in one way, taste in an-

their parents.

644] All which, well and beautifully as it is set forth and told, is yet widely removed from

For the nature of gods must ever

true reason. in

of necessity enjoy

itself

immortality

to-

other makes

its

entrance into the senses; so

you know they

that

differ

and withdrawn from our concerns; since exempt from every pain, exempt from all dan-

very verses of ours you see

us,

it

own

is

resources, not

wanting

neither gained by favours

nor moved by anger.

And

thinks proper to call the sea

here

if

any one

Neptune and corn

Ceres and chooses rather to misuse the of

name

Bacchus than to utter the term that belongs

to that liquor, let us allow

the earth

is

mother

bear in earnest to stain his ligion.

The

him

of the gods,

earth however

out feeling, and because

to declare that if

he only

mind with is

at all

for-

foul re-

time with-

mon

to

many

made up

Throughout moreover

a mixture of seed.

aught of

unlike forms

unite into one mass and things are

gether with supreme of repose, far removed

gers, strong in its

in the shapes of

their first elements. Therefore

many

of

these

elements com-

words, though yet you must ad-

mit that the verses and words one with another are different

and composed

letters

common run through them words or

of different ele-

which are in no two one with another are made up

ments; not that but few verses

or that

entirely of the same, but because as a rule they

do not though

all

beginnings

can

resemble one the other. Thus also

in other things there are

common

to

many

many

first-

things, yet they

make up one with the other a quite men and corn and trees may fairly be said to consist of

dis-

similar whole; so that

joy-

first-beginnings of

ous

dif-

forth in

ferent elements.

661]

it

receives into

it

the

many things, it brings them many ways into the light of the sun.

And

so the woolly flocks

and the mar-

700]

And

yet

we

are not to suppose that

breed of horses and horned herds, though often cropping the grass from one field be-

things can be joined together in

neath the same canopy of heaven and slaking

hands, forms springing up half

tial

their thirst

from one stream of water,

yet

have

all

then you would see prodigies produced on

and sometimes

tall

man

all

ways; for all

half beast

boughs sprouting from the

LUCRETIUS

24

and many limbs of land-creatures

living body,

joined with those of sea-animals, nature too

throughout

all-bearing

the

feeding

lands

chimeras which breathed flames from noisome mouth. It is plain however that nothing of the sort

is

done, since

we

see that all things pro-

duced from fixed seeds and a fixed mother can in growing preserve the marks of their kind. This you are to know must take place after a fixed law. For the particles suitable for each thing from

all

when

kinds of food

the body pass into the frame

inside

and joining on

produce the appropriate motions; but on the other hand

we

throw out on the

see nature

earth those that are alien, and

with their unseen bodies pelled by blows: those

I

been able to join on to side to feel in unison

motions. But

lest

things alone are

fly

many

things

out of the body im-

mean which have not any part nor when in-

with and adopt the

vital

you haply suppose that living bound by these conditions,

such a law keeps all things within their limits. For even as things begotten are in their whole nature all unlike one the other, thus each must consist of first-beginnings of unlike shape; not

that a scanty

number

are possessed of a like

form, but because as a rule they do not

know

704-784

under the ken of our mind too, though stained with no colour. Again whatever things we ourselves touch in that bodies can

the thick darkness,

fall

we do

not perceive to be

And since I prove that now show that there are

dyed with any colour. this

is

the case,

I

will

things which are possessed of no colour. Well,

any colour without any exception changes into any other; and this first-beginnings ought in

no wise

to do: something unchangeable must remain over, that all things be not utterly reduced to nothing. For whenever a thing changes and quits its proper limits, at once this

change of

was

state

is

before. Therefore

the death of that

mind not

to

colour the seeds of things, that you

have

all

which

dye with

may

not

things altogether returning to nothing.

757] Moreover if no quality of colour is assigned to first-beginnings and they are yet pos-

which they beget and change them about by reason that it makes a great difference with what other seeds and in what position the seeds are severally held in union and what motions they mutually impart and receive, you can exsessed of varied shapes out of

colours of every kind

plain at once with the greatest ease

why

those

all re-

things which just before were of a black colour,

semble one the other. Again since the seeds

may become all at once of marble whiteness; as the sea, when mighty winds have stirred up

differ, there

must be

a difference in the spaces

between, the passages,

the connexions, the

weights, the blows, the clashings, the motions; all

which not only

disjoin living bodies, but

and

its

waters,

is

changed into white waves of the

brightness of marble: you the matter of that which

may say that when we often see to be

heaven away from the earth. 730] Now mark, and apprehend precepts amassed by my welcome toil, lest haply you deem that those things which you see with

mixed up anew and the arrangement of its first-beginnings has been changed and some have been added and some been taken away, the immediate result is that it appears bright and white. But if the waters

your eyes to be bright, because white are

of the sea consisted of azure seeds, they could

formed of white principles, or that the things which are black are born from black seed; or that things which are steeped in any other

in no wise become white; for however much you jumble together seeds which are azure, they can never pass into a marble colour. But if the seeds which make up the one unmixed brightness of the sea are dyed some with one, some with other colours, just as often out of different forms and varied shapes something square and of a uniform figure is made up, in that case it were natural that as we see unlike

hold apart the lands and the whole

keep

sea,

all

colour, bear that colour because the bodies of it. For no colour at all either like to the things or unlike. But if haply it seems to you that no impression of the mind can throw itself into these bodies, you wander far astray. For since men born blind who have

matter are dyed with a colour like to the bodies of matter have

never beheld the light of the sun, yet recognise bodies by touch, though linked with no colour for

them from

their first birth,

you are

to

black, has been

forms contained in the square, so we should see in the water of the sea or in any other one and unmixed brightness colours widely unlike

and

different to

one another. Moreover the

ON THE NATURE OF

7 85-863

unlike figures do not in the least hinder or

prevent the whole figure from being a square

on the outside; but the various colours of things are a let and hindrance to the whole things being of a uniform brightness. 788] Then too the reason which leads and

draws us on sometimes

to assign colours to the

first-beginnings of things, falls to the ground,

white things are not produced from

since

white, nor those

which are black from

black,

but out of things of various colours. For white things will

much more

readily rise

up and be

born from no colour than from a black or any other colour which thwarts and opposes it. 795] Moreover since colours cannot exist without light and first-beginnings of things do not come out into the light, you may be sure they are clothed with no colour. For what colour can there be in total darkness? nay it

changes in the light

itself

according as

its

brightness comes from a straight or slanting

down

stroke of light. After this fashion the

which

and crowns the nape and

encircles

throat of doves shows itself in the sun: at one

time

ruddy with the hue of bright pyro-

it is

pus; at another

looking at emeralds.

it

The

it

appears by a certain

tail

way

of

with coral-red green

to blend

of the peacock

when

it is

saturated with abundant light, changes in like

fashion

its

colours as

it

turns about.

And

since

these colours are begotten by a certain stroke

of light, sure

enough you must

they cannot be produced without the pupil receives into it is

it

believe that it.

said to perceive a white colour,

another,

when

it

And

a kind of blow,

since

when

and then

perceives black or any other

and since it is of no moment with what colour the things which you touch are provided, but rather with what sort of shape they are furnished, you are to know that firstbeginnings have no need of colours, but procolour,

duce sensations of touch varying according to their various shapes.

817] Moreover since no particular kind of colour

is

assigned to particular shapes and

every configuration of first-beginnings exist in

any colour,

why on

can

a like principle are

THINGS,

BOOK

II

25

from white wings and that swans should come to be black from a black seed, or of any other different colour you please. 826] Again the more minute the parts are into which any thing is rent, the more you may perceive the colour fade away by little and little and become extinct; as for instance if a piece of purple

is

when

torn into small shreds:

it

has

been plucked into separate threads, the purple,

and the

most brilliant of colours, from which you may infer

scarlet far the

are quite effaced;

that the shreds part with fore they

come back

all

their colour be-

to the seeds of things.

834] Lastly since you admit that all bodies do not utter a voice nor emit a smell, for this reaall sounds and smells. So also since we cannot perceive all things with the eyes, you are to know that some

son you do not assign to

things are as

much denuded

are without smell

of colour as others

and devoid of sound, and

mind can

that the keen-discerning

just as well

apprehend these things as it can take note of things which are destitute of other qualities. 842] But lest haply you suppose that first bodies remain stripped of colour alone, they are also wholly devoid of warmth and cold and violent heat, and are judged to be barren of sound and drained of moisture, and emit from their body no scent of their own. Just as when you set about preparing the balmy liquid of sweet marjoram and myrrh and the flower of spinkenard which gives forth to the nostrils a scent like nectar, before all you should seek, so far as you may and can find it, the substance of scentless

oil,

such as gives out

no perfume to the nostrils, that it may as little as possible meddle with and destroy by its own pungency the odours mixed in its body and boiled up with it; for the same reason the firstbeginnings of things must not bring to the begetting of things a smell or sound of their own, since they cannot discharge anything from themselves, and for the same reason no taste either nor cold nor any heat moderate or violent, and the like. For as these things, be they what they may, are still such as to be liable to death, whether pliant with a soft,

not the things which are formed out of them in every kind o'erlaid with colours of every kind ? For then it were natural that crows too

porous body, they must

in flying should often display a white colour

things imperishable foundations for the whole

brittle

with a crumbling, or hollow with a

the first-beginnings,

if

all

be withdrawn from

we wish

to assign to

LUCRETIUS

26

sum

of existence to rest upon: that you

may

864-937

ner needed for the begetting of living crea-

Next they who hold

not have things returning altogether to noth-

tures.

ing.

can be produced out of sensible elements, ac-

865] things

To come to another point, whatever we perceive to have sense, you must yet

admit to be

all

composed

of senseless first-be-

customed thus

thus render their

they

apprehend, so far from refuting or con-

with

to

tradicting this,

do rather themselves take us

by the hand and constrain us to believe that, as I

say, living things are begotten

things.

from

senseless

We may see in fact living worms spring

out of stinking dung,

when

the soaked earth

has gotten putridity after excessive rains; and all

things besides change in the same way:

and glad pastures change into cattle, cattle change their substance into our bodies, and often out of these the powers of wild beasts and the bodies of the strong of wing are increased. Therefore nature changes all foods into living bodies and engenders out of them all the senses of living creatures, much in the same way as she dissolves dry woods into flames and converts all things into fires. Now do you see that it is of great moment in what sort of arrangement the first-beginnings of things are severally placed and with what others they are mixed up, when they impart and receive motions? 886] Then again what is that which strikes your mind, affects that mind and constrains rivers, leaves,

it

to give utterance to

to save is

many

different thoughts,

you from believing that the sensible

begotten

out

of

things?

senseless

Sure

enough it is because stones and wood and earth however mixed together are yet unable to

produce

well to

vital sense.

remember

that the sensible

begotten out of

This therefore

herein, that

I

it

will be

do not

assert

and sensations are forthwith

all

elements without exception

which produce things; but that it is of great moment first how minute the particles are which make up the sensible thing and then what shape they possess and what in short they are in their motions, arrangements and positions. None of which conditions we find in woods and clods; and yet even these when they have so to speak become rotten through the rains, bring forth worms, because bodies of matter driven from their ancient arrangements by a new condition are combined in the man-

to derive their

elements which are sensible

ginnings: manifest tokens which are open to all

that the sensible

make them

we

sense from

seeds

mortal,

soft; for all sense

is

do

when

bound up

sinews and veins; which in every-

flesh,

thing

own

own

in their turn,

see to be soft

and formed of

a mortal

body. But even suppose that these things can

remain eternal: they must yet I presume either have the sense of some part or else be deemed to possess a sense similar to the entire living

But the parts cannot possibly have

creatures.

sense by themselves alone; for

sense of the

all

members has reference to something nor can the hand when severed from us

different else;

nor any other part of the body whatever by

maintain sensation.

itself

It

remains to assume

that they resemble the entire living creatures.

In this case the things

we

necessary that they should feel

it is

which we

feel in the

do, in order that they

points to

How

work

may

same way

as

be able in

all

in concert with the vital sense.

then can they be called first-beginnings

of things

and shun the paths

of death, seeing

and that living things are one and the same with mortal things? Nay granting they could do this, yet by their meeting and union they will make nothing but a jumble and medley of living things; just, you are to know, as men, cattle, and wild beasts would be unable to beget any other thing by all their mixing with one another. But if haply they lose from their body their own sense and adopt another, what use was it to assign what is again withdrawn? moreover, the instance to which we had before recourse, inasmuch as we see the eggs of fowls change into living chicks and worms burst forth, when putridity has seized on the earth after excessive rains, you are to know that senthat they are living things,

sations can be begotten out of no-sensations.

931] But so far

may

if

haply any one shall say that sense

arise

from no-sensation by

of change, or because

kind of

birth,

it

it is

will be

a process

brought forth by a

enough

to

make

plain

prove to him that no birth takes place until a union of elements has first been effected, and that nothing changes without their

and

to

having been united. Above

all

senses cannot

ON THE NATURE OF

93 8-ioi$

exist in any body before the nature itself of the living thing has been begotten, because sure enough the matter remains scattered about in

and things produced from and has not met together and combined

rivers, earth,

air,

earth,

in appropriate fashion the vital

which

motions by

the all-discerning senses are kindled

THINGS,

BOOK

II

27

and sprinkle with and cheeks and have the cun-

of shaking laughter

fits

dewy

tears face

ning

to say

much

about the composition of

to the entire mortals they

formed out

where

stopfkd, until the matter, disordered by

tirely

whole frame, unties

the shock through the

from the body the vital fastenings of the soul

and

scatters

it

abroad and forces

it

out through

what more can we suppose the infliction of a blow can do, than shake from their place and break up the union of the several elements? Often too when the blow is all

the pores. For

with

inflicted vital

less

violence,

remaining

the

motions are wont to prevail, ay, prevail

and still the huge disorders caused by the blow and recall each part into its proper channels and shake oflf the motion of death now reigning as it were paramount in the body and kindle afresh the almost lost senses. For in

what other way should the thing be able to gather together its powers of mind and come back to life from the very threshold of death, rather than pass on to the goal to which it had almost run and so pass away? 963] Again since there

is

pain

when

the

bodies of matter are disordered by any force

throughout the living

quake travel

and frame and and as when they

flesh

in their seats within,

back into their place, a soothing pleasure

ensues,

you are

to

know

that first-beginnings

can be assailed by no pain and can derive no

from themselves; since they are not formed of any bodies of first-beginnings, so as to be distressed by any novelty in their motion or derive from it any fruit of fostering delight; and therefore they must not be possessed of any sense. 973] Again if in order that living creatures pleasure

may

severally have sense, sense

is

to be as-

what which mankind is made? Sure enough they burst into

signed to their first-beginnings as well, are

we

to say of those of

specifically

must

in their turn be

you can venture nowhatever you shall say speaks and laughs and thinks, I will press you with the argument that it is formed of other things performing these same acts. But if we see these notions to be sheer folly and madness, and a man may laugh though not made of laughing things, and think and reason in learned language though not formed ers out of others, so that

and mind. For the positions of the first-beginnings are broken up and the vital motions en-

own

of other elements, then those oth-

blow more severe than its nature can endure, prostrates at once any living thing and goes on to stun all the senses of body a

their

first-beginnings are; since like in their natures

into action in each living thing.

944] Again

what

things and to enquire next

come

to

to a stop: yes,

of thoughtful and eloquent seeds, the things

which we

made up

well be

see to

why cannot

have sense,

just as

of a mixture of things alto-

gether devoid of sense?

991

]

Again we

ly seed, all

are

all

sprung from

a heaven-

whom

have that same father, by

mother earth the giver of increase, when she has taken in from him liquid drops of moisture, conceives and bears goodly crops and joyous trees and the race of man, bears all kinds of brute beasts, in that she supplies food

with which

feed their bodies and lead a and continue their race; wherefore with good cause she has gotten the name of mother. That also which before was from the earth, passes back into the earth, and that which was sent from the borders of ether, is carried back and taken in again by the quarters of heaven. Death does not extinguish

pleasant

all

life

things in such a of

matter,

way

but only

as to destroy the bodies

up the union anew the difand thus it comes

breaks

amongst them, and then

joins

ferent elements with others;

change their shapes and and receive sensations and in a moment yield them up; so that from all this you may know it matters much with what others and in what position the same first-beginnings of things are held in union and what motions they do mutually impart and receive, and you must not suppose that that which we see floating about on the surface of things and to pass that all things alter their colours

now

born, then at once perishing, can be a

property inherent in everlasting

Nay

in our verses themselves

it

first

bodies.

matters

much

LUCRETIUS

28

with what other elements and in what kind of

seeds in

order the several elements are placed.

omable

yet by far the greatest

number

not

If

all,

are alike; but

made to differ by the position of these elements. Thus in actual things as well when the clashings, mothe totals

composed of them

are

1016-1089

number numberless and sum unfathabout in manifold ways driven on

fly

motion, that this single earth and heaven have been brought into being, that

in ceaseless

those bodies of matter so

many

in

number do

arrangement, position, and shapes of

nothing outside them; the more so that this world has been made by nature, just as the

matter change about, the things must also

seeds of things have chanced spontaneously to

change.

clash, after

we entreat, your mind to true reason. For a new question struggles earnestly to gain your ears, a new aspect of

fold wise without purpose, without foresight,

tions,

1023] Apply now,

things to display

itself.

But there

is

nothing so

more difficult to than afterwards; and nothing too

easy as not to be at lieve

first

great, so marvellous, that all

abate their admiration of

it.

beso

do not gradually

Look up

at the

without

being brought together in mani-

result,

such seeds

filtered

through

there are elsewhere other combinations of matter like to this

grasp.

could be? Nothing, methinks: so

have

become on each occasion the rudiments of great things, of earth, sea, and heaven and the race of living things. Wherefore again and again I say you must admit that

which it holds within it, wandering all about, and the moon and the sun's light of dazzling brilliancy: if all these things were now for the first time, if I say they were now suddenly presented to mortals beyond all expectation, what could have been named that would be more marvellous than these things, or that nations beforehand would less venture to believe

at last

fitted to

bright and unsullied hue of heaven and the stars

and

suddenly thrown together, were

as,

which ether holds

1067] Again

when room

when much

in

matter

its

is

greedy

at

hand,

and there is no thing, no cause to hinder, things sure enough must go on and be completed. Well then if on the one hand there is so great a store of seeds as the whole life of living creatures cannot reckon up, and if the same force and nature abide in them and have the power to throw the seeds is

there

wondrous strange had been this sight. Yet how little, you know, wearied as all are to satiety with seeing, any one now cares to look up into

of things together into their several places in

heaven's glittering quarters! Cease therefore to

of space there are other earths and various

be dismayed by the mere novelty and so to re-

races of

ject

reason from your

mind with

loathing:

weigh the questions rather with keen judgeif they seem to you to be true, sur-

ment and

render, or self to

space

is

if

they are a falsehood, gird your-

the encounter. For since the

sum

of

unlimited outside beyond these walls

of the world, the

what there

is

mind

seeks to apprehend

yonder there, to which the

spirit

ever yearns to look forward, and to which the

mind's immission reaches in free and unembarrassed flight.

we

round in and underneath, throughout the universe there is no bound, as I have shown and as the thing of itself proclaims with loud voice and as clearly shines out in the nature of bottomless space. In no wise then can it be deemed probable, when space yawns illimitable towards all points and 1048] In the

all

first

place

directions, about, above,

see that

the

same way

as they are

thrown together

into

our world, you must admit that in other parts

men and

kinds of wild beasts.

1077] Moreover in the sum of all there is no one thing which is begotten single in its kind and grows up single and sole of its kind; but a thing always belongs to some class and there are many other things in the same kind. First in the case of living things, most noble Memmius, you will find that in this sort has been begotten the mountain-ranging race of wild beasts, in this sort the breed of men, in this sort too the mute shoals of scaly creatures and all bodies of fowls. Wherefore on a like principle you must admit that earth and sun, moon, sea, and all things else that are, are not single in their kind, but rather in

number

past

num-

bering; since the deep-set boundary-mark of

much

awaits these and they are just body that had birth, as any class of things which here on earth abounds in life just as

as

much

of a

samples of

its

kind.

ON THE NATURE OF

1090-1166

you well apprehend and keep in 1090] mind these things, nature free at once and rid of her haughty lords is seen to do all things spontaneously of herself without the meddling If

For

of the gods.

who

the gods

I

appeal to the holy breasts of

in tranquil peace pass a

time and an unruffled existence,

who

the sum,

who

who

can

at

ent heavens to roll fires all

can rule

hold in his hand with control-

ling force the strong reins, of the able deep?

calm

once

make

immeasur-

all

the differ-

and warm with ethereal

the fruitful earths, or be present in

places at

all

times, to bring darkness with

all

clouds and shake with noise the heaven's

se-

rene expanse, to hurl lightnings and often

throw

down

his

own

temples, and withdraw-

ing into the deserts there to spend his rage in

which often passes the by and strikes dead the innocent and

practising guilty

his

bolt

unoffending? 1

105]

and

first

And

world and earth and the

since the birth-time of the

day of being

to sea

formation of the sun

added from without,

many bodies have been many seeds added all

BOOK

THINGS,

it

touched the utmost point of growth. Then

and matured strength and wastes away on the side of decay. For the larger a thing is and the wider, as soon as its growth is stopped, at once it sheds abroad and discharges from it more bodies in all directions round; and its food is not readily transmitted into all its arteries and is not enough, in proportion to the copious exhalations which the thing throws off, to enable a like amount to rise up and be supplied. For food must keep all things entire by renewing them, food must uphold, food sustain all piece by piece age breaks their powers

things:

all in

hold what

vain, since the arteries refuse to

and nature does not With good reason therefore all things perish, when they have been rarefied by the ebb of particles and succumb to blows from without, since food sooner or later fails advanced age, and bodies is

sufficient,

furnish the needful amount.

never cease to destroy a thing by thumping

from without and

fro has contributed; that from them the and lands might increase and from them heaven's mansion might enlarge its expanse and raise its high vaults far above earth, and that air might rise up around. For all bodies from all quarters are assigned by blows each to its appropriate thing and all withdraw to

sive blows.

sea

their

proper

classes;

moisture passes to mois-

from an earthy body earth increases and fires forge fires and ether ether, until nature, parent of things, with finishing hand has ture,

brought

all

things on to their utmost limit of

And

this comes to pass when that which is infused into the life-arteries is no more than that which ebbs from them and

growth.

withdraws:

at this point the life-growth in all

things

must

crease

and mount by successive

stop, at this point nature by her powers checks further increase. For whatever things you see grow in size with joyous in-

ture age, take to themselves

steps to

ma-

more bodies than

they discharge from themselves, while food readily infused into

is

29

must be conceded that many bodies ebb away and withdraw from things; but still more must join them, until they have

For no doubt

round, which the great universe in tossing to

and

II

1

148] In this

to

overpower

way then

it

the walls too of the

great world around shall be stormed to

it

by aggres-

and

fall

decay and crumbling ruin. Yes and even

now

the age

is

enfeebled and the earth ex-

hausted by bearing scarce produces

who produced

little

living

and gave birth to the huge bodies of wild beasts. For methinks no golden chain let down to earth from heaven above the races of mortal beings, nor did the sea and waves which lash the rocks produce them, but the same earth bare them which now feeds them out of herself. Moreover she first spontaneously of herself produced for mortals goodly corn-crops and joyous vineyards; of herself gave sweet fruits and glad pastures; which now-a-days scarce attain any size when furthered by our labour: we exhaust the oxen and the strength of the husband-men; we wear out our iron, scarcely creatures, she

fed after

all

by the

all

races

tilled fields; so

they of their produce and after so

do they

And now

niggardly are

much

labour

and the things are not so widely spread out as to throw off many particles and occasion more waste

again to think that the labours of his hands

than their age can take in as nourishment.

have come

all

the arteries

man

let it

shakes

to

grow. his

the aged plough-

head and sighs again and

nothing; and

when he compares

LUCRETIUS

30

present times with times past, he often praises the fortunes of his

theme,

how

the

men

and harps on the comon a scanty plot of

sire

of old rich in piety

fortably supported life

~

7/67-/774; I 64 rowful planter too of the exhausted and shrivelled vine impeaches the march of time and wearies heaven, and comprehends not that

ground, since the allotment of land to each

to the grave,

man was

of days.

far less of yore

The

than now.

sor-

BOOK THREE Thee, who

first

wast able amid such thick

darkness to raise on high so bright a beacon

and shed

a light

on the true

follow, glory of the

thee

I

plant

now my

interests of life,

Greek

race,

and

footsteps firmly fixed in thy im-

printed marks, not so rival thee as that

much from

from the love

I

a desire to

bear thee

I

why need the swallow contend with swans, or what likeness is there between the feats of racing performed by kids with tottering limbs and by the powerful strength of the horse? Thou, father, art discoverer of things, thou furnishest us with fatherly precepts, and like as bees sip of all

yearn to imitate thee; for

things in the flowery lawns, we,

manner

O glorious be-

from out thy pages upon all the golden maxims, golden I say, most worthy ever of endless life. For soon as thy philosophy issuing from a godlike intellect has begun with loud voice to proclaim the ing, in like

feed

nature of things, the terrors of the dispelled, the walls of the I

see

things

in

mind

are

world part asunder, throughout the

operation

whole void: the divinity of the gods is revealed and their tranquil abodes which neither winds do shake nor clouds drench with rains nor snow congealed by sharp frosts harms with hoary fall an ever cloudless ether o'ercanopies them, and they laugh with light shed largely round. Nature too supplies all their wants and nothing ever impairs their peace of mind. But on the other hand the Acherusian quarters are nowhere to be seen, though earth is no bar to all things being described, which are in opera:

tion underneath our feet throughout the void.

At

all

this a

kind of godlike delight mixed

with shuddering awe comes over

me

to think

power is laid thus visibly open, is thus unveiled on every side. 31] And now since I have shown what-like that nature by thy

all

away and passing quite forspent by age and length

things are gradually wasting



the beginnings of

how

things are and

all

verse with varied shapes as they

ously driven on in everlasting motion,

how

all

di-

spontane-

fly

and

things can be severally produced out of

these, next after these questions the nature of

mind and soul should methinks be cleared up by my verses and that dread of Acheron be the

driven headlong forth, troubling as life

of

man from

spreading

its

things

all

it

does the

inmost depths and overwith the blackness of

death, allowing no-pleasure to be pure and un-

what men often give out of shame are more to be feared than Tartarus, place of death, and that For

as to

that diseases

and a

alloyed.

they

know

of wind,

if

life

the soul to be of blood or

it

may

be

haply their choice so direct, and

no need at all of our philosophy, you may perceive for the following reasons that all these boasts are thrown out more for that they have

glory's sake than because the thing

is

really be-

These very men, exiles from their country and banished far from the sight of men, live degraded by foul charge of guilt, sunk in a word in every kind of misery, and whithersoever the poor wretches are come, they yet do offer sacrifices to the dead and slaughter black sheep and make libations to the gods Manes and in times of distress turn their thoughts to religion much more earnestly. Wherefore you can better test the man in doubts and dangers and mid adversity learn who he is; for then and not till then the words of truth are forced out from the bottom of his heart: the mask is torn off, the reality is left. Avarice again and blind lust of honours which constrain unhappy men to overstep the bounds of right and sometimes as partners and agents of crimes to strive night and day with surpassing effort to strugthese sores of gle up to the summit of power life are in no small measure fostered by the lieved.



ON THE NATURE OF

65-144

dread of death. For foul scorn and pinching

removed and to be

in every case are seen to be far

want from

a life of pleasure

and

security

a loitering so to say before the gates of death.

And

while

men

driven on by an unreal dread

wish to escape far away from these and keep them far from them, they amass wealth by civil

bloodshed and greedily double their riches

triumph in the sad death of a brother and hate and fear the tables of kinsfolk. Often likewise from piling

the

up murder on murder;

same

fear

make moan

cruelly

envy causes them

to pine: they

that before their very eyes he

powerful, he attracts attention,

who

walks

is

ar-

rayed in gorgeous dignity, while they are wal-

lowing in darkness and selves to

name.

dirt.

Some wear them-

death for the sake of statues and a

And

often to such a degree through

dread of death does hate of sight of daylight seize

upon

commit self-murder with

life

and of the

mortals, that they

a sorrowing heart,

quite forgetting that this fear

is

the source of

which urges men to every sin, prompts this one to put all shame to rout, another to burst asunder the bonds of friendship, and in fine to overturn duty from its their cares, this fear

very base; since often ere trayed country

now men

and dear parents

have be-

in seeking to

shun the Acherusian quarters. For even children are flurried

and dread

the thick darkness, thus

we

all

as

things in

in the daylight

fear at times things not a whit more to be dreaded than what children shudder at in the dark and fancy sure to be. This terror

and darkness of mind must be disand glittering shafts of day, but by the aspect and law of therefore

pelled not by the rays of the sun

nature.

94] First then I say that the mind which we often call the understanding, in which dwells

and governing principle of life, is no less part of the man, than hand and foot and eyes are parts of the whole living creature. Some however affirm that the sense of the the directing

mind does not dwell certain

in a distinct part, but

is

a

state of the body, which the harmonia, because by it, they say, we live with sense, though the understanding is in no one part; just as when good health is

Greeks

vital

call

said to belong to the body,

any one part of the

man

though yet

it is

in health. In this

not

way

BOOK

THINGS,

3i

III

they do not assign a distinct part to the sense

which they appear to me to more ways than one. Oftentimes the body which is visible to sight, mind;

of the

in all

be grievously at fault in

is sick, while yet we have pleasure in another hidden part; and oftentimes the case is the

very reverse, the

man who

feeling pleasure in his

while a sick man's foot

meanwhile should be over

when

is

unhappy

whole body;

in

is

in

mind

just as

if,

pained, the head

no pain

at all.

More-

the limbs are consigned to soft sleep

and the burdened body lies diffused without sense, there is yet a something else in us which during that time is moved in many ways and admits into it all the motions of joy and unreal cares of the heart. Now that you may know that the soul as well is in the limbs and that the body is not wont to have sense by any harmony, this is a main proof: when much of the body has been taken away, still life often stays in the limbs; and yet the same life, when a few bodies of heat have been dispersed abroad and some air has been forced out through the mouth, abandons at once the veins and quits the bones: by this you may perceive that all bodies have not functions of like importance nor alike uphold existence, but rather that those seeds

cause

life

which

constitute

wind and

heat,

to stay in the limbs. Therefore vital

wind are within the body and abandon our frame at death. Since then the nature of the mind and that of the soul have been proved to be a part as it were of the man, surrender the name of harmony, whether brought down to musicians from high Helicon, or whether rather they have themselves taken it from something else and transferred it to that thing which then was in need of a distinctive name; whatever it be, let them keep it: do you heat and

take in the rest of 136]

my

precepts.

Now I assert that the mind and the soul

are kept together in close union

and make up a

single nature, but that the directing principle

which we call mind and understanding, is the head so to speak and reigns paramount in the whole body. It has a fixed seat in the middle region of the breast: here throb fear and apprehension, about these spots dwell soothing joys; therefore here is the

understanding or mind. All the rest of the soul disseminated through the whole body obeys and moves at

LUCRETIUS and

the will

alone

self

times

at

inclination of the

knows

when

mind.

It

by

it-

for itself, rejoices for itself,

the impression does not

move

body together with it. And as when some part of us, the head or the eye, suffers from an attack of pain, we do not feel the anguish at the same time over the whole body, either soul or

thus the or

is

mind sometimes

the rest of

and frame

is

mind

excited by

some more vehement apprewhole soul feel in unison through all the limbs, sweats and paleness spread over the whole body, the tongue falter, see the

the voice die away, a mist cover the eyes, the

under one;

in short

men drop down from that anybody may easily

terror of

ears ring, the limbs sink

often see

perceive mind; so from this that the soul is closely united with the mind, and, when it has been smitten by the influence of the mind, forthwith pushes and strikes the body.

161] This same principle teaches that the na-

mind and

ture of the it

is

from

soul

is

bodily; for

when

seen to push the limbs, rouse the body

and

sleep,

alter

the countenance

and

guide and turn about the whole man, and

when we

see that

none of these

effects

can

take place without touch nor touch without

we

mind and Again you perceive that our mind in our body suffers together with the body and feels in unison with it. When a weapon with a shudder-causing force has been driven in and has laid bare bones and sinews within the body, if it does not take life, yet there ensues a faintness and a lazy sinking to the ground and on the ground the turmoil of mind which arises, and somebody, must

not admit that the

the soul are of a bodily nature?

times a kind of undecided inclination to get

mind must be from bodily weapons

up. Therefore the nature of bodily, since

it

suffers

and blows. 177]

I

will

now go on

to explain in

my verses

what kind of body the mind consists and out of what it is formed. First of all I say that it is extremely fine and formed of exceedingly minute bodies. That this is so you may, if you please to attend, clearly perceive from what of

follows: nothing that

is

therefore

is

stirred

seen takes place with

it

ago-

with greater

whose nature But that which is

stands out visible to sight. so passing nimble,

must

consist of seeds ex-

ceedingly round and exceedingly minute, in

moving power. Thus water

all

by no novel sensation. But when the

we

mind

it

rapidity than any of the things

order to be stirred and

the soul throughout the limbs

we

ing; the

actually sets

when

stirred is

some suggestion and

starts

suffers pain by itself

inspirited with joy,

hension,

145-224

mind when

a velocity equal to that of the

set in

motion by is

a small

moved and

heaves by ever so small a force, formed as is

of small particles apt to roll.

it

But on the other

hand the nature of honey is more sticky, its more sluggish and its movement more dilatory; for the whole mass of matter coheres more closely, because sure enough it is made of bodies not so smooth, fine, and round. A breeze however gentle and light can force, as you may see, a high heap of poppy seed to be blown away from the top downwards; but on the other hand Eurus itself cannot move a heap of stones. Therefore bodies possess a power of moving in proportion to their smallness and smoothness; and on the other hand the greater weight and roughness bodies prove to have, the more stable they are. Since then the nature of the mind has been found to be eminently easy to move, it must consist of bodies exceedingly small, smooth, and round. The knowledge of which fact, my good friend, will on many accounts prove useful and be serviceliquid

able to you.

The

following fact too likewise

demonstrates

how

fine the texture

its is

nature in

is

which

composed, and it

is

how small

of

which

the

can be contained, could

it

room only

be collected into one mass: soon as the untroubled sleep of death has gotten hold of a

man and

the nature of the mind and soul has withdrawn, you can perceive then no diminution of the entire body either in appearance or weight: death makes all good save the vital sense and heat. Therefore the whole soul must consist of very small seeds and be inwoven through veins and flesh and sinews; inasmuch as, after it has all withdrawn from the whole

body, the exterior contour of the limbs pre-

and not a titde of the weight same way when the flavour of wine is gone or when the delicious aroma of a perfume has been dispersed into the air or when the savour has left some body, yet the serves itself entire

is lost.

thing

Just in the

itself

does not therefore look smaller to

ON THE NATURE OF

22$-^0I

THINGS,

BOOK

111

33

the

nor can the function of any go on divided from the rest by any interval; but they are so to say the several powers of one body. Even so in any flesh of

things. Therefore, again

living creature

the eye, nor does aught seem to have been

taken from the weight, because sure enough many minute seeds make up the savours and

odour in the whole body of the several and again I say, you are to know that the nature of the mind and the soul has been formed of exceedingly mi-

of

them can be separated by

itself,

none of the weight.

you please without exception there is smell and some colour and a savour, and yet out of all these is made up one single bulk of body. Thus the heat and the air and the unseen power of the spirit mixed together

We

produce a single nature, together with that

nute seeds, since at

its

departure

it

takes

away

however to suppose that For a certain subtle spirit mixed with heat quits men at death, and then the heat draws air along with it; there being no heat which has not air too mixed with it: for 231]

this

nature

since

single.

nature

its

of air

are not

is

is

many

rare,

must move about through

nature of the

mind

is

sufficient to

it.

Thus

the

proved to be three-

and yet these things

fold;

first-beginnings

together are not

all

produce sense; since the

fact of the

admit that any of these can produce sense-giving motions and the thoughts which a man turns over in mind. Thus some

case does not

must be added to these: it name; than it nothing more nimble or more fine, or of smaller

fourth nature too is

altogether without

exists

or smoother elements:

first

it

transmits the

sense-giving motions through the frame; for is

first stirred,

cles;

made up

as

it

of small parti-

is

it

next the heat and the unseen force of the

spirit receive

the motions, then the air; then

things are set in action, the blood

every part of the flesh last of all

the feeling

is

and marrow, whether

is

make

its

way

in,

all

stirred,

with sensation;

transmitted to the bones it

an opposite excitement. lightly pierce thus far

filled

is

be one of pleasure or

No

all

things being so

thoroughly disordered that no room

is

left for

and the parts of the soul fly abroad through all the pores of the body. But commonly a stop is put to these motions on the surface as it were

life

of the body: for this reason

we

are able to re-

tain life.

258] Now though I would fain explain in what way these are mixed up together, by what means united, when they exert their powers, the poverty of ly against

and

in

my

my native speech deters me will: yet will

summary

I

sore-

touch upon them

fashion to the best of

my

the first-beginnings by their mutual motions are interlaced in such a way that none

ability:

the fleshly frame. For this nature lurks secreted

inmost depths, and nothing in our body

in

its

is

farther beneath

than

this

it

is

all

ken than

it,

and more

the very soul of the whole soul.

same way as the power of the mind and the function of the soul are latent in our limbs and throughout our body, because they are each formed of small and few bodies: even so, you are to know, this nameless power made of minute bodies is concealed and is moreover the very soul so to say of the whole soul, and reigns supreme in the whole body. On a like principle the spirit and air and heat must, as they exert their powers, be mixed up together through the frame, and one must ever be more out of view or more prominent than another, Just in the

that

a single substance

formed from the union of spirit

may

be seen to be

all, lest

the heat and

apart by themselves and the power of the

should destroy sense and

air apart

by

sipate

by their disunion.

it

itself

dis-

288 ] Thus the mind possesses that heat which

pain however can

nor any sharp malady

without

nimble force which transmits to them from itself the origin of motion; by which means sense-giving motion first takes its rise through

when it boils up in anger and fire from the keen eyes; there is too much cold spirit comrade of fear, which spreads a shivering over the limbs and stirs the whole frame; yes and there is also that condition of still air which has place when the breast is calm and the looks cheerful. But they have more of the hot whose keen heart and passionate mind lightly boil up in anger. Foremost in this class comes the fierce violence of lions who often as it

displays

flashes

they chafe break their hearts with their roar-

ing and cannot contain within their breast the billows of their rage. stags

is

rouses

Then

fuller of the spirit

through

the chilly

mind

of

and more quickly

the flesh

its

icy currents

which cause a shivering motion

to pass over

all

LUCRETIUS

34 the limbs. But the nature of oxen has rather from the

smoky it

still

and never does the

air,

torch of anger applied to

much, shedding over

too

murky gloom, nor

is it

transfixed

by the icy shafts of fear:

much

with mankind: however

some equally

refined,

it

stimulate

shadow of and stiffened between the

lies

it

it

the

it

other two, stags and cruel lions.

ders

its life

And

thus

it is

teaching ren-

yet leaves behind

those earliest traces of the nature of each mind;

and we are not

to suppose that evil habits

can

up by the roots, that one man shall not be more prone than another to keen anger, a second shall not be somewhat more quickly assailed by fear, a third shall not take some things more meekly than is right. In many other points there must be differences be so thoroughly plucked

between the varied natures of

men and

the

tempers which follow upon these; though at present I am unable to set forth the hidden causes of these or to find

names enough

for the

which belongs to the beginnings, from which shapes arises

different shapes

diversity of things.

affirm left

is

What

herein

behind, which reason

from

I

think

this: traces of the different

us, are so

I

first-

this

may

natures

unable to expel

is

exceedingly slight that there

nothing to hinder us from living a

life

is

worthy

302-376

given to

yet

it,

say,

I

not for that reason

remains unimpaired

in pieces, but

way,

is

itself

— not

riven

in this

can the abandoned frame endure

the separation of the soul, but riven in pieces

it

and rots away. Thus the mutual connexions of body and soul from the first moment of their existence learn the vital motions even while hid in the body and womb of the mother, so that no separation can take place without mischief and ruin. Thus you may see utterly perishes

that, since the cause of existence lies in their

must be

joint action, their nature too

a joint

nature.

350] Furthermore

if any one tries to disprove body feels and believes that the soul mixed through the whole body takes upon it this motion which we name sense, he combats even manifest and undoubted facts. For who

that the

will ever bring

forward any explanation of

what the body's

feeling

except that which

is,

the plain fact of the case has

taught to us? But

when

itself

the soul

departed, the body throughout yes, for

it

said has

without sense;

what was not its own peculiar ay and much else it loses, be-

loses

property in

is

given and

it is

life;

fore that soul

is

driven out of

it.

359] Again to say that the eyes can see no object, but that the soul discerns through them

through an open door,

from

of gods.

as

323] Well this nature is contained by the whole body and is in turn the body's guardian

their sense contradicts this; for this sense e'en

and the cause of

its

here together with it is

common

roots

plain be riven asunder without destruction.

Even of

two adand cannot

existence; for the

as

it is

not easy to pluck the perfume out

lumps of frankincense without quite

troying

its

nature as well; so

it is

des-

not easy to

withdraw from the whole body the nature of the mind and soul without dissolving all alike. With first-beginnings so interlaced from their earliest birth are they formed and gifted with a life of joint partnership, and it is plain that that faculty of the body and of the mind cannot

feel separately,

each alone without the

other's power, but sense

is

kindled throughout

flesh and blown into flame between the two by the joint motions on the part of both. Moreover the body by itself is never either begotten or grows or, it is plain, continues to exist

our

after death.

For not in the way that the liquid which has been

of water often loses the heat

draws often

and

it

we

forces

it

is

far

easy, since

out to the pupil: nay

are unable to perceive shining things,

because our eyes are embarrassed by the lights.

But

we

this

is

not the case with doors; for, because

ourselves see, the open doors

fore

undergo any

fatigue.

do not thereAgain if our eyes

are in the place of doors, in that case

when

the

removed the mind ought it would seem to have more power of seeing things, after doors, jambs and all, have been taken out of

eyes are

the way.

370]

And

herein you must by no

means

adopt the opinion which the revered judgement of the worthy

man Democritus

the first-beginnings of

lays down, that body and mind placed

together in successive layers

come

in alternate

order and so weave the tissue of our limbs. For

not only are the elements of the soul

much

smaller than those of which our body and flesh are formed, but they are also

number and

much

fewer in

are disseminated merely in scanty

0N THE NATURE OF

377-454

number through the frame, so that you can warrant no more than this: the first-beginnings of the soul keep spaces between them at least as great as are the smallest bodies which, if thrown upon it, are first able to excite in our body the sense-giving motions. Thus at times we do not feel the adhesion of dust when it settles on our body, nor the impact of chalk when it rests on our limbs, nor do we feel a mist at night or a spider's slender threads as they against us,

when we

moving web when

along, nor the

in

it

has fallen

feathers of birds

about,

are caught in

its

same insect's flimsy on our head, nor the

and down

of plants as

which commonly from exceeding

ness does not lightly

come

meshes

nor do

fall,

we

it flies

light-

feel the

THINGS, paired. On are ever

417] the

BOOK

III

35

such terms of union soul and mind

bound

to

each other.

Now mark me: that you may know that

minds and

light souls of living creatures

have birth and are mortal,

be mortal, believe that

I

smaller first-beginnings than

nor each particular foot-print which gnats and the like stamp on our body. So very many first-

these in nimbleness

that these have

mixed up

in

our bodies

feel

been disturbed, and by thump-

ing with such spaces between can clash, unite,

and

in turn recoil.

The mind

more to do with holding 396] the fastnesses of life and has more sovereign sway over it than the power of the soul. For without the understanding and the mind no has

part of the soul can maintain itself in the frame

when once

the air and leaves the cold limbs in the chill of death. But he abides in life whose mind and understanding continue to stay with him: though the trunk is mangled with its limbs shorn all round about it, after the soul has been taken away on all sides and been severed from the limbs, the trunk yet lives and inhales

the body that serves for

if

not of

the whole, yet of a large portion of the soul, still

lingers in

and

it

cleaves to life; just as, after

the eye has been lacerated

all

round

if

the pupil

power of sight remains, provided always you do not destroy the whole ball of the eye and pare close round the pupil and leave only it; for that will not be done even to the ball without the entire destruction of the eye. But if that middle porhas continued uninjured, the living

tion

of the eye, small as

it

is,

is

eaten into,

gone at once and darkness ensues, though a man have the bright ball quite unim-

the sight

is

the liquid of

it

far surpasses

has been taken out of the

ies,

robbed,

is



limbs of a

When

for

is

once in the other's train and passes away into

life.



moved, when struck by a far slenderer cause; inasmuch as it is moved by images of smoke and mist; as when for instance sunk in sleep we see altars steam forth their heat and send up their smoke on high; for beyond a doubt images are begotwell then since ten for us from these things: you see on the vessels being shattered the water flow away on all sides, and since mist and smoke pass away into air, believe that the soul too is shed abroad and perishes much more quickly and dissolves sooner into its first bodand

the smallest fraction of time, but follows at

the ethereal airs of

speak of the mind as

inasmuch as both make up one thing and are one united substance. First of all then since I have shown the soul to be fine and to be formed of minute bodies and made up of much water or mist or smoke:

beginnings must be stirred in us, before the

to set

well,

tread of every creeping creature whatsoever

seeds of the soul

go on

will

I

worthy of your attention, got together by long study and invented with welcome effort. Do you mind to link to one name both of them alike, and when for instance I shall choose to speak of the soul, showing it to

forth verses

it, if

it

man and

has withdrawn. For, its

when

vessel cannot hold

shattered from any cause

and

rarefied

the withdrawal of blood from the veins,

can you believe that

any

air?

How can

our body hold

it

this soul

that air

by

how

can be held by

which

is

rarer than

in?

445] Again we perceive that the mind is begotten along with the body and grows up together with it and becomes old along with it. For even as children go about with a tottering and weakly body, so slender sagacity of mind follows along with it; then when their life has reached the maturity of confirmed strength, the judgement too is greater and the power of the mind more developed. Afterwards when the body has been shattered by the mastering might of time and the frame has drooped with its

forces dulled, then the intellect halts, the

tongue dotes, the mind gives way, fail

and are found wanting

at the

all faculties

same time.

LUCRETIUS

36 It

naturally follows then that the whole nature

of the soul

high

is

air; since

the body

pain,

we

driven forth and are carried in a close mass

see

begotten along with

it is

and grows up along with

down

and, as

we

I

out by the mouth, the road which they are

accustomed to take and where they have a well-paved way. Loss of reason follows, be-

even as the body and severe pain, so sharp cares and grief and fear; see that

liable to violent diseases

mind

is

the

it

naturally follows therefore that

to

and mainly because seeds of voice are

same time

it

at the

age.

459] Moreover is

455-533

forced out, because the limbs are seized with

dissolved, like smoke, into the

have shown, breaks

worn out with

is

cause the powers of the

ordered and, as

mind and

soul are dis-

have shown, are riven and

I

asunder, torn to pieces by the same

forced

Then

part-

baneful malady.

ner in death as well. Again in diseases of the

disease has bent

body the mind often wanders and goes astray; for it loses its reason and drivels in its speech

their hiding-places, then he first gets

and often

in a

it is its

profound lethargy

is

carried

deep and never-ending sleep with droop-

into

ing eyes and head; out of which

it

neither

hears the voices nor can recognise the faces of

who stand round calling it back to life and bedewing with tears, face and cheeks. Therefore you must admit that the mind too those

dissolves, since the infection of disease reaches

to

it;

for pain

death: a truth

and

disease are both forgers of

we have

fully learned ere

by the death of many. Again,

when

gent strength of wine has entered into a

and

its spirit

now

the pun-

man

has been infused into and trans-

why

mitted through his veins,

is

it

that a

heaviness of the limbs follows along with this, his legs are

tongue

hampered

falters, his

as

mind

he

is

reels about, his

besotted, his eyes

swim, shouting, hiccuping, wranglings are together with all the other usual con-

rife,

why

comitants,

is

all

not because the

this, if

overpowering violence of the wine is wont to disorder the soul within the body? But whenever things can be disordered and hampered, they give token that

if

a

somewhat more

po-

an entrance, they would perish and be robbed of all further existence. 487] Moreover it often happens that some tent cause gained

one constrained by the violence of disease suddenly drops down before our eyes, as by a

and foams at the mouth, through his frame, loses his

stroke of lightning,

moans and

shivers

reason, stiffens his muscles,

breath

racked, gasps for

body return

of the distempered

one reeling, and by

and

up

to

like

comes back and regains his soul. Since therefore even within the body mind and soul are harassed by such violent distempers and so miserably racked by sufferings, why believe that they without the body in the open air can continue existence battling with fierce winds ? And since we perceive that the mind is healed like the sick body, and we little

little

into full possession of his senses

see that

can be altered by medicine, this too

it

warning that the mind has a mortal existence. For it is natural that whosoever essays and attempts to change the mind or seeks to alter any other nature you like, should add new parts or change the arrangement of the present, or withdraw in short some tittle from the sum. But that which is immortal wills not gives

to

have

to be

its

parts transposed nor

made nor one

whenever

tittle

a thing changes

limits, this

change

is

at

to

any addition

ebb away; for

and quits

its

proper

once the death of that

which was before. Therefore the mind, whether it is sick or whether it is altered by medicine, alike, as I have shown, gives forth mortal symptoms. So invariably is truth found to make head against false reason and to cut off all retreat from the assailant and by a twofold refutation to put falsehood to rout.

526] Again

we

often see a

man

pass gradu-

away and limb by limb lose vital sense; first the toes of his feet and the nails turn livid, then the feet and shanks die, then next

ally

toss-

the steps of chilly death creep with slow pace

enough, because the violence of the

over the other members. Therefore since the

fitfully,

ing. Sure

is

humours

after the cause of the

course back and the acrid

its

and wearies

disease spreads itself

his limbs

through

his

with

frame and

disorders him, he foams as he tries to eject his soul, just as in the salt sea the waters boil

the mastering

might of the winds.

with

A moan too

nature of the soul

is

rent

and

passes

does not at one time stand forth in

away and its

entire-

must be reckoned mortal. But if haply you suppose that it can draw itself in through ness,

it

ON THE NATURE OF

534-6"

the whole frame and mass its parts together and in this way withdraw sense from all the limbs, yet then that spot into which so great a

show itself amount of sense. But as this is nowhere found, sure enough as we said before, it is torn in pieces and scat-

store of soul

is

gathered, ought to

in possession of a greater

BOOK

THINGS, close in

to

III

keep

shall be able to

together and to en-

which

those motions

it

37

itself

used before

it

perform in the sinews and within the body.

Moreover even while confines of

moves within the

yet

it

often the soul shaken from

life,

tered abroad,

some cause or other is seen to wish to pass out and be loosed from the whole body, the features are seen to droop as at the last hour and

I

all

and therefore dies. Moreover if were pleased for the moment to grant what is false and admit that the soul might be collected in one mass in the body of those who leave the light dying piecemeal, even then you

the limbs to sink flaccid over the bloodless

trunk: just as happens,

mind is gone; when

quite

must admit the soul to be mortal; and it makes no difference whether it perish dispersed in air, or gathered into one lump out of all its parts lose all feeling, since sense ever more and more fails the whole man throughout and less

anxious to

and

break them up.

less

of

life

remains throughout.

548] And since the mind man which remains fixed in

is

one part of a

a particular spot,

and eyes and the other senses which guide and direct life; and just as the hand or eye or nose when separated from us cannot feel and exist apart, but in however just as

are the ears

short a time wastes

mind cannot

away

in putrefaction, thus

life;

when

mind and

for then the

soul are shaken throughout

the power of the and both are quite

loosened together with the body; so that a cause

somewhat more powerful can quite Why doubt I would ask that

the soul

when its

when

driven forth out of the body,

open

in the

air, feeble as it is, stript

eternity, but

unable to hold together the

is

smallest fraction of time?

and again has been

I

all

Therefore, again

when the enveloping body broken up and the vital airs have say,

you must admit that the

body and the man's self which as you see serves for the mind's vessel or any thing else you choose to imagine which implies a yet closer union with it, since the body is attached to it by the nearest ties. 558] Again the quickened powers of body and mind by their joint partnership enjoy health and life; for the nature of the mind cannot by itself alone without the body give forth vital motions nor can the body again bereft of the soul continue to exist and make use of its senses: just, you are to know, as the eye itself torn away from its roots cannot see anything when apart from the whole body, thus the soul and mind cannot it is plain do anything

senses of the

by themselves. Sure enough, because mixed up through veins and flesh, sinews and bones,

manifold you

their first-beginnings are confined

forth throughout the frame,

by

itself

by

all

the

of

covering, not only cannot continue through

been forced

exist

is

in a

without the

the

the phrase

bad way, or the soul is all is hurry and every one is keep from parting the last tie of

used, the

out,

mind and

the soul are dissolved,

since the cause of destruction

is

one and

in-

separable for both body and soul.

595] Again since the body

is

Unable to bear

away power

the separation of the soul without rotting in a

noisome stench,

why doubt

that the

up from the inmost depths of body has oozed out and dispersed like smoke, and that the crumbling body has changed and tumbled in with so total of the soul gathering itself

a ruin for this reason because

its

foundations

throughout are stirred from their

places, the

oozing out abroad through the frame, through all the winding passages which are in soul

the body,

and

all

openings? So that in ways

may

learn that the nature of

the soul has been divided piecemeal

and

and gone

that

it

has

body and are not free to bound away leaving

been torn to shreds within the body, ere

great spaces between, therefore thus shut in

glided forth and

they

make

they cannot

those sense-giving motions

make

after death

when

which

swam

one when dying appears

air.

to feel trie

it

For no soul go

whole body or first mount up to the throat and gullet, but all feel it fail in that part which lies in a particular quarter;

forced out

forth entire

from

body into the air by reason that they are not then confined in a like manner; for the air will be a body and a living thing, if the soul

just as they

know

of the

out into the

his

that the senses as well suffer

LUCRETIUS

38 dissolution each in

own

its

place.

But

if

our

mind were immortal,

it

would not when dying

complain so much of

its

dissolution, as of pass-

ing abroad and

quitting

its

vesture, like a

snake.

615] Again

why

are the mind's understand-

ing and judgement never begotten in the head or feet or hands, but cling in

and

spot

fixed quarter,

ticular places

if it

alike to

all

one

be not that par-

are assigned for

the birth of

everything, and nature has determined where

each

is

to continue to exist after

Our body then must

it

is

born?

follow the same law and

have such a manifold organisation of parts, that

no perverted arrangement of

shall ever

show

rivers

if

mortal and can body, methinks

vided with five

can

we

flame wont to be born in

is

nor cold in

624] Again

members

so invariably effect fol-

itself:

lows cause, nor

its

612-689

vouring scythes have carried

is

im-

when separated from our we must suppose it to be prosenses; and in no other way

feel

picture to ourselves souls below flitting

his leg, while the

dying foot quivers with its on the ground close by. The head too when cut off from the warm and living trunk retains on the ground the expression of life and open eyes, until it has yielded up all the remnants of soul. To take another case, if, as

tongue

a serpent's

darting out from

mouth making

from the body.

perceive that vital sense

whole body and we see that it is all endowed with life, if on a sudden any force with swift blow shall have cut it in twain so as quite to dissever the two halves, the power of the soul will without doubt at the same time be cleft and cut asunder and dashed in twain together with the body. But that which is cut and divides into any parts, you are to know disclaims for itself an everlasting nature. in the

scythed chariots reeking

with indiscriminate slaughter often lop

off

limbs so instantaneously that that which has

down lopped

off from the frame is seen on the ground, while yet the mind and faculty of the man from the suddenness of the mischief cannot feel the pain; and because

fallen

to quiver

his

mind once

for all

is

business of fighting, with

body he mingles

own

wound with which it has been we say then that there are entire those pieces? why from that argu-

pain of the

smitten. Shall souls in all

ment

it

will follow that

souls in

its

one living creature had

body; and

this

being absurd,

which was one has been

must be reckoned mortal, since each is chopped up into many pieces. 670] Again if the nature of the soul is immortal and makes its way into our body at the

ears

perceive by the sense of hearing or exist for the

how

its

divided together with the body; therefore each

soul by themselves apart

Stories are told

for

hinder part, to allay with burning bite the

But neither eyes

from the body nor can tongue, nor can

is

is

exist for the soul apart

souls provided with senses.

we

its tail

long body, you choose to

chop with an axe into many pieces both tail and body, you will see all the separate portions thus cut off writhing under the fresh wound and bespattering the earth with gore, the fore

therefore the soul

since

quivering, as

is

its

generations of writers have thus represented

And

the

an-

all;

toes

many

634]

and

arm has dropped from him, while he mounts and presses forward. Another tries to get up after he has lost

about Acheron. Painters therefore and former

nor nose nor hand can

shield

among

other sees not that his right

part with the

fire.

the nature of the soul

arm

horses' feet his left

off

wholly given to the

what remains of his and carnage, and the wheels and de-

in the fray

often perceives not that

alike alike

time of birth,

why

we

are

unable to remember

besides the time already gone, retain

no

of the

mind has been

that that

all

and why do we power

traces of past actions? If the

so completely changed,

remembrance

methinks

differs

of past things

is

lost,

not widely from death;

must admit that the soul which was before has perished and that which now therefore you

is

now

has

been formed.

679] Again

mind

is

wont

if

the quickened

to be

power

of the

put into us after our body

fully formed, at the instant of our birth and our crossing the threshold of life, it ought agreeably to this to live not in such a way as to is

seem

to

have grown with the body and

gether with

its

members within

to-

the blood, but

den apart by and to itself: the very conwhat undoubted fact teaches; for it is so closely united with the body throughout the veins, flesh, sinews, and bones, that the as in a

trary to

very teeth have a share of sense; as their aching

ON THE NATURE OF

690-766

proves and the sharp twinge of cold water and the crunching of a rough stone, when it has got into them out of bread. Wherefore, again and again I say, we must believe souls to be neither without a birth nor exempted from the law of death; for we must not believe that they could have been so completely united

with our bodies,

if

they found their

way

into

them from without, nor, since they are so closely inwoven with them, does it appear that they can get out unharmed and unloose themselves unscathed from all the sinews and bones and joints. But if haply you believe that the soul finds its way in from without and is

wont to ooze through all our limbs, so much more it will perish thus blended with the body; for what oozes through another is dissolved, and therefore dies. As food distributed

the

through

all

the cavities of the body, while

transmitted

frame,

the limbs

into

and the whole

destroyed and furnishes out of

is

it is

itself

the matter of another nature, thus the soul

and

mind, though they pass entire into a fresh body, yet in oozing through it are dissolved, whilst there are transmitted so to say into the

frame through of

which

now

the cavities those particles

all

this nature of

mind

is

formed, which

sovereign in our body, being born out

is

of that

soul

which then perished when

dis-

persed through the frame. Wherefore the nature of the soul

seen to be neither without a

is

birthday nor exempt from death. 713] Again are seeds of the soul left in the If they are left and remain

dead body or not ? in

it,

the soul cannot fairly be

mortal, since

it

deemed im-

has withdrawn lessened by the

loss of some parts; but if when taken away from the yet untainted limbs it has fled so entirely away as to leave in the body no parts of itself, whence do carcases exude worms from the now rank flesh and whence does such a swarm of living things, boneless and bloodless, surge through the heaving frame? But if haply you believe that souls find their way into worms from without and can severally pass each into a body and you make no account of why many thousands of souls meet together in a place from which one has withdrawn, this question at least must, it seems, be raised and brought to a decisive test, whether souls hunt out the several seeds of worms and build for

THINGS,

BOOK

III

39

themselves a place to dwell

in,

way

into bodies fully

why

they should on their part

or find their

formed so

to say.

make

a

But body

or take such trouble, cannot be explained; since

being without a body they are not plagued as they ger,

about with diseases and cold and hun-

flit

body being more akin

the

tact

with

it

Nevertheless be to

make

mind

the

when

a body,

con-

its

many

suffering

ever so expedient for

it

more

to,

troubled by such infirmities, and by

ills.

them

they are going to enter,

no way by which they can do so. Therefore souls do not make for themselves bodies and limbs; no nor can they by any method find their way into bodies after yet clearly there

is

they are fully formed; for they will neither be able to unite themselves with a nice precision

nor will any connexion of mutual sensation be formed between them. 741] Again why does untamed fierceness go along with the sullen brood of lions, cunning

with foxes and proneness to

And why

flight

with stags?

to take any other instance of the kind,

are all qualities engendered in the limbs and temper from the very commencement of life, if not because a fixed power of mind derived from its proper seed and breed grows up together with the whole body? If it were immortal and wont to pass into different bodies, living creatures would be of interchangeable dispositions; a dog of Hyrcanian breed would often fly before the attack of an antlered stag, a hawk would cower in mid air as it fled at the approach of a dove, men would be without reason, the savage races of wild beasts would have reason. For the assertion that an immortal soul is altered by a change of body is advanced on a false principle. What is changed is dissolved, and therefore dies: the parts are transposed and quit their former order; therefore they must admit of being dissolved too

throughout the frame, in order at last to die one and all together with the body. But if they shall say that souls of men always go into

human

bodies,

I

yet will ask

how

it is

a soul

can change from wise to foolish, and no child has discretion, and

why

the mare's foal

is

not

so well trained as the powerful strength of the horse.

You may

be sure they will

subterfuge that the

fly

to the

mind grows weakly

weakly body. But granting

this

is so,

in a

you must

LUCRETIUS

4o

admit the soul to be mortal, since changed so completely throughout the frame it loses its former life and sense. Then too in what way will it be able to grow in strength uniformly with

body and reach the coveted

allotted

its

flower of age, unless its first

beginning?

it

shall be

partner at

its

it

fear to

in a

crum-

tenement, worn out by

776] Again for souls unions of Venus and the

it

in

its

ruins?

birth-throes of beasts

numberless and struggle with one another in

which

erence have entrance struck

shall first

up, shall

that they shall other's strength.

first

and by

pref-

unless haply bar-

in;

among

terms, that whichever in

come

the souls flight

its

on these shall first

have right of entry, and

make no

trial

at all of

each

1

784] Again a tree cannot exist in the ether,

nor clouds in the deep sea nor can in the fields

in stones.

abide of the

is

fishes live

nor blood exist in woods nor sap

Where each

fixed

thing can grow and and ordained. Thus the nature

mind cannot come

without the body nor

into being alone

exist far

sinews and blood. But

much more

if

away from the would be

(for this

happen than that) the be in the head or shoulders or heels or might be born in any other part of the body, it would after all be wont to abide in one and the same man or vessel. But since in our body even it is fixed and seen to be ordained where the soul and the mind can severally be and grow, it must still more strenuously be denied that it can abide and be born out of the body altogether. Therefore when the body has died, we must admit that the soul has perished, wrenched likely to

force itself of the

away throughout

819] But

if

immortal for

haply the soul

is

mind might

the body.

To

link forsooth a

kept sheltered

because

from death-bringing

not approach at

comfited before

all,

its

it

is

things,

existence do

or because those which do

way or we can feel

other retreat disthe

harm

they do,

manifest experience proves that this can not it

sickens in sympathy

with the maladies of the body, tacked by that which

frets

it

it is

often

at-

on the score of

and keeps it on the rack of suspense and wears it out with cares; and when ill

the future

deeds are in the past, remorse for sins yet

gnaws: then there is madness peculiar to the mind and forgetfulness of all things; then too it

often sinks into the black waters of lethargy.

830] Death therefore to us cerns us not a

jot,

is

since the

nothing, con-

nature of the

mind is proved to be mortal; and as in time gone by we felt no distress, when the Poeni from all sides came together to do battle, and all things shaken by war's troublous uproar shuddered and quaked beneath high heaven, and mortal men were in doubt which of the two peoples it should be to whose empire all must fall by sea and land alike, thus when we shall be no more, when there shall have been a separation of body and soul, out of both of which we are each formed into a single being, to us, you may be sure, who then shall be no more, nothing whatever can happen to excite sensation, not if earth shall be mingled with sea and sea with heaven. And even supposing the nature of the mind and power of the soul do feel, after they have been severed from our body, yet that is nothing to us who by the binding tie of marriage between body and soul are formed each into one single being.

And

if

time should gather up our matter after

our death and put tion in

which

it

it

now

once more into the posiis,

and the

light of life be

can

given to us again, this result even would concern us not at all, when the chain of our self-

sheer folly; for

consciousness has once been snapped asunder.

mortal thing with an everlasting and suppose that they can have sense in

common and

be reciprocally acted upon,

is

what can be conceived more incongruous, more discordant and inconsistent with itself, K^f. Er's vision: Plato, Republic, x.

to be accounted

this reason rather,

be true. For besides that

risks.

stand by at the

to

seems to be passing absurd, for them the immortals to wait for mortal limbs in number

gains are

union to weather furious storms? 2

approach, in some

its

an immortal being incurs no

rivalry,

immortal and everlasting thing, trying in such

remain shut up

protracted length of days, bury

forward

mortal, linked with an

either because things hostile to

bling body, fear that

Why

is

Or what means it by passwhen decayed with

ing out from the limbs

age? Does

767-851

than a thing which

2 The Munro translation omits lines 806-818, which occur also in v. 351-63, where they seem to be more ap-

propriate.

ON THE NATURE OF

852- 9 2 4

now we

give ourselves no concern about which we have been before, nor do we feel any distress on the score of that self. For when you look back on the whole past course of immeasurable time and think how manifold are the shapes which the motions of

So

any

self

may

matter take, you that these very are formed,

easily credit this

same seeds

of

too,

which we now

have often before been placed in

which they now are; and yet we cannot recover this in memory: a break in our existence has been interposed, and all the motions have wandered to and fro far astray from the sensations they produced. For he whom evil is to befall, must in his own perthe

same order

in

son exist at the very time ery

and suffering are haply

at all;

bids

it

comes, to

have any place

but since death precludes

him

upon

to be,

brought, you

may

whom

be sure that

the mis-

if

and

this,

the

for-

can be

ills

we have who

ing to fear after death, and that he

it

mat-

any other time, when immortal death

away

his

870] Therefore

moaning

his

hard

either rot with his

mortal

see a

case, that after

body

man

be-

death he shall

laid in the grave or be

devoured by flames or the jaws of wild

beasts,

you may be sure that his ring betrays a flaw and that there lurks in his heart a secret goad, though he himself declare that he does not believe that any sense will remain to him after death.

He

does not methinks really grant the

conclusion which he professes to grant nor the principle

on which he

life,

but

all

and branch out

of

unconsciously imagines something

For when any one in life and beasts will body after death, he makes moan for

of self to survive.

suggests to himself that birds

rend his

894] "Now no more shall thy house admit thee with glad welcome, nor a most virtuous

wife and sweet children run to be the

joy.

No more

mayst thou be prosperous

in thy

One

disas-

doings, a safeguard to thine own. trous day has taken

from thee

luckless wise

many

men

do

the

all

luckless

and sees not that after real death there will be no other self to remain in life and lament to self that his own self has met death, and there to stand and grieve that his own self there ly-

man

in

prizes of life." This

add not thereto "and now no

say; but

longer does any craving for these things beset if

they could rightly perceive

thought and follow up the thought in

words, they would release themselves from great

distress

"Thou, even

and apprehension of mind. now thou art, sunk in the

as

to

come, freed from

we with

all distressful

would not be

a sorrow that

for thee,

when

close

all

time

pains; but

sated

wept

by thou didst turn to an

ashen hue on thy appalling funeral

pile, and no length of days shall pluck from our hearts our ever-during grief." This question there-

fore should be asked of this speaker,

what

come

in the

there

end

is

in

it

to sleep

so passing bitter,

and

that

rest,

if it

any one should pine

in never-ending sorrow.

912] This too

men

often,

when

they have re-

hand and shade their brows with crowns, love to say from the heart, "short is this enjoyment for poor weak men; presently it will have been and never after may it be called back." As if after their death it is clined at table cup in

one of their chiefest

to be

mortal,

first to

snatch kisses and touch thy heart with a silent

and parching drought

that he has been born

it

fires

by a load of earth above.

that self, nor

much moan

why

cannot see

1

himself: he does

not separate himself from withdraw himself fully from the body so thrown out, and fancies himself that other self and stands by and impregnates it with his own sense. Hence he makes

evil

and burn in hot flames, or to be placed in honey and stifled, or to stiffen with cold, stretched on the smooth surface of an icy slab of stone, or to be pressep down and crushed

so professes, nor does he

take and force himself root

I

sleep of death, shalt continue so to be

life.

when you

ing jaws of wild beasts,

thee withal." For

cannot become miserable, and that

an

if it is

about by the devour-

should not be a cruel pain to be laid on

this in

not a whit whether he has been born into

41

mangled or burnt. For

is

noth-

ters

has taken

ing

III

after death to be pulled

exists

not,

life at

BOOK

THINGS,

less is

is

afflictions that thirst

to

burn them up hap-

wretches, or a craving for any thing else

to beset

want

them.

What and

folly!

no one

feels the

when mind and body are together sunk in sleep; for all we care this sleep might be everlasting, of himself

life

at the

time

no craving whatever for ourselves then moves us. And yet by no means do those first-beginnings throughout our frame wander at that

LUCRETIUS

42

925-1001

motions, at the moment when a man starts up from sleep and collects himself. Death therefore must be thought to concern us much less, if less there can be than what we see to be

parture sated and

nothing; for a greater dispersion of the mass

reproach; for old things give

time

far

away from

of matter

their sense-producing

follows after death,

wakes up, upon whom the life has once come.

and no one

chill cessation of

931] Once more, if the nature of things could suddenly utter a voice and in person

could rally any of us in such words as these,

"What

hast thou,

O

mortal, so

much

at heart,

however resign all things unsuited to thy age, and with a good grace up and greatly go: thou must." With good reason methinks she would bring her charge, with reason rally and

new without

planted by

way and

fail,

black Tartarus: matter erations to

grow;

needed for after genwhich though will fol-

is

of

all

low thee when they have finished their term of life; and thus it is that all these no less than thou have before

Why

say thy

after will

life

to thee

never cease to

come

this

to

come

to

an end and here-

an end. Thus one thing out of another, and

rise

granted to none in fee-simple, to

and thy blessings have not all, as if they were poured into a perforated vessel, run through and been lost without avail: why not then

everlasting time before our birth

take thy departure like a guest filled with

to us.

and with resignation, thou untroubled rest? But a grievance,

seek to

wasted perversely in

to be terly

why

Why

without avail?

upon

that thou hast en-

if all

joyed, has been squandered is

enter

fool,

life,

and

make any its

and

lost,

addition,

turn and

not rather

life

end of life and travail? For there is nothing more which I can contrive and discover for thee to give pleasure:

same.

Though

all

thy body

things are ever the is

not yet decayed

with years nor thy frame worn out and exhausted, yet

though

all

things remain the same, ay

in length of life

now

thou shouldst outlast

nay even more

Think

fruct.

too

how

will

life is

in usu-

all

the bygone antiquity of

Nature therefore holds

this

was nothing up to us as a

mirror of the time yet to come after our death. Is

there aught in this that looks appalling,

aught that wears an aspect of gloom ?

more untroubled than any

lost ut-

make an

are sup-

and one thing

must ever be replenished out of other things; and no one is delivered over to the pit and

that thou goest such lengths in sickly sorrows?

bemoan and bewail death? For past and gone has been welcome

Now

with good things.

filled

And

978]

those things sure enough,

are fabled to be in the deep of Acheron,

No

exist for us in this life.

not

Is it

sleep?

Tantalus,

by groundless terror, as the story

wretch a huge stone hanging in

is,

air;

which do all

numbed

fears poor

but in

life

rather a baseless dread of the god vexes mortals:

the

fall

they fear

chance brings to each. into

Tityos laid

is

such

Nor do

fall

of luck as

birds eat a

in Acheron, nor

way

can they

up

sooth to say find during eternity food to peck under his large breast. However huge the bulk of body he extends, though such as to take up

against us a well-founded claim and puts forth

with outspread limbs not nine acres merely,

races of things

all if

living,

thou shouldst never die," what answer have

we

to

make

save

this,

that nature

sets

in her pleading a true indictment?

but the whole earth, yet will he not be able to

however one of greater age and more advanced in years should complain and lament poor wretch his death more than is right, would she not with greater cause raise her voice and rally him in sharp accents, "Away from this time forth with thy tears, rascal; a

endure everlasting pain and supply food from his own body for ever. But he is for us a

rive.

In

truce to thy complainings: thou decayest after

eyes

who

952]

full

If

enjoyment of

all

the prizes of

cause thou ever yearnest for what

and

what is, thy grasp unfinished and

ent,

despisest

life

life. is

But

be-

not pres-

has slipped from

unsatisfying,

and or

ever thou thoughtest, death has taken his stand at

thy pillow, before thou canst take thy de-

Tityos,

whom,

rend and

as

bitter

he grovels in love, vultures bitter

anguish eats up or

troubled thoughts from any other passion do life is

too

we have

a Sisyphus before our

bent on asking from the people the

rods and cruel axes, and always retires de-

and disappointed. For to ask for power, which empty as it is is never given, and always in the chase of it to undergo severe toil, this feated

is

forcing up-hill with

which

after all rolls

much

effort a

stone

back again from the sum-

ON THE NATURE OF THINGS, BOOK

W02-W75

seeks in headlong haste the levels of

mit and

Then

others.

there

III

is

43

Democritus, who,

when mem-

nature of the mind, and never to fill it full and sate it with good things, as the seasons of the year do for us, when they come round and

had warned him that the ory-waking motions of his mind were waning, by his own spontaneous act offered up his head to death. Even Epicurus passed away,

bring their fruits and varied delights, though after all we are never filled with the enjoy-

when his light of life had run its course, he who surpassed in intellect the race of man and

Then

the plain.

to be ever feeding the thank-

less

ments of

life, this

methinks

maidens

told of the

is

to

do what

is

in the flower of their age,

keep pouring water into a perforated vessel which in spite of all can never be filled full. Moreover Cerberus and the furies and yon pri-

to

vation of light are idle tales, as well as

all

the

wheel and black Tartarus belching forth hideous fires from his throat: things which nowhere are nor sooth to say can be.

rest,

Ixion's

But there

is

atonement of

for

punishment

in life a dread of

frightful hurling

guilt,

the rock, scourg-

with

its

of the

fears applies to

itself

with whips,

not meanwhile what end there can

sees

or

ills

what

limit at last

punishments, and fears

lest

enhanced

The

after

death.

is

to be set to

these very evils be life

of

fools

at

length becomes a hell here on earth. 1024] This too you

may sometimes

say to

"Even worthy Ancus has quitted the light with his eyes, who was far far better than thou, unconscionable man. And since then many other kings and kesars have been laid low, who lorded it over mighty nations. He yourself,

1

too,

even he who

sea

and made

erst

paved a way over the great

a path for his legions to

over the deep and taught

them

to pass

march

on foot

on

besotted

all sides

with

man full

and goest astray tumbling about ward wanderings of thy mind.

these are wanting, yet the conscience-

mind through boding

when

thee,

ails

is

goads and frightens

be of

that

sore pressed

load

stricken

and

quenched the light of all, as the ethereal sun arisen quenches the stars." Wilt thou then hesitate and think it a hardship to die? Thou for whom life is well nigh dead whilst yet thou livest and seest the light, who spendest the greater part of thy time in sleep and snorest wide awake and ceasest not to see visions and hast a mind troubled with groundless terror and canst not discover often what it is

doomed, and even

dungeon

the pitch, the metal plate, torches;

itself

and the

the prison

down from

ings, executioners, the

though

for

deeds are signal, and

evil deeds, signal as the

a ripe old age

1053]

in the

way-

mind which wears them out

their

pressure,

what causes too such a

art

cares

just as they are seen to feel that a

If,

on

thou

many

pile, if I

men might apprehend from it

is

may

produced and whence

say so, of

ill

lies

on their

would not spend their life as we see them now for the most part do, not knowing any one of them what he means and wanting ever change of place as though he might lay his burden down. The man who is sick of home often issues forth from his large mansion, and as suddenly comes back to it, finding as he does that he is no better ofl abroad. He breast, they

races to his country-house, driving his jennets in

headlong

to a

haste, as

house on

fire:

if

hurrying to bring help

he yawns the

moment

he

has reached the door of his house, or sinks heavily into sleep

and seeks

forgetfulness, or

even in haste goes back again to town. In

this

naught the roarings of the sea, trampling on them with his horses, had the light taken from him and shed forth his soul from his dying body. The son of

way each man flies from himself (but self from whom, as you may be sure is commonly the case, he cannot escape, clings to him in his

own

despite), hates too himself, because he

the Scipios, thunderbolt of war, terror of Car-

sick

and knows not the cause of the malady;

thage, yielded his bones to earth just as

if he were the lowest menial. Think too of the inventors of all sciences and graceful arts, think of the companions of the Heliconian maids;

for

among whom Homer bore the sceptre without a peer, and he now sleeps the same sleep as

hour, in which mortals have to pass

over the

1

salt

Xerxes.

pools

and

set at

if

he could rightly see into

quishing

all

else

each

this,

man would

is

relin-

study to

learn the nature of things, since the point at stake

is

the condition for eternity, not for one all

the

time which remains for them to expect after death.

LUCRETIUS

44 1076]

Once more what

evil lust of life

is

this

which constrains us with such force to be so mightily troubled in doubts and dangers? A sure term of life is fixed for mortals, and death cannot be shunned, but meet it we must. Moreover we are ever engaged, ever involved in the same pursuits, and no new pleasure is struck out by living on; but whilst what we crave rest;

is

wanting,

then,

something of

life

when else,

it

seems

it

has been gotten,

to transcend all the

we

crave

and ever does the same

thirst

we gape

open-

possess us, as

mouthed. Quite doubtful

it

is

for

it

what fortune

1076-1094; 7-56

the future will carry with will bring us or

what end

it

is

what chance

or at

hand.

Nor by

do we take one tittle from the time past in death nor can we fret anything away, whereby we may haply be a less long prolonging

life

time in the condition of the dead. Therefore you may complete as many generations as you please during your

none the

however and for no less long a time will he be no more in being, who beginning with to-day has ended his life, than the man who has died many months and years ago. life;

less

will that everlasting death await you;

BOOK FOUR I

traverse the pathless haunts of the Pierides

never yet trodden by sole of man.

I

love to ap-

proach the untasted springs and to quaff,

I

and gather for my head a distinguished crown from spots whence the Muses have yet veiled the brows of none; first because I teach of great things and essay to release the mind from the fast bonds of religious scruples, and next because on a dark subject I pen such lucid verses o'erlaying all with the Muses' charm. For that too would seem to be not without good grounds: even as love to cull fresh flowers

when they propose to give nauseous wormwood to children, first smear the rim

physicians

round the bowl with the sweet yellow

juice of

it is

formed into one quickened being with the how it is dissevered and returns into

body, and its

first-beginnings,

I

will attempt to lay before

which most nearly concerns these questions, the existence of things which we

you

a truth

call idols of things: these, like films

peeled off

from the surface of things, fly to and fro through the air, and do likewise frighten our minds when they present themselves to us awake as well as in sleep, what time we behold strange shapes and idols of the lightbereaved, which have often startled us in appalling wise as will essay, that

we lay relaxed in sleep: this I we may not haply believe that

souls break loose

among

from Acheron or

that shades

honey, that the unthinking age of children

fly

may

is left behind after death, when the body and the nature of the mind destroyed together have taken their departure into their several

be fooled as far as the

lips,

and mean-

while drink up the bitter draught of

wood and though trayed,

worm-

beguiled yet not be be-

but rather by

such means

recover

now, since this doctrine seems generally somewhat bitter to those by whom it has not been handled, and the multitude shrinks back from it in dismay, have resolved to set forth to you our doctrine in sweet-toned Pierian verse and o'erlay it as it were with the pleasant honey of the Muses, if haply by such means I might engage your mind on my verses, till such time as you apprehend all the nature of things and thoroughly feel what use it has. 26] And now that I have taught what the nature of the mind is and out of what things health and strength: so

I

about

the living or that something

of us

first-beginnings.

and from things of? their 1 surface, to which an image serves as a kind of film, or name it if you like a rind, because such image bears an appearance and form like to the thing whatever it is from whose body it is shed and wanders forth. This you may learn however dull of apprehension from what fol42]

I

say then that pictures of things

thin shapes are emitted

lows. all since among things open to many emit bodies, some in a state of loose

54] First of sight

diffusion, like 1

smoke which

Munro drops a few lines

that

logs of oak, heat

seem to be out of order.

ON THE NATURE OF

57-^33

which

fires

emit; some of a closer and denser the

like

texture,

gossamer coats which at

summer, and the films which calves at their birth cast from the surface of their body, as well as the vesture which times cicades doff in

among the

the slippery serpent puts off

we

for often

see the

thorns;

brambles enriched with

THINGS, when

BOOK film

a thin

charged, there

is

IV

45

of surface colour

nothing to rend

it,

is

dis-

since

it is

ready to hand stationed in front rank. Lastly

which show themselves

in the case of all idols

to us in mirrors, in water or

any other shining

object, since their outsides are possessed of

an

appearance like to the things they represent,

their flying spoils: since these cases occur, a

they must be formed of emitted images of

image likewise must be emitted from things off their surface. For why those films should drop off and withdraw from things

things.

thin

rather than films

one

tittle

which

are really thin, not

of proof can be given;

especially

on the surface of things many minute bodies which may be discharged in the same order they had before and preserve the outline of the shape, and be discharged with far more velocity, inasmuch as they are less liable to get hampered being few in number and stationed in the front rank. For without doubt we see many things discharge and freely give not only from the core and centre, as we said before, but from their surfaces, besince there are

sides other things colour

itself.

And

this

is

commonly done by yellow and red and darkblue awnings, when they are spread over large theatres and flutter and wave as they stretch their poles

across

and crossbeams;

for then

they dye the seated assemblage below and

show company

all

and the richly attired of the fathers, and compel them to dance about in their colour. And the more these objects are shut in all round by the walls of the theatre the more do all of them within laugh on all hands, o'erlaid with graceful the

of the stage

hues, the light of day being, narrowed. Therefore since sheets of canvas emit colour their

from

surface, all things will naturally emit

thin pictures too, since in each case alike they

discharge from the surface. There are therefore as

which

now shown

fly all

sure outlines of shapes,

about possessed of an exquisitely

small thickness and cannot seen one at a time. heat,

Again

when all

separate be

smell,

smoke,

and other such-like things stream

off

things in a state of diffusion, because while they are

coming from the depths

having arisen within

it,

of the

body

they are torn in their

winding passage, and there are no straight orifices to the paths, for them to make their way out by in a mass. But on the other hand

There are therefore thin shapes and like to the things, which, though no one can see them one at a time, yet when thrown off by constant and repeated reflexion give back a visible image from the surface of mirrors; and in no other way it would seem can they be kept so entire that shapes are given back so exceedingly like pictures

each object.

Now

mark, and learn how thin the naimage is. And first of all, since the first-beginnings are so far below the ken of our senses and much smaller than the things which our eyes first begin to be unable to see,

no]

ture of an

more the proof of this also, few words how minutely fine are

to strengthen yet

learn in a

the

beginnings

of

things.

all

First,

things are in some cases so very their third part cannot be seen at size are

we

tures to be?

to

living

little,

all.

that

Of what

suppose any gut of such crea-

Or

eyes? the limbs?

the ball of the heart or the

Or any

part of the frame?

How small they must be! And then

further the

which their soul and the nature of their mind must be formed ? Do you not perceive how fine, how minute they are? Again in the case of all things which exhale from their body a pungent smell, allseveral

heal,

first-beginnings

nauseous

of

wormwood,

strong-scented

southernwood and the bitter centauries, any one of which, if you happen to feel it lightly between two fingers, will impregnate them with a strong smell. but rather you are .

.

.

know that idols of things wander many in number in many ways, of no to

about force,

powerless to excite sense. 129] But

lest

haply you suppose that only

which go off from things and no others wander about, there are likewise those which are spontaneously begotten and are formed by themselves in this lower heaven which is called air: these fashioned in many ways are borne along on high and being

those idols of things

LUCRETIUS

46

in a fluid state cease not to alter their appear-

ance and change

it

into the outline of shapes of

every possible kind; as

we

see clouds

some-

times gather into masses on high and blot the

calm with

fanning the

of heaven,

clear

face

their

motion. Thus often the faces of

air

along and draw after shadow; sometimes great mountains and rocks torn from the mountains are seen to go in advance and pass across the sun; and then some huge beast is observed to draw with it and bring on the other stormgiants are seen to

them

fly

a far-spreading

clouds.

when

will proceed to

through them, glass

passes

it

especially.

But

reaches rough stones or the matter of

wood, it is then so torn that it cannot give back any idol. But when objects at once shining and dense have been put in its way, a mirror especially, none of these results has place: it can neither pass through it, like glass, nor can

be torn either; such perfect safety the

it

polished surface minds to ensure. In conse-

quence of this idols stream back to us from such objects; and however suddenly at any moment you place any thing opposite a mirror,

an image shows

sure that thin

hence you

itself:

textures

may

be

and thin shapes of

things incessantly stream from their surface.

Therefore

many

idols are begotten in a short

time, so that the birth of such things

is

with

good reason named a rapid one. And as the sun must send forth many rays of light in a short time in order that tinually filled with

there

up the great vaults of heaven: in such numbers do faces of black horror rise up from amid the frightful night of stormclouds and hang over us on high. Now there is no one who can tell how small a fraction of these an image is, or express that sum in filled

language. 176] Now mark: how swift the motion is with which idols are borne along, and what velocity

assigned

is

through the

air,

to

them

as

they glide

so that but a short

hour

is

spent on a journey through long space, whatever the spot towards which they go with a

Now I

show with what ease and celerity they are begotten and how incessandy they flow and fall away from things. The outermost surface is ever streaming of! from things and admits of being discharged: when this reaches some things, it 143]

134-208

out and

must be

moment

it,

things

all

may

be con-

so also for a like reason

carried

away from things in a many in num-

movement tell

of varied tendency,

in sweetly

worded

verses; as the short

all this I

rather than in

song of the swan

is

will

many better

than the loud noise of cranes scattered abroad

amid all

the ethereal clouds of the south. First of

we may

which

very often observe that things

are light

and made of minute bodies

Of

kind are the light of the sun

are swift.

this

made of minute which are knocked forward so to speak and do not hesitate to pass through the space of air between, ever driven on by a blow following behind; for light on the instant is supplied by fresh light and brightness goaded to show its brightness in what you might call an ever on-moving team. Therefore in like manner idols must be able to scour and

its

heat, because they are

first

things

in a

moment

of time through space unspeak-

able, first because they are exceedingly small

and there

is

a cause at their

back

to carry

and

impel them far forward; where moreover they

move on with such winged lightness; next because when emitted they are possessed of so rare a texture, that they can readily pass through any things and stream as it were through the space of air between. Again if those minute bodies of things which are given

out from the inmost depths of these things, as

respond to these in the mirror of a like shape

and heat of the sun, are seen in a and spread themselves through the length and breadth of heaven, fly over sea and lands and flood the heaven, what then of those which stand ready

and

posted in front rank,

ber, in

of time idols of things,

many

ways, in

all

since to whatever part of

directions round;

them we present a

mirror before their surfaces, other things corlike colour.

heaven has ity,

Moreover though the

just before

state of

been of unsullied pur-

with exceeding suddenness

it

becomes so

hideously overcast, that you might imagine its

all

darkness had abandoned Acheron through-

the light

moment

of time to glide

when

they are discharged

and nothing obstructs their egress? How much faster, you see, and farther must they travel, scouring through many times the same amount of space in the same time that the sun-

ON THE NATURE OF

209-286

This too

light takes to spread over heaven!

appears to be an eminently true proof of the velocity with which idols of things are borne along: as soon as ever the brightness of water is

down

set

open

in the

moment

starry, in a

imaged

lations of ether

air,

the heaven

if

is

the clear radiant constel-

water corre-

in the

Now

do you see in what a moment of time an image drops down from the borders of heaven to the borders of earth? Therefore again and again I to those in the heaven.

spond

must admit that bodies capable of and of provoking vision con-

repeat you

striking the eyes travel

stantly

with

marvellous

a

velocity.

Smells too incessantly stream from certain

from rivers, heat from the from the waves of the sea, that

things; as does cold sun, spray

enter into walls near the shore. Various sounds also cease

not to

through the

fly

Then

air.

comes

too a moist salt flavour often

into the

mouth, when we are moving about beside the sea; and when we look on at the mixing of a decoction of afreets us. In

wormwood,

its

bitterness

such a constant stream from

all

things the several qualities are carried and are

transmitted in delay,

no

since

we

at

all

and no

directions round,

respite in the flow

is

ever granted,

and may and hear the sound of

constantly have feeling,

any time

see, smell,

THINGS,

230] Again since a particular figure is

known

by same

felt

to be the

is.

which

is

is

that

And

transmitted in all directions; but because we can see with the eyes alone, the consequence is that, to whatever point we turn our sight, there

all

the several things

meet and

with their shape and colour. gives the

tinguish

power

how

to see

And

strike

the

it

image

and the means to disis distant from us;

far each thing

for as soon as ever

it is

discharged,

it

pushes

how

far distant

each

and the

it

is

larger the

more

seen to be.

dis-

You

must know these processes go on with extreme rapidity, so that at one and the same moment we see what like a thing is and how far distant it is. And this must by no means be deemed strange herein that, while the idols which strike the eyes cannot be seen one at a time, the things themselves are seen. For thus when the wind too beats us with successive strokes and when piercing cold streams, we are not wont to feel each single particle of that wind and cold, but rather the whole result; and then we perceive blows take effect on our body just as if something or other were beating it and giving us a sensation of its body outside. Again when we thump a stone with a finger,

we

touch merely the outermost colour

we do

not

colour by our touch, but rather

we

on the surface of the feel that feel

and

yet

inmost depths.

its

is

stone,

the very hardness of the stone seated in

269] Now mark, and learn why the image seen beyond the mirror; for without doubt it

withdrawn far within. The case is just same as with things which are viewed in their reality beyond a door, when it offers through it an unobstructed prospect and lets many things outside be seen from a house. That vision too is effected by two separate is

seen

side the

239] Well the idols of things I speak of are borne along all round and are discharged and

see

tant each different thing

airs: first there

images and no thing can be perceived without them.

we

the greater the quantity of air

driven on before

Therefore the cause of seeing, it

plain, lies in

47

current which brushes our eyes, the

which is seen in the bright light of day, touch and sight must be excited by a quite similar cause. Well then if we handle a square thing and it excites our attention in the dark, in the daylight what square thing will be able to fall on our sight, except the image of that thing? is

IV

it

sequence thing

anything. the hands in the dark

BOOK

and impels all the air which lies between it and the eyes; and thus that air all streams through our eyes and brushes so to say the pupils and so passes through. The conbefore

the

is an air seen in such a case indoorway; next come the leaves of the door right and left; next a light outside brush-

es the eyes,

then a second

air,

then those things

which are viewed in their reality. Thus when the image of the mirror has first discharged itself, in coming to our sight it pushes forward and impels all the air which lies between it and the eyes, and enables us to see the whole of it before the mirror. But when we have perceived the mirror as well, at once the image which is conveyed from us reaches the mirror and then is reflected and comes back to our eyes, and drives on and rolls in front of it a outside

LUCRETIUS

48

second

and

air

us see this before

lets

itself,

and for this reason it looks so far withdrawn from the mirror. Wherefore again and again I repeat there is no cause at all to wonder why the images give back the reflexion from the

287-364

324

Bright things again the eyes eschew and

I

shun

to look

you

if

upon: the sun even blinds them, turning them towards it, be-

persist in

surface of mirrors in the spot they do, since

its power is great and idols are borne through the clear air with great downward force from on high, and strike the eyes and

produced

disorder their fastenings. Moreover any vivid

in both the given cases the result

by two

body

To

airs.

seen in mirrors to be on the

is

when

cause

the image comes

the plane of the mirror,

unaltered, but

backwards,

mask

is

proceed, the right side of our

and

be-

strikes

on

not turned back

is

you were to take dry and dash it on a

it is

if

features undistorted in front

forthwith were to preserve the out an exact copy of

strike

straight backwards.

The

it

which make a way in and beget pain in the eyes. Again whatever the jaundiced look at, becomes a greenish-

things,

lines of

its

burns the eyes, because

seeds of fire

pillar or

it

to

many

many seeds of greenish-yellow stream from their body and meet the idols of

beam, and

were

brightness often

contains

a plaster

beaten out in a right line

is

just as

before

it

left,

cause

and itself

result will be that the

now be left; and become the right. An image transmitted from one mirror to

yellow, because

and many too are mixed up in their and these by their infection tinge all

eyes,

things with sallow hues.

337] Again we see out of the dark things which are in the light for this reason: when

eye which was right will

the black air of darkness being the nearer has

conversely the

first

may

left

also be so

another that five or six idols are often pro-

And

duced.

thus

all

which lurk in house, however far

the things

the inmost corners of a

withdrawn

they are

may

into tortuous

recesses,

brought out through winding

yet be all

passages by the aid of a

number

of mirrors

and

be seen to be in the house. So unfailingly does the image reflect

and when the

itself

from mirror

left side is

presented,

new image;

the right in the

then

to mirror; it

it is

becomes changed

back again and turns round to what

it

was.

mirrors which

is

other,

and then

it

has

of

with their right corresponding

after

this reason,

it

has been twice struck

to us, or else because the image,

come

to the mirror,

when

wheels about, be-

cause the curved shape of the mirror teaches to turn

round and

face us.

it

Again you would

think that idols step out and put

down

their

same time with us and mimic our action, because from before whatever part of a mirror you move away, from that part forthwith no idols can be reflected; since nature foot at the

constrains

back and at angles

pinged.

air follows

them

so to say

straightway

and

dispels

the black shadows of the other air; for this

is

a

more nimble, a great deal more subtle and more efficacious. As soon as it has filled with light and opened up the passages of the eyes which the black air had before blocked up, forthwith the idols of things which are situated in the light follow and excite them so that we see. This we cannot do conversely in great deal

the dark out of the light, because the grosser air of

darkness follows behind and quite

fills

square towers of a town, they often appear to

image

flies

white

cleanses

because the

to us idols

our right either for

out

and

transmitted from one mirror to an-

sides

little

all

possess a curvature resembling our side, send

to

after

and blocks up the passages of the eyes, not letting the idols of any things at all be thrown into the eyes to move them. 353] Again when we descry far off the

Moreover back

entered and taken possession of the open

eyes, the bright

all

things,

recoil

from

when

they are carried

things, to be given back

equal to those at which they im-

all

the openings

be round for this reason:

all

the angles are

seen from a distance to look obtuse, or rather are not seen at

and their blow is lost and makes its way to our sight,

all,

their stroke never

because while the idols are borne on through

much

air,

the air by repeated collisions blunts

the stroke perforce.

When

in this

way

all

the

angles have together eluded the sense, the stone structures are rounded off as lathe;

yet they

if by the do not look like the things before us and really round,

which are close but somewhat resembling them

as in

shadowy

outline.

364]

Our shadow

likewise seems to

move

in

ON THE NATURE OF

365-440

and

the sunshine

mimic our air

action;

deprived of

life

follow

to if

our steps and

you think forsooth that

can

mowhich

step, imitating the

and the actions of men; for that wont to term shadow can be nothing but air devoid of light. Sure enough because tions

we

are

the earth in certain spots successively

wherever

prived of light

moving

we

about, while that part of

have quitted

is

filled

with

which was the shadow

it

de-

is

intercept

in

it

which we

light, therefore that

of our body, seems to

have always followed us unchanged in a direct with us. For new rays of light ever pour

line

in

and the old are

drawn

lost,

just as

wool were

if

into the fire. Therefore the earth

readily stripped of light,

and again

filled,

is

and

BOOK

THINGS,

IV

49

not threatening to tumble

404] Again

when

down upon them.

nature begins to raise on

high the sun's beam ruddy with bickering

and

fires

to lift

up above

it

the mountains,

which the sun then seems to you to be, as blazing close at hand he dyes them with his own fire, are distant from us scarce two thousand arrow-flights, yea often scarce five hundred casts of a javelin; and yet between them and the sun lie immense levels of sea, spread out below the huge borders of ether, and many thousands of lands are between, held by divers peoples and races of wild beasts. Then a puddle of water not more than a finger-breadth deep, which stands between the stones in the streets, offers a prosthose hills above

from black shadows. all this we do not admit 379] that the eyes are cheated one whit. For it is

pect beneath the earth of a reach as vast, as

their province to observe in

what spot soever and shade are; but whether the lights are still the same or not, and whether it is the same shadow which was in this spot that is now passing to that, or whether what we said

seem

light

wondrous sky Again when our stout horse has stuck in the middle of a river and we have looked down on the swift waters of the stream, some force seems to carry athwart the current the body of the horse which is standing still and to force it rapidly up the stream; and to whatever point we cast our eyes about all things seem to be carried on and to be flowing in the same way as we are. Again although a portico runs in parallel lines from one end to the other and stands supported by equal columns along its whole extent, yet when from the top of it it is seen in its entire

cleanses itself

And

a

little

yet in

before

is

not rather the

reason of the mind, and only

termine; nor can the eyes things.

Do

the

has to de-

the nature of

not then fasten upon the eyes this

frailty of the

387]

know

fact, this it,

The

mind. ship in which

we

are sailing,

moves on while seeming to stand still; that one which remains at its moorings, is believed to be passing by. The hills and fields seem to be dropping astern, past which we are driving our ship and flying under sail. The stars all seem to be at rest fast fixed to the ethereal vaults, and yet are all in constant motion, since they rise and then go back to their faroff places of setting, after

they have traversed

the length of heaven with their bright bodies.

which the high yawning

that with

to discern clouds

birds far

withdrawn

beneath the

and

it gradually forms the contracted top narrowing cone, until uniting roof with floor and all the right side with the left it has brought them together into the vanishing

length, of a

point of a cone.

432]

To

sailors

on the

there opens out for fleets a free passage of

senses to be shaken

extent, yet a single island

seems to

out of them united into one.

When

children

have stopped turning round themselves, the halls appear to them to whirl about and the pillars to

course round to such a degree, that

they can scarce believe that the whole roof

is

set

and bury

sea the

and

San Jose,

sun appears

in the waters to

his light; just because they be-

hold nothing but water and sky; that you

may

not lightly suppose the credit of the

on

all

people unacquainted with the

bour seem tings

to be all

broken

hands.

up

salt

water,

is

to

straight,

poop-fit-

against the

water. For whatever part of the oars

above the

Then

sea, ships in har-

askew and with

to be pressing

is

raised

and the rud-

ders in their upper half are straight: the parts

ARCHBISHOP MITTYHIGH SCHOOL LIBRARY it,

see the bodies of

earth.

to rise out of the waters

wide be formed

of

into that

manner sun and moon seem to stay in one place, bodies which simple fact proves are carried on. And though between mountains rising up afar off from amid the waters In like

maw

heaven opens out above the earth; so that you

California

LUCRETIUS

$0

which are sunk below the water-level, appear to be broken and bent round and to slope up and turn back towards the surface and to be so much twisted back as well-nigh to float on the top of the water. And when the winds carry the thinly scattered clouds across heaven in the night-time, then do the glittering signs appear to glide athwart the rack and to be travelling

on high

in a direction quite different to

Then

their real course.

our hand chance to

if

be placed beneath one eye and press

through a certain sensation

we we

all

it

below,

things which

look at appear then to become double as look;

the light of lamps

brilliant

with

441-517

from the senses first has proceeded the knowledge of the true and that the senses cannot be refuted. For that which is of itself find that

to be able to refute things false by true things

must from the nature

of the case be proved to have the higher certainty. Well then what

must

accounted of higher certainty

fairly be

than sense? Shall be

sense

founded

able

as

it is

not true, then

Or

false.

reason founded on false contradict

to

on the senses?

reason as well

all

to task, or the

refute or the eyes

the whole body

sleep

has

limbs in sweet slumber and

is

we seem

yet then

Again when

bodies.

sunk

in

profound repose,

to ourselves to

be awake and

and mid the thick we see the sun and the daylight; and though in a confined room, we seem to be passing to new climates, seas, rivers, and mountains, and to be crossing plains on foot and to hear noises, though the austere silence of night prevails all round, and to be uttering speech though quite silent. be

to

moving our

darkness of night

Many

462]

we

think

are the other marvels of this sort

which

see,

limbs,

we

all

seek to shake as

it

were the

credit of the senses: quite in vain, since the

greatest part of these cases cheats us

on

ac-

count of the mental suppositions which

we add

of ourselves, taking those things as seen

which

have not been seen by the senses. For nothing is

harder than to separate manifest facts from

doubtful which straightway the of

mind adds on

itself.

469] Again if a man believe that nothing is known, he knows not whether this even can be known, since he admits he knows nothing. I

him who

against

where

decline

therefore

will

his feet

that he

question,

knows since

to

argue the case

places himself with head

should be. this,

I

And

would

yet granting still

put this

he has never yet seen any

whence he knows what knowing and not knowing severally are, and what it is that has produced the knowledge of the true and the false and what has proved the doubtful to differ from the certain. You will truth in things,

rendered

touch the ears? Again shall the

guess; for each apart has

down our

is

wholly they are

taste call in question this touch, or the nostrils

flames to be double, double too the furniture

and men's

if

shall the ears be able to take the eyes

through the whole house, double men's faces chained

them,

And

each

controvert

Not

it?

own

so,

I

distinct office,

own power; and

its

what

perceive

soft

is

distinct faculty,

therefore we must and cold or hot by one

by another perceive the

ferent colours of things

which

its

and thus

dif-

see all objects

are conjoined with colour. Taste too

from one from another. It must follow therefore that any one sense cannot confute any other. No nor can any sense take itself to task, since equal credit must be assigned to it at all times. What therefore has at any time has

faculty apart; smells spring

its

source, sounds

appeared true to each sense,

is

true.

reason shall be unable to explain cause

why

things which close at

square, at a distance looked round, better, if

you are

And

if

away the hand were it

yet

is

at a loss for the reason, to

erroneously the causes of each shape,

state

than to

let

slip

from your grasp on any

things manifest and ruin the

side

groundwork

of

and wrench up all the foundations on which rest life and existence. For not only would all reason give way, life itself would at once fall to the ground, unless you choose to trust the senses and shun precipices and all belief

things else of this sort that are to be avoided,

and

to

pursue the opposite things. All that

host of words then be sure ing,

is

which has been drawn out

quite

unmean-

in array against

the senses.

513] Once more, as in a building, if the rule applied is wry, and the square is untrue

first

and swerves from there

is

its

straight lines,

and

if

the slightest hitch in any part of the

level, all the

construction

must be wry, crooked,

must be

faulty, all

sloping, leaning for-

ON THE NATURE OF

518-591

ruined

fall,

all

urements; so too needs prove is

founded on

tinguished syllable by syllable; for each voice

522]

other senses

which

false,

false senses.

And now

point

started

retains if

to explain in

do each perceive

what way the

their several ob-

the nowise arduous task which

jects, is

51

erroneous meas-

first

you distorted and

to

IV

reason of things must

by the all

BOOK

from which each several voice has and that at which it arrives, the very words too must be plainly heard and dis-

wards, leaning backwards, without symmetry, so that some parts seem ready to fall, others

do

THINGS,

is still

its

and

retains

shape. But

its

more than

suitable,

is

the words must be huddled together in pass-

ing through

organised

Therefore

left.

structure

the space between be

much

air

its

flight

in

that

it is

and the voice be disthrough the same.

you can hear a sound,

yet

524] In the first place all sound and voice is heard when they have made their way into the

cannot distinguish what the meaning of the

ears and have struck with their body the sense of hearing. For voice too and sound you must

voice

to be bodily, since they are able to act

admit

upon the senses. Again voice often abrades the throat, and shouting in passing forth makes the windpipe more rough: when to wit the first-beginnings of voices have risen up in larger mass and commenced to pass abroad through their strait passage, you are to know the door of the

mouth now crammed

abraded. There

is

itself is

no doubt then that voices

and words consist of bodily first-beginnings, with the power to hurt; nor can you fail to know how much of body is taken away and how much is withdrawn from men's very sinews and strength by a speech continued without interruption from the dawning brightness of morning to the shadow of black night, above all if it has been poured forth

much

with

must be

loud shouting. Voice therefore

bodily, since a

man

by

much

speak-

Next roughcomes from roughness of firstbeginnings, as smoothness is produced from

huddled and hampered is the comes. Again a single word often stirs the ears of a whole assembly of people, when uttered by the crier's mouth.

words

One

is:

so

when

it

voice therefore in a

der into

many

moment

voices, since

separately into

all

them the form and

it

the ears, stamping

572] When you fully perceive all explain to yourself and others

may

shape which pierce the ears in these two

cases:

low

when

the trumpet brays dully in deep

tones, the barbarian country roused echo-

ing back the hoarse hollow sound, and

when

it

is

succession forms of words like to those sent forth, as

among call

we

seek our comrades straying about

the darkened hills

upon them

places give voices,

and with loud voice I

have seen

six

or seven

scattered abroad.

back

when you

as

many

as

sent forth one: in such wise

dash back on

peat the words thus trained to

like

you

this,

how

that in lonely spots rocks give back in regular

did the very

are the first-beginnings of

upon

sound of the word. But such of the voices as do not fall directly on the ears, are carried past and lost, fruitlessly dispersed in air: some striking upon solid spots are thrown back and give back a sound and sometimes mock by an echo of the word.

ing loses a portion from his body.

Nor

asun-

distinct

ness of voice

smoothness.

starts

distributes itself

hills

hills

and

re-

come back.

These spots the people round fancy that the goat-footed satyrs and nymphs inhabit, and tell that they are the fauns by whose nightpervading noise and sportive play as they declare the still silence is broken and sounds produced of stringed instruments and sweet plain-

swans from the headstrong torrents of Helicon raise their clear-toned dirge with plaintive

tive melodies,

voice.

country-people hearing far and wide, what

When

we

when

such as the pipe pours forth

beaten by the fingers of the players, the

force these voices

time Pan nodding the piny covering of his

from the depths of our body and discharge them straight out at the mouth, the pliant tongue deft fashioner of words gives them articulate utterance and the structure of

head half a beast's oft runs over the gaping reeds with curved lip, making the pipe with-

549]

therefore

forth

the lips does fore

when

its

part in shaping them. There-

the distance

is

not long between the

out ceasing to pour forth

Other such

like prodigies

woodland song. and marvels they

its

may

not haply be thought to

inhabit lonely places,

abandoned even by the

tell of,

that they

LUCRETIUS

52

On

gods.

this

account they vaunt such won-

some other

ders in their stories or are led on by

reason; inasmuch as the whole race of all

To

595] it

man

is

too greedy after listening ears.

wonder how which the voices come and

proceed, you need not

that through places, through

is

eyes cannot see plain things, strike the ears.

We

often see a conversation go

on even through closed doors, sure enough because the voice can pass uninjured through the winding openings of things, while idols refuse to pass: they are torn to shreds,

if

the

openings through which they glide are not

through which

straight, like those of glass,

every image passes. Again a voice distributes since voices are begot-

itself in all directions,

ten one out of another,

when

a single voice

has once gone forth and sprung into many, as a spark of fire into

is

often

constituent

its

wont

fires.

to distribute itself

Therefore places are

with voices, which though far with-

filled

drawn out

of

and

by sound. But idols

stirred

view yet are

in

all

commotion proceed in

all

straight courses as soon as they have been dis-

charged; and therefore you can never see be-

yond it.

a wall, but

And

you may hear voices outside

yet this very voice even in passing

through the walls of houses is blunted and enters the ears in a huddled state, and we seem

sound rather than the actual words. palate whereby we perceive flavour, have not in them anything that to hear the

615]

calls

The tongue and

for

difficulty.

in the

longer explanation or offers In the

first

place

mouth when we

we

press

ing our food, in the same

more

perceive flavour it

out in chew-

way

as

when one

haply begins to squeeze with his hand and

dry a sponge of

what we

full of water.

Next the whole

press out distributes itself through

the cavities of the palate

and the

intricate

openings of the porous tongue. Therefore

when

the bodies of oozing flavour are smooth,

they pleasantly touch and pleasantly feel

all

the parts about the moist exuding quarters

of the palate. But on the other

hand when

they rise in a mass they puncture and tear the

which they Next the pleasure

sense according to the degree in are pervaded by roughness.

from the flavour reaches as far as the palate; when however it has passed down through the throat, there is no pleasure while it is all

592-66$

And

makes no matter what the food is with which the body is nurtured, provided you can digest what you take and transmit it into the frame and keep the stomach in an equable condition distributing itself into the frame.

it

of moistness.

633]

now

will

I

ferent food

is

explain

how

it is

that dif-

pleasant and nutritious for dif-

why that which to some may yet to others seem and why in these matters the

ferent creatures; also is

nauseous and

passing sweet; difference

bitter,

and discrepancy

is

so

great that

man

is

food, to another

poison; and there

is

actually a serpent

what

to

one

is

rank

which

on being touched by a man's spittle wastes away and destroys itself by gnawing its body. Again hellebore for us is rank poison, but helps to fatten goats and quails. That you may know how this comes to pass, first of all you must remember what we have said before, that the seeds which are contained in things are mixed up in manifold ways. Again all living creatures soever which take food, even as they are unlike on the outside, and, differing in each after its kind, an exterior contour of limbs bounds them, so likewise are they formed of seeds of varying shape. Again since the seeds differ, there must be a discrepancy in the spaces between and the passages, which we name openings, in all the limbs and mouth and palate as well. Some openings therefore must be smaller, some larger; some things must have them three-cornered, others square; many must be round, some many-angled after many fashions. For as the relation between the shapes of seeds and their motions require, the openings also must differ accordingly in their shapes; and the passages must vary, as varies the texture formed by the seeds which bound them. For this reason when that which is sweet to some becomes bitter to others, for that creature to

whom

it is

sweet the smooth-

must enter the cavities of the palate with power to feel them all over; but on the other hand in the case of those to whom the same thing is bitter within, rough and barbed seeds sure enough pass down the throat. It is easy now from these principles to understand

est bodies

all

particular cases: thus

when

a fever has at-

tacked anyone from too great a flow of

bile,

or a violent disease has been excited in any

0N THE NATURE OF

666-J39

other way, thereupon the whole body is disordered and all the arrangements of particles then and there changed; the consequence of

which

that the bodies

is

suited to excite sensation,

those

way

fit it

better,

and

in

which

which before were suit no more; and

are able to

beget a bitter sense.

for instance are

mixed up

make

their

Both kinds

in the flavour of

we have often proved before. mark me, and I will discuss the

honey: a point 673]

Now

which the contact of smell affects the and first there must be many things from which a varied flow of smells streams and rolls on; and we must suppose that they thus stream and discharge and disperse themselves among all things alike; but one smell

way

in

nostrils:

fits itself

better to

one creature, another to an-

other on account of their unlike shapes; and therefore bees are drawn on by the smell of

honey through the air to a very great distance, and so are vultures by carcases. Also the onward-reaching power of scent in dogs leads

them withersoever the cloven hoof of wild beasts has carried them in their course; and the smell of man is felt far away by the saviour of the Roman's citadel, the bright white goose. Thus different scents assigned to dif1

ferent creatures lead each to

its

appropriate

food and constrain them to recoil from nauseous poison, and in this

way

the races of beasts

Of all

these different smells then

strike the nostrils

one

may

is

which

reach to a

greater distance than another; though

them

without that

fail.

BOOK

IV

For

reason also you will find

this

not so easy to trace out in what quar-

it is

thing which smells

ter a

blow cools down and the courier longer hot

as

it

particles

when

situated; for the

is

loiters

air,

things are

no

race

to

they finish

their

much

none of

carried so far as sound, as voice, to say

at fault

lose the scent.

706] But what

and

smells

also the

I

have said

will be

not found in

is

in the class of flavours only, but

forms and colours of things are not

so well suited to the senses of

ers.

through the

of

which reason dogs are often

sense; for

and

53

more

all,

all

but that some

distressing to the sight than oth-

Moreover ravenous

lions

cannot face and

bear to gaze upon a cock with flapping wings putting night to rout and wont to

morning with

shrill voice: in

once bethink themselves of

summon

such wise they

flight,

at

because sure

enough in the body of cocks are certain seeds, and these, when they have been discharged into the eyes of lions, bore into the pupils and cause such sharp pain that courageous though they be, they cannot continue to face them;

while at the same time these things cannot hurt at

all

our sight either because they do not

enter in or because the

moment

free passage out of the eyes

they enter, a

granted them,

is

so that they cannot by staying behind hurt the

eyes in any part.

Now mark, and

722]

hear what things

the mind, and learn in a few words

are preserved.

687]

THINGS,

the things first

of

many

all

in

which come

into

it

do come.

that idols of things

number,

in

many

move

whence I

say

wander about

ways, in

all direc-

and these when like a cobweb or

tions round, extremely thin;

nothing of things which strike the eyesight and provoke vision. For in its mazy course each comes slowly on and is sooner lost, being

piece of gold-leaf. For these idols are far thin-

gradually dispersed into the readily receiving

sion of the eyes

expanse of depths

it

air; first

with

because coming out of

difficulty discharges itself

the thing: for the fact that

all

they meet, readily unite,

ner in texture than those which take posses-

and provoke

vision;

since

its

these enter in through the porous parts of the

from

body and stir the fine nature of the mind within and provoke sensation. Therefore we see Centaurs and limbs of Scyllas and Cerberus-like faces of dogs and idols of those who are dead whose bones earth holds in its embrace; since idols of every kind are everywhere borne about, partly those which are spontaneously produced within the air, partly all those which withdraw from various things and those which are formed by compounding the shapes of these. For assuredly no image of

things are found

have a stronger smell when crushed, when pounded, when broken up by fire, shows that odours stream and withdraw from the inner to

you may see that smell is formed of larger first-beginnings than voice, since it does not pass through stone walls, through which voice and sound are borne parts of things: next

1 Having heard the Gauls, the white geese cackled and roused the guards of the Capitol (387 b. c).

LUCRETIUS

54

Centaur

is

formed out of

no

a live one, since

such nature of living creature ever existed;

when images

but

of a horse

and

a

man

have

J40-820

many

themselves and

up by

points

must be cleared

we desire to give a The first question

us, if

plain exposi-

tion of things.

why, when

is

by chance come together, they readily adhere at once, as we said before, on account of their

the wish has occurred to any one to think of a

and thin texture. All other things of the kind are produced in like fashion. And when these from extreme lightness are borne on with velocity, as I showed before, any one subtle composite image you like readily moves

very thing.

fine nature

mind by

the

and

fine

a single stroke; for the

mind

is

wondrously nimble.

is itself

like the other, seeing

is

with the mind and

must be produced in a I have shown that I perceive for instance a lion by means of idols which provoke the eyes, you may be sure that the mind is moved in a like way, which by

seeing with the eyes

way. Well then since

like

of idols sees a lion or anything else just

means

with

as well as the eyes,

Do

this difference that

it

much thinner idols. And when sleep has

the instant thinks of that

idols observe

soon as

we

to us,

sea, if earth,

if

will does

ay or heaven

command produce and

when we

and so

is

itself

what we

a procession, feasts,

provide?

nature at

And though

marvel the mind of others in

same spot and room quite different.

all

will,

everything in short does

battles,

the

our

an image present

wish? Assemblies of men,

to increase the

749] That all this is done as I relate you may easily learn from what follows. So far as the

one

mind on

thing, his

What

thinking of things

is

again are

see in sleep idols

we

to say,

advance in meas-

ured tread and move their pliant limbs,

when

nimble wise they put out each pliant arm in turn and represent to the eyes over and over in

again an action with foot that moves in time?

imbued with

Idols to wit are

art

and move

about well-trained, to be able in the night-

Or

time to exhibit such plays.

will this rather

perceives

be the truth? Because in one unit of time,

prostrated the 757] body, for no other reason does the mind's intelligence wake, except because the very same

one single word

when we can

perceive is

provoke our minds which provoke them

therefore in idols are at eral place.

And

whom

mind can

see distinctly

life

has

left

and death and earth gotten

many

latent times

which reason finds to exist, any time you please all the several hand ready prepared in each sev-

contained

are

when we are awake, and to such a degree that we seem without a doubt to perceive him

idols

by sense and while

it

uttered,

because they are so thin, the only those which

it

This nature constrains to come to pass because all the senses of the body are then

strains itself to see; therefore all that there are

hampered and at rest throughout the limbs and cannot refute the unreal by real things. Moreover memory is prostrate and relaxed in sleep and protests not that he has long been in the grasp of death and destruction whom

has

hold

the

of.

mind

believes

it

sees alive.

limbs in regular measure: for sometimes in sleep

an image

seen to do this:

is

when

the

wit has gone and a second then been

born in another posture, that former one seems to

have altered

its

attitude.

This remember

you must assume

to take place

celerity: so great

is

store of things;

time that sense can seize ticles,

is

And

here

many

save only those for which

lost,

itself

ready.

Moreover

ready and hopes to see that upon each thing; therefore the low.

Do

you not

it

makes itself which follows it

result does fol-

when

see that the eyes also,

they essay to discern things which are thin and

themselves and make themselves and without that we cannot see distinctly? And yet you may observe even in things which are plain before us, that if you do ready,

not attend,

it is

just as if the thing

time away and far distant. if

the

mind

with which

Then

were

all

What wonder

the

then,

loses all other things save those it

is

itself

earnestiy

widest inferences

occupied?

we draw and by our own fault

too from small indications

the

en-

any one unit of

tangle ourselves in the meshes of self-delusion.

the store of par-

it happens too that an image kind is not supplied, but what besame of the fore was a woman, turns out in our hands to

out of which the supply

777]

with exceeding

the velocity, so great the

so great in

made

fine, strain

768] Furthermore it is not strange that idols move and throw about their arms and other

first to

besides are

may go

questions

on.

present

818] Sometimes

ON THE NATURE OF THINGS, BOOK

82i-8 95

have changed into a man; or a different face and age succeed to the first. But sleep and forgetfulness prevent us from feeling surprise at this.

And

823]

herein you should desire with

all

your might to shun the weakness, with a lively apprehension to avoid the mistake of supposing that the bright lights of the eyes were

IV

that the nature of the

creature

55

body of each living

requires

absolutely

food.

I

have

away and withdraw from things, many in number in many ways; but most numerous must be those which withdraw from living things; for because these are

shown

that bodies ebb

tried by active motion,

and many

particles are

pressed out from the depths of the frame and

us to step out with long strides; or again that

carried off by sweating, many breathed out through the mouth, when they pant from exhaustion, from such causes the body becomes rarefied and the whole nature undermined;

the forearms were slung to the stout upper

and

arms and ministering hands given us on each side, that we might be able to discharge the

fore

made

in order that

we might

and that the

see;

tapering ends of the shanks and

hams

are at-

tached to the feet as a base in order to enable

needful duties of

life.

which men

like sort

effect for cause

Other explanations of give, one and all put

through wrongheaded reasonwas born in the body that

ing; since nothing

we might

use

it,

but that which

is

born be-

gets for itself a use: thus seeing did not exist

employment was made; but rather the birth of the tongue was long anterior to language and the ears were made long before sound was heard, and all the limbs, I trow, existed before there was any employment for before the eyes were born, nor the of speech ere the tongue

them: they could not therefore have grown But on the other

for the purpose of being used.

hand engaging in the strife of battle and mangling the body and staining the limbs with gore were in vogue long before glittering darts ever flew; and nature prompted to shun a

wound held

or ever the left

up

shield. rest is

arm by

the help of art

before the person the defence of a

Yes and consigning the tired body to older than a soft-cushioned bed,

much

and the slaking of thirst had birth before cups. These things therefore which have been invented in accordance with the uses and wants of life, may well be believed to have been discovered for the purpose of being used. Far otherwise is it with all those things which first were born, then afterwards made known the purposes to which they might be put; at the head of which class we see the senses and the limbs. Wherefore again and again I repeat, it quite impossible to believe that they could have been made for the duties which they dis-

is

charge.

858]

It

ought likewise to cause no wonder

this state is

is

attended by pain. Food there-

taken in order to give support to the

frame and recruit the strength by its infusion, and to close up the open-mouthed craving for meat throughout limbs and veins. The moisture too passes into all the parts which call

and many accumulated bodies which cause a burning in our stomach, the approach of liquid scatters and quenches as if they were fire, so that dry heat can no longer parch the frame. In this way then you see gasping thirst is drenched out of our body, in this way the hungry craving is satisfied. 877] Now how it comes to pass that we are able to step out when we please, and how it is given us to move about our limbs, and what cause is wont to push forward the great load of this our body I will tell: do you take in my words. I say that idols of walking first present themselves to our mind and strike on the mind, as we said before: then the will arises; for no one begins to do anything, until his mind has first determined what it wills. From for moisture;

of heat

the very fact that

it

determines such thing,

an image of that thing. When therefore the mind bestirs itself in such a way as to there

is

walk and step out, it strikes at the same moment the force of the soul which is spread over the whole body throughout the limbs and frame; and this is easily done, since the whole is held in close union with the mind. Next the soul in its turn strikes the body, and thus the whole mass by degrees is pushed on and set in motion. Then again the body becomes also rarefied, and the air, as you will to

its nature is, being always so nimble in moving, comes and passes in great quantity through the opened pores and is thus distributed into the most minute parts of the

see

LUCRETIUS

56

body. In this

way then by

two causes

these

two ways the body like a ship is on by sails and wind. And herein it need not excite any surprise that such very minute bodies can steer so great a body and turn about the whole of this our load; for wind though fine with subtle body drives and pushes on a large ship of large moving mass and one hand directs it however great the speed at which it is going and one rudder steers it to any point you like; and by means of blocks of pulleys and tread-wheels a machine stirs many things of great weight and

896-9J1

and beaten by

its

repeated blows; and for this

acting in

reason

carried

by a hide or

else

or by bark.

When

them up with slight effort. 907] Now by what means yon

raises

all

things as a rule are covered either

by shells or by a callous skin creatures breathe, this air

same time buffets the inner side also, as it is inhaled and exhaled. Therefore since the body is beaten on both sides alike and blows arrive by means of the small apertures at the primal parts and primal elements of our at the

body, there gradually ensues a sort of break-

ing up throughout our limbs, the arrange-

ments of the first-beginnings of body and

mind

Then

getting disordered.

the soul

is

next a part of

forced out and a part withdraws

sleep lets a

into the inner recesses; a part too scattered

stream of repose over the limbs and dispels

about through the frame cannot get united

from the breast the cares of the mind, I will in sweetly worded rather than in many verses; as the short song of the swan is better

together and so act and be acted

tell

than the loud noise of cranes scattered abroad

Do you and a keen mind, that you may not deny what I say to be possible and amid

the ethereal clouds of the south.

me

lend

a nice ear

secede with breast disdainfully rejecting the

words of truth, you yourself being in fault the while and unable to discern. Sleep mainly

when

takes place

the force of the soul has

been scattered about through the frame, and in part has

been forced abroad and taken

its

upon by mocommunication and blocks up all the passages; and therefore sense retires deep into the frame as the motion; for nature intercepts all

tions are all altered.

And

since there

is

it

food, because food produces just the effects as air,

while

it

the veins; and that sleep

is

much

the heaviest

which you take when

and has withdrawn

then the greatest number of bodies

body:

after that the

of the

limbs are relaxed and

disorder, bruised by

same

distributed into all

is

departure, and in part has been thrust back into the depths

nothing

were to lend support to the frame, the body becomes weak and all the limbs are faint, the arms and eyelids droop and the hams even in bed often give way under you and relax their powers. Then sleep follows on as

full or tired,

much

exertion.

because fall

On

into

the

when sleep obstructs the action of this sense, then we must assume that our soul has been

same principle the soul comes in part to be forced more deeply into the frame, and there is also a more copious emission of it abroad, and at the same time it is more divided and scat-

disordered and forced abroad; not indeed

tered in

no doubt that in us by the agency of the

droop. For there exists

for then the

is

body would

everlasting chill of death.

the

soul

limbs, as

lie

this sense

soul;

and

all;

steeped in the

Where no

part of

remained behind concealed in the fire remains concealed when buried

under much

ash,

whence could

sense be sud-

denly rekindled through the limbs, as flame

can spring up from hidden

fire?

929] But by what means this change of condition is accomplished and from what the soul can be disordered and the body grow faint, I will explain: do you mind that I waste not my words on the wind. In the first place the body in its outer side, since it is next to and is touched by the air, must be thumped

962]

man

itself

And

within you. generally to whatever pursuit a

closely tied down and strongly aton whatever subject we have previously much dwelt, the mind having been put to a more than usual strain in it, during sleep we for the most part fancy that we are engaged in the same; lawyers think they plead causes and draw up covenants of sale, generals that they fight and engage in battle, sailors that they wage and carry on war with the winds, we think we pursue our task and investigate the nature of things constantly and consign is

tached,

it

when

discovered to writings in our native

tongue. So

all

other pursuits and arts are seen

ON THE NATURE OF THINGS, BOOK

972-1058

most part during sleep to occupy and mock the minds of men. And whenever men have given during many days in succession undivided attention to games, we generally see that after they have ceased to perceive these with their senses, there yet remain passages open in the mind through which the

for the

same

idols of things

may

enter.

Thus

for

many

days those same objects present themselves to the eyes, so that even when awake they see dancers as they think

moving

their

pliant

and receive into the ears the clear music of the harp and speaking strings, and behold the same spectators and at the same time the limbs,

varied decorations of the stage in

all

their

984] So great

is

gaged, and not

men men

Thus you

when

the influence of zeal

so great

things in which

tures.

is

and

the influence of the

have been habitually enonly but

all

living crea-

will see stout horses,

their bodies are lying

down,

even

yet in their

sweat and pant without ceasing and strain their powers to the utmost as if for the prize, or as if the barriers were thrown open. sleep

And

often during soft repose the dogs of huntdo yet all at once throw about their legs and suddenly utter cries and repeatedly snuff the air with their nostrils, as though they had found and were on the tracks of wild beasts;

ers

and

owy

as

ther or cruel lion

Many

cries.

57

gnawed by

if

fill

the bite of pan-

the place with loud

all

during sleep speak of important

and have often and often disclosed their Many meet death; many as if tumbling down from high precipices to the ground with their whole body, are scared with terror and after sleep as if out of their judgement scarce come to themselves again,

affairs

own

guilt.

quite

disordered

Again

a thirsty

by

man

or a pleasant spring

nigh

all

down

turmoil.

beside a river

and gulps down

stream. Cleanly

the

when sound

body's

their sits

well-

people often,

asleep, believing that they are

lift-

ing their dress beside a urinal or the public

pour forth the filtered liquid of their whole body, and the Babylonian coverlets of

vessels,

brilliancy.

inclination,

and

in pain,

IV

after they are

awake

idols of stags, as

often chase the shad-

though they saw them shaken off their

in full flight, until they have

delusions and

come

to themselves again.

And

fawning brood of dogs brought up tame house haste to shake their body and raise it up from the ground, as if they beheld unknown faces and features. And the fiercer the

in the

the different breeds are, the greater rage they

must display in sleep. But the various kinds of birds flee and suddenly in the night-time trouble with their wings the groves of the gods, when in gentle sleep hawks and pursuing birds have appeared to show fight and

ion] Again

seed

is

minds of men. which pursue great aims under great emotions, often during sleep pursue and carry on the same in like manner; kings take by storm, are taken, join battle, raise a loud cry as if stabbed on the spot. Many struggle hard and utter groans the

too

whose age

those, into the boiling currents of for the first time passing,

when

the

produced it in their encounter from without from

ripe fulness of days has

limbs,

idols

what body soever, harbingers of face and a beautiful bloom, which cite

a stir

and

ex-

we have spoken

of before

soon as ripe age

fortifies

1037] That seed stirred

up

in us, as

frame. For as different causes

set in

and

from

excite different things, so

man draws

sole influence of

As soon then and

glorious

the frame.

quits

its

as

it

forth

is

the

motion

man the human seed.

has been forced out from

proper seats throughout the

it withdraws itself from the whole body and meets together in appropriate places and rouses forthwith the appropriate parts of the body. The places are excited and swell with seed, and the inclination arises to emit the seed towards that to which the fell desire all tends, and the body seeks that object from which the mind is wounded by love; for all as a rule fall towards their wound and the blood spirts out in that direction whence comes the stroke by which we are struck; and if he is

limbs and frame,

at close quarters, the red

Thus then he who

offer battle.

Then

surpassing brilliancy are drenched.

stream covers the foe.

gets a hurt

from the weap-

ons of Venus, whatever be the object that hits

him, inclines to the quarter whence he

wounded, and yearns body with body; for

to unite

a

mute

with

it

is

and join

desire gives a

presage of the pleasure. 1058] This pleasure

is

for us

Venus; from

LUCRETIUS

58 that desire

is

that desire has

drop

of

name

the Latin first

trickled into

Venus' honeyed

joy,

from the heart yon

of love,

succeeded soon by

which you love is away, yet idols of it are at hand and its sweet name is present to the ears. But it is meet to fly idols and scare away all that feeds love and turn your mind on another object, distract your passion elsewhere and not keep it, with your thoughts once set on one object by love of it, and so lay up for yourself care and unfailing pain. For the sore gathers strength and becomes inveterate by feeding, and every day the madness grows in violence and the misery becomes aggravated, unless you erase the first wounds by new blows and first heal them when yet fresh, roaming abroad after Venus the pandemian, or transfer to something else the emotions of your mind. chilly care; for

1073] fruits of

Nor

is

though

he

who

that

shuns love without the

Venus, but rather enjoys those

bless-

*° 59-" 35

As when in sleep a thirsty man seeks drink and water is not given to quench the

1097] to

burning

in his frame, but he seeks the idols of

waters and

toils

in

vain and thirsts as

he

drinks in the midst of the torrent stream, thus

Venus mocks

in love

lovers with idols, nor

can bodies satisfy them by

all

their

gazing

upon them nor can they with their hands rub aught off the soft limbs, wandering undecided over the whole body. At last when they have united and enjoy the flower of age, when the body now has a presage of delights and Venus is in the mood to sow the fields of woman, they greedily clasp each other's body and suck each other's lips and breathe in, pressing meanwhile teeth on each other's mouth; all in vain, since they can rub nothing off nor enter

and pass each with

his

other's body; for so

sometimes they seem to

and

will

whole body into the

strive to do: so greedily are they held

Venus, while their limbs melt overpowered by the might of the pleasure. At in the chains of

which are without any pain: doubtless the pleasure from such things is more unal-

length

loyed for the healthy-minded than for the love-

forth, there ensues for a brief while a short

ings

sick; for in the very

moment

of enjoying the

burning desire of lovers wavers and wanders

what

undecided, and they cannot

tell

enjoy with eyes and hands.

What

first to

they have

sought, they tightly squeeze and cause pain of

body and often imprint their teeth on the lips and clash mouth to mouth in kissing, because the pleasure is not pure and there are hidden stings which stimulate to hurt even that whatever it is from which spring those germs of frenzy. But Venus with light hand breaks the force of these pains during love, and the fond pleasure mingled therein reins in the bites. For in this there is hope, that from the same body whence springs their burning desire, their flame may likewise be quenched; though nature protests that the very opposite truth;

and

this

is

the one thing of

when we have most of

all,

in

is

the

which,

more

when

the gathered

desire

gone

has

pause in the burning passion; and then

re-

turns the same frenzy, then comes back the old madness,

when

they are at a loss to

know

what they really desire to get, and cannot find what device is to conquer that mischief; in such utter uncertainty they pine away by a hidden wound. 1 121 ] Then too they waste their strength and ruin themselves by the labour, then too their life

is

passed at the beck of another. Mean-

while their estate runs away and

is

turned into

Babylonian coverlets; duties are neglected and

good name staggers and sickens. On her elastic and beautiful Sicyonian shoes, yes, and large emeralds with green light are set in gold and the sea-coloured dress is worn constantly and much used drinks in the their feet

laugh

sweat.

The

noble earnings of their fathers are

the

turned into hair-bands, head-dresses; some-

Meat and drink can fill up certain fixed parts, in this way the craving for drink and bread is easily satisfied; but from the face and beautiful bloom of man nothing is given into the body to enjoy save flimsy idols; a sorry hope which is often snatched off

times are changed into a sweeping robe and

ous cups, perfumes, crowns, and garlands are

by the wind.

when

breast burns with

it,

then

all

the

fell desire.

are taken into the body;

and

as they

Alidensian and Cean dresses. Feasts

set

out

with rich coverlets and viands, games, numerprepared;

all

in vain, since out of the very

well-spring of delights rises bitter, to

up something

of

pain amid the very flowers; either

the

conscience-stricken

mind

haply

ON THE NATURE OF THINGS, BOOK

u 3 6-i2o8

with remorse to think that it is passing a life of sloth and ruining itself in brothels, or because she has launched forth

gnaws

itself.

some word and it

meaning in doubt and and burns like

left its

cleaves to the love-sick heart

living

or because

fire,

it

1

141]

And

found

in love that

prosperous; ills

but

in

such as you

eyes, past numbering; beforehand in the watch so that manner I have prescribed, and be on your guard not to be drawn in. For to avoid falling into the toils of love is not so hard as, after you are caught, to get out of the nets you are in and to break through the strong meshes of

may

seize

with closed better to

it is

Venus. And yet even when you are entangled and held fast you may escape the mischief, unless you stand in your own way and begin by overlooking

all

the defects of her

mind

or

whoever it is whom you court and woo. For this men usually do, blinded by passion, and attribute to the beloved those advantages which are not really theirs. We therefore see women in ways manifold deformed and ugly to be objects of endearment and held in the highest admiration. And one lover jeers at others and advises them those of her body,

to propitiate

Venus, since they are troubled by

a disgraceful passion,

no thought

gives 1

160]

The

and

is

often, poor wretch,

own

to his

black

ills

greatest of

a brune, the filthy

all.

and

rank has not the love of order; the cat-eyed a miniature Pallas, the stringy

dumpy and

gazelle; the

Graces, from top to toe

and wizened

dwarfish all

is

is

a

one of the

grace; the big

and

overgrown is awe-inspiring and full of dignity. She is tongue-tied, cannot speak, then she has a lisp; the spit,

dumb

is

bashful; then the fire-

the teasing, the gossiping turns to a shin-

ing lamp.

One becomes

a slim darling

when

she cannot live from

she

only spare,

is

Then

who

is

we

and things the same

lived without her before; yet does she do,

we know

that she does, in all

woman; and fumigates

as the ugly

herself,

maids running from her and giggling behind her back. But the lover, when shut out, often in tears covers the threshold with flowers and wreaths, and anoints the haughty doorposts with oil of marjoram and imprints kisses, poor wretch, on the doors. When however he has been admitted, if on his approach but one single breath should come in his way, he

and hopeless love are

crossed

her limbs; yet there are others too; yet have

forth

on another, and

these evils are

and highly

lasting

all

of

poor wretch, with nauseous perfumes, her very

sees in her face traces of a smile.

is

59

Venus goes

from

power

that the

fancies she casts her

eyes too freely about or looks it

IV

want

of flesh;

then

and

half-dead with cough.

and big-breasted is a Ceres' self from Iacchus; the pug-nosed is a she Silenus and a satyress; the thick-lipped a very kiss. It were tedious to attempt to report other things of the kind. Let her however be the fat

would seek specious reasons for departing, and the long-conned deep-drawn complaint would fall to the ground; and then he would blame his folly, on seeing that he had attributed to her more than it is right to concede to a mortal.

Nor

this

is

unknown

to

our Venuses;

more they themselves hide utmost pains all that goes on behind

wherefore

with the

the

all

the scenes of

life

from those

whom

they wish

to retain in the chains of love; but in vain,

since

you may yet draw forth from her mind

into the light

these things

all

her smiles; and

all

if

she

is

and search

of a fair

into

mind and

not troublesome, overlook them in your turn

and make allowance 1

192]

Nor

does the

human failings. woman sigh always with

for

when

feigned passion,

em-

she locks in her

brace and joins with her body the man's body

and holds

it,

sucking his

drinking in his

kisses.

her

lips into

Often she does

and from

lips it

and seeking mutual joys courts him run the complete race of love. And in no

the heart, to

other

way could

sheep,

and mares submit

birds,

cattle,

wild beasts,

to bear the males,

except because the very exuberance of nature in the females

is

and burns and joyVenus of the covering

in heat

ously draws in the

males. See you not too

how

those

whom mu-

tual pleasure has chained are often tortured in

their

common

chains?

How often

in the high-

ways do dogs, desiring to separate, eagerly pull different ways with all their might, while

big-breasted

all

of ever so great dignity of appearance; such

Venus! This they would never do, mutual joys, strong enough to force them into the snare and hold them in its meshes. Wherefore again and again

the time they are held fast in the strong

fetters of

unless they experienced

LUCRETIUS

6o I

repeat there

is

common

a

And when

1209]

haply in mixing her seed

drawn

woman

thick seed

with the man's the

by sudden force

has overpowered and seized for herself his

from the to the mothers, as from the to the fathers. But those

then children

force,

mothers' seed like seed like

fathers'

whom

you

are

formed

with a share of both forms,

see

blending equally the features of the parents,

grow from

the union of the father's

the mother's blood, of desire

working

when

body and

the mutual ardour

in concert has

brought and

clashed together the seeds roused throughout the frame by the goads of Venus;

and neither

two has gotten the mastery nor has been

of the

mastered. Sometimes too the children

may

spring up like their grandfathers and often

resemble

the

forms of

their

grandfathers'

keep con-

fathers, because the parents often

cealed in their bodies

many

first-beginnings

mixed in many ways, which first proceeding from the original stock one father hands down to the next father; and then from these Venus produces forms after a manifold chance and repeats not only the features, but the voices

and hair

of their forefathers.

And

the female

from the father's seed and males go forth equally formed from the mother's body; since these distinctions no more proceed from the fixed seed of one or other parent than our faces and bodies and limbs: the birth is always formed out of the two seeds; and whichever parent that which is produced more resembles, of that parent it has more than an equal share; as you may equally observe, whether it is a male child or sex equally springs

a female birth.

1233]

Nor do

the divine powers debar any-

body from the power of begetting, forbidding him ever to receive the name of father from sweet children and forcing him to pass his life in

fancy

with

a barren

when much

in

wedlock;

as

men commonly

sorrow they drench the

altars

blood and pile the raised altars

with offerings, to

make

their wives

pregnant

with abundant seed. In vain they weary the

and the sacred lots. They are barren sometimes from the too great thickness of the seed, sometimes from its undue fluidity and thinness: because the thin is unable to get a firm hold on the right spots, it at divinity of the gods

/209-/2S/

once passes away and

pleasure.

than

is

and with-

repelled

abortively: since by others again a too

discharged in a state more solid

is

suitable,

is

it

either does not

fly

forth

with so prolonged a stroke or cannot equally pass into the proper spots or when it has with

difficulty mixes with the For well-assorted matches are found to be of great importance; and some males impregnate some females more readily than others, and other females conceive and become pregnant more readily from other

passed

in

woman's

seed.

And many women

males.

have hitherto been

barren during several marriages and have yet in the

end found mates from

conceive children and be

sweet offspring.

whom

And

whom

they could

enriched

with a

often even for those, to

however

hitherto wives

been unable in their house

had

fruitful

to bear, has

been

found a compatible nature, enabling them fortify their

portance

is

age with sons. it,

Of such

in order that seeds

to

great im-

may

agree

and blend with seeds in a way to promote birth, whether the thick comes into contact with the fluid and the fluid with the thick. And on this point it matters much on what diet life is supported; for by some foods seed is thickened in the limbs, and by others again is thinned and wasted. And in what modes the intercourse goes on,

moment;

to conceive

wild beasts in this

likewise of very great

is

women

commonly thought more readily after the manner of and quadrupeds, because the seeds

for

way can

are

find the proper spots in con-

sequence of the position of the body. wives the

Nor have

effeminate motions: a

least use for

woman hinders and stands in the way of own conceiving, when thus she acts; for

her she

furrow out of the direct course and path of the share and turns away from the drives the

proper spots the stroke of the seed. for their

own

And

thus

ends harlots are wont to move,

and lie in child-bed same time to render to men. This our wives

in order not to conceive

frequently,

Venus more

and

at the

attractive

have surely no need

of.

1278] Sometimes too by no divine grace and

arrows of Venus a sorry

woman

of inferior

beauty comes to be loved; for the wife sometimes by her own acts and accommodating manners and by elegant neatness of person

ON THE NATURE OF THINGS, BOOK V

1282-128J; i-6s

you to pass your life with Moreover custom renders love attractive; for that which is struck by oft-repeated blows however lightly, yet after long course of time

61

overpowered and gives way. See you not too on stones after

readily habituates

is

her.

that drops of water falling

long course of time scoop a hole through these stones ?

BOOK FIVE Who

is

frame a grandeur of the things

able with powerful genius to

poem worthy

of the

and these discoveries? Or who is so great a master of words as to be able to devise praises equal to the deserts of

him who

left to

us such

prizes won and earned by his own genius? None methinks who is formed of mortal body. For if we must speak as the acknowledged grandeur of the things itself demands, a god he was, a god, most noble Memmius, who first found out that plan of life which is now termed wisdom, and who by trained skill rescued life from such great billows and such thick darkness and moored it in so perfect a calm and in so brilliant a light. Compare the

godlike

discoveries of others in

old times:

famed to have pointed out to mortals corn, and Liber the vine-born juice of the grape; though life might well have subsisted without these things, as we are told some nations even now live without them. But a happy life was not possible without a clean breast; Ceres

is

the Hesperides, fierce, dangerous of aspect,

girding the

stem with

tree's

his

enormous

harm pray could he do

body, what

the Atlantic shore and

us beside

sounding main, which none of us goes near and no barbarian ventures to approach ? And all other monsters of the kind which have been destroyed, if they its

had not been vanquished, what harm could I ask, though now alive? None methinks: the earth even now so abounds to repletion in wild beasts and is filled with troublous terror throughout woods and great mountains and deep forests; places which we have it for the most part in our own power to shun. But unless the breast is cleared, what battles and dangers must then find their way they do,

into us in our

own

despite!

What

poignant

cares inspired by lust then rend the distressful

is

what mighty fears! And and wantonness? What disasters they occasion, and luxury and all sorts of sloth? He therefore who shall have subdued all these and banished them from the mind

from whom come those sweet solaces of existence which even now are distributed over great nations and gently soothe men's minds. Then if you shall sup-

by words, not arms, shall he not have a just title to be ranked among the gods? And all the more so that he was wont to deliver many precepts in beautiful and god-like phrase

pose that the deeds of Hercules surpass his,

about the immortal gods themselves and to

wherefore with more

deemed by us

you

reason

this

man

a god,

will be carried

still

farther

away from

true

For what would yon great gaping maw of Nemean lion now harm us and the bristled Arcadian boar? Ay or what could the bull of Crete do and the hydra plague of Lerna, fenced round with its envenomed snakes? reason.

Or how could

the triple-breasted

might of

how could the birds with brazen arrowy feathers that dwelt in the Stymphalian swamps do us such mighty in-

threefold Geryon,

and the horses of Thracian Diomede fire from their nostrils along the Bistonian borders and Ismara? And the serpent which guards the bright golden apples of

man, and then

also

pride, filthy lust

open up by

his teachings all the nature of

things.

55]

While walking

in his footsteps

out his reasonings and teach by

what law

all

things are made,

my

I

follow

verses,

what

by

necessity

is then for them to continue in that law, and how impotent they are to annul the binding statutes of time: foremost in which class

there

of things the nature of the

mind

has been

proved to be formed of a body that had birth

jury,

and

breathing

great time,

to be

mind

whom

in

unable to endure unscathed through

mere

sleep,

life

idols being

wont

when we seem

to to

mock the see him

has abandoned: to continue, the

LUCRETIUS

62 order of

my

now brought me

design has

to this

way

64-142

human

of belief leads into the

breast

and

where I must proceed to show that the world is formed of a mortal body and at the same time had birth; to show too in what way that union of matter founded earth, heaven, sea, stars, sun, and the ball of the moon; also what living creatures sprang out of the earth, as well as those which never at any time were born; in what way too mankind began to

words and that you will see earthquakes arise and all things grievously shattered to pieces in short time. But this may pilot fortune guide far away from us, and may

use with one another varied speech by the

with a frightful crash.

names conferred on things; and also in what ways yon fear of the gods gained an entry into men's breasts, and now throughout the

to

point,

world maintains as holy fanes, lakes, groves, and idols of the gods. Furthermore I

quarters of the mind. But yet it

well

may

credit to

I

be that the reality

will speak out: itself will

bring

my

reason rather than the reality convince that things

may

all

be overpowered and tumble in

10] But before I shall begin on this question pour forth decrees of fate with more sanctity and much more certainty than the Pythia 1

who

speaks out from the tripod and laurel of

by what force piloting nature

I will clearly set forth to you many comforting topics in learned language; lest

guides the courses of the sun and the wander-

held in the yoke of religion you haply suppose

altars,

shall

make

ings of the

clear

moon;

own

these of their

and earth

haply

lest

free will

we imagine

that

between heaven

traverse their everlasting orbits, gra-

and on by

ciously furthering the increase of crops

we

living creatures, or

think they

roll

any forethought of the gods. For they who have been rightly taught that the gods lead a

seen

therefore

last for

think

it

and

right that they after the

fashion of the giants should

ment

sea, stars,

ever with divine body; and

all

suffer punish-

who by their reasoning displace the walls of the world and for their

monstrous

guilt,

seek to quench the glorious sun of heaven,

all in regard to those things which are overhead in the ethereal borders, are

ing reckoned in the number of gods, that they

borne back scruples

masters,

nevertheless they

if

all

again

whom

religious task-

they poor wretches believe

knowing what

can,

what

by what system each thing

cannot

be, in short

has

powers defined,

its

old

their

into

and take unto themselves hard

to be almighty, not

its

deep-set boundary

mark.

and heaven:

their three bodies,

unlike, three such

their

all

on

threefold

Memmius, wondrous

to

words; as

produce a is

the case

full

exist in the ether

it

to the eyesight

Where each

mind cannot come

it

by

bring to the

unexampled, and yet you nor put it into the hands; through which the straightest high-

cannot submit

salt sea,

nor blood

the nature of the

conviction of

ears a thing hitherto

nor clouds in the

fishes live in the fields

nature,

textures a single

when you

be thought to afford a notable instance of

stones.

three forms so

of be-

what is quite without vital motion and sense. For it is quite impossible to suppose that the nature and judgement of the mind can exist with any body whatever; even as a tree cannot

woods nor sap in grow and abide

seas

day shall give over to destruction; and the mass and fabric of the world upheld for many years shall tumble to ruin. Nor can I fail to perceive with what a novel and strange effect it falls upon the mind, this destruction of heaven and earth that is to be, and how hard it is

me

may

unworthy

and

91] Well then not to detain you any longer lands

possessing divinity and are so

can

by mere promises, look before

for

and sun and heaven,

branding immortal things in mortal speech; though in truth these things are so far from

by what plan above

wonder

that earth

moon must

things can be carried on,

without care,

life

Phoebus,

is

fixed

nor

exist in

thing can

and ordained. Thus into being

away from the sinews and blood. But if (for this would be much more likely to happen than that) the force itself of the mind might be in the head or shoulders or heels or might be born in any other part of the body, it would after all be wont to abide in one and the same man or vessel. But since in our body even it is fixed and seen to be ordained where the soul and the mind can severally be and grow, it must still more strenuously be denied that it can abide out of the body and the living room altogether in crumbling clods of earth or in alone without the body nor exist far

THINGS, BOOK V 63 of what men are, so that they knew and saw in mind what they wanted to make? And in

0N THE NATURE OF

143-219

the fire of the sun or in water or in the high

borders of ether. These things therefore are

not possessed of divine sense, since they cannot

what way was the power

be quickened with the vital feeling.

ever ascertained, and what they could effect by

146] This too you

may

not possibly believe,

a

change

in their

of first-beginnings

mutual arrangements, unless

making

that the holy seats of the gods exist in any parts

nature herself gave the model for

of the world: the fine nature of the gods far withdrawn from our senses is hardly seen by

things? For in such-wise the first-beginnings

and

the thought of the mind;

since

it

has ever

eluded the touch and stroke of the hands,

it

must touch nothing which is tangible for us; for that cannot touch which does not admit of

And

being touched in turn. seats as

even

therefore their

well must be unlike our

as their bodies are fine. All

prove to you

which

copious argument.

later in

men

again that for the sake of

meet

it is

the gods calling as

it

to praise the

does for

I

will

To

say

they have willed

to set in order the glorious nature of the

and therefore

fine,

seats,

world

work

of

and

to

all praise,

of things

many

number

in

many ways

in

pelled by blows for infinite ages back

motion by

in

own

their

im-

and kept

weights have been

wont to be carried along and to unite in all manner of ways and thoroughly test every kind of production possible by their mutual combinations; that also fallen into

it is

not strange

if

they have

arrangements and have come

which this sum on by constant re-

into courses like to those out of

of things

now

is

carried

newing. 195] But

if I

did not

know what

first-begin-

nings of things are, yet this judging by the

would venture

believe that it will be eternal and immortal, and that it is an unholy thing ever to shake by any force from its fixed seats that which by the

very arrangements of heaven

forethought of the gods in ancient days has

been made for us by divine power: so great are

been established on everlasting foundations

the defects with

which

the

all

mankind, or

for

overturn

terly

it

to assail

it

from top

by speech and utto

bottom; and to

invent and add other figments of the kind,

Memmius,

is all

sheer folly. For

tage can our gratitude bestow

what advanon immortal

and blessed beings, that for our sakes they should take in hand to administer aught? And what novel incident should have induced them hitherto at rest so long after to desire to change their former life? 170] For it seems natural he should rejoice

to affirm,

and

tain, that the

first

many

led by

I

other facts to main-

nature of things has by no means

place of

it

is

encumbered. In which the vast

the space

reach of heaven covers, a portion greedy mountains and forests of wild beasts have occupied, rocks and wasteful pools take up and the sea which holds wide apart the coasts of different lands. Next of nearly two thirds burning heat and the constant fall of frost rob mortals. ture by

What

is left

for tillage, even that na-

power would overrun with

its

unless the force of

man made

thorns,

head against

it,

noy; but for

accustomed for the sake of a livelihood to groan beneath the strong hoe and to cut through the earth by pressing down the

times

plough. Unless by turning up the fruitful clods

in a

new

state of things,

whom

old things an-

him whom no ill has befallen in gone by, when he passed a pleasant exist-

what could have kindled in such a one a love of change? Did life lie grovelling in darkness and sorrow, until the first dawn of the birth-time of things? Or what evil had it ence,

been for us never to have been born? ever has been born life,

must want

so long as fond pleasure shall

but for

him who has never

Who-

to continue in

keep him;

with the share and labouring the earth

we

stimulate things to

rise,

soil

of the

they could

not spontaneously come up into the clear

air;

and even then sometimes when things earned

now

with great

toil

the lands

and are

ethereal sun

put forth their leaves over all

in blossom, either the

burns them up with excessive

implanted in the gods a pattern for begetting

and cold frosts cut them winds waste them by a furious hurricane. Again why does nature give food and increase to the frightful race of

things in general as well as the preconception

wild beasts dangerous to mankind both by sea

never been on the to

tasted the love,

what harm not have been born? Whence again was first lists,

of

life,

heats or sudden rains off,

and the

blasts of the

LUCRETIUS

64

and land? bring

Why

diseases

do the seasons of the year

Why

train?

their

in

stalks

abroad untimely death? Then too the baby,

away by the

like to a sailor cast

fills

he so

naked on the ground,

room with

the

speechless,

a rueful wauling, as well

may whose destiny it is to go through in life many ills. But the different flocks, herds,

and wild beasts grow up; they want no rattles; to none of them need be addressed the fond broken accents of the fostering nurse; they ask not different dresses according to the season;

no nor do they want arms or lofty walls, whereby to protect their own, the earth itself and nature manifold in her works producing in plenty all things for

255] First of

all,

all.

since the

and water and the

light

burning

which

is

heats, out of

seen to be formed, do

this

sum

of things

body mortal, the whole naconsist of a

and is must be reckoned of a like body. For those things whose parts and members we see to be of a body that had a birth and of forms that are mortal, we perceive to be likewise without exception mortal, and at the same time to have had a birth. Since therefore I see that the chiefest members and parts of the world are destroyed and begotten anew, I may be sure that for heaven and earth as well there has been a time of beginning and there that

had

body of the earth

breath of air and

all

a birth

ture of the world

will be a

247]

herein that you

have unfairly seized on because

I

this

may

not think

I

point for myself,

have assumed that earth and

fire

are

mortal and have not doubted that water and

and have said that these are likewise begotten and grow afresh, mark the proofs: first of all some portion of the earth, burnt up by constant suns, trampled by a multitude of feet, sends forth a cloud and flying eddies of dust, which the strong winds disperse over the whole air. Part too of the soil is put under water by rains, and rivers graze against and eat into the banks. Again whatair perish,

ever increases something

else, is in its

turn

re-

plenished; and since beyond a doubt earth the universal mother

is

found

is

you and grows

things, therefore

increases

again.

261] Furthermore, that

sea, rivers,

always stream over with that waters well

new

up without

fountains

moisture and

ceasing,

it

needs

no words to prove: the great flow of waters from all sides clearly shows it. But then the water on the surface is always taken off, and thus it is that on the whole there is no overflow, partly because the seas are lessened by

the strong winds sweeping over

them and by them with his

the ethereal sun decomposing rays; partly, because the water

diffused be-

is

low the surface over all lands; for the salt is strained off and the matter of liquid streams back again to the source and all meets together at the riverheads, and then flows over the lands in a fresh current, where a channel once scooped out has carried

with liquid

down

the waters

foot.

And next I will speak of the air which changed over its whole body every hour in countless ways. For whatever ebbs from things, 273]

is

is

all

borne always into the great sea of

and unless to things

things ere

it

in return

and

were

to recruit

now would

to give

them

air;

back bodies

as they ebb, all

have been dissolved and

changed into air. It therefore ceases not to be begotten from things and to go back into things, since

it

is

a fact that all things con-

stantly ebb.

281] Likewise the abundant source of clear light, the ethereal sun, constantly floods heav-

en with fresh brightness and supplies the place

time of destruction.

And

see she

cruel waves,

wanting every furtherance of life, soon as nature by the throes of birth has shed him forth from his mother's womb into the borders of light: he lies

220-295

tomb of lessened and

be the general

at the

same time

to

of light

on the instant by new

previous emission of brightness it,

wherever

it falls.

This you

light; for every is

quite lost to

may know from

the following examples: as soon as ever clouds

begin to pass below the sun and to break off so to say the rays of light, forthwith their lower

part

is

wholly

lost,

owed wherever

and the earth

is

over-shad-

the clouds pass over; so that

you may know that things constantly require new irradiation and that all the preceding emissions of light are lost, and in no other way can things be seen in the sun, unless the fountain head of light itself send a supply. Moreover, earth,

you

which belong to hanging lamps and torches

see, nightly lights

such as

bright with darting flames, hasten in like fash-

0N THE NATURE OF THINGS, BOOK V

29 6-373 ion

amid great darkness with ministering heat

to supply fires,

new

nor does

with

light; are eager to bicker

ay eager; nor

is

the light ever broken off

quit the spots illuminated: with

it

such suddenness

is its

destruction concealed by

65

musicians have given birth to tuneful melodies;

then too this nature or system of things

has been discovered all it

have only

now

and

lately,

I

the very

first

of

been found able to transfer

But

into native words.

if

haply you believe

the swift birth of flame from all the fires at once. In the same way then we must believe that sun, moon, and stars emit light from fresh and ever fresh supplies rising up, and always

that before this all things have existed just the

lose every previous discharge of flames; that

or that after constant rains devouring rivers

you may not haply believe that these

have gone

flourish

same, but that the generations of

men

have

perished by burning heat, or that

cities

have

fallen by

some great concussion of the world, over the earth and

forth

much

indestructible.

whelmed towns,

306] Again see you not that even stones are conquered by time, that high towers fall and

struction too of earth

rocks moulder away, that shrines and idols of

gods are worn out with decay, and that the holy divinity cannot prolong the bounds of fate or struggle against the fixed

ture?

Then

fallen

to

see

we

not the

laws of na-

monuments

of

men,

ask for themselves as well

ruin,

whether you'd believe that they decay with years? See we not basalt rocks tumble down riven away from high mountains and unable to endure and suffer the strong might of finite age? Surely they would never thus riven away,

it

fall

suddenly

for infinite time past they

had held out against

all

the batteries of age

318] Again gaze on its

this,

embrace

which about and

all

the earth:

some

if it

and them back when they are destroyed, then the whole of it has had a birth and is of a mortal body; for whatever gives increase and food but of itself to other things, must be lessened; and must be replenished, when it takes begets

all

things out of

itself, as

say,

takes

things back.

324] Again

if there was no birth-time of and heaven and they have been from everlasting, why before the Theban war and the destruction of Troy have not other poets as well sung other themes? Whither have so

earth

many live

deeds of

men

so often passed away,

why

they nowhere embodied in lasting records

of fame?

The

truth methinks

is

that the

sum

has but a recent date and the nature of the

world is new and has but lately had its commencement. Wherefore even now some arts

have

more you must

and admit that there will be entire deand heaven; for when things were tried by so great distempers and so great dangers, at that time had a more disastrous cause pressed upon them, they would far and wide have gone to destruction and mighty ruin. And in no other way are we yield

proved

to be mortals, except because

we

all

same diseases nature has withdrawn

alike in turn fall sick of the

which those had whom from life. 351] Again whatever things last for ever, must either, because they are of solid body, repel strokes and not suffer aught to pass into them, sufficient to disunite the closely massed

growth:

just

ments have been made

whose nature we have shown before: or they must be able to endure through all time for this reason, because they are exempt from blows, as void is which remains untouched and suffers not a jot from any stroke; or else because there is no extent of room around, into which things so to say may depart and be broken up: in this way the sum of sums is eternal and there is no place outside into which things

may

spring asunder, nor are there any

bodies which can

them by

fall

upon them and

a powerful blow.

the world, as

I

have shown,

is

neither of solid

is

other perilous disaster; nor further ture of

room

is

the na-

or the space of deep void want-

which the walls of the world may be may be assailed and perish by some other force. Therefore the gate

some

are even

ing, into

improve-

scattered abroad; or they

in ships; only yesterday

dissolve

But the nature of

mixed up in things, nor is it again like void, no nor is there lack of bodies that may haply rise up in mass out of the infinite and overthrow this sum of things with furious tornado or bring upon them some body, since void

now many

are receiving their last polish, in course of

the

parts within: such are the bodies of matter

without a crash.

above holds in

so

LUCRETIUS

66 of death

is

not closed against heaven or sun or

earth or the deep waters of the sea, but stands

open and looks towards them with huge wide-gaping maw. And therefore also you must admit that these things likewise had a birth; for things which are of mortal body could not for an infinite time back up to the present have been able to set at naught the puissant strength of immeasurable age.

380] Again since the chiefest

members

of

the world fight so hotly together, fiercely stirred

by no hallowed

some

civil

warfare, see you not that

may be set to their long struggle? when the sun and all heat shall have

limit

Either

drunk up

all

the waters

and gotten the mas-

tery: this they are ever striving to do,

are

but as yet

unable to accomplish their endeavours:

such abundant supplies the rivers furnish, and threaten

turn

to

aggressors

and

flood

all

things with a deluge from the deep gulfs of

winds sweeping over the seas and the ethereal sun decomposing them with his rays do lessen them, and ocean;

all in

vain, since the

trust to be able to dry all things

water can attain the end of

its

up before endeavour.

war do they breathe out with undecided issue, and strive with each other to determine it for mighty ends; though once by the way fire got the upper hand and once, as the story goes, water reigned paramount in the fields. Fire gained the mastery and licked and burnt up many things, when the headstrong might of the horses of the sun dashed from the course and hurried Phaethon through the whole sky and over all lands. But the almighty father, stirred then to fierce wrath, with a sudden thunderstroke dashed Phaethon down from his horses to earth, and the sun meeting him as he fell caught from him the ever-burning lamp of the world and got in hand the scattered steeds and yoked them shaking all over; then guided them on their proper course and gave fresh life to all things. Thus to wit have the old poets of the Greeks Such

a

sung; though

it

is

all

with true reason. Fire

when more

too widely at variance

may

gain the mastery

bodies of matter than usual have

gathered themselves up out of the infinite;

and then

way

its

powers decay, vanquished

in

or other, or else things perish burnt

the torrid air.

Water too

some up by

of yore gathered itself

374-44^

and began

to get the mastery, as the story goes,

when it whelmed many cities of men; and when all that force that had gathered it-

then self

up out

other was rains

of the infinite, by

some means

or

turned aside and withdrew, the

were stayed and the

rivers abated their

fury.

416] But in what ways yon concourse of matter founded earth and heaven and the

deeps of the sea, the courses of the sun and I will next in order describe. For verily

moon,

by design did

not

things station

the

first-beginnings

themselves each

in

its

of

right

place by keen intelligence, nor did they bar-

gain sooth to say what motions each should assume, but because the first-beginnings of things

many

in

number

many ways im-

in

pelled by blows for infinite ages back

motion by

in

their

own

and kept

weights have been

wont to be carried along and to unite in all manner of ways and thoroughly to test every kind of production possible by their mutual combinations, therefore

through great time

it is

that spread abroad

after trying

motions of every kind they

unions and

at length

meet

to-

gether in those masses which suddenly brought together become often the rudiments of great things, of earth, sea,

and heaven and the race

of living things.

432] At this time then neither could the sun's disc be discerned flying aloft with

abundant

light,

nor the

its

stars of great ether,

nor sea nor heaven, no nor earth nor air, nor could any thing be seen like to our things, but only a strange stormy crisis and medley, gathered together out of first-beginnings of every

kind, whose state of discord joining battle dis-

ordered their interspaces, passages, connexions, weights, blows, clashings, and motions, be-

cause by reason of their unlike forms and varied

shapes

they could not

joined together nor nius motions.

gan

to fly

Then

fall

remain thus harmo-

next the several parts be-

asunder and things to be joined like

with like and to mark tion out

all

into mutually

its

off the

world and porits mighty

members and arrange

to say, to separate high heaven and let the sea spread itself out apart with its unmixed water, and likewise let the fires of ether spread apart pure and unparts, that

from

earth,

mixed.

is

ON THE NATURE OF THINGS, BOOK V

449S2 7

449] For first the several bodies of earth, because they were heavy and closely entangled,

met together in the middle and took up all of them the lowest positions; and the more they got entangled and the closer their union, the more they squeezed out those particles which were to make up sea, stars, sun, and moon and the walls of the great world. All these are of

smooth and round seeds and of much smaller elements than the earth. Therefore the laden ether

burst out

first

from the

fire-

different

through all the porous openwith itself many fires; much in the same way as we often see, so soon as the morning light of the beaming sun blushes golden over the grass jewelled with parts of the earth

ings

and

lightly bore off

and the ever-running and even as the earth itself is sometimes seen to smoke; and when all these are gathered together aloft, then do clouds on high with a now cohering body dew, and

pools

the

rivers exhale a mist,

weave

a covering beneath heaven. In this

therefore then the light

with

its

arched

now

itself

and expansive ether

cohering body swept round and

on

sides

all

ly in all directions

round

other things in with

471] After

way

it

its

and expanding wide-

way fenced

in this

all

greedy grasp.

67

fly abroad and condense far away from earth the high glittering quarters of heaven. The plains sank down, the high hills

escape and

grew

in elevation; for the rocks could not set-

down nor

tle

all

the parts sink to one uniform

level.

495] Thus then the ponderous mass of earth was formed with close-cohering body and all the slime of the world so to speak slid down by its weight to the lowest point and settled at the bottom like dregs. Then the sea, then the

then the fire-laden ether

air,

unmixed with

and upon

and some and light-

are lighter than others,

clearest

est of all ether floats

the airy currents,

and blends not airs; set

its

suffers all

it

body with the troubled these things below to be upclear

with furious hurricanes, suffers them to be

troubled by

along

wayward

own

its

storms; while

it

carries

gliding with a changeless

fires

onward sweep. For

that ether

may

stream on

gently and with one uniform effort the Pontos

shows, a sea which streams with a changeless current, ever preserving one

uniform gliding

course.

509] Let us

now

sing

what causes the mo-

tions of the stars. In the first place,

followed the rudiments of sun

are left

itself, all

their clear bodies;

sphere of heaven revolves,

we must

if

the great

say that an

along the uppermost borders; they yet how-

on the pole at each end and conon the outside and closes it in at both ends; and then that a third air streams above and moves in the same direction in which roll on as they shine the stars of the eternal world; or else that this third air streams below in or-

ever are so placed between the two as to wheel

der to carry up the sphere in the contrary

and moon, whose spheres turn round in air midway beneath earth and ether: these neither earth has taken unto

itself

nor greatest ether,

because they were neither heavy enough to sink and settle

along their

down nor

life-like

light

bodies and

enough

still

to glide

to be parts

some members may be at rest, while others at the same time are in motion. These things then being withdrawn, the earth in those parts where the of the

whole world;

just as in us

vast azure level of ocean

moment sank

now

spreads, in a

and drenched with salt flood the hollows. At every day the more the heats of ether round and the rays of the sun on all sides compressed the earth into a close mass by oft-repeated blows on all its outer edges, so that thus buffeted it was condensed and drawn together about its centre, ever the more did the salt sweat squeezed out of its body increase by its oozings the sea and floating fields, and ever the more did those many bodies of heat and air in

air presses

fines

it

direction; just as

we

see rivers

turn wheels

and water-scoops. It is likewise quite possible too that all the heaven remains at rest, while at the same time the glittering signs are carried on; either because rapid heats of ether

are shut in

way

and whirl round while seeking

out and

through heaven's Summanian quarters; else

an

air

a

roll their fires in all directions

or

streaming from some part from

another source outside drives and whirls the or else they may glide on of themselves going whithersoever the food of each calls and invites them, feeding their flamy bodies every-

fires;

where throughout heaven. For which of these causes

is

in operation in this world,

easy to affirm for certain; but

it

is

not

what can be and

— LUCRETIUS

68

done throughout the universe in various worlds formed on various plans, this I teach, and I go on to set forth several causes which may exist throughout the universe for the motions of stars; one of which however must in this world also be the cause that imparts lively motion to the signs; but to dictate which of them it is, is by no means the duty of the man is

who

advances step by

534]

And

step.

in order that the earth

the middle of the world,

it

is

may

rest in

proper that

its

weight should gradually pass away and be

and that

lessened,

ture underneath

ning of

its

it

it

should have another na-

conjoined from the begin-

existence

and formed

into one be-

ing with the airy portions of the world in

which it is embodied and lives. For this reason no burden and does not weigh down the air; just as his limbs are of no weight to a man nor is his head a burden to his neck, nor do we feel that the whole weight of the body rests on the feet; but whatever weights come from without and are laid upon us, hurt us though they are often very much smaller: of such great moment it is what function each it is

thing has to perform.

Thus then

the earth

is

not an alien body suddenly brought in and forced from to

first

some other quarter on

air alien

but was conceived together with

it,

birth of the

world and

is

it

at the

a fixed portion

528-602

much

body of heat much smaller, than they appear to be to our senses. For from whatever distances fires can reach us with larger nor

their light

its

and breathe on our limbs burning

away nothing by such spaces between from the body of the those distances take

heat,

flames, the fire

not in the least narrowed in

is

appearance. Therefore since the heat of the sun and the light which it sheds reach our

and stroke the proper places, the form and size of the sun must be seen from this earth in their real dimensions, so that you may not add anything whatever more or less. And whether the moon as it is borne on illuminates places with a borrowed light, or emits its own light from its own body, whatever that is, the form with which it is thus borne on is not at all larger than the one which it presents to our eyes seems to us to be. For all things which we see at a great distance through much senses

too

air,

look

size

is

dimmed

in

appearance before their

diminished. Therefore since the

moon

and well-defined form, it must be seen on high by us from this earth precisely such as it is in the outline which defines it, and of the size it actually is. Lastly in the case of all those fires of ether which you observe from this earth since in the case of fires which we see here on earth, so long as

presents a bright aspect



their flickering

distinct, so

is

long as their heat

of that world, just as our limbs are seen to be

is

to us.

Again the earth when suddenly shaken its motion all the things which are above it; and this it could in no wise do, unless it had been fast bound with the airy portions of the world and with heaven. For the earth and they cohere with one another by common roots, conjoined and formed into a single being from the beginning of their existence. See you not too that great as

change

by loud thunder shakes by

according to the distance at which they are

is

the weight of our body, the force of the

soul,

though of the extremest

ports

it,

formed

because

it is

fineness, sup-

so closely conjoined

into a single being with it?

Then

and too

what is able to lift the body with a nimble bound save the force of the mind which guides the limbs? Now do you see what power a subtle nature

may

when

have,

with a heavy body, as the

and the force 564] Again the disc

the earth

air

is

of the

it is

conjoined

perceived, their size

is

seen sometimes to

way,

to a very very small extent either

you may

infer that the fires of ether

may

be

smaller than they look in an extremely minute degree, or larger by a very small and insignificant fraction.

592] This likewise need not excite wonder, it is that so small a body as yon sun can

how

emit so great a pletely seas

steep

all

and

light, all

things in

its

enough

to flood

com-

lands and heaven and to

burning heat.

It

may

well

be that a single spring for the whole world

may open up from

this spot

and gush out

in

plenteous stream and shoot forth light, because

elements of heat meet together from out of the whole world in such the mass of

all

sides

manner and

them thrown together streams

to a

conjoined with

point in such manner, that this heat wells forth

mind with

from

us?

of the sun cannot be

a single source. See

you not too what

meadowland

a small spring of

a breadth of

ON THE NATURE OF THINGS, BOOK V

603-681

water sometimes floods, streaming out over the

fields?

It

likewise possible that heat

is

from the sun's flame though not at all great infect the whole air with fervent fires, if haply the air is in a suitable and susceptible

may

state, so that

it

can be kindled

small bodies of heat; thus

we

when see

struck by

sometimes a

general conflagration from a single spark catch fields of

corn and stubble. Perhaps too the sun

he shines aloft with rosy lamp has round about him much fire with heats that are not as

visible,

and thus the

fire

may

marked by no

be

radiance, so that fraught with heat

it

increases

69

from the freezing shades of cold as far as the heat-laden quarters and burning signs. And in like manner we must suppose that the moon, and the stars which make revolutions of great years in great orbits may pass by means of airs from opposite quarters in turn. See you not too that clouds from contrary winds pass in contrary directions, the upper in a contrary way to the lower? Why may not yon stars just as well be borne on through their great orbits in ether by currents contrary one to the other? 650] But night buries the earth in thick darkness, either

when

the sun after his long

upon

course has struck

one single explanation, certain and manifest, of the way in which he passes from his sum-

the utmost parts of heaven and now exhausted has blown forth all his fires shaken by their journey and weakened by passing through much air: or else be-

midwinter turning-point and then coming back from

cause the same force which has carried on his orb above the earth, compels him to change his

to such a degree the stroke of the rays.

Nor with

614]

mer

regard to the sun

is

there

positions to the

of Capricorn

thence bends his course to the

how

Cancer, and

month

moon

the

seen once a

is

to pass over that space, in traversing

which the sun spends the period of single plain cause,

these things.

may

goal of

solstitial

It

say, has

I

a year.

No

been assigned for

seems highly probable that that

be the truth which the revered judge-

ment tains:

of the

man Democritus

worthy

main-

the nearer the different constellations

are to the earth, the less they can be carried

along with the whirl of heaven; for the velocity

of

its

he

force,

says, passes

away and

therefore the sun

is

gradually

left

the rearward signs, because he

than the burning signs.

And

is

the

distant she

is

whirl she all

is

is

in

signs. is

is

and the

For the

can

fainter the

much

the

more

the signs around overtake and pass her.

Therefore

it is

to every sign

that she appears to

more

fires meet together and many seeds of heat are accustomed to stream together at a

fixed time,

which cause new sunlight

to be

born every day. Thus they tell that from the high mountains of Ida scattered fires are seen at day-break, that these

into a single ball

ought to

then unite as it were and make up an orb. And cause no surprise that these

seeds of fire stream together at a time so surely

borne along, being as

lower than the sun, so

because

herein

from heaven and the near-

which she

ing back below the earth, seizes heaven before his time trying to kindle it with his rays; or

much lower moon more

er she approaches to earth, the less she

keep pace with the

656] At a fixed time too Matuta spreads rosy morning over the borders of ether and opens up her light, either because the same sun, com-

behind with

than the sun: the lower her path

more

the

and

intensity diminishes in the lower parts,

course and pass below the earth.

come back

quickly, because the signs

go more quickly back to her. It is quite possible too that from quarters of the world crossing the sun's path two airs may stream each in its turn at a fixed time; one of which may force the sun away from the summer signs so far as his midwinter turning-point and freezing cold, and the other may force him back

it

and reproduce the radiance of the sun. For we see many occurrences which take place

fixed

at a fixed time in all things. trees

blossom and

at a fixed

blossoms; and at a time no

less

At

a fixed time

time shed their surely fixed age

and the boy put on the soft dress of puberty and let a soft beard fall down equally from each cheek. Lastly lightnings, snow, rains, clouds, and winds take place at not very irregular seasons of year. For where causes from their very first-beginnings have been in this way and things have thus fallen out from the first birth of the world, in due sequence too they now come round after a bids the teeth be shed

fixed order.

680] nights

Likewise

wane, and

days

days

may

lengthen

shorten

when

and the

LUCRETIUS

70

nights receive increase, either because the same

sun running above

below the earth and

his course

curves of unlike

in

length parts the

borders of ether and divides his orbit into un-

equal halves; and as he comes round adds on

much

in the opposite half just as

he has

as

682-J5J

and obstructing her

in all

manner

yet cannot be seen, because

may

out light. She

it

also revolve, like

to a spherical ball steeped over

ing light, and as she she

may

ways and glides on withof

rolls

it

one half

round

may

be

in shin-

sphere

this

present changing phases, until she has

subtracted from the other of the two halves,

turned that half which

until he has arrived at that sign of heaven,

wards our sight and open eyes; then by slow steps she whirls back and withdraws the light-

where the node of night of the

makes the shades same length as the daylight.

of the year

For when the sun's course lies midway between the blast of the north and of the south, heaven keeps his two goals apart at distances now rendered exactly equal on account of the position of the

whole

starry circle, in gliding

through which the sun takes up the period of a year, lighting with slanting rays earth and

shown by the plans who have mapped out all the quarters

heaven; as those

heaven

as they are set off

Or

signs.

clearly

is

else

fire

is

through and force

its

way out

of

to

place of rising: for this reason in winter-

Or

else,

because in the

way

just

mentioned at alternate parts of the year fires are accustomed to stream together more slowly and more quickly, which cause the sun to rise in a certain point, therefore

pear to speak the truth

sun

that those ap-

suppose a fresh

born every day.

to be

705]

it is

who

The moon may

the sun's rays,

more and more

shine because struck by

and turn that directly

light every

towards our

day

sight, in

proportion as she recedes from the sun's orb, until just opposite to

with

full light

aloft has

and

at

him

Baby-

system of the astronomers essays to prove in opposition to them; just as though that which

each party fights for might not be equally

were any reason why you should

true, or there

venture to embrace the one theory the other. Again,

why

less

than

new moon should

a

not

forms and regular phases, and each day the one which is born perish and another be pro-

time nights linger long, ere the beamy badge of day arrive.

ball; as the

lonian science of the Chaldees refuting the

of

retarded below the earth and cannot

easily pass its

beam

fraught half of the spherical

full to-

be born every day after a regular succession of

denser in cer-

is

quivering

illuminated

of

with their array of

because the air

tain parts, therefore the

is

she has shone out

her rising as she soars

beheld his setting; and then by slow

it were her course she must same way hide her light, the nearer and nearer she now glides to the sun from a dif-

duced in

room and

its

stead,

it is

not easy to

teach by reasoning or prove by words, since so

many

things can be born in such a regular

succession.

737] Spring and Venus go their way, and the winged harbinger of Venus steps on be-

and

on Zephyr's footprints mother the way before them and covers it over with the choicest colours and odours. Next in order follows parching heat, and in its company dusty Ceres and the Etesian blasts of the north winds. Next autumn advances and Euhius Euan steps on together. Then other seasons and winds follow, loudroaring Volturnus and the south-wind stored with lightning. At last midwinter brings with it snows and gives back benumbing cold; after fore;

close

Flora strews

it

all

follows winter with teeth chattering with

cold.

It

moon

is

is

therefore the less strange that a

begotten at a fixed time and at a fixed

many

things

may

steps reversing as

time

in the

take place at a time so surely fixed.

ferent quarter through the circle of the signs;

751] The eclipses of the sun likewise and the obscurations of the moon you may suppose to

according to the theory of those the

moon

to be like a ball

and

who

suppose

to hold

on her

may also very posown light and display brightness; for there may

course under the sun. She sibly

revolve with her

various phases of

well be another body which glides in her

company

is

carried

on and

getting before her path

is

destroyed again, since

many different causes. For moon be able to shut the earth

take place from

why

should the

out from the sun's light and on the earthward his way her high-exalted head,

side put in

placing her dark orb before his burning rays;

and

yet at the

same time

it

be thought that an-

other body gliding on ever without light can-

ON THE NATURE OF

758-833

Why

not do the same?

too should not the sun

be able, quite exhausted, to lose his

fires at

a

and again reproduce his light when in his journey through the air he has passed by spots fatal to his flames, which cause his fires to be quenched and to perish? And time,

fixed

why

should the earth be able in turn to rob

moon

the

and moreover

of light

herself to

keep the sun suppressed, while in her monthly course she glides through the well-defined

shadows of the cone; and yet

at the

same time

THINGS,

salt pools. It

BOOK V

71

follows that with good reason the

name

earth has gotten the

of mother, since

all

things have been produced out of the earth.

And many

now

living creatures even

spring

out of the earth taking form by rains and the heat of the sun.

It is

therefore the less strange

up more in numcome to maturity in the freshness of earth and ether. First of all the race of fowls and the various birds would leave their eggs, hatched in the springthat time they sprang

if at

ber and larger in size, having

now

summer

another body not be able to pass under the

time, just as

moon

spontaneously their gossamer coats in quest

or glide above the sun's orb, breaking

off its rays

and

if

moon

the

why

ness,

and the

light

it

sheds forth? Yes

own

shines with her

bright-

should she not be able to grow

faint in a certain part of the world, while she

passing through spots hostile to her

is

own

light?

772] in

And now further

since

I

have explained

what way everything might take place

throughout the blue of the great heaven;

we might know what

force

and

how

cause set in

motion the varied courses of the sun and wanderings of the moon; and in what way their light might be intercepted and they be lost to us and spread darkness over the earth little expecting

when

it,

so to speak they close their

eye of light and opening

it

again survey

places shining in bright radiance,

I

all

now go

back to the infancy of the world and the tender age of the fields of earth and

show what

in their early essays of production they

first

resolved to raise into the borders of light

give in charge to the

and

wayward winds.

783] In the beginning the earth gave forth all kinds of herbage and verdant sheen about the hills

and over

life.

Then you must know

For much heat and moisture would then abound in the fields; and therefore wherever a suitable spot offered, wombs would grow attached to the earth by roots; and when the warmth of the infants, flying the wet and craving the air, had opened these in the fulness of time, nature

would turn

to that spot the

pores of the earth and constrain

from

it

to yield

opened veins a liquid most like to milk, even as now-a-days every woman when its

she has borne, cause

all

is

filled

with sweet milk, be-

that current of nutriment streams

towards the

breasts.

To

the children the earth

would furnish food, the heat raiment, the grass a bed rich in abundance of soft down. Then the fresh youth of the world would give forth neither severe colds nor excessive heats

nor gales of great violence; for

things

all

grow

and acquire strength in a like proportion. 821] Wherefore again and again I say the earth with good title has gotten and keeps the

forth every beast that ranges wildly over the

in order to the different trees

given a strong and emulous desire of

was growing

into the air with full unbridled powers.

hairs

and

bristles are first

born

same time the

great mountains, and at the

fowls of the air with

all

their varied shapes.

But because she must have some limit

nature of the whole world and

then

pass

put forth grass and bushes, and next

out by length of days. For time changes the

on from one condition

gave birth to the races of mortal creatures springing up many in number in many ways

nothing continues

For no living creatures can have dropped from heaven nor can those belonging to the land have come out of the

compels to

after divers fashions.

set to

woman worn

her bearing, she ceased like a

on the limbs of four-footed beasts and the body of the strong of wing, thus the new earth first

did

men.

give forth races of mortal

with the bright green hue,

glittered

and

first

name of mother, since she of herself gave birth to mankind and at a time nearly fixed shed

and next

feathers

the earth

the cicades leave

the plains; the flowery

all

meadows

up As

and

of a living

in

all

and

is

must and

like to itself: all things quit

their bounds, all things nature alter.

things

to another,

One

changes and

thing crumbles away

worn and enfeebled with

age, then an-

other comes unto honour and issues out of

its

LUCRETIUS

72

8 34- 9 o 7

state of contempt. In this way then time changes the nature of the whole world and

tained without their

the earth passes out of one condition into an-

in requital of their useful services.

what once

other:

it

could,

it

in order to be able to bear

can bear no more, what before it did

not bear.

and have ensued peace and plenty of food ob-

to

whom

qualities,

their

837] And many monsters too the earth at that time essayed to produce, things coming face and limbs, the manbetween the two and neither

own means

their

kind

ers again destitute of hands, others too

dumb

oth-

proving

without mouth, or blind without eyes,

and things bound limbs over

all

fast

by the adhesion of their

the body, so that they could not

do anything nor go anywhere nor avoid the nor take what their needs required. Every other monster and portent of this kind she would produce, but all in vain, since nature set a ban on their increase and they could evil

not reach the coveted flower of age nor find food nor be united in marriage. For

many

that

tinue their kinds;

must meet together in they may beget and con-

way by which

first

a supply of food, then

the birth-producing

throughout the frame

may

seeds

stream from the

relaxed limbs; also in order that the

may

see

conditions

things in order that

a

we

woman

be united with the male, the possession

of organs

mutual

whereby they may each interchange

it

nor perform for us any useful

to feed

posed

feet,

give

But those

which we should suffer and be safe under our pro-

service in return for

tection, those,

from both; some things deprived of

we

nature has granted none of these

up with strange

the one sex nor the other, widely differing

labour, as

so that they could neither live by

woman,

a thing

own

all

you are

to

know, would

lie

ex-

prey and booty of others, hampered

as a

in their

own

death-bringing shackles, until

nature brought that kind to utter destruction. 878] But Centaurs never have existed, and at

no time can there

nature and

exist things of

double body

formed

twofold

one frame out of limbs of alien kinds, such that the faculties and powers of this and that porinto

tion cannot be sufficiently like. This

dull of understanding

what

To

follows.

years have gone

however you may learn from

when

begin, a horse

round

three

prime of his different the boy: often even at

vigour, far

is

in the

that age he will call in his sleep for the milk

of the breast. Afterwards

when

in

age his lusty strength and limbs

with ebbing till

life

fail

advanced

now

faint

the horse, then and not

then youth in the flower of age commences boy and clothes his cheeks in soft

for that

down; of a

that

you may not haply believe

man and

that out

the burden-carrying seed of

horses Centaurs can be formed and have being; or that Scyllas with bodies half those of

joys.

855] And many races of living things must then have died out and been unable to beget

and continue their breed. For in the case of all things which you see breathing the breath of

fishes

girdled round with raving dogs can

exist,

and

all

limbs

we

see

they neither

other things of the kind, whose

cannot harmonize together; as

come

to their flower at the

same

either craft or courage or else speed has

time nor reach the fulness of their bodily

from the beginning of its existence protected and preserved each particular race. And there are many things which, recommended to us by

strength nor lose it in advanced old age, nor burn with similar passions nor have compatible manners, nor feel the same things give pleasure throughout their frames. Thus we may see bearded goats often fatten on hemlock which for man is rank poison.

life,

their

useful services, continue to exist con-

signed to our protection. In the fierce

first

place the

breed of lions and the savage races their

courage has protected, foxes their craft and

every kind which

901] Since flame moreover is wont to scorch and burn the tawny bodies of lions just as much as any other kind of flesh and blood existing on earth, how could it be that a single

of

chimera with

stags their proneness to fight.

But

light-sleep-

ing dogs with faithful heart in breast and is born of the seed of beasts burden and at the same time the woolly flocks and the horned herds are all consigned, Memmius, to the protection of man. For they have ever fled with eagerness from wild beasts

triple

body, in front a lion, be-

hind a dragon, in the middle the goat whose

name

it

fierce

flame from

bears, could breathe out at the its

body? Wherefore

mouth also

he

ON THE NATURE OF

908-983

who

fables that in the

new time

of the earth

and the fresh youth of heaven such living creatures could have been begotten, resting upon this one futile term new, may babble out

many ers

things in like fashion,

may

then ran with gold over

and

earth

all

were wont

that trees

with precious stones, or that

all

preserve their dis-

tinctive differences according to a fixed

law of

nature.

925] But the race of man then in the fields was much hardier, as beseemed it to be, since the hard earth had produced it; and built on a groundwork of larger and more solid bones within, knit with powerful sinews throughout the frame of flesh; not lightly to be disabled by heat or cold or strange kinds of food or any malady of body. And during the revolution of many lustres of the sun through heaven they led a life after the beasts.

No one

roving fashion of wild

then was a sturdy guider of the

bent plough or

knew how

to labour the fields

with iron or plant in the ground young saplings or lop

with pruning-hooks old boughs

from the high trees. What the sun and rains had given, what the earth had produced spontaneously, was guerdon sufficient to content their hearts.

Among

acorn-bearing oaks they

would refresh their bodies for the most part; and the arbute-berries which you now see in the winter-time ripen with a bright

scarlet

hue, the earth would then bear in greatest plenty and of a larger size; and

many

coarse

kinds of food besides the teeming freshness of the world then bare,

more than enough

poor wretched men. But rivers and springs vited to slake thirst, even as

with clear plash far and wide the thirsty races of wild beasts.

Then

too as they ranged about

they would occupy the well-known woodland

knew

copious gush bathed the dripping rocks, the

born

spring in plenty out of the earth yet

and

summons

blossom

to

man was

cannot be produced with the several sorts plaited into one, but each thing goes on after fashion,

73 great hills

that smooth-gliding streams of water with a

and limbs of different living things formed into a single frame, because the kinds of herbage and corn and joyous trees which

own

the

haunts of the nymphs, out of which they

together,

its

down from

say that riv-

whole heaven about him with his hands. For the fact that there were many seeds of things in the earth what time it first shed forth living creatures, is yet no proof that there could have been produced beasts of different kinds mixed

now

water

BOOK V

parts of the

with such giant force of frame that he could wade on foot across deep seas and whirl the

even

THINGS,

now

for in-

a rush of

dripping rocks, trickling

down

over the green

moss; and in parts welled and bubbled out over the level plain.

how

And

as yet they

knew not make

to apply fire to their purposes or to

use of skins and clothe their body in the spoils

would dwell in woods and mountain-caves and forests and shelter in the brushwood their squalid limbs when driven to shun the buffeting of the winds and the rains. And they were unable to look to the general weal and knew not how to make a common use of any customs or laws. Whatever prize fortune threw in his way, each man would bear off, trained at his own discretion to think of himself and live for himself alone. And Venus would join the bodies of lovers in the woods; for each woman was gained over either by mutual desire or the headstrong violence and vehement lust of the man or a bribe of some acorns and arbute-berries or choice pears. And trusting to the marvellous powers of their hands and feet they would pursue the forest-haunting races of wild beasts with showers of stones and club of ponderous weight; and many they would conquer, a few they would avoid in hiding-places; and like to bristly swine just as they were they would throw their savage limbs all naked on the of wild beasts, but they

ground, when overtaken by night, covering themselves up with leaves and boughs. Yet

never with loud wailings would they

call for

the daylight and the sun, wandering terrorfields in the shadows of and buried in sleep they would wait, till the sun with rosy torch carried light into heaven; for accustomed as they had been from childhood always to see darkness and light begotten time about, never could any wonder come over them, nor any misgiving that never-ending night would cover the earth and the light of the sun be withdrawn for evermore. But what gave them trouble was rather the races of wild beasts which would often render repose fatal to the

stricken over the

night, but silent

LUCRETIUS

74

And

poor wretches.

driven from their

home

984-1061

tures they declared in

meet

stammering speech that have mercy on the weak.

fly from their rocky shelters on the approach of a foaming bear or a strong lion, and in the dead of night they would surrender

And though harmony

could not be established

without exception, yet

a very large portion ob-

in terror to their savage guests their sleeping-

served their agreements with good faith, or

places strewn with leaves.

else the

they would

988]

Nor then much more than now would

men

the races of mortal of ebbing

life.

For then

leave the sweet light

their teeth

palms over the noisome sores

would summon death with appalling cries, uncruel gripings had rid them of life, forlorn of help, unwitting what wounds wanted. But til

then a single day gave not over to death

men marching

many

with banners

spread, nor did the stormy waters of the sea

men and

ships. At this time up and rage without aim, without purpose, without result, and just as lightly put off its empty threats; nor could the winning wiles of the calm sea treacherous-

dash on the rocks

the sea

would often

any one

ly entice

rise

to his ruin

waters,

when

had not

yet risen into the light.

with laughing

the reckless craft of the skipper

tinued their generations to this day.

Then

want

too

would consign to death their fainting now on the contrary 'tis plenty sinks ruin. They unwittingly would often pour

out the names of things,

way it

forces

men

give

it

to their son's wife instead.

ion] Next

man

had got themselves and the woman united

after they

huts and skins and

with the

skill

fire,

passed with

him

into one

domi-

and the duties of wedlock were learnt by the two, and they saw an offspring born from them, then first mankind began to soften. For

cile

fire

made

their chilled bodies less able

now

to

bear the frost beneath the canopy of heaven,

and Venus impaired

their strength

dren with their caresses soon broke

and

chil-

down

the

them

to point

turn

its

when

with the finger

at the

feels

how

far

he can

make

use of his peculiar

powers. Ere the horns of a calf are formed and project

from

he butts with

his forehead,

when angry and

pushes out in his rage.

whelps of panthers and cubs of

when

it

Then

lions fight

claws and feet and teeth at a time

with teeth

and claws are hardly yet formed. Again we see every kind of fowl trust to wings and seek from pinions a fluttering succour. Therefore to suppose that some one man at that time apportioned names to things and that men from him learnt their first words, is sheer folly. For

why

should

note

all

man

this particular

be able to de-

things by words and to utter the var-

and

ious sounds of the tongue,

yet at the

same

time others be supposed not to have been able

do so? Again

made

with nicer

same

in the

seen in

things which are before them. For every one

to

now

is

to drive children to the use of gestures,

frames, into

much

as the inability to speak

of food

out poison for themselves;

then have been

nor could breeding have con-

1028] But nature impelled them to utter the

saved with body eaten into, holding ever after

thousands of

off,

various sounds of the tongue and use struck

the wild beasts a living food,

their quivering

man would

race of

wholly cut

likely to be seized,

would furnish to and would fill with his moaning woods and mountains and forests as he looked on his living flesh buried in a living grave. But those whom flight had and torn open by

for all to

is

one or that other

this

one of them would be more

it

if

others as well as he

use of words

was implanted ception of

its

among

in this

use and

themselves,

man

had not whence

the previous con-

whence was given

to

him the original faculty, to know and perceive in mind what he wanted to do? Again one

man

could not constrain and subdue and force

many It

it

to choose to learn the

no easy thing

in

names

of things.

any way to teach and

convince the deaf of what

is

needful to be

done; for they never would suffer nor in any

way endure sounds to continue to be ears. Lastly

what

of voice hitherto

dinned is

unheard

fruitlessly into their

there so passing strange in

this circumstance, that the race of

men whose

haughty temper of parents. Then too neigh-

voice

bours began to join in a league of friendship

note things by different words as different

mutually desiring neither to do nor suffer

feelings

harm; and asked for indulgence to children and womankind, when with cries and ges-

and the

and tongue were

in full force, should de-

prompted? Since

dumb

brutes,

yes

races of wild beasts are accustomed to

give forth distinct and varied sounds,

when

ON THE NATURE OF

1062-1 1 35

they have fear or pain and

may

1062] This you

when

to sense:

when

learn

joys are rife.

from

facts plain

the large spongy open lips of

Molossian dogs begin to growl enraged and

drawn back

bare their hard teeth, thus

in rage

they threaten in a tone far different from that

which they bark outright and fill with all the places round. Again when they essay fondly to lick their whelps with their tongue or when they toss them with their feet and snapping at them make a feint with lightly closing teeth of swallowing though with gentle forbearance, they caress them with a yelping sound of a sort greatly differing from that which they utter when, left alone in a in

sounds

house, they bay or

ing from blows with a is

away howlcrouching body. Again

when

they slink

when

not the neigh too seen to differ,

young winged

flower

of age

rages

smitten by the goads of

the mares

and when with wide-stretched

love,

he snorts out the signal to arms, and

nostrils

when

the

in

stallion

among

a

as

it

chances on any other occasion he

neighs with limbs of fowls

all

and various

shaking? Lastly the race birds,

hawks and ospreys

and

gulls seeking their living in the salt water

mid

the waves of the sea, utter at a different

Now

of

them

flocks of rooks

when

they are said to be calling

and rain and sometimes to be summoning winds and gales. Therefore if different sensations compel creatures, dumb though for water

how much men in those

they be, to utter different sounds,

more natural

it

is

that mortal

times should have been able to denote dissimilar things 1

09

1 ]

by

many

And

lest

thought

silent

that brought fire

down on

it

was lightning

earth for mortals

in the

beginning; thence the whole heat of

flames

is

spread abroad.

Thus we

many when the

see

things shine dyed in heavenly flames,

from heaven has stored them with its without this when a branching sways to and fro and tosses about under

stroke heat. tree

Ay and

the buffeting of the winds, pressing against

the boughs of another tree, fire

is

may have

fire to

out a citadel as a place of strength and of

ref-

uge

and

themselves, and divided

for

lands and gave to each

man

cattle

in proportion to

and strength and intellect; for beauty and vigorous strength were much esteemed. Afterwards wealth was discovered and gold found out, which soon robbed of their honours strong and beautiful alike; for men however valiant and beautiful of person his personal beauty

generally follow in the train of the richer

But were

a

man

to order his life

man.

by the rules

of true reason, a frugal subsistence joined to a contented

mind

is

for

him

great riches; for

But men defamous and powerful, in order that their fortunes might rest on a firm foundation and they might be able by their wealth to lead is

there any lack of a

little.

a tranquil life; but in vain, since in their strug-

mount up to the highest dignities they rendered their path one full of danger; and even if they reach it, yet envy like a thunder-

gle to

bolt sometimes strikes and dashes men down from the highest point with ignominy into noisome Tartarus; since the highest summits and those elevated above the level of other

things are mostly blasted by envy as by a thun-

different words!

haply on this head you ask in

this question,

either of these accidents

men. Next the sun taught them to cook food and soften it with the heat of flame, since they would see many things grow mellow, when subdued by the strokes of the rays and by heat throughout the land. 1 105] And more and more every day men who excelled in intellect and were of vigorous understanding, would kindly show them how to exchange their former way of living for new methods. Kings began to build towns and lay

given

sired to be

And some

and some-

and stems rubbing against each

the boughs other.

make when

change together with the weather their harsh croakings, as the long-lived races of crows and

friction,

times the burning heat of flame flashes out,

never

struggling with their prey.

75

by the power of the violent

time noises widely different from those they they are fighting for food and

BOOK V

THINGS,

forced out

derbolt; so that far better

it is

to

obey in peace

and quiet than to wish to rule with power supreme and be the master of kingdoms. Therefore let men wear themselves out to no purpose and sweat drops of blood, as they struggle on along the strait road of ambition, since they gather their knowledge from the mouths of others and follow after things from hearsay rather than the dictates of their

own

feelings;

and this prevails not now nor will prevail by and by any more than it has prevailed before.

LUCRETIUS

y6 1

136] Kings therefore being slain the old

majesty of thrones and proud sceptres were

overthrown and

laid in the dust,

and the

glor-

ious badge of the sovereign head bloodstained

beneath the

feet of the rabble

high prerogative; for that

is

mourned

for

its

greedily trampled

on which before was too much dreaded. It would come then in the end to the lees of uttermost disorder, each self

man

seeking for him-

empire and sovereignty. Next a portion of

them taught men to elect legal officers, and drew up codes, to induce men to obey the laws. For mankind, tired out with a life of brute force, lay exhausted from its feuds; and therefore the more readily it submitted of its own freewill to laws and stringent codes. For as

//36-/2/J

And

powers.

would give them life everlasting, because their face would ever appear before them and their form abide; yes and yet without all this, because they would not bethey

lieve that beings possessed of such powers could lightly be overcome by any force. And

they would believe bliss,

them

to be pre-eminent in

because none of them was ever troubled

with the fear of death, and because at the same time in sleep they would see them perform

many

each one

miracles, yet feel on their part no fatigue from the effort. Again they would see the system of heaven and the different seasons of the years come round in regular succession, and could not find out by what causes this was done; therefore they would seek a refuge in handing over all things to the gods and sup-

now

And

moved by anger took measures to avenge himself with more severity than is son

permitted by equitable laws, for this rea-

men grew

sick of a life of brute force.

punishment mars the prizes of life; for violence and wrong enclose all who commit them in their meshes and do mostly recoil on him from whom they began; and it

Thence

fear of

him who by

not easy for

is

his deeds tran-

gresses the terms of the public peace to pass a

tranquil

and

he eludes

a peaceful existence.

God and man,

For though

yet he cannot but feel

posing

things to be guided by their nod.

all

they placed in heaven the abodes and

realms of the gods, because night and are seen to roll through heaven,

and night and night's austere constellations and night-wandering meteors of the sky and flying bodies of flame, clouds, sun, rains,

winds, lightnings,

and loud 1

194]

threatful thunderclaps.

O hapless race of men, when that they

charged the gods with such

acts

What

and coupled

with them

many by speaking in their dreams or in the wanderings of disease have often we are told betrayed themselves and

they then beget for themselves, what

have disclosed their hidden deeds of

evil

and

their sins. 1

161]

And now what

cause has spread over

bitter

for us,

what

No

is it

act

wrath!

tears for

altar

and

fall

prostrate

of beasts

in words. tal

Even

men would

not so

difficult to

explain

then in sooth the races of mor-

waking mind glorious them in sleep of yet more

see in

forms, would see

marvellous size of body. To these then they would attribute sense, because they seemed to

move

their limbs

and

words suitand surpassing

to utter lofty

able to their glorious aspect

and approach every on the ground and

spread out the palms before the statues of the

gods and sprinkle the

it is

wounds

of piety to be often seen with veiled

to turn to a stone

and filled towns with altars and led to the performance of stated sacred rites, rites now in fashion on solemn occasions and in solemn places, from which even now is implanted in mortals a shuddering awe which raises new temples of the gods over the whole earth and prompts men to crowd them on festive days, all this

groanings did

our children's children!

head

great nations the worship of the divinities of the gods

snow,

and rapid rumblings

hail,

a misgiving that his secret can be kept for ever; seeing that

moon

moon, day,

altars

with

much

blood

and link vow on to vow, but rather able be to look on all things with a mind at to peace. For when we turn our gaze on the heavenly quarters of the great upper world and ether fast above the glittering stars, and direct our thoughts to the courses of the sun and moon, then into our breasts burdened with other

ills

that fear as well begins to exalt

its re-

awakened head, the fear that we may haply find the power of the gods to be unlimited, able to wheel the bright stars in their varied

motion; for lack of power to solve the question troubles the mind with doubts, whether there was ever a birth-time of the world, and

whether likewise there

is

to be

any end;

how

ON THE NATURE OF

72/^-/2^9

world can endure

far the walls of the strain of restless

this

motion; or whether gifted by

the grace of the gods with an everlasting exis-

tence they

may

on through a never-end-

glide

ing tract of time and defy the strong powers

immeasurable ages. Again who is there whose mind does not shrink into itself with fear of the gods, whose limbs do not cower in

of

when

terror,

appalling

the parched earth rocks with the

thunderstroke

and

run

rattlings

through the great heaven ? Do not peoples and nations quake, and proud monarchs shrink inwith fear of the gods,

to themselves smitten lest

for any foul transgression or overweening

of reckoning has arrived

word the heavy time at

its

When

fulness?

wind

the headstrong

sweeps over

its

too the utmost fury of

and

passes over the sea

waters the

commander

of a

together with his mighty legions and ele-

fleet

phants, does he not

draw near with vows

to

seek the mercy of the gods and ask in prayer with fear and trembling a lull in the winds

and propitious ten caught

up

gales; but all in vain, since of-

in the furious hurricane he

borne none the

is

the shoals of death ? so

less to

some hidden power trample on human grandeur and is seen to tread under its heel and make sport for itself of the renowned rods and cruel axes. Again when the whole earth rocks under their feet and towns constantly does

tumble with the shock or doubtfully threaten to

what wonder

fall,

themselves and

that mortal

make

men

abase

over to the gods in

things here on earth high prerogatives

marvelous powers,

sufficient

govern

to

men waging

among

the

enemy in order to strike terror, or because drawn on by the goodness of the soil they would wish to clear rich fields and bring the country into pasture, or else to destroy wild beasts for

would

fail

but in vain, since their force

and give way and not be able

copper to stand the severe

strain.

At

like

that time

copper was in higher esteem and gold would lie its

neglected on account of dull blunted edge:

lected,

its

now

uselessness,

with

copper

neg-

lies

gold has mounted up to the highest

place of honour.

Thus time

as

it

goes round

changes the seasons of things. That which was in esteem, falls at length into utter disrepute;

with one an-

fire

stout copper,

is,

and then another thing mounts up and issues out of its degraded state and every day is more and more coveted and blossoms forth high in honour when discovered and is in marvellous repute with men. 1 281] And now, Memmius, it is easy for you to find out by yourself in what way the nature of iron was discovered. Arms of old were hands, nails, and teeth and stones and boughs broken off from the forests, and flame and fire, as soon as they had become known. Afterwards the force of iron and copper was discovered; and the use of copper was known be-

either by a discharge of heaven's light-

other a forest-war had carried

11

from whatever cause the heat of flame had swallowed up the forests with a frightful crackling from their very roots and had thoroughly baked the earth with fire, there would run from the boiling veins and collect into the hollows of the ground a stream of silver and gold, as well as of copper and lead. And when they saw these afterwards cool into lumps and glitter on the earth with a brilliant gleam, they would lift them up attracted by the bright and polished lustre, and they would see them to be moulded in a shape the same as the outline of the cavities in which each lay. Then it would strike them that these might be melted by heat and cast in any form or shape soever, and might by hammering out be brought to tapering points of any degree of sharpness and fineness, so as to furnish them with tools and enable them to cut the forests and hew timber and plane smooth the planks, and also to drill and pierce and bore. And they would set about these works just as much with silver and gold at first as with the overpowering strength of fact

all

1 241] To proceed, copper and gold and iron were discovered and at the same time weighty silver and the substance of lead, when fire with its heat and burnt up vast forests on the great

hills,

Whatever the

BOOK V

and

things?

ning, or else because

THINGS,

and enrich themselves with the booty; pitfall and with fire

hunting with the

came into use before the practice of enclosing the lawn with toils and stirring it with dogs.

fore that of iron, as

and

it is

per they

its

nature

is

easier to

work

found in greater quantity. With cop-

would labour the soil of the earth, stir up the billows of war and

with copper

LUCRETIUS

78 deal about wide-gaping

wounds and

seize cat-

and lands; for every thing defenceless and unarmed would readily yield to them with arms in hand. Then by slow steps the sword of iron gained ground and the make of the copper sickle became a by-word; and with iron they began to plough through the earth's soil, and the struggles of wavering war were rendered equal. And the custom of mounting in arms on the back of a horse and guiding him with reins and showing prowess with the right hand is older than that of tempting the risks of war in a two-horsed chariot; and yoking a pair of horses is older than yoking four or mounting in arms scythed chariots. Next the Poeni taught the Lucan kine with towered tie

1

body, hideous of aspect, with snake-like hand, to

endure the wounds of war and

Thus

the mighty ranks of Mars.

to disorder

sad discord

begat one thing after another, to affright nations of

men under

some addition 1308]

They made trial war and essayed

against the enemy.

ageous keepers to

them

armed

sent before

trainers

in chains; but in vain, since heated

all

with

without distinction, shak-

about the frightful

crests

upon

their

heads; and the horsemen were not able to calm the breasts of the horses scared by the roaring

and turn them with the bridle upon the enemy. The lionesses with a spring would throw their enraged bodies on all sides and would attack in the face those who met them, and others off their guard they would tear down from behind and twining round them would bring them to the ground overpowered by the wound, fastening on them with firm bite and

The bulls would toss their and trample them under foot, and gore with their horns the flanks and bellies of the horses underneath and turn up the earth with threatening front. The boars too would with hooked claws.

own

friends

rend their friends with powerful tusks, in

dyeing with their blood the weapons broken in them, ay dyeing with their blood the weapons broken in their own bodies; and their rage

1

Elephants.

home, they would

in at

selves

wounds roar;

would

all

fly all

when

often

rally any portion of the different kinds of wild beasts

many

wish

a

the

mangled by the after

inflicting

Lucan

steel

on

fly

their

But men chose any hope of victory,

cruel sufferings.

thus to act not so

from

now

abroad; just as

cruelly

abroad,

all

friends

as

them-

and they could not

them; for kine

see lash

fury in the heat of action from and shouting, flight, panic, and up-

into

much

in

to give the

rue at the cost of their

enemy something to lives, when they

own

garment tied on the body was in 1350] use before a dress of woven stuff. Woven stuff

send savage boars

promiscuous slaughter they would disorder in ing

believed before to have been sufficiently bro-

ken

of bulls too in the to

them and courguide them and to hold

their rage the troops

with their tendons severed and strew the in their heavy fall. Those whom they

ground

mistrusted their numbers and were in want of arms.

And some

valorous lions with

to promiscuous rout horse and tame beasts would try to avoid by shying to the side the cruel push of the tusk, or would rear up and paw the winds, all in vain, since you might see them tumble down foot; for the

made

arms, and every day

to the terrors of war.

service of

1290-1370

would put

A

comes after iron, because iron is needed for weaving a web; and in no other way can such finely polished things be made, as heddles and spindles, shuttles and ringing yarn-beams.

And

nature impelled

men

wool before womankind:

to

work up

the

male sex in general far excels the other in skill and is much more ingenious: until the rugged countrymen so upbraided them with it, that they were glad to give it over into the hands of the

women and hard

toil,

for the

take their share in supporting

and

in such hard

work hardened

body and hands. 1361] But nature parent of things was her-

model of sowing and first gave and acorns dropping from the trees would put forth in due season swarms of young shoots underneath; and hence also came the fashion of inserting grafts in their stocks and planting in the ground young saplings over the fields. Next they would try another and yet another kind of tillage for their loved piece of land and would see the earth better the wild fruits through genial fostering and kindly cultivation. And they would force the forests to recede every day higher and higher up the hillself

the

first

rise to grafting, since berries

0N THE NATURE OF

1371-144$

ground below to tilth, in order to have on the uplands and plains meadows, tanks, runnels, corn-fields, and glad vineside

and

yield the

and allow a grey-green strip of olives to run between and mark the divisions, spreading itself over hillocks and valleys and plains; yards,

just as

you now

beauty

all

the

see richly dight

ground which they

with varied

and and en-

lay out

plant with rows of sweet fruit-trees

round with plantations of other good-

close all ly trees.

But imitating with the mouth the was in use long before men were able to sing in tune smooth-running verses and give pleasure to the ear. And the whistlings of the zephyr through the hollows of reeds first taught peasants to blow into hol1379]

clear notes of birds

low

stalks.

Then

sweet plaintive

step by step they learned

ditties,

which the pipe pours

forth pressed by the fingers of the players,

heard through pathless woods and forests and lawns, through the unfrequented haunts of shepherds and abodes of unearthly calm. These things would soothe and gratify their minds when sated with food; for then all things of this kind are welcome. Often therefore stretched in groups

on the

soft grass beside a

stream of water under the boughs of a high tree at

no great

would

cost they

fresh their bodies, above all

pleasantly re-

when

the weather

smiled and the seasons of the year painted the

green grass with flowers. jest,

Then went round the

the tale, the peals of

merry laughter;

for

muse was then in its glory; then mirth would prompt to entwine head

the peasant frolick

and shoulders with garlands plaited with flowand leaves, and to advance in the dance out of step and move the limbs clumsily and with clumsy foot beat mother earth; which would occasion smiles and peals of merry laughter, because all these things then from their greater novelty and strangeness were in high repute. And the wakeful found a solace for want of sleep in this, in drawing out a variety of notes and going through tunes and running over the reeds with curving lip; whence even at the present day watchmen observe these traditions and have lately learned to keep the proper tune; and yet for all this

ers

receive not a jot

more

of enjoyment, than erst

the rugged race of sons of earth received.

For

BOOK V

THINGS,

that

which we have

in

79

our hands,

if

we have

known before nothing pleasanter, pleases above all

and

is

thought

to be the best;

and

as a rule

the later discovery of something better spoils the taste for the former things and changes the feelings in regard to

Thus began

all

that has

gone before. were

distaste for the acorn, thus

abandoned those sleeping-places strewn with grass and enriched with leaves. The dress too of wild beasts' skin fell into neglect; though I can fancy that in those days it was found to arouse such jealousy that he who first wore it met his death by an ambuscade, and after all was torn in pieces among them and it drenched in blood was utterly destroyed and could not be turned to any use. In those times therefore skins, now gold and purple plague men's lives with cares and wear them out with war. And in this methinks the greater blame rests with us; for cold would torture the naked sons of earth without their skins; but us it harms not in the least to do without a robe of purple, spangled with gold and large figures,

if

only

to protect us.

we have a dress of Mankind therefore

the people

ever

toils

no purpose and wastes life in groundless cares, because sure enough they have not learnt what is the true end of getting and up to what point genuine pleasure goes on increasing: this by slow degrees has carried life out into the deep sea and stirred up from their lowest depths the mighty billows of vainly

and

to

war. 1436] But those watchful guardians, sun and moon, traversing with their light all round the great revolving sphere of heaven taught men that the seasons of the year came round and that the system was carried on after a fixed plan and fixed order. 1440] Already they would pass their life fenced about with strong towers, and the land, portioned out and marked off by boundaries, be tilled; the sea would be filled with ships scudding under sail; towns have auxiliaries and allies as stipulated by treaty, when poets began to consign the deeds of men to verse; and letters had not been invented long before. For this reason our age cannot look back to what has gone before, save where rea-

son points out any traces. 1448] Ships and

tillage, walls, laws,

arms,

LUCRETIUS

80 roads, dress,

and

all

such like things,

prizes, all the elegancies too of life

and the

ception, poems, pictures,

fine-wrought statues,

all

all

without ex-

chiselling of

the

these things practiced

borders

brought

together with the acquired knowledge of the

of

light;

things

for

the different arts,

in

must be

one after the other and in

to light

due order

mind taught men by slow degrees as advanced on the way step by step. Thus

untiring

they

1449-1457; i-52

time by degrees brings each several thing forth before men's eyes and reason raises it up into

the

until

these

have reached their highest point of development.

•BOOK

SIX



In days of yore Athens of famous name first imparted corn-producing crops to suffering

mortal affairs throughout, rising up and mani-

mankind, and modelled life anew and passed and first too bestowed sweet solaces of

or

laws;

existence,

when

showed himself

she gave birth to a

man who

and knowledge of old from his truth-telling mouth; whose glory, even now that he is dead, on account of his godlike dispoured forth

gifted with such a genius

all

coveries confirmed by length of time

is

spread

among men and reaches high as heaven. For when he saw that the things which their needs imperiously demand for subsistabroad

ence,

had

all

without exception been already

was placed on

men were

great in

at

of

the

home

cares.

dread

all

more

and

and yet had a

my

dreaded than what children shud-

and darkness of mind must

life

design.

43]

itself

its

did cause the

corruption

all

the

came into it and were gathered from abroad, however salutary were spoilt within it; partly because he saw it to be leaky and full of holes so that it could never by any means be filled full; partly because he perthings that

befouled so to say with a nause-

ous flavour everything within

it,

which

it

had

therefore cleansed men's breasts

with truth-telling precepts and fixed a limit to lust and fear and explained what was the chief good which we all strive to reach, and pointed out the road along which by a short crosstrack we might arrive at it in a straightforward

And

since

I

ters of ether are

formed it,

He

to be

terror therefore

all

in.

we

der at in the dark and fancy sure to be. This

of

taken

things in the thick darkness, thus

in the daylight fear at times things not a whit

in

it

cause arouse in their

melancholy tumbling billows of For even as children are flurried and

breast the

without any respite and was constrained to

ceived that

it

duly to encounter each; and he proved that

mankind mostly without

rave with distressful complainings, he then

corruption and that by

chance

about; and from what gates you must sally out

for all that

understanding plagued

perceived that the vessel

call it

because nature had so brought

force,

glittering shafts of day, but by the aspect and law of nature. Wherefore the more readily I will go on in my verses to complete the web of

of riches

affluence

heart the less disquieted, and that this heart in despite



in

a sure footing, that

so far as

the high reputation of their children,

none of them

foldly flying about by a natural

evils existed

be dispelled not by the rays of the sun and

life,

honours and glory and swelled with pride in that

showed too what

was

provided for men, and that possible,

course; he

have shown that the quarmortal and that heaven

is

body that had a birth, and since the things which go on and must go on I have unravelled most, hear further of a

what remains

to be told; since once for all I

have willed to mount the the Muses, and ascending the true law of winds

illustrious chariot of

to heaven to explain and storms, which men

foolishly lay to the charge of the gods, telling

how, when they are angry, they tempests; and, of the winds,

the

when

how

there

that anger

omens which have been

when

is

their fury has thus

raise fierce

a lull in the fury is

appeased,

how

are again changed,

been appeased:

I

same time to explain all the other things which mortals observe to go on upon earth and in heaven, when often they are in anxious suspense of mind, and which abase their souls with fear of the gods and have willed

at the

ON THE NATURE OF

53-128

weigh and press them

down

to earth, because

BOOK

THINGS, and

me

submit things to the empire of the gods and

final goal, that

make over to them the kingdom. For they who have been rightly taught that the gods

the

lead a

life

without care,

wonder on what plan

all

if

nevertheless they

things can be carried

on, above all in regard to those things

which

are seen overhead in the ethereal borders, are

borne back again

into

old

their

religious

scruples

and take unto themselves hard

masters,

whom

task-

all

these things,

their majesty lessened

and banish

far

by you, do you hurt; not

supreme power of the gods can be so

outraged, that in their wrath they shall resolve to exact sharp vengeance, but because

you

will

fancy to yourself that they, though they enjoy

and calm peace, do

roll

great billows of

wrath; nor will you approach the sanctuaries of the gods with a

calm breast nor

able with tranquil peace of

mind

will

you be

to take in

which are carried from their holy body into the minds of men, as heralds of their divine form. And what kind of life follows after this, may be conceived. But in order that most veracious reason may drive it far away from us, though much has already gone forth from me, much however still remains and has to be embellished in smooth-polished verses; the law and aspect of heaven have to be grasped; storms and bright lightnings, what they do and from what cause they are borne along, all this has to be sung; that you those idols

may

not mark out the heaven into quarters and be startled and distracted on seeing from which of them the volant fire has come or to which of the two halves it has betaken itself, in what way it has gained an entrance within walled places, and how after lording it with tyrant sway, it has gotten itself out from these.

Do

thou, deft

place the blue of heaven

is

clouds clash together as they

fly

when

aloft

winds combat from opposite quarters. For no sound ever comes from a cloudless

the

part of heaven, but wheresoever the clouds are gathered in a denser mass,

from

that part

again so fine as mists and flying bodies of

from you all belief in things degrading to the gods and inconsistent with their peace, then often will the holy deities of the gods, having

quiet

first

shaken with thunder, because the ethereal

deep-set

its

boundary mark; and therefore they are led the farther astray by blind reason. 68] Now unless you drive from your mind

that the

96] In the

may win

I

loud growl. Again clouds cannot be either of

all

with loathing

under thy guidance crown with signal applause.

knowing what can, what on what principle each

powers defined,

its

race to the white boundary-line of the

I

with greater frequency comes a clap with a

cannot be, in short has

as

they poor wretches believe to

be almighty, not

thing

81

joy of gods, point out the course before

ignorance of the causes constrains them to

to

VI

muse

Calliope, solace of

men

so dense a

smoke;

down

body

as stones

for then they

and timbers, nor

must

either fall borne

by their dead weight like stones, or like

smoke they would be unable to keep together and hold within frozen snows and hailshowers. They also give forth a sound over the levels of the wide-stretching upper world, just

as

at

times

canvas-awning stretched

a

over large theatres makes a creaking noise,

when

tosses

it

about

beams; sometimes, gales

it

among

too, rent

madly howls and

the poles

and

by the boisterous

closely imitates the

rasping noise of pieces of paper: for this kind

may observe in thunder: you may observe again the sound which is heard when the winds whirl about with their blows of noise too you

and bufTet through the

hanging For sometimes

air either a

cloth or flying bits of paper.

the clouds cannot meet front to front in direct collision,

and

but must rather

move from

the flank

so with contrary motions graze leisurely

along each other's bodies; whence comes that dry sound which brushes the ears and

drawn

out, until they have

made

is

long

their

way

out of their confined positions. 121] In this

way

also all things

appear to

quake often from the shock of heavy thunder, and the mighty walls of the far-stretching ether seem in an instant to have been riven and to have sprung asunder; when a storm of violent wind has suddenly gathered and worked itself into the clouds and, there shut in, with its whirling eddy ever more and more on all sides, forces the cloud to become hollow with a thick surrounding crust of body;

after-

wards when its force and impetuous onset have split it, then the cloud thus rent gives

LUCRETIUS

82

729-20/

forth a crash with a frightful hurtling noise.

those which excite vision travel to the eyes.

And no

This you

with

wonder, when

a small bladder filled

hideous sound

air often emits a

if

sud-

denly burst. 132]

.

when

how

the winds,

make

they blow through the clouds,

noises:

we

branching and rough clouds

see

often borne along in

many ways;

thus,

you

know, when the blasts of the northwest blow through a dense forest, the leaves give forth a rustling and the boughs a crashing. Sometimes too the force of the strong wind in rapid motion rends the cloud, breaking through it by an assault right in front: what are to

wind can do

a blast of

plain to sense, gentler

it

when

there,

is

shown by

facts

here on earth where

yet twists out tall trees

them up from

their deepest roots.

it is

and tears There are

waves among the clouds and they give a

also

kind of roar as they break heavily; just as in deep rivers and on the great sea when the surf

Sometimes too when the burning one cloud

breaks.

force of thunder has fallen out of into another,

if

haply the latter contains

when

moisture

has taken the

it

much

fire into

it,

it

drowns it at once with a loud noise; just so iron glowing hot from the fierv furnaces sometimes hisses, when we have plunged it quickly into cold water. Again if the cloud which receives the fire is drier, it is set on fire in an instant and burns with a loud noise; just as if a flame

covered

hills

is

should range over the laurel-

whirlwind and burn impetuous assault; and

through

them up with there

its

a

not anything that burns in the crack-

ling flame with a

more

startling

the Delphic laurel of Phoebus.

of storm-clouds

congealed and mixed with

break up. lightens too,

when the many

struck out by their collision just as if a stone

were

to strike

clouds have seeds of fire;

another stone

of a piece of iron; for then too light bursts

we

fire scatters

same

at a dis-

collision.

173] Also in the following

about bright sparks. But

hear the thunder with our ears after the

eyes see the flash of lightning, because things

always travel more slowly to the ears than

manner clouds

dye places with winged light and the storm flashes out with a rapid quivering movement.

When

the wind has made its way into a cloud and whirling about in it has, as I have shown

made

above, crust,

you

it

the cloud hollow with a dense

becomes hot by

see all things

nay

by motion;

through

a

a

own

velocity: thus

leaden ball

fore this

wind now on

cloud,

scatters

it

its

thoroughly heated and fired

fire

abroad

whirling

in

long course even melts.

When

there-

has rent the black

once seeds of

at

fire

pressed out by force so to speak, and these pro-

duce the throbbing

flashes of flame;

then

fol-

lows a sound which strikes on the ears more slowly than the things which travel to our eyes strike

on them. This you are

takes place

when

the

same time

to

know

the clouds are dense and at

piled

up on high one above

the

other in marvellous accumulation; that you

how

great

below, rather than to

how

be not led into error, because their breadth

is

we

see

great a height they are piled up. Observe, at a

time

when

the winds shall carry clouds like to

mountains with

a slanting course

when you

sides of great

often

gether into a confined space, the mountains

out and

man

ning too before we hear the thunder, which is discharged at the same time as the fire from the same cause, being born indeed from the

Then

much crashing of ice and tumbling in make a noise in the great clouds on high; for when the wind packs them to-

It

see a

carries the

air,

too

160]

when you

you perceive the stroke before the blow sound to the ear: thus we see light-

tree,

sound than

of hail

hail

perceive from the following in-

tance cutting with a double-edged axe a large

can also be explained

It

may

stance as well:

them

through the

on the mountains one on the top of the other and pressing down from above perfectly at rest, the winds being buried on all sides:

you

or

shall see

piled

will then be able to observe their great

it were built of hanging rocks; and when a storm has gathered and the winds have filled these, they chafe with a loud roaring shut up in the clouds, and bluster in their dens after the fashion of wild beasts: now from this point. now from that the winds send their growlings through the clouds, and seeking a way out whirl about and roll together seeds of fire out of the clouds and then gather many into a mass and make flame rotate in the hollow fur-

masses and to see caverns as

ON THE NATURE OF

202-2J9

naces within,. until they have burst the cloud

and shone forth

From

selves

cause again

this

have very

many

seeds of

fire; for

when

they are without any moisture, they are mostly brilliant flame colour. Moreover they must take in many from the sun's light, so that with good cause they are ruddy and shed

of a

forth

fires.

driven,

When

thrust,

lected into

therefore

wind has

the

squeezed together, and

col-

one spot these clouds, they press

out and shed forth seeds which cause the colours of flame to flash out.

when

It

also lightens,

the clouds of heaven are

rarefied as

For when the wind lightly unravels them and breaks them up as they move, those seeds which produce the lightning must fall perforce; and then it lightens without a hideous startling noise and without any well.

uproar.

219] Well, to proceed, what kind of nature thunderbolts possess,

and the

is

shown by

their strokes

which have burnt things and the marks which

traces of their heat

themselves into

exhale the noxious vapours of sulphur: these are signs of

all

not of wind or rain.

fire,

Again they often set on fire even the roofs of houses and with swift flame rule resistless within the house. This

subtle above all

fire

know, forms of minute and lightly moving bodies, and it is such as nothing whatever can withstand. The mighty fires

nature, you are to

thunderbolt

passes

houses, like a shout

through

and

VI

83

with their stroke to burst asunder

throw down houses, wrench away beams and rafters, and cast down and burn up the monuments of men, to strike men dead, prostrate cattle far and near, by what force they can do all this and the like, I will make clear and will not longer detain you with mere towers,

in forked flashes.

yon golden colour of clear bright fire flies down with velocity to the earth: the clouds must them204]

BOOK

THINGS, to be able

the

walls

voices, passes

of

through

professions.

246] Thunderbolts we must suppose to be begotten out of dense clouds piled up high;

when

for they are never sent forth at all

sky

is

clear or

density.

That

proved by

when this

is

the

the clouds are of a slight so

beyond

all

question

is

evident to sense: clouds at

facts

such times form so dense a mass over the

whole sky that we might imagine all its darkhad abandoned Acheron throughout and filled up the great vaults of heaven: in such numbers, gathering up out of the frightful night of storm-clouds, do faces of black horror hang over us on high; what time the storm begins to forge its thunderbolts. Very often ness

again a black storm-cloud too out at

stream of pitch sent

down from

sea, like a

heaven,

falls

upon the waters heavily charged with darkness afar ofl and draws down a black tempest big with lightnings and storms, in such wise

itself so

fraught above

all

the rest with fires

and winds, that even on land men shudder and seek shelter. Thus then we must suppose that the storm above our head reaches high up; for the clouds would never bury the earth in such thick darkness, unless they were built up high heap upon heap, the sunlight totally disappearing; nor could the clouds

descend drown

it

when

with so great a rain,

they as to

make

rivers overflow

time melts brass and gold; and causes wine

water,

if

too in an instant to disappear, while the ves-

sky. In this case then all things are filled with

enough its heat on reaching it readily loosens and rarefies all the earthen material of the vessel on every side and forcing a way within lightly separates and disperses the first-beginnings of the wine. This the sun's heat would be unable to accomplish in an age, though beating on it

winds and

stones,

sels

through

brass,

and

in a

moment

of

are untouched, because sure

incessantly with

its

quivering heat: so

more nimble and overpowering

is

much

this other

force.

And now in what way these are begotand are formed with a force so resistless as

239] ten

and put

fields

under

they were not piled high up in the

fire;

lightnings go on

therefore all

thunderings and

about. For

I

have shown

above that hollow clouds have very

many

and they must also take many in from the sun's rays and their heat. On this account when the same wind which happens to collect them into any one place, has forced out many seeds of heat and has mixed itself up with that fire, then the eddy of wind forces a way in and whirls about in the straitened room and points the thunderbolt in the fiery furnaces within; for it is kindled in two ways seeds of heat,

LUCRETIUS

*4 at

once:

it

is

heated by

from the contact of

fire

its

own

and

velocity

After that

when

the

280-349

the force of the iron

do

cold,

is

seeds of

its

meet together upon the

fiery brightness

stroke.

Therefore in the same way too a thing ought

and the

wind has been thoroughly heated impetuous power of the fire has en-

tered

then the thunderbolt fully forged as

happened

force of the

it

in,

were suddenly rends the cloud, and the is carried on traversing all

heat put in motion

places with flashing lights.

285] Close upon it

ters of

it

falls so

heaven which have

Then

asunder.

heavy a clap that

down from above

seems to crush

all at

the quar-

once sprung

trembling violently seizes

a

on

to be set

to

by the thunderbolt,

fire

if it

has

be in a state suited to receive and

At the same time might of the wind cannot lightly be thought to be absolutely and decidedly cold, susceptible of the flames.

the

seeing that

it

discharged with such force

is

from above; but during

if it is

course,

its

not already set on

yet arrives in a

it

with heat mixed up in

state

fire

warm

it.

the earth

and rumblings run through high heaven; for the whole body of the storm then without exception quakes with the shock and

But the velocity of thunderbolts is great and their stroke powerful, and they run through their course with a rapid descent, be-

loud roarings are aroused. After this shock

cause their force

follows so heavy and copious a rain that the

cases collects itself in the clouds

whole ether seems to be turning into rain and then to be tumbling down and returning to a deluge: so great a flood of it is discharged by the bursting of the cloud and the storm of wind, when the sound flies forth from the burning stroke. At times too the force of the wind set in motion from without falls on a cloud hot with a fully forged thunderbolt; and when it has burst it, forthwith there falls down yon fiery eddying whirl which in our native speech we call a thunderbolt. The same takes place on every other side towards which the force in question has borne down. Sometimes too the power of the wind though dis-

itself

charged without

fire,

yet catches fire in the

and while it is passing on, it loses on the way some large bodies which cannot like the rest get through the air; and gathers together out of the air itself and carries along with it other bodies of very small size which mix with it and produce fire by their flight; very much in the same way as a leaden ball becomes hot during its course, when it loses many bodies of cold and has taken up fire in the air. Sometimes too the force of the blow itself strikes out fire, when the force of wind discharged in a cold state without fire has struck, because sure enough,

course of

when

it

its

long

travel,

has smitten with a powerful stroke,

the elements of heat are able to stream to-

wind itself and at the same the thing which then encounters

gether out of the

time out of

the stroke. Thus,

when we

iron, fire flies out;

strike a stone

and none the

less,

with

because

323]

up

when

when

motion first in all and gathers

set in

for a great effort at starting; then

the cloud

increased

is

no longer able

moving power,

out and therefore

flies

to hold the

their force

is

pressed

with a marvellous mov-

ing power, like to that with which missiles

when Then too

are carried

discharged from powerful

engines.

the thunderbolt consists of

small and smooth elements, and such a nature it

is

not easy for anything to withstand; for

between and passes in through the porit is not checked and delayed by many collisions, and for this reason it glides and flies on with a swift moving power. Next, all weights without exception it flies

ous passages; therefore

naturally pressing

blow

is

downward, when

added, the velocity

moving power becomes

is

so

to this a

doubled and yon intense that the

thunderbolt dashes aside more impetuously

and swiftly whatever gets in its way and tries to hinder it, and pursues its journey. Then too as it advances with a long-continued moving power, it must again and again receive new velocity which ever increases as it goes on and augments its powerful might and gives vigour to

its

stroke; for

it

forces all the seeds

of the thunder to be borne right

onward

to

one spot so to speak, throwing them all together, as on they roll, into that single line. Perhaps too

as

it

goes on

bodies out of the air

itself,

it

attracts certain

and these by

their

blows kindle apace its velocity. It passes too through things without injuring them, and leaves many things quite whole after it has gone through, because the clear bright fire

ON THE NATURE OF

350-422 flies

And

through by the pores.

many

pieces

when

things,

the

it

breaks to

first

bodies of

the thunderbolt have fallen exactly on the

first

THINGS,

BOOK

VI

85

sway it has gotten itself out from these; also what harm the thunderstroke from heaven can do. But if Jupiter and other gods shake

bodies of these things, at the points where

with an appalling crash the glittering quar-

they are intertwined and held together. Again

ters

it

easily melts brass

because

stant,

and

force

its

fuses gold in

an

in-

formed of bodies

is

minutely small and of smooth elements, which

make their way in and when they are moment break up all the knots and

easily

in, in a

untie the bonds of union.

357]

And more

especially

in

autumn

the

mansion of heaven studded with glittering stars and the whole earth are shaken on all sides, and also when the flowery season of spring discloses itself. For during the cold fires are wanting and winds fail during the heat, and the clouds then are not of so dense a body. When therefore the seasons of heaven are between the two extremes, the different causes of thunder and lightning all combine; for the very cross-current of the year mixes up cold and heat, both of which a cloud needs for forging thunderbolts; so that there

great

is

and hurl their fire whither minded, why strike they not those

of heaven,

each

is

so

whoever they be who have recked not of commake them give forth the flames of lightning from breast pierced through and through, a sharp lesson to men? and why rather is he whose conscience is burdened with no foul offence, innocent though he be, wrapped and enveloped in the flames, in a moment caught up by the whirlwind and fire of heaven? Why too aim they at solitary spots and spend their labour mitting some abominable sin and

in

vain?

Or

are they then

practising their

arms and strengthening their sinews? And why do they suffer the father's bolt to be blunted on the earth? Why does he allow it

and not spare it for his enemies? when heaven is unclouded on all does Jupiter never hurl a bolt on the

himself,

Why sides,

again,

earth or send abroad his claps?

Or

does he, so

discord in things and the air raving with fires

soon as clouds have spread under, then go

The

down in person into them, that from them he may aim the strokes of his bolt near at hand? Ay and for what reason does he hurl into the sea? Of what has he to impeach its waters and

and winds heaves first

part of heat

in mighty and the last

disorder.

spring-time; therefore unlike things tle

is

the

must

bat-

of cold

with one another and be turbulent

when

And when

mixed

mixed

together.

with the

first

the last heat

cold rolls on

which goes by the name fierce winters are

of

its

course, a time

autumn, then too with summers.

in conflict

Therefore these seasons are to be called the cross-seas of the year;

and

it is

not wonderful

that in that season thunderbolts are

most

fre-

quent and troublous storms are stirred up in heaven; since both sides then engage in the troublous medley of dubious war, the one armed with flames, the other with winds and

water commingled. 379] This

is

the

way

ture of the thunderbolt

what

to see into the true na-

and

to understand

by

and not the turning over the scrolls of Tyrrhene charms and vainly searching for tokens of the hidden will of the gods, in order to know from what quarter the volant fire has come or to which of the two halves it has betaken itself, in what

way

force

it

places,

it

produces each

effect,

has gained an entrance within walled

and how

after lording

it

with tyrant

liquid mass

and

floating fields?

Again

wills us to avoid the thunderstroke,

he to

let

us see

it

discharged ?

Or

if

crush us off our guard with his

thunders he from that

side, to

why

if

he

fears

he wills to fire,

why

enable us to

shun it? Why stirs he up beforehand darkness and roarings and rumblings? And how can you believe that he hurls at many points at the same time? Or would you venture to maintain that it never has happened that more than one stroke was made at one time? Nay often and often it has happened and must happen that, even as it rains and showers fall in many different quarters, so many thunderings go on at one time. Once more why does he dash down the holy sanctuaries of the gods and his own gorgeous

seats

with the destroying thunder-

and break the finewrought idols of the gods, and spoil his own images of their glory by an overbearing wound? and why does he mostly aim at lofty spots, and why do we see most traces of his fire on the mountain tops? bolt,

LUCRETIUS

86

423] To proceed, it is easy from these facts to understand in what way those things,

which the Greeks from

423-499

smoke with

they

swarthy

cloud,

the

thick

because,

darkness soon

as

as

of

a

clouds

have

form, before the eyes can see them, thin as

into

they are, the winds carry and bring them to-

the sea. For sometimes a pillar so to speak

gether to the highest summits of a mountain;

named is

down from heaven and

let

nature

their

come down from above

presteres,

descends into

and round about it the surges boil, up by heavy blasts of winds; and all

and then

at last

when they have gathered now dense they are

the sea,

greater mass, being

stirred

to

ships caught in that turmoil are dashed about

and brought

when

place in

extreme danger. This takes

into

times the force of the wind put

at

motion cannot burst the cloud which

says to burst, but like a pillar let

yet

sea,

thrust

down, so down from heaven weighs

it

gradually, just as

down from above and

the arm; and when the rent this cloud,

it

and occasions

into the

stretched out to

and push of wind has bursts out from it into the

the level of the waters by the

sea

it is

thing were

a

if

es-

it

that

fist

force of the

a marvellous boiling in the

and yon cloud of

waters; for the whirling eddy descends

down

brings

together with

it

limber body; and as soon as

down

full-charged as

sea, the tire into

eddy

in a

it is

it

has forced

moment

plunges

and

up the whole

the water,

stirs

itself en-

with a prodigious noise and forces it to Sometimes too the eddy of wind wraps

up

in clouds

of cloud

and

it

to the levels of the

and gathers out of the

sea

boil. itself

air seeds

imitates in a sort the prester let

down from heaven. When this itself down to the land and

prester has let

has burst,

it

and storm of enormous violence; but as it seldom takes place at all and as mountains cannot but obstruct it on land, it is seen more frequendy on the sea with its wide prospect and unobstructed horibelches forth a whirlwind

zon.

451] Clouds are formed, when in this upper space of heaven many bodies flying about have in

some one

instant

met

er sort, such as are able,

together, of a rough-

though they have got

the very slightest holds of each other, to catch

together and be held in union. These bodies first

cause small clouds to form; and these

next catch together and collect into masses

and increase by joining with each other and are carried on by the winds continually until a fierce storm has gathered.

The

nearer too

mountain in each case are to heaven, the more constantly at this elevation

the tops of a

make

in a

able

themselves visible and at the same

rise up from the very top mountain into the ether: the very fact of the case and our sensations, when we climb

time they are seen to

of the

high mountains, prove that the regions which up on high are windy. Again clothes hung up on the shore, when they drink in the

stretch

clinging moisture, prove that nature takes

many makes

up

bodies over the whole sea as well. This

more plain that many bodies up out of the salt heaving sea to add to the bulk of clouds; for the two liquids are near akin in their nature. Again we see mists and steam rise out of all rivers and at the same time from the earth as well; and they forced out like a breath from these parts are then carried upwards and overcast heaven with their darkness and make up clouds on high as they gradually come together; for the heat of starry ether at the same time presses down too on them and by con-

may

it

still

likewise rise

densing as it were weaves a web of clouds below the blue. Sometimes there come here into heaven from without those bodies which form clouds and the flying storm-rack; for I have

shown and

that their

that the

sum

number

passes

of the deep

is

numbering and

infinite;

have proved with what velocity bodies fly and how in a moment of time they are wont to pass through space unspeakable. It is not therefore strange that a tempest and darkness I

often in a short time cover over with such great mountains of clouds seas

they hang

down upon them

and

lands, as

overhead, since

on all sides through all the cavities of ether and as it were through the vents of the great world around the power of going out and coming in is accorded to the elements. 495] Now mark and I will explain in what way the rainy moisture is formed in the clouds above and then is sent down and falls to the earth in the shape of rain.

prove that

many

And

first

seeds of water rise

I

will

up

gether with the clouds themselves out of

toall

ON THE NATURE OF

50o-5 7i

things and that both the clouds and the water

which

is

in the clouds thus increase together;

our body increases together with the and all the mois-

just as

blood, as well as the sweat ture

which

wise imbibe

in the frame.

is

much

The

clouds like-

sea-water as well, like hang-

ing fleeces of wool, when the winds carry them over the great sea. In like manner moisture is taken up out of all rivers into the clouds; and when the seeds of waters full many in number in many ways have met in them, augmented from all sides, then the clouds endeavour to discharge

close-packed

from two causes: the force of the wind drives them together, and likewise the very abundance of the rain-clouds, when a greater mass than usual has been brought together, pushes down, presses from above and forces the rain to stream out. Again when their moisture

the clouds are also rarefied by the winds, or

same time

are dispersed, being smitten at the

by the heat of the sun, they discharge a rainy moisture and trickle down, just hot

melts

fire

But

away and

wax

as

over a

turns fast into liquid.

a violent rain follows,

when

the clouds

upon by both causes, by own accumulated weight and by the im-

are violently pressed their

petuous assault of the wind.

wont

hold out and to

to

seeds

of

waters are

And

last long,

stirred

to

rains are

when many and

action,

upon clouds and rack upon rack wellall quarters round about are borne along, and when the reeking earth steams moisture back again from its whole clouds

ing forth from

surface.

When

in such a case the

with his rays amid the opposite

sun has shone

murky tempest

right

the dripping rain-clouds, then the

colour of the rainbow shows

itself

among

the

black clouds.

527] As to the other things which grow by themselves and are formed by themselves, as well as the things the clouds,

all,

which are formed within

without exception

all,

snow,

and cloud hoarfrosts and the great force of ice, the great congealing power of waters, and the stop which everywhere curbs running rivers, it is yet most easy to find out and apprehend in mind how all these things take place and in what way they are formed, when you have fully understood the properwinds,

ties

hail,

assigned to elements.

THINGS,

BOOK

VI

87

535] Now mark and learn what the law of earthquakes is. And first of all take for granted

below us as well as above is with windy caverns and bears within its bosom many lakes and many chasms, cliffs and craggy rocks; and you must that the earth

filled in all parts

suppose that

many

and submerged

stones; for the very nature of

the case requires self.

hidden beneath the on with violence, waves,

rivers

crust of the earth roll

it

With such

throughout like to

to be

then

things

it-

attached and

placed below, the earth quakes above from the

shock of great falling masses, neath

time

has

undermined

when undervast

caverns;

whole mountains indeed fall in, and in an instant from the mighty shock tremblings spread themselves far and wide from that centre. And with good cause, since buildings a road tremble throughout when shaken by a waggon of not such very great

beside

weight; and

they rock no

sharp pebble on the road of the wheels

on both

where any up the iron tires Sometimes too,

less,

jolts

sides.

when an enormous mass of soil through rolls down from the land into great and

age

tensive pools of water, the

and

earth rocks

sways with the undulation of the water; as a vessel at times

cannot

rest, until

ex-

just

the liquid

within has ceased to sway about in unsteady undulations.

557] Again when the wind gathering itself together in the hollow places underground bears

down on one

point and pushing on

presses with great violence the

the earth leans over

on the

headlong violence of the wind all

deep caverns,

side to

which the

presses.

Then

buildings which are above ground, and

more they tower up towards heaven, lean over and bulge out yielding in the same direction, and the timbers wrenched from their supports hang over ready to give way. And yet men shrink from believing that a time of destruction and ruin awaits the nature of the great world, though they see so great a mass of earth hang ready to fall! And if the winds did not abate their blowing, no force could rein things in or hold them up on their road to destruction. As it is, because by turns they do abate and then increase in violence, and so to speak rally and return to the charge, and then are defeated and retire,

ever the more, the

LUCRETIUS

88

for this reason the earth oftener threatens to fall

than really

falls:

it

and then

leans over

sways back again, and after tumbling

ward For

recovers in equal poise

its

for-

fixed position.

reason the whole house rocks, the top

this

more than

the middle, the middle than the bot-

tom, the bottom in a very very slight degree. 577] The same great quaking likewise arises from this cause, when on a sudden the wind and some enormous force of air gathering

from without or within the earth have

either

flung themselves into the hollows of the earth,

and there chafe

among

at

much

with

first

uproar

the great caverns and are carried on

with a whirling motion, and

when

their force

afterwards stirred and lashed into fury bursts

abroad and at the same

moment

cleaves the

deep earth and opens up a great yawning chasm. This fell out in Syrian Sidon and took place

at

Aegium

in

the

two

Peloponnese,

towns which an outbreak of wind of this sort and the ensuing earthquake threw down. And

many

down by great and many towns sank

walled places besides

commotions on land

down

fell

engulfed in the sea together with their

burghers.

And

if

they do not break out,

still

and the fierce the numerous a shivering-fit and

the impetuous fury of the air violence of the

wind spread over

passages of the earth like

thereby cause a trembling; just as cold it

when

has pierced into our frames to the very mar-

row,

them a-shivering in spite of themforcing them to shake and move. Men

sets

selves,

are therefore disturbed by a twofold terror

throughout their

cities:

they fear the roofs

above their heads, they dread of the earth in a

lest

the nature

moment break up

her cav-

erns underneath, and rent asunder display her

own

maw and wildly tumbled tofill it up with her own ruins.

wide-gaping

gether seek to

Let them then fancy as

much

as they please

and earth shall be incorruptible and consigned to an everlasting exemption from decay; and yet sometimes the very present force of danger applies on some side or other this goad of fear among others, that the earth shall in an instant be withdrawn from under their feet and carried down into the pit, and that the sum of things shall utterly give way and follow after and a jumbled wreck of world ensue. that heaven

572-646

608] First of

all

they

wonder

that nature

when when

does not increase the bulk of the sea, there

so great a flow of water into

is

all rivers

from

all

quarters

fall

into

it,

it.

Add

to

and flying storms, which bespatter every sea and moisten every land; add its own springs; yet all these compared with the sum of the sea will be like an addition of bulk hardly amounting to a single drop; it is therefore the less wonderful that the great sea does not increase. Again the sun these passing rains

absorbs a great deal with his heat:

we

him

see

with his burning rays thoroughly dry clothes dripping with wet: but we know seas to be

many

number and

to stretch over a wide however small the portion of moisture which the sun draws of? the surface from any one spot, it will yet in so vast an expanse take largely from its waters. Then again the winds too may withdraw a great deal of moisture as they sweep over the sur-

in

surface. Therefore

face, since

we

very often see the roads dried

by the winds in a single night and the

mud

form into hard

shown

crusts.

that the clouds take off

Again

much

I

soft

have

moisture

too imbibed from the great surface of the sea

and it

it about over the whole earth, when on land and the winds carry on the

scatter

rains

clouds. Lastly since the earth

body and its

shores

is

all

is

of a porous

in contact with the sea, girding

round, just

as

the earth into the sea, in the

water comes from

same way

ooze into the land out of the

it

must

salt sea; for

the

and the matter of liquid streams back again to the source and all flows together to the river-heads, and then passes anew over the lands in a fresh current, where salt is strained off

a channel once scooped out has carried

down

the waters with liquid foot.

639] And now I will explain why it is that breathe forth at times through the gorges

fires

of

Mount Aetna with such

hurricane-like

fury; for with a destroying force of

no

or-

up and lording it over the lands of the Sicilians drew on itself the gaze of neighbouring na-

dinary kind the flame-storm gathered

tions,

when

seeing

all

itself

the quarters of heaven

smoke and sparkle men were

filled

in heart

with awe-struck apprehension, not knowing what strange change nature was travailing to

work.

ON THE NATURE OF

647-723

THINGS,

BOOK

VI

89

pain often seizes the teeth, or else attacks the

comes in contact with them, and to the earth, and has struck out from them fire burning with swift flames, it rises up and then forces itself out on high straight through the gorges; and so carries its heat far and scatters far its ashes and rolls on smoke of a thick pitchy blackness and flings out at the same time stones of prodigious weight; leaving no doubt that this is the stormy force of air. Again the sea to a great extent breaks its waves and sucks back its surf at the roots of that mountain. Caverns reach from this sea as far as the deep gorges of the mountain below. Through these you must admit that air mixed up with water passes; and

and creeping

the nature of the case compels this air to enter

647] In these matters you must look far and deep and make a wide survey in all directions, in order to bear

things

mind

in

unfathomable and

is

sum of how

that the

to perceive

how

inconceivably minute a fracwhole sum one heaven is, not so large a fraction of it as one man is of the whole earth. If you should clearly comprehend, clearly see this point well put, you would cease to wonder at many things. Does any one

very small,

tion of the

among

us wonder if he has gotten into his frame a fever that has broken out with burning heat, or into his body the pains of any other disease? The foot suddenly swells, sharp

eyes;

the holy fire breaks out

over the body burns whatever part

it

has seized

upon, and spreads over the frame, because sure enough there are seeds of many things, and this earth and heaven bring to us evil enough to allow of a measureless amount of disease springing up.

must suppose that

all

In this

whole heaven and earth

of the infinite to the

allow the earth in a

in quantity sufficient to

moment

to be

way then we

things are supplied out

shaken and

stirred,

and

a rapid

hurricane to scour over sea and land, the of

Aetna

to overflow,

flames; for that too

the

heaven

fire

to be in

is seen and the heavenly and rain-storms gather in

quarters are on

fire;

a heavier mass,

when

the seeds of water have

haply come together for such an end. the stormy rage of the conflagration gigantic."

Yes and

greatest to

him who has never

so

any

river

"Ay but

is

you

too too like

is

before seen any

and thus a tree and a man seem giand in the case of all things of all kinds

greater,

gantic,

man

the greatest a

has seen he fancies to be

gigantic, though yet all things with heaven and earth and sea included are nothing to the whole sum of the universal sum. 680] And now at last I will explain in what ways yon flame roused to fury in a moment blazes forth from the huge furnaces of Aetna. And first the nature of the whole mountain is

hollow underneath, under-propped throughout with caverns of basalt rocks. Furthermore in all caves are

duced, in

when

motion.

wind and

air; for

wind is proand put

the air has been stirred

When

this air

has been thoroughly

heated and raging about has imparted

its

heat

to all the rocks

round, wherever

it

in from that open sea and pass right within and then go out in blasts and so lift up flame and throw out stones and raise clouds of sand; for on the summit are craters, as they name them in their own language; what we call gorges and mouths. 703] There are things too not a few for which it is not sufficient to assign one cause; you must give several, one of which at the same time is the real cause. For instance should you see the lifeless body of a man lying at some distance, it would be natural to men-

tion

all

the different causes of death, in order

that the one real cause of that

man's death be mentioned among them. Thus you may be able to prove that he has not died by steel or cold or from disease or haply from poison; yet we know that it is something of this kind which has befallen him; and so in many other cases we may make the same remark. 712]

The Nile

rises

every

summer and

over-

flows the plains, that one sole river through-

out the whole land of Egypt.

It

waters Egypt

often in the middle of the hot season, either

because in posite

its

summer

there are north winds op-

mouths, which

at that

time of year

go by the name of Etesian winds. Blowing up the river they retard it and driving the waters backwards fill its channel full and force the river to stand still; for beyond a doubt these blasts which start from the icy constellations of the pole are carried right up the stream. That river comes from the south out of the heat-fraught country, rising far up from the central region of day among races of men

LUCRETIUS

90 black

in

their

sun-baked complexion.

It

is

quite possible too that the great accumulation

may

7 2 4-796

to the

Manes

gods.

Now all

by a natural law, and

it is

go on whence

these things

quite plain

bar up the mouths against the

spring the causes from which they are pro-

opposing waves,

duced; that the gate of Orcus be not haply be-

the

when the sea stirred up by winds throws up the sand within the chan-

lieved to exist in such spots;

of sand

whereby the outlet of the river is rendered less free and the current of the waters at the same time less rapid in its downward flow. It may be also that the rains are more frequent nel;

at its

source in that season, because the Etesian

north winds drive

blasts of the

all

the clouds

And,

together into those parts at that time.

you are to know, when they have been driven on to the central region of day and have gathered together, then the clouds

jammed

close

and next we imManes gods from beneath do haply draw souls down from them to the boragine that the

of Acheron;

ders

from

holes

their

How

learn; for

769] First of

helpful to

its

up from the

increase high

when

moun-

lofty

the all-surveying

now

essay to

I

tell

this

as

all I say,

I

have often said

many, which serve for food, and many whose property it is to cause diseases and hasten death. And we have shown before that one thing is more life;

sun with his thawing rays constrains the white snows to descend into the plains.

adapted to one, another thing to another

738] Now mark, and I will make clear to you what kind of nature the several Avernian places and lakes possess. First of all, as to the name Avernian by which they are called, it has been given to them from their real nature,

of their natures

ing creature for the purposes of

the

when to be

spots, they

row with

forget to

they drop their

sails

birds; for

and

fall

their wings,

with

soft

neck

if

so be

outstretched headlong to the earth, that the nature of the

or into the water,

if

ground admit

of that,

so be that a lake of Aver-

life,

all

nostrils,

liv-

because

and

their textures

their

unlike the one to

Many which are ears, many make

other.

through the through the

when

all

and

primary elements being

they have arrived in flight just opposite those

because they are noxious to

is,

of the real

before, that in the earth are elements of things

of every kind:

tains of the Ethiopians,

draw out

to

serpent-tribes.

fact.

against the high mountains are massed to-

gets

savage

the

widely opposed to true reason

now

gether and violently compressed. Perhaps too

it

wing-footed stags are

as

supposed often by their scent

noxious their

way

pass

too

dangerous and harsh

they come in contact; and not a few are shunned by the touch, and not a few to be avoided by the sight, and others are nauseous in taste.

781] Again you are for

and

man

may

see

how many

things

of a virulently noxious sensation

are nauseous

and oppressive;

to certain

nus spreads below. There is such a spot at Cumae, where the mountains are charged with acrid sulphur, and smoke enriched with

trees for instance has

hot springs. Such a spot there also

is a tree too on which has the property of killing a man by the noisome scent of its flower. All these things you are to know rise up out of the earth, because it contains many seeds of many things in many ways mixed up together and gives them out in a state of separation. Again when a newly ex-

is

within

the Athenian walls,

on the very summit

citadel, beside the

temple of bountiful Tri-

of the

which croaking crows never come near on the wing; no not when the high altars smoke with offerings: so constantly they fly, not before the sharp wrath of Pallas for the sake of yon vigil kept, as the poets of the Greeks have sung, but the nature of the place tonian Pallas;

suffices

by

its

as well a spot,

own we are

proper power. In Syria too told,

is

such a sort that as soon as

found to exist of ever even four-

footed beasts have entered in,

power as

if

forces

them

mere natural

down heavily, just moment as sacrifices

to fall

they were felled in a

its

been given so very op-

pressive a shade that they often cause head-

aches

when

a

man

has lain

down under them

extended on the grass. There

the great hills of Helicon

tinguished night-light encounters the nostrils

with

its

acrid stench,

and there to falling

woman

it

sends to sleep then

man who from disease is subject down and foaming at the mouth. A a

is put to sleep by oppressive castor and back in her seat, and her gay work drops out of her soft hands, if she has smelt it at the

falls

0N THE NATURE OF

797~8 7 2 time

she has her monthly discharges.

when

And many

things besides relax through

all

the

frame the fainting limbs and shake the soul in its seats within. Then too if you linger long in the hot baths

when you

are

somewhat

full

and

you are to tumble down do bathe, seated in the midst of the hot while fit a in water! Again how readily do the oppressive power and fumes of charcoal make their way into the brain, if we have not first taken water! But when burning violently it has filled the chambers of a house, the fumes of the

how

liable

on the nerves like a murderous blow. See you not too that even within the earth sulphur is generated and asphalt forms incrustations of a noisome stench?

virulent substance act

when

See you not,

veins of silver

they are following

up

the

and gold and searching with

the pick quite into the bowels of the earth,

what

stenches Scaptensula exhales from be-

low? Then what mischief do gold mines exhale! To what state do they reduce men's faces

THINGS,

what

now

is

must send which rises up

too the Avernian spots

up some power deadly

to birds,

from the earth into the

it

heat

contains

it

air so as to

poison a

And when

it falls

into

it,

then the same power of that exhalation robs

it

limbs of the remnants of

life: first

of all

causes a sort of dizziness; but afterwards,

when

the birds have tumbled into the very

springs of the poison, then

vomited

forth, because all

life

round

too has to be rises

up

large

store of mischievous matter.

830] Sometimes too this power of exhala-

Avernus dispels whatever air lies between the birds and earth, so that almost a

tion of

void

is

left there.

is

in the night-time.

there

said

is

cold in the daylight

men

This fountain

and suppose that

it

sud-

denly becomes hot by the influence of the fierce

sun below the earth, when night has

covered the earth with awful darkness. But is

when

far far

removed from true

reason.

Why

the sun though in contact with the un-

make

it hot on its upper side, though his light above possesses such great heat, how can he

below the earth which is of so dense a body water and glut it with heat? above all

that a bird as soon as ever it is borne on its wings into it, is then attacked by the unseen poison and so palsied that it tumbles plump down on the spot where this exhala-

all its

which

at exceedingly

way

course.

Hammon

848] At the fane of

marvel

whatever

itself.

to be a fountain

boil the

its

the openings of their body.

presses out into the wells

tracts,

certain portion of the atmosphere; in such a

tion has

all

Again during summer the water in wells becomes colder, because the earth is rarefied by heat and rapidly sends out into the air whatever seeds of heat it happens to have. The more then the earth is drained of heat, the colder becomes the water which is hidden in the earth. Again when all the earth is compressed by cold and contracts and so to say congeals, then, you are to know, while it con-

covered body of the water has not been able to

light of heaven.

Thus

almost a void they disperse their

soul through

this

8 1 8]

is

and rendered vain and all the sustaining efforts of their wings are lost on both sides. So when they are unable to buoy themselves up and lean upon their wings, nature, you know, compels them by their weight to tumble down to earth, and lying stark through

All such exhalations then the earth steams

and

91

crippled

and hot

air

VI

once the buoyant force of their pinions

at

and what a complexion they produce! Know you not by sight or hearsay how they commonly perish in a short time and how all vital power fails those whom the hard compulsion of necessity confines in such an employment? forth and breathes out into the open

BOOK

And when

the birds have

arrived in their flight just opposite this spot,

rays

when he can force

houses.

his

What

scarcely with his

heat

then

through is

the

the cause?

burning walls this

of

sure

enough: the earth is more porous and warmer round the fountain than the rest of the earth, and there are many seeds of fire near the body of water. For this reason when night has buried the earth in its dewy shadows, the earth at once becomes quite cold and contracts: in this way just as if it were squeezed by the hand it forces out into the fountain whatever seeds of fire it has; and these make the water hot to the touch and taste. Next when the sun has risen and with his rays has loosened the earth and has rarefied it as his heat waxes stronger, the first-beginnings of fire return back to their ancient seats and all the heat of the water

LUCRETIUS

92

withdraws into the earth: for this reason the fountain becomes cold in the daylight. Again the liquid of water

and

rays

in

throbbing

is

played upon by the sun's

the daytime

rarefied

is

and therefore

heat;

whatever seeds of

fire it has;

it

by his

up

gives

just as

it

often

8 73~949

hanging down from it. Thus you may see sometimes five and more suspended in succession and tossing about in the light airs, one always hanging down from one and attached to its lower side, and each in turn one from the other experiencing the binda chain of rings

parts with the frost which it holds in itself, and thaws the ice and loosens its bonds. 879] There is also a cold fountain of such a nature that tow often when held over it imbibes fire forthwith and emits flame; a pinetorch in like manner is lighted and shines among the waters, in whatever direction it swims under the impulse of the winds. Because sure enough there are in the water very many seeds of heat, and from the earth itself at the bottom must rise up bodies of fire throughout the whole fountain and at the same time pass abroad in exhalations and go forth into the air, not in such numbers however that the fountain can become hot, for

from all things whatmust incessantly stream and be discharged and scattered abroad such bodies as strike the eyes and provoke vision. Smells too incessantly stream from certain things; as does cold from rivers, heat from the sun, spray from the waves of the sea,

these reasons a force compels those seeds to

that eat into walls

through the water and disperse abroad and to unite when they have mounted

sounds too cease not

burst

out

up. In the sea at Aradus

kind, which wells

a fountain of this

is

up with

waters

and and in

fresh water

round

keeps

off the salt

many

other quarters the sea affords a season-

all

it;

able help in need to thirsting sailors, vomiting forth fresh waters

then those seeds

amid the

may

In this

salt.

way

burst forth through that

fountain and well out; and

when

they are met

ing power of the stone: with such a continued current

its

approached

wherefore ear

921] In the

Then

them

many seeds of latent fire. See that, when you bring a newly ex-

likewise

you not too

tinguished wick near night-lamps

it

catches

I

will proceed to discuss it

comes

to pass that

iron can be attracted by that stone

Greeks

call

the

Magnet from

native place, because the

it

has

the

its

which the

name

of

its

origin within

bounds of the country of the Magnesians.

This stone

men wonder

at; as it

often produces

must

it

road;

an attentive

first

place

we

see there

near the shore. Various to

stream through the

air.

comes into the

its

bitterness affects

things

all

the several qualities of things are carried and are transmitted in

no

delay,

since

we

936] rare a

all

directions round,

respite in the flow

may

at

smell and hear the sound of any-

And now body

and no

ever granted,

is

constantly have feeling, and see,

all

I

though the knowledge of

many

how made

will state once again

things have: a question

clear in the first part of

tablish that

906] Next in order

call for

such a constant stream from

merely by the heat, before the fire in actual contact infects them. This therefore you must

by what law of nature

I

wormwood,

decoction of us. In

in regard to

suppose to take place in that fountain as well.

more

and

circuitous

mouth, when we are moving about beside the sea; and when we look on at the mixing of a

it has touched the flame; and the same with the pinewood? And many things beside catch fire at some distance touched

light before

very

a

a moist salt flavour often

thing.

in

by

the

all

soever which

the pine-torch, they at once readily take

fire,

all.

and mind.

any time

tow and pinewood contain

through

flies

true law of the thing in question,

be

together in the tow or cohere in the body of

because the

force

917] In things of this kind many points must be established before you can assign the

my poem this is of

things, above

to this very question

which

discuss, at the very outset

I

it is

also:

al-

importance

all

in regard

am coming

to

necessary to es-

nothing comes under sense save body mixed with void. For instance in caves rocks overhead sweat with moisture and trickle down in oozing drops. Sweat too oozes out from our whole body; the beard grows, and hairs over all our limbs and frame. Food is distributed through all the veins, gives increase and nourishment to the very extremities and nails. We feel, too, cold and heat pass through brass, we feel them pass through gold

ON THE NATURE OF

950-1031

and

when we

silver,

voices

hold

cups.

full

Again

through the stone partitions

fly

of

houses; smell passes through and cold, and the

heat of

fire

which

wont ay to pierce even where the Gaulish cuirass

is

the strength of iron,

And when

girds the body round.

gathered in earth and heaven, and

a storm has

when along

makes its way in from without, they both withdraw respectively to heaven and earth and there work with

it

the influence of disease

their wills, since there

nothing

is

at all that

is

THINGS, and

BOOK

VI

93

form is seen to stream through this passage, heat through that, and one thing is seen to pass through by the same way more brass; for

The

quickly than other things.

nature of the

you are to know, compels it so to be, varying in manifold wise, as we have shown a little above, owing to the unlike nature and

passages,

textures of things.

all

998] Therefore now that these points have been established and arranged for us as

ready to our hand, for what

premisses

re-

mains, the law will easily be explained out of

not of a rare texture of body. bodies whatever which

them, and the whole cause be laid open which

are discharged

from things are not qualified to excite the same sensations nor are adapted for all things alike. The sun for instance bakes and dries up the earth, but thaws ice, and forces the snows piled up high on the high hills to

attracts the strength of iron. First of all there

melt away beneath his rays;

must stream from this stone very many seeds or a current if you will which dispels with blows all the air which lies between the stone and iron. When this space is emptied and much room left void between, forthwith the

950] Furthermore

to liquid

when

wax again

turns

placed within reach of his heat.

Fire also melts brass els

all

and

fuses gold, but shriv-

up and draws together hides and

flesh.

The

hardens

steel,

but

liquid of water after fire

hardened by heat. The delights the bearded she-goats as

softens hides

wild olive

much

and

flesh

as if the flavour

it

yielded were of

am-

and steeped in nectar; but nothing that puts forth leaf is more bitter to man than this food. Again a swine eschews marjoram-oil and brosia

dreads

all

perfumes; for they are rank poison

though they are found at times to give us as it were fresh life. But on the other hand though mire is to us the nastiest filth, it is found to be so welcome to swine that they wallow in it all over with a craving to bristly swine,

not to be satisfied.

979] There seems proper

is

to

one point

still

left

mention, before

speak of the matter in hand. Since

I

it

come

to

many

are assigned to various things, they sess

which

pores

must

pos-

natures differing the one from the other

and must have each

its

own

nature,

its

own

direction: thus there are in living creatures

various senses, each of which takes into

own for we

its

taste

peculiar see that

from

way

its

own

it

in

special object;

sounds pass into one thing,

different

flavours

into

another

first-beginnings of iron

fall

into the void in one mass,

the ring itself follows its

whole body.

And

headlong forward

and

in

consequence

and then goes on with nothing has

its

primal

elements more intricately entangled or coheres in closer

connexion than the nature of stub-

born iron and shiver.

that

its

coldness that

Therefore what

I

say

is

makes you

the less strange,

from among such elements

as these bodies

cannot gather in large numbers out of the iron

and be

carried into the void without the

ring following. This until

it

it

whole

does do, and follows on

has quite reached the stone and

tened on

it

fas-

with unseen bonds of connexion.

The same thing takes place in all directions: on whatever side a void is formed, whether athwart or from above the first bodies next it are at once carried on into the void; for they are set in motion by blows from another source and cannot by their own free act rise up into the air. Moreover (to render it more feasible, this thing also is helped on by external aid and motion) as soon as the air in front of the ring has been made rarer and the space more empty and void, it follows at once that all the air which lies behind, carries and pushes it on as it were at its back. For the air which lies around them always beats on

thing, smells into another.

things; but at such a time as this

seen to

push on the iron, because on one side a space is void and receives the iron into it. This air of which I am speaking to you makes its

Again one thing is stream through stones, and another

thing to pass through woods, another through gold, and another still to go out through silver

to

it

is

liable

LUCRETIUS

94

way with much

subtlety through the frequent

pores of the iron to

its

minute parts and then

wind a ship and its all things must have air in their body, since they are of a rare body and air surrounds and is in contact with all things. This air therefore which is in the inmost recesses of the iron, is ever stirred in restless motion and therefore beats the ring without a doubt and stirs it within, you know: the ring the direction in which it has is carried in once plunged forward, and into the void part towards which it has made its start. 1042] Sometimes too it happens that the nature of iron is repelled from this stone, being in the habit of flying from and following it in and pushes sails. Again

thrusts

it

on, as the

turns. I have seen Samothracian iron rings even jump up, and at the same time filings of iron rave within brass basins, when this Mag-

net

had been placed under:

stone

such a

strong desire the iron seems to have to

from the raised

stone.

fly

So great a disturbance

is

by the interposition of the brass, be-

cause sure enough brass has

first

when

seized

the current of the

on and taken possession

with

1032-1106

wood

so firmly by bulls' glue only, that

the veins of boards often gape in cracks be-

power

fore the binding

brought to loosen

of the glue can be

hold. Vine-born juices

its

venture to mix with streams of water, though

heavy pitch and light

oil

body of wool alone, that

it

what is done with Neptune's wave, not if the whole sea were willed to wash it out with all waters.

its

only

Then

too

there not one thing

is

that fastens gold

brass soldered to brass by tin?

other cases of the kind might one find!

You have no need whatever

then?

long circuitous roads, nor while to spend so

much

better briefly to comprise

many

therefore the nature of iron ly-

tain first bodies of brass, then

stones set

1065]

it

in

And

at variance

motion with

it

cer-

do the Magnet

their stream.

yet these cases are not so

with other things, that

I

much

have only

a scanty store of similar instances to relate of

things mutually fitted one for the other and for

nothing

else:

stones for instance

are cemented by mortar alone;

wood

you is

see

united

What

of such

worth

it

this,

but

my it is

things in few

words: things whose textures have such a

mutual correspondence, that the cavities of the

first

cavities

fit

solids,

the solids of the sec-

ond, the cavities of the second the solids of the

form

first,

things

may

the closest

union.

and

Again some

be fastened together and held in

seems rather

When

is

pains on

union with hooks and eyes

ing between the two has received into

and is not and how many

gold,

to

comes after and find all things full in the iron and has no opening to swim through as before. It is forced therefore to dash against and beat with its wave the iron texture; by which means it repels from it and sets in motion through the brass that which without the brass it often draws to itself. And forbear herein to wonder that the current from this stone is not able to set in motion other things as well as iron: some of these stand still by the power of their own weight; for instance gold; and others, because they are of so rare a body that the current flies through them uninterrupted, cannot in any case be set in motion; to which class wood is found to belong.

cannot in any case

be severed, not were you to take pains to undo

of the open passages of the iron, the current of the stone

cannot. Again the

purple dye of the shellfish so unites with the

as

it

to be the case

were; and this

with

this stone

iron.

And now

I will explain what the law and from what causes the force of disease may suddenly gather itself up and bring death-dealing destruction on the race of man and the troops of brute beasts. And

1090]

of diseases

first I

is

have shown above that there are seeds

many

life; and on hand many must fly about conducing to disease and death. When these by chance have happened to gather together and

of

things helpful to our

the other

have disordered the atmosphere, the

comes

distempered.

And

all

that

air be-

force

of

and that pestilence come either from without down through the atmosphere in the shape of clouds and mists, or else do gather themselves up and rise out of the earth, when soaked with wet it has contracted a taint, being beaten upon by unseasonable rains and suns. See you not too that all who come to a place far away from country and home are affected by the strangeness of climate and water, because there are wide differences in such things? For what a difference may we disease

ON THE NATURE OF THINGS, BOOK

uoy-u8o

VI

95

over the whole people of Pan-

suppose between the climate of the Briton and that of Egypt where the pole of heaven slants

brooded

askew, and again between that in Pontus and

troops to disease and death. First of

Gades and

that of

on

so

men

to the races of

black with sun-baked complexion? i

Now

no]

as

we

see these four climates

under the four opposite winds and quarters of heaven all differing from each other, so also the complexions and faces of the men are seen to differ widely and diseases varying in kind are found to seize upon the different races.

There

which

the elephant disease

is

is

at last

and then they were handed over

dion;

in

they

all

would have the head seized with burning heat and both eyes blood-shot with a glare diffused over; the livid throat within would exude blood and the passage of the voice be clogged and choked with ulcers, and the mind's interpreter the tongue drip with gore,

with

enfeebled

quite

sufferings,

heavy in

Next when the of disease passing down the throat had the breast and had streamed together

movement, rough force

to touch.

generated beside the streams of Nile in the

filled

midst of Egypt and nowhere

even into the sad heart of the sufferers, then

and the eyes

the feet are attacked lands.

And

In Attica

else.

Achaean

in

so different places are hurtful to

and members: the variations of Therefore when an atmosphere which happens to put itself in motion unsuited to us and a hurtful air begin to advance, they creep slowly on in the shape of mist and cloud and disorder everything in their line of advance and compel all to change; and when they have at length reached our atmosphere, they corrupt it too and make it like to themselves and unsuited to us. This new destroying power and pestilence therefore all at once either fall upon the waters or different parts

air occasion that.

else

sink deep into the corn-crops or other

food of

man and

their force

mosphere, and airs,

provender of beast; or

remains suspended within the

we must

when we

absorb

body those things

inhale from

at the

at-

mixed

it

thrown out unburied.

And

a dis-

at-

which we have not been accustomed, and which is able to attack us on its first arrival. 1 138] Such a form of disease and a deathto the use of

noisome

then the powers of

the entire mind, the whole body utterly,

And

now on

would sink

the very threshold of death.

despondency was the conon insufferable ills and complaining mingled with moaning. An evera bitter bitter

stant attendant

recurring hiccup

often

the

night and day

through, forcing on continual spasms in

sin-

ews and limbs, would break men quite, forwearying those forspent before. And yet in none could you perceive the skin on the surface of the body burn with any great heat, but the body would rather offer to the hand a lukewarm sensation and at the same time be red

all

over with ulcers burnt into

over the frame.

and

a

stench, even as the stench of rotting carcases

manner

also

The

give away.

mouth

In like

without our choice brings to us a tainted

miasm

life

speak, like unto the holy fire as

temper too on the silly sheep. And it makes no difference whether we travel to places unfavourable to us and change the atmosphere which wraps us round, or whether nature

fraught

the barriers of

into our

on kine

mosphere or something

all

same time

well.

as

pestilence often falls

else

would

breath would pour out at the

it

it

so to

spreads

The inward parts of the men however would burn to the very bones, a flame would burn within the stomach as within furnaces. Nothing was light and thin enough to apply to the relief of the body of any one; ever wind and cold alone. Many would plunge their limbs burning with disease into the cool rivers, throwing their body naked into the water. Many tumbled headforemost deep down into the wells, meeting the water straight with mouth wide-agape. Parch-

within the borders of

ing thirst with a craving not to be appeased,

Cecrops defiled the whole land with dead,

drenching their bodies, would make an abundant draught no better than the smallest

erst

and dispeopled the of burghers.

1

streets,

Rising

first

drained the town

and

starting

from

the inmost corners of Egypt, after traversing

much 1

air

and many

floating fields, the plague

For the following passage,

cf.

Thucydides,

11.

47.

drop.

would

No lie

respite

was there of

quite spent.

The

mutter low in voiceless

ill:

their bodies

healing art would

fear,

as

again and

again they rolled about their eyeballs wide

LUCRETIUS

96

open, burning with disease, never visited by

ease

sleep.

lie

1

182]

And many symptoms

would then be given, sorrow and

the

of death besides

mind

disordered in

clouded brow, the

fear, the

fierce

delirious expression, the ears too troubled

else

and

with ringings, the breathing quick or

filled

strangely loud and slow-recurring, and

the sweat glistening wet over the neck, the spittle in thin

fron-colour,

small flakes, tinged with a scarce forced

salt,

throat by coughing.

up

The tendons

saf-

the rough

of the

hands

ceased not to contract, the limbs to shiver, a

mount with slow sure pace from Then at their very last mo-

coldness to

the feet upwards.

ments they had

nostrils pinched, the tip of the

1181-1260

and

die:

stretched in

render his

on the ninth return of his lamp they would yield up life. And if any of them at that time had shunned the doom of death, yet in after time consumption and death would await him from noisome ulcers and

light or else

the black discharge of the bowels, or else a

quantity of purulent blood accompanied by

headache would often pass out by the gorged nostrils:

into these the

substance of the

whole strength and

man would

stream.

Then

too

any one had escaped the acrid discharge of noisome blood, the disease would yet pass into his sinews and joints and onward even into

if

some from would live bereaved of these parts by the knife; and some though without hands and feet would continue in life, and some would lose their eyes: with such force had the fear of death come upon them. And some were seized with

the streets

and

thoughts turned on death would sur-

his

life

Ay

then and there.

the infection of the devouring plague, like to

and horned herds. And this heaped death on death: whenever

woolly flocks

above

all

any refused

to attend their

own

sick, killing

would punish them for their too great love of life and fear of death by a foul and evil death, abandoned in turn, forlorn of help. But they who had stayed by them, would perish by infection and the labour which shame would then compel them to undergo and the sick man's accents of afneglect soon after

mingled with those of complaining:

fection this

kind of death the most virtuous would

meet. piles,

.

.

.

and

different bodies

on

different

struggling as they did to bury the mul-

titude of their dead: then spent with tears

excessive dread of the gates of death

grief they

know

And though

bodies lay in heaps above

together in the corners of a hut, delivered

would the

over to death by poverty and disease. Some-

bodies unburied on the ground, yet race of birds

and

beasts either scour far

to escape the acrid stench, or

had

tasted,

Though

it

drooped

hardly at

all

away,

where any one

in near-following death.

in those days

would any

bird appear, or the sullen breeds of wild beasts quit the forests.

ing assailed. 1252] Then too every shepherd and herdsman, ay and sturdy guider of the bent plough sickened; and their bodies would lie huddled

themselves.

1215]

and

would go home; and in great part they would take to their bed from sorrow. And none could be found whom at so fearful a time neither disease nor death nor mourn-

that they did not

memory

loss of

no

for at

time did they cease to catch from one another

the sexual organs of the body; and

such utter

up

yield

general method of cure was found; for that which had given to one man the power to inhale the vital air and to gaze on the quarters of heaven, would be destruction to others and would bring on death. But in such times this was what was deplorable and above all eminently heart-rending: when a man saw himself enmeshed by the disease, as though he were doomed to death, losing all spirit he would lie with sorrow-stricken heart, and

with

about the eighth day of bright sun-

dogs would

faithful

ease would wrench life from their frame. Funerals lonely, unattended, would be hurried on with emulous haste. And no sure and

and hard, on the grim mouth a grin, the brow tense and swollen; and not long after their limbs would be stretched stiff in death:

all

all

breath with a struggle; for the power of dis-

nose sharp, eyes deep-sunk, temples hollow, the skin cold

above

Many would

droop with

dis-

times you might see

above their

lifeless

lifeless children,

bodies of parents

and then the

verse of this, children giving

up

life

re-

above

mothers and fathers. And in no small measure that affliction streamed from the land into the town, brought thither by the sickentheir

ON THE NATURE OF THINGS, BOOK

1261-1286

ing crowd of peasants meeting plague-stricken

from every side. They would fill all places and buildings: wherefore all the more the heat would destroy them and thus close-packed death would pile them up in heaps. Many bodies drawn forth by thirst and tumbled out along the street would lie extended by the fountains of water, the breath of

from over

all

streets

with their

and

half-lifeless

body, foul with stench

away from filth body, with nothing but skin on their

bones,

and

cut off

the open places of the people and the you might see many limbs drooping

and covered with of

life

too great delight in water;

their

now

dirt.

rags, perish

nearly buried in noisome sores

All

the

holy

sanctuaries

of

the

gods too death had filled with lifeless bodies, and all the temples of the heavenly powers

VI 97 burdened with carcases: all which places the wardens had thronged with in all parts stood

guests.

now no

For

longer the worship of the gods

or their divinities were greatly regarded: so

overmastering was the present did those

rites of

affliction.

Nor

sepulture continue in force

with which that pious folk had always been wont to be buried; for the whole of it was in dismay and confusion, and each man would sorrowfully bury as the present in the city,

moment

allowed.

And

and poverty prompted

to

the sudden pressure

many

frightful acts;

thus

with a loud uproar they would place

their

own

others,

with

kinsfolk

and apply

much

the bodies.

upon the funeral torches,

piles of

quarrelling often

bloodshed sooner than abandon

THE DISCOURSES OF EPICTETUS

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE Epictetus,

Epictetus was born sometime

Nero and not

of

Phrygia,

Greek. His original

name

and

He was

name

tian

refers

was a slave freedman and

to

Rome

servitude; as a boy he

in

Epaphroditus, a

courtier

which had been founded by Augustus to celebrate the victory of Actium. There he spent the rest of his long life, expounding Stoic doc-

of

his

Musonius

gifted soul

them

was apparently came

slave

is all

Among

quoted by Origen,

later

was permanently lamed by his master. "When his master was twisting his leg," it is said, "Epictetus only smiled and noted calmly, 'You will break it,' and when it was " broken, 'I told you so.' Sometime before the year 89, Epictetus obtained his freedom and became a teacher of philosophy in Rome. But along with other

Their reverence for him

is

attested

who came from all parts was a certain Flavius Arrian, consul under Hadrian and the historian his pupils,

of Alexander. Arrian took careful notes of the

and teaching of Epictetus and pubthem in the eight books of the Discourses, of which the first four have survived. lectures

lished

Arrian says in his preface that the Discourses are "in the very language Epictetus used, so far as possible,"

and preserve "the

directness

of his speech." Arrian also compiled out of his

suspected of republicanism he Italy

to feel just

he was speaking, from one of them, what he would have

of the Empire,

Epictetus

philosophers

feel."

"When

learn

mirer paid three thousand drachmas for an

more inclined towards its more you try to beat it off."

was expelled from Rome and

we

earthenware lamp he had used.

the

to Celsus, as

a cloak.

by Lucian's story that after his death an ad-

Musonius' teaching that "the

natural object, the

According

The

as a teacher.

hearers,"

"were forced

that each of us as he sat there thought he

appreciate

and

Epictetus wrote nothing, but he acquired

of

Rufus, who, he records, "spoke in such fashion

himself accused."

lived in poverty, having only, as he

said, earth, sky,

a slave, Epictetus attended the

the Stoic philosopher,

lectures of

to

He

trine.

his

renown still

withdrew

a

Nero.

While

90. Epictetus

to northern Greece, to the city of Nicopolis,

unknown. The

is

around the year

if

language was

his

("acquired")

Epictetus

a.d. Go-c. 138

in the reign of

lived through the greater part,

of the reign of Hadrian.

all,

native

c.

lecture notes a

by Domi-

compendium

of the

of Epictetus, the Encheiridion, or

101

main

tenets

Manual.

CONTENTS Biographical Note,

XXIX On

BOOK I

II

XXX

I

Of the things which are in our Power, and not in our Power 105

How

man on

a

of all

men

God

to the rest

BOOK That confidence

108

II

108

III

How to

from the

God

a

we

X

Against those

ferment at

VII VIII

XI Of natural

ably to the

XIV That

XV What philosophy XVI Of providence XVII That

XVIII That we ought not

is

necessary

to be

XX

About

reason,

how

it

Against those

who

XXII Of precognitions XXIII Against Epicurus XXIV How we should struggle with circumstances XXV On the same XXVI What is the law of life XXVII In how many ways appearances exist, and what aids we should provide against them XXVIII That we ought not to be angry with men; and what are the small and the great things

among men

145

good

fulfill

146 that

147

discover the duties of 148 is

To

153

or against those

who

obstinately

what they have

deter-

155

XVI That we do

125

not strive to use our

opinions about good and evil 126

XVII

How we

127

XVIII

How we

128

XIX

129

XX

164

XXI Of inconsistency XXII On friendship XXIII On the power of speaking XXIV To a person who was one of those who were not valued by him

131

132

XXV

That logic

XXVI What

133

°3

158

should struggle against appearances 161 Against those who embrace philo162 sophical opinions only in words Against the Epicureans and Aca-

demics

129

156

must adapt preconceptions

to particular cases

127

150 151

152

mined

wish to be ad-

mired

use divination

the nature of the

is

persist in

contemplates

itself

XXI

XV

122

124

should behave to tyrants

What

XIII On anxiety XIV To Naso

121

angry with

the errors of others

XIX How we

120

121

the logical art

How we ought to

144

life from names XI What the beginning of philosophy XII Of disputation or discussion

120

promises

142

indifference

X How we may

be done accept-

the deity oversees all things

142

consistent with

ter of a philosopher

116

may

is

promises,

116

118

Gods

magnanimity

which the character of a man we assume the charac-

see\ pre-

affection

XII Of contentment XIII How everything

141

IX That when we cannot

114

who eagerly Rome

140 to

care

VI Of

are al(in

consequences

138

detected in adultery

proceed to the

fact that

not inconsistent

is

Of Tranquillity To those who recommend persons

V How

113

man may

II

IV Against a person who had once been

VIII That the faculties are not safe to the

IX

138

philosophers

VI Of providence no VII Of the use of sophistical arguments, and hypothetical, and the like 112 uninstructed

dif-

with caution

no

Against the academics

134

have ready in

to

circumstances

106

being the father

IV Of progress or improvement

V

ficult

How a man should proceed from the principle of

constancy

What we ought

every occasion can

maintain his proper character III

p. 101

is

is

necessary

the property of error

166

167 170

172 174

174

CONTENTS

°4

XX

BOOK

all

Of finery in dress In what a man ought

who

we

that III

What

has

is

made

75

neglect the chief things

177

partisanship in an unseemly

XXIV

sickness

XXV

VI Miscellaneous VII To the administrator of the who was an Epicurean VIII How we must exercise a certain rhetorician

X

In

Rome

on a

182 ourselves

who was go-

man

XIV

XV XVI

men

XVII On providence

XIX What

is

hind of

man and

their pur-

who

fear

want

210

IV

On

213

familiar intimacy

What

223

we should exchange

things

for

224 are desirous of passing

tranquility

225

Against the quarrelsome and fero228

pitied

VII

189

VIII

191

230

On freedom from fear Against those who hastily

232 rush into

the use of the philosophic dress to a character of shamelessness

X What

we ought to despise, and what things we ought to value

192

common

of a philosopher 192

XII

On

own

238

240

attention

242

XIII Against or to those their

lyj

things

XI About purity

by

235

IX To a person who had been changed

191

the condition of a

from

cious

188

That we ought to proceed with circumspection to everything 190 That we ought with caution to enter

to be disturbed

203

fall off

VI Against those who lament over being

of

Certain miscellaneous matters

XVIII That we ought not any news

which are

About freedom

life in

V

187

is

into familiar intercourse with

a

other things

to bear

and what kind

201

moved by

210

those

IV To those who

suit

187 is,

who

BOOK I

III

XI Certain miscellaneous matters solitude

XXVI To

II

185

person a solitary

those

181

XII About exercise

What

To

free cities

what manner we ought

to be

180

sickness

XIII

That we ought not

of

against appearances

ing up to

discuss for

pose 180

who on account go away home

193

not in our power

way

Against those

to

195

desire of those things

his

in a theatre

192

come

readily

the sa\e of ostentation

178

IV Against a person who showed

who

XXII About cynism XXIII To those who read and

the matter on which a good

ourselves

external things

Against those

the profession of sophists

and

should be employed, and in what we ought chiefly to practice

IX To

XXI

to be exercised

proficiency;

man

V

That we can derive advantage from

III

affairs

who

readily tell

244

THE DISCOURSES

OF

EPICTETUS •

Chapter

i.

Of

the things which are in our

Power, and not

Of all is

BOOK ONE

in

put these other things also in our power, but 2

our Power

they certainly could not. For as

the faculties, you will find not one

capable of contemplating

itself;

which

How

to be

grammatic art power? As far as forming a judgment about what is written and spoken. And how far music? As far as judging about melody. Does either of them then contemplate itself? By no means. But when you must write something to your friend, grammar will tell you what words you must write; but whether you should write or not, grammar will not tell you. And so it is with music as to musical sounds; but whether you should sing at the present time and play on the lute, or do neither, music will not tell you. What faculty then will tell you? That which contemplates both itself and all other things. And what is this faculty? 1

we have

what

for this is the only faculty

received

it is,

ourselves to

is

What

else

judges of music, grammar, and the

other faculties, proves their uses and points else.

As then it was fit to be of all and supreme over

best

so,

all

cause they did not choose?

1

had been

Marcus Aurelius,

look out to see what wind

other things

they have not placed in our power. I

Was

it

north."

What

is

When

good man, or when

God

would have

2

xi. i.

105

has not

it

many

blowing. "It

"When

shall choose,

it

is

will the

my

shall please iEolus; for

made you

Compare Marcus

is

that to us?

west wind blow?"

be-

indeed think

able, they

prefer to look after

when the weather is not fit for sailing, we sit down and torment ourselves, and continually

in our power, the

right use of appearances; but

that, if they

is

the only thing

all is

which the gods have placed

which

that

we

things,

capable of judging of appearances.

out the occasions for using them? Nothing

it,

and to be bound to many things, to the body and to property, and to brother and to friend, and to child and to slave. Since, then, we are bound to many things, we are depressed by them and dragged down. For this reason,

not say so themselves? Evidently it is the faculty

which

possible for us not

hindered as to these things by externals?

possible,

which examines itself, and what power it has, and what is the value of this gift, and examines all other faculties: for what else is there which tells us that golden things are beautiful, for they do that

it

exist on the body and to

But what says Zeus? "Epictetus, if it were I would have made both your little body and your little property free and not exposed to hindrance. But now be not ignorant of this: this body is not yours, but it is clay finely tempered. And since I was not able to do for you what I have mentioned, I have given you a small portion of us, this faculty of pursuing an object and avoiding it, and the faculty of desire and aversion, and, in a word, the faculty of using the appearances of things; and if you will take care of this faculty and consider it your only possession, you will never be hindered, never meet with impediments; you will not lament, you will not blame, you will not flatter any person." "Well, do these seem to you small matters?" I hope not. "Be content with them then and pray to the gods." But now when it is in our power to look after one thing, and to attach

far does the

rational faculty;

we

to such a

such companions, how was

and, conse-

possess the contemplating

The

and are bound

earth,

quently, not capable either of approving or dis-

approving.



Aurelius,

the ii.

3.

manager

of the

EPICTETUS

io6

the best use that

What then? We must make we can of the things which

"I

are in our power,

and use the

reported to

What, then, did Agrippinus 5 say?

winds, but Mollis.

What

their nature.

is

according to

rest

their nature then?

As

God may please.

you may be consoled? Will you not

out your neck as Lateranus

1

stretch

Rome

did at

when Nero ordered him to be beheaded? For when he had stretched out his neck, and received a feeble blow, which made him draw it

moment, he

in for a

And

him about

out again.

it

tell

What

which he had

the cause of offense

given, he said, "If will

stretched

when he was visited by Nero's freedman, who asked

a little before,

Epaphroditus,

I

choose to

tell

anything,

I

your master." then should a

in such circumstances?

man have in readiness What else than this?

"What

is

what

permitted to me, and what

is

mine, and what

is

not mine; and is

not per-

mitted to me." I must die. Must I then die lamenting? I must be put in chains. Must I then also lament? I must go into exile. Does any man then hinder me from going with smiles and cheerfulness and contentment? "Tell me the secret which you possess." I will not, for this is in my power. "But I will put you in 2 chains." Man, what are you talking about?

Me

in chains

?

not a hindrance to myself."

him

He said, When it was

was going on

that his trial

the Senate, he said, "I hope

may

it

You may

fetter

my

leg,

but

my

Zeus himself can overpower. "I will throw you into prison." My poor body,

will not even

you mean. "I will cut your head off." When, I told you that my head alone can-

then, have



it is the fifth hour of the day" this was the time when he was used to exercise himself and then take the cold bath "let us go and take our exercise." After he had taken his exercise, one comes and tells him, "You have been condemned." "To banishment," he



"or to death?" "To banishment." "What about my property?" "It is not taken

replies,

from you." "Let us go to Aricia then," he said, "and dine." This it is to have studied what a man ought to study; to have made desire, aversion, free from hindrance, and free from all that a man would avoid. I must die. If now, I am ready to

now

die. If, after a short time, I it is

the dinner-hour; after this

How

?

Like a

man who

dine because will then die.

I

up what belongs

gives

to another.

Chapter

2.

How a Man

on every occasion can

maintain his Proper Character

To the

rational animal only

tolerable; but that

which

is

is

the irrational in-

rational

is

if we man is

we

yourself. In short,

observe,

that the animal

pained by nothing so

not be cut off? These are the things which

much

the contrary, attracted to nothing so

should write daily, in which they should ex-

to that

Thrasea

3

say, "I

killed to-day than banished

then, did

Rufus

4

as

by that which

which

is

is

say to

would

rather be

to-morrow." What,

him?

"If

death as the heavier misfortune,

you choose

how

great

is

much

on as

rational.

such in a different just as the

shall find

irrational; and,

But the rational and the

used to

tolerable.

Blows are not naturally intolerable. "How is that?" See how the Lacedaemonians endure whipping when they have learned that whipping is consistent with reason. "To hang yourself is not intolerable." When, then, you have the opinion that it is rational, you go and hang

philosophers should meditate on, which they

ercise themselves.

in

turn out

well; but

"Must I, then, alone have my head cut off?" What, would you have all men lose their heads that

am

way

irrational

appear

to different persons,

good and the bad, the

profitable

and

the unprofitable. For this reason, particularly,

we need

discipline, in order to learn

how

to

has given you the choice? Will you not

adapt the preconception of the rational and the irrational to the several things conformably to

study to be content with that which has been

nature. But in order to determine the rational

given to you?"

and the

the folly of your choice? But

who

if,

as the lighter,

we use not only the estimates we consider also what is appropriate to each person. For to one man it is irrational,

of external things, but iTacitus, Annals, xv. 49, 60. Euripides, Bacchantes, 492

2 3

Tacitus, Annals, xvi. 21-35.

4 Tacitus,

Histories,

iii.

81.

and following.

consistent with reason to hold a 6

Tacitus, Annals, xvi. 28.

chamber pot

DISCOURSES, for another,

and

does not hold

it,

to look to this only, that

he will receive

will not receive his food: but

stripes,

if

he

he

if

and he hold

shall

the pot, he will not suffer anything hard or disagreeable.

But

the holding of a

man

another

to

not only does

chamber pot appear

intoler-

able for himself, but intolerable also for

allow another to do this

you ask

me whether you

ber pot or not,

ing of food ing of

is

office for

him.

If,

to

then,

should hold the cham-

I shall say to you that the worth more than the not

and the being scourged

it,

him

is

receivreceiv-

a greater

indignity than not being scourged; so that

if

you measure your interests by these things, go and hold the chamber pot. "But this," you say, "would not be worthy of me." Well, then, it is you who must introduce this consideration into the inquiry, not I; for it is you who know yourself, how much you are worth to yourself, and

what

at

price

you

yourself; for

sell

men

sell

BOOK

commanded him replied, "It

be a I

must go

purple, that small part

makes ful.

all

Why

like the

which

is

then do you

tell

if I

wish

bright,

to be

and

and

beauti-

me to make how shall I

myself

the rest appear graceful

many? and

I

do,

still

be

purple ? Priscus Helvidius Tacitus, Annals, 2

2

also

saw

this,

and acted

iv. 4, 5.

to allow

me

to

am,

I

"Well, go in then," says the

in."

"Do

not ask

my

"But I must ask your opinion." "And I must say what I think right." "But if you do, I shall put you to death." "When then did I tell you that I am immortal ? You will do your part, and I will do mine: it is your part to kill; it is mine to die, but not in fear: yours to banish me; mine to depart withI

will be silent."

out sorrow."

What good

who was And what good does the

then did Priscus do,

only a single person?

purple do for the toga? this, that

ple, all

and

is

Why, what

than

else

conspicuous in the toga as pur-

it is

displayed also as a fine example to

other things? But in such circumstances an-

would have

replied to Caesar

who

for-

thank you for Vespasian would

to enter the senate, "I

sparing me." But such a

man

not even have forbidden to enter the senate,

knew

for he like

that he

an earthen

would say what

would

either

sit

there

if

he spoke, he

Caesar wished,

and add even

vessel,

or,

more. In this

way an

athlete also acted

who was

in

danger of dying unless his private parts were amputated. His brother came to the athlete,

who was brother,

a

philosopher, and

what

said,

"Come,

you going to do? Shall we member and return to the gymare

amputate this nasium?" But the athlete persisted in his resolution and died. When some one asked Epictetus how he did this, as an athlete or a philosopher, "As a man," Epictetus replied, "and a man who had been proclaimed among the athletes at the Olympic games and had contended in them, a man who had been familiar with such a place, and not merely anointed in Baton's school. Another would have allowed even his head to be cut off, if he could have lived without it. Such is that regard to character which is so strong in those who have been accustomed to introduce it of themselves and conjoined with other things into their deliberations."

"Come,

xiv. 14.

Tacitus, Histories,

your power not

of the senate, but so long as

opinion, and

bade him

thread has no design to be anything

and

sent

not to go into the senate, he

emperor, "but say nothing."

other

superior to the other threads. But

in

is

member

For this reason, when Florus was deliberating whether he should go down to Nero's spectacles and also perform in them himself, Agrippinus said to him, "Go down": and when Florus asked Agrippinus, "Why do not you go down?" Agrippinus replied, "Because I do not even deliberate about the matter." For he who has once brought himself to deliberate about such matters, and to calculate the value of external things, comes very near to those who have forgotten their own character. For why do you ask me the question, whether death is preferable or life? I say "life." "Pain or pleasure?" I say "pleasure." But if I do not take a part in the tragic acting, I shall have my head struck off. Go then and take a part, but I will not. "Why?" Because you consider yourself to be only one thread of those which are in the tunic. Well then it was fitting for you to take care how you should be like the rest of men, just as the

when Vespasian

conformably. For

themselves at various prices.

l

107

I

I

am a

then, Epictetus, shave yourself." "If

philosopher,"

I

answer, "I will not shave

EPICTETUS

io8

myself." "But

your head?"

will take off

I

do you any good, take

that will

If

Some person asked, "How then shall every man among us perceive what is suitable to his character?" How, he replied, does the bull alone, when the lion has attacked, discover his

own powers and

put himself forward in de-

whole herd?

fense of the

plain that with

It is

which it is

miserable and mortal; and some few

is

to that

off.

it

which

who

those, the few, for fidelity

flesh."

made

man; but we must

a brave in the

not

is

winter for the

suddenly, nor

discipline ourselves

summer campaign, and

not rashly run upon that which does not con-

Only consider

own

will;

at what price you no other reason, at

for

if

sell

your

least for

you sell it not for a small sum. But which is great and superior perhaps belongs to Socrates and such as are like him. this, that

that

"Why

then,

then that are

if

are naturally such, are not a

horses

all

skilled

then, since

I

of us like

become

him?"

tracking footprints?

am

naturally dull, shall I

Is it

swift, that all

in

no pains?"

reason, take is

we

number

very great

hope

not superior to Socrates; but

true

dogs

I,

for this

not. Epictetus if

he

is

not in-

is

looking after anything because

we

despair of

reaching the highest degree.

Chapter

3.

How

the principle of

men If a

trine as

God

a man should proceed from God being the father of all

to the rest

man in

should be able to assent to

he ought, that

we

are

all

man, with

this doc-

sprung from

an especial manner, and that

Through

I?

A

bit of

Why then

kinship with the

flesh, some of become like wolves, faithless and treacherous and mischievous: some become like lions, savage and untamed; but the greater part of us become foxes and other worse animals. For what else is a slanderer and a malignant man than a fox, or some other more wretched and meaner animal? See, then, and take care that you do not become some one of these miserable things.

this

it

1

God

is

men and of gods, I suppose would never have any ignoble or mean

Chapter

4.

He who

is

Of progress or improvement making progress, having learned from philosophers that desire means the desire of good things, and aversion means aversion from bad things; having learned too that happiness and tranquillity are not attainable by

man

otherwise than by not failing to obtain

what he desires, and not falling into that which he would avoid; such a man takes from himself desire altogether and defers it, but he employs his aversion only on things which are dependent on his will. For if he attempts to avoid

Caesar should

adopt you, no one could endure your arrogance;

you know that you are the son of Zeus, you not be elated? Yet we do not so; but since these two things are mingled in the generation of man, body in common with the animals, and reason and intelligence in common with the gods, many incline to this kinship,

he knows

anything independent of his

will,

that sometimes he will

with something

which he wishes happy.

Now

fall in

to avoid,

and he will be ungood fortune

virtue promises

if

and happiness,

the progress toward virtue

if

wretched

do you neglect that which is better, and why do you attach yourself to this?

and

and

my

quite

Wretched, indeed; but you possess some-

that he

if

many it is "What am

thing better than your "bit of flesh."

the father both of

thoughts about himself. But

a sure use of ap-

"What,

enough for me; for I shall never be a Milo, and yet I do not neglect my body; nor shall I be a Croesus, and yet I do not neglect my property; nor, in a word, do we neglect

ferior, this

it,

or ignoble thoughts

the contrary. For they say,

us inclining to

cern us.

mean

about themselves; but with the

ever of us has such powers will not be ignorant

Now a bull

uses everything

think that they are formed

and modesty and

pearances have no

poor, miserable

of them.

man

according to the opinion which he has about

them is immediately conjoined; and, therefore, who-

the powers the perception of having

divine and happy. Since then

is

of necessity that every

tranquillity

is

certainly also

progress toward

each of these things. For it is always true that to whatever point the perfecting of anything leads us, progress is an approach toward this point.

How

will

as

I

then do

have

said,

things and

we admit

and

make

a display of it?

product of virtue? iMatt.

16, 6.

that virtue

is

such

yet seek progress in other

Tranquillity.

What

Who

is

the

then

BOOK

DISCOURSES, makes improvement?

It is

he

who

has read

But does virtue consist in having understood Chrysippus? If this is so, progress is clearly nothing else than knowing a great deal of Chrysippus. But now we admit that virtue produces one thing, and we declare that approaching near to it is another thing, namely, progress or improvement.

many books

of Chrysippus?

"Such a person," says one, "is already able to read Chrysippus by himself." Indeed, sir, you are making great progress. What kind of progBut why do you mock the man? Why do you draw him away from the perception of his own misfortunes? Will you not show him the ress?

he may learn where to look improvement? Seek it there, wretch, where your work lies. And where is your work? In desire and in aversion, that you may not be disappointed in your desire, and that you may not fall into that which you would avoid; in your pursuit and avoiding, that you commit no error; in assent and suspension of assent, that you be not deceived. The first things, and the most necessary, are those which I have 1 named. But if with trembling and lamentation you seek not to fall into that which you avoid, tell me how you are improving. Do you then show me your improvement in these things? If I were talking to an athlete, I should say, "Show me your shoulders"; and then he might say, "Here are my halteres." You and your halteres 2 look to that. I should reply, "I wish to see the effect of the halteres." So, when you say: "Take the treatise on the active powers, and see how I have studied it." I effect of virtue that

for

reply, "Slave,

I

am

not inquiring about

this,

how you

exercise pursuit and avoidance, and aversion, how you design and purpose and prepare yourself, whether conform-

but

desire

ably to nature or not. If conformably, give

evidence of

it,

and

ing progress: but

I

if

will say that

me

you are mak-

not conformably, be gone,

and not only expound your books, but write such books yourself; and what will you gain by it? Do you not know that the whole book costs only five denarii? Does then the expounder seem to be worth more than five denarii? Never, then, look for the matter

it-

Compare iii, 2. 2 Galen. De Sanitate tuenda. Halteres were masses of lead, used by the Greeks for exercise and in making 1

jumps.

self in

109

I

one place, and progress toward

it

in

another."

Where then

progress?

is

drawing himself from

own

will to exercise

make

labour, so as to

it it

If

and

modest; and

if

improve

to

it

by

conformable to nature,

elevated, free, unrestrained, ful,

any of you, with-

externals, turns to his

unimpeded,

faith-

he has learned that he

desires or avoids the things

which

who

are not in

power can neither be faithful nor free, but must change with them and be tossed about with them as in a tempest, and of necessity must subject himself to others who have the power to procure or prevent what he desires or would avoid; finally, when he rises in the morning, if he observes and keeps these rules, bathes as a man of fidelity, eats as a modest man; in like manner, if in every matter that occurs he works out his chief principles as the runner does with reference to running, and the

his

of necessity he

trainer of the voice with reference to the voice



this

this

is

But

if

is

man who truly makes progress, and man who has not traveled in vain.

the

the

he has strained his

of reading books,

has traveled for

efforts to the practice

and labours only

this, I tell

him

at this,

and

home

to return

immediately, and not to neglect his affairs there; for this for

which he has traveled

is

noth-

But the other thing is something, to study how a man can rid his life of lamentation and ing.

and saying, "Woe to me," and I am," and to rid it also of misfortune and disappointment, and to learn what death is, and exile, and prison, and poison, that groaning,

"wretched that

may

he

"Dear it

be

am

be able to say 3

Crito,

so, let it

I,

if it is

when he

in fetters,

is

the will of the gods that

be so"; and not to say, "Wretched

an old man; have

for this?"

Who

think that

I

I

kept

my

gray hairs

Do you no repute and of low condition? Does not Priam say this? Does not CEdipus say this? Nay, all kings say it! * For what else is tragedy than the peris it

shall

turbations of

that speaks thus?

name some man

men who

of

value externals ex-

hibited in this kind of poetry? But

if

a

man

must learn by fiction that no external things which are independent of the will concern us, for

of

my part I

which 3

4

I

should like this

should

live

fiction,

by the aid

happily and undisturbed.

Compare Plato, Crito, 1. Compare Marcus Aurelius,

xi. 6.

EPICTETUS But you must consider

for yourselves

what you

wish.

The

then does Chrysippus teach us?

know

"to

is,

that these things are not

from which happiness comes and tranTake my books, and you will learn how true and conformable to nature are the things which make me free from perturbations." O great good fortune! O the great benefactor who points out the way! To Triptolemus all men have erected temples and altars, false,

quillity arises.

because he gave us food by cultivation; but to

him who discovered truth and brought it to and communicated it to all, not the truth

light

which shows us how well, who of you for altar,

who

to live, but

how

this reason has built

worships

God

Because the gods

for this?

we

sacrifice to

them: but because they have produced

human mind show

in the

which they designed which relates to happiwe not thank God for this? that fruit by

us the truth

ness, shall

what

feel

iron shall

that he

man? And what make

this

I

apply to him to

deadened?

is

the contradiction: he

other does see

is

Chapter 5. Against the academics man, said Epictetus, opposes evident truths, it is not easy to find arguments by which we shall make him change his opinion. But this If a

does not arise either from the man's strength or the teacher's weakness; for

when is

a stone,

how

shall

we then

the

man,

hardened

like

be able to deal with

him by argument?

Now

there are

two kinds

of hardening, one

of the understanding, the other of the sense of

shame, when a

what

is

tions.

Most

man

is

resolved not to assent to

manifest nor to desist from contradic-

the body,

of us are afraid of mortification of

and would contrive

avoid such a thing, but soul's mortification.

to the soul,

if

a

man

we

And

all

means

does per-

bad condition. An-

in a

but he

it,

is

makes no improvement: he condition. His modesty

not moved, and

is

even in a worse

and his and the rational faculty has not been cut off from him, but it is brutalized. Shall I name this strength of mind? Certainly extirpated,

is

sense of shame;

we

not, unless

also

name

it

such in catamites,

through which they do and say ever comes into their head.

Chapter

From

in public

what-

world,

Of providence

6.

everything which it is

is

or happens in the

easy to praise Providence,

possesses these

two

ing what belongs and happens to

and

things,

and

to

care not about the

indeed with regard

be in such a state as not to

apprehend anything, or understand at all, we think that he is in a bad condition: but if the sense of shame and modesty are deadened, this we call even power.

Do you comprehend that you are awake? "I do not," the man replies, "for I do not even comprehend when in my sleep I imagine that I am awake." Does this appearance then not differ from the other? "Not at all," he replies.

if

a

all

persons

a grateful disposition. If he

does not possess these two qualities, one

which happen; another for

them, even

had made

if

man

qualities, the faculty of see-

will not see the use of things

though he has been confuted,

He

he pretends that he does not. He is even worse than a dead man. He does not see ceive, but

an

or a temple, or has dedicated a statue, or

have given the vine, or wheat,

to

to live

him

argue with

still

I

or

fire

What reply

Shall

man

which are and

will not be thankful

he does

know them.

If

God

had not made the faculty of seeing them, what would have been their use? None at all. On the other hand, if He had made the faculty of vision, but had not made objects such as to fall under the faculty, what in that case also would have been the use of it? None at all. Well, suppose that He had made both, but had not made light? In that case, also, they would have been of no use. Who is it, then, who has fitted this to that and that to this?

colours, but

And who

is it

that has fitted the knife to :

and the case to the knife? Is it no one And, indeed, from the very structure of things which have attained their completion, we are accustomed to show that the work is certainly the act of some artificer, and that it has not been constructed without a purpose. Does then each of these things demonstrate the workman, and do not visible things and the faculty of seeing and light demonstrate Him? And the existence of male and female, and the desire of each for conjunction, and the power of using the parts which are constructed, do not even these declare the workman? If they do not, let the case

us consider the constitution of our understand-

DISCOURSES, ing according, to which,

when we meet with

we do not simply receive imfrom them, but we also select something from them, and subtract something, and add, and compound by means of them these things or those, and, in fact, pass from some to other things which, in a manner, resemble them: is not even this sufficient to move some men, and to induce them not to forget the

BOOK

in

I

ends in contemplation and understanding, and

way

of life conformable to nature.

Take

sensible objects,

in a

pressions

care then not to die without having been spec-

workman? what

how

so, let them explain to us makes each several thing, or possible that things so wonderful and

is

it

it is

not

If

that

should exist by

like the contrivances of art

chance and from their

What, then, Many, indeed,

own

proper motion?

done in us only. which the rational animal had peculiar need; but you will find are these things in us only, of

many common

Do

means. For use ing

to us

with irrational animals.

they then understand what

is

mals

is

done? By no

one thing, and understandanother: God had need of irrational ani-

to

make

is

use of appearances, but of us to

understand the use of appearances.

It is

there-

enough for them to eat and to drink, and to sleep and to copulate, and to do all the other things which they severally do. But for us, to fore

whom He

has given also the intellectual fac-

ulty, these things are

we

not sufficient; for unless

and orderly manner, and the nature and constitution of

act in a proper

conformably each thing,

to

we

shall

never attain our true end.

For where the constitutions of living beings are different, there also the acts and the ends are different. In those animals, then,

whose

consti-

adapted only to use, use alone is enough: but in an animal which has also the tution

is

power

of understanding the use, unless there

tators of these things.

But you take

work

a journey to

and

Olympia

to see the

you think it a misfortune to die without having seen such things. But when there is no need to take a journey, and where a man is, there he has the works (of God) before him, will you not desire to see and understand them? Will you not perceive either what you are, or what you were born for, or what this is for which you have received the faculty of sight? But you may say, "There are some things disagreeable and troublesome in life." And are there none in Olympia? Are you not scorched ? Are you not pressed by a crowd ? Are you not without comfortable means of bathing? Are you not wet when it rains? Have you not abundance of noise, clamour, and other disof Phidias,

all

agreeable things? But

I

of

suppose that setting

all

these things off against the magnificence of the

you bear and endure. Well, then, and faculties by which you will be able to bear all that happens? Have you not received greatness of soul? Have you not received manliness? Have you not received endurance? And why do I trouble myself about anything that can happen if I possess greatness of

spectacle,

have you not received

What

soul?

shall distract

my mind

me, or appear painful? Shall

which

or disturb

not use the pow-

I

received it, and what happens? 1 "Yes, but my nose runs." For what purpose then, slave, have you hands? Is it not that you may wipe your nose? "Is it, then, consistent

er for the purposes for shall

I

I

grieve and lament over

be the due exercise of the understanding, he

with reason that there should be running of noses in the world?" Nay, how much better it

will never attain his proper end.

is

God

Well then

constitutes every animal, one to be eaten,

another to serve for agriculture, another to supply cheese, and another for some like use;

which purposes what need is there to understand appearances and to be able to distinguish them? But God has introduced man to for

be a spectator of

God and

of

His works; and

not only a spectator of them, but an interpreter.

For

this reason

it is

shameful for

man

to be-

gin and to end where irrational animals do, but rather he ought to begin where they begin,

and

to

end where nature ends

in us;

and nature

to wipe your nose than to find fault. What do you think that Hercules would have been if there had not been such a lion, and hydra, and stag, and boar, and certain unjust and bestial men, whom Hercules used to drive away and clear out? And what would he have been doing if there had been nothing of the kind? Is it not plain that he would have wrapped himself up and have slept? In the first place, then, he would not have been a Hercules, when he was dreaming away all his life in such luxury and ease; and even if he had been one what would 1

Compare

ii,

16.

EPICTETUS

112

have been the use of him? and what the use of

and of the strength of the other parts of his body, and his endurance and noble spirit, if such circumstances and occasions had not roused and exercised him? "Well, then, must a man provide for himself such means of exercise, and seek to introduce a lion from some place into his country, and a boar and a hydra?" This would be folly and madness: but as they did exist, and were found, they were useful for showing what Hercules was and for exercising him. Come then do you also having his arms,

observed these things look to the faculties

which you have, and when you have looked at O Zeus, any difficulty that Thou pleasest, for I have means given to me by Thee and powers for honoring myself through the things which happen." You do not so; but you sit still, trembling for fear that some things will happen, and weeping, and lamenting, and groaning for what does happen: and then you blame the gods. For what is the consequence of such meanness of spirit but imthem, say: "Bring now,

piety?

And yet God has not only

faculties;

by which

we

given us these

shall be able to bear

everything that happens without being deit; but, like a good king and a true father, He has given us these faculties free from hindrance, subject to no compulsion, unimpeded, and has put them entirely in

pressed or broken by

our

own

power, without even having reserved

Himself any power of hindering or impeding. You, who have received these powers free and as your own, use them not: you do not even see what you have received, and from to

whom; some of you being blinded to the giver, and not even acknowledging your benefactor, and others, through meanness of spirit, betaking yourselves to fault-finding and making charges against God. Yet I will show to you that you have powers and means for greatness of soul and manliness: but what powers you have for finding fault and making accusations, do you show me. Chapter 7. Of the use of sophistical arguments, and hypothetical, and the li\e

The

handling of sophistical and hypothetical

arguments, and of those which derive their conclusions from questioning, and in a the handling of

all

word

such arguments, relates to

though the many do not For in every matter we inquire how the wise and good man shall discover the proper path and the proper method of dealing with the matter. Let, then, people the duties of

know

life,

this truth.

either say that the grave

man

into the contest of question if

will not

descend

and answer, or

that,

he does descend into the contest, he will take

no care about not conducting himself rashly and answering. But if they do not allow either the one or the other of these things, they must admit that some inquiry ought to be made into those topics on which particularly questioning and answering are employed. For what is the end proposed in or carelessly in questioning

reasoning?

To

establish true propositions, to

remove the false, to withhold assent from those which are not plain. Is it enough then to have learned only this? "It reply. Is

it,

then, also

is

enough," a

enough

for a

man may man, who

would not make a mistake in the use of coined money, to have heard this precept, that he should receive the genuine drachmae and reject the spurious? "It is not enough." What, then, ought to be added to this precept? What else than the faculty which proves and distinguishes the genuine and the spurious drachmae? Consequently also in reasoning what has been said is

not enough; but

is it

necessary that a

man

should acquire the faculty of examining and false, and that which is not plain? "It is necessary." Besides this, what is proposed in reasoning? "That you should accept what follows from that which you have properly granted." Well, is it then enough in this case also to know this? It is not enough; but a man must learn how one thing is a consequence of other things, and when one thing follows from one thing, and when it follows from several collectively. Consider, then, if it be not necessary that this power should

distinguishing the true and the

also be acquired

by him

who

purposes to con-

duct himself skillfully in reasoning, the power of demonstrating himself the several things

which he has proposed, and the power of understanding the demonstrations of others, and of not being deceived by sophists, as if they were demonstrating. Therefore there has arisen among us the practice and exercise of conclusive arguments and figures, and it has been

shown

to be necessary.

DISCOURSES, But

in fact in

some

cases

we have

properly

granted the premisses or assumptions, and there results

from them something; and though

not true, yet none the

then ought

hood? I

I

to

do? Ought

And how

say that

I

less it

is

I

to

it is

What

does result.

admit the

false-

that possible? Well, should

did not properly grant that which

we

agreed upon? "But you are not allowed to do even this." Shall I then say that the consequence does not arise through what has been conceded? "But neither is it allowed." What then must be done in this case? Consider if it is not this: as to have borrowed is not enough to make a man still a debtor, but to this must be added the fact that he continues to owe the money and that the debt is not paid, so it is not enough to compel you to admit the inference that you have granted the premisses, but you must abide by what you have granted. Indeed, if the premisses continue to the end such as they were when they were granted, it is absolutely necessary for us to abide by what we have granted, and we must accept their consequences: but if the premisses do not remain such as they were when they were granted, it is absolutely necessary for us also to withdraw from what we granted, and from accepting what does not follow from the words in which our concessions were made. For the inference is now not our inference, nor does it result with our assent, since we have withdrawn from the premisses which we granted. We ought then both to examine such kind of premisses, and such change and variation of them, by which in the course of questioning or answering, or

in

making

the syllogistic conclusion, or in any

BOOK

/

113

sometimes withdraw from it, but admit the consequences and not admit contradictions? Yes; but suppose that a man says, "If you admit the hypothesis of a

you

shall a

man

of sense refuse to enter into a con-

and avoid discussion and conversation with him? But what other man than the man of sense can use argumentation and is skillful in questioning and answering, and incapable of being cheated and deceived by false reasoning? And shall he enter into the contest, and yet not take care whether he shall engage in argument not rashly and not carelessly? And

test,

how

he does not take care,

if

man

we

him

some such

conceive

to be?

exercise

vating our reason? "If then take in these matters

may

father?" Slave, where

was

I

I

it?

or

then, possi-

kill

which you have committed. remark which I made to Ruf us 1 when he blamed me for not having discovered

ble here

This

is

is

the fault

the very

the one thing omitted in a certain syllogism: "I suppose," itol."

said, "that

I

I

have burnt the Cap-

"Slave," he replied, "was the thing omit-

father? But for a

presented to

him

and not

man

Or

are these the only

and

to kill

your

to use the appearances

rashly

and

foolishly

and

care-

understand argument, nor demonstration, nor sophism, nor, in a word, to

lessly,

to

and answering what is conwith that which we have granted or is

see in questioning sistent

not consistent;

Chapter

8.

is

there

That the

is

must he

my

him? What,

no error

faculties

2

in this?

are not safe to

the uninstructed

In as many ways as we can change things which are equivalent to one another, in just so 1

every case abide by allowing

a mis-

have you done? The only fault that was

matter that you could

crimes, to burn the Capitol

proposed, or not allow every one? And if not every one, which should we allow? And if a man has allowed an hypothesis, must he in

make

there a father in this

ted here the Capitol?"

that

shall

not have killed

and give occasion to the foolish to be confounded, if they do not see what conclusions are. For what reason ought we to examine ? In order that we may not in this matter be employed in an improper manner nor in a confused way. And the same in hypotheses and hypothetical arguments; for it is necessary sometimes to demand the granting of some hypothesis as a kind of passage to the argument which follows.

Must we then allow every hypothesis

can he be such a

But without and preparation, can he maintain a continuous and consistent argument? Let them show this; and all these speculations become superfluous, and are absurd and inconsistent with our notion of a good and serious man. Why are we still indolent and negligent and sluggish, and why do we seek pretences for not labouring and not being watchful in cultias

other such way, the premisses undergo variations,

draw

possibility, I will

an impossibility." With such a person

to

2

See i.i; Plutarch Lives, Tiberius Gracchus. See below.

EPICTETUS

r i.

many ways we can change the forms of arguments and enthymemes in argumentation. This is an instance: "If you have borrowed and not repaid, you owe me the money: you have not borrowed and you have not repaid; then you do not owe me the money." To do this skillfully is suitable to no man more than to the philosopher; for if the enthymeme is an imperfect syllogism,

it

is

plain that he

who

has

philosophers, and in other respects?

ought you

Do

what things belong to them if I were a philosopher,

And

also to be

away

made lame? What then?

which you posdo I take away the faculty of seeing. But if you ask me what is the good of man, I cannot mention to you anyI

sess?

take

these faculties

By no means;

thing else than that

for neither

it is

a certain disposition of

the will with respect to appearances.

1

been exercised in the perfect syllogism must be

Chapter

equally expert in the imperfect also.

"Why

then do

we

not exercise ourselves and

to

9.

How from the fact that we are a\in

God a man may

proceed to the

one another in this manner?" Because, I reply, at present, though we are not exercised in these

If the things are true

things and not distracted from the study of

philosophers about the kinship between

me at least, still we make no progvirtue. What then must we expect if we

morality, by ress in

this occupation? and particularly would not only be an occupation which would withdraw us from more necessary things, but would also be a cause of self-conceit and arrogance, and no small cause. For great is the power of arguing and the faculty of persuasion, and particularly if it should be much exercised, and also receive additional ornament from language: and so universally, every faculty acquired by the uninstructed and weak

should add

as this

brings with

it

the danger of these persons be-

ing elated and inflated by

it.

could one persuade a young

For by what means

man who

excels in

become an appendage to them, but to make them an appendage to himself? Does he not trample on all such reasons, and strut before us elated and these matters that he ought not to

inflated,

not enduring that any

man

should

him and remind him of what he neglected and to what he has turned

reprove has

consequences

which

are said by the

God

and man, what else remains for men to do than what Socrates did? Never in reply to the question, to what country you belong, say that you are an Athenian or a Corinthian, but that you are a citizen of the world. For why do you say that you are an Athenian, and why do you not say that you belong to the small nook only into which your poor body was cast at birth? Is it not plain that you call yourself an Athenian or Corinthian from the place which has a greater authority and comprises not only that small nook itself and all your family, but even the whole country from which the stock of your progenitors is derived down to you? He then who has observed with intelligence the administration of the world, and has learned that the greatest and supreme and the most comprehensive community is that which is composed of men and God, and that from God have descended the seeds not only to my father and grandfather, but to all beings which are generated on the earth and are produced, and par-



for these only are

aside?

ticularly to rational beings

"What, then, was not Plato a philosopher?" I reply," And was not Hippocrates a physician? but you see how Hippocrates speaks." Does

by their nature formed to have communion with God, being by means of reason conjoined with Him 2 why should not such a man call

Hippocrates, then, speak thus in respect of be-

himself a citizen of the world,

ing a physician?

Why

do you mingle things

which have been accidentally united in the same men? And if Plato was handsome and strong, ought I also to set to work and endeavor to become handsome or strong, as if this was necessary for philosophy, because a certain phi-

losopher was at the same time

handsome and a



son of

Rome

enable us to live in safety,

sufficient to

and above contempt and without any fear at all? and to have God for your maker and fa1

See also

philosopher? Will you not choose to see and

2

Epictetus, i.14;

what men become

3

Compare

to distinguish in respect to

why not a

God, 3 and why should he be afraid of anything which happens among men? Is kinship with Caesar or with any other of the powerful in

i.

20;

i.

29. ii.

8.

Acts, 17. 28.

DISCOURSES, and guardian, shall not this from sorrows and fears ? But a man may say, "Whence

release us

ther

when

And how do they

when

rely

shall

I

get

have nothing?" do slaves, and runaways, on what

bread to eat

I

they leave their masters ?

Do

they rely on their lands or slaves, or their vessels

They rely on nothing but them1 and food does not fail them. And shall

of silver?

selves,

be necessary for one

it

among

us

who

is

a phi-

BOOK

"5

I

on my part would say, "Friends, wait for God; when He shall give the signal 3 and release you from this service, then go to Him; but for the present endure to dwell in this place where He has put you: short indeed is this time of your dwelling here, and easy to bear for those who are. so disposed: for what tyrant or what thief, or what courts of justice, are I

formidable to those

losopher to travel into foreign parts, and trust

sions of

on others, and not to take care of himself, and shall he be inferior to irrational animals and more cowardly, each of which, be-

without a reason."

and

to

ing

rely

self-sufficient,

neither fails to get

food, nor to find a suitable

one conformable I

way

its

proper

of living,

and

to nature?

man 2 ought to contrive how you may

indeed think that the old

be sitting here, not to

have no mean thoughts nor mean and ignoble about yourselves, but to take care that

talk

among us any young men of such when they have recognized their God, and that we are fettered by

there be not a

mind

that,

kinship to

mean, and its posseson account of them is necessary to us for the economy and commerce of life, they should intend to throw off these things as if they were burdens painful and intolerable, and to depart to their kinsmen. But this is the labour that your teacher and instructor ought to be employed upon, if he really were what he should be. You should come to him and say, "Epictetus, we can no longer endure being bound to this poor body, and feeding it and giving it drink, and rest, and cleaning it, and for the sake of the body complying with the wishes of these and of those. Are not these things indifferent and nothing to us, and is not death no evil ? And are we not in a manner kinsmen of God, and did we not come from Him? Allow us to depart to the place from which we came; allow us to be released at last from these bonds by which we are bound and weighed down. Here there are robbers and thieves and courts of justice, and those who are named tyrants, and think that they have some power over us by means of the body and its possessions. Permit us to show them that they have no power over any man." And these bonds, the body, sions,

1

and whatever

Matt.

5.

26;

6.

I

else

25-34.

2

Epictetus.

who

have thus considered

no value the body and the possesthe body? Wait then, do not depart

as things of

Something

like this

ought to be said by the

teacher to ingenuous youths. But

happens? The teacher

is

you are

When

now what

and you have been well filled to-day, you sit down and lament about the morrow, how you shall get something to eat. Wretch, if you have it, you will have it; if you have it not, you will depart from 4 Why do you grieve? life. The door is open. where does there remain any room for tears? and where is there occasion for flattery? why shall one man envy another? why should a man admire the rich or the powerful, even if they be both very strong and of violent temper ? for what will they do to us ? We shall not care for that which they can do; and what we do care for, that they cannot do. How did Socrates behave with respect to these matters? Why, in what other way than a man ought to do who was convinced that he was a kinsman of the gods? "If you say to me now," said 5 Socrates to his judges, " 'We will acquit you on the condition that you no longer discourse in the way in which you have hitherto discoursed, nor trouble either our young or our lifeless bodies.

old men,'

I

shall

a lifeless body,

answer, 'you

ridiculous by thinking that,

if

make

yourselves

one of our com-

manders has appointed me to a certain post, it is my duty to keep and maintain it, and to resolve to die a thousand times rather than de-

God has put us in any place and we ought to desert it.' " Socrates speaks like a man who is really a kinsman of the gods. But we think about ourselves as if we sert

way

it;

but

of

if

life,

were only stomachs, and intestines, and shame3 Cicero, De Republica, iv. 15. Marcus Aurelius, ii. 17; in. 5; v. 33. 4 Epictetus i. 24; i.25; 5

Plato,

Apology, 29.

ii.i.

Compare Mat.

6. 31.

EPICTETUS

n6 we

ful parts;

we

fear,

desire;

we

flatter

those

who are able to help us in these matters, and we fear them also. A man asked me to write to Rome about him, a man who, as most people thought, had been unfortunate, for formerly he was a man and

of rank

and was

but had been stripped of

rich,

living here.

I

when he had

submissive manner; but he gave

letter,

for

it

back

all,

wrote on his behalf

to

me and

your help, not your

read the

said, "I

no

pity:

evil

in a

wished

has hap-

me." Thus also Musonius Rufus, in order to try me, used to say: "This and this will befall you from your master"; and I replied that these were things which happen in the ordinary

pened

to

human

course of

"Why,

affairs.

him

I

obtain

from you?" For,

it

ask

has from himself,

for

it is

then," said he,

anything

"should

when

can

I

what a man superfluous and foolish in fact,

from another? Shall I, then, who am able to receive from myself greatness of soul and a generous spirit, receive from you land and money or a magisterial office? I hope not: to receive

I

about

will not be so ignorant

sions.

what

my own

posses-

But when a man is cowardly and mean, must be done for him than to write

else

letters as

you would about

a corpse. "Please to

grant us the body of a certain person and a

For such a person is, and a sextarius of blood, and nothing more. But if he were anything more, he would know that one man is not miserable through the means of another. sextarius of poor blood." in fact, a carcass

Chapter

io.

Against those

preferment at

who

eagerly see\

Rome

we applied ourselves as busily to our own work as the old men at Rome do to those matIf

ters

we

about which they are employed, perhaps also

might accomplish something.

I

am

ac-

man older than myself who is now superintendent of corn at Rome, and I remember the time when he came here on his way back from exile, and what he said as he related the events of his former life, and how quainted with a

it,

but as soon as you smell Rome, you will for-

all that you have said; and if admission is allowed even into the imperial palace, you will

get

gladly thrust yourself in and thank God." "If

you find me, Epictetus," he answered, "setting even one foot within the palace, think what

you please." Well, what then did he do? Before he entered the city he was met by letters from Caesar, and as soon as he received them he forgot all, and ever after has added one piece of business to another.

I

wish that

I

were

now by his side to remind him of what he said when he was passing this way and to tell him how much better a seer I am than he is. Well, then, do I say that man is an animal made for doing nothing? Certainly not. But why are we not active? For example, as to my1

self,

as soon as

mind myself

day comes, in a few words

what

of

I

pupils; then forthwith

what

is

it

read? the

me how

to first

must read over I

I

to

re-

my

say to myself, "But

a certain person shall

thing for

indeed what resemblance

me is

is

to sleep."

And

there between what

we do? If you obyou will understand. And do they do all day long than make

other persons do and what serve

what they

do,

what else up accounts, inquire among themselves, give and take advice about some small quantity of grain, a bit of land, and such kind of profits? Is it then the same thing to receive a petition and to read in it: "I entreat you to permit me to export a small quantity of corn"; and one to this effect: "I entreat you to learn from Chrysippus what is the administration of the world, and what place in it the rational animal holds; consider also who you are, and what is the nature of your good and bad." Are these things like the other, do they require equal care, and is it equally base to neglect these and those? Well, then, are

we

the only persons

who

are

and love sleep? No; but much rather you young men are. For we old men, when we see young men amusing themselves, are eager to play with them; and if I saw you active and zealous, much more should I be eager myself to join you in your serious pursuits. lazy

he declared that with respect to the future after his return

he would look after nothing

than passing the tranquillity.

rest of his life in quiet

"For

"remains for me."

how I

little

replied,

else

Chapter

and

When he was visited by one of the magistrates,

of life," he said,

"You

will not

do

i i

.

0/ natural

Epictetus inquired of 1

Marcus Aurelius,

affection

him about

v. i; viii, 19.

several partic-

DISCOURSES, ulars,

and asked

The man

if

he had children and a wife.

and Epictetus inunder the circum-

replied that he had;

how

quired further,

he

felt

stances. "Miserable," the

tetus asked, "In

what

man

respect," for

marry and beget children

Then

Epic-

men do

not

in order to be wretch-

ed, but rather to be happy. replied,

said.

"But

I,"

the

man

"am so wretched about my children when my little daughter was sick

that lately,

and was supposed endure

to stay

person sent

to be in danger, I

with her, but

me news

I left

could not

home

till

a

had recovered." Epictetus, do you think that that she

Well then, said you acted right? "I acted naturally," the man replied. But convince me of this that you acted naturally, and I will convince you that everything which takes place according to nature takes place rightly. "This is the case," said the man, "with all or at least most fathers." I do not deny that: but the matter about which we are inquiring is whether such behaviour is right; for in respect to this matter we must say that tumours also come for the good of the body, because they do come; and generally we must say that to do wrong is natural, because nearly all or at least most of us do wrong. Do you show me then how your behaviour is natural. "I cannot," he said; "but do you rather show me how it is not according to nature and is not righdy done." Well, said Epictetus, if we were inquiring about white and black, what criterion should

we employ

between them? he said. And if about hot and cold, and hard and soft, what criterion ? "The

"The

for distinguishing

sight,"

touch." Well then, since

we are

inquiring about

things which are according to nature, and those which are done rightly or not rightly, what kind of criterion do you think that we should employ? "I do not know," he said. And yet not to know the criterion of colours and smells, and also of tastes, is perhaps no great harm; but if a man do not know the criterion of good and bad, and of things according to nature and contrary to nature, does this seem to you a small harm? "The greatest harm." Come tell me, do all things which seem to some persons to be good and becoming rightly appear such; and at present as to Jews and Syrians and Egyptians and Romans, is it possible that the opinions of all of them in respect to

BOOK

117

I

"How

food are right? Well, if

suppose

I

it is

possible?" he said.

is it

absolutely necessary that,

the opinions of the Egyptians are right, the

opinions of the rest must be wrong:

if

the opin-

ions of the Jews are right, those of the rest can-

not be right. "Certainly." But where there ignorance, there also there

and training assented to

you know

in things

this.

You

this, for

self seriously

your mind

is

which

is

of learning

are necessary.

He

then, said Epictetus, since

the future will employ your-

about nothing

nothing

to

want

else

else,

and

will apply

than to learn the

which are according to naand by using it also to determine each several thing. But in the present matter I have so much as this to aid you toward what you wish. Does affection to those of your family appear to you to be according to nature and to be good? "Certainly." Well, is such affection natural and good, and is a thing consistent with reason not good? "By no means." Is then that which is criterion of things ture,

consistent with reason in contradiction with affection? "I think not." it is

otherwise,

it

is

You

are right, for

if

necessary that one of the

contradictions being according to nature, the

other must be contrary to nature.

Is it

not so?

Whatever, then, we shall discover to be at the same time affectionate and also consistent with reason, this we confidently declare to be right and good. "Agreed." Well then to leave your sick child and to go away is not reasonable, and I suppose that you will not say that it is; but it remains for us to inquire if it is consistent with affection. "Yes, let us con"It is,"

he

sider."

Did

said.

you, then, since you had an affec-

do right when you ran off and left her; and has the mother no affection for the child? "Certainly, she has." Ought, then, the mother also to have left her, or ought she not? "She ought not." And the nurse, does she love her? "She does." Ought, then, she also to have left her? "By no means." And the pedagogue, does he not love her? "He does love her." Ought, then, he also to have deserted her? and so should the child have been left alone and without help on account of the great affection of you, the parents, and of those about her, or should she have died in the hands tionate disposition to your child,

of those

who

neither loved her nor cared for

her? "Certainly not."

Now

this

is

unreasonable, not to allow those

unfair

and

who

have

n8

EPICTETUS

equal affection with yourself to do what you

or not doing; but our

think to be proper for yourself to do because

wills.

you have you were

affection. It

is

absurd.

Come

then,

if

would you wish your relations to be so affectionate, and all the rest, children and wife, as to leave you alone and deserted? "By no means." And would you wish to be so sick,

own that through their excessive you would always be left alone in sickness? or for this reason would you rather pray, if it were possible, to be loved by your enemies and deserted by them? But if this is

own

opinions and our

Do I convince you of this or not? "You do convince me." Such, then, as the causes are in each case, such also are the effects. When, then, we

are doing anything not rightly,

day we

impute

shall

loved by your

the will from which

affection

that

which we

and

to extirpate

it

to

endeavour

more than

this

than to

and

it:

to take

it is

away

tumours and

the

And

from

else

we have done

shall

abscesses out of the body.

we

nothing

manner

in like

same account of the cause of the things which we do right; and we shall no shall give the

so, it results that your behaviour was not at all an affectionate act. Well then, was it nothing which moved you and induced you to desert your child? and how is that possible? But it might be something of the kind which moved a man at Rome to wrap

what we do think them to be, we do not the acts which follow from such opinions; and

up

as

his

head while a horse was running which

he favoured; and

when

contrary to expectation

longer allege as causes of any evil to us, either slave or neighbour, or wife or children, being

persuaded

that,

if

we do

not think things to be

thinking or not thinking, that

to

our power and not in externals.

"It

in

is

so,"

is

won, he required sponges to recover from his fainting fit. What then is the thing which moved? The exact discussion of this

he

does not belong to the present occasion per-

horses nor dogs, nothing else than opinions.

the horse

haps; but

it is

enough

to be

convinced of

this,

ity

"I

From

said.

or

is,

hope

come

the cause of our doing or not doing something,

not the

of saying or not saying something, of being

yourself.

cule,

its state,

so."

what the philosophers say is true, that we must not look for it anywhere without, but in all cases it is one and the same thing which is if

this

day then we

and examine nothing

into

You

if

you

see, then, that

an animal

really intend to

own

work

shall inquire

what

its

qual-

neither land nor slaves nor

a Scholasticus,

tion of your

else,

you must

whom

be-

all ridi-

make an examina-

opinions: and that this

of one hour or day,

is

you know

elated or depressed, of avoiding anything or

pursuing: the very thing which

me and

is

now

the

you of coming to me and sitting and hearing, and to me of saying what I do say. And what is this? Is it any other than our will to do so? "No other." But if we had willed otherwise, what else should we have been doing than that which we willed to do? This, then, was the cause of Achilles' cause to

to you, to

lamentation, not the death of Patroclus; for

another

man does not behave

thus on the death

companion; but it was because he chose to do so. And to you this was the very cause of your then running away, that you chose to do so; and on the other side, if you should stay with her, the reason will be the same. And now you are going to Rome because you choose; and if you should change your mind, you will not go thither. And in a word, neither death nor exile nor pain nor anything of the kind is the cause of our doing anything of his

Chapter

With

12.

Of contentment

respect to gods, there are

some who say

that a divine being does not exist: others say exists, but is inactive and careless, and no forethought about anything; a third class say that such a being exists and exercises forethought, but only about great things and heavenly things, and about nothing on the

that

it

takes

earth; a fourth class say that a divine being exercises

forethought both about things on the

earth and heavenly things, but in a general

way

and not about things severally. There whom Ulysses and Socrates

only,

a fifth class to

is

belong,

who

knowledge." Before

all

to inquire

er

it is

are 1

say:

"I

move not without

other things, then,

it is

necessary

about each of these opinions, wheth-

affirmed truly or not truly. For

no gods, how Homer,

thy

1

is it

Iliad, x. 278.

if

there

our proper end to

fol-

DISCOURSES, low them?

And

1

if

they

exist,

but take no care

how

of anything, in this case also right to follow

them? But

will

it

be

indeed they do

if

and look after things, still if there is nothing communicated from them to men,

exist

how

nor in fact to myself,

The ing

even so

all

these things, submits his

him who

right?

state.

ceiving instruction ought to structed with this intention:

low the gods

in all things,

He who

come

"How

how

to

citi-

is re-

to be inshall

shall

I

I fol-

be con-

with the divine administration, and

tented

how

own mind

administers the whole, as good

zens do to the law of the

can

whom

become free?" For he

I

is

free to

everything happens according to his

will,

and

then,

is

whom no man can hinder. "What freedom madness?" Certainly not:

madness and

for

is it

wise and good man, then, after consider-

freedom do not

consist.

"But," you say, "I would have everything

re-

and in whatever way I like." You are mad, you are beside yourself. Do you not know that freedom is a noble and valuable thing? But for me inconsiderately to wish for things to happen as I inconsiderately like, sult just as I like,

this

appears to be not only not noble, but even

For how do we proceed in the matter of writing? Do I wish to write the name of Dion as I choose? No, but I am taught to choose to write it as it ought to be written. And how with respect to music? In the same manner. And what universally in every art or science? Just the same. If it were not so, it would be of no value to know anything, if knowledge were adapted to every man's whim. Is it, then, in this alone, in this which is the greatest and the chief thing, I most

base.

am

mean freedom,

that

considerately?

By no means; but

structed

thing

is

this, to

may happen

things happen?

them?

And

As

I

it

does.

2

he has appointed

and

summer and

and virand vice, and all such opposites for the harmony of the whole; and to each of us he has given a body, and parts of the body, and possessions, and companions. Remembering, then, this disposition of tue

1

2

Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius,

x.

n.

iv. 23.

they are and by nature

exist,

we may maintain

our minds in harmony with the things which

happen. For can we escape from men? and

And if we associate with we change them ? Who gives us the power? What then remains, or what method how

possible?

is it

them, can

commerce with them? method by which they shall do what seems fit to them, and we not the less shall be in a mood which is conformable to nature? But you are unwilling to endure and are discontented: and if you are alone, you call it solitude; and if you are with men, you call them knaves and robbers; and you find fault with your own parents and children, and brothers and neighbours. But you ought is

discovered of holding

Is

there such a

when you are alone to call this condition by the name of tranquillity and freedom, and to think yourself like to the gods; and when you many, you ought not

are with

to call

nor trouble, nor uneasiness, but assembly, and so accept

What,

then,

do not accept?

is

the

all

ents?

let

punishment of those who be what they are. Is any

It is to

with

a

Where he

against his will; his will, there

he

dissatisfied

him is

into

let

a

in prison.

him

is

he a

What

prison."

man

Is

him be

already, for he

and where is

let

with his par-

bad son, and lament.

his children?

"Cast

father.

prison?

man

him be

dissatisfied

bad

a

Is

and

contentedly.

person dissatisfied with being alone? be alone.

crowd,

it

festival

is

there

against

So Socrates was

"Must my leg then be lamed?" Wretch, do you then on account of one poor leg find fault with the world? Will you not willingly surrender it for the whole ? Will you not withdraw from it? Will you not gladly part with it to him who gave it? And will you be vexed and discontented with the things established 3 by Zeus, which he with the Moirae who were present and spinning the thread of your generation, defined and put in order? Know you not how small a part you are compared with

And how do

scarcity,



order that, as the things around us are what

be in-

the disposer has disposed

winter, and abundance



not in prison, for he was there willingly.

learn to wish that everyas

119

I

we ought to go to be instructed, not that we may change the constitution of things for we have not the power to do it, nor is it but in better that we should have the power

in-

permitted to will to

BOOK

things,

the whole. 3

Fates.

I

mean with

respect to the body,

EPICTETUS

120 for as to intelligence

the gods nor ligence

less; for

you are not inferior to the magnitude of intel-

not measured by length nor yet by

is

height, but by thoughts. to

place your

which you are equal

in that in

gods? "Wretch that

I

am

to the

have such a

to

and mother." What, then, was it permitted to you to come forth, and to select, and father

to say:

man

"Let such a

woman

with such a

that

for

your parents to

to be begotten.

moment

at this I

may

was not permitted, but

It

warm

for

not heard, or

if

water and the slave has

he did hear has brought only

tepid water, or he

is

not even found to be in

the house, then not to be vexed or to burst

Will you not, then, choose

good

have asked

it

exist first,

unite

be produced?"

was a necessity and then for you

Of what kind

of parents?

Of

with passion,

not this

is

"How

gods?

acceptable

the

to

man endure

then shall a

such

persons as this slave?" Slave yourself, will you

not bear with your

Zeus for

own

who

brother,

has

and is like a son from the same seeds and of the same descent from above? But if you have been put in any such higher place, will you immediately make yourself a tyrant? Will you not remember who you are, and whom you rule? that they are his progenitor,

such as they were. Well then, since they are

kinsmen, that they are brethren by nature,

remedy givjn to you? Now if you did not know for what purpose you possess the faculty of vision, you would be unfortunate and wretched if you closed your eyes when colours were brought before them; but in that you possess greatness of soul and nobility of spirit for every event that may happen, and you know not that you possess them, are you not more unfortunate and wretched? Things are brought close to you which are proportionate to the power which you possess, but you turn away this power most particularly at the very time when you ought to maintain it open and discerning. Do you not rather thank the gods that they have allowed you to be above these things which they have not placed in your power; and have made you accountable only for those which are in your power? As to your parents, the gods have left you free from responsibility; and so with respect to your brothers, and your body, and possessions, and death and life. For what, then, have they made you responsible? For that which alone is in your

that they are the offspring of Zeus? 1

such as they

are,

is

there no

"But I have purchased them, and they have not purchased me." Do you see in what direction you are looking, that it is toward the earth, to-

ward

the

that

pit,

laws of dead

toward these wretched

it is

men?

but toward the laws of the

gods you are not looking.

Chapter

When

14.

That the deity oversees

a person

be convinced that

all his

all

a

all

things

man

could

actions are under the

God, he answered,

inspection of

think that

how

asked him

Do

you not

things are united in one? 2 "I

do," the person replied. Well, do you not think that earthly things have a natural agree-

ment and union with heavenly things? do."

And how

else so regularly as if

"I

by God's

command, when He bids the plants to flower, do they flower? when He bids them to send forth shoots, do they shoot? when He bids them

to

produce

fruit,

duce fruit? when

He

how

else

do they pro-

bids the fruit to ripen,

then do you draw on yourself the things for

it ripen? when again He bids them to down the fruits, how else do they cast them down? and when to shed the leaves, do they shed the leaves? and when He bids them

which you

to fold themselves

power, the proper use of appearances. are not responsible?

It is,

Why

indeed,

13.

How everything may

some one asked, how may

be done ac-

a

acceptably to the gods, he answered:

man If

eat

he can

and contentedly, and with equanimity, and temperately and orderly, will it not be also acceptably to the gods? But when you eat j ustly

to

remain quiet and

rest,

ceptably to the gods

When

up and

how else do they remain quiet and rest? And how else at the growth and the wane of

a giving of trouble to yourself.

Chapter

does

cast

the

moon, and

of

the sun,

change

at the

approach and recession

are so great

an alteration and

to the contrary seen in earthly things?

But are plants and our bodies so bound up and united with the whole, and are not our

Compare 2

Job, 31. 15.

Marcus Aurelius,

vi. 10; vii. 9.

DISCOURSES, much more? and our souls so bound up with God as parts of Him and portions of Him; and does not God perceive every motion of these parts as being His own

BOOK

121

I

make any

charges, never to

souls

obedient, never to

and

find fault with anything that he has given,

in contact

motion connate with Himself?

Now

you

are

able to think of the divine administration,

things divine, and at the

and about

all

time also

about

moved by

ten thousand things at the

human

and

affairs,

same to

and

from

some, and to dissent

to assent to

others,

and again

as to

some things

to

suspend your judgment; and do you retain in

your soul so

many

many moved by

impressions from so

and various things, and being them, do you fall upon notions similar to those first impressed, and do you retain numerous arts and the memories of ten thousand things; and is not God able to oversee all things, and to be present with all, and to receive from all a certain communication? And the sun able to illuminate so large a part

is

of the All,

and

to leave so little not illumi-

which

nated, that part only the earth's

shadow; and

is

occupied by

He who made

the sun

and makes it go round, being a small part of Himself compared with the whole, itself

cannot

He

perceive

all

thing that

oath?

soldier's

fer

to

man was

a

and more careful

He

have intrusted each of us ? When, then, you have shut the doors and

made darkness

within,

remember never

say that you are alone, for

to

"What

then

belongs to his yours,

have sworn, will you not abide by your oath? shall you swear? Never to be dis1

Marcus Aurelius,

iii.

5; v, 27.

I

Cor.

i.

3, 16.

any ex-

it

is

my

is

own

its is

so

each man's

is

brother's?"

art;

al-

That again

but with respect to

one of the external things, like a

But

Philosophy promises none of these. "In every circumstance I will maintain," she says, "the

governing

conformable

part

Whose governing

part? "His in

nature."

to

whom

I

am,"

she says.

gry with

then shall

my

brother cease to be an-

me?" Bring him

him. But

I

have nothing

to

me and

to say to

I

will tell

you about

his anger.

When

man, who was consulting him, know this how, even if my not reconciled to me, shall I main-

is

the



tain myself in a state conformable to nature?"

Nothing

great,

said

Epictetus,

is

produced

suddenly, since not even the grape or the fig

you say to me now that you want a will answer to you that it requires time: If

ripen.

And what

man

did philosophy would be

piece of land, like health, like reputation.

God is within, and your Demon is within, and what need have they of light to see what you are doing? To this God you ought to swear an oath just as the soldiers do to Caesar. But they who are hired for pay swear to re-

when you

it

the matter of the art of living life.

flower

gard the safety of Caesar before all things; and you who have received so many and such

him how he

consulting

lowing something which is not within province. For as the carpenter's material wood, and that of the statuary is copper,

you are not; but

great favours, will you not swear, or

swear

philosophy promises

does not propose to secure for a ternal thing. If

brother

he has committed the care of the man, a guardian who never sleeps, is never deguardian could

men

angry with him, Epictetus replied: Philosophy

whom

better

oath like the

swear not to pre-

should persuade his brother to cease being

said, "I seek to

what

to suffer any-

this

soldiers

What

15.

When

"How

1

to

do or Is

any man to Caesar: in this oath honour themselves before all.

Zeus? Nevertheless he has placed by every man a guardian, every man's Demon, to

For

The

Chapter

things?

"But I cannot," the man may reply, "comprehend all these things at once." But who tells you that you have equal power with

ceived.

to

necessary.

is

be

same

time in your senses and in your understanding,

and never unwillingly

first, Is,

then put forth

fruit,

is.

fig, I

let it

and then

then, the fruit of a fig-tree not per-

and in one hour, and would you possess the fruit of a man's mind in so short a time and so easily? Do not expect it, even if I tell you. fected suddenly

Chapter 16. Of providence Do not wonder if for other animals than man all

things are provided for the body, not only

food and drink, but beds

also, and they have no need of shoes nor bed materials, nor cloth-

EP1CTETUS

122 ing; but

we

require

these additional things.

all

made

For, animals not being

but for service,

made

so as to

what

it

it

was not

fit

for themselves, for

to be

would be

for us to take care not only

they should be clothed, and

much

we

as

Are

can, the distinctions of the sexes.

works of providence

these the only

And what words

us?

in

are sufficient to praise

and

asses,

them and

how

shod,

worth? For if we had understanding, ought we to do anything else both jointly and severally than to sing hymns and bless the deity,

and drink. Now as commander, shod, clothed and armed: but it would be a hard thing for the chiliarch to go round and shoe or clothe his thousand men; so also nature has formed the animals which are made for service, all ready, prepared, and requiring no further care. So one little boy with only a

and how they should

which God has given, we ought

not to throw them away, nor to confound, as

need other things. For consider

of ourselves, but also about cattle

how

them

serve the signs

eat

soldiers are ready for their

1

and

to tell

when we

them

set

forth according to their

Ought we not

of his benefits?

and eatis God, who has given us such implements with which are digging and ploughing

ing to sing this

we

hymn

to

God? "Great

shall cultivate the earth: great

is

God who

has given us hands, the power of swallowing,

Oh, amazing shamelessness and stupidity! Well, let us omit the works of nature and

a stomach, imperceptible growth, and the power of breathing while we sleep." This is what we ought to sing on every occasion, and to sing the greatest and most divine hymn for giving us the faculty of comprehending these things and using a proper way. Well then, since most of you have become blind, ought there not to be some man to fill this office, and on behalf of all to sing the hymn to God? For what else can I do, a lame old man, than sing hymns to God? If then I was a nightingale, I would do the part of a nightingale: if I were a swan, I would do like a swan. But now I am a rational creature, and I ought to praise God: this is my work; I do it, nor will

contemplate her smaller

I

stick drives the cattle.

But now we, instead of being thankful that we need not take the same care of animals as of ourselves, complain of God on our own account; and yet, in the name of Zeus and the gods, any one thing of those which exist

would be enough to make a man perceive the providence of God, at least a man who is modest and grateful. And speak not to me

now

of the great things, but only of this, that

milk

is

produced from

grass,

milk, and wool from skins. things or devised them?

and cheese from

Who made

"No

these

one," you say.

Is

acts.

useful than the hair

there

any-

on the chin?

thing

less

What

then, has not nature used this hair also

in

the

most

she not by

it

suitable

manner

possible?

and

it;

I

man am a

Chapter

17.

Since reason

That the is

and

it is

by

itself

mingled something

this other thing also

You

say:

"Not

softer in the voice, so she

so; the

of hair

(on the chin).

human animal ought

have been left without marks of distinction, and each of us should have been obliged to proclaim, 'I am a man.' " But how is not the sign beautiful and becoming and venerable? to

how much more

beautiful

than the cock's

comb, how much more becoming than the lion's mane? For this reason we ought to pre1

Tribune.

logical art

perfects the rest,

it

unanalysed, by what should

if

it

be analysed?

or by another thing. Either, then,

it

is

that reason? itself,

necessary

plain that this should be done either

is

else superior to reason;

But

is

which analyses and ought itself not to be

the faculty

for

them

allowed to

song.

forthwith proclaim from a distance, "I man; as such approach me, as such speak to me; look for nothing else; see the signs"? Again, in the case of women, as she has has also deprived

am

I

exhort you to join in this same

Has

distinguished the male and the

female? does not the nature of every

desert this post, so long as

keep

reason, or something

which

reason, again

For

if

who

impossible.

shall analyse

that reason does this for

our reason also can do

require something

is

else,

it.

But we

shall

the thing will go on

and have no end. 2 Reason therefore is analysed by itself. "Yes: but it is more urgent to cure (our opinions) and the like." Will you then hear about those things? Hear. to infinity

2

Marcus Aurelius,

xi.

1.

BOOK

DISCOURSES, But if you should say, I know not whether you are arguing truly or falsely," and if I should express myself in any way ambiguously, and you should say to me, " Distinguish," I will bear with you no longer, and I shall say to you, "It is more urgent." This is the reason, I suppose,

why

they

1

place the logical art

first,

measuring of corn we place first the examination of the measure. But if we do not as in the

determine

first

what

is

a balance,

how

shall

we

a modius,

and what

is

be able to measure or

weigh anything? In this

then,

case,

we have

if

not fully

learned and accurately examined the criterion of

all

other things, by which the other things

are learned, shall rately

and

we

which produces no fruit." But which can measure corn. "Logic no fruit." As to this indeed we then even

a

if

man

And who

is it

a thing

this,

it

is

And

ning of education? so?

And

whom

of

does

that has written

names

is

the begin-

does not Socrates say

Xenophon

write, that

he began with the examination of names, what each

name

signified

wondrous thing Chrysippus ?

?

Is this

then the great and

understand or interpret

to

Who says

this

?

What

then

is

the

wondrous thing? To understand the will of nature. Well then do you apprehend it yourself by your own power ? and what more have you need of? For if it is true that all men err involuntarily, and you have learned the truth, of necessity you must act right. "But in truth I do not apprehend the will of nature." Who then tells us what it is? They say that it is Chrysippus. I proceed, and I inquire what this interpreter of nature says.

stand what he says;

I

I

begin not to under-

seek an interpreter of

Chrysippus. "Well, consider just as if

What

then

terpreter? 1

it

were said is

how this is said, Roman tongue."

this superciliousness of the in-

There

Stoic teachers.

in the

is

it

himself; and

so with his interpreter.

much more

is

this

For we have no need

own sake, but in order we may understand nature. Nor do we need a diviner on his own account, but because we think that through him we shall know the future and understand the signs given by the gods; nor do we need the viscera of animals for their own sake, but because through them signs are given; nor do we look of Chrysippus for his that

with wonder on the crow or raven, but on God, who through them gives signs?

pulsion; this

is

enough that logic has the power of distinguishing and examining other things, and, as we may say, of measuring and weighing them. Who says this? Is it only Chrysippus, and Zeno, and Cleanthes? And does not Antisthenes say so?

not follow

shall see: but

it

should grant

that the examination of

if

he only interprets the will of nature, but does

also produces

anything else? "Yes;

only wood, and a thing

is

123

I go then to the interpreter of these things and the sacrificer, and I say, "Inspect the viscera for me, and tell me what signs they give." The man takes the viscera, opens them, and interprets them: "Man," he says, "you have a will free by nature from hindrance and com-

be able to examine accu-

to learn fully

but the modius

I

can justly be charged even to Chrysippus,

no superciliousness which

will

is

show you

written here in the viscera.

this first in the

I

matter of assent.

Can any man hinder you from assenting to the truth ? No man can. Can any man compel you to receive what is false? No man can. You you have the faculty of from hindrance, free from compulsion, unimpeded." Well, then, in the matter of desire and pursuit of an object, is it otherwise? And what can overcome pursuit except another pursuit? And what can overcome desire and aversion except another desire and aversion? But, you object: "If you place before me the fear of death, you do compel me." No, it is not what is placed before you that compels, but your opinion that it is better to do so-and-so than to die. In this matsee that in this matter

the will free

ter,

then,

it

is

your opinion that compelled 2

For if God had made that part of Himself, which He took from Himself and gave to us, of such a

you: that

is,

will compelled will.

nature as to be hindered or compelled either

by Himself or by another,

God

be

He

nor would

He

He would

not then

be taking care of us as

ought. "This," says the diviner, "I find in

the victims: these are the things which are

you choose, you are free; you choose, you will blame no one: you will charge no one. All will be at the same time according to your mind and the mind of God." signified to you. If if

2

Compare

Epictetus,

iv. i.

EP1CTETUS

I2 4

For the sake of this divination I go to this diviner and to the philosopher, not admiring him for this interpretation, but admiring the

which he

things

Chapter

interprets.

That we ought not

18.

have one principle,

angry

to be

with the errors of others If what philosophers say is true, that

all

men

in the case of assent

as

the persuasion that a thing

is

and

so,

in the

case of dissent the persuasion that a thing

not

and

so,

ment

the persuasion that a thing

is

it

man's

bor has not: you have a window; you wish to

other,

and

and

move toward

to

for a

is

any-

advantageous and to desire an-

is

to

judge one thing to be proper another,

why

then are

we

angry with the many? "They are thieves and robbers," you

may

about good and their error,

desist

by

"They are mistaken Ought we then to be to pity them? But show

evil."

angry with them, or

them

What do you mean

say.

and robbers?

thieves

from

and you

how

will see

they

do not see

their errors. If they

their errors,

they have nothing superior to

"Ought not then

robber and this adul-

this

destroyed?" By no means say

has been mistaken and

so,

man who

but speak rather in this way: "This

deceived about the

most important things, and blinded, not in the of vision which distinguishes white

faculty

and black, but

in the faculty

guishes good and bad, should

which

we

distin-

not destroy

him?" If you speak thus, you will see how inhuman this is which you say, and that it is just as if you would say, "Ought we not to destroy this blind and deaf greatest

harm

things,

and the

is

man?" But

if

the

the privation of the greatest

greatest thing in every

man

is

and a man is deprived of this will, why are you also angry with him? Man, you ought not to be affected contrary to nature by the bad

the will or choice such as

things of another. Pity

made

so wise at

it

ought

to be,

him

rather: drop this

and

to hate,

and these "These accursed How have you been once? and how are you so

readiness to be offended

words which the many and odious fellows."

the

air

clothes.

The

thief

does not

know

wherein man's good consists, but he thinks that it consists in having fine clothes, the very thing which you also think. Must he not then come and take them away ? When you show a

cake to greedy persons, and swallow

it

all

do you expect them not to snatch it from you ? Do not provoke them do not have a window: do not air your clothes. I also lately had an iron lamp placed by the side of my yourself,

:

household gods: hearing a noise

at the door,

I

ran down, and found that the lamp had been

their present opinion.

terer to be

things, be angry

impossible to think that

uncertain,

is

movement toward

thing the persuasion that a thing

advantage, and

these

and then you will not be angry with the thief. Do not admire the beauty of your wife, and you will not be angry with the adulterer. Learn that a thief and an adulterer have no place in the things which are yours, but in those which belong to others and which are not in your power. If you dismiss these things and consider them as nothing, with whom are you still angry? But so long as you value these with yourself rather than with the thief and the adulterer. Consider the matter thus: you have fine clothes; your neigh-

so also in the case of a

one thing

is

in the case of a suspense of judg-

Why then are we angry? Is it bewe value so much the things of which men rob us? Do not admire your clothes,

peevish? cause

utter:

off. I reflected that he who had taken lamp had done nothing strange. What then? To-morrow, I said, you will find an earthen lamp: for a man only loses that which

carried

the

he has. "I have

lost

my

garment." The reason

you had a garment. "I have pain in my head." Have you any pain in your horns? Why then are you troubled? for we only lose those things, we have only pains about those things which we possess. "But the tyrant will chain." What? the leg. "He will take away." What? the neck. What then will he not chain and not take away? the will. This is why the ancients taught the maxim, "Know thyself." Therefore we ought to is

that

exercise ourselves in small things and, begin-

ning with them,

to

proceed to the greater. "I

have pain in the head." "I

have pain in the ear."

And

Do not Do not

say,

"Alas!"

say, "Alas!"

do not say that you are not allowed to if your slave is slow in bringing a bandage, do not cry out and torment yourself, and say, "EveryI

groan, but do not groan inwardly; and

DISCOURSES, body hates me": for who would not hate such a man? For the future, relying on these opin-

walk about upright, free; not trusting to the size of your body, as an athlete, for a man ought not to be invincible in the way that an ions,

ass

is.

then is the invincible? It is he whom none of the things disturb which are independent of the will. Then examining one circumstance after another I observe, as in the case of an athlete; he has come of! victorious

Who

BOOK

125

I

man

that every

has regard to himself, and to

you just the same as he has regard to his ass? For who has regard to you as a man? Show me. Who wishes to become like you? Who imitates you, as he imitates Socrates? "But I can cut off your head." You say right. I had forgotten that I

would

I

must have regard to you, as and the bile, and raise an there is at Rome an altar to

to a fever

altar to you, as

fever.

What

it

is

then that disturbs and

terrifies

the tyrant and his guards ?

in the first contest: well then, as to the sec-

the multitude ?

ond? and what if there should be great heat? and what, if it should be at Olympia? And the same I say in this case: if you should throw money in his way, he will despise it. Well, suppose you put a young girl in his way,

I hope that it is not so. It is not possible that what is by nature free can be disturbed by

what then? and what, if it is in the dark? what if it should be a little reputation, or abuse; and what, if it should be praise; and what if it should be death? He is able to overcome all. What then if it be in heat, and what if it is in the rain, and what if he be in a melancholy mood, and what if he be asleep? He will

still

conquer. This

is

my invincible athlete.

anything

else,

If a

19.

man

How we should behave to tyrants

possesses any superiority, or thinks

that he does,

when he

does not, such a man,

or hindered by any other thing

But it is a man's own opinions which disturb him: for when the tyrant says to a man, "I will chain your leg," he who valthan by

itself.

"Do not; have pity": but he own will says, "If it appears more advantageous to you, chain it." "Do you ues his leg says,

who

values his

not care?"

do not

I

care. "I will

am master." You set me free: do you

I

allow his

own

master of

Chapter

is it

my

cannot do

show you

think that he intended to

son 1 to be enslaved? But you are carcass: take

it.

"So when you

approach me, you have no regard but

me

I

that

Zeus has

that.

to

have regard to myself; and

to say that

I

me?" No, you wish

if

have regard to you

also, I tell

For instance, the tyrant says, "I am master of all." And what can you do for me? Can you give me desire which shall have no hindrance ? How can you ? Have you the infallible power of avoiding what you would avoid? Have you the power of moving toward an object without error? And how do you possess this power? Come, when you are in a ship, do you trust to yourself or to the helmsman ? And when you are in a chariot, to whom do you trust but to the driver? And

you that I have the same regard to you that I have to my pipkin. This is not a perverse self-regard, for the animal is constituted so as to do all things for itself. For even the sun does all things for itself; nay, even Zeus himself. But when he chooses to be the Giver of rain and the Giver of fruits, and the Father of gods and men, you see that he cannot obtain these functions and these names, if he is not useful to man; and, universally, he has made the nature of the rational animal such that it cannot obtain any

how

one of

if

he

is

uninstructed,

puffed up through

is it

what then

will

of necessity

be

it.

in all other arts? Just the same. In lies

your power? "All

men

pay

re-

me." Well, I also pay respect to my platter, and I wash it and wipe it; and for the sake of my oil flask, I drive a peg into the wall. Well then, are these things superior to spect to

me? No, but they supply some of my wants, and for this reason I take care of them. Well, do I not attend to my ass? Do I not wash his feet? Do I not clean him? Do you not know

its

own

proper

interests, if

contribute something to the

In

this

manner and

man

sense

it

common

it

is

does not interest.

not unsociable

do everything for the sake of what do you expect? that a man should neglect himself and his own interest? And how in that case can there be one and the same principle in all animals, the principle for a

to

himself. For

of attachment to themselves? 1

Compare

i.

3.

EPICTETUS

I2 6

What

when absurd

then?

notions about

things independent of our will, as

I

to tyrants only,

How

men.

is

at the

bedchamber the man becomes all at

and not

it

when

once wise,

they were

bottom of our opinnecessity pay regard to tywish that men would pay regard

good and bad, lie ions, we must of rants; for

if

that

a

crown

made him

How

super-

you desire

If

more elegant

be

Chapter

crown

at all,

on, for

it

will

in appearance.

About

20.

a

it

how

reason,

contem-

it

plates itself

also to the

Caesar has

of gold

take a crown of roses and put

Every

and

art

contemplates certain

faculty

When

things especially.

then

of the

itself

it is

say immediately, "Felicion spoke sensibly to

same kind with the objects which it contemplates, it must of necessity contemplate itself

me." I wish he were ejected from the bedchamber, that he might again appear to you

not contemplate

to be a fool.

maker's art

intendent of the close stool?

is it

Epaphroditus 1 had a shoemaker

that

whom

we

he

was good for nothing. This fellow by some good luck was bought by one of Caesar's men, and became Caesar's shoemaker. You should have seen what respect sold because he

"How

Epaphroditus paid to him:

Then

does the

any of us asked, "What is master doing?" the answer was, 'He is consulting about something with

good Felicion do,

Had

Felicion."

nothing?

I

pray?"

he not sold the

if

man as good for

Who then made him wise all at once?

is an instance of valuing something else than the things which depend on the will. Has a man been exalted to the tribuneship ?

This

who meet him

All

one

kisses his eyes,

offer their congratulations;

another the neck, and the

He goes to his house, he He ascends the Capitol: on the occasion. Now who

slaves kiss his hands.

finds torches lighted.

he offers a

sacrifice

ever sacrificed for having had good desires?

having acted conformably to nature? For

for

in fact

we

thank the gods for those things in

which we place our good. 2 A person was talking to the

me

priesthood of Augustus.

"Man,

let

I

2

See i. Matt.

6. 2i.

is

for this reason

from the material

about articulate speech;

it

is

art

not able to contemplate

what purpose has nature? For the right use is it

then

itself?

pearances. So by

contemplating

its

A

this rea-

itself.

Now

been given by

it

of

appearances.

system of certain ap-

nature

itself

itself.

employed

then the art also

is

reason, for

What

is

By no means. For

articulate speech?

son

can-

of skins:

does not contemplate

it

grammarian's

the

it

For instance, the shoeemployed on skins, but itself is itself.

entirely distinct

Again,

of an unlike kind,

it is

it

has the faculty of

Again, sound sense,

so.

for the contemplation of

what things does it evil, and things

Good and neither. What

belong to us?

which are is it then itself? Good. And want of sense, what is it? Evil. Do you see then that good sense necessarily contemplates both itself and the opposite? For this reason it is the chief and the first work of a philosopher to examine appearances, and to distinguish them, and to admit none without

You

examination. coin, in

which our

see

even in the matter of

interest appears to be

some-

say to him:

the value of coin, the sight, the touch, the

you will spend no purpose." But he replies, "Those

i.

when

to-day about

will

write

my

name." Do you then stand by those who read them, and say to such persons, "It is I whose name is written there?" And if you can now be present on all such occasions, what will you do when you are dead? "My name will remain." Write it on a stone, and it will remain. But come, what remembrance of you will there be beyond Nicopolis? "But I shall wear 1

but

what concerned, how we have invented an art, and how many means the assayer uses to try

the thing alone:

much for who draw up agreements

also:

coin

and lastly the hearing. He throws the down, and observes the sound, and he is

not

content

smell,

through

with

its

sounding once, but he becomes a musi-

his great attention

cian. In like

manner, where we think that to

be mistaken and not to be mistaken great difference, there

we

tion to discovering the things ceive.

But

make

which can

we

careless-

admit every appearance, for the harm

noticed. 3

Compare

de-

in the matter of our miserable rul-

ing faculty, yawning and sleeping, ly

a

apply great atten-

i.

1

and

17.

is

not

DISCOURSES,

When

know how

then you would

careless

you are with respect to good and evil, and how active with respect to things which are

how you

that those

and those the great

feel

respect to being deceived,

will discover that

you ought

to

do

you are

far

in relation to

and you

from feeling as good and evil.

which requires much preparation, and much labour and study." Well then do you expect to acquire the great"But

this

a matter

is

of arts

And

with small labour?

chief doctrine of philosophers

is

yet the

very brief. If

you would know, read Zeno's writings and

For how few words it requires to say that man's end is to follow the gods, and that the nature of good is a proper use of appearances. But if you say, "What is 'God,' what is 'appearance,' and what is 'particular' and what is 'universal 2 nature'?" then indeed many words are necessary. If then Epicurus should come and say that the good must be in the body; in this case also many words become necessary, and we must be taught what is the leading principle in us, and the fundamental and the substantial; and as it is not probable that the good of a snail is in the shell, is it you will

see.

1

probable that the good of a

man

is

in the

body?

127

whom

you wish

whom

those of

Who are they by admired ? Are they not

philosopher.' " to be

you are used to say that they

mad? Well then do you wish mired by madmen? are

Chapter

On

22.

precognition

common

who of us does not assume that Good and eligible, and in all circumstances that we ought to follow and pursue it? And who of us does not assume that Justice is beautiful and becoming? When, then, does the tion. is

For

useful

contradiction arise?

the adaptation

It arises in

of the precognitions to the particular cases.

When

one

man

says,

"He

has done well: he

man," and another

a brave

says,

"Not

so;

is

but

he has acted foolishly"; then the disputes arise

among men. This

is

the dispute

among

the Jews and the Syrians and the Egyptians

and the Romans; not whether holiness should be preferred to all things and in all cases should be pursued, but whether it is holy to

You

Agamemnon ? ought not that

judgement about the body itself, that it is the principal part? and why do you light your lamp and labour for us, and write so many

men, and

to all

not contradictory to precogni-

is

amines everything, what

which forms

to be ad-

precognitions

Precognitions are

eat pig's flesh or not holy.

that

you had

spit? "My wish has always been who meet me should admire me, who follow me should exclaim, 'Oh,

But you yourself, Epicurus, possess something better than this. What is that in you which deliberates, what is that which exis

if

swallowed a

with respect

how with

est

I

being deprived of the sight of the eyes, and

indifferent, observe to

BOOK

then do you strut before us as

will find this

Agamemnon and Achilthem forth. What do you say,

dispute also between les;

for call

done which

to be

proper and right? "Certainly." Well, what

a

is

books?

do you say, Achilles? do you not admit that what is good ought to be done? "I do most certainly." Adapt your precognitions then to the present matter. Here the dispute begins. Agamemnon says, "I ought not to give up

the truth,

it that we may not be ignorant of who we are, and what we are with

respect to

you? Thus the discussion requires

is

many words.

Chryseis to her father." Achilles says,

ought."

Chapter

21.

Against those

who

wish to be ad-

mired

When

a

It is

wrong adaptation

"ought"

a

man

holds his proper station in

he does not gape after things beyond

it.

certain that one of the

"duty."

or

life,

says,

"Then

Man,

is fit

that

I

if I

what do you wish

Achilles replies,

whom

I

"Must

I

nature,

if

I

from an object as I am by nature formed to do, and purpose and design and assent." Why 1

2

See

i.

Further,

ought

"Would you then

love?" "Yes, her

whom

then be the only

without a prize? and must

man who

Agamemnon

to restore Chryseis,

it

has no prize?"

take her

you love."

man who I

Thus

be

goes only

the

the dispute

begins.

12.

Marcus Aurelius,

of the precognition of

take his prize from some of you."

satisfied if I desire

to happen to you? "I am and avoid conformably to employ movements toward and

"You

two makes

v. 25; xi. 5.

What

then

is

education? Education

is

the

EPICTETUS

128 learning

how

to adapt the natural precogni-

conformably

tions to the particular things

to

child.

this that

some are in our power, but others are not; in our power are will and all acts which depend on the will; things not in our power are the

how why

whom we live

with

ally, all

we

then, should

kind of things

in society. In

place the

we adapt

shall

things which are in our

power?"

"To

it?

Is

what,

To what

good?

Who

will tolerate

you

if

you deny

this?

Let us then transfer the notion of good to these things. Is

it

possible, then,

when

a

man

damage and does not obtain good

sustains

happy? "It is not postoward society a maintain can he And sible." proper behavior?. He cannot. For I am naturally formed to look after my own interest. If it is my interest to have an estate in land, it is my interest also to take it from my neighbor. things, that he can be

If

my

it is

interest to

have a garment,

it is

my

from the bath. 1 This is wars, civil commotions, tyrannies,

interest also to steal it

the origin of conspiracies.

And how

my

maintain

shall

I

be

able to

still

duty toward Zeus? for

if I

sus-

damage and am unlucky, he takes no care of me; and what is he to me if he allows me to be in the condition in which I am? I tain

now

Why,

begin to hate him.

build temples,

why

set

up

then, do

how we

and the Giver of

place the nature of

things,

all this

What

Good

should

"Now

in

any such

follows.

we do

then? This

quiry of the true philosopher 2

and

how the Giver fruits ? And in truth

Zeus the Saviour, and

is

of rain, if

we

statues to Zeus, as

well as to evil demons, such as to Fever;

who

is is

the inin la-

what the Good is nor the Bad. Am I not mad? Yes." But suppose that I place the good somewhere among the things which depend on the will: all will laugh at me. There will come some grey-head wearing many gold rings on his fingers, and he will shake his head and say, "Hear, my bour.

1

Jam.

2

Compare

I

do not

see

4. 1.

Plato, Thecetetus, 150.

all

than philosophers do." Man,

to act better

then do you blame me,

if I

know? What

say to this slave? If

am

silent,

shall

I

I

he will

must speak in this way: "Excuse me, as you would excuse lovers: I am not my own master: I am mad." burst.

I

the

not health

then a good thing, and soundness of limb, and life? and are not children and parents and

country?

you should philosophize;

you are doing is silly. You learn the syllogism from philosophers; but you know

nature; and then to distinguish that of things

body, the parts of the body, possessions, parents, brothers, children, country, and, gener-

right that

It is

but you ought to have some brains also:

Chapter 23. Against Epicurus Even Epicurus perceives that we

are by nature

but having once placed our good in the

social,

husk 3 he is no longer able to say anything else. For on the other hand he strongly maintains this, that

we ought

anything which

is

good; and he

is

How

then are

not to admire nor to accept

detached from the nature of

we

right in maintaining this. [suspicious],

4

if

natural affection to our children? advise the wise

Why

are

man

we have no

Why

do you

not to bring up children ?

you afraid that he may thus

trouble? For does he

fall

into trouble

fall

count of the mouse which

is

into

on

ac-

nurtured in the

What

does he care if a little mouse in makes lamentation to him ? But Epicurus knows that if once a child is born, it is no longer in our power not to love it nor care

house?

the house

about

it.

For

man who

this reason,

Epicurus says that a

has any sense also does not engage

in political matters; for he knows what a man must do who is engaged in such things; for, indeed, if you intend to behave among men as you do among a swarm of flies, what hinders you ? But Epicurus, who knows this, ventures to say that we should not bring up children. But a sheep does not desert its own offspring, nor yet a wolf; and shall a man desert his child ? What do you mean ? that we should be as silly as sheep? but not even do they desert their offspring: or as savage as wolves, but not

even do wolves desert their young. Well,

who

would follow your advice, if he saw his child weeping after falling on the ground? For my part I think that, even if your mother and your father had been told by an oracle that you would say what you have said, they would not have cast you away. 8

See

4

The word

i.

20.

Compare is

not

ii.

20.

intelligible.

BOOK

DISCOURSES, Chapter

How

24.

we should

struggle with

circumstances It

is

when

Therefore

a

God, like a trainer of wrestlers, has matched you with a rough young man. "For what purpose?" you may say. Why, that you may become an Olympic conqueror; but is

it

that

not accomplished without sweat. In

man

opinion no

my

has had a more profitable

than you have had,

if you choose to an athlete would deal with a young antagonist. We are now sending a scout to Rome; but no man sends a cowardly

difficulty

make

use of

as

it

scout, who, if he only hears a noise and sees a shadow anywhere, comes running back in terror and reports that the enemy is close at hand. So now if you should come and tell us, "Fearful is the state of affairs at Rome, terrible is

death, terrible rible

poverty;

is

near";

we

yourself; that

we

shall

fly,

my

is

calumny;

ter-

enemy

friends; the

is

answer, "Begone, prophesy for

we have committed

made

only one fault,

who was

a different report to us.

He

says

is

what has this spy said about pain, about pleasure, and about poverty? He says that to be naked is better than any purple robe, and to sleep on the bare ground is the softest bed; and he gives as a proof of each thing that he affirms his

own

freedom, and

courage, his tranquillity, his

the

appearance

healthy

compactness of his body. "There near," he says; "all

is

peace."

enes? "See," he replies, "if

have been wounded,

I

is

How am

and

no enemy so,

Diog-

struck,

if I

from any man." This is what a scout ought to be. But you come to us and tell us one thing after another. Will you not go back, and you will see clearer when you have laid aside fear? What then shall I do? What do you do when you leave a ship? Do you take away the helm or the oars? What then do you take away? You take what is your own, your bottle and your wallet; and now if you think of what is your own, you will never claim what belongs to others. The emperor says, "Lay 1

See

iii.

22.

See,

put on the an-

I

"Lay aside this also." See, I have "Lay aside your toga." See, I am now naked. "But you still raise my envy." Take then all my poor body; when, at a man's command, I can throw away my poor body, do I still fear him? "But a certain person will not leave to me the succession to his estate." What then? had I forgotten that not one of these things was mine. How then do we call them mine? Just

if I

only

my

we

as

toga.

the bed in the inn.

call

have

fled

If,

then, the inn-

keeper at his death leaves you the beds, well; but

all

he leaves them to another, he will

if

have them, and you will seek another bed.

If

then you shall not find one, you will sleep on

and

the ground: only sleep with a good will

and remember

snore,

among

place

that tragedies have their

the rich and kings

man

but no poor

and

tyrants,

a part in the tragedy, ex-

fills

com"ornament the palaces

cept as one of the chorus. Kings indeed

mence with

prosperity:

with garlands," then about the third or fourth act they call out,

sent as a scout before

no evil, for neither is it base: he fame is the noise of madmen. And

that death says that

exile; terrible

sent such a scout."

Diogenes, 1 you,

is

129 2

gusticlave.

show what men are. difficulty falls upon you, re-

circumstances which

member

I

aside your laticlave."

receive

me?" 3

"O

why

Cithaeron,

didst thou

where are the crowns,

Slave,

where the diadem ? The guards help thee not When then you approach any of these persons, remember this that you are approachat all.

ing a tragedian, not the actor but CEdipus

But you

himself.

"Such a man

say,

happy;

with many. In sum remember dren, but as they say,

when

please them, "I will play

when

you, say

I

you

stay,

about

door

this: the

open; 4 be not more timid than

also

I

many and walk

place myself with the

is

is

he walks about with many," and

for

chil-

little

the thing does not

no longer,"

do

so

things seem to you of such a kind,

no longer play, and begone: but do not complain.

will

Chapter

On

25.

the

same and

If these things are true,

if

we

are not

if

silly,

and are not acting hypocritically when we say that the good of man is in the will, and the evil too, and that everything else does not concern us,

why

we

afraid?

2

still

we The

are

why

are

things about which

we

still

disturbed,

Laticlave, the dress of a senator; angusticlave, the

dress of the equestrian order. 3

Sophocles, CEdipus the King, 1390.

4

Compare

i.

9.

EPICTETUS

130

have been busied are in no man's power: and the things which are in the

we

care not for.

What

power

we behave in the matter of hypoarguments, so ought we to do in life. "Suppose it to be night." I suppose that it is For

of others,

kind of trouble have

we

"But give

me directions." Why

should

give

I

day?" No, for I adit was night. "Suppose that you think that it is night?" Suppose that I do. "But also think that it is night." That is not consistent with the hypothesis. So

Has he

not given to you what is your from hindrance and free from impediment, and what is not your own subject to hindrance and impediment? What directions then, what kind of orders did you bring when you came from him? Keep by every means what is your own; do not desire what belongs to others. Fidelity is your own, virtuous shame is your own; who then can take these things from you? who else than yourself will hinder you from using them? But how do you act? when you seek what is not your own, you lose that which is your own. Having such promptings and commands from Zeus, what kind do you still ask from me? tions?

free

I

more powerful than

he,

am

I

more

worthy of confidence? But if you observe these, do you want any others besides ? "Well, but he has not given these orders," you will say. Produce your precognitions, produce the proofs of philosophers, produce what you have often heard, and produce what you have said yourself, produce what you have read, produce what you have meditated on (and you will then see that all these things are from God). 1

How cepts

long, then,

is it fit

from God, and not

As long

as the play

is

to observe these pre-

to

break up the play? 2

continued with propriety.

In the Saturnalia 3 a king

is

chosen by

lot,

for

has been the custom to play at this game.

it

The king commands: "Do you drink," "Do you mix the wine," "Do you sing," "Do you go," "Do you come." I obey that the game may not be broken up through me. But if he says,

"Think

that

you are in

evil plight": I

answer, "I do not think so"; and

who

will

me to think so? Further, we agreed to play Agamemnon and Achilles. He who is appointed to play Agamemnon says to me, "Go

compel

and tear from him "Come," and I come.

to Achilles

He

says,

Briseis."

I

go.

1 The conclusion is not in the text, but it is what Epictetus means. 2 See the end of the preceding chapter. Compare also

Epictetus, 3

ii.

Compare

16.

Tacitus, Annals,

xiii.

"Suppose that you are unfor"Are you then un-

in this case also:

tunate." Well, suppose so.

happy?" Yes. "Well, then, are you troubled with an unfavourable demon?" Yes. "But think also that you are in misery." This is not consistent with the hypothesis; and Another 4 forbids

me

How

to think so.

we obey

long then must

As long

such orders?

and this means as long as I maintain that which is becoming and consistent. Further, some men are sour and of bad temper, and they say, "I cannot sup with

as

it

profitable;

is

man to be obliged to hear him tellhow he fought in Mysia: 'I told you, how I ascended the hill: then I began

this

ing daily brother,

to be besieged again.' "

prefer to get

much

as

as

my he

But another

says, "I

supper and to hear him talk

likes."

And do you compare

these estimates: only do nothing in a depressed

mood, nor as one afflicted, nor as thinking that you are in misery, for no man compels you to that. Has it smoked in the chamber? If the smoke is moderate, I will stay; if it is excessive, I go out: for you must always remember this and hold it fast, that the door is open. Well, but you say to me, "Do not live in Nicopolis." I will not live there. "Nor in Athens." I will not live in Athens. "Nor in Rome." I will not live in Rome. "Live in Gyarus."

I will live

like a great

smoke

in Gyarus, but

me from

man

and

as to the last

I

will hinder

living, for that dwelling-place

and

to all;

seems

it

to live in Gyarus;

depart to the place where no

is

garment, that

open

is

the

poor body, no one has any power over me beyond this. This was the reason why Demetrius said to Nero, "You threaten me with death, but nature threatens you." If

admiration on the poor body, self I

up

also

make 4

15.

it

is

mitted the hypothesis that

you directions? has not Zeus given you direc-

Am

"Well then;

night.

still f

own

as

thetical

to be a slave: if

make myself it

Zeus.

plain with

on

my

I

little

a slave: for

what

I

I set

my

have given my-

may

I

possessions,

immediately

be caught; as

DISCOURSES, you to if strike that part of him which he guards; and do you be assured that whatever part you the snake draws in his head,

I

tell

choose to guard, that part your master will

Remembering

attack.

this,

whom

you

will

still

"But

I

1

131

is

plain that in everything

we ought

it

our aim that that which

is

should like to

sit

where the Senators

which

is

for in theory, there

is

when

this fact as

is

over, seat yourself in the

place reserved for the Senators self.

For remember

we who

is

this general truth, that

squeeze ourselves,

selves in straits; that

us and put us in

and sun your-

is,

straits.

who

it

put our-

our opinions squeeze

For what

reviled? Stand by a stone

and

is

revile

it

to be

it;

and

you gain? If, then, a man listens like a stone, what profit is there to the reviler? But if the reviler has as a stepping-stone the weakness of him who is reviled, then he accomplishes something. "Strip him." What do you mean by "him"? Lay hold of his garment, strip it off. "I have insulted you." Much good

what

may

will

do you. This was the practice of Socrates: this was the reason why he always had one face. But we choose to practice and study anything rather than the means by which we shall be unimpeded and free. You say, "Philosophers talk paradoxes." But are there no paradoxes in the other arts? and what is more paradoxical than to puncture a man's eye in order that he may see? If any one said this to a man ignorant of the surgical art, would he not ridiit

1

cule the speaker ? in philosophy also

Where is the wonder then if many things which are true

appear paradoxical to the inexperienced ?

the matters of

life,

He

distract us.

is

and then

easier;

difficult things;

nothing which draws us

away from following what

the spectacle

shall

not admit the

contradictory. First, then, philosophers exercise us in theory,

you see that you are putting yourself in straits, you are squeezing yourself. "How then shall I see well in any other way in the amphitheatre?" Man, do not be a spectator at all; and you will not be squeezed. Why do you give yourself trouble? Or wait a little, and

Do

sit."

make

to

consequent

we do

not escape us, and that

next they lead us to the more

or fear?

flatter

BOOK

many

taught; but in

is

are the things

which

who

ridiculous, then,

says

that he wishes to begin with the matters of real life, for

more

it

is

not easy to begin with the

difficult things;

and we ought

to

employ

an argument to those parents

who

are vexed at their children learning philos-

"Am

ophy:

doing wrong then,

I

my

father,

and do I not know what is suitable to me and becoming? If indeed this can neither be learned nor taught, why do you blame me? but if it can be taught, teach me; and if you cannot, allow me to learn from those who say that they know how to teach. For what do you think? do you suppose that I voluntarily fall into evil and miss the good? I hope that it

may

not be

so.

What

then that

Do

you not choose

my

should get rid of

I

my

then the cause of

is

doing wrong? Ignorance.

ignorance?

Who

was ever taught by anger the art of a pilot or music? Do you think then that by means of your anger I shall learn the art of

He

life?"

who man

only

show

to

intention.

make

only intending to

banquet and

this

way

But

if

allowed to speak in

is

shown such an

has

a

a display at a

that he

is

acquainted

with hypothetical arguments reads them and attends the philosophers,

he than that some

by him

sits

man

may admire? For and the

really great materials,

pear to be it is

what other

trifles

there.

difficult for a

object has

of senatorian rank

man

This

is

there

2

who

are the

riches here

3

the reason

why

ap-

to be master of the ap-

pearances, where the things which disturb the

Chapter

What

is the law of life was reading hypothetical arguments, Epictetus said: This also is an hypothetical law that we must accept what follows from the hypothesis. But much before this law is the law of life, that we must act conformably to nature. For if in every matter and circumstance we wish to observe what is natural, it

When

1

See

26.

a person

iv. x.

judgement are

who

great.

I

know

a certain person

complained, as he embraced the knees of

Epaphroditus, that he had only one hundred

and

fifty

ing.

What

laugh

at

times ten thousand denarii remain-

then did Epaphroditus do? Did he

him,

as

we

slaves of

Epaphroditus

did? No, but he cried out with amazement, 2

Rome.

8

Nicopolis.

EPICTETUS

132

"Poor man, how then did you keep silence, " how did you endure it : When Epictetus had reproved the person who was reading the hypothetical arguments,

some things appear

and the teacher who had suggested the reading was laughing at the reader, Epictetus said

remedy for this. If it is habit which annoys us, we must try to seek aid

of Pyrrho and of the Academics are

we must

noys,

what an-

apply the remedy to them.

the persuasion of appearances, by

is

not good,

when

to be good,

If it

which

they are

us seek a

let

are laughing at yourself;

against habit.

What

you did not prepare the young man nor did you ascertain whether he was able to under-

against habit?

The

stand these matters; but perhaps you are only

dead: his father and mother are overpowered

"You

to the teacher:

employing him Epictetus,

if

as a reader."

man

a

Well then,

said

has not ability enough to

we trust him in givhim in giving blame,

understand a complex, do ing praise, do

we

trust

do we allow that he

is

able to

about good or bad? and

man

any one, does the

he praises any one,

if

form a judgement

man

such a

if

care for the is

the

man

blames

blame? and

when

elated,

such small matters as an hypothetical

in

logism he

who

praises cannot see

what

syl-

This then a

man's

is

the beginning of philosophy,

1

perception of the state of his ruling

faculty; for

when

man knows

a

then he will not employ greatest difficulty.

But

it

that

it is

weak,

on things of the

at present, if

men

can-

find

hear is

with sorrow; he was cut off by an untimely death and in a foreign land." Here the con-

way

trary

of speaking: tear yourself

from these

expressions: oppose to one habit the contrary habit; to sophistry oppose reason,

and

ercise

and the

ex-

discipline of reason; against persua-

we ought

sive appearances

have manifest

to

precognitions, cleared of all impurities and

ready to hand.

When have

sequent on the hypothesis?

we You

"That unfortunate person

the ignorant say:

con-

is

can

aid then

contrary habit.

death appears an

evil things,

For what

and that death

shall

I

is

am

we ought

it is fit

to

avoid

to

a necessary thing.

and where

do,

I

Suppose that

it?

evil,

this rule in readiness, that

shall

escape

I

not Sarpedon, the son of

Zeus, nor able to speak in this noble way: "I

go and

will

am

I

resolved either to behave

not swallow even a morsel, they buy whole

bravely myself or to give to another the oppor-

volumes and attempt to devour them; and is the reason why they vomit them up or

this

tunity of doing so;

if I

suf-

anything myself,

will not

and then come gripings, deand fevers. Such men ought to consider

I

cannot succeed in doing

grudge another the

fer indigestion:

doing of something noble." Suppose that

fluxes,

above our power

what

their ability

is.

In theory

it is

easy to con-

power

to act thus;

to reason thus? Tell

vince an ignorant person; but in the affairs of

cape death: discover for

no one offers himself to be convinced, and we hate the man who has convinced us. But Socrates advised us not to live a life which

me

real life

not subjected to examination.

is

Chapter exist,

2

how many ways appearances and what aids we should provide

them Appearances are

men

to us in four ways: for either

and and do

I

whom

I

can

es-

show

whom

death

me

go,

charm against

a

have not one, what do you wish

me

I

not

escape from the fear of death, but shall

I

die

I

lamenting and trembling? For the origin of perturbation is this, to wish for something,

I

am

should not happen. Therefore if change externals according to my change them; but if I cannot, I am this

able to

things appear as they are; or they are not,

wish,

ready to tear out the eyes of

not appear to be; or they are not, and yet ap-

I

the country,

must

do not even appear

to be; or they are,

it is

not in our

me where

me

Discover to

it

cannot escape from death. Shall

do?

and that

against

to

visit.

death. If to

27. In

the

does not

is

I

me. For the nature of

man

him who hinders

is

not to endure to

form

be deprived of the good, and not to endure the

judgement is the office of an educated man. But whatever it is that annoys us, to that we ought to apply a remedy. If the sophisms

neither able to change circumstances nor to

pear to be. Further, in

all

these cases to

a right

1

See

2

See Plato, Apology, 38; and Marcus Aurelius,

ii.

falling into the evil.

tear out the eyes of sit

11. hi. 5.

down and

Zeus and the

Then,

at last,

when

I

am

him who hinders me,

groan, and abuse rest of the gods.

whom

For

if

I

I

can,

they do

DISCOURSES, BOOK I 133 me ? "Yes, the proof of this ? Imagine, if you can, that it is now night." It is not possible. "Take away an impious man." In what reyour persuasion that it is day." It is not posit be worse for me than it is

not care for me, what are they to but you will be spect then will

now? To sum

up,

and your

piety

remember

this that unless

same thing, any man. Do

interest be in the

maintained in

piety cannot be

not these things seem necessary?

make

my

as to

their objections.

For

have no leisure for these

part,

persuasion that the stars are even in number." It is

impossible.

to that

Let the followers of Pyrrho and the Academics come and

"Persuade yourself or take away your

sible.

I,

dis-

which

When,

then, any

not intend to assent to soul

is

man

assents

be assured that he did

is false,

as false, for every

it

unwillingly deprived of the truth, as

Plato says; but the falsity seemed to

him

to be

am I able to undertake the defense of common consent. If I had a suit even about

true.

Well, in acts what have

kind

as

would call in another to defend my interests. With what evidence then am I satisfied ? With that which belongs to the mat-

and the not fit, the profitable and the unprofitable, that which is suitable to a person and that which is not, and whatever is like these. Can, then, a man think that a thing is useful to him and not choose it? He cannot.

putes, nor

a bit of land,

ter

How

in hand.

indeed perception

perhaps

part,

cannot explain: for both

I

opinions perplex me. But that you and

know with perfect "How do you know it?" When I not the same,

mouth, but bread,

to

my own. When

to the bread as to a

yourselves

1

who

take

do you

I

al-

And you

mark.

away the evidence

of the

Who among

act otherwise?

when he intended

went

your

to

intend to take

I

to enter a bath, ever

into a mill?

What power

Ought we not with

then?

to hold to this also, the

all

our

maintaining of

and fortifying ourselves arguments which are directed

general

opinion,

against

the

Who

we ought to do this? Well, he should do it who is able, who has leisure for it; but as to him who trembles against it?

and

is

thing

denies that

perturbed and

heart, he

must employ

is

inwardly broken in

his

time better on some-

else.

Chapter 28. That we ought not to be angry with men; and what are the small and the great things

What The

is

among men 1

fact that

it

not to be true.

appears to be true.

Why?

Because

It is

not

which appears this

I know what evil I But passion overpowers the

with the

shall do,

better counsel."*

She thought that to indulge her passion and her husband was more profitable than to spare her children. "It was

take vengeance on

so;

the na-

is

false,

matters uncertain to withhold assent. 1 2 The Pyrrhonists. See i. 18.

and

What

in is

but she was deceived."

that she

is

Show

her plainly

deceived, and she will not do

it;

but

you do not show it, what can she follow except that which appears to herself? Nothing else. Why, then, are you angry with the unhappy woman that she has been bewildered about the most important things, and is become a viper instead of a human creature ? so long as

And why

not, if

possible, rather pity, as

it is

and the lame, those who are blinded and maimed in the faculties which are supreme? Whoever, then, clearly remembers this, that to man the measure of every act is the appearance whether the thing appears good or bad: if good, he is free from blame; if bad,

we

pity the blind



himself suffers the penalty, for

it is

impossible

who is deceived can be one person, and who suffers another person whoever re-

that he



members

this will not be

will not be

angry with any man,

at any man, will not revile man, nor hate nor quarrel with

vexed

or blame any

any man.

ture of the understanding, to incline to the true, to be dissatisfied

We

Medea?

says

" 'Tis true

he

the cause of assenting to anything?

possible then to assent to that

How

here truth or falsehood?

fit

intend to

it

never lay hold of a broom, but

I

ways go senses,

never carry

I

we have

have the

of the like

are

I

certainty.

I

swallow anything,

you,

ef-

is

whether through the whole body or

fected,

any

I

we

"So then have

this

this origin 3

all

these great

origin,

and no

Euripides, Medea,

in

other. 1

and dreadful deeds

the appearance?" Yes,

079.

The

Iliad

is

nothing

EPICTETUS

34

than appearance and the use of appear-

else

ances.

appeared to Paris to carry

It

wife of Menelaus:

low him.

If

then

off the

appeared to Helen to folhad appeared to Menelaus

it

it

it was a gain to be deprived of such what would have happened? Not only

to feel that

a wife,

would the sey also.

Iliad

"On

have been

lost,

but the Odys-

so small a matter then did such

what do you mean by such great things? Wars and civil commotions, and the destruction of many men and cities. And what great matter is this? "Is nothing?" But what great matter is the it death of many oxen, and many sheep, and

great things depend?" But

many

nests of swallows or storks being burnt

of modesty, fidelity, regard to hospitality,

and was Achilles ruined? Was it when Patroclus died? Not so. But it happened when he began to be angry, when he wept for a girl, when he forgot that he was at Troy not to get mistresses, but to fight. These things are the ruin of men, this is being be-

When

to decency.

sieged, this

the destruction of

is

when

cities,

when

right opinions are destroyed,

they are

corrupted.

"When,

women

then,

children are

made

and when the men

How

are killed, are these not evils?"

add

that you

is

then

it

to the facts these opinions?

me

plain this to

when

are carried off,

captives,

Ex-

not do that; but

also. "I shall

or destroyed?

how

those?"

Let us come to the rules: produce the precog-

"Are these things, then, like Very like. Bodies of men are destroyed, and the bodies of oxen and sheep; the dwellings of men are burnt, and the nests of

What is there in Or show me what

ful?

dread-

this great or

storks.

the difference be-

is

tween a man's house and a

stork's nest, as far as

a dwelling; except that

each

is

little

houses of beams and

tiles

man

builds his

and bricks, and and mud. "Are

them of sticks and a man, then, like things?" What say you? In body they are very much alike. "Does a man then differ in no respect from a stork?" Don't suppose that I say so; but there is no difference in these matters. "In what, then, is the difference?" Seek and you the stork builds a stork

will find that there

is

matter. See whether

a difference in another

it is

man

not in a

derstanding of what he does, see

community,

social

the un-

if it is

not in

modesty, in

in fidelity, in

Where then is men? It is where

steadfastness, in intelligence.

good and

the great

the difference

is.

evil in

the difference

If

is

preserved

and remains fenced round, and neither modesty

is

destroyed, nor fidelity, nor intelligence,

then the

man

these things city,

also

is

then the

is

preserved; but

man

tained great damage, then,

when no his

any of

when

and in you say,

too perishes;

consist the great things. Paris,

invaded and

if

destroyed and stormed like a

when

this

sus-

the Hellenes

they ravaged Troy, and

By no means; for damaged by an action which is not own; but what happened at that time was

that

is it

nitions: for

we cannot When we

you say that these are not evils?"

it

is

because this

sufficiently

is

wonder

at

neglected that

what men

intend to judge of weights,

we

not judge by guess: where

do.

we do

intend to judge

and crooked, we do not judge by guess. In all cases where it is our interest to know what is true in any matter, never will any man among us do anything by guess. But in things which depend on the first and on the only cause of doing right or wrong, of hapof straight

piness or unhappiness, of being unfortunate or fortunate, there only

There

rash.

is

we

are inconsiderate

then nothing like

scales,

ing like a rule: but some appearance sented,

Must

I

and straightway

I

Agamemnon,

is

pre-

act according to

then suppose that

Achilles or

and

noth-

I

am

it.

superior to

so that they

by

fol-

lowing appearances do and suffer so many evils: and shall not the appearance be sufficient for me? And what tragedy has any other be-

The Atreus of Euripides, what is it? The (Edipus of Sophocles, what is it? An appearance. The Phoenix? An appearance. The Hippolytus? An appearance. What kind of a man then do you suppose him to be who pays no regard to this matter ? And what is the name of those who follow every appearance? "They are called madmen." Do we then act at all differendy? ginning?

An

appearance.

his brothers perished.

man

is

only the destruction of storks' nests: ruin of Paris was

when he

lost the

now

the

character

Chapter

The

29.

On

constancy

being of the

being of the Bad

What

Good is

is

a certain Will; the

a certain kind of Will.

then are externals? Materials for the

BOOK

DISCOURSES, which the will being conversant shall obtain its own good or evil. How shall it obtain the good? If it does not admire the maWill, about

the opinions about the materials,

terials; for if

the opinions are right,

make

the will good:

but perverse and distorted opinions

God

will bad.

make

the

feet." If

reply,

will

he

your head,"

says, "I will cut off

"You

threaten

my

head."

If

he

I

say,

throw you into prison,"

I

says, "I

"You

threaten the whole of this poor body." If he

me

threatens

"Does

with banishment,

feel that

all

then do

it

is

me

but

at all;

whom

I

fear?

I

at all?" If I

me, any

these things do not concern

he does not threaten of them,

say the same.

I

you

he, then, not threaten

fear

if I

he threatens.

Whom The

the master of what?

my own

master of things which are in is

body, take

my

take those

who

my

property, take

are about me. If

I

persons to claim these things, they accuse me. "Yes, but

your opinions also."

power?

it

is?

"How

I

intend to

And who

strange, then, that Socrates should

have been so treated by the Athenians." Slave,

why do you say Socrates? Speak of the thing as it is: how strange that the poor body of should have been carried off and dragged to prison by stronger men, and that Socrates

any one should have given hemlock

to the

poor body of Socrates, and that

should

it

life. Do these things seem do they seem unjust, do you on account of these things blame God? Had Socrates then no equivalent for these things? Where, then, for him was the nature of good ?

breathe out the strange,

Whom

shall we listen to, you or him? And what does Socrates say? "Anytus and Meletus can kill me, but they cannot hurt me": and further, he says, "If it so pleases God, so let 1

it

be."

But show

power?

no such master. Do I fear the master of things which are not in my power? And what are these things to me? "Do you philosophers then teach us to despise kings?" I hope not. Who among us teaches to claim against them the power over things which they possess? Take my poor There

135

weaker?" If the one possess right opinions and the others do not. "Well then, can the ten conquer in this matter?" How is it possible? If we were placed in the scales, must not the heavier draw down the scale in which

has fixed this law, and says, "If

you would have anything good, receive it from yourself." You say, "No, but I will have it from another." Do not so: but receive it from yourself. Therefore when the tyrant threatens and calls me, I say, "Whom do you threaten?" If he says, "I will put you in chains," I say, "You threaten my hands and my

I

me

that he

who

has the inferior

him who is superior in never show this, nor come

principles overpowers principles.

You

near showing

will

for this is the law of nature and of God that the superior shall always overpower the inferior. In what? In that in which it is superior. One body is stronger than

another:

it;

many

than one: the

are stronger

who

reputation,

thief

is

stronger than he

advise any

This

is

the reason

may truly command

because in wakefulness the thief was superior

has given you

me. But the

to

price: for a

How can you conquer the opinion

fellow,

man? "By

him

why

I

is

not a

also lost

man bought

lamp he became

the

my

lamp

thief.

lamp, 2 at this

a thief, a faithless

reason, too, the

and like a wild beast. This seemed to good bargain. Be it so. But a man has seized me by the cloak, and is drawing me to the public place: then others bawl out, "Philosopher, what has been the use of your opinions? see you are dragged to prison, you are going to be beheaded." And what system of

and most

philosophy could

this

of another

he

replies, "I will

know

applying terror to

conquer

it."

that opinion conquers

it,"

Do

itself,

you not and is not

conquered by another? But nothing else can conquer Will except the Will itself. For this just,

law of God is most powerful which is this: "Let the stronger

a

always be superior to the weaker." "Ten are

stronger

stronger than one." For what? For putting in

cloak,

chains, for killing, for dragging whither they

men

choose, for taking

away what

a

man

has.

ten therefore conquer the one in this in

they are stronger. "In

The

which

what then are the ten

I

man

I

have made so

should not be dragged

should have laid hold of

into prison,

I

Plato,

off; that if

me and

should not be cast in?

learned nothing else then? 1

that, if a

should have laid hold of

I

Apology, 30; Epictetus,

cast

my ten

me

Have

I

have learned to ii.

2.

2

See

i.

18.

EPICTETUS

136

which happens,

see that everything

my

independent of

may

ask

will,

is

you have not gained by

if

if

be

it

nothing to me.

I

Why

this.

then do you seek advantage in anything else

than in that in which you have learned that

advantage

Then

way

"The man who hears what words

say:

I

neither

mean, nor understands what is said, nor does he care at all to know what philosophers say

what they

or

do. Let

But now he

me in

prison,

me

need of

"How

him

I

again,

out

you have no further need

If

come

out:

if

you should have

will enter the prison.

I

me to be

when

with the body: but

away the Only we must not do

reason does not require

body, and fare you well.

take

this,

1

nor for any

inconsiderately, nor weakly,

it

"Come

long will you act thus?" So long as rea-

son requires

come, one of you must weep and say, "I wish that I had learned more." A little more of

on the other hand, God does and he has need of such world and such inhabitants in it. 2 But if he

you did not learn these things

If

in or-

show them in practice, why did you them? I think that there is some one

der to learn

among you who

are sitting here,

woman

fering like a

"Oh,

alone."

says to the prisoner,

from your prison." of

"He cannot

what?

is?

sitting in prison

out in this

cries

with slight young men, and say, lift me." "This is a youth of noble disposition." But when the time of trial is dissatisfied

who

is

suf-

and saying,

in labour,

that such a difficulty does not present

self to

me

oh, that

as that

which has come

my

should be wasting

I

when

to this life in

it-

man; a cor-

might be crowned at Olympia. When will any one announce to me such a contest?" Such ought to be the disposition of all of you. Even among the gladiators of Caesar there are some who complain grievousner,

I

ly that they are not brought forward and matched, and they offer up prayers to God and

slight reason; for,

address themselves to their superintendents

not wish

entreating that they might fight.

a

to be done,

it

sounds the signal for

signal, as if

many?"

man

for a

children

we

Why should

say,

"The

to say

we? their

ject,"

not enough

what

When

hands and

Saturnalia are not good?"

when you

man change

cry-

also.

are not able to

4

do

By no

Do

you

make

a

mind, be assured that he is a child, and clap your hands with him, and if you do not choose to do this, keep silent. A man must keep this in mind; and when he

his

called to

is

know

any such

that the time

is

difficulty,

come

for

he should

showing

if

he

who is come into young man from a school

has been instructed. For he a difficulty

who and

is

like a

has practiced the resolution of syllogisms; if

any person proposes to him an easy

logism, he says, "Rather propose to

logism which

may 1

2 3

4

is

skillfully

exercise myself

See See

i.

9.

i.

6.

on

Even

Plato, Apology, 38-42; Epictetus,

See

i.

25.

me

syl-

a syl-

complicated that

it."

what

such things to

the good Saturnalia,"

is

willingly take a voyage for this see

my

athlete

is

And

no would purpose and

himself such?

doing,

how

he

will

I

is

study-

ing his subject. "I do not choose such a sub-

Is it

means, but we clap our hands also then,

gives the

to be persuaded himself?

come clapping

ing out, "To-day

we

he did to

as

he were a general. 3

"Well, then, ought the

retreat,

we must obey him who

Socrates,

among you show

one

I

athletes are

he

Why,

is it in your power to take you choose? There has been you such a body as you have, such

says.

subject

given to

parents, such brethren, such a country, such a

come to me "Change my subject." Have you not abilities which enable you to manage the subject which has been given to you? "It is your business to propose; it is mine to exercise myself well." However, you do not say so, but place in your country: then you

and

say,

you

say,

"Do

not propose to

jection, but such."

haps,

when

There

9.

tropic,

an ob-

will be a time, per-

tragic actors will suppose that they

masks and buskins and the long cloak. I say, these things, man, are your material and subject. Utter something that we may know whether you are a tragic actor or a buffoon; for both of you have all the rest in common. If any one then should take away the tragic actor's buskins and his mask, and introduce him on the stage as a phantom, is the tragic are

actor lost, or does he i.

me such a me such

but such: do not urge against

voice,

An

he

still

still

remain?

If

he has

remains.

example of another kind. "Assume the

DISCOURSES, governorship of a province."

I

assume

it,

and

show how an instructed man behaves. "Lay aside the laticlave and, clothing yourself in rags, come forward in this character." What then have I not the power of displaying a good voice? How, then, do you now appear? As a witness summoned by God. "Come forward, you, and

when

I

have assumed

it,

I

bear testimony for me, for you are worthy to be brought forward as a witness by

me:

is

any-

thing external to the will good or bad? do hurt any terest

What in a

man? have

I

made

I

every man's in-

dependent on any man except himself?" testimony do you give for God? "I am wretched condition, Master, and I am

BOOK

I

*37

about these matters to others, to lazy fellows,

may

sit in a corner and receive their grumble that no one gives them anything; and will you not come forward and make use of what you have learned ? For it is not these small arguments that are wanted now: the writings of the Stoics are full of them. What then is the thing which is wanted? A man who shall apply them, one

that they

sorry pay, or

who

acts shall bear testimony to his

by his

words. 1 Assume, that

we may no

entreat you, this character,

I

longer use in the schools the

examples of the ancients, but

may have some

example of our own.

To whom

then does the contemplation of

me, no man gives me anything; all blame me, all speak ill of me." Is this the evidence that you are going to give, and disgrace his summons, who has conferred so much honour on you, and

these matters belong?

thought you worthy of being called to bear

time to the tragic actor, at another time to

such testimony?

the lute-player;

But suppose that he who has the power has declared, "I judge you to be impious and profane." What has happened to you? "I have been judged to be impious and profane?" Nothing else? "Nothing else." But if the same person had passed judgment on an hypothetical syllogism, and had made a declaration,

soon as the slave has taken his station he

"the conclusion that,

but death

unfortunate; no

man

declare to be false,"

cares for

if it is

day,

it

is

light,

what has happened

who

I

to the

judged in this case? who has been condemned? the hypothetical syllogism, or the man who has been hypothetical syllogism?

is

it? Does he, then, who has the making any declaration about you know what is pious or impious? Has he studied it, and has he learned it? Where?

deceived by

power

of

From whom ? Then cian pays

no regard

is it

to

the fact that a musi-

him who

the lowest chord in the lyre yet a geometrician,

if

is

declares that

the highest; nor

he declares that the

from the centre of a circle to the circumference are not equal; and shall he who is really instructed pay any regard to the uninstructed man when he pronounces judgment on what is pious and what is impious, on what is just and unjust? Oh, the signal wrong done by the instructed. Did they learn this lines

here ?

Will you not leave the small arguments

for

man

To him who

has leisure,

an animal that loves contemplation. shameful to contemplate these things

is

as

But it is runaway

slaves do;

theatre, free

from

praises the actor

we should

distraction,

and not do and

at the

and

sit,

as in a

listen at

as slaves do.

one

As

same time looks

any one calls out his master's name, the slave is immediately frightened and disturbed. It is shameful for philosophers thus to contemplate the works of nature. For what round: then

a master?

is

if

Man

is

not the master of

man;

and life and pleasure and pain; for if he comes without these things, bring Caesar to me and you will see how firm I am. But when he shall come with these things, thundering and lightning, 2 and when I am afraid of them, what do I do then except to recognize my master like the runaway slave? But so long as I have any respite from these terrors, as a runaway slave stands in the theatre, so do I: I bathe, I drink, I sing; but all this I do with terror and uneasiness. But if I shall release myself from my masters, that is from those things by means of which masters are formidable, what further trouble have I, what master have I still ? "What then, ought we to publish these things to all men?" No, but we ought to accommodate ourselves to the ignorant and to say: "This man recommends to me that which he thinks good for himself: I excuse him." 1

2

is,

Jam. 2. 14-18. Aristophanes, The Acharnians, 531.

EPICTETUS

138

For Socrates

also excused the gaoler,

him

the charge of

when and us."

Socrates

1

was going

"How

said,

in prison

able to hear

says it;

drink the poison,

say to the gaoler that for

we have

No, but he

and was weeping

generously he laments over

Does he then

this reason

to

who had

it

sent

away

women? who were

the

to his friends

and he

treats the gaoler as a

child.

then what things are indifferent?"

now Chapter

30.

difficult

What we ought

to

have ready in

circumstances

When you are

going into any great personage,

remember that Another also from above sees what is going on, and that you ought to please

Him

rather than the other. He, then, who sees from above asks you: "In the schools what used you to say about exile and bonds and death and disgrace?" I used to say that they are things indifferent.

"What then do you

them now? Are they changed at all?" No. "Are you changed then?" No. "Tell me say of

1

Plato, Phcedo, 116.

The

things

which are independent of the will. "Tell me, also, what follows from this." The things which are independent of the will are nothing to me. "Tell me also about the Good, what was your opinion?" A will such as we ought to have and also such a use of appearances. "And the end, what is it?" To follow Thee. "Do you say this now also?" I say the same also.

Then go

into the great personage boldly

and remember these things; and you will see what a youth is who has studied these things

when he

is

them.

indeed imagine that you will have

I

among men who have

such thoughts as these:

and

great

so

the thing

Is this

bedchamber? this that

I

"Why

do we make

so

preparations for nothing?

which men name power?

the antechamber?

this

this

many

not studied

this the

this

the

men

armed guards?

listened to so

many

Is

of the Is it

for

discourses? All

I have been preparing mysomething great."

nothing: but

is

self for

BOOK TWO Chapter

i.

That confidence

is

not inconsist-

ent with caution

The

opinion of the philosophers, perhaps,

seems to some to be a paradox; but

examine

as well as

we

can,

if it is

still let

true that

us it

do everything both with caution and with confidence. For caution seems to be in a manner contrary to confidence, and contraries are in no way consistent. That which seems to many to be a paradox in the matter under consideration in my opinion is of this kind: if we asserted that we ought to employ caution and confidence in the same things, men might justly accuse us of bringing together things which cannot be united. But now where is the difficulty in what is said? for if these things are true, which have been often said and often proved, that the nature of good is in the use of appearances, and the nature of evil likewise, and that things independent of our will do not admit either the nature of evil nor of good, what paradox do the philosophers assert if they say that where is

possible to

things are not dependent on the will, there you should employ confidence, but where they are dependent on the will, there you should employ caution? For if the bad consists in a bad exercise of the will, caution ought only

used where things are dependent on the But if things independent of the will and not in our power are nothing to us, with respect to these we must employ confidence; and thus we shall both be cautious and conto be will.

and indeed confident because of our For by employing caution toward things which are really bad, it will result that

fident,

caution.

we

shall

have confidence with respect to things

which are not

We are they

so.

2 then in the condition of deer;

when

from the huntsmen's feathers in whither do they turn and in what do

flee

fright,

they seek refuge as safe?

They turn

to the

and thus they perish by confounding things which are objects of fear with things that they ought not to fear. Thus we also act:

nets,

2

Virgil, Georgics,

iii.

372.

BOOK

DISCOURSES, what

in

do we

cases

which are In what cases, on the

fear? In things

independent of the will. contrary, do we behave with confidence, as

if

there were no danger? In things dependent on the will.

To

be deceived then, or to act rashly,

or shamelessly or with base

desire to seek

something, does not concern us at

mark

only hit the

pendent of our

all, if

will.

or exile or pain or infamy, there

we

attempt

run away, there we are struck with

to

Therefore, as those

who

vert

natural

we

which are indeBut where there is death,

in things

we may

expect

it

to

into

we

con-

audacity,

peration, rashness, shamelessness;

des-

and we con-

and modesty into cowardand meanness, which are full of fear and confusion. For if a man should transfer caution to those things in which the will may be exercised and the acts of the will, he will im-

vert natural caution ice

139

you troubled,

are

if it is

if it

Why? That

now?

be separated

not separated now,

afterward.

it

for

will be separated

the period of the uni-

be completed, 3 for

may

it has need of and of the future, and of the past. What is pain? A mask. Turn it and examine it. The poor flesh is moved roughly, then, on

verse

the present,

the contrary, smoothly. If this does not satisfy

you, the door

is

open: 4

if

it

and so we have no

What

then

is

For

does, bear.

the door ought to be open for

happen with

err in the greatest matters,

confidence

terror.

II

all

occasions;

trouble.

the fruit of these opinions?

It

which ought to be the most noble and the most becoming to those who are really educated, release from perturbation, release from fear, freedom. For in these matters we must not believe the many, who say that free persons only ought to be educated, but we that

is

should rather believe the philosophers, say that the educated only are free.

who

"How

is

mediately, by willing to be cautious, have also

this?" In this manner. Is freedom anything

what he chooses: but which are not in his power and will, and attempt to avoid the things which are in the power of others, he

else

he will be unstable, he will be disturbed. For death or pain is not formidable, but the fear of pain or death. For

Do you wish to live in sorrow? you wish to live in perturbation? "By no means." No one, then, who is in a state of fear or sorrow or perturbation is free; but whoever is delivered from sorrows and fears and perturbations, he is at the same time also delivered from servitude. How then can we continue to believe you, most dear legislators, when you

the

power

of avoiding

he transfer

if

it

to the things

will of necessity fear,

this reason

we commend

Not death

is evil,

the poet

who

said

but a shameful death. 1

Confidence then ought to be employed against

and caution against the fear of death. But now we do the contrary, and employ death,

against death the attempt to escape;

opinion about

it

we employ

and

to

our

carelessness, rash-

These things Socrates 2 properly used to call "tragic masks"; for as to children masks appear terrible and fearful from inexperience, we also are affected in like manner by events for no other reason than children are by masks. For what is a child? ness

and

indifference.

What is a child? Want of knowlwhen a child knows these things, he is in no way inferior to us. What is death? A "tragic mask." Turn it and examine it. See, it does not bite. The poor body must be separated from the spirit either now or later, as it was separated from it before. Why, then,

than the power of living as

wish then

we

choose?

me then, ye men, do you to live in error? "We do not." No one who lives in error is free. Do you wish to

"Nothing

else." Tell

live in fear?

Do

say,

"We

only allow free persons to be edu-

cated?" For philosophers say

we

allow none is, God man has own slave,

to be free except the educated; that

does not allow

it.

"When

then a

turned 5 round before the praetor his has he done nothing?"

He

has done some-

"What?" He has turned round his own slave before the praetor. "Has he done nothing more?" Yes: he is also bound to pay for him thing.

Ignorance.

the tax called the twentieth. "Well then,

edge. For

the

man who

is

not

has gone through this ceremony

become free?" No more than he is become free from perturbations. Have you who are able to turn round others no master? is not money your master, or a 3

Marcus Aurclius,

1

Euripides, Fragments,

4

2

Plato, Phcedo, 78.

6

See i. 9. See also

iii.

26.

girl or a boy, or

xi. 1.

some

tyrant,

EPICTETUS

140 or

some friend

tremble then trial

of the tyrant?

when you

of this kind?

It is

why do you

are going off to any for this reason that

I

often say: Study and hold in readiness these

which you may determine what those things are with reference to which you ought to have confidence, and those things with reference to which you ought to be cautious: courageous in that which does not depend on your will; cautious in that which does depend on it. "Well have I not read to you, and do you not know what I was doing?" In what? "In my little dissertations." Show me how you are with respect to desire and aversion; and show me if you do not fail in getting what you wish, and if you do not fall into the things which you would avoid: but as to these long and laboured sentences, you will take them and blot them out. principles by

"What then did not Socrates write?" And who wrote so much? But how? As he could not always have at hand one to argue against his principles or to be

argued against in turn,

he used to argue with and examine himself,

and he was always treating at least some one subject in a practical way. These are the things which a philosopher writes. But little dissertations and that method, which I speak of, he leaves to others, to the stupid, or to those hap-

py men who being free from perturbations have leisure, or to such as are too foolish to reckon consequences.

And

will you now, when the opportunity go and display those things which you possess, and recite them, and make an idle show, and say, "See how I make dialogues?" invites,

Do not so, my man: but rather say: "See how am not disappointed of that which I desire. See how I do not fall into that which I would

I

avoid. Set death before me, Set before

me

and you

pain, prison, disgrace

demnation." This

is

will see.

and con-

the proper display of a

young man who is come out of the schools. But leave the rest to others, and let no one ever hear you say a word about these things; and if any man commends you for them, do not allow it; but think that you are nobody and know nothing. Only show that you know this,

sire

how never to be disappointed in your deand how never to fall into that which you

would avoid. Let others labour at forensic and syllogisms: do you labour

causes, problems at

thinking about death, chains, the rack, ex1

and do all this with confidence and reon him who has called you to these sufferings, who has judged you worthy of the place in which, being stationed, you will show what things the rational governing power can do when it takes its stand against the forces which are not within the power of our will. And thus this paradox will no longer appear ile;

liance

either impossible

ought

man

or a paradox, that a

same time cautious and courageous: courageous toward the things which do not depend on the will, and cautious in things which are within the power of the to be at the

will.

Chapter

2.

Of

Tranquillity

who

Consider, you

are going into court, what you wish to maintain and what you wish to succeed in. For if you wish to maintain a will conformable to nature, you have every secu-

every facility, you have no troubles. For you wish to maintain what is in your own power and is naturally free, and if you are content with these, what else do you care for ? For rity, if

who

is

take

them away?

the master of such things? If

you choose

Who

to be

can

modest

and faithful, who shall not allow you to be so? If you choose not to be restrained or compelled, who shall compel you to desire what you think that you ought not to desire? who shall compel you to avoid what you do not think fit to avoid? But what do you say? The judge will determine against you something that appears formidable; but that you should also suffer in trying to avoid it, how can he do that? When then the pursuit of objects and the avoiding of them are in your power, what else do you care for? Let this be your preface, this

your narrative,

your victory,

this

this

your confirmation,

your peroration,

this

this

your

applause.

Therefore Socrates said to one

minding him

not think then that

power." 1

I

have been preparing for

By what kind of preparation? have maintained that which was in my own

it all

"I

my

who was re"Do you

to prepare for his trial,

See

i.

life?"

How 30.

then? "I have never done any-

thing unjust either in

DISCOURSES BOOK my private or in my do what

you wish to maintain externals also, your poor body, your little property and your little estimation, I advise you to make from this moment all possible preparation, and then consider both the nature of your judge and if

your adversary.

If

it

is

knees, embrace

his

necessary to embrace

knees;

his

if

to

weep,

For when you have what is your own, then be a slave and do not resist, and do not sometimes choose to be a slave, and sometimes not weep;

if

to groan, groan.

subjected to externals

choose, but with

all

your mind be one

or the

other, either free or a slave, either instructed

or uninstructed, either a well-bred cock or a

mean

one, either endure to be beaten until you

not happen to and then to yield. But if these things are base, determine immediately: "Where is the nature of evil and good? It is where truth is: where truth is and where nature is, there is caution: where truth is, there is courage where nature is." die or yield at once;

you

to receive

many

and

let it

stripes

For what do you think? do you think that, Socrates had wished to preserve externals, he would have come forward and said: "Anytus and Meletus can certainly kill me, but to

if

harm me as

they are not able?"

not to see that this

preservation of other end?

life

What

is

way

Was

he so foolish

leads not to the

and fortune, but

to an-

the reason then that he

no account of his adversaries, and even them ? Just in the same way my friend Heraclitus, who had a little suit in Rhodes about a bit of land, and had proved to the judges that his case was just, said, when he had come to the peroration of his speech, "I will neither entreat you nor do I care what judgment you will give, and it is you rather than I who are on your trial." And thus he ended the business. What need was there of this? Only do not entreat; but do not also say, "I do not entreat"; unless there is a fit occasion to irritate purposely the judges, as was the case with Socrates. And you, if you are preparing such a peroration, why do you wait, why do you obey the order to submit to trial? For if you wish to be crucified, wait and the cross will come: but if you choose to submit and to plead your cause as well as you can, you must takes

irritates

consistent with this object, pro-

is

vided you maintain what

public life."

But

141

II

For

this reason also

it

your own.

is is

ridiculous to say,

What

"Suggest something to me." suggest to you? "Well, form

accommodate same

itself to

just the letters

should

my mind

Why

any event."

I

so as to

that

is

man who is ignorant of "Tell me what to write

as if a

should say,

when any name is proposed to me." For if I should tell him to write Dion, and then another should come and propose to him not the name of Dion but that of Theon, what will be done? what

will

he write? But

if

you have

practiced writing, you are also prepared to

write anything that

what can

now

I

is

required.

suggest? For

you are not,

If

if

circumstances

what will you say or you do? Remember, then, this general precept and you will need no suggestion. But if you gape after externals, you must of necessity ramble up and down in obedience to the will of your master. And who is the masrequire something else,

what

ter?

will

He who

has the power over the things

which you seek

Chapter

3.

To

to gain or try to avoid.

those

who recommend

persons

to philosophers

well to one who asked from recommendation, "That you are a man," he said, "he will know as soon as he sees you; and he will know whether you are good or bad, if he is by experience skillful to distinguish the good and the bad; but if he is without experience, he will never know, if I write to him ten thousand times." For it is just the same as if a drachma asked to be recommended to a person to be tested. If he is skillful in testing silver, he will know what you are, for you will recommend yourself. We ought then in life also to have some skill as in

Diogenes

him

said

letters of

1

the case of silver coin that a

man may

to say, like the judge of silver,

"Bring

be able

me

any

drachma and I will test it." But in the case of syllogisms I would say, "Bring any man that you please, and I will distinguish for you the man who knows how to resolve syllogisms and

man who know how to

the

does not."

Why?

resolve syllogisms.

Because I

I

have the

man must have who is able to who have the power of resolvsyllogisms. But in life how do I act? At

power, which a discover those

ing 1 Compare Euripides, Medea,

518.

EPICTETUS

142

one time

I

time bad.

What

that

thing good, and at another

call a

which

is

is

the reason?

The

contrary to

in the case of syllogisms, igno-

rance and inexperience.

Chapter

Against a person

4.

who had

once

been detected in adultery

As

man

is

and that he who subverts

for fidelity,

we

lay aside this fidelity for

which

we

if

are

and make designs what are we dobut destroying and overthrowformed

against our neighbor's wife,

ing?

What

ing?

Whom? The man

else

modesty, the are

we

man

of fidelity, the

place are

and the community; and

we

consider you, friend?

man of And

man? As

a

a

are

also

common

you? So

utensil so worthless that a

shall I

As if

man

a citizen?

you were an

has distributed them, will you not

feast,

your own portion and not filch and handle what belongs to another. "But I am a man of letters and understand Archedemus." Understand Archedemus then, and be an adulterer, and faithless, and instead of a man, be a wolf or an ape: for what is the difference?

Chapter

could not use

How

5.

magnanimity

Things themselves are indifferent; but the use of them is not indifferent. How then shall a man preserve firmness and tranquillity, and at the same time be careful and neither rash nor negligent?

The

he imitates those

If

are not in

then content that you also should be pitched

Where

somewhere on a dung heap, as a useless utensil, and a bit of dung? Then will you say, "No man cares for me, a man of letters" ? They do not, because you are bad and useless. It is just as if the wasps complained because no man cares for them, but all fly from them, and if a man can, he strikes them and knocks them down. You have such a sting that you throw into trouble and pain any man that you wound with it. What would you have us do with you? You have no place where you can

Within, in the things which are

be put.

ture?" So

dice.

I

say also;

to all the invited guests, but

when

have been distributed, go,

you think

if

the portions

and snatch up the portion of him who

it

right,

reclines

who

play at

counters are indifferent; the dice are

indifferent.

How

do

know what

I

the cast will

be? But to use carefully and dexterously the cast of the dice, this

my

is

business.

in life also the chief business

is

Thus then distin-

this:

guish and separate things, and say, "Externals

my

shall

I

power: will

in

is

my

power.

seek the good and the bad?

my own." But what does not belong to you call nothing either good or bad, or profit or damage or anyin

thing of the kind.

"What

then? Should

hand

is

no way:

we

use such things

on the other bad for the faculty of the will, and

carelessly?" In

for this

consequently against nature; but act carefully because the use

and we should

dom from

also act

is

we

should

not indifferent,

with firmness and

free-

perturbations because the material

For where the material is not no man can hinder me nor compel me. Where I can be hindered and is

women common by nafor a little pig is common

then, are not

consistent

is

with care

would be pitched out on the dung heaps, and no man would pick you up. But if, being a man, you are unable to fill any place which befits a man, what shall we do with you? For suppose that you cannot hold the place of a friend, can you hold the place of a slave? And who will trust you? Are you not you, you

"What

by nature.

the legislator, like the master of

also look for

what

neighbour, as a

of one?

shall I trust

in

How

putting ourselves?

What kind

Wherein

you

if

of sanctity. Is this all?

not overthrowing neighbourhood, and

friendship,

come,

seats,

way women When, then,

men,

tected in adultery in

continued: But

When

to the citizens?"

fidelity

who are considered who had once been dethe city. Then Epictetus

of letters,

common

the theatre

think proper, and eject one of them. In this

the peculiar characteristic of

men

it

formed

there entered one of those to be

by

then they have taken their

Epictetus was saying that

subverts

it, or place your hand and lay hold of it, and if you cannot tear away a bit of the meat, grease your fingers and lick them. A fine companion over cups, and Socratic guest indeed! "Well, is not

next to you, or slyly steal

down

indifferent.

indifferent, there

compelled, the obtaining of those things in

my

use

is

is

not

good or bad; but the either bad or good, and the use is in my power, nor

is

it

DISCOURSES BOOK ,

power. But

to

difficult

is

it

the

material,

a storm.

whatever

him who is affected by the matter and him who has no regard for it;

the firmness of

but

not impossible; and

it is

impossible.

is

if it is,

But we should

What

the case of a voyage.

act as

can

choose the master of the ship, the

we do I

sailors,

Then comes

day, the opportunity.

happiness

do?

I

in

What more have I to care for? for my part is done. The business belongs to another the master. But the ship

—what



sinking

is

then

do? I do the only thing that I can, drowned full of fear, nor screaming, nor blaming God, but knowing that what has been produced must also perish: for I am not an immortal being, but a man, a part of the whole, as an hour is a part of the day: I must be present like the hour, and past like the hour. have

to

I

not to be

What how I

difference, then, does

it

make

to

me

pass away, whether by being suffocated

or by a fever, for

must

I

some

pass through

such means?

This

is

what you

doing one cares about as being good or bad, but about just

will see those

who

play at ball skillfully.

the

ball

throwing and catching the

skill,

if I

may

what kind

shall a

man

it,

we

of play

my

lap

and another,

catch the ball. But

turbation and fear ball,

spread out

not be able to catch

throw,

In this therefore

is

in this the art, the quickness, the

judgement, so that

may

No

it.

if

I

if I

with per-

throw the then, and wherein

receive or is it

be steady, and

how

shall a

man

game? But one will say, "Throw"; or, "Do not throw"; and another will say, "You have thrown once." This is

see the order in the

quarreling, not play. Socrates, then,

"How?" By

knew how

to play at ball.

using pleasantry in the court

where he was tried. "Tell me," he says, "Anytus, how do you say that I do not believe in God. The Demons, who are they, think you? Are they not sons of Gods, or compounded of gods and men?" When Anytus admitted this, Socrates said,

"Who

lieve that there are this

he said as

what was the

if

then, think you, can be-

mules, but not asses"; and

he were playing

at ball.

1

And

ball in that case? Life, chains,

banishment, a draught of poison, separation 1

Plato, Apology, 27.

143

can

bring together these two things, the carefulness of

I!

from wife and leaving children orphans. These were the things with which he was playing; but still he did play and threw the ball skillfully. So we should do: we must employ all the care of the players, but show the same indifference about the ball. For we ought by all means to apply our art to some external

mingle and to

not as valuing the material, but, it

may

be,

showing our

too the weaver does not

make

art in

it.

Thus

wool, but exer-

upon such as he receives. Another you food and property and is able to take them away and your poor body also. When then you have received the material, work on it. If then you come out without having suffered anything, all who meet you will congratulate you on your escape; but he who knows how to look at such things, if he shall see that you have behaved properly in the matter, will commend you and be pleased with you; and if he shall find that you owe your escape to any want of proper behavior, he will do the contrary. For where rejoicing is reacises his art

gives

sonable, there also

is

congratulation reason-

able.

How

then

is

said

it

some external

that

things are according to nature and others contrary to nature? It if

we were

foot

for

and

I

it

is

said as

it

might be

said

separated from union: for to the

shall say that

it is

to be clean; but if

according to nature

you take

as a thing not detached,

to step into the

mud

it

it

as a foot

will befit

it

both

and tread on thorns, and

sometimes to be cut off for the benefit of the whole body; otherwise it is no longer a foot. We should think in some way about ourselves also. What are you? A man. If you consider yourself as detached from other men, it is according to nature to to be healthy.

a

man and

But

live to old age, to

if

be rich,

you consider yourself

a part of a certain whole,

it is

as

for

the sake of that whole that at one time you

should be

sick, at

another time take a voyage

and run into danger, and at another time be in want, and, in some cases, die prematurely. Why then are you troubled? Do you not know, that as a foot is no longer a foot if it is detached from the body, so you are no longer a man if you are separated from other men. For what is a man? A part of a state, of that first which consists of Gods and of men; then

i

EPICTETUS

44

of that

which

is

called next to

it,

must

I

be brought to

is

a

"What then

small image of the universal state.

a fever, another sail

which

trial; must another have on the sea, another die,

and another be condemned?" Yes,

for

it is

im-

possible in such a body, in such a universe of

things,

among

so

many

living together, that

what

your own, and what belongs to anand you will not be disturbed. Chrysippus therefore said well, "So long is future is

other;

things are uncertain,

me

himself has given

But

such things should not happen, some to one

choice."

and others to others. It is your duty then, since you are come here, to say what you ought, to arrange these things as it is fit. Then some one says, "I shall charge you with doing me wrong." Much good may it do you: I have done my part; but whether you also have done yours, you must look to that; for there is some danger of this too, that it may escape your

to be sick,

knew

if I

The

6.

Of

hypothetical proposition

is

indifferent:

judgment about it is not indifferent, but is either knowledge or opinion or error.

the it

Thus

life is

When

indifferent: the use

any

man

is

not indiffer-

you that these things also are indifferent, do not become negligent; and when a man invites you to be careful, do not become abject and struck with admiration of material things. And it is good for you to know your own preparation and power, that in those matters where you have not been prepared, you may keep quiet, and not be vexed, if others have the advantage over you. For you, too, in syllogisms will claim to have the advantage over them; and if others should be vexed at this, you will console them by saying, "I have learned them, and you have not." Thus also where there is need of any practice, seek not that which is required from ent.

then

tells

the need, but yield in that matter to those

who

have had practice, and be yourself content with firmness of mind.

Go and

salute a certain person.

Not meanly. "But

I

"How?"

have been shut out, for

I

make my way through the window; and when I have found the door

have not learned to

must either come back or enter through the window." But still speak to him. "In what way?" Not meanly. But suppose that you have not got what you wanted. Was this your business, and not his ? Why then do you claim that which belongs to another? Always remember

shut,

I

was

of

such

fated for

me

1

munion with

other things. If then they had

perception, ought they to wish never to be

the case of

Indifference

faculty

it

would even move toward it; for the foot also, if it had intelligence, would move to go into the mud. For why are ears of corn produced? Is it not that they may become dry? And do they not become dry that they may be reaped? 2 for they are not separated from com-

is

a curse

the

same

men

too

upon

ears of corn,

we must know

never to be reaped. So

Chapter

the

that

I

reaped? But this

notice.

always cling to those

I

which are more adapted to the conservation of that which is according to nature; for God

that in

a curse not to die, just

it is

and not

as not to be ripened

to be

we must be reaped, and we also know that we are reaped, we are vexed at it; for we neither know what we are nor have we studied what belongs to man, as those who have studied horses know what belongs to horses. But Chrysantas, when he was going to strike the enemy, checked himself when he reaped. But since

heard the trumpet sounding a

seemed

him

better to

command

retreat: so

it

to obey the general's

than to follow his

own

inclination.

But not one of us chooses, even when necessity summons, readily to obey it, but weeping and groaning we suffer what we do suffer, and we call them "circumstances." What kind of circumstances, man? If you give the name of circumstances to the things which are around you, all things are circumstances; but if you call hardships by this name, what hardship is there in the dying of that which has been produced? But that which destroys is either a sword, or a wheel, or the

sea, or a tile, or a

Why

do you care about the way of going down to Hades? All ways are equal. But if you will listen to the truth, the way which

tyrant.

the tyrant sends you killed a

man

a year about

in six it.

is

shorter.

A tyrant never

months: but a fever

is

often

All these things are only sound

and the noise of empty names. "I

am

in

danger of

1

See

2

Marcus Aurelius,

ii.

my

5. vii.

40.

life

from

Caesar."

DISCOURSES, And am

not

I

in

where there are

lis,

when you

who dwell in Nicopomany earthquakes: and

danger so

are crossing the Hadriatic,

hazard do you run?

Is

what

not the hazard of

it

"But I am in danger also as to opinmean your own? how? For who Do you ion." can compel you to have any opinion which you do not choose? But is it as to another man's opinion? and what kind of danger is yours, if others have false opinions? "But I am in danger of being banished." What is it to your

life?

To

be banished?

Rome?

Gyara?" but

if it

be somewhere else than at

"Yes: what then If

should be sent to

if I

you will go there; you can go to another place

that suits you,

does not,

instead of Gyara, whither he also will go,

who

sends you to Gyara, whether he choose or not.

Why then do you go up to Rome as if it were something great? It is not worth all this preparation, that an ingenuous youth should say,

BOOK

have

the flight of birds,

he says,

what

equal in each.

then be imitators of Socrates, to write paeans in prison.

disposition, consider

if

And we

when we

But

we

in

me

like

are able

our present

could endure in

"Would

prison another person saying to us.

you

shall

to read Paeans to

"Why

you?"

What circumstances? "I am going And will other men be immortal ? Chapter

7.

How

Through an tion many of

we ought

to die."

to use divination

unreasonable regard to divinaus omit

more can the diviner

many

see

duties.

For what

than death or danger

my

interest,

For

evil?

if

and of the ugly, and of the just and of the Do you tell me, man, what is the thing which is signified for me: is it life or death, poverty or wealth? But whether these things are for my interest or whether they are not, I do not intend to ask you. Why don't you give your opinion on matters of grammar, and why do you give it here about things on which we are all in error and disputing with one anunjust.

other?

The woman,

therefore,

who

to him who said that Domitian would what she sent. "I would rather," she replied, "that Domitian should seize all than

that

I

should not send

What

it."

then leads us to frequent use of

happen. This

is

the reason

why we

diviners. "Pray, master, shall

property of sacrifice

my

I

I

not within

the nature of

plained to

me

me

a diviner

good and

who

has told

and has exthe signs of both? What need of evil,

flatter the

succeed to the

father?" "Let us see:

on the occasion." "Yes, master,

tune chooses."

When

let

us

as for-

"You shall we thank him as inheritance from him. The he has said,

succeed to the inheritance," if

we

received the

consequence

What

is

that they play

then should

come without

upon

we do?

We

us.

ought

to

desire or aversion, as the way-

farer asks of the man whom he meets which of two roads leads (to his journey's end), without any desire for that which leads to the right rather than to the left, for he has no wish to go by any road except the road which leads (to his end). In the same way ought we to come

God also as a guide; as we use our eyes, not asking them to show us rather such things as to

we

Have

divi-

nation? Cowardice, the dread of what will

things such as the eyes present

me

intended

by a vessel a month's provisions to Gratilla in her banishment, made a good anto send

must expose myself to danger for a friend, and if it is my duty even to die for him, what need have I then for divination? I

know

he knows the signs of

or disease, or generally things of that kind? If

then

For does he

does he

ful

do

you trouble me? do you not know the evils which hold me? Can I in such circumstances?"

for

is

submit when

he knows the signs both of the beauti-

these,

swer

it

I

good; and as he has learned the signs

is

good and

seize

maintain

and why do

for your interest"?

is

of the viscera, has he also learned the signs of

much and

to

"It

know what

"It

was not worth while to have heard so to have written so much and to have sat so long by the side of an old man who is not worth much." Only remember that division by which your own and not your own are distinguished: never claim anything which belongs to others. A tribunal and a prison are each a place, one high and the other low; but the will can be maintained equal, if you choose

M5

II

then to consult the viscera of victims or

I

wish, but receiving

the appearances of

them

to us.

But now we trembling take the augur by the hand, and, while we invoke God, we entreat the augur, and say, "Master have mercy on me; suffer me to come safe out of this difficulty." Wretch, would you have, then, anything

EPICTETUS

146

other than what

best? Is there then any-

is

Why

God?

thing better than what pleases

do

other thing.

"What then?

animals also the works of

are not plants

and

God?" They

are;

you, so far as in your power, corrupt your

but they are not superior things, nor yet parts

judge and lead astray your adviser?

of the Gods.

But you are a superior thing; you from the deity; you

are a portion separated

Chapter

God

What

8.

is

good

the nature of the

But the Good also is beneconsistent then that where the na-

ficial. It is

God

ture of

good should

God?

is

beneficial.

1

there also the nature of the

is,

What

be.

then

Certainly

Flesh?

is

the nature of

An

not.

Fame? No.

land? By no means.

in

estate

Is it intelli-

gence, knowledge, right reason? Yes. Herein

then simply seek the nature of the good; for I suppose that you do not seek it in a plant.

No. No.

Do

you seek

an irrational animal?

in

it

then you seek

If

it

in a rational animal,

anywhere except

have in yourself a certain portion of him. then are you ignorant of your own noble

Why

descent? 2

Why

do you not know whence you you not remember when you are eating, who you are who eat and whom you feed? When you are in conjunction with a woman, will you not remember who you are who do this thing? When you are in social intercourse, when you are exercising yourself, when you are engaged in discussion, know you not that you are nourishing a god, that

came?

will

you are exercising a god ? Wretch, you are

car-

of using

know it 3 not. Do you think that I mean some God of silver or of gold, and external? You carry him

appearances, and for this reason you do not ap-

within yourself, and you perceive not that you

why do you

still

seek

it

in the

superiority of rational over irrational animals?

Now

plants have not even the

ply the term

good

power

them. The good then

to

quires the use of appearances. Does

only? For

re-

require

it

you say that it requires this use only, say that the good, and that happiness and unhappiness are in irrational animals also. But you do not say this, and you do this use

right; for

if

if

they possess even in the highest

degree the use of appearances, yet they have not the faculty of understanding the use of appearances; and there

is

good reason

for this,

for they exist for the purpose of serving others,

and they I

exercise

no

superiority.

For the

ass,

suppose, does not exist for any superiority

over others. No; but because

back which truth

is

we had need

able to bear something;

we had need

of a

and

in

also of his being able to

walk, and for this reason he received also the faculty

of

making use

of appearances,

for

otherwise he would not have been able to

walk.

And

here then the matter stopped. For

he had also received the faculty of compre-

if

hending the use of appearances,

it is

plain that

would not then have been subjected to us, nor would he have done us these services, but he would have been equal to us and like to us. Will you not then seek the nature of good

consistently with reason he

in the rational

you 1

animal? for

if it is

will not choose to say that

See

ii.

14.

it

not there,

exists in

any

rying about a god with you, and you

are polluting

him by impure thoughts and

And

if an image of God were you would not dare to do any of the things which you are doing: but when God himself is present within and sees all and hears all, you are not ashamed of thinking such things and doing such things, ignorant as you are of your own nature and subject to the anger of God. Then why do we fear when we are sending a young man from the school into active life, lest he should do anything improperly, eat improperly, have improper intercourse with women; and lest the rags in which he is wrapped should debase him, lest fine garments should make him proud? This youth does not know his own God: he knows not with whom he sets out. But can we endure when he says, "I wish I had you with me." Have you not God with you? and do you seek for any other, when you have him? or will God tell you anything else than this? If you were a statue of Phidias, either Athena or Zeus, you would think both of yourself and of the artist, and if you had any understanding you would try to do nothing unworthy of him who made you or of yourself, and try not to appear in an unbecoming dress to those who look on you. But now because

dirty deeds.

present,

2

3

See i. 9. Cor. 6. 19;

1

II

Cor. 6. 16.

DISCOURSES, care not

how you

an

of

And

appear?

yet

is

the

work And what work

like the other?

one case

artist, for instance,

which the

ties,

shall

the artist in the other? or the

artist like

in the

you, for this reason do you

made

Zeus has

has in

shows

artist

the facul-

itself

in

making

it?

Is

it not marble or bronze, or gold or ivory? and the Athena of Phidias when she has once ex-

tended the hand and received in of Victory

the

1

it

the figure

stands in that attitude forever. But

works of God have power

of motion, they

breathe, they have the faculty of using the ap-

pearances of things, and the power of examin-

ing them. Being the work of such an artist, do you dishonor him? And what shall I say, not only that he made you, but also intrusted you to yourself and made you a deposit to yourself? Will you not think of this too, but

do you also dishonor your guardianship? But God had intrusted an orphan to you, would

if

you thus neglect him? He has delivered yourself to your care, and says, "I had no one fitter to intrust him to than yourself: keep him for

me

such as he

is

by nature, modest,

And

falls

But some

on that which

would

it

avoid, a

proper pursuit, a diligent purpose, an assent

which

is

not rash. These you shall

see.

9. That when we cannot fulfill that which the character of a man promises, we assume the character of a philosopher It is no common thing to do this only, to fulfill the promise of a man's nature. For what is a man? The answer is: "A rational and mortal being." Then, by the rational faculty, from

Chapter

whom

are

we

And from what Take

5

From wild beasts. From sheep and like

separated? others?

do nothing like a you do, you have lost the character of a man; you have not fulfilled your promise. See that you do nothing like a sheep; but if you do, in this case the man is lost. What then do we do as sheep? When we animals.

care then to

wild beast; but

if

when we

act gluttonously,

we

when

act lewdly,

act rashly, filthily, inconsiderately, to

from passion and

per-

him

lost?

will say,

"Whence

which he

supercilious looks?"

I

has this fellow

displays

confidence in what I

have assented

me

and these

have not yet so

I

much

do not yet have learned and in

gravity as befits a philosopher; for

The

To

what

What have we When we act con-

sheep.

rational faculty.

and harmfully and passionately, what have we declined? To wild beasts. Consequently some of us are great wild beasts, and others little beasts, of a bad disposition and small, whence we may say, "Let me be eaten by a lion." But in all these ways the promise of a man acting as a man is destroyed. For when is a conjunctive proposition maintained? When it fulfills what its na-

I

to: I still fear

my own

and

violently, to

and then you shall see a countenance such as I ought to have and an attitude such as I ought to have: then I will show to you the statue, when it is perfected, when it is polished. What do you expect? a supercilious countenance? Does the Zeus at Olympia lift up his brow? No, his look is fixed as becomes him who is ready to

served?

say

in like

weakness. Let

Irrevocable

Such

A

an aversion 4 which

desire never disappointed,

never

the nerves of

nerves 3 are these?"

"What

a philosopher.

show

do. I will

I

tentiously

got the arrogance

what

147

nor can

then you do not keep

such.

feel

possess,

II

have we declined?

erect, unterrified, free

turbation."

faithful,

BOOK

will

is

I

get confidence

my word and

show myself

shall not jail. 2

to

you, faithful,

ture promises; so that the preservation of a

complex proposition tion of truths.

tained?

When

ner

is

is

When

When

fulfills

it

served by corresponding

and immortal too, exempt from old age, and from sickness?" No, but dying as becomes a god, sickening as becomes a god. This power I possess; this I can do. But the rest I do not

grammar. But

2

Homer,

i.

Iliad,

i.

526.

a conjunc-

what

it

promises.

if

a

acts,

the carpenter by

grammarian by

man

acts of

accustoms himself to

write ungrammatically, of necessity his art will

be corrupted and destroyed. 3 4

6.

is

What is the wonder then if man also manner is preserved, and in like manlost? Each man is improved and pre-

acts of carpentry, the

See

it

a disjunctive main-

are flutes, a lyre, a horse, a dog, pre-

modest, noble, free from perturbation. "What,

1

when is

5

See 4; 11. 10; See iii. 2. See Epictetus,

111.

ii.

22. 8.

Thus modest

ac-

EPICTETUS Why do

148

tions preserve the modest man, and immodest actions destroy him: and actions of fidelity preserve the faithful man, and the contrary actions destroy him. And on the other hand

contrary actions strengthen contrary characters:

shamelessness strengthens the shameless

man, faithlessness the faithless man, abusive words the abusive man, anger the man of an angry temper, and unequal receiving and giving make the avaricious man more avaricious. For this reason philosophers admonish us not to be satisfied with learning only, but also to

add study, and then

practice.

For we have

you deceive the many?

Why

when you

are a

act the part of a Jew,

Do

you not

see

called a Jew, or a

when we

are accustomed

man

"This

to say,

when

one." But

one

two

inclining to

who

is

we

sides,

see a

not a Jew, but he acts as

he has assumed the

affects of

imbued with Jewish

has been

doc-

and has adopted that sect, then he is in fact and he is named a Jew. Thus we too being falsely imbued, are in name Jews, but in fact we are something else. Our affects are intrine

1

we

consistent with our words;

what we

and we put

are proud, as

are con-

is

man

practicing

which

each

Syrian or an Egyptian? and

long been accustomed to do contrary things, in practice opinions

how

do you Greek?

if

say,

and

we knew

from which we

are far

that of

Thus being un-

it.

able to discuss according to the rules of art

what the character of a man promises, we even add to it the profession of a philosopher, which is as heavy a burden, as if a man who is unable to bear ten pounds should attempt to raise the stone which Ajax 2

about good and

lifted.

we shall not opinions, we shall be

trary to true opinions. If then also put in practice right

nothing more than the expositors of the opinions of others.

For

now who among

us

is

not

evil things? "That of things and some are bad, and some are indifferent: the good then are virtues, and the things which participate in virtues; and the bad are the contrary; and the indifferent are wealth, health, reputation." Then, if in the midst of our talk there should happen some greater noise than usual, or some of those

some

who

able to fulfill even

are good,

are present should laugh at us,

disturbed. Philosopher,

where

we

are

are the things

which you were talking about? Whence did you produce and utter them? From the lips, and thence only. Why then do you corrupt the aids provided by others? Why do you treat the weightiest matters as if you were playing a game of dice? For it is one thing to lay up bread and wine as in a storehouse, and another thing to eat. That which has been eaten, is digested, distributed, and is become sinews,

flesh,

bones, blood,

healthy breath. Whatever

is

healthy colour, stored up,

when

you choose you can readily take and show it; but you have no other advantage from it except so far as to appear to possess it. For what is the difference between explaining these doctrines and those of men who have different opinions? Sit down now and explain according to the rules of art the opinions of Epicur-

and perhaps you will explain his opinions in a more useful manner than Epicurus himself. Why then do you call yourself a Stoic?

Chapter

10.

How

we may

discover the duties

from names Consider who you are. In the first place, you are a man; and this is one who has nothing of life

superior to the faculty of the will, but

all

other

and the faculty itself he possesses unenslaved and free from subjection. Consider then from what things you have

things subjected to

it;

been separated by reason.

You have been

sep-

arated from wild beasts: you have been separated from domestic animals. Further, you are a citizen of the world,

3

and

a part of

it,

not one of the subservient, but one of the prin-

you are capable of comprehending the divine administration and of con-

cipal parts, for

sidering the connection of things.

What

does the character of a citizen promise?

then

To

hold nothing as profitable to himself; to de-

about nothing as if he were detached from the community, but to act as the hand or foot would do, if they had reason and underliberate

stood

the

constitution

of

would never put themselves sire

well,

3

for

they

motion nor de-

whole. Therefore the philosophers say

See See See

the

that

if

iv. 7;

Rom.

us,

1

in

anything otherwise than with reference

to the

2

nature,

ii. i.

man had

17-29.

Homer, Iliad, vii. 264, Marcus Aurelius, vi. 44.

24; 9.

2.

good

etc.

foreknowl-

DISCOURSES,

BOOK

II

149

what would happen, he would cooperate toward his own sickness and death and mutilation, since he knows that these things are assigned to him according to the universal arrangement, and that the whole is superior to the part, and the state to the citizen. But now, because we do not know the

had lost the art of grammar or music, would you think the loss of it a damage? and if you shall lose modesty, moderation and gentleness, do you think the loss nothing? And yet the things first mentioned are lost by some cause external and independent of the will, and the second by our own fault; and as to the

our duty to stick to the things more suitable for our

shameful; but as to the second, not to have

edge of

1

future,

which

is

it

are in their nature

we were made among

choice, for

other things

What

them and

this,

remember

that

you are a son.

does this character promise?

sider that everything which

longs to the father, to obey

is

him

To

con-

the son's bein all things,

them nor

them

to lose

of reproach

for this.

After

neither to have

first

them

to lose

is

shameful and matter

is

and

a misfortune.

He

loses the

What

does the

man. What does he lose who makes the pathic what he is? Many other things; and he also loses the man no less than the other. What does he lose who compathic lose?

He

never to blame him to another, nor to say or

mits adultery?

do anything which does him injury, to yield to him in all things and give way, co-operating with him as far as you can. After this know that you are a brother also, and that to this

perate, the decent, the citizen, the neighbour.

character easily er,

it is

due

to

make

concessions; to be

persuaded, to speak good of your broth-

never to claim in opposition to

him any

of

which are independent of the

will,

but readily to give them up, that you

may

the things

have the larger share in what the will. For see a lettuce,

if it

gain

for

How

great

what

dependent on

it is,

in place of

should so happen, or a

yourself is

a thing

is

seat, to

goodness of disposition.

the advantage.

Next to this, if you are senator of any state, remember that you are a senator: if a youth, that you are a youth: if an old man, that you are an old man; for each of such names, if it comes to be examined, marks out the proper duties. But if you go and blame your brother, I say to you, "You have forgotten who you are and what is your name." In the next place, if you were a smith and made a wrong use of the hammer, you would have forgotten the smith; and if you have forgotten the brother and instead of a brother have become an enemy, would you appear not to have changed one thing for another in that case?

And

if

in-

man, who is a tame animal and you are become a mischievous wild beast, treacherous, and biting, have you lost nothing? But, you must lose a bit of money that you may suffer damage? And does the loss of nothing else do a man damage ? If you

loses the

modest, the tem-

What does he lose who is angry? Something else. What does the coward lose? Something else. No man is bad without suffering some and damage.

loss

damage

men

If

then you look for the

money

in the loss of

only, all these

no harm or damage; it may be, they have even profit and gain, when they acquire a bit of money by any of these deeds. But consider that if you refer everything to a receive

who

small coin, not even he

loses his nose

your opinion damaged. "Yes," you he

is

he

who

is

in

say, "for

mutilated in his body." Well; but does has lost his smell only lose nothing?

which is and a damage to him who has lost it? "Tell me what sort you mean." Have we not a natural modesty? "We have." Does he who loses this sustain no damage? is he deprived of nothing, does he part with nothing of the things which belong to him? Have we not naturally fidel-

Is there, then,

no energy

an advantage

to

of the soul

him who

possesses

it,

ity? natural affection, a natural disposition to

help others, a natural disposition to forbear-

ance?

The man

then

who

allows himself to

be damaged in these matters, can he be free

from harm and uninjured? "What then? I

not hurt him,

who

has hurt

what hurt

me?" 2

shall

In the

and remem-

stead of a

first

social,

ber what you have heard from the philoso-

1

Marcus Aurelius,

vi. 42.

place consider

phers. For

if

the

good

consists in the will,

the evil also in the will,

not 2 3

this:

"What

Plato, Crito, 49. See ii. 16.

is,

3

see

if

what you

then, since that

man

and

say

is

has hurt

1

EPICTETUS

5o

himself by doing an unjust act to me, shall

I

not hurt myself by doing some unjust act to

Why

him?"

something of

do we not imagine to ourselves this kind? But where there is

body or to our possession, there is harm there; and where the same thing happens to the faculty of the will, there is no any detriment

to the

harm; for he who has been deceived or he who has done an unjust act neither suffers in the head nor in the eye nor in the hip, nor does he lose his estate; and we wish for nothing else than these things. But whether we shall have the will modest and faithful or shameless and

we

faithless,

care not the least, except only in

few words are concerned.

the school so far as a

Therefore our proficiency

is

few words; but beyond them

limited to these it

does not exist

even in the slightest degree.

a

man

ophy

The who

the beginning of philos-

is

enters is

on

in the right

to him at least way and by the

a consciousness of his

inability

come

it

own weakness we

about necessary things. For

into the world with

no natural notion

of a right-angled triangle, or of a diesis, or of a half tone; but

we

learn each of these things

by a certain transmission according

to art;

and

who do not know them, they know them. But as to

I

not

know

"Do I not adapt it "Do I not then adapt

and

the beautiful

not the notion of it?"

have.

to particulars?" it

You You

properly?" In that

whole question; and conceit is added here. For, beginning from these things which are admitted, men proceed to that which is the

lies

matter of dispute by adaptation; for

if

means

of

unsuitable

they possessed this power of

adaptation in addition to those things, what

would hinder them from being perfect? But since you think that you properly adapt

now

the preconceptions to the particulars,

tell

me

whence you derive this. Because I think so. But it does not seem so to another, and he thinks that he also makes a proper adaptation;

He

or does he not think so? it

beginning of philosophy

door,

and

What

ii.

I

do.

does think

so. Is

possible then that both of you can properly

apply

Chapter

"do

Have

says,

the ugly?

preconceptions

the

to

about

things

which you have contrary opinions? It is not possible. Can you then show us anything better toward adapting the preconceptions beyond your thinking that you do? Does the madman do any other things than the things which seem to him right? Is then this cri-

him

terion sufficient for ent. to

Come

also? It

is

then to something which

seeming. Observe,

What

is

not is

suffici-

superior

this?

this is the

beginning of philosophy,

disagreement of

men

with

for this reason those

a perception of the

do not think that good and evil, and beautiful and ugly, and becoming and unbecoming, and happiness and misfortune, and proper and improper, and what we ought to do and what we ought not to do, whoever came into the world without having an innate idea of them? Wherefore we all use these names, and we endeavor to fit

one another, and an inquiry into the cause of

1

the preconceptions

"He

to the several cases thus:

has done well, he has not done well; he

has done as he ought, not as he ought; he has

been unfortunate, he has been fortunate; he is

unjust, he

just":

is

who

names? who among us till

does not use these

defers the use of

them

he has learned them, as he defers the use

of the

words about

cause of this

is

that

lines or

sounds?

And

the

we come

into the

world

al-

were by nature some things on this matter, and proceeding from these we have added to them self-conceit. "For why," ready taught as

1

See

i.

2.

it

and which only "seems," and a certain investigation of that which "seems" whether it "seems" rightly, and a discovery of some rule, as we have discovered a balance in the determination of weights, and a carpenter's rule in the case of straight and the disagreement, and a condemnation distrust

of that

crooked things. This

is

the beginning of phi-

"Must we say that all things are right which seem so to all?" And how is it possible that contradictions can be right? "Not all then, but all which seem to us to be right." How more to you than those which seem right to the Syrians? why more than what seem right to the Egyptians? why more than what seems right to me or to any other man? "Not at all more." What then "seems" to

losophy.

every

what

man

is

not sufficient for determining

"is"; for neither in the case of

or measures are

we

satisfied

weights

with the bare ap-

DISCOURSES, pearance, but in each case

we have

a certain rule. In this matter then

discovered

no

there

is

what "seems?" And how is it possible that the most necessary things among men should have no sign, and be incapable of being discovered? There is then some rule. And why then do we not seek the rule and rule superior to

discover

and afterward use

it,

ing from

without

it?

when

is

it

it

without vary-

not even stretching out the finger

it, 1

For

this,

I

think,

is

that

which

discovered cures of their madness

BOOK

151

II

he then either abuses or ridicules him, and "He is an illiterate man; it is not pos-

says,

sible to

do anything with, him."

Now

a guide,

when he has found a man out of the road leads him into the right way: he does not ridicule or abuse him and then leave him. Do you also show this illiterate man the truth, and you will see that he follows. But so long you do not show him the truth, do not ridicule him, but rather feel your own in-

as

capacity.

How then did Socrates act? He used to com-

those who use mere "seeming" as a measure, and misuse it; so that for the future proceeding from certain things known and made clear we

pel his adversary in disputation to bear testi-

may

ness.

use in the case of particular things the

the matter presented to us about

is

which we are inquiring? "Pleasure." Subject it to the rule, throw it into the balance. Ought the good to be such a thing that it is fit that

we have confidence in it? which we ought to confide? Is it fit to trust

to

"Yes." "It

And

ought

anything which

is

in

to be."

insecure?

"No." Is then pleasure anything secure? "No." Take it then and throw it out of the scale, and drive it far away from the place of good things. But if you are not sharp-sighted, and one balance is not enough for you, bring another. Is it fit to be elated over what is good? "Yes." Is it proper then to be elated over present pleasure? See that you do not say that it is proper; but if you do, I shall then not think you are worthy even of the balance. Thus things are tested and weighed when the rules are ready.

And

to philosophize

3

to

him, and he wanted no other wit-

Therefore he could

other witnesses, but

preconceptions which are distinctly fixed.

What

mony

is this,

to

examine and confirm the rules; and then to use them when they are known is the act of a wise and good man.

I

my

the evidence of

am

say, "I care

always

adversary, and

What

Of disputation or discussion things a man must learn in order to be 12.

able to apply the art of disputation, has been

accurately

shown by our

philosophers;

2

but

him who make

used to

drawn from natman saw the

ural notions so plain that every

contradiction and withdrew from

"Does it: "By no means, but he is rather pained." Well, "Do you think that envy is pain over evils? and what envy is the envious

man

rejoice?"

there of evils?" Therefore he

versary say that envy

"Well then, would any

man

envy those

whom

you please, an illiterate man to discuss with, and he cannot discover how to deal with the man. But when he has moved the

us,

man

a

little, if

pose, he does not 1

Marcus Aurelius,

he answers beside the pur-

know how ii.

16.

to treat 2

The

him, but

Stoics.

who

the adversary had defined envy, he did not say,

"You have defined

it

badly, for the terms

of the definition do not correspond to the

thing defined." These

and

are

technical

terms,

and hardly men, which terms we

for this reason disagreeable

intelligible to illiterate

who

himself,

follows the

illiterate

man

appearances

pre-

sented to him, should be able to concede anyit, we can never by the use of move him to do. Accordingly, beconscious of our own inability, we do not

thing or reject these terms

ing

any of

his ad-

him?" "By no means." Thus having completed the notion and distinctly fixed it he would go away without saying to his adversary, "Define to me envy"; and if

attempt the thing; at

to

made

pain over good things.

is

are nothing to

we

Only give

with

do not

disputing with me." For he

is

the conclusions

with respect to the proper use of the things, are entirely without practice.

I

ask the opinion of others, but only the opinion of

cannot lay aside. But that the

Chapter

not for

satisfied

least such of us as have any caution do not. But the greater part and

the rash, tions,

and

when

they enter into such disputa-

confuse themselves and confuse others; finally

abusing

their

adversaries

abused by them, they walk away. 3 Plato,

Gorgias, 472, 474.

and

i

52

Now

this

was the

first

and chief

EPICTETUS peculiarity you, my good

man, who are you?" Next,

of Socrates, never to be irritated in argument,

persist in troubling

never to utter anything abusive, anything

he

in-

and you would

sulting, but to bear with abusive persons

end

to put an

know what

to the quarrel. If

power he had in this way, read the Symposium of Xenophon, and you will see how many quarrels he put an end to. Hence with good reason in the poets also this power is most highly praised,

may

raise his

was once myself

Ouickjy with

he

skjll

settles great disputes.

Chapter

When this

I

13.

see a

them

intrusted

to

"I don't in."

man

it

to

any

of experience,

suppose, and one acquainted with the aliptic,

"Without doubt." Are these the best things that you have, or do you also possess something else which is betor with the healing art?

"Is

liberates.

You

it

"What kind of a thing do mean which makes use of

tests

think right, for

"In truth

I

each of them, and de-

the soul it

is

that

do think that the soul

Can you then show

us in

have taken care of the soul? for that you,

you mean?" I mean.

the soul that

better thing than all the others sess."

who

are so wise a

a

is

much

which I poswhat way you it is

not likely

man and

have a

and most valuable thing that you possess to be neglected and to perish? "Certainly not." But have you taken care of the soul yourself; and have you learned from another to do this, or have you discovered the means yourself? Here comes the danger that reputation

in

the

city,

inconsiderately

carelessly allow the

in the first place he 1

Compare

Epictetus,

may iii.

anxious even

also to obtain applause: but this

is

power. Accordingly, where he has

not in his skill,

there

he has confidence. Bring any single person cian does not care for him. But in the matter

body, have you already con-

I

is

who knows

sidered about intrusting the care of

these?

when

you."

your vestments?

you mean?" That these things, and

could he be

indif-

even these to any one indifferently

a

does

he not only wishes to sing well, but

lute; for

nothing of music, and the musi-

man knows

this?

To

how

he enters the theatre, he

tell

person? "Certainly."

"What

he has a good voice and plays well on the

practiced, there he

own

say,

reason a lute player

this

where

silver things or

I

he did not want something

tell

and to one who has no experience of "By no means." Well then; can you me to whom you intrust your gold or

all

into these dangers.

not in his power,

is

horses?

than

I

mode

singing by himself has no anxiety, but

is

when if

If

ferently

ter

fell

I

this

any person

have intrusted your horses?" "I can

I

an admirer of

On anxiety man anxious,

man want?

which he

Well then; the matter is not now very safe, and particularly at Rome; for he who attempts to do it, must not do it in a corner, you may be sure, but must go to a man of consular rank, if it so happen, or to a rich man, and ask him, "Can you tell me, Sir, to whose care you

Well; your

if you danger that

hands and give you blows. also

of instruction until

anxious?" For

trust

is

great

1

Have you

him, there

say,

"What

16; iv. 5.

is

this to

a

He knows

the praise of a

nothing and has not been

is

anxious.

What

not what a crowd

crowd

is.

is

matter

is

what

or

However he

has

learned to strike the lowest chord and the highest; but

what

the praise of the

many

is,

and what power it has in life he neither knows nor has he thought about it. Hence he must of necessity tremble and grow pale. I cannot then say that a I

see

him

man

afraid, but

not a lute player

is I

when

can say something

else,

and not one thing, but many. And first of all I call him a stranger and say, "This man does not know in what part of the world he is, but though he has been here so long, he is ignorant of the laws of the State and the customs, and what is permitted and what is not; and he has never employed any lawyer to tell him and to explain the laws." But a man does not write a will, if he does not know how it ought to be written, or he employs a person who does know; nor does he rashly seal a bond or write a security. But he uses his desire without a lawyer's advice, and aversion, and pursuit, and attempt and purpose. "How do you mean without a lawyer?"

He

does not

know

that he

what is not allowed, and does not will that which is of necessity; and he does not know either what is his own or what is another man's; but if he did know, he would never be impeded, he would never be hinwills

DISCOURSES, would not be anxious.

dered, he

man

any

Is

not evils?

which are

so?"

"No."

other? "No."

may

he afraid about things

Is

but

still

so far within his

pow-

not happen? "Certainly he

is

then, the things

If,

are anxious about our poor body,

our

little

property, about the will of Caesar; but not anx-

Are we anxious

ious about things internal.

about not forming a this

in

is

my

this.

When

physician

the

says,

aversion are disordered, he is

in a fever.

man

pale, as

judging from the comdisordered, that

is

liver; so also say, this

way, he

No, not even

to nature?

then you see a

plexion, this man's spleen

man's

opinion? No, for

false

power. About not exerting our

movements contrary about

man's desire and

is

not in the right

For nothing

else

changes

the colour, or causes trembling or chattering of the teeth, or causes a

Sin\ in his \nees and

For

this

reason

man

shift

to

from

1 foot to foot.

when Zeno was going

to

meet

Antigonus, he was not anxious, for Antigonus

had no power over any of the things which Zeno admired; and Zeno did not care for those things over which Antigonus had power. But Antigonus was anxious when he was going to meet Zeno, for he wished to please Zeno; but this was a thing external. But Zeno did not want to please Antigonus; for no man who is skilled in any art wishes to please one who has no such skill. Should I try to please you ? Why ? I suppose, you know the measure by which one man is estimated by another. Have you taken pains to learn what is a good man and what is a bad man, and how a man becomes one or the other? Why, then, are you not good yourself? "How," he replies, "am I not good?" Because no good man laments or groans or weeps, no good man is pale and trembles, or says, "How will he receive me, how will he listen to me?" Slave, just as it pleases him. Why do you care about what belongs to others? Is it now his fault 1

if

he receives badly what proceeds from

Homer,

you? "Certainly." And is it possible that a one man's, and the evil in an-

fault should be

which are independent of the will are neither good nor bad, and all things which do depend on the will are within our power, and no man can either take them from us or give them to us, if we do not choose, where is room left for anxiety? But we not."

i53

II

then afraid about things which are

evils,

er that they

"How

BOOK

Iliad, xiii.

281.

that

Why then are you

which belongs

reasonable; but

is

to others? I

am

anxious about

"Your question

anxious

how

I

shall

speak to him." Cannot you then speak to him

you choose? "But I fear that I may be disIf you are going to write the name of Dion, are you afraid that you would be disconcerted? "By no means." Why? is it not because you have practiced writing the name? "Certainly." Well, if you were going to read the name, would you not feel the same? and why? Because every art has a certain strength and confidence in the things which belong to it. Have you then not practiced speaking? and what else did you learn in the school? Syllogisms and sophistical proposi2 tions? For what purpose? was it not for the purpose of discoursing skillfully? and is not discoursing skillfully the same as discoursing seasonably and cautiously and with intelligence, and also without making mistakes and without hindrance, and besides all this with as

concerted?"

When, then, you are and go into a plain, are you anxious at being matched against a man who is on foot, and anxious in a matter in which you are practiced, and he is not? "Yes, but that person has power to kill me." Speak the truth then, unhappy man, and do not confidence?

"Yes."

mounted on

a horse

brag, nor claim to be a philosopher, nor re-

acknowledge your masters, but so long you present this handle in your body, follow every man who is stronger than yourself. Socfuse to

as

rates

used to practice speaking, he

he did to the tyrants, to the

as

who

dicasts,

talked

he

who

talked in his prison. Diogenes had practiced

speaking, he

who

spoke as he did to Alex-

ander, to the pirates, to the person

him. These

which they

men were

who bought

confident in the things

But do you walk off to and never leave them: go and sit in a corner, and weave syllogisms, and propose them to another. There is not in you

own

your

man who

the

Chapter

When and 2

practiced.

affairs

14.

can rule a

state.

To Naso

a certain

Roman

entered with his son

listened to one reading, Epictetus

See

i.

7.

said,

EPICTETUS

i54

method

and he stopped. When the Roman asked him to go on, Epictetus said: Every art, when it is "This

the

is

of instruction

taught, causes labour to

him who

is

unac-

to learn that there

vides for

all

God and

a

is

things; also that

immediately show their use in the purpose for

please

and obey them, must

which they were made; and most of them contain something attractive and pleasing. For indeed to be present and to observe how a shoe-

power

to be like

maker

learns

shoe

useful

is

And

at.

not a pleasant thing; but the

is

and

also not disagreeable to look

learning

very

is

disagreeable

chances to be present and art:

when he

the discipline of a smith

work shows

but the

But you

will see this

is

one

to

is

who

a stranger to the

the use of the art.

much more

in music; for

you are present while a person is learning, the discipline will appear most disagreeable; and yet the results of music are pleasing and delightful to those who know nothing of if

And

music.

here

we

conceive the

work

of a

philosopher to be something of this kind: he

must adapt

wish to what is going on, so any of the things which are tak-

his

that neither

not possible

from him our acts, or even our intentions and thoughts. 2 The next thing is to learn

it

that he pro-

to conceal

and is unskilled in it, and indeed the things which proceed from the arts

quainted with

it is

what

is

the nature of the Gods; for such

as they are discovered to be, he,

them.

If

try

who would with

the divine

is

man

also must be faithful; if it is free, man must be free; if beneficent, man also must be beneficent; if magnanimous, man also must be magnanimous; as being then an imitator of God, he must do and say everything consistently

with

this fact.

"With what then must we begin?" will enter

on the discussion,

will

I

tell

If you you that

you must first understand names. 3 "So, then, you say that I do not now understand names?" You do not understand them. "How, then, do I use them?" Just as the illiterate use written language, as cattle use appearances: for use

is

one thing, understanding

if

another. But

is

you think that you understand them, produce whatever word you please, and let us try whether we understand it. But it is a disagree-

ing place shall take place contrary to our wish,

able thing for a

man

to be confuted

now

may

be, has

should.

From

when we wish

this the result

is

that they

to those

who

have so arranged the work of philosophy, not to fail in the desire, nor to fall in with that

which they would avoid; without uneasiness, without

through sociates

without perturbation to pass

fear, life

themselves, together with their as-

maintaining the relations both natural

and acquired,

1

as the relation of son, of father,

of brother, of citizen, of

neighbour,

of

man,

fellow-traveler,

of wife, of of

ruled.

The work

of a philosopher

to be

something

like this. It

inquire

how

We see

this

ruler,

we

of

conceive

remains next to

must be accomplished.

then that the carpenter

when he

has

learned certain things becomes a carpenter; the pilot by learning certain things becomes a pilot.

May

it

not, then, in philosophy also not

1

The

We

inquire then what these things

philosophers say that we ought first Compare iii. 2; iv. 8; Marcus Aurelius, viii. 27.

too

know

who

is

served his

this: for

now you

wanting to you? You are rich, you have children, and a wife, perhaps, and many slaves: Caesar knows you, in Rome you have many friends, you render their dues to all, you know how to requite him who does you a favour, and to repay in the same kind him who does you a wrong. What do you lack? If, then, I shall show you that you lack the things most necessary and the chief things for happiness, and that hitherto you have looked after everything rather than what you ought, and, to crown all, that you neither know what God is nor what man is, nor what is good nor what is bad; and as to what I have said about your ignorance of other matters, that

self,

are.

I

now

come to me as if you were in want of nothing: and what could you even imagine to be

that there

things?

it

are

but

also a necessity to learn certain

old and,

three campaigns.

be sufficient to wish to be wise and good, and is

his

also

nor any of the things which do not take place shall not take place

all

faithful,

2

if I

3

how

See

tetus,

i.

See

may

perhaps be endured,

you know nothing about yourpossible that you should endure

say that

i.

is it

14;

16; i.

17;

Marcus Aurelius,

i

iii.

x. 8.

Also Epic-

17.

ii.

10,

1;

Marcus Aurelius,

x. 8.

BOOK

II

Chapter

15.

DISCOURSES, me and bear the proof and stay here ? It is not possible; but you immediately go off in bad humour. And yet what harm have I done you? unless the mirror also injures the ugly

man

be-

shows him to himself such as he is; unless the physician also is supposed to insult the sick man, when he says to him, "Man, do you think that you ail nothing? But you have a fever: go without food to-day; drink water." And no one says, "What an insult!" But if you say to a man, "Your desires are inflamed, your cause

it

aversions are low, your intentions are inconsistent,

your pursuits are not conformable to

and man immediately goes away and has insulted me." nature, your opinions are rash

Our way

of dealing

is

false," the

says,

"He

assembly. Beasts are brought to

men come to some few who

or against those

who

obstin-

what they have determined some persons have heard these words, a man ought to be constant, and that the is naturally free and not subject to com-

ately persist in

When that will

pulsion, but that

all

other things are subject

to hindrance, to slavery,

and are

in the

power

of others, they suppose that they ought with-

out deviation to abide by everything which they have determined. But in the that

first

place

which has been determined ought

to be

sound.

I

require tone in the body, but such as

exists in a healthy

but

if it is

body, in an athletic body;

me that you have the tone man and you boast of it, I shall

plain to

of a frenzied

say to you,

crowded be sold and

like that of a

155

To

"Man, seek

the physician": this

not tone, but atony. In a different thing of the same kind

is

felt

is

way some-

by those

who

wrong manner;

oxen; and the greater part of the

listen to these discourses in a

buy and sell, and there are come to look at the market and to inquire how it is carried on, and why, and who fixes the meeting and for what purpose. So it is here also in this assembly: some like cattle trouble

which was the case with one of my companions who for no reason resolved to starve himself to death. I heard of it when it was the third day of his abstinence from food and I went to inquire what had happened. "I have resolved," he said. But still tell me what it was which induced you to resolve; for if you have resolved rightly, we shall sit with you and assist you to depart; but if you have made an unreasonable resolution, change your mind. "We ought to keep to our determinations." What are you doing, man ? We ought to keep not to all our determinations, but to those which are right; for if you are now persuaded that it is right, do not change your mind, if you think fit, but persist and say, "We ought to abide by our determinations." Will you not make the beginning and lay the foundation in an inquiry whether the determination is sound or not sound, and so then build on it firmness and security ? But if you lay a rotten and ruin-

themselves about nothing except their fodder.

you who are busy about possesand lands and slaves and magisterial offices, these are nothing except fodder. But there are a few who attend the assembly, men who love to look on and consider what is the world, who governs it. Has it no governor? For

to all of

sions

And how

is it

possible that a city or a family

cannot continue to

exist,

not even the shortest

time without an administrator and guardian,

and that

so great

and beautiful a system should

be administered with such order and yet with-

out a purpose and by chance? There is then an administrator. What kind of administrator and how does he govern? And who are we,

who were produced by him, and for what purpose? Have we some connection with him and some

toward him, or none? This is the way in which these few are affected, and then they apply themselves only to this one thing, to examine the meeting and then to go away. What then? They are ridiculed by the many, as the spectators at the fair are by the traders; and if the beasts had any underrelation

standing, they

mired anything

would else

ridicule those

than fodder.

who

ad-

ous foundation, will not your miserable building

fall

down

the sooner, the

little

more and

which you shall Without any reason would you withdraw from us out of life a man who is a friend, and a companion, a citizen of the same city, both the great and the small city? Then, while you are committing murder and destroying a man who has done no wrong, do you say that you ought to abide by your deterthe stronger are the materials lay

on

it ?

1

EPICTETUS

56

And

minations?

head

into your

if

it

any way came

ever in

me, ought you

to kill

to abide

by your determinations? Now this man was with difficulty persuaded to

change

mind. But

his

it

is

impossible to

convince some persons at present; so that

seem now fore,

I

know, what I did not know bethe meaning of the common saying, to

"That you can neither persuade nor break

things as in the case of questions?

Is it

day?

number of stars even? "I cannot say." When money is shown to you, have you studied to make the proper answer, that money is not a good thing? Have you practiced yourself in these "Yes."

Is it

night? "No." Well,

is

the

Why do which you

answers, or only against sophisms?

you wonder then

if

in the cases

a

have studied, in those you have improved; but

May it never be my lot to have a wise fool for my friend: nothing is more untractable. "I am determined," the man says. Madmen are also; but the more firmly they form

in those which you have not studied, in those you remain the same? When the rhetorician

fool."

1

judgment on things which do not exist, the more ellebore they require. Will you not act like a sick man and call in the physician? "I am sick, master, help me; consider what I must do: it is my duty to obey you." So it is here also: "I know not what I ought to do, but I am come to learn." Not so; but, "Speak to me about other things: upon this I have determined." What other things? for what is greater and more useful than for you to be a

persuaded that

it is

not sufficient to have

your determination and not to change

it.

made This

the tone of madness, not of health. "I will

is

die, if

What

you compel

me

to this."

Why, man?

has happened? "I have determined."

I

have had a lucky escape that you have not de-

termined to "I

kill

me.

"I take

no money."

Why?

have determined." Be assured that with the

now

very tone which you take, there

is

use in refusing to

nothing to hinder you

at

some

knows

anxious? Because he ing studied.

tone, then the evil

becomes past help and cure.

for these matters

know what

1

16.

Prov. 27. 22.

2

See

ii.

10.

a

be

he understands, but he does

crowd

is,

crowd, nor what ridicule

nor the shouts of

Neither does he whether it is our work or the work of another, whether it is possible to stop it or not. For this reason, if he has been

know what

anxiety

is.

is,

praised, he leaves the theatre puffed up, but

if

he has been ridiculed, the swollen bladder has

been punctured and subsides.

This

That we do not strive to use our opinions about good and evil Where is the good? In the will. 2 Where is the evil? In the will. Where is neither of them? In those things which are independent of the will. Well then? Does any one among us think of these lessons out of the schools? Does any one meditate by himself to give an answer to

Chapter

To

For the purpose,

and blame he has not been disciplined. For when did he hear from any one what praise is, what blame is, what the nature of each is, what kind of praise should be sought, or what kind of blame should be shunned? And when did he practice this discipline which follows these words ? Why then do you still wonder if, in the matters which a man has learned, there he surpasses others, and in those in which he has not been disciplined, there he is the same with the many. So the lute player knows how to play, sings well, and has a fine dress, and yet he trembles when he enters on the stage;

a

to those, so too a sickly soul

not satisfied with hav-

has been disciplined: but with respect to praise

money and then saying, "I have determined." As in a distempered body, subject to defluxions, the humor inclines sometimes to these and then

is

then does he want?

then, of being able to practice declamation, he

not

knows not which way to incline: but if to this inclination and movement there is added a

What

praised by the audience?

time from inclining without reason to take

parts

that he has written well, that he has

committed to memory what he has written, and brings an agreeable voice, why is he still

is

the case also with ourselves.

What

do we admire? Externals. About what things are we busy? Externals. And have we any doubt then

why we

fear or

why we

are anx-

What, then, happens when we think the things which are coming on us to be evils? It is not in our power not to be afraid, it is not in our power not to be anxious. Then we say, "Lord God, how shall I not be anxious?" Fool, have you not hands, did not God make them

ious ?

BOOK

DISCOURSES, down now and pray that your may not run. Wipe yourself rather and

you?

for

nose

Sit

do not blame him. Well then, has he given to you nothing in the present case? Has he not given to you endurance? has he not given to you magnanimity? has he not given to you manliness? When you have such hands, do you still look for one who shall wipe your nose? But

we

neither study these things nor

care for them. Give

me

a

man who

cares

how

he shall do anything, not for the obtaining of

who cares about his own energy. What man, when he is walking about, cares for his own energy? who, when he is deliberating, cares about his own deliberation, and a thing, but

not about obtaining that about which he de-

And

liberates?

"How

says,

not

if

well

he succeeds, he

we have

you, brother, that

tell

it

when we have thought about

and I

you

us as to his actions has not

Who?

Give

to

me

one

may see the man whom I have long been looking for, who is truly noble and ingenuous, whether young or old; name him. Why then are we still surprised, if we are that

you choose then that to little children?

we

should compare

No, by Zeus,

for

I

do

And what are these? Such as ought to study all day, and not to be affected by anything that is not his own, neither by companion nor place nor gymnasia, and not even by his own body, but to remem-

the sake of this matter has consulted a

Who among

for a short time, for-

they receive a small cake.

man

humbled; he knows not even what to say about what has taken place. Who among us

slept in indifference?

them if

not wish to be pacified by a small cake, but by

should turn out otherwise, the wretched

for

a voyage

the thing

is

seer?

get their sorrow

Do

if

I

the nurse leaving

impossible,

is

157

am on

and look down on the deep sea, or look round on it and see no land, I am out of my mind and imagine that I must drink up all this water if I am wrecked, and it does not occur to me that three pints are enough. What then disturbs me? The sea? No, but my opinion. Again, when an earthquake shall happen, I imagine that the city is going to fall on me; but is not one little stone enough to knock my brains out? What then are the things which are heavy on us and disturb us? What else than opinions ? What else than opinions lies heavy upon him who goes away and leaves his companions and friends and places and habits of life? Now little children, for instance, when they cry on

when

myself,

anything, that

should not turn out thus?" But

it

elated

is

deliberated; did

II

I

right opinions.

man

a

ber the law and to have

it

what

To keep

is

the divine law?

before his eyes. a

And

man's own,

not to claim that which belongs to others, but to use

what

is

and when it is not given, and when a thing is taken up readily and immediately,

given,

not to desire

it;

well practiced in thinking about matters, but

away,

it

in our acts are low, without decency, worth-

and to be thankful for the time that a man has had the use of it, if you would not cry for your nurse and mamma. For what matter does it make by what thing a man is subdued, and on what he depends? In what respect are you better than he who cries for a girl, if you grieve for a little gymnasium, and little porticoes and young men and such places of amusement? Another comes and laments that he shall no longer drink the water of Dirce. Is the Marcian water worse than that of Dirce? "But I was used to the water of Dirce." 2 And you in turn will be used to the other. Then if you become attached to this also, cry for this too, and try

less,

cowardly, impatient of labour, altogether

bad? For

we

we do

not care about things, nor do

study them. But

if

we had

or banishment, but fear

studied not to

pear to us

fall

evils.

itself,

feared not death 1

we

should have

into those things

Now

in the school

which ap-

we

are

ir-

and wordy; and if any little question arises about any of these things, we are able to examine them fully. But drag us to practice, and you will find us miserably shipwrecked. Let some disturbing appearance come on us, and you will know what we have been studying and in what we have been exercising ourselves. Consequently, through want of discipline, we are always adding something to the appearance and representing things to be greater than what they are. For instance as to ritable

1

See

ii.

i.

to

to give

make

a verse like the verse of Euripides,

The hot See

how

happen 2

baths of

tragedy to silly

Nero and the Marcian water. is

made when common things

men.

Euripides, Heracles

Mad, 573.

i

EP1CTETUS

58

"When

Athens again and

that

I

should hold the

the Acropolis?" Wretch, are you not content

that

I

should be in the condition of

with what you see daily? have you anything better or greater to see than the sun, the moon,

man,

the stars, the whole earth, the sea? But

all

then shall

I

see

deed you comprehend him

who

if

in-

administers

the Whole, and carry him about in yourself, do you still desire small stones, and a beautiful rock? When, then, you are going to leave the sun itself and the moon, what will you do?

I

make

will

each thing what

an

in

1

I

it is."

ox's belly,

have been,

men

show the nature

You

will not

and wait

he had

if

in behalf of

will

she shall feed you.

till

a private

be poor, be rich?

exile,

thy defense to

these conditions.

sit

an

stay here or be

magistrate,

office of a

of

do so; but your mamma

for

Who

sat at

would Hercules home? He would

have been Eurystheus and not Hercules. Well,

how

you sit and weep like children? Well, what have you been doing in the school? what did you hear, what did you learn? why did you write yourself a philosopher, when you

and

might have written the truth; as, "I made certain introductions, and I read Chrysippus, but I did not even approach the door of a philosopher." For how should I possess anything of the kind which Socrates possessed, who died as he did, who lived as he did, or anything

son of God, and he was. In obedience to God,

will

such as Diogenes possessed?

any one of such

men wept

Do you

think that

or grieved, because

he was not going to see a certain man, or a certain

woman, nor

inth, but,

if it

to be in

Athens or

in Cor-

should so happen, in Susa or in

man can quit the banquet and no longer amuse himself, does he still stay and complain, and does he not stay, as at any amusement, only so long as he is pleased? Such a man, I suppose, would endure perpetual exile or to be condemned to death. Will you not be weaned now, like children, and take more solid food, and not cry after mammas and nurses, which are the lamentations of old women? "But if I go away, I shall cause them sorrow." You cause them sorrow? By no means; but that will cause them sorrow which also causes you sorrow, opinion. What have you to do then? Take away your own opinion, and if these women are wise, they will take away their own: if they do not, they will lament through their own fault. My man, as the proverb says, make a desperate effort on behalf of tranquillity of mind, freedom and magnanimity. Lift up your head at last as released from slavery. Dare to look up to God and say, "Deal with me for the future as thou wilt; I am of the same mind as Ecbatana? For

when he

thou

a

if

chooses,

art; I

am

thine:

I

refuse nothing that

me where thou wilt: clothe any dress thou choosest: is it thy will

through the world

travels

his

how many

intimates and

friends

had

he? But nothing more dear to him than God.

For

this

reason

it

was believed

that he

was the

went about purging away injustice But you are not Hercules and are not able to purge away the wickedness of others; nor yet are you Theseus, able to purge away the evil things of Attica. Clear away your own. From yourself, from your thoughts cast away, instead of Procrustes and then, he

and you

lawlessness.

Sciron,

2

sadness,

fear,

envy, malevo-

desire,

lence, avarice, effeminacy, intemperance. is

it

But

not possible to eject these things other-

wise than by looking to

God

only, by fixing

your affections on him only, by being consecrated to his

commands. But

anything

you

else,

will

if

you choose

with sighs and groans

3 be compelled to follow what

stronger than

is

yourself, always seeking tranquillity

able to find

it;

where where

not,

is

it

and never

you seek tranquillity there and you neglect to seek it

for

it is.

Chapter

17.

How

we must adapt preconcep-

tions to particular cases

What

first business of him who philosTo throw away self-conceit. 4 For it impossible for a man to begin to learn that is

the

ophizes? is

which he thinks

that he

knows. As

to things

then which ought to be done and ought not

to

be done, and good and bad, and beautiful and ugly,

all

praise,

them at random go and on these matters we

of us talking of

to the philosophers;

we

censure,

we

accuse,

we blame, we

judge and determine about principles hon1

See Acts, 20. 23, 24;

Rom.

4.6. 2 Plutarch, Lives, Theseus.

pleases thee: lead

3

me

4

in

in

many

Marcus Aurelius, x. 28. See ii. 11, and iii. 14.

5. 3;

8.

38-39;

II

Tim.

ourable and dishonourable.

DISCOURSES, BOOK II to wealth, but But why do we go

i59 to the matter of pleasure

we wish to learn what we do not think that we know. And what is this? Theorems. For we wish to learn

that of health? For, generally,

what philosophers say as being something elegant and acute; and some wish to learn that they may get profit from what they learn. It

notions of the preconceptions,

to the

is

philosophers? Because

use those words

one thing, and will learn another; or

further, that a

man

make

will

proficiency in

and

of us

sufficiently

to

who

each

of

them, and need no diligence in resolving the fer,

why do we

quarrel,

why do we difwhy do we blame one

another ?

And why do

ridiculous then to think that a person wishes

to learn

know

if all

I

now

allege this contention

with one another and speak of self

it? If

you your-

properly adapt your preconceptions,

why

why

which he does not learn. But the many are deceived by this which deceived also the rhetorician Theopompus, when he blames

are you unhappy,

even Plato for wishing everything to be de-

late to

them. Let us omit also the third topic,

fined.

which

relates to the assents: I give

before you use the words 'good' or

these

that

For what does he say? "Did none of us 'just,' or do we utter the sounds in an unmeaning and empty way without understanding what they severally signify?" Now who tells you, Theopompus, that we had not natural notions of each of these things and preconceptions? But it

is

not possible to adapt preconceptions to

their correspondent objects

if

we have

not

dis-

tinguished them, and inquired what object

must be subjected to each preconception. You may make the same charge against physicians also. For who among us did not use the words "healthy" and "unhealthy" before Hippocrates lived, or did we utter these words as empty sounds ? For we have also a certain preconception of health, but

adapt

it.

For

we

from food"; another

are not able to

one

this reason

says,

says, "Abstain "Give food"; an-

other says, "Bleed"; and another says, "Use

cupping."

than that a

What is the reason? is it any other man cannot properly adapt the pre-

conception of health to particulars?

So it is in this matter also, in the things which concern life. Who among us does not speak of good and bad, of useful and not useful; for

who among

us has not a preconcep-

tion of each of these things? Is tinct

How

it

then a

dis-

and perfect preconception? Show this. shall I show this? Adapt the preconcep-

tion properly to the particular things. Plato, for instance, subjects definitions to the precon-

ception of the useful, but you to the precon-

ception of the useless.

Is it

both of you are right?

possible then that

How

is

it

possible?

Does not one man adapt the preconception of good to the matter of wealth, and another not

are you hindered? Let

us omit at present the second topic about the pursuits

and the study of the duties which

two

topics.

Let us

insist

re-

up to you upon the first,

which presents an almost obvious demonstrawe do not properly adapt the preconceptions. Do you now desire that which is possible and that which is possible to you? Why then are you hindered ? why are you unhappy? Do you not now try to avoid the unavoidable? Why then do you fall in with anything which you would avoid? Why are you unfortunate? Why, when you desire a thing, does it not happen, and, when you do not desire it, does it happen ? For this is the greatest proof of unhappiness and misery: "I wish for something, and it does not happen." And what 2 is more wretched than I? It was because she could not endure this that Medea came to murder her children: an act of a noble spirit in this view at least, for she had a just opinion what it is for a thing not to succeed which a person wishes. Then she says, "Thus I shall be avenged on him who has wronged and insulted me; and what shall I gain if he is punished thus? how then shall it be done ? I shall kill my children, but I shall punish myself also: and what do I care?" 3 This is the aberration of soul which possesses great energy. For she did not know wherein lies the doing of that which we wish; that you cannot get this from without, nor yet by the alteration and new adaptation of things. Do not desire the man, and nothing which you desire will fail to happen: do not obstinately desire that he shall live with you: do not desire tion that

1

1

See.

2

Compare

iii.

2. i.

27.

3 Euripides, Medea. Epictetus does not give the words of the poet.

EPICTETUS

i6o

remain

to

in

Corinth; and, in a word, desire

nothing than that which shall

hinder you?

man

shall

who

God

shall

wills.

And who

compel you?

compel you any more than he

No shall

compel Zeus. When you have such a guide, and your wishes and desires are the same as his, why do you still fear disappointment? Give up your desire to wealth and your aversion to poverty, and you will be disappointed in the one, you 1

them up to be unfortunate: give them

will fall into the other. Well, give

and you

health,

up

will

to magistracies, honours, country, friends,

children, in a

word

to

any of the things which

are not in man's power. But give

Zeus and to the

them

rest of the

them up

to

gods; surrender

gods govern, let your and aversion be ranged on the side of the gods, and wherein will you be any longer unhappy? But if, lazy wretch, you envy, and complain, and are jealous, and fear, and never cease for a single day complaining both of yourself and of the gods, why do you still speak of being educated? What kind of an education, man? Do you mean that you have been employed about sophistical syllogisms? 2 Will you not, if it is possible, unlearn all these things and begin from the beginning, and see at the same time that hitherto you have not even touched the matter; and then, commencing from this foundation, will you not build up all that comes after, so that nothing may happen which you do not choose, and nothing shall fail to happen which you do to the gods, let the

desire

choose?

me

Give<