30 March, 2011

On The Nature Of Things

Apply your mind now, hear the truth of reason!
A new fact fights to clear its way, to accost you
And show you a new aspect of the world.
Nothing's so very easy to believe
Which at first does not seem incredible;
So too nothing's so great or wondrous, whose
Wonder will not diminish, little by little.
The purity and brilliance of the sky–
Observe it first, and all that it encloses,
The planets that veer, the moon, the splendor of sunlight–
If all these, out of the blue, now hurled themselves
For the first time before our human sight,
What could be called more wonderful than they?
What would we less have dared to prophesy?
Nothing. We'd have beheld this sky with awe.
Now no one even deigns to lift his eyes
To the light-filled temples of heaven, so stuffed, so weary
We are with its sight. Leave, then, this terror of mere
Novelty, cease to spit up the truth, but rather
Weigh with a keener judgment; if it seems true,
Surrender; if false, strap on your armor against it.
For the mind seeks to know: if boundless space
Stretches beyond the battlements of the world,
What lies at last where thought desires to glimpse,
Where the hurl of the mind soars far at liberty?

On The Nature Of Things, II.1025-1045 – Lucretius, Esolen translation


Anonymous said...

Wow. Something else I have to read.

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