De Rerum Natura 5.110-145

Before which I step to speak holier oracles about this matter
And with much reasoning certain by more than the Pythian
Oracle prophesied from the tripod and laurel of Phoebus,
I will reason many solaces for you with learned words;
Lest you, bridled by religion, believe by chance
that lands and sun and sky, sea, heavens, moon
Withstand by divine body to remain to eternity,
And after you think it to be by manner of the giants,
that they weigh out punishments for all great wickedness,
Who, by their reasoning, drove asunder the bulwarks of the world
And the gods wished to quench the sun,
Marking things immortal with mortal talk;
After which, these things are thus distant from godly power
And seem to be unworthy thus far for rank of the gods,
That they may be thought to be able to better provide an idea
Which might by removed from life, motion, and sense.
Of course, it is not, as when it is thought that the nature of the mind
And judgement are able to be within the same body.
Just as a tree can not be in the sky, nor are clouds able to be
In water, nor are fish able to live in fields,
Nor can blood be in wood, nor sap in stones: this is
Certain and laid out where everything may grow and be present,
Thus the nature of the mind is unable to rise without a body
Nor can it be far alone from nerves and blood.
Because, if it were able to be so, that strength of the mind
Would be able to be in the head or the shoulder, or the heels
And it would be wont to spring up in any part of the body,
At length to remain in the same person and the same vessel.
Because also it is consistent within our body, and
Seems fixed where it is, the mind and spirit
Otherwise are able to grow, by such the more denying
That it is able to be totally without the body and that it
Can remain without animal form in rotting clods of earth
Or in the fire of the sun, or in the water or high heavenly shores.
By no means then do these things furnished by heavenly sense agree,
Since they are unable to be vital with life.


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