De Rerum Natura 5.1-54

Who has been able to compose a poem of the world
Worthy of greatness for the majesty these finds?
Or who is so well-off with words, who might be able
To handle praises for his merit, who has left to us
Such rewards from fruitful search within his heart?
None, as I see it, will have been loosed from the body of a mortal.
For if he seeks the known majesty of our world,
it must be said, he was a god–a god, celebrated Memmius!–
Who firstly comes upon that method of life which
Nor is called philosophy, and who in his art
From such waves and out of such darkness
Placed life in such clear and so tranquil light.
Compare the ancient divine discoveries of others.
And so it is said Ceres had planted fruits and
Bacchus bore the liquid of the vine for mortals;
However, life can remain without these works,
As rumor goes, other people live so now.
And it was not possible to well be alive without pure heart;
By which the more this man seems to be a god by his merit to us,
From whom sweet solaces of life, spread through
Many peoples, soothe their hearts.
But if you will seek to stand before the acts of
Hercules, you are born by far from much true reasoning.
What of ours could now that great Nemean maw
Harm, or the bristling Caledonian boar;
At length, what bull of Crete and virulent hydra
Of Lernaea, fenced with venomous snaked, would be able?
Or what the three-fold strength of three-headed Geryon?
Would the Stymphalians, tending to such a work, hinder us,
And would the horses of Thracian Diomedes, breathing flame
Through their nostrils, near the Bistonian and Ismarian straights?
And what would the harsh  serpent, watching sternly, with great body
Wrapped around the base of the tree, guarding the Hesperian apples, shining  with gold, harm, near the Atlantean shore and grim sea,
Where neither of us approaches, nor does any foreigner dare?
What could that of another kind, which are portended dead,
Or if they are yet unconquered,  injure in life?
Nothing, as I see,  and thus and at last the world gushes
Satiation of beasts, and is replete through the sacred groves and
Great mountains, and deep forests with agitated terror;
And the place to avoid is replete in our power.
But, unless the heart is cleansed, what battles and
Perils then must be shoved upon ourselves?
Such acrid desires of lust then tear down
Men and  so, thus, do our fears!
Or what of haughty filth and petulence?
Such make calamity! What of debauchery and sloth?
Thus, he who has tamed these entirely, and has
Expelled them from his mind with words, not arms:
Is it right that this man be worthy of the gods by rank?
When foremost he will have given well many words
And divine pronouncement of the immortal gods
And is wont to unfold all the nature of the world.


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