De Rerum Natura 5.55-90

Having followed in his footsteps, now I follow his ideas
And teach with his words, and by which agreement
they have been created, in this such must be endured
Lest they are able to rescind the strong laws of the age,
Firstly in which kind the nature of the heart has been found
To exist in a body born first from the earth,
Nor to be able to endure through the entire great age,
But to be wont to deceive the mind in an image of sleep,
When we seem to discern that which looses us from life,
Because it is greater, now the line of reasoning removes me here,
That a thought mist be returned by me that people
Born are halted in body by death;
And by which measure that congregated of matter
Lays war for earth, sky, sea, heavens, son
And the orb of the moon; which then brought forth
Living things from the earth, and what things at no time were;
Or by what measure the human kind began among themselves
To use various languages through the names of these things;
And by which measure that fear of the gods pushed its way
Into their hearts, which in the sacred orb of the lands watches
From a temple the lakes, groves, altars, and likenesses of the gods.
Beside, I will discern by what power guiding nature
Directs the path of the sun and the course of the moon;
Lest by chance we estimate these endless paths to traverse
Between the earth and sky by their own free will,
Compliant for the growing of crops and animals,
Or lest we think them to be turned by another reckoning of the gods.
For those who have well learned the gods to be endlessly free from worry,
If nevertheless they wonder still by what reckoning
Everything is able to go on (particularly in those works
Which are discerned above on heavenly shores)
Are, turned back, brought again to antiquated religions
And adopt harsh masters, whom they all, pitiable, believe
To have power, unknowing what is able to be,
What is unable, and at last, by what method and by
Whom their power has been bound, clinging to the lofty boundary.


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