Lucretius

|

Things have about settled down at The Panda’s Thumb. I will probably post my EvoMath series there for the larger readership. I’ve gotten some good comments on the Hardy-Weinberg one and it is much better than the one I posted here a while back.

While I think of something to put on this blog, I thought I’d share some Lucretius with you.

In those days also the telluric world Strove to beget the monsters that upsprung With their astounding visages and limbs- The Man-woman- a thing betwixt the twain, Yet neither, and from either sex remote- Some gruesome Boggles orphaned of the feet, Some widowed of the hands, dumb Horrors too Without a mouth, or blind Ones of no eye, Or Bulks all shackled by their legs and arms Cleaving unto the body fore and aft, Thuswise, that never could they do or go, Nor shun disaster, nor take the good they would. And other prodigies and monsters earth Was then begetting of this sort- in vain, Since Nature banned with horror their increase, And powerless were they to reach unto The coveted flower of fair maturity, Or to find aliment, or to intertwine In works of Venus. For we see there must Concur in life conditions manifold, If life is ever by begetting life To forge the generations one by one: First, foods must be; and, next, a path whereby The seeds of impregnation in the frame May ooze, released from the members all; Last, the possession of those instruments Whereby the male with female can unite, The one with other in mutual ravishments.

And in the ages after monsters died, Perforce there perished many a stock, unable By propagation to forge a progeny. For whatsoever creatures thou beholdest Breathing the breath of life, the same have been Even from their earliest age preserved alive By cunning, or by valour, or at least By speed of foot or wing. And many a stock Remaineth yet, because of use to man, And so committed to man’s guardianship. Valour hath saved alive fierce lion-breeds And many another terrorizing race, Cunning the foxes, flight the antlered stags. Light-sleeping dogs with faithful heart in breast, However, and every kind begot from seed Of beasts of draft, as, too, the woolly flocks And horned cattle, all, my Memmius, Have been committed to guardianship of men. For anxiously they fled the savage beasts, And peace they sought and their abundant foods, Obtained with never labours of their own, Which we secure to them as fit rewards For their good service. But those beasts to whom Nature has granted naught of these same things- Beasts quite unfit by own free will to thrive And vain for any service unto us In thanks for which we should permit their kind To feed and be in our protection safe- Those, of a truth, were wont to be exposed, Enshackled in the gruesome bonds of doom, As prey and booty for the rest, until Nature reduced that stock to utter death.

This is a translation of book V, lines 837-877. I found a book today that I want dearly, Lucretius on Creation and Evolution. Too bad it costs so much.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Reed A. Cartwright published on April 2, 2004 8:43 PM.

Happy April Fool's Day was the previous entry in this blog.

Hardy-Weinberg on Panda's Thumb is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.37