What is food to one is to others bitter poison.–Lucretius, 50 BC
Titus Lucretius Carus (ca. 99 BCE – ca. 55 BCE) was a Roman poet and philosopher. His only known work is an epic philosophical poem laying the foundations of Epicureanism, De Rerum Natura, translated into English as On the Nature of Things or sometimes On the Nature of the Universe.
Click here to read “The Answer Man,” a critique by Stephen Greenblatt in The New Yorker.
On the Nature of Things
No single thing abides; but all things flow.
Fragment to fragment clings-the things thus grow
Until we know and name them. By degrees
They melt, and are no more the things we know.
Globed from the atoms falling slow or swift
I see the suns, I see the systems lift
Their forms; and even the systems and the suns
Shall go back slowly to the eternal drift.
You too, oh earth-your empires, lands, and seas –
Least with your stars, of all the galaxies,
Globed from the drift like these, like these you too
Shalt go. You are going, hour by hour, like these.
Nothing abides. The seas in delicate haze
Go off; those mooned sands forsake their place;
And where they are, shall other seas in turn
Mow with their scythes of whiteness other bays.
The seeds that once were we take flight and fly,
Winnowed to earth, or whirled along the sky,
Not lost but disunited. Life lives on.
It is the lives, the lives, the lives, that die.
They go beyond recapture and recall,
Lost in the all-indissoluble All:-
Gone like the rainbow from the fountain’s foam,
Gone like the spindrift shuddering down the squall.
Flakes of the water, on the waters cease!
Soul of the body, melt and sleep like these.
Atoms to atoms-weariness to rest –
Ashes to ashes-hopes and fears to peace!
O Science, lift aloud your voice that stills
The pulse of fear, and through the conscience thrills –
Thrills through the conscience with the news of peace –
How beautiful your feet are on the hills!
- Simon Says: Daily Food Quote, October 11, 2011
- Simon Says: Daily Food Quote, September 30, 2011
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