Ode to Epicurus

“When human life to view lay foully prostrate upon earth crushed down under the weight of religion, who showed her head from the quarters of heaven with hideous aspect lowering upon mortals, a man of Greece [Epicurus] ventured first to lift up his mortal eyes to her face and first to withstand her to her face.

Him neither story of gods nor thunderbolts nor heaven with threatening roar could quell: they only chafed the more the eager courage of his soul, filling him with desire to be first to burst the fast bars of nature’s portals. Therefore the living force of his soul gained the day: on he passed far beyond the flaming walls of the world and traversed throughout in mind and spirit the immeasurable universe; whence he returns a conqueror to tell us what can, what cannot come into being; in short on what principle each thing has its power defined, its deepset boundary mark.

Therefore religion is put under foot and trampled upon in turn; us his victory brings level with heaven.”

-Lucretius, On the Nature of Things — Book I

Lucretius: De Rerum Natura V (Paperback)

The scientific magnum opus of Lucretius “On the Nature of Things” was a staple of Western education for centuries. In this new translation of the fifth book of this work, Gale (classics, Trinity College, Dublin) provides both the original text and her clear, accurate interpretation. The real attraction of the book, however, is her notes on the sources of Lucretius` science and the debates in which he engaged. These are more than half the book and make it worth getting even for those who already have another edition. Distributed in North America by The David Brown Book Co. Annotation )2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)