Sivut kuvina

The ftVriih thirst os life increases still; We nil (or more and more, and never have our fill:

Ye: know not what to-morrow we shall try; What dregs of life in the last draught may lie.


Vtr. 1091. To this very purpose, Dryden, in the tragedy of Aurengezebe, after his inimitable


When t consider life 'titall a cheat,
Yet, fool'd with hope, men savour the deceit;
Trull on, and think to-morrow will repay;
Tomorrow's falser than the former day,
Lid more; and while it says we shall be bless'd
With sonic new joys, cuts off what We possess'd.
Strange coz'aage! None would live past years

Vet all hope comfort from what yet remain;
Ami from the dregs of life think to receive
What the first sprightly running could not give.
I'm tir'd with waiting for this chemic gold,
Which fools ui young, and beggars us when old.

Ver. IC94. Lucretius concludes this book with telling oi, iQ these six verses, that death is equally eternal and immortal, if i: seize us to-day, or "any ages hence: For,

Nor by the longest life we can attain ~)
Cfeemotmnt from the length of death we gain; >
For all behind belongs to his eternal reign: J
When oiice the fates have cut the mortal thread;
I^e nun a* much to all intents is dead;
Who dies to-day, and will as long be so,
ajhtwho dy'd a thousand years ago.



W ma Lucretius disputes of matter and its mo- 1 '105, if you except only some os his assertions kat are levelled against Providence, which of the ihilcinpacrs argues more rationally, or more perbtnily to hi» subject f But when he cumes to "son of things removed from fense, of the soul,

its faculties, no man is more weak, none We wide fr.-in the purpose. Let us'but con-; "kr what a foul he has fabricated for himself: t subtle coqjoreal substance, composed of minute i

voluble parts of wind, air, and hear, that are Mfufcd through the whole body in such a man's 1 to be separated from one another by very °all intervals of space. To these three he adds 'iunb, I know not what nameless thing, cx'ttaclj subtle, and most easy to be moved, which *<"% ieated in the heart, is the principle of lense, °* perceives the images that come from all ^'H'; and this is the perfect and consummate °«1 cf the Epicureans. Now, let us imagine a P'dcr in a box, that she has spun her web through he whole cavity of the box, and dwells hcrlelf .

in the middle of the web, then let us farther imagine, that some flies come into the web, and, being caught there, move the threads of it; at this motion, suppose the spider to be alarmed, that she runs all over her web, catches the flies, and devours them: imagine all this, and you have so perfect a representation of the Epicurean soul catching the ethXx images, that nothing can be more like it. Are these discoveries worthy of a philosopher?

From ver. 91 to ver. 134, he sufficiently prove*, that the soul is not a harmony of the whole body. From thence to ver. 161, he, to no purpose, joint the mind, as a master, to that abject slave, the souL I confess, that when the mind is shaken by any violent fear, the foul is disturbed; so too when the harper trembles, the harp utters not true harmony. With like success, he goes on to ver. 178, endeavouring to evince, that the foul is corporeal; for he presumes that to be certain, which he ought to prove by arguments to be so; and we may positively affirm, that there may be touch without body.

Now, since he has not proved the foul to be corporeal, why need we trouble ourselves about what he advances to ver. 224, concerning the tenuity of it? Yet we must allow that the poet hat evidently demonstrated that the particles of the foul, granting it tu be corporeal, must be both subtle and voluble; nor will we contend with him concerning the composition of the soul to ver. 309. For he may as well fay that the foul is composed os the seeds of air, vapour, and heat, as of the particles of any other matter. But by adding, ver. 232, to these three a fourth thing, that has no name, he confesses, that no kind of body can be conceived or thought of, that is, or can be, the principle offense.

But he prudently commits the safety of thii thin and subtle soul to the dense and strong body, to ver. 333: and then to ver. 355, he bestows on the body the faculty of perception: yet what it more foolish .' what more remote from, and evea repugnant to common fense? nay, what is left consonant even to his own maxims and doctrine? Far how can the body partake of fense, since none os that fourth nameless thing helps to compose it? Then, to ver. 379, he disputes successfully against Democritut, at least I will not contradict him, not thinking it north the while to examine whether of their opinions is best, since both of them are absurd. And as he but now gave the foul to the custody of the body, so now to ver. 398, hq interchangeably gives the guardianship of the body to the foul. And 1 envy neither of them their tuition. But let us examine the arguments by which he assaults the immortality of the soul itself.

The first is from ver. 407. to Ter. 428. And in this he divides and disperses this thin and subtle corporeal substance, as he supposes that of the foul to be, and he has my leave to do so. Let the mind be corporeal, and though it be thick and composed os perplexed and intricate particles, 1 will allow it to be subject to dissolution.

The second argument, Tram ver. 418. to Ter. 440, the third from thence to ver. 456, and the

fourth from ver. 457. to ver. 469, prove nothing. For we do not in the least perceive that the mind is horn, grows, decays, and waxes old with the body. We perceive, indeed, that the body is born, grows and decays; but we have no experience of any increase or liecrease in the mind. But, says he, the mind is not strong in a child, and in the old it decays. And how does he prove this? Became, fays he, a child is foolish, and an old man doats. In like manner, phue a very skilful workman in an engine, and let us suppose that some parts of that engine are too stiff, others too limber, some worn away, others clouterly, it would be foolish in us to expect any due and regular niotions of that engine, even though that most skilful artist took a great deal of pains, and employed his utmost art in working it. Beside», fays he, the mind is lafceptiblc of cares and grief, and therefore mull be subject to dissolution. I suppose he mean? that it must be so, sur I cannot at pr esent thu.k of any other reason for that conclusion, because grief is elsewhere said to be piercing, and .'ares devouring, u quia ltictus penetrans, et cur* eoaces,'' luch reasoning is worthy of this mortal and corporeal foul The fame answer that solved the iecond argument wili solve the fourth.

To the three following arguments, from ver. 4jfr. to ver. 05, let the physicians give an answer, if there [ J need of it. Let the lr^s stagger, the tongue faultcr, and the eyes swim, what is all thii to the s"u!? Let brawls and unmanly quarrels be the effect os drunkenness; what great ntat'er is there in (tliis cither? For, though a player on the harp be ever so skilful, yet if you nutuue his, if you strew some of the strings up too high, and slacken others tco much, let him touch them ever so artfully, th y will utter only discordant and unharnvnious founds; though before they were thus disordered and put out of tune, they made the sweetest harmony. And in the epileptic disease, a soul humour disorders and disturbs the organs, and thence proceed those boisterous and unruly niotions. , But since the disease affects and weakens the organs only, what else does the physic relieve? she seventh argument, from ver. (OJ. to ver. 5:4, asserts, that, as a man dies limb by limb, so the foul too goes aw .y, and dies by degrees, as if the limbs could not grow c.'ld but the four must grow cold likewise. Besides, this argument supposes the foul to be corporeal, and diffused through the whole body, which, nevertheless, he has not yet proved, and I dare promise, no man ever will.

The eighth argument, from ver. 524. to ver. 53a, ii of no weight: For the si.ul has not the power and faculty of understanding, aud of reasoning, from any exterior thing, as the ear has that of hearing, and the eye that of feeing; hut she has it in herself, and os herself, and therefore it is no wonder, nor does it follow, that though the ear, separated from the body, c.«nnot hear, nor a separated eye lee ; the mind, separated from

j the body, cannot therefore perceive, undnlucd, and reason.

To the ninth argument, from ver. 5,73. tow, 557, this answer may be given: In like micnr, as when we fee a soldier fighting with > swori,ot any other weapon, we do not say, that without those arms he could give no wounds, for hebu hands besides to strike with; so though the fsl be clothed with members, as with a panoply, s complete suit of armour, and thus performs rant functions with corporeal organs, yet we rare: pretend that when she has put off, as it were,th: military array, she has no function either it 1 . derstandiog or perception remaining.

No man can allow any strength to be in thi tenth argument, from ver. 556. to ver.<<?,units' he perceive that the foul is, ;.» it were, the lom dation of the whole animal, and that the bodra seasoned with soul, as with salt, that it mij M stink and putrify.

The eleventh argument, from ver. 567.torn 581, it nothing but a sort os quibble, for ti> whole stress of it consists in this, that the dcfccbct of s pirits, which we call a swoon, the Latins al 11 animi deliquium." a sainting of the mind.

The two following arguments, from rer j!j to ver. J96, deny that the foul can go wholt w of the body, unless it be expired threuph ti jaws; nor is thi, iu the least absurd, if the (01 be corporeal: and they add farther, thai the son fearing its future dissolution, leaves the boej ul willingly, and with regret. To this Caw » swers in Cicero: " Quid quod sapieniifiioiu'qsi que æquissimo ailimo moritur, i\ultrssinuu inajK simo? Nonne vobis videtur animus is, qui fj cernit et longius, vidcre fe ad meliora pri'fnfa I lie autem cujus obrusior acies, non vidcre? so,1 dem efseror studio patrea vestros, quo* coha 1 dilexi, videndi. Neque vero cos folum corvcW aveo, fed illos etiam de quibus audivi, et kp. £ ipfe couferipsi. Quo'quidcm me proficifcfttft baud scio qui« facile retraxerit. QuuJ si Deus niihi largiatur; ut ex hac a-tatc repnertfrx et in cuiii. va^iam, valde recusem: nectetor lim, quasi decurso spatio, a calce ad carte:"' vocari." What is the reason that a wise nur A with a sedate and quicc mind, and a fool wi the greatest impatience and reluctancy? D01 you think that ihc soul of the wise man, sees most and farthest, discovers she itgoi"? a hetter world? And thar the foul of the M dim sighted, and fees'nothing of it f For my f* I burn with longing to fee your fathers, whoffl loved and honoured; nor do I desire to 0* them only, but others also, cs whom I hare I'-" and read, and writ. And were I going to thi 1 know not who it is should easily persrukr back. Nay, is any god wouM grant me thep vilege of becoming 1 child again, and to by? a cradle, I would absolutely refuse it, for, h«run my race, I would not willingly go ba.k us starting-post to run it over again. In the last pi'" they affirm, that the mind, because, if we But^ lieve Epicurus, it is always seated in the heart > man, cannot remain fase and whole out cs '■'

heart; u is birds, because they are bitched in a

nest, cannot live out os it.

The fourteenth argument, from ver, 5 06. to Ttr. 606, is of the tame piece with the others, and favours of vulgar stupidity to boot. Nor would the poet have been lo copious in explaining the fifteenth, from ver. 606. to ver 640, if be had rightly understood animal motion, and the instruments that serve to make it. To the next, from ver. 641. to ver. 649, let Plato and Pythagoras answer, for they only are concerned. The seventeenth and the eighteenth, from ver. 649. to ver 680, suppose the corporeal soul to be diffused through the whole body, and to be annexed to all its parts, than which nothing it more false, nothing more absurd. It resides in the head, like a prince in his throne, and there it governs. .

How trifling the observation he makes, from ver. 680. to ver. 709, is, will be obvious to every nan who knows, and who has seen with his eyes, that worms, maggots, &c. are often bred in the earth, in plants, in cheese, &c things altogether inanimate.

Let such as believe the transmigration of souls solve the difficulties which the poet raises against them, from ver. 709. to ver. 739. And then, as to whit he alleges from ver. 739. to ver. 748, I will only fay, that the foul would be a fool indeed if it did not desire a brisk and vigorous body, aud fly from one that is decrepit and worn out with >ge. Of what he fays, from ver. 749. to ver. 755, fc them take care, if any such are to be found, ''ho think the absurd itic? of Pythagoras worth a "ply. And because the three and twentieth arfemenr, from ver. 75 J. to ver. 770 is the fame in uTfct with the thirteenth, it shall have no other uUer but what that has had already, lo his four and twentieth argument, from ver.

770. to ver. 776, we fay, that the most excellent philosophers hitherto have not thought it incongrucus and absurd to join together a mortal and immortal being. And in opposition to what he urges, from ver. 776. to ver. 797 I will establish, a fourth kind of things, viz. incorporeal, immortal substances, and Epicurus will not have the confidence to deny them an existence, since her himself has bestowed on his gods immortality, and exemption from dissolution. Lastly, At to his six and twentieth argument, which is the last he brings against the immortality of the foul, we do not deny but that the mind is affected with piercing grief, and vexed with devouring cares; nor but that when the body is seized with certain diseases the mind cannot perform its due functions. But we stiffly deny the consequence he draws from thence, viz. that therefore the foul it mortal.

I could here be more copious, and show that Lucretius has to no purpose brought this heap of argument, since they are incapable of delivering us from the fear of death; for to men who abound in prosperity, and enjoy all the delights as life, what can be more calamitous than that death which is fipint u'fSwwi, a privation of fense: And to propose to the unfortunate and miserable such a death as will utterly destroy them, and thus put an end at once to them and their calamities together, would be the fame thing as to propose shipwreck to a man tost in. a violent storm, that by being plunged and drowned in the waves, he may, once for all, exempt himself from the dangers of the raging deep. And thus behold the mighty comfort which the doctrine of Epicurus affords us! Such a relief will ever be unwelcome, and hateful to all pious and good men, and those pleasing only to the impious, whom no philosophy ought to avail.



Li'csctius begins this fourth book, from ver. I. to ver. 30, with the fame comparison he brought m the first book, ver. 931, to give the mind of his Mcmmius some rase and respite from the crabhedness of the subject upon which he was then disputing; and he uses it here again, to bespeak as well the docility as the attention of his readers. II. He proposes the subject treated os in this book, which has a manifest connection with the former three: For having, in the first and second books, taught at large what the principles us things are, and what their nature, how they differ from one a»' ther in figure, how they are moved, and how they create all other things; and having, in the third bonk, fully explained the nature of the mind and of the foul, as being the chief and most excellent of all created bodies, he very judiciously, from ver. 39. to ver. 47, subjoins this other disputation concerning the sensation of animals, as well when they are awake, as when they are sleepinjr, which, to use the expression os Lucretius, is a* much as to fay, concerning the senses of the nnnd as well at thole of the body. And, to carry on this disputation the more regularly, he be£'«with the images of things and warmly insists, that all sensation is made by them. Therefore, "I. from ver. 46. to ver. 115, he teaches, that certain most renuious and subtle images are conti"uilly flowing from the surfaces of all bodies, that they sly to and fro in the air, buc that, nevertheless, they, are invisible, unless they be reflected upun the si^ht from mirrors, or water IV. Jhcn, to ver. 127, he describes the extreme tenuity of such images, and from thence take* occasion t» confirm the doctrine he taught in the first boi k concerning the exiguity of bis atoms.


V. From ver. 116. to ver. il8, he distinguishes between two kinds of image); one of those that of their own accord arc bred in the clouds, which sometimes represent the images of giants, fomctimci of mountains, and sometimes of huge monstrous beasts; the other, of those that fly off from the surface of things, and are, as it were, the films or membranes of them. Lucretius calls them " esurti rerum," and then teaches, that these " exuviæ" are continually flowing from the surface of ill bodies, and that they arc borne through the air with such wonderous celerity that they easily outstrip the swiftness even of the rays of the fun. VI. Forasmuch as the fight is accounted the first >od chief of all the senses, he begins with it, and from ver. ny. to ver. 480, he teaches, that it proceeds from the incursion and striking of those images upon he eyes, in like manner as the other series are caused by corpuscles that come from without to the several organs of sensation. Meanwhile, he explains all things that relate to the efficient causes of fight, and proposes several problems touching vision, of which he gives the true reasons and solutions. Vlt. But lest any man should take pretext, from the explication of these problems, to accuse the senses of deception or fallacy, he, st large, asserts their dignity, from ver. 479. to ver. 536, and takes occasion, by the way, to confutetse sceptics, but chiefly from ver. 479. to ver. 490, and at last lays it down as an indisputable nuxim, that all truth is grounded on the certainty, and on the belief of the fenses. Vllf. Having thus disputed of fight, he goes to work with the other fenses likewise, and from ver. 535. to ver. 6n, teaches, first, that voice and sound are corporeal images, which strike the ear, and are the cause of hearing. Then he explains the nature of voice, and the msnner of its formation, and gives > reafcs why the fame voice is heard by many persons at once, tells what an echo is, and what causes it. IX. From ver. 621. to ver. 711, he gives instructions concerning favour and taste, and tonthitg odour and smell; namely, what savour and odour are, and why all do not perceive them; why the same food is sweet to seme and bitter to others; why one odour is more agreeable to one than hit to another; and why the fame voice strikes a terror into some, and pleases, at least does not fright others. X. From ver. 711. to ver. 831, he treats of imagination, and cogitation, which, hefijs, are made likewise by the same most subtle images of things p esenting themselves to the mini la the next place, he proposes and explains several problems relating to cogitation; why, for examplt, we seem to fee, in our dreams, persons who are dead; why the images of things seem to tarry witi US while we are thinking of the things whose images they are; why any man thinks on a sudden upon whatever he will; why we seem to ourselves to move in our dreams. XI. From ver. 8jt. ton:. 505, he teaches, that the tongue, the eyes, the nostrils, the ears, in a word, that all the organs »f sensation were made before the use os them, quite contrary to what has happened in regard to ill artificial things, the invention of which succeeded the foreseen want and usefulness of them. He gives the reason, likewise, why animals seek after their own meat and drink; why we move whinever we please; and tells what it is that actuates and drives forward the mass of our body. XII. From ver. 904. to ver. 1036, he treats of steep, and of dreams; and teaches, in the first place, to* Deep is caused in us, and in all other animals; then he asiigns several causes of different dreams; and, falling at length upon the subject of vencry, he disputes, from ver. 1019 to the end of this boot, of love, of barrenness, of fruitfulnese, &c. with more freedom of thought, and broadness of exprft fion, than perhaps some will allow to be fitting. But in subjects of such nature, all philosophers have been apt to indulge themselves very much, and to assume greater liberties than il strictl» becomes them to take.

1 Feel, I rising feel poetic heats,
.And, now inspir'd. trace o'er the muses scats
Untrodden yet. 'I'is sweet to visit first [thirst:
Untouch'd and virgin streams, and quench my
1 joy to crop fresh flow'rs, and get a crown
For new and rare inventions of my own:
Ho noble, great, and gen'rous the design, ^
That none of all the mighty tuneful nine >
E'er grae'd a head of laurels like to mine. j
For, first, I teach great things in lofty strains, lo
And loose men from religion's grievous chains.
Next, though my subject's dark, my verse is clear,
And sweet, with fancy stowing ev'ry where;
And this design'd: For as physicians use,
In giving children draughts of bitter juice,
To make them take it, tinge the cup with sweet,
To cheat the lip; this first they eager meet.
And then drink on, and take the birter draught,
And so are harmlessly deceiv'd, not caught:
Fur, by such cheats, they get their strength, their
ease, a J

Their vigour health, nd baffle the disease.

So since our method of philosophy
Seems harsh to some; since most our naiinB

I thought it was the fittest way to dress
These rigid principle* in verse might please;
With fancy sweet'ning them, to bribe thy mind
To read my book, and lead it on to find
The nature of the world, the rise of things;
And what vast profit too that knowledge bring*'
Mow, since 'us mown what things first bodi"

are, 3° What diff'rent forms, what various stapes the;

bear; [vhoir,
And how they move; how join to mate «x
And what's the nature of the mind and foul;
Of what compos'd; how face unlinks the chain,
And scatters it into its seeds again.
Next, for 'ti« time, my muse declare* and sings,
What thole are we oall images ef things,
Which, like thin films, from bodies rife H


Play in the air, and dance upon the beans: 59

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If day these meet, and strike our minds, and

fright, [nig" And (how pale ghosts, and horrid shapes These break our sleep, these check our ga; light.

For fare no airy fouls get loose, and fly,
From hull's dark shade*, nor flutter in our fley:
For what remains beyond the greedy urn,
Since fuul and body to their feeds return?

A stream of forms from ev'ry surface flows,
Which maytbe call'd the film or (hell of those t
Because they bear the shape, they show the frame,
And figure of the bodies, whence they came. <0
The dullest may perceive, and know 'tis true;
For bodies, big enough for fense to view.
Do often life; some more dissui'd and broke:
Thus fire, thus heated wood still breathe forth

smoke; [gin, And fame more close, and join'd; when heats beSome infects seem to sweat, and cast their flein: The heifers cast the membranes of their horns, ~) Snakes leave their glitt'ring coats among thef

thorns, C A {litt'ring coat, each tree, each bush adorns. J Wefctvrith pleasure what we fled before, We handle now the scales, and fear no more. Thu proves that num'rous trains of images (For why can these, and not more thin than these) From ev'ry surface flow. For first they lie Ucchain'd, and loose, and ready for our eye: They soon will slip, and still preserve their frame, Taeir ancient form, and cell from whence they

Kay more.they're thin, they on the surface playfj
Therefore few chains to break, few stops to stay J-
Ihcir course, or hinder when they fly away. 70J

For it is certain, that a num'rous store,
Not from the middle part*, as 'twa, before
Oiscn'd,but even from the surface rife,
A» colours, often loofen'd, strike our eyes.

• when pale curtains, or the deeper red
O'er all the spacious theatre are spread,
Which mighty masts, and sturdy pillars bear,
And the loose curtains wanton in the air,
V.'hole streams of colours from the top do flow,"!
The rajs divide them in their passage through,^
Aid siain the scenes, and men, and gods be- C
low: 81J

The more these curtains spread, the pleasing dye
Ride* on the beams the more, and courts the eye:
The gaudy col- ur spreads o'er ev'ry thing,
AU jay appear, each man a purple king.
Smce curtains then their loofen'd colours spread,
6'ice they can paint the under scenes with red, -
Then ev'ry thing can fend forth images:
Those fly from surfaces as well ai these,

Tis certain then that subtle forms do lie 90") And dance, and frolic in our lower fley, JWhich, single, are too subtle for our eye. J

Bat now the odours, vapours, and thin smoke, Fly fcatter'd and confus'd, their order broke, Becaase, whilst they from outward parts do flow,"j Aud through strait winding pores, and turnings I

~ F>> t laejttt dusrder'd in their passage through. J

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But now these subtle films-of loofen'd dye*
What can disorder, as from things they rife,
Since each upon the utmost surface lies i

Thus forms, which glass, which limpid streams

restore, tot Bearing that shape, that dye, the body wore, Must be compos'd of fleeting images "J That rife from things: For why with greater I

ease" [these rf"

Can these forms rife, than some more thin than J Then there are subtle shapes, like those that


Or glass restores on the returning beams;
In figure like; but airy, thin, and light,
And single each, too subtle for our sight:
Yet coming thick, and in a num'rous train, no
Reflected from the polish' J specular plain,
Can make us fee; and that's the reason why
The forms return again, in shape and dye
So like the things, and please the curious eye.
Next learn how subtle, and how thin these

First, then, since seed* of thing* are finer far
Than those that first begin to disappear.
But now to clear this, to confirm the more
The subtleness of feeds, explain'd before,
Aud add new reasons to the former store: 120
How many animals, whose middle part
The sharpest eye, with all the help of art,
Can't fee? Dull art may throw her glasses by:
How subtle then the guts, the heart, the eye?
How thin each little member of the whole?
How infinitely small the seeds that frame the

foul f
But more-
Opopanax, or rue, that strikes the nose
With strongest smells, or others, like to those,
If shaken, thousand parts do fly from thence,
A thousand ways: but weak, nor move the fense.
And yet how subtle, if compar'd with these 131
How thin, what nothings are the images!
How vast the disproportion 'twixt these two? •
'Tis more than thought can think, than words

can show.

But now, besides these subtle forms that rear From bodies, thrasand new are fram'd in air, Failiion'd by chance; and these when borne on high,

Still change their Ihapes, and wanton in the sky t Then join'd in various forms, grow thick and move

Like cloud* combin'd, and darken all above: 140 Hence prodigies; hence some gigantic war, Marfhall'd in th' air, looks dreadful from afar. And shadows all: Hence mountains seem to fly: And scatter'd rocks cut thro* the wonnded sky: Hence other clouds do frightful streamers show: We stare, amaa'd, and wonder at below.

Next learn . *

How soon these forms fly off, how swift they"^
rise; f
For something still on ev'ry surface lies, C
Just ready to depart, and strike our eyes. J
This, when on rare and thin composures tost,
For instance, clouds, strait enters, and is Is'-'u

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