III. Ἀξύνετοι ἀκούσαντες κωφοῖσι ἐοίκασι· 2φάτις αὐτοῖσι μαρτυρέει παρεόντας ἀπεῖναι.

IV. Κακοὶ μάρτυρες ἀνθρώποισι ὀφθαλμοὶ καὶ 2ὦτα, βαρβάρους ψυχὰς ἐχόντων.

V. Οὐ φρονέουσι τοιαῦτα πολλοὶ ὁκόσοισι ἐγκυρέουσι οὐδὲ μαθόντες γινώσκουσι, ἑωυτοῖσι 3δὲ δοκέουσι.

VI. Ἀκοῦσαι οὐκ ἐπιστάμενοι οὐδ᾿ εἰπεῖν.

VII. Ἐὰν μὴ ἔλπηαι, ἀνέλπιστον οὐκ ἐξευρήσει, 2ἀνεξερεύνητον ἐὸν καὶ ἄπορον.

VIII. Χρυσὸν οἱ διζήμενοι γῆν πολλὴν ὀρύσσουσι 2καὶ εὑρίσκουσι ὀλίγον.

IX. Ἀγχιβασίην.

X. Φύσις κρύπτεσθαι φιλεῖ.

XI. Ὁ ἄναξ οὗ τὸ μαντεῖόν ἐστι τὸ ἐν Δελφοῖς, οὔτε λέγει οὔτε κρύπτει, ἀλλὰ 3σημαίνει.

  • IIIClem. Alex. Strom. v. 14, p. 718; Euseb. P.E. xiii. 13, p. 681.
  • IVSextus Emp. adv. Math. vii. 126; Stobaeus Florilegium iv. 56. βορβόρου ψυχὰς ἔχοντος Bernays. Suidas s.v.
  • VClem. Alex. Strom. ii. 2, p. 432; Marcus Antoninus iv. 46. Clem. Alex. Strom. ii. 5, p. 442.
  • VIIClem. Alex. Strom. ii. 4, p. 437. Theodoretus Therap. i. p. 15, 51. The sources have ἔλπηται and ἐλπίζητε. ἔλπηαι Schuster and Bywater. Some would put the comma after ἀνέλπιστον instead of before it.
  • VIIIClem. Alex. Strom. iv. 2, p. 565; Theodoretus Therap. i. p. 15, 52.
  • XThemistius Or. v. p. 69. Plutarch de Pyth. Orac. 21, p. 404; Iamblichus de Myst. iii. 15; Stobaeus Flor. v. 72 and lxxxi. 17.

On the Universe

III. The stupid when they have heard are like the deaf; of them does the proverb bear witness that when present they are absent.

IV. Bad witnesses are eyes and ears to men, if they have souls that understand not their language.

This passage is not a general attack on the senses; it merely lays stress on the need of an intelligent soul to interpret the sense-impressions. The clever emendation of Bernays would mean: “when mud holds the soul,” i.e. when the soul is moist, and therefore (on Heracleitean principles) dull and stupid.

V. Many do not interpret aright such things as they encounter, nor do they have knowledge of them when they have learned, though they seem to themselves so to do.

H. seems to be referring to (a) the correct apprehension of phenomena and (b) the difference between unintelligent learning and understanding.

VI. Knowing neither how to listen nor how to speak.

VII. If you do not expect it, you will not find out the unexpected, as it is hard to be sought out and difficult.

Heracleitus is laying stress upon the importance of the constructive imagination in scientific enquiry—what the early Christians might have called “faith.”

VIII. Gold-seekers dig much earth to find a little gold.

IX. Critical discussion.

X. Nature is wont to hide herself.

φύσις is not necessarily an abstraction here, but merely the truth about the Universe. It is easy, however, to see why the Stoics could maintain that their pantheism was founded on Heracleitus. See Fragments XIX, XCI, XCII.

XI. The Lord whose is the oracle in Delphi neither declares nor hides, but sets forth by signs.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.heracleitus_philospher-universe.1931