Lucretius, De Rerum Natura

LCL 181: 122-123

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Praeterea genus humanum mutaeque natantes squamigerum pecudes et laeta armenta feraeque et variae volucres, laetantia quae loca aquarum 345concelebrant circum ripas fontisque lacusque, et quae pervolgant nemora avia pervolitantes— quorum unum quidvis generatim sumere perge: invenies tamen inter se differre figuris. nec ratione alia proles cognoscere matrem 350nec mater posset prolem; quod posse videmus nec minus atque homines inter se nota cluere. nam saepe ante deum vitulus delubra decora turicremas propter mactatus concidit aras, sanguinis expirans calidum de pectore flumen; 355at mater viridis saltus orbata peragrans quaerit humi pedibus vestigia pressa bisulcis, omnia convisens oculis loca si queat usquam conspicere amissum fetum, completque querellis frondiferum nemus adsistens et crebra revisit 360ad stabulum desiderio perfixa iuvenci; nec tenerae salices atque herbae rore vigentes fluminaque illa queunt summis labentia ripis oblectare animum subitamque avertere curam, nec vitulorum aliae species per pabula laeta 365derivare queunt animum curaque levare: usque adeo quiddam proprium notumque requirit. praeterea teneri tremulis cum vocibus haedi cornigeras norunt matres agnique petulci

  • 343armenta first printed in the edition of J. Tonson (1712), but also conjectured by Bentley in a manuscript note (see Wakefield): arbusta OQGP
  • 356quaerit Bailey:non quit O: inquit Q:oinquid G:linquit Q corr.:noscit Lachmann: cingit W. Schmid
  • 362illa OQG: ulla Macrobius, Sat. 6.2.6, 0 corr., P

De Rerum Natura, II


Moreover, the race of men, and the dumbas there are in the units of any species which are superflcially alike. swimming tribes of scaly fish, fat cattle, and wild beasts, the different birds which throng the joyous regions of water around bank and spring and lake, and which crowd the pathless woods through and through as they flit about—of these go on to take any one in any kind, and you will find nevertheless that each differs from each in shape. Nor is thereExamples from animals, any other way by which the young could recognize the mother or the mother her young; and this we see they can do, and that they are known clearly to each other no less than men are. For often in front of the noble shrines of the gods a calf falls slain beside the incense-burning altars, breathing up a hot stream of blood from his breast; but the mother bereaved wanders through the green glens, and seeks on the ground the prints marked by the cloven hooves, as she surveys all the regions if she may espy somewhere her lost offspring, and coming to a stand fills the leafy woods with her moaning,a and often revisits the stall, pierced with yearning for her calf; nor can tender willow-growths, and herbage growing rich in the dew, and those rivers flowing level with their banks, give delight to her mind and rebuff her sudden care, nor can the sight of other calves in the happy pastures divert her mind and lighten her load of care: so persistently she seeks for something of her own that she knows well. Besides, tender kids with trembling voices know their horned mothers, and mischievous lambs the flocks

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.lucretius-de_rerum_natura.1924