quas neque concutiunt venti nec nubila nimbis 20aspergunt neque nix acri concreta pruina cana cadens violat semperque innubilus aether integit, et large diffuso lumine ridet. omnia suppeditat porro natura neque ulla res animi pacem delibat tempore in ullo. 25at contra nusquam apparent Acherusia templa, nec tellus obstat quin omnia dispiciantur, sub pedibus quaecumque infra per inane geruntur. his ibi me rebus quaedam divina voluptas percipit atque horror, quod sic natura tua vi 30tam manifesta patens ex omni parte retecta est.
Et quoniam docui cunctarum exordia rerum qualia sint et quam variis distantia formis sponte sua volitent aeterno percita motu quove modo possint res ex his quaeque creari, 35hasce secundum res animi natura videtur atque animae claranda meis iam versibus esse et metus ille foras praeceps Acheruntis agendus, funditus humanam qui vitam turbat ab imo, omnia suffundens mortis nigrore, neque ullam 40esse voluptatem liquidam puramque relinquit. nam quod saepe homines morbos magis esse timendos infamemque ferunt vitam quam Tartara leti et se scire animi naturam sanguinis esse
and their peaceful abodes, which no winds ever shake nor clouds besprinkle with rain, which no snow congealed by the bitter frost mars with its white fall, but the air ever cloudless encompasses them and laughs with its light spread wide abroad.a There moreover nature supplies everything, and nothing at any time impairs their peace of mind. But contrariwise nowhere appear the regions of Acheron; yet the earth is no hindrance to all being clearly seen, whatsoever goes on below under our feet throughout the void. There upon from all these things a sort of divine delight gets hold upon me and a shuddering, because nature thus by your power has been so manifestly laid open and uncovered in every part.31
And since I have shown of what kind are theThe mind and spirit. beginnings of all things, and in how varying and different shapes they fly of their own accord driven in everlasting motion, and how all things can be produced from these, following next upon this the nature of mind and spiritb must now clearly be explained in my verses, and that fear of Acheron be sent packing which troubles the life of man from itsEvil works of the fear of Acheron, deepest depths, suffuses all with the blackness of death, and leaves no delight clean and pure. For when men often declare that disease and a life of infamy are more to be feared than the bottomless Pit of death, and that they know the nature of the
- a18-22 are in imitation of Homer, Od. 6.42-46, and 18-24 are imitated by Tennyson in Lucretius 104-110: “The Gods, who haunt | The lucid interspace of world and world, | Where never creeps a cloud, or moves a wind, | Nor ever falls the least white star of snow, | Nor ever lowest roll of thunder moans, | Nor sound of human sorrow mounts to mar | Their sacred everlasting calm!” Cf. The Passing of Arthur 427-429.
- bThe relationship between the animus and anima, the two constituents of the complete soul, is explained in 136-160. See also Introduction p. xxxvi. The structural identity of animus and anima is well emphasized by the use of similar words.