400multaque praeterea tibi possum commemorando argumenta fidem dictis conradere nostris. verum animo satis haec vestigia parva sagaci sunt, per quae possis cognoscere cetera tute. namque canes ut montivagae persaepe ferai 405naribus inveniunt intectas fronde quietes, cum semel institerunt vestigia certa viai, sic alid ex alio per te tute ipse videre talibus in rebus poteris caecasque latebras insinuare omnis et verum protrahere inde. 410quod si pigraris paulumve recesseris ab re, hoc tibi de plano possum promittere, Memmi: usque adeo largos haustus e fontibu’ magnis lingua meo suavis diti de pectore fundet, ut verear ne tard a prius per membra senectus 415serpat et in nobis vitai claustra resolvat, quam tibi de quavis una re versibus omnis argumentorum sit copia missa per auris.
Sed nunc ut repetam coeptum pertexere dictis, omnis ut est igitur per se natura duabus 420constitit in rebus; nam corpora sunt et inane,
- 404ferai Q corr., P: ferare OQG: ferarum O corr.
- 412magnis P: magnes O: amnes QG: amnis O corr.: perhaps altis (it is just possible that in 5.446 altum is a corruption of magnum, which is recorded by Macrobius)
I can mention to scrape together credit for my doctrines. But for a keen-scented mind, these little tracks are enough to enable you to recognize the others for yourself. For as hounds very often find by their scent the leaf-hidden resting-place of the mountain-ranging quarry, when once they have hit upon certain traces of its path, so will you be able for yourself to see one thing after another in such matters as these, and to penetrate all unseen hiding-places, and draw forth the truth from them.a But should you be sluggish or draw back a little from the task, this I can promise you, Memmius, without more ado: so bounteous draughts out of plenteous springs will my melodious speech pour forth from my richly stored mind, that I fear lest laggard age may creep over our limbsb and break down the barriers of life within us, before the whole store of demonstrations on any one matter has been poured in my verses through your ears.c418
But now to resume my task begun of weavingSensation proves that Body exists, and without Void nothing could move or be. the web of this discourse: the nature of the universe,d therefore, as it is in itself, is made up of two things; for there are bodies, and there is void, in which these
- aOn the correspondences between simile and context, see especially D. West, The Imagery and Poetry of Lucretius 74–75. Socrates, in the Platonic dialogues, frequently uses hunting metaphors when referring to arguments: e.g. Phd. 63 a, 66 b-c, 79 e, 88 d.
- bCf. Lord Vaux, The Aged Lover Renounceth Love: “For Age, with stealing steps, | Hath clawed me with his clutch.”
- cNotice again (cf. 140–145) Lucr.’s readiness quemvis efferre laborem in his attempt to convert Memmius to Epicureanism. Notice too that he is prepared to make fun of his own missionary fervour and enthusiasm for philosophy: cf. 4.969–970, where he confesses that, just as lawyers dream of legal cases, generals of battles, and sailors of the sea, so he himself dreams of studying Epicureanism and expounding it in Latin.
- domnis (419) is best taken as genitive of τὸ πᾶν. Cf. Plutarch, adv. Col. 1112 f (of Epicurus): τὸ πaντὸς Φύσις (cf. omnis . . . natura) ὀνoμάζειν εἴωθε. Cf. natura . . . inanis (363), corresponding to Epicurus’ ἡ . . .τoῦ κενοῦ φύσις (Ep. ad Hdt. 44; cf. Plutarch, loc. cit.).