Lucretius – On The Nature Of Things

lucretius on the nature of things
Botticelli’s Venus and Mars – probably inspired by The Nature of Things (Thanks to Wikipedia for the image)

Divine delight of men, Mother of Aeneas, Beneath the gliding signs of heaven, Holy Venus
Who fills the fruitful lands and navigable seas
With all the types of creatures that your conceptions please
For you from now, and still forever
They  welcome the rising Sun together

 

Lucretius opens the epic latin poem On The Nature of Things praising Venus for creating the multitude of life on Earth.  He goes on to recount how she conquered the warlike Mars with the overwhelming power of love.  It is beautiful.   I love the rich symbolism of ancient paganism, and this is a superb example from the First Century BC.  Praising a deity is a cliche ridden business, and not something that many writers can do without embarrassing both themselves and the reader.  Lucretius in contrast handles the task superbly.  But the opening lines of the Nature of Things  belie what it is about and give no clue as to what is coming next. 

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