De Rerum Natura 1.250–64
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De Rerum Natura 1.250–64

Finally, the rains perish, as soon as Father Skyhas shot them into the womb of Mother Earth;and the bright fruits rise, and the branches strengthen onthe trees and grow and hang heavy with the harvest:thus is our own species nourished, and those of the beasts—thus do we see the glad cities flower with boys,the leafy woods with fledglings singing everywhere—thus the cattle weary with fat lay down their bodieshappy in the pasture, and wet white milkswings in their swollen udders—thus the new calf,frisky on shaky joints, plays in the soft grass,its new mind charged with raw milk …So nothing whatsoever really passes awaywhen Nature makes new things from something else,and lets nothing exist except by another’s death. [End Page 166]


Lucretius (Titus Lucretius Carus) was a Roman poet of the mid-first century bc (c. 99 to c. 55 bc) known for his only surviving poem, De Rerum Natura (“On the Nature of Things”), an exposition of Epicurean philosophy in six books of epic verse.

Spencer Lenfield

Spencer Lenfield has reported and written essays for Harvard Magazine, Open Letters Monthly, and the Atlantic Online, including a recent profile of the poet/translator David Ferry. A native of Michigan, he read Classics at the University of Oxford.