On the Nature of Things, Translated by Martin Ferguson Smith by Titus Lucretius Carus

On the Nature of Things, Translated by Martin Ferguson Smith by Titus Lucretius Carus

By Titus Lucretius Carus

Martin Ferguson Smith's paintings on Lucretius is either popular and very popular. besides the fact that, his 1969 translation of De Rerum Natura--long out of print--is almost unknown. Readers will proportion our pleasure within the discovery of this exact and fluent prose rendering. For this version, Professor Smith presents a revised translation, new creation, headnotes and bibliography.

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It is true that individuals should aim to obtain as much pleasure for themselves as possible. But, although virtue is the means to the end, which is pleasure, true pleasure is impossible without virtue and is also inseparable from friendship. The fact is that in Epicurean ethics, egoism and altruism merge. Although Epicureanism did not offer its adherents a life after death, it did offer them a heaven on earth. 322); and Diogenes of Oinoanda looks forward to the time when "truly the lifc of the gods will pass to human beings" (It: 56).

1o As soon as the ribbon 1l had been fastened about her virgin locks so that it flowed down either cheek in equal lengths, and as soon as she had noticed her father standing sorrowfully beforc thc altars, and 90 near him attendants trying to keep the knife coneealcd, and the people moved at the sight of her to streaming tears, struck dumb with dread and sinking on her knees, she groped for the ground. Poor girl! Little could it hclp her at such a time that she had been the first to givc the king the name of father.

CeI1ainly the desires of the body, and therefore kinetic pleasure, cannot be disregarded, but most bodily pleasure is achieved not by leading a life of sensual indulgence, but by strictly limiting one's desires and eliminating all those that are incapable of satisfaction and therefore bound to cause one pain. Desires arc to be separated into three classes: natural and necessary; natural but unnecessary; neither natural nor necessary. The desires in the first class, the desires for essential food, drink, clothing, and shelter, are to be satisfied; those in the second class, including sexual desire, arc to be satisfied, if they cannot be suppressed, in strict moderation and in the least disturbing way possible; and those in the third class, including the desires for wealth and status, must be eliminated because they can never be satisfied: they have no limit, so that one will always sutTer the pain of want as well as anxiety that one will lose what one has acquired.

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