Heraclitus, the General of Fools: Lucretius, de Rerum Natura (1.635-44)

“On that account, those who think that the material element of all things is fire, and that the sum total of things is composed of fire alone, seem to have fallen quite far away from the path of true reason. Heraclitus was the general of such believers, and he entered the fray first. He was famed on account of his obscure language more among the sillier Greeks than those dignified ones who seek the truth. For indeed, fools admire and love everything which they see hidden beneath twisted words, and they consider those things true which can gracefully touch the ear, and which are covered up with a charming sound.”

Quapropter qui materiem rerum esse putarunt               635
ignem atque ex igni summam consistere solo,
magno opere a vera lapsi ratione videntur.
Heraclitus init quorum dux proelia primus,
clarus <ob> obscuram linguam magis inter inanis
quamde gravis inter Graios, qui vera requirunt;               640
omnia enim stolidi magis admirantur amantque,
inversis quae sub verbis latitantia cernunt,
veraque constituunt quae belle tangere possunt
auris et lepido quae sunt fucata sonore.

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