Lucretius, De Rerum Natura 3.1-15: Epicurus, I’m Your Biggest Fan

“I follow you who first could raise so clear a light
to illuminate in so great a darkness the best parts of life,
the glory of the Greek people; and I place my feet
firmly in the signs you left behind
not for the sake of competition but because of love
I long to imitate you: for how could a swallow compete
with swans or who would think that a kid could match
his shaking limbs in a race with a mighty horse?
You, father, are the investigator of nature, and you give us
a father’s precepts drawn from your papers, famous man,
just as bees live off of everything in the flowery groves
so too we subsist on all your golden words
always most worthy of a life everlasting.”

E tenebris tantis tam clarum extollere lumen
qui primus potuisti inlustrans commoda vitae,
te sequor, o Graiae gentis decus, inque tuis nunc

Epicurus. Epi-cutest, I say.
Epicurus. Epi-cutest, I say.

ficta pedum pono pressis vestigia signis,
non ita certandi cupidus quam propter amorem
quod te imitari aveo; quid enim contendat hirundo
cycnis, aut quid nam tremulis facere artubus haedi
consimile in cursu possint et fortis equi vis?
tu, pater, es rerum inventor, tu patria nobis
suppeditas praecepta, tuisque ex, inclute, chartis,
floriferis ut apes in saltibus omnia libant,
omnia nos itidem depascimur aurea dicta,
aurea, perpetua semper dignissima vita.

Athens Gave us Grain, Law and Epicurus: Lucretius DRN, 6.1-9

“Athens—that famous city—long ago was the first
to give grain-bearing seed to sickly man;
She gave us a new life and created laws
and was the first to give life sweet consolations
when she bore a man blessed with such a mind
who so long ago divulged everything with a true tongue,
whose fame, thanks to his divine discoveries,
has already long been known to heaven.”

Primae frugiparos fetus mortalibus aegris
dididerunt quondam praeclaro nomine Athenae
et recreaverunt vitam legesque rogarunt
et primae dederunt solacia dulcia vitae,
cum genuere virum tali cum corde repertum,
omnia veridico qui quondam ex ore profudit;
cuius et extincti propter divina reperta
divolgata vetus iam ad caelum gloria fertur.

Lucretius, De Rerum Natura 4.364-374: Shadows, Appearances and Light

“Our shadows seem to us to move in the sun,
To follow our footsteps and imitate our gestures—
If you can believe that air without light moves,
Following the motion and gesture of man,
Since it cannot be anything but air without light,
What we are accustomed to naming ‘shadow’—
But it isn’t a wonder, since certain places on the earth
Are deprived of light in order whenever in our wandering
We block it, and refilled with light again when we leave.
This makes it appear as if the thing that was the shadow
Of our body always follows us in the same place.”

Umbra videtur item nobis in sole moveri
et vestigia nostra sequi gestumque imitari,
aëra si credis privatum lumine posse
indugredi, motus hominum gestumque sequentem;
nam nihil esse potest aliud nisi lumine cassus
aër id quod nos umbram perhibere suëmus.
ni mirum, quia terra locis ex ordine certis
lumine privatur solis qua cumque meantes
officimus, repletur item quod liquimus eius,
propterea fit uti videatur, quae fuit umbra
corporis, e regione eadem nos usque secuta.