Here you will find the Long Poem Book I - Part 05 - Character Of The Atoms of poet Lucretius

Book I - Part 05 - Character Of The Atoms

Bodies, again, 
Are partly primal germs of things, and partly 
Unions deriving from the primal germs. 
And those which are the primal germs of things 
No power can quench; for in the end they conquer 
By their own solidness; though hard it be 
To think that aught in things has solid frame; 
For lightnings pass, no less than voice and shout, 
Through hedging walls of houses, and the iron 
White-dazzles in the fire, and rocks will burn 
With exhalations fierce and burst asunder. 
Totters the rigid gold dissolved in heat; 
The ice of bronze melts conquered in the flame; 
Warmth and the piercing cold through silver seep, 
Since, with the cups held rightly in the hand, 
We oft feel both, as from above is poured 
The dew of waters between their shining sides: 
So true it is no solid form is found. 
But yet because true reason and nature of things 
Constrain us, come, whilst in few verses now 
I disentangle how there still exist 
Bodies of solid, everlasting frame- 
The seeds of things, the primal germs we teach, 
Whence all creation around us came to be. 
First since we know a twofold nature exists, 
Of things, both twain and utterly unlike- 
Body, and place in which an things go on- 
Then each must be both for and through itself, 
And all unmixed: where'er be empty space, 
There body's not; and so where body bides, 
There not at an exists the void inane. 
Thus primal bodies are solid, without a void. 
But since there's void in all begotten things, 
All solid matter must be round the same; 
Nor, by true reason canst thou prove aught hides 
And holds a void within its body, unless 
Thou grant what holds it be a solid. Know, 
That which can hold a void of things within 
Can be naught else than matter in union knit. 
Thus matter, consisting of a solid frame, 
Hath power to be eternal, though all else, 
Though all creation, be dissolved away. 
Again, were naught of empty and inane, 
The world were then a solid; as, without 
Some certain bodies to fill the places held, 
The world that is were but a vacant void. 
And so, infallibly, alternate-wise 
Body and void are still distinguished, 
Since nature knows no wholly full nor void. 
There are, then, certain bodies, possessed of power 
To vary forever the empty and the full; 
And these can nor be sundered from without 
By beats and blows, nor from within be torn 
By penetration, nor be overthrown 
By any assault soever through the world- 
For without void, naught can be crushed, it seems, 
Nor broken, nor severed by a cut in twain, 
Nor can it take the damp, or seeping cold 
Or piercing fire, those old destroyers three; 
But the more void within a thing, the more 
Entirely it totters at their sure assault. 
Thus if first bodies be, as I have taught, 
Solid, without a void, they must be then 
Eternal; and, if matter ne'er had been 
Eternal, long ere now had all things gone 
Back into nothing utterly, and all 
We see around from nothing had been born- 
But since I taught above that naught can be 
From naught created, nor the once begotten 
To naught be summoned back, these primal germs 
Must have an immortality of frame. 
And into these must each thing be resolved, 
When comes its supreme hour, that thus there be 
At hand the stuff for plenishing the world. 

So primal germs have solid singleness 
Nor otherwise could they have been conserved 
Through aeons and infinity of time 
For the replenishment of wasted worlds. 

Once more, if Nature had given a scope for things 
To be forever broken more and more, 
By now the bodies of matter would have been 
So far reduced by breakings in old days 
That from them nothing could, at season fixed, 
Be born, and arrive its prime and of life. 
For, lo, each thing is quicker marred than made; 
And so what'er the long infinitude 
Of days and all fore-passed time would now 
By this have broken and ruined and dissolved, 
That same could ne'er in all remaining time 
Be builded up for plenishing the world. 
But mark: infallibly a fixed bound 
Remaineth stablished 'gainst their breaking down; 
Since we behold each thing soever renewed, 
And unto all, their seasons, after their kind, 
Wherein they arrive the flower of their age. 

Again, if bounds have not been set against 
The breaking down of this corporeal world, 
Yet must all bodies of whatever things 
Have still endured from everlasting time 
Unto this present, as not yet assailed 
By shocks of peril. But because the same 
Are, to thy thinking, of a nature frail, 
It ill accords that thus they could remain 
(As thus they do) through everlasting time, 
Vexed through the ages (as indeed they are) 
By the innumerable blows of chance. 

So in our programme of creation,