Here you will find the Long Poem Book III - Part 03 - The Soul is Mortal of poet Lucretius

Book III - Part 03 - The Soul is Mortal

Now come: that thou mayst able be to know 
That minds and the light souls of all that live 
Have mortal birth and death, I will go on 
Verses to build meet for thy rule of life, 
Sought after long, discovered with sweet toil. 
But under one name I'd have thee yoke them both; 
And when, for instance, I shall speak of soul, 
Teaching the same to be but mortal, think 
Thereby I'm speaking also of the mind- 
Since both are one, a substance interjoined. 

First, then, since I have taught how soul exists 
A subtle fabric, of particles minute, 
Made up from atoms smaller much than those 
Of water's liquid damp, or fog, or smoke, 
So in mobility it far excels, 
More prone to move, though strook by lighter cause 
Even moved by images of smoke or fog- 
As where we view, when in our sleeps we're lulled, 
The altars exhaling steam and smoke aloft- 
For, beyond doubt, these apparitions come 
To us from outward. Now, then, since thou seest, 
Their liquids depart, their waters flow away, 
When jars are shivered, and since fog and smoke 
Depart into the winds away, believe 
The soul no less is shed abroad and dies 
More quickly far, more quickly is dissolved 
Back to its primal bodies, when withdrawn 
From out man's members it has gone away. 
For, sure, if body (container of the same 
Like as a jar), when shivered from some cause, 
And rarefied by loss of blood from veins, 
Cannot for longer hold the soul, how then 
Thinkst thou it can be held by any air- 
A stuff much rarer than our bodies be? 

Besides we feel that mind to being comes 
Along with body, with body grows and ages. 
For just as children totter round about 
With frames infirm and tender, so there follows 
A weakling wisdom in their minds; and then, 
Where years have ripened into robust powers, 
Counsel is also greater, more increased 
The power of mind; thereafter, where already 
The body's shattered by master-powers of eld, 
And fallen the frame with its enfeebled powers, 
Thought hobbles, tongue wanders, and the mind gives way; 
All fails, all's lacking at the selfsame time. 
Therefore it suits that even the soul's dissolved, 
Like smoke, into the lofty winds of air; 
Since we behold the same to being come 
Along with body and grow, and, as I've taught, 
Crumble and crack, therewith outworn by eld. 

Then, too, we see, that, just as body takes 
Monstrous diseases and the dreadful pain, 
So mind its bitter cares, the grief, the fear; 
Wherefore it tallies that the mind no less 
Partaker is of death; for pain and disease 
Are both artificers of death,- as well 
We've learned by the passing of many a man ere now. 
Nay, too, in diseases of body, often the mind 
Wanders afield; for 'tis beside itself, 
And crazed it speaks, or many a time it sinks, 
With eyelids closing and a drooping nod, 
In heavy drowse, on to eternal sleep; 
From whence nor hears it any voices more, 
Nor able is to know the faces here 
Of those about him standing with wet cheeks 
Who vainly call him back to light and life. 
Wherefore mind too, confess we must, dissolves, 
Seeing, indeed, contagions of disease 
Enter into the same. Again, O why, 
When the strong wine has entered into man, 
And its diffused fire gone round the veins, 
Why follows then a heaviness of limbs, 
A tangle of the legs as round he reels, 
A stuttering tongue, an intellect besoaked, 
Eyes all aswim, and hiccups, shouts, and brawls 
And whatso else is of that ilk?- Why this?- 
If not that violent and impetuous wine 
Is wont to confound the soul within the body? 
But whatso can confounded be and balked, 
Gives proof, that if a hardier cause got in, 
'Twould hap that it would perish then, bereaved 
Of any life thereafter. And, moreover, 
Often will some one in a sudden fit, 
As if by stroke of lightning, tumble down 
Before our eyes, and sputter foam, and grunt, 
Blither, and twist about with sinews taut, 
Gasp up in starts, and weary out his limbs 
With tossing round. No marvel, since distract 
Through frame by violence of disease. 

Confounds, he foams, as if to vomit soul, 
As on the salt sea boil the billows round 
Under the master might of winds. And now 
A groan's forced out, because his limbs are griped 
But, in the main, because the seeds of voice 
Are driven forth and carried in a mass 
Outwards by mouth, where they are wont to go, 
And have a builded highway. He becomes 
Mere fool, since energy of mind and soul 
Confounded is, and, as I've shown, to-riven, 
Asunder thrown, and torn to pieces all 
By the same venom. But, again, where cause 
Of that disease has faced about, and back 
Retreats sharp poison of corrupted frame 
Into its shadowy lairs, the man at first 
Arises reeling, and gradua