Here you will find the Long Poem Book III - Part 05 - Cerberus And Furies, And That Lack Of Light of poet Lucretius
Tartarus, out-belching from his mouth the surge Of horrible heat- the which are nowhere, nor Indeed can be: but in this life is fear Of retributions just and expiations For evil acts: the dungeon and the leap From that dread rock of infamy, the stripes, The executioners, the oaken rack, The iron plates, bitumen, and the torch. And even though these are absent, yet the mind, With a fore-fearing conscience, plies its goads And burns beneath the lash, nor sees meanwhile What terminus of ills, what end of pine Can ever be, and feareth lest the same But grow more heavy after death. Of truth, The life of fools is Acheron on earth. This also to thy very self sometimes Repeat thou mayst: "Lo, even good Ancus left The sunshine with his eyes, in divers things A better man than thou, O worthless hind; And many other kings and lords of rule Thereafter have gone under, once who swayed O'er mighty peoples. And he also, he- Who whilom paved a highway down the sea, And gave his legionaries thoroughfare Along the deep, and taught them how to cross The pools of brine afoot, and did contemn, Trampling upon it with his cavalry, The bellowings of ocean- poured his soul From dying body, as his light was ta'en. And Scipio's son, the thunderbolt of war, Horror of Carthage, gave his bones to earth, Like to the lowliest villein in the house. Add finders-out of sciences and arts; Add comrades of the Heliconian dames, Among whom Homer, sceptered o'er them all Now lies in slumber sunken with the rest. Then, too, Democritus, when ripened eld Admonished him his memory waned away, Of own accord offered his head to death. Even Epicurus went, his light of life Run out, the man in genius who o'er-topped The human race, extinguishing all others, As sun, in ether arisen, all the stars. Wilt thou, then, dally, thou complain to go?- For whom already life's as good as dead, Whilst yet thou livest and lookest?- who in sleep Wastest thy life- time's major part, and snorest Even when awake, and ceasest not to see The stuff of dreams, and bearest a mind beset By baseless terror, nor discoverest oft What's wrong with thee, when, like a sotted wretch, Thou'rt jostled along by many crowding cares, And wanderest reeling round, with mind aswim." If men, in that same way as on the mind They feel the load that wearies with its weight, Could also know the causes whence it comes, And why so great the heap of ill on heart, O not in this sort would they live their life, As now so much we see them, knowing not What 'tis they want, and seeking ever and ever A change of place, as if to drop the burden. The man who sickens of his home goes out, Forth from his splendid halls, and straight- returns, Feeling i'faith no better off abroad. He races, driving his Gallic ponies along, Down to his villa, madly,- as in haste To hurry help to a house afire.- At once He yawns, as soon as foot has touched the threshold, Or drowsily goes off in sleep and seeks Forgetfulness, or maybe bustles about And makes for town again. In such a way Each human flees himself- a self in sooth, As happens, he by no means can escape; And willy-nilly he cleaves to it and loathes, Sick, sick, and guessing not the cause of ail. Yet should he see but that, O chiefly then, Leaving all else, he'd study to divine The nature of things, since here is in debate Eternal time and not the single hour, Mortal's estate in whatsoever remains After great death. And too, when all is said, What evil lust of life is this so great Subdues us to live, so dreadfully distraught In perils and alarms? one fixed end Of life abideth for mortality; Death's not to shun, and we must go to meet. Besides we're busied with the same devices, Ever and ever, and we are at them ever, And there's no new delight that may be forged By living on. But whilst the thing we long for Is lacking, that seems good above all else; Thereafter, when we've touched it, something else We long for; ever one equal thirst of life Grips us agape. And doubtful 'tis what fortune The future times may carry, or what be That chance may bring, or what the issue next Awaiting us. Nor by prolonging life Take we the least away from death's own time, Nor can we pluck one moment off, whereby To minish the aeons of our state of death. Therefore, O man, by living on, fulfil As many generations as thou may: Eternal death shall there be waiting still; And he who died with light of yesterday Shall be no briefer time in death's No-more Than he who perished months or years before.