Here you will find the Long Poem Book IV - Part 02 - Existence And Character Of The Images of poet Lucretius

Book IV - Part 02 - Existence And Character Of The Images

But since I've taught already of what sort 
The seeds of all things are, and how distinct 
In divers forms they flit of own accord, 
Stirred with a motion everlasting on, 
And in what mode things be from them create, 
And since I've taught what the mind's nature is, 
And of what things 'tis with the body knit 
And thrives in strength, and by what mode uptorn 
That mind returns to its primordials, 
Now will I undertake an argument- 
One for these matters of supreme concern- 
That there exist those somewhats which we call 
The images of things: these, like to films 
Scaled off the utmost outside of the things, 
Flit hither and thither through the atmosphere, 
And the same terrify our intellects, 
Coming upon us waking or in sleep, 
When oft we peer at wonderful strange shapes 
And images of people lorn of light, 
Which oft have horribly roused us when we lay 
In slumber- that haply nevermore may we 
Suppose that souls get loose from Acheron, 
Or shades go floating in among the living, 
Or aught of us is left behind at death, 
When body and mind, destroyed together, each 
Back to its own primordials goes away. 

And thus I say that effigies of things, 
And tenuous shapes from off the things are sent, 
From off the utmost outside of the things, 
Which are like films or may be named a rind, 
Because the image bears like look and form 
With whatso body has shed it fluttering forth- 
A fact thou mayst, however dull thy wits, 
Well learn from this: mainly, because we see 
Even 'mongst visible objects many be 
That send forth bodies, loosely some diffused- 
Like smoke from oaken logs and heat from fires- 
And some more interwoven and condensed- 
As when the locusts in the summertime 
Put off their glossy tunics, or when calves 
At birth drop membranes from their body's surface, 
Or when, again, the slippery serpent doffs 
Its vestments 'mongst the thorns- for oft we see 
The breres augmented with their flying spoils: 
Since such takes place, 'tis likewise certain too 
That tenuous images from things are sent, 
From off the utmost outside of the things. 
For why those kinds should drop and part from things, 
Rather than others tenuous and thin, 
No power has man to open mouth to tell; 
Especially, since on outsides of things 
Are bodies many and minute which could, 
In the same order which they had before, 
And with the figure of their form preserved, 
Be thrown abroad, and much more swiftly too, 
Being less subject to impediments, 
As few in number and placed along the front. 
For truly many things we see discharge 
Their stuff at large, not only from their cores 
Deep-set within, as we have said above, 
But from their surfaces at times no less- 
Their very colours too. And commonly 
The awnings, saffron, red and dusky blue, 
Stretched overhead in mighty theatres, 
Upon their poles and cross-beams fluttering, 
Have such an action quite; for there they dye 
And make to undulate with their every hue 
The circled throng below, and all the stage, 
And rich attire in the patrician seats. 
And ever the more the theatre's dark walls 
Around them shut, the more all things within 
Laugh in the bright suffusion of strange glints, 
The daylight being withdrawn. And therefore, since 
The canvas hangings thus discharge their dye 
From off their surface, things in general must 
Likewise their tenuous effigies discharge, 
Because in either case they are off-thrown 
From off the surface. So there are indeed 
Such certain prints and vestiges of forms 
Which flit around, of subtlest texture made, 
Invisible, when separate, each and one. 
Again, all odour, smoke, and heat, and such 
Streams out of things diffusedly, because, 
Whilst coming from the deeps of body forth 
And rising out, along their bending path 
They're torn asunder, nor have gateways straight 
Wherethrough to mass themselves and struggle abroad. 
But contrariwise, when such a tenuous film 
Of outside colour is thrown off, there's naught 
Can rend it, since 'tis placed along the front 
Ready to hand. Lastly those images 
Which to our eyes in mirrors do appear, 
In water, or in any shining surface, 
Must be, since furnished with like look of things, 
Fashioned from images of things sent out. 
There are, then, tenuous effigies of forms, 
Like unto them, which no one can divine 
When taken singly, which do yet give back, 
When by continued and recurrent discharge 
Expelled, a picture from the mirrors' plane. 
Nor otherwise, it seems, can they be kept 
So well conserved that thus be given back 
Figures so like each object. 
Now then, learn 
How tenuous is the nature of an image. 
And in the first place, since primordials be 
So far beneath our senses, and mu