Here you will find the Long Poem Book IV - Part 04 - Some Vital Functions of poet Lucretius

Book IV - Part 04 - Some Vital Functions

In these affairs 
We crave that thou wilt passionately flee 
The one offence, and anxiously wilt shun 
The error of presuming the clear lights 
Of eyes created were that we might see; 
Or thighs and knees, aprop upon the feet, 
Thuswise can bended be, that we might step 
With goodly strides ahead; or forearms joined 
Unto the sturdy uppers, or serving hands 
On either side were given, that we might do 
Life's own demands. All such interpretation 
Is aft-for-fore with inverse reasoning, 
Since naught is born in body so that we 
May use the same, but birth engenders use: 
No seeing ere the lights of eyes were born, 
No speaking ere the tongue created was; 
But origin of tongue came long before 
Discourse of words, and ears created were 
Much earlier than any sound was heard; 
And all the members, so meseems, were there 
Before they got their use: and therefore, they 
Could not be gendered for the sake of use. 
But contrariwise, contending in the fight 
With hand to hand, and rending of the joints, 
And fouling of the limbs with gore, was there, 
O long before the gleaming spears ere flew; 
And Nature prompted man to shun a wound, 
Before the left arm by the aid of art 
Opposed the shielding targe. And, verily, 
Yielding the weary body to repose, 
Far ancienter than cushions of soft beds, 
And quenching thirst is earlier than cups. 
These objects, therefore, which for use and life 
Have been devised, can be conceived as found 
For sake of using. But apart from such 
Are all which first were born and afterwards 
Gave knowledge of their own utility- 
Chief in which sort we note the senses, limbs: 
Wherefore, again, 'tis quite beyond thy power 
To hold that these could thus have been create 
For office of utility. 
'Tis nothing strange that all the breathing creatures 
Seek, even by nature of their frame, their food. 
Yes, since I've taught thee that from off the things 
Stream and depart innumerable bodies 
In modes innumerable too; but most 
Must be the bodies streaming from the living- 
Which bodies, vexed by motion evermore, 
Are through the mouth exhaled innumerable, 
When weary creatures pant, or through the sweat 
Squeezed forth innumerable from deep within. 
Thus body rarefies, so undermined 
In all its nature, and pain attends its state. 
And so the food is taken to underprop 
The tottering joints, and by its interfusion 
To re-create their powers, and there stop up 
The longing, open-mouthed through limbs and veins, 
For eating. And the moist no less departs 
Into all regions that demand the moist; 
And many heaped-up particles of hot, 
Which cause such burnings in these bellies of ours, 
The liquid on arriving dissipates 
And quenches like a fire, that parching heat 
No longer now can scorch the frame. And so, 
Thou seest how panting thirst is washed away 
From off our body, how the hunger-pang 
It, too, appeased. 
Now, how it comes that we, 
Whene'er we wish, can step with strides ahead, 
And how 'tis given to move our limbs about, 
And what device is wont to push ahead 
This the big load of our corporeal frame, 
I'll say to thee- do thou attend what's said. 
I say that first some idol-films of walking 
Into our mind do fall and smite the mind, 
As said before. Thereafter will arises; 
For no one starts to do a thing, before 
The intellect previsions what it wills; 
And what it there pre-visioneth depends 
On what that image is. When, therefore, mind 
Doth so bestir itself that it doth will 
To go and step along, it strikes at once 
That energy of soul that's sown about 
In all the body through the limbs and frame- 
And this is easy of performance, since 
The soul is close conjoined with the mind. 
Next, soul in turn strikes body, and by degrees 
Thus the whole mass is pushed along and moved. 
Then too the body rarefies, and air, 
Forsooth as ever of such nimbleness, 
Comes on and penetrates aboundingly 
Through opened pores, and thus is sprinkled round 
Unto all smallest places in our frame. 
Thus then by these twain factors, severally, 
Body is borne like ship with oars and wind. 
Nor yet in these affairs is aught for wonder 
That particles so fine can whirl around 
So great a body and turn this weight of ours; 
For wind, so tenuous with its subtle body, 
Yet pushes, driving on the mighty ship 
Of mighty bulk; one hand directs the same, 
Whatever its momentum, and one helm 
Whirls it around, whither ye please; and loads, 
Many and huge, are moved and hoisted high 
By enginery of pulley-blocks and wheels, 
With but light strain. 
Now, by what modes this sleep 
Pours through our members waters of repose 
And frees the breast from cares of mind, I'll tell 
In verses