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LUCRETIUS, by             Poem Explanation     Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: Lucretius! King of men, that are
Subject(s): Lucretius (99-55 B.c.); Poetry And Poets



I
Visions, to sear with flame his worn and haunted eyes,

Throng him: and fears unknown invest the black night hours.
I
Visions, to sear with flame his worn and haunted eyes,
His royal reason fights with undefeated Powers,
Throng him: and fears unknown invest the black night hours.
Armies of mad desires, legions of wanton lies;
His royal reason fights with undefeated Powers,
His ears are full of pain, because of their fierce cries:
Armies of mad desires, legions of wanton lies;
Nor from his tended thoughts, for all their fruits and flowers,
Comes solace: for Philosophy within her bowers
His ears are full of pain, because of their fierce cries:
Nor from his tended thoughts, for all their fruits and flowers,
Falls faint, and sick to death. Therefore Lucretius dies.

Comes solace: for Philosophy within her bowers
Falls faint, and sick to death. Therefore previous hit Lucretius next hit dies.

Dead! And his deathless death hath him, so still and stark!
Dead! And his deathless death hath him, so still and stark!
No change upon the deep, no change upon the earth,
No change upon the deep, no change upon the earth,
None in the wastes of nature, the starred wilderness.
None in the wastes of nature, the starred wilderness.
Wandering flames and thunders of the shaken dark:
Wandering flames and thunders of the shaken dark:
Among the mountain heights, winds wild with stormy mirth:
Among the mountain heights, winds wild with stormy mirth:
These were before, and these will be: no more, no less.
These were before, and these will be: no more, no less.

1890



II
Lucretius! King of men, that are
II
Lucretius! King of men , that are
No more, they think, than men:
No more, they think, than men:
Who, past the flaming walls afar,
Find nought within their ken:
Who, past the flaming walls afar,
The cruel draught, that wildered thee,
Find nought within their ken:

And drove thee upon sleep,
Was kinder than Philosophy,

The cruel draught, that wildered thee,
Who would not let thee weep.
And drove thee upon sleep,
Thou knowest now, that life and death
Are wondrous intervals:
Was kinder than Philosophy,
Who would not let thee weep.
The fortunes of a fitful breath,
Within the flaming walls.

Without them, an eternal plan,

Which life and death obey:
Thou knowest now, that life and death
Are wondrous intervals:
Divinity, that fashions man,
The fortunes of a fitful breath,
Its high, immortal way.
Or was he right, thy past compare,
Within the flaming walls.
Thy one true voice of Greece?

Then, whirled about the unconscious air,

Thou hast a vehement peace.
Without them, an eternal plan,
Which life and death obey:
No calms of light, no purple lands,
No sanctuaries sublime:
Divinity, that fashions man,
Like storms of snow, like quaking sands,
Its high, immortal way.
Thine atoms drift through time.



Or was he right, thy past compare,

Thy one true voice of Greece?
III
Mightiest-minded of the Roman race,
Then, whirled about the unconscious air,
Thou hast a vehement peace.
Lucretius!

In thy predestined, purgatory place,
Where thou and thine Iphigenia wait:

No calms of light, no purple lands,
What think'st thou of the Vision and the Fate,
No sanctuaries sublime:
Wherewith the Christ makes all thine outcries vain?
Art learning Christ through sweet and bitter pain,
Like storms of snow, like quaking sands,
Thine atoms drift through time.
Lucretius?
1889
Heaviest-hearted of the sons of men,
Lucretius!

Well couldst thou justify severe thoughts then,

III
Considering thy lamentable Rome:
Mightiest-minded of the Roman race,
But thou wilt come to an imperial home,
Lucretius!
With walls of jasper, past the walls of fire:
In thy predestined, purgatory place,
To God's proud City, and thine heart's desire,
Lucretius!
Where thou and thine Iphigenia wait:

What think'st thou of the Vision and the Fate,

Wherewith the Christ makes all thine outcries vain?
Art learning Christ through sweet and bitter pain,
Lucretius?


Heaviest-hearted of the sons of men,
Lucretius!
Well couldst thou justify severe thoughts then,
Considering thy lamentable Rome:
But thou wilt come to an imperial home,
With walls of jasper, past the walls of fire:
To God's proud City, and thine heart's desire,
Lucretius!
1887






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