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. Likewise, '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 sweeter than they many are; Even as the swan's slight note is better far Than that dispersed clamour of the cranes Among the southwind's aery clouds. Do thou Give me sharp ears and a sagacious mind,— That thou mayst not deny the things to be Whereof I'm speaking, nor depart away With bosom scorning these the spoken truths, Thyself at fault unable to perceive. Sleep chiefly comes when energy of soul Hath now been scattered through the frame, and part Expelled abroad and gone away, and part Crammed back and settling deep within the frame— Whereafter then our loosened members droop. For doubt is none that by the work of soul Exist in us this sense, and when by slumber That sense is thwarted, we are bound to think The soul confounded and expelled abroad— Yet not entirely, else the frame would lie Drenched in the everlasting cold of death. In sooth, where no one part of soul remained Lurking among the members, even as fire Lurks buried under many ashes, whence Could sense amain rekindled be in members, As flame can rise anew from unseen fire? By what devices this strange state and new May be occasioned, and by what the soul Can be confounded and the frame grow faint, I will untangle: see to it, thou, that I Pour forth my words not unto empty winds. In first place, body on its outer parts— Since these are touched by neighbouring aery gusts— Must there be thumped and strook by blows of air Repeatedly. And therefore almost all Are covered either with hides, or else with shells, Or with the horny callus, or with bark. Yet this same air lashes their inner parts, When creatures draw a breath or blow it out. Wherefore, since body thus is flogged alike Upon the inside and the out, and blows Come in upon us through the little pores Even inward to our body's primal parts And primal elements, there comes to pass By slow degrees, along our members then, A kind of overthrow; for then confounded Are those arrangements of the primal germs Of body and of mind. It comes to pass That next a part of soul's expelled abroad, A part retreateth in recesses hid, A part, too, scattered all about the frame, Cannot become united nor engage In interchange of motion. Nature now So hedges off approaches and the paths; And thus the sense, its motions all deranged, Retires down deep within; and since there's naught, As 'twere, to prop the frame, the body weakens, And all the members languish, and the arms And eyelids fall, and, as ye lie abed, Even there the houghs will sag and loose their powers. Again, sleep follows after food, because The food produces same result as air, Whilst being scattered round through all the veins; And much the heaviest is that slumber which, Full or fatigued, thou takest; since 'tis then That the most bodies disarrange themselves, Bruised by labours hard. And in same wise, This three-fold change: a forcing of the soul Down deeper, more a casting-forth of it, A moving more divided in its parts And scattered more. And to whate'er pursuit A man most clings absorbed, or what the affairs On which we theretofore have tarried much, And mind hath strained upon the more, we seem In sleep not rarely to go at the same. The lawyers seem to plead and cite decrees, Commanders they to fight and go at frays, Sailors to live in combat with the winds, And we ourselves indeed to make this book, And still to seek the nature of the world And set it down, when once discovered, here In these my country's leaves. Thus all pursuits, All arts in general seem in sleeps to mock And master the minds of men. And whosoever Day after day for long to games have given Attention undivided, still they keep (As oft we note), even when they've ceased to grasp Those games with their own senses, open paths Within the mind wherethrough the idol-films Of just those games can come. And thus it is For many a day thereafter those appear Floating before the eyes, that even awake They think they view the dancers moving round Their supple limbs, and catch with both the ears The liquid song of harp and speaking chords, And view the same assembly on the seats, And manifold bright glories of the stage— So great the influence of pursuit and zest, And of the affairs wherein 'thas been the wont Of men to be engaged-nor only men, But soothly all the animals. Behold, Thou'lt see the sturdy horses, though outstretched, Yet sweating in their sleep, and panting ever, And straining utmost strength, as if for prize, As if, with barriers opened now... And hounds of huntsmen oft in soft repose Yet toss asudden all their legs about, And growl and bark, and with their nostrils sniff The winds again, again, as though indeed They'd caught the scented foot-prints of wild beasts, And, even when wakened, often they pursue The phantom images of stags, as though They did perceive them fleeing on before, Until the illusion's shaken off and dogs Come to themselves again. And fawning breed Of house-bred whelps do feel the sudden urge To shake their bodies and start from off the ground, As if beholding stranger-visages. And ever the fiercer be the stock, the more In sleep the same is ever bound to rage. But flee the divers tribes of birds and vex With sudden wings by night the groves of gods, When in their gentle slumbers they have dreamed Of hawks in chase, aswooping on for fight. Again, the minds of mortals which perform With mighty motions mighty enterprises, Often in sleep will do and dare the same In manner like. Kings take the towns by storm, Succumb to capture, battle on the field, Raise a wild cry as if their throats were cut Even then and there. And many wrestle on And groan with pains, and fill all regions round With mighty cries and wild, as if then gnawed By fangs of panther or of lion fierce. Many amid their slumbers talk about Their mighty enterprises, and have often Enough become the proof of their own crimes. Many meet death; many, as if headlong From lofty mountains tumbling down to earth With all their frame, are frenzied in their fright; And after sleep, as if still mad in mind, They scarce come to, confounded as they are By ferment of their frame. The thirsty man, Likewise, he sits beside delightful spring Or river and gulpeth down with gaping throat Nigh the whole stream. And oft the innocent young, By sleep o'ermastered, think they lift their dress By pail or public jordan and then void The water filtered down their frame entire And drench the Babylonian coverlets, Magnificently bright. Again, those males Into the surging channels of whose years Now first has passed the seed (engendered Within their members by the ripened days) Are in their sleep confronted from without By idol-images of some fair form— Tidings of glorious face and lovely bloom, Which stir and goad the regions turgid now With seed abundant; so that, as it were With all the matter acted duly out, They pour the billows of a potent stream And stain their garment. And as said before, That seed is roused in us when once ripe age Has made our body strong... As divers causes give to divers things Impulse and irritation, so one force In human kind rouses the human seed To spurt from man. As soon as ever it issues, Forced from its first abodes, it passes down In the whole body through the limbs and frame, Meeting in certain regions of our thews, And stirs amain the genitals of man. The goaded regions swell with seed, and then Comes the delight to dart the same at what The mad desire so yearns, and body seeks That object, whence the mind by love is pierced. For well-nigh each man falleth toward his wound, And our blood spurts even toward the spot from whence The stroke wherewith we are strook, and if indeed The foe be close, the red jet reaches him. Thus, one who gets a stroke from Venus' shafts— Whether a boy with limbs effeminate Assault him, or a woman darting love From all her body—that one strains to get Even to the thing whereby he's hit, and longs To join with it and cast into its frame The fluid drawn even from within its own. For the mute craving doth presage delight.