Afterwards, When huts they had procured and pelts and fire, And when the woman, joined unto the man, Withdrew with him into one dwelling place, Were known; and when they saw an offspring born From out themselves, then first the human race Began to soften. For 'twas now that fire Rendered their shivering frames less staunch to bear, Under the canopy of the sky, the cold; And Love reduced their shaggy hardiness; And children, with the prattle and the kiss, Soon broke the parents' haughty temper down. Then, too, did neighbours 'gin to league as friends, Eager to wrong no more or suffer wrong, And urged for children and the womankind Mercy, of fathers, whilst with cries and gestures They stammered hints how meet it was that all Should have compassion on the weak. And still, Though concord not in every wise could then Begotten be, a good, a goodly part Kept faith inviolate—or else mankind Long since had been unutterably cut off, And propagation never could have brought The species down the ages. Lest, perchance, Concerning these affairs thou ponderest In silent meditation, let me say 'Twas lightning brought primevally to earth The fire for mortals, and from thence hath spread O'er all the lands the flames of heat. For thus Even now we see so many objects, touched By the celestial flames, to flash aglow, When thunderbolt has dowered them with heat. Yet also when a many-branched tree, Beaten by winds, writhes swaying to and fro, Pressing 'gainst branches of a neighbour tree, There by the power of mighty rub and rub Is fire engendered; and at times out-flares The scorching heat of flame, when boughs do chafe Against the trunks. And of these causes, either May well have given to mortal men the fire. Next, food to cook and soften in the flame The sun instructed, since so oft they saw How objects mellowed, when subdued by warmth And by the raining blows of fiery beams, Through all the fields. And more and more each day Would men more strong in sense, more wise in heart, Teach them to change their earlier mode and life By fire and new devices. Kings began Cities to found and citadels to set, As strongholds and asylums for themselves, And flocks and fields to portion for each man After the beauty, strength, and sense of each— For beauty then imported much, and strength Had its own rights supreme. Thereafter, wealth Discovered was, and gold was brought to light, Which soon of honour stripped both strong and fair; For men, however beautiful in form Or valorous, will follow in the main The rich man's party. Yet were man to steer His life by sounder reasoning, he'd own Abounding riches, if with mind content He lived by thrift; for never, as I guess, Is there a lack of little in the world. But men wished glory for themselves and power Even that their fortunes on foundations firm Might rest forever, and that they themselves, The opulent, might pass a quiet life— In vain, in vain; since, in the strife to climb On to the heights of honour, men do make Their pathway terrible; and even when once They reach them, envy like the thunderbolt At times will smite, O hurling headlong down To murkiest Tartarus, in scorn; for, lo, All summits, all regions loftier than the rest, Smoke, blasted as by envy's thunderbolts; So better far in quiet to obey, Than to desire chief mastery of affairs And ownership of empires. Be it so; And let the weary sweat their life-blood out All to no end, battling in hate along The narrow path of man's ambition; Since all their wisdom is from others' lips, And all they seek is known from what they've heard And less from what they've thought. Nor is this folly Greater to-day, nor greater soon to be, Than' twas of old. And therefore kings were slain, And pristine majesty of golden thrones And haughty sceptres lay o'erturned in dust; And crowns, so splendid on the sovereign heads, Soon bloody under the proletarian feet, Groaned for their glories gone—for erst o'er-much Dreaded, thereafter with more greedy zest Trampled beneath the rabble heel. Thus things Down to the vilest lees of brawling mobs Succumbed, whilst each man sought unto himself Dominion and supremacy. So next Some wiser heads instructed men to found The magisterial office, and did frame Codes that they might consent to follow laws. For humankind, o'er wearied with a life Fostered by force, was ailing from its feuds; And so the sooner of its own free will Yielded to laws and strictest codes. For since Each hand made ready in its wrath to take A vengeance fiercer than by man's fair laws Is now conceded, men on this account Loathed the old life fostered by force. 'Tis thence That fear of punishments defiles each prize Of wicked days; for force and fraud ensnare Each man around, and in the main recoil On him from whence they sprung. Not easy 'tis For one who violates by ugly deeds The bonds of common peace to pass a life Composed and tranquil. For albeit he 'scape The race of gods and men, he yet must dread 'Twill not be hid forever—since, indeed, So many, oft babbling on amid their dreams Or raving in sickness, have betrayed themselves (As stories tell) and published at last Old secrets and the sins. But nature 'twas Urged men to utter various sounds of tongue And need and use did mould the names of things, About in same wise as the lack-speech years Compel young children unto gesturings, Making them point with finger here and there At what's before them. For each creature feels By instinct to what use to put his powers. Ere yet the bull-calf's scarce begotten horns Project above his brows, with them he 'gins Enraged to butt and savagely to thrust. But whelps of panthers and the lion's cubs With claws and paws and bites are at the fray Already, when their teeth and claws be scarce As yet engendered. So again, we see All breeds of winged creatures trust to wings And from their fledgling pinions seek to get A fluttering assistance. Thus, to think That in those days some man apportioned round To things their names, and that from him men learned Their first nomenclature, is foolery. For why could he mark everything by words And utter the various sounds of tongue, what time The rest may be supposed powerless To do the same? And, if the rest had not Already one with other used words, Whence was implanted in the teacher, then, Fore-knowledge of their use, and whence was given To him alone primordial faculty To know and see in mind what 'twas he willed? Besides, one only man could scarce subdue An overmastered multitude to choose To get by heart his names of things. A task Not easy 'tis in any wise to teach And to persuade the deaf concerning what 'Tis needful for to do. For ne'er would they Allow, nor ne'er in anywise endure Perpetual vain dingdong in their ears Of spoken sounds unheard before. And what, At last, in this affair so wondrous is, That human race (in whom a voice and tongue Were now in vigour) should by divers words Denote its objects, as each divers sense Might prompt?—since even the speechless herds, aye, since The very generations of wild beasts Are wont dissimilar and divers sounds To rouse from in them, when there's fear or pain, And when they burst with joys. And this, forsooth, 'Tis thine to know from plainest facts: when first Huge flabby jowls of mad Molossian hounds, Baring their hard white teeth, begin to snarl, They threaten, with infuriate lips peeled back, In sounds far other than with which they bark And fill with voices all the regions round. And when with fondling tongue they start to lick Their puppies, or do toss them round with paws, Feigning with gentle bites to gape and snap, They fawn with yelps of voice far other then Than when, alone within the house, they bay, Or whimpering slink with cringing sides from blows. Again the neighing of the horse, is that Not seen to differ likewise, when the stud In buoyant flower of his young years raves, Goaded by winged Love, amongst the mares, And when with widening nostrils out he snorts The call to battle, and when haply he Whinnies at times with terror-quaking limbs? Lastly, the flying race, the dappled birds, Hawks, ospreys, sea-gulls, searching food and life Amid the ocean billows in the brine, Utter at other times far other cries Than when they fight for food, or with their prey Struggle and strain. And birds there are which change With changing weather their own raucous songs— As long-lived generations of the crows Or flocks of rooks, when they be said to cry For rain and water and to call at times For winds and gales. Ergo, if divers moods Compel the brutes, though speechless evermore, To send forth divers sounds, O truly then How much more likely 'twere that mortal men In those days could with many a different sound Denote each separate thing. And now what cause Hath spread divinities of gods abroad Through mighty nations, and filled the cities full Of the high altars, and led to practices Of solemn rites in season—rites which still Flourish in midst of great affairs of state And midst great centres of man's civic life, The rites whence still a poor mortality Is grafted that quaking awe which rears aloft Still the new temples of gods from land to land And drives mankind to visit them in throngs On holy days—'tis not so hard to give Reason thereof in speech. Because, in sooth, Even in those days would the race of man Be seeing excelling visages of gods With mind awake; and in his sleeps, yet more— Bodies of wondrous growth. And, thus, to these Would men attribute sense, because they seemed To move their limbs and speak pronouncements high, Befitting glorious visage and vast powers. And men would give them an eternal life, Because their visages forevermore Were there before them, and their shapes remained, And chiefly, however, because men would not think Beings augmented with such mighty powers Could well by any force o'ermastered be. And men would think them in their happiness Excelling far, because the fear of death Vexed no one of them at all, and since At same time in men's sleeps men saw them do So many wonders, and yet feel therefrom Themselves no weariness. Besides, men marked How in a fixed order rolled around The systems of the sky, and changed times Of annual seasons, nor were able then To know thereof the causes. Therefore 'twas Men would take refuge in consigning all Unto divinities, and in feigning all Was guided by their nod. And in the sky They set the seats and vaults of gods, because Across the sky night and the moon are seen To roll along—moon, day, and night, and night's Old awesome constellations evermore, And the night-wandering fireballs of the sky, And flying flames, clouds, and the sun, the rains, Snow and the winds, the lightnings, and the hail, And the swift rumblings, and the hollow roar Of mighty menacings forevermore. O humankind unhappy!—when it ascribed Unto divinities such awesome deeds, And coupled thereto rigours of fierce wrath! What groans did men on that sad day beget Even for themselves, and O what wounds for us, What tears for our children's children! Nor, O man, Is thy true piety in this: with head Under the veil, still to be seen to turn Fronting a stone, and ever to approach Unto all altars; nor so prone on earth Forward to fall, to spread upturned palms Before the shrines of gods, nor yet to dew Altars with profuse blood of four-foot beasts, Nor vows with vows to link. But rather this: To look on all things with a master eye And mind at peace. For when we gaze aloft Upon the skiey vaults of yon great world And ether, fixed high o'er twinkling stars, And into our thought there come the journeyings Of sun and moon, O then into our breasts, O'erburdened already with their other ills, Begins forthwith to rear its sudden head One more misgiving: lest o'er us, percase, It be the gods' immeasurable power That rolls, with varied motion, round and round The far white constellations. For the lack Of aught of reasons tries the puzzled mind: Whether was ever a birth-time of the world, And whether, likewise, any end shall be How far the ramparts of the world can still Outstand this strain of ever-roused motion, Or whether, divinely with eternal weal Endowed, they can through endless tracts of age Glide on, defying the o'er-mighty powers Of the immeasurable ages. Lo, What man is there whose mind with dread of gods Cringes not close, whose limbs with terror-spell Crouch not together, when the parched earth Quakes with the horrible thunderbolt amain, And across the mighty sky the rumblings run? Do not the peoples and the nations shake, And haughty kings do they not hug their limbs, Strook through with fear of the divinities, Lest for aught foully done or madly said The heavy time be now at hand to pay? When, too, fierce force of fury-winds at sea Sweepeth a navy's admiral down the main With his stout legions and his elephants, Doth he not seek the peace of gods with vows, And beg in prayer, a-tremble, lulled winds And friendly gales?—in vain, since, often up-caught In fury-cyclones, is he borne along, For all his mouthings, to the shoals of doom. Ah, so irrevocably some hidden power Betramples forevermore affairs of men, And visibly grindeth with its heel in mire The lictors' glorious rods and axes dire, Having them in derision! Again, when earth From end to end is rocking under foot, And shaken cities ruin down, or threaten Upon the verge, what wonder is it then That mortal generations abase themselves, And unto gods in all affairs of earth Assign as last resort almighty powers And wondrous energies to govern all? Now for the rest: copper and gold and iron Discovered were, and with them silver's weight And power of lead, when with prodigious heat The conflagrations burned the forest trees Among the mighty mountains, by a bolt Of lightning from the sky, or else because Men, warring in the woodlands, on their foes Had hurled fire to frighten and dismay, Or yet because, by goodness of the soil Invited, men desired to clear rich fields And turn the countryside to pasture-lands, Or slay the wild and thrive upon the spoils. (For hunting by pit-fall and by fire arose Before the art of hedging the covert round With net or stirring it with dogs of chase.) Howso the fact, and from what cause soever The flamy heat with awful crack and roar Had there devoured to their deepest roots The forest trees and baked the earth with fire, Then from the boiling veins began to ooze O rivulets of silver and of gold, Of lead and copper too, collecting soon Into the hollow places of the ground. And when men saw the cooled lumps anon To shine with splendour-sheen upon the ground, Much taken with that lustrous smooth delight, They 'gan to pry them out, and saw how each Had got a shape like to its earthy mould. Then would it enter their heads how these same lumps, If melted by heat, could into any form Or figure of things be run, and how, again, If hammered out, they could be nicely drawn To sharpest points or finest edge, and thus Yield to the forgers tools and give them power To chop the forest down, to hew the logs, To shave the beams and planks, besides to bore And punch and drill. And men began such work At first as much with tools of silver and gold As with the impetuous strength of the stout copper; But vainly—since their over-mastered power Would soon give way, unable to endure, Like copper, such hard labour. In those days Copper it was that was the thing of price; And gold lay useless, blunted with dull edge. Now lies the copper low, and gold hath come Unto the loftiest honours. Thus it is That rolling ages change the times of things: What erst was of a price, becomes at last A discard of no honour; whilst another Succeeds to glory, issuing from contempt, And day by day is sought for more and more, And, when 'tis found, doth flower in men's praise, Objects of wondrous honour. Now, Memmius, How nature of iron discovered was, thou mayst Of thine own self divine. Man's ancient arms Were hands, and nails and teeth, stones too and boughs— Breakage of forest trees—and flame and fire, As soon as known. Thereafter force of iron And copper discovered was; and copper's use Was known ere iron's, since more tractable Its nature is and its abundance more. With copper men to work the soil began, With copper to rouse the hurly waves of war, To straw the monstrous wounds, and seize away Another's flocks and fields. For unto them, Thus armed, all things naked of defence Readily yielded. Then by slow degrees The sword of iron succeeded, and the shape Of brazen sickle into scorn was turned: With iron to cleave the soil of earth they 'gan, And the contentions of uncertain war Were rendered equal. And, lo, man was wont Armed to mount upon the ribs of horse And guide him with the rein, and play about With right hand free, oft times before he tried Perils of war in yoked chariot; And yoked pairs abreast came earlier Than yokes of four, or scythed chariots Whereinto clomb the men-at-arms. And next The Punic folk did train the elephants— Those curst Lucanian oxen, hideous, The serpent-handed, with turrets on their bulks— To dure the wounds of war and panic-strike The mighty troops of Mars. Thus Discord sad Begat the one Thing after other, to be The terror of the nations under arms, And day by day to horrors of old war She added an increase. Bulls, too, they tried In war's grim business; and essayed to send Outrageous boars against the foes. And some Sent on before their ranks puissant lions With armed trainers and with masters fierce To guide and hold in chains—and yet in vain, Since fleshed with pell-mell slaughter, fierce they flew, And blindly through the squadrons havoc wrought, Shaking the frightful crests upon their heads, Now here, now there. Nor could the horsemen calm Their horses, panic-breasted at the roar, And rein them round to front the foe. With spring The infuriate she-lions would up-leap Now here, now there; and whoso came apace Against them, these they'd rend across the face; And others unwitting from behind they'd tear Down from their mounts, and twining round them, bring Tumbling to earth, o'ermastered by the wound, And with those powerful fangs and hooked claws Fasten upon them. Bulls would toss their friends, And trample under foot, and from beneath Rip flanks and bellies of horses with their horns, And with a threat'ning forehead jam the sod; And boars would gore with stout tusks their allies, Splashing in fury their own blood on spears Splintered in their own bodies, and would fell In rout and ruin infantry and horse. For there the beasts-of-saddle tried to scape The savage thrusts of tusk by shying off, Or rearing up with hoofs a-paw in air. In vain—since there thou mightest see them sink, Their sinews severed, and with heavy fall Bestrew the ground. And such of these as men Supposed well-trained long ago at home, Were in the thick of action seen to foam In fury, from the wounds, the shrieks, the flight, The panic, and the tumult; nor could men Aught of their numbers rally. For each breed And various of the wild beasts fled apart Hither or thither, as often in wars to-day Flee those Lucanian oxen, by the steel Grievously mangled, after they have wrought Upon their friends so many a dreadful doom. (If 'twas, indeed, that thus they did at all: But scarcely I'll believe that men could not With mind foreknow and see, as sure to come, Such foul and general disaster.—This We, then, may hold as true in the great All, In divers worlds on divers plan create,— Somewhere afar more likely than upon One certain earth.) But men chose this to do Less in the hope of conquering than to give Their enemies a goodly cause of woe, Even though thereby they perished themselves, Since weak in numbers and since wanting arms. Now, clothes of roughly inter-plaited strands Were earlier than loom-wove coverings; The loom-wove later than man's iron is, Since iron is needful in the weaving art, Nor by no other means can there be wrought Such polished tools—the treadles, spindles, shuttles, And sounding yarn-beams. And nature forced the men, Before the woman kind, to work the wool: For all the male kind far excels in skill, And cleverer is by much—until at last The rugged farmer folk jeered at such tasks, And so were eager soon to give them o'er To women's hands, and in more hardy toil To harden arms and hands. But nature herself, Mother of things, was the first seed-sower And primal grafter; since the berries and acorns, Dropping from off the trees, would there beneath Put forth in season swarms of little shoots; Hence too men's fondness for ingrafting slips Upon the boughs and setting out in holes The young shrubs o'er the fields. Then would they try Ever new modes of tilling their loved crofts, And mark they would how earth improved the taste Of the wild fruits by fond and fostering care. And day by day they'd force the woods to move Still higher up the mountain, and to yield The place below for tilth, that there they might, On plains and uplands, have their meadow-plats, Cisterns and runnels, crops of standing grain, And happy vineyards, and that all along O'er hillocks, intervales, and plains might run The silvery-green belt of olive-trees, Marking the plotted landscape; even as now Thou seest so marked with varied loveliness All the terrain which men adorn and plant With rows of goodly fruit-trees and hedge round With thriving shrubberies sown. But by the mouth To imitate the liquid notes of birds Was earlier far 'mongst men than power to make, By measured song, melodious verse and give Delight to ears. And whistlings of the wind Athrough the hollows of the reeds first taught The peasantry to blow into the stalks Of hollow hemlock-herb. Then bit by bit They learned sweet plainings, such as pipe out-pours, Beaten by finger-tips of singing men, When heard through unpathed groves and forest deeps And woodsy meadows, through the untrod haunts Of shepherd folk and spots divinely still. Thus time draws forward each and everything Little by little unto the midst of men, And reason uplifts it to the shores of light. These tunes would soothe and glad the minds of mortals When sated with food,—for songs are welcome then. And often, lounging with friends in the soft grass Beside a river of water, underneath A big tree's branches, merrily they'd refresh Their frames, with no vast outlay—most of all If the weather were smiling and the times of the year Were painting the green of the grass around with flowers. Then jokes, then talk, then peals of jollity Would circle round; for then the rustic muse Was in her glory; then would antic Mirth Prompt them to garland head and shoulders about With chaplets of intertwined flowers and leaves, And to dance onward, out of tune, with limbs Clownishly swaying, and with clownish foot To beat our mother earth—from whence arose Laughter and peals of jollity, for, lo, Such frolic acts were in their glory then, Being more new and strange. And wakeful men Found solaces for their unsleeping hours In drawing forth variety of notes, In modulating melodies, in running With puckered lips along the tuned reeds, Whence, even in our day do the watchmen guard These old traditions, and have learned well To keep true measure. And yet they no whit Do get a larger fruit of gladsomeness Than got the woodland aborigines In olden times. For what we have at hand— If theretofore naught sweeter we have known— That chiefly pleases and seems best of all; But then some later, likely better, find Destroys its worth and changes our desires Regarding good of yesterday. And thus Began the loathing of the acorn; thus Abandoned were those beds with grasses strewn And with the leaves beladen. Thus, again, Fell into new contempt the pelts of beasts— Erstwhile a robe of honour, which, I guess, Aroused in those days envy so malign That the first wearer went to woeful death By ambuscades,—and yet that hairy prize, Rent into rags by greedy foemen there And splashed by blood, was ruined utterly Beyond all use or vantage. Thus of old 'Twas pelts, and of to-day 'tis purple and gold That cark men's lives with cares and weary with war. Wherefore, methinks, resides the greater blame With us vain men to-day: for cold would rack, Without their pelts, the naked sons of earth; But us it nothing hurts to do without The purple vestment, broidered with gold And with imposing figures, if we still Make shift with some mean garment of the Plebs. So man in vain futilities toils on Forever and wastes in idle cares his years— Because, of very truth, he hath not learnt What the true end of getting is, nor yet At all how far true pleasure may increase. And 'tis desire for better and for more Hath carried by degrees mortality Out onward to the deep, and roused up From the far bottom mighty waves of war. But sun and moon, those watchmen of the world, With their own lanterns traversing around The mighty, the revolving vault, have taught Unto mankind that seasons of the years Return again, and that the Thing takes place After a fixed plan and order fixed. Already would they pass their life, hedged round By the strong towers; and cultivate an earth All portioned out and boundaried; already Would the sea flower and sail-winged ships; Already men had, under treaty pacts, Confederates and allies, when poets began To hand heroic actions down in verse; Nor long ere this had letters been devised— Hence is our age unable to look back On what has gone before, except where reason Shows us a footprint. Sailings on the seas, Tillings of fields, walls, laws, and arms, and roads, Dress and the like, all prizes, all delights Of finer life, poems, pictures, chiselled shapes Of polished sculptures—all these arts were learned By practice and the mind's experience, As men walked forward step by eager step. Thus time draws forward each and everything Little by little into the midst of men, And reason uplifts it to the shores of light. For one thing after other did men see Grow clear by intellect, till with their arts They've now achieved the supreme pinnacle.