Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Juxtapositions: Lucretius and Frost

Lucretius, De Rerum Natura 1.250-64 (ca. 56 BC?)
(translation mine)

Finally, the rains perish, as soon as Father Sky
has hurled them into the womb of Mother Earth.
And the bright fruits rise, and the branches strengthen
on the trees, and themselves grow and are freighted with young.
Thus is nourished our own species and those of the beasts.
Thus do we see the joyous cities flower with boys
and the leafy woods singing with new birds on all sides.
Thus the cattle weary with fat set their happy bodies
down in the pasture, and wet white milk
swings in their swollen udders. Thus the new calf,
frisky on shaky joints, plays in the soft grass,
its new mind energized with raw milk.
So nothing whatsoever really passes away
when Nature refashions something from something else,
and suffers nothing to exist except with the help of something else’s death.

The Pasture (1915)
Robert Frost

I'm going out to clean the pasture spring; 
I'll only stop to rake the leaves away 
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may): 
I sha'n't be gone long.—You come too. 

I'm going out to fetch the little calf 
That's standing by the mother. It's so young, 
It totters when she licks it with her tongue. 
I sha'n't be gone long.—You come too.

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