Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

On the Nature of Things (Leonard translation)

Book cover
By: (c. 99 BC - 55 BC)

On the Nature of Things, written in the first century BCE by Titus Lucretius Carus, is one of the principle expositions on Epicurean philosophy and science to have survived from antiquity. Far from being a dry treatise on the many topics it covers, the original Latin version (entitled De Rerum Natura) was written in the form of an extended poem in hexameter, with a beauty of style that was admired and emulated by his successors, including Ovid and Cicero. The version read here is an English verse translation written by William Ellery Leonard. Although Leonard penned his version in the early twentieth century, he chose to adhere to both the vocabulary and meter (alternating between pentameter and hexameter) of Elizabethan-era poetry.

While the six untitled books that comprise On the Nature of Things delve into a broad range of subjects, including the physical nature of the universe, the workings of the human mind and body, and the natural history of the Earth, Lucretius repeatedly asserts throughout the work that his chief purpose is to provide the reader with a means to escape the "darkness of the mind" imposed by superstition and ignorance. To this end he offers us his enlightening verses, that through them might be revealed to us "nature's aspect, and her laws".

First Page:


By Titus Lucretius Carus

A Metrical Translation

By William Ellery Leonard



Mother of Rome, delight of Gods and men, Dear Venus that beneath the gliding stars Makest to teem the many voyaged main And fruitful lands for all of living things Through thee alone are evermore conceived, Through thee are risen to visit the great sun Before thee, Goddess, and thy coming on, Flee stormy wind and massy cloud away, For thee the daedal Earth bears scented flowers, For thee waters of the unvexed deep Smile, and the hollows of the serene sky Glow with diffused radiance for thee! For soon as comes the springtime face of day, And procreant gales blow from the West unbarred, First fowls of air, smit to the heart by thee, Foretoken thy approach, O thou Divine, And leap the wild herds round the happy fields Or swim the bounding torrents. Thus amain, Seized with the spell, all creatures follow thee Whithersoever thou walkest forth to lead, And thence through seas and mountains and swift streams, Through leafy homes of birds and greening plains, Kindling the lure of love in every breast, Thou bringest the eternal generations forth, Kind after kind... Continue reading book >>

Stream audiobook and download chapters

eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book

Popular Genres
More Genres
Paid Books