Lucretius, Titus Carus

, a celebrated Roman poet and philosopher, born about the year 96 B. C. was sent at an early age to Athens, where, under Zeno and Pheodrus, he imbibed the philosophical tenets of Epicurus and Empedocles, and afterwards explained and elucidated them in his celebrated work, entitled “De Rerum Natura.” In inis poem the writer has not only controverted all the popular notions of heathenism, but even those points which are fundamental in every system of religious faith, the existence of a first cause, by whose power all things were and are created, and by whose providence they are supported and governed. His merits, however, as a poet, have procured him in all ages, the warmest admirers; and undoubtedly where the subject admits of elevated sentiment and descriptive beauty, no Roman poet has taken a loftier flight, or exhibited more spirit and sublimity; the same animated strain is supported almost throughout entire books. His poem was written and finished while he laboured under a violent delirium, occasioned by a philtre, which the jealousy of his mistress or his wife had administered. The morality of Lucretius is generally pure, but many of his descriptions are grossly licentious. The best editions are those of Creech, Oxon. 1695, 8vo; of Havercamp, Lugd. Bat. 1725, 4to, and of the celebrated Gilbert Wakefield, Lond. 3 vols. 4to, which last is exceedingly rare, on account of the v fire which destroyed the greater part of the impression. Mr. Good, the author of the best translation of Lucretius, published in 1805, has reprinted Waketield’s text, and has given, besides elaborate annotations, a critical account of the principal editions and translations of his author, a history of the poet, a vindication of his character and philosophy, and a comparative statement of the rival systems of philosophy that flourished in the time of Lucretius, to whom Mr. Good traces the inductive method of the illustrious Bacon, part of the sublime physics of sir Isaac Newton, and various chemical discoveries of our own days, perhaps a little too fancifully, but with great ingenuity and display of recondite learning. 2


Good’s Lucretius, as above.