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This allusion to billiard-balls recalls to my mind a striking passage from Tyndall's famous Belfast Address which he puts in the mouth of Bishop Butler in his imaginary argument with Lucretius, and which shows how thoroughly Tyndall appreciated the difficulties of his own position in advocating the theory of the physico-chemical origin of life.

Spurius Lucretius came accompanied by Publius Valerius, the son of Volesus, Collatinus with Lucius Junius Brutus, in company with whom, as he was returning to Rome, he happened to be met by his wife's messenger. They found Lucretia sitting in her chamber in sorrowful dejection.

The writings of Epicurus were no longer preserved, and even at the close of the classical age a more or less one-sided conception had been formed of his philosophy. Nevertheless, that phase of Epicureanism which can be studied in Lucretius, and especially in Cicero, is quite sufficient to make men familiar with a godless universe.

Spurius Lucretius was elected consul, who, owing to his great age, and his strength being inadequate to discharge the consular duties, died within a few days. Marcus Horatius Pulvillus was chosen in the room of Lucretius. In some ancient authorities I find no mention of Lucretius as consul; they place Horatius immediately after Brutus.

Lucretius pictured the atoms of things as like the things perceived by the senses; he said that atoms of different kinds have different shapes, but the number of shapes is finite, because there is a limit to the number of different things we see, smell, taste, and handle; he implies, although I do not think he definitely asserts, that all atoms of one kind are identical in every respect.

The old Roman alliteration, the want of due correspondence between the pauses of the verse and those of the sentence, and generally the older modes of expression and composition, are still frequently found in Lucretius' rhythms, and although he handles the verse more melodiously than Ennius, his hexameters move not, as those of the modern poetical school, with a lively grace like the rippling brook, but with a stately slowness like the stream of liquid gold.

And hence we find the same sort of clumsiness in the Timaeus of Plato which characterizes the philosophical poem of Lucretius. There is a want of flow and often a defect of rhythm; the meaning is sometimes obscure, and there is a greater use of apposition and more of repetition than occurs in Plato's earlier writings.

There was an Ennius, and in process of time a Lucilius and a Lucretius, before Virgil and Horace; even after Chaucer there was a Spenser, a Harrington, a Fairfax, before Waller and Denham were in being; and our numbers were in their nonage till these last appeared. I need say little of his parentage, life, and fortunes: they are to be found at large in all the editions of his works.

Now, Lucretius represents nothing but the reaction against all this dread of future doom, whether that dread was inculcated by Platonic philosophy or by popular belief. The latter must have been much the more powerful and widely diffused.

Great literary memories crowd the brief passage of his diary quoted above Epiktetos and Lucretius and the Stoa, Plato and Sokrates, Demokritos and the Hippokratean school of medicine from which we took our first quotation, and simpler minds and more primitive artists in the dim generations behind. We are carried right back through the tragedy at which we have been looking on.

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