Sunday, May 29, 2005
Familiarity Breeds Contempt
Lucretius, De Rerum Natura
First consider the clear and pure color of the sky, and everything it contains -- the stars wandering here and there, and the moon and the splendor of the sun with its bright light. If all these things were now suddenly and unexpectedly presented to us mortals for the first time, what more wonderful could be named than these, or that mankind could less venture to believe would exist? Nothing, I think. So wonderful to behold would this sight be. But now, bored with seeing it so often, no one bothers to look up at the shining regions of the sky.
principio caeli clarum purumque colorem
quaeque in se cohibet, palantia sidera passim,
lunamque et solis praeclara luce nitorem;
omnia quae nunc si primum mortalibus essent
ex improviso si sint obiecta repente,
quid magis his rebus poterat mirabile dici,
aut minus ante quod auderent fore credere gentes?
nil, ut opinor; ita haec species miranda fuisset.
quam tibi iam nemo fessus satiate videndi,
suspicere in caeli dignatur lucida templa.