Naturam non pati senium.

Heu quàm perpetuis erroribus acta fatiscit
Avia mens hominum, tenebrisque immersa profundis
Oedipodioniam volvit sub pectore noctem!
Quæ vesana suis metiri facta deorum
Audet, & incisas leges adamante perenni [ 5 ]
Assimilare suis, nulloque solubile sæclo
Consilium fati perituris alligat horis.

Ergóne marcescet sulcantibus obsita rugis
Naturæ facies, & rerum publica mater
Omniparum contracta uterum sterilescet ab ævo? [ 10 ]
Et se fassa senem malè certis passibus ibit
Sidereum tremebunda caput? num tetra vetustas
Annorumque æterna fames, squalorque situsque
Sidera vexabunt? an & insatiabile Tempus
Esuriet Cælum, rapietque in viscera patrem? [ 15 ]
Heu, potuitne suas imprudens Jupiter arces
Hoc contra munisse nefas, & Temporis isto
Exemisse malo, gyrosque dedisse perennes?
Ergo erit ut quandoque sono dilapsa tremendo
Convexi tabulata ruant, atque obvius ictu [ 20 ]
Stridat uterque polus, superâque ut Olympius aulâ
Decidat, horribilisque retectâ Gorgone Pallas.
Qualis in Ægæam proles Junonia Lemnon
Deturbata sacro cecidit de limine cæli.
Tu quoque Phœbe tui casus imitabere nati [ 25 ]
Præcipiti curru, subitáque ferere ruinâ
Pronus, & extinctâ fumabit lampade Nereus,
Et dabit attonito feralia sibila ponto.
Tunc etiam aërei divulsis sedibus Hæmi
Dissultabit apex, imoque allisa barathro [ 30 ]
Terrebunt Stygium dejecta Ceraunia Ditem
In superos quibus usus erat, fraternaque bella.

At Pater omnipotens fundatis fortius astris
Consuluit rerum summæ, certoque peregit
Pondere fatorum lances, atque ordine summo [ 35 ]
Singula perpetuum jussit servare tenorem.
Volvitur hinc lapsu mundi rota prima diurno;
Raptat & ambitos sociâ vertigine cælos.
Tardior haud solito Saturnus, & acer ut olim
Fulmineùm rutilat cristatâ casside Mavors. [ 40 ]
Floridus æternùm Phœbus juvenile coruscat,
Nec fovet effœtas loca per declivia terras
Devexo temone Deus; sed semper amicá
Luce potens eadem currit per signa rotarum,
Surgit odoratis pariter formosus ab Indis [ 45 ]
Æthereum pecus albenti qui cogit Olympo
Mane vocans, & serus agens in pascua cæli,
Temporis & gemino dispertit regna colore.
Fulget, obitque vices alterno Delia cornu,
Cæruleumque ignem paribus complectitur ulnis. [ 50 ]
Nec variant elementa fidem, solitóque fragore
Lurida perculsas jaculantur fulmina rupes.
Nec per inane furit leviori murmure Corus,
Stringit & armiferos æquali horrore Gelonos
Trux Aquilo, spiratque hyemem, nimbosque volutat. [ 55 ]
Utque solet, Siculi diverberat ima Pelori
Rex maris, & raucâ circumstrepit æquora conchâ
Oceani Tubicen, nec vastâ mole minorem
Ægæona ferunt dorso Balearica cete.
Sed neque Terra tibi sæcli vigor ille vetusti [ 60 ]
Priscus abest, servatque suum Narcissus odorem,
Et puer ille suum tenet & puer ille decorem
Phœbe tuusque & Cypri tuus, nec ditior olim
Terra datum sceleri celavit montibus aurum
Conscia, vel sub aquis gemmas. Sic denique in ævum [ 65 ]
Ibit cunctarum series justissima rerum,
Donec flamma orbem populabitur ultima, latè
Circumplexa polos, & vasti culmina cæli;
Ingentique rogo flagrabit machina mundi.

Nature Suffers No Decay

Alas, how the wandering mind of man grows weary in the endless struggle with error; how, overwhelmed with profound darkness, it involves itself in a night like that wherein Oedipus wandered! Insanely it dares to judge the deeds of the gods by its own deeds, and to liken laws inscribed on everlasting adamant to its own laws. It limits to its own passing hours the plan of fate that is unchanged for ever.

Shall the face of Nature wither, and be furrowed with wrinkles; and shall the common mother, who has borne all things, with closed womb be barren from old age? Must she confess herself aged, and walk with uncertain steps, her starry head trembling? Shall loathsome age and the ceaseless hunger and thirst of the years, shall rust and decay, vex the stars? Shall insatiable Time swallow up Heaven and devour his own father? Alas, could imprudent Jove have fortified his citadels against this evil; could he have made them exempt from the ravages of Time, and have given them perpetual revolutions? Therefore some day it shall come to pass that the crumbling floor of heaven with thundrous roar shall fall in ruins, and the poles of the earth shall crash in collision, when Olympian Jove falls from his celestial palace, and with him dread Athene, her Gorgon shield uncovered, even as the son of Juno cast down from the sacred threshold of heaven fell upon Aegean Lemnos. And you, too, Phoebus, falling from your rushing chariot, shall imitate your own son's fate, and be borne down in sudden ruin; Nereus shall smoke at the extinction of your lamp, and give forth from the astonished sea a fearful hissing. Then with its foundations rent asunder, the summit even of lofty Haemus shall crumble; and the Ceraunian hills, which he used in the war on his brother immortals, broken and cast down to the lowest depths shall terrify Stygian Dis.

But the Father omnipotent who more firmly fixed the stars took thought for the sum of things, and made the scales of the fates to weigh with certain balance. He ordained all things in the great order to move in their own courses for ever. Therefore the prime wheel of the universe turns in diurnal round, and bears with it in whirling motion the heavenly spheres. Saturn moves no slower than his wont, and, fierce as of old, radiant Mars gleams in crested helmet. Phoebus shines with the bloom of perpetual youth, nor does he warm the valleys of the worn-out earth by a downward turn of his chariot; but ever through the same signs of the spheres he hastens on with friendly light. Beautiful as at first from fragrant India ascends the star whose office it is to shepherd the ethereal flocks on whitening Olympus, calling them home at dawn, and at evening leading them out on the pastures of heaven, parting the realms of time with twofold light. With alternate crescents changeful Delia still waxes and wanes, and with outstretched arms still clasps the kindled blue. The elements break not their faith. With its wonted crash the lurid lightning smites the rocks and shatters them. With no gentler sound Corus still rages through the void, and the wild Aquilo with equal chill tortures the warlike Geloni, as it breathes forth winter and rolls the clouds along. As of old the sea-king still breaks at the feet of Sicilian Pelorus, and the trumpeter of Ocean with his hoarse shell still resounds over the deep. The Balearic monsters bear on their backs the undiminished bulk of Aegaeon. Nor yet, O Earth, are you lacking in your pristine vigor. Narcissus still preserves his perfume; and your favorite boy, O Phoebus, and yours, Cythera, the youth of Cyprus, are lovely as before. Earth, conscious of evil, did not in time past hide richer store of gold beneath the mountains or gems beneath the sea. Thus for ages the unbroken order of all things shall continue, until the final flames destroy the world, enveloping the wide-set poles and the great arch of heaven, and consuming the mighty frame of the world as on a funeral pyre.