A writer-editor-teacher’s quote of the week #109

Anchises then, in order, thus begun
To clear those wonders to his godlike son:
“Know, first, that heav’n, and earth’s compacted frame,
And flowing waters, and the starry flame,
And both the radiant lights, one common soul
Inspires and feeds, and animates the whole.
This active mind, infus’d thro’ all the space,
Unites and mingles with the mighty mass.
Hence men and beasts the breath of life obtain,
And birds of air, and monsters of the main.
Th’ ethereal vigor is in all the same,
And every soul is fill’d with equal flame;
As much as earthy limbs, and gross allay
Of mortal members, subject to decay,
Blunt not the beams of heav’n and edge of day.
From this coarse mixture of terrestrial parts,
Desire and fear by turns possess their hearts,
And grief, and joy; nor can the groveling mind,
In the dark dungeon of the limbs confin’d,
Assert the native skies, or own its heav’nly kind:
Nor death itself can wholly wash their stains;

– from Book VI of The Aeneid by Virgil. (In this passage, Aeneas has just found his father, Anchises, in the underworld and has begun to talk with him about his destiny.)

*This translation comes from MIT’s Classic Archive.

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