Lucretius

I’d quote the whole thing if I could. I love Lucretius for his specificity and visceral style, and for his tremendous empathy for our subjective being.

Men seem to feel some burden on their souls,
Some heavy weariness; could they but know
Its origin, its cause, they’d never live
The way we see most of them do, each one
Ignorant of what he wants, except a change,
Some other place to lay his burden down.
One leaves his house to take a stroll outdoors
Because the household’s such a deadly bore,
And then comes back, in six or seven minutes–
The street is every bit as bad. Now what?
He has his horses hitched up for him, drives,
Like a man going to a fire, full-speed,
Off to his country-place, and when he gets there
Is scarcely on the driveway, when he yawns,
Falls heavily asleep, oblivious
To everything, or promptly turns around,
Whips back to town again. So each man flees
Himself, or tries to, but of course that pest
Clings to him all the more ungraciously.
He hates himself because he does not know
The reason for his sickness; if he did,
He would leave all this foolishness behind,
Devote his study to the way things are,
The problem being his lot, not for an hour,
But for all time, the state in which all men
Must dwell forever and ever after death.

De Rerum Natura III, tr. Humphries