Page:Early Greek philosophy by John Burnet, 3rd edition, 1920.djvu/219

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205
EMPEDOKLES OF AKRAGAS

(4)

But, O ye gods, turn aside from my tongue the madness of those men. Hallow my lips and make a pure stream flow from them! And thee, much-wooed, white-armed Virgin Muse, do I beseech that I may hear what is lawful for the children of a day! 5Speed me on my way from the abode of Holiness and drive my willing car! Thee shall no garlands of glory and honour at the hands of mortals constrain to lift them from the ground, on condition of speaking in thy pride beyond that which is lawful and right, and so to gain a seat upon the heights of wisdom.

Go to now, consider with all thy powers in what way each thing is clear. 10Hold not thy sight in greater credit as compared with thy hearing, nor value thy resounding ear above the clear instructions of thy tongue;[1] and do not withhold thy confidence in any of thy other bodily parts by which there is an opening for understanding, but consider everything in the way it is clear. R. P. 163.

(5)

But it is all too much the way of low minds to disbelieve their betters. Do thou learn as the sure testimonies of my Muse bid thee, when my words have been divided[2] in thy heart.

(6)

Hear first the four roots of all things: shining Zeus, life-bringing Hera, Aidoneus and Nestis whose tear-drops are a well-spring to mortals. R. P. 164.[3]

(7)

. . . uncreated.

(8)

And I shall tell thee another thing. There is no substance[4] of
  1. The sense of taste, not speech.
  2. Clement's reading διατμηθέντος may perhaps stand if we take λόγοιο as "discourse," "argument" (cf. διαιρεῖν). Diels conjectures διασσηθέντος and renders "when their speech has penetrated the sieve of thy mind."
  3. The four "elements" are introduced under mythological names, for which see below, p. 229, n. 3.
  4. Plutarch (Adv. Col. 1112 a) says that φύσις here means "birth," as is shown by its opposition to death, and all interpreters (including myself) have hitherto followed him. On the other hand, the fragment clearly deals with θνητά, and Empedokles cannot have said that there was no death of mortal things. The θνητά are just perishable combinations of