‘THE ATOMIC POEMS and the philosophy of naturalism espoused by Margaret Cavendish were influenced by Epicurus.’ Says the internet. Epicurus and the internet sometimes give us intriguing tidbits, indeed. Things that philosophers in this modern era might be heartened to read, because we sometimes get railroaded into thinking that what counts is what can be counted (but we know it isn’t always the case, right? Anyone who has listened to a great poem read aloud to her, one on one, for example, and especially if it’s very personally pointed in her direction, can attest to that.)
Cavendish’s poem, ‘All Things are Governed by Atoms’ is below.
Like I said, I found it while reading about Epicurus’ ideas.
These, specifically: that we should be able to spend time with our friends; be free of the need or anxiety that comes with having to make a living the usual way in our day and age; and also, the feeling that we gotta spend some time analyzing life. Epicurus has inspired us quite a lot here at Atelier S P A C E and I’m looking forward to revealing more as we go, in the journeys ahead. Meantime, find the poem and more about Cavendish posted at the page here.
But for the moment, here is All Things are Governed by Atoms…
All Things are Governed by Atoms
Thus life and death, and young and old,
Are as the several atoms hold.
Wit, understanding1 in the brain
Are as the several atoms reign,
And dispositions2 good or ill 5
Are as the several atoms still.
And every passion which doth rise
Is as the several3 atoms lie.4
Thus sickness, health, and peace and war
Are5 as the several atoms are. 10
- Wit, understanding] So Wit, and Understanding 1653
- dispositions] Disposition 1664; Disposition, 1668
- the several] each sort of 1664, 1668
- lie.] lies: 1664; lies. 1668
- Are] Are alwaies 1653