Lesson 9ª







The Fragments of The Poem of Parmenides. (continued)



They have assigned an opposite
substance to each, and marks distinct from one another. To the
one they allot the fire of heaven, light, thin, in every direction
the same as itself, but not the same as the other. The other is
opposite to it, dark night, a compact and heavy body. Of these


I tell thee the whole arrangement as it seems to men,
in order that no mortal may surpass thee in knowledge.


Now that all things have been named light and night; and the things
which belong to the power of each have been assigned to these
things and to those, everything is full at once of light and dark night,
both equal, since neither has aught to do with the other.


And thou shalt know the origin of all the things on high,
and all the signs in the sky, and the resplendent works of the
glowing sun’s clear torch, and whence they arose. And thou
shalt learn likewise of the wandering deeds of the round-faced
moon, and of her origin. Thou shalt know, too, the heavens
that surround us, whence they arose, and how Necessity took
them and bound them to keep the limits of the stars . . .


How the earth, and the sun, and the moon, and the sky that is
common to all, and the Milky Way, and the outermost Olympos,
and the burning might of the stars


The narrower circles are filled with unmixed fire, and those
surrounding them with night, and in the midst of these rushes
their portion of fire. In the midst of these circles is the divinity that directs
the course of all things; for she rules over all painful birth and all begetting,


driving the female to the embrace of the male, and the male to that of the female.


First of all the gods she contrived Eros.


Shining by night with borrowed light, wandering round the earth.


Always straining her eyes to the beams of the sun.


Thus, according to men’s opinions, did things comp into
being, and thus they are now. In time (they think) they will
grow up and pass away. To each of these things men have
assigned a fixed name.