“Happy is he who has discovered the causes of things and has cast beneath his feet all fears, unavoidable fate, and the din of the devouring Underworld.”  VIRGIL

5). 393J Lucretius



Venice: Aldus Manutius and Andrea Torresani di Asolo, 1515        $4,500

Octavo. *8a-q8  (*8, q78 blank except for device on q8) This is the second Aldine edition, the first edited by Andrea Navagero (1483–1529), the editor of all the last Latin editions published by Aldus from the Cicero of 1514 onwards, and considered  superior to the edition of 1500.   Bound in an18th century stiff vellum with label and gilt-lettered title at spine, yellow edges. This books was published one month before Aldus’s death, on February 1515 and contains his last preface, addressed to Alberto Pio, prince of Carpi.The title-page was restored and remounted; honest copy with short margins.

This book is a classical enchiridion, in the octavo format with text in Italic types, with no accompanying commentary or printed decoration. De rerum natura of Titus Lucretius Carus, the first century B.C. Roman natural philosopher, expounds, in the form of an epic poem, the cosmological theories of his teacher, the Greek philosopher Epicurus, demonstrating the workings of his model of a universe based on the atom as the fundamental particle. In the preface Aldus notes that although much of the philosophy expounded by Lucretius is repugnant to a believing Christian, t is much of value in his work and he should tfore be read anyway. Aldus, now sixty-five, would die within a month of publication of this, his last production. Thus his complaint concluding the preface becomes the more poignant: “But, if it weren’t for the bad health with which I have been rather harshly afflicted for some months now, quite a bit would have been added which would testify to all of our diligence, and would have made [the text] of Lucretius itself fuller.” From all accounts, Aldus simply wore himself out (as the eulogy in the 1515 edition of Lactantius states). This 1515 Lucretius is one of the celebrated Aldine editions of the ancient classics in the handy small 8vo format.

Lucretius was the first of the Latin classic poets printed by Aldus, selected for both his elegance and his philosophical interest. Although De rerum natura has notably anti-religious undertones, its psychedelic vision of swerving atoms enchanted early modern readers—including Pope Sixtus IV, Aldus’s preoccupation with the integrity and correctness of the original text lies behind the publication of his edition of the Epicurean poem De rerum natura .It might be  a strange choice if one considers the controversial nature of the text often in contrast with Christian beliefs–as the publisher himself points out in his dedicatory letter–but a natural choice given the philosophical nature of the text, in line with Aldus’s interests in scientific and philosophical texts from the Antiquity. Aldus’s admission that the text has also been chosen in view of the classical elegance of the verse introduces a new element of interest in the text.

Gordon, Bibliography of Lucretius, 6; Adams L-1651. New UCLA 130;Davies, Devices of the Early Printers, no.236).; Renouard AA p. 74:11;  Kallendorf & Wells #127; Dibdin II 198-199. Renouard, 74.11.;Keynes.H.1.33, fol. q6 recto; Censimento 16 CNCE 37499; Texas 126;


Lucretius, has always made me feel hopeful and some how more connected to the universe and less to the subjective problems we perceive.

“Happy is he who has discovered the causes of things and has cast beneath his feet all fears, unavoidable fate, and the din of the devouring Underworld.”  VIRGIL

Lucretius London 1683

“In De Rerum Natura, Lucretius sought to clear the mental rubbish that obscures reality. He exposed flaws in common assumptions about gods. To begin with, he scoffed at the anthropocentric notion that gods created the earth for humans.”Gary Sloan

T.Lucretius Carus His Six Books Of Epicurean Philosophy, Done into English Verse, with Notes. The Third Edition. Demetri, Teq; Tigelli Discipulorum inter jubeo plorare Cathedras; i, Puer, atque meo citus hœc subscribe libello.

London: Printed for Thomas Sawbridge at the Three Flewer-de-luces in little Britain, and Anthony Stephens Bookseller near the Theatre in Oxford, 1683                                              
 Octavo, 7.25 x 4.75 inches.  Third edition. (π1), A4, b-e4, f2, A-E4, (a)-(g)4, h2.
  This copy is bound in original full calf its front joint is cracked at the foot, up to the second band, the rear joint is

Lucretius 1683 ,147F

beginning to crack at either end, but it is completely sound and still quite appealing. The leaves are very clean and fresh, with deep impressions of the type.

This translation was prepared by Thomas Creech (1659-1700).   The prefatory material contains commendatory poems by John Evelyn, NahaumTate, Thomas Otway, and Aphra Behn among others, many of which were added after the first edition.   Creech’s Lucretius first appeared in 1682, with certain portions of the text, notably those in the fourth book about the nature of love, left untranslated.In this edition they are present in translation.  Both Pope and Evelyn praised the translation, and Dibdin says that the editor’s erudition, research, and correctness in this excellent and scarce work are acknowledged by every critic.The influence of Lucretius can be seen in Pope’s ‘Essay on Man.’ Lucretius was also favorite reading of Shelley, Wordsworth, and Tennyson.

“Creech’s translation of Lucretius vied in popularity with Dryden’s Virgil and Pope’s Homer. The son of one of his friends is reported to have said that the translation was made in Creech’s daily walk round the parks in Oxford in sets of fifty lines, which he would afterwards write down in his chamber and correct at leisure. […] When Dryden published his translations from Theocritus, Lucretius, and Horace, he disclaimed in the preface any intention of robbing Creech ‘of any part of that commendation which he has so justly acquired,’ and referred to his predecessor’s ‘excellent annotations, which I have often reprinted in the last century, and was included in the edition of the British poets which was issued by Anderson.” (DNB)

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