Archive for July 27th, 2017

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Excerpt from “The Third Book” of “Astronomicon” by Marcus Manilius

When Nature order’d this vast Frame to rise,
Nature, the Guardian of these Mysteries,
And scatter’d Lucid Bodies o’er the Skies;
When she the Concave, whence directly fall
Streight Lines of Influence round the solid Ball,
Had fill’d with Stars; and made Earth, Water, Air,
And Fire, each other mutually repair;
That Concord might these differing parts controul,
And Leagues of mutual Aid support the whole;
That nothing which the Skies embrace might be
From Heaven’s supreme Command and Guidance free,
On Man the chiefest Object of her Cares
Long time she thought, then hung his Fates on Stars;
Those Stars, which plac’d i’th’ Heart of Heaven, display
The brightest Beams, and share the greatest sway;
Which keep a constant Course, and now restrain
The Planets Power, now yield to them again;
Thus sometimes ruling, sometimes rul’d, create
The strange and various Intercourse of Fate.
To these her Powers wise Nature’s Laws dispense
Submitting all things to their Influence:
But then as Emperours their Realms divide,
And every Province hath its proper Guide,
So ’tis in Signs; they have not equal Shares
Of common Power, each Fortune claims its Stars.
Our Studies, Poverty, Wealth, Joy and Grief,
With all the other Accidents of Life
She parcels out; to proper Stars confines
The Lots in number equal to the Signs.

From: Manilius, Marcus, The five books of Mr. Manilius containing a system of the ancient astronomy and astrology : together with the philosophy of the Stoicks / done into English verse with notes by Mr. Tho. Creech, 2005, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford, p. 99.

Date: c10-20 (original in Latin); 1700 (translation in English)

By: Marcus Manilius (fl. 1st century)

Translated by: Thomas Creech (1659-1700)