November 28, 2008

A simile of Empedocles

As when painters -- men about their craft
through craft instructed -- fill in upright panels
and lay their hands to multicolored substances,
in concert mixing more of some and less of others,
and arrange them into forms like unto all things,
putting forth trees and men along with women
and beasts with birds and fish nursed on water
and, superlative in honor, gods of long tenure:
Go therefore with wits ungulled into believing the source of mortal things
is any different, no matter how unutterably many come into view.
Instead, take this for certain knowledge on divine authority.

Fragment 31B21 (DK)