Regit

William Blake, Albion Rose (Glad day; The dance of Albion), ca. 1794 (2)
William Blake, Albion Rose (ca. 1796)

This is part 2 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 3 is here.

An cuiquam genitos, nisi caelo, credere fas est
esse homines? proiecta iacent animalia cuncta
in terra vel mersa vadis, vel in aere pendent,
omnibus una quies venter<que Venusque voluptas,
mole valens sola corpus> censumque per artus,
et, quia consilium non est, et lingua remissa.
unus in inspectus rerum viresque loquendi
ingeniumque capax variasque educitur artes
hic partus, qui cuncta regit: secessit in urbes,
edomuit terram ad fruges, animalia cepit
imposuitque viam ponto, stetit unus in arcem
erectus capitis victorque ad sidera mittit
sidereos oculos propiusque aspectat Olympum
inquiritque Iovem; nec sola fronte deorum
contentus manet, et caelum scrutatur in alvo
cognatumque sequens corpus se quaerit in astris.
(Manilius, Astr. 4.896-910)

Are we to believe that man is born of aught but heaven? All the other animals lie prostrate on the earth or submerged in water, or else hover in the air; all alike have only sleep and food and sex for their delights; the strength of an animal is measured only by its size and its value by its limbs, and since it has no intelligence it lacks speech, too. The breed of man, who rules all things, is alone reared equal to the inquiry into nature, the power of speech, breadth of understanding, the acquisition of various skills: he has left the open air for city-life, tamed the land to yield him its fruits, made the beasts his slaves, and laid a pathway on the sea; he alone stands with the citadel of his head raised high and, triumphantly directing to the stars his star-like eyes, looks ever more closely at Olympus and inquires into the nature of Jove himself; nor does he rest content with the outward appearance of the gods, but probes into heaven’s depths and, in his quest of a being akin to his own, seeks himself among the stars. (tr. George Patrick Goold)

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