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    A splendid tribute has been paid to the fame of Empedocles by Lucretius, the greatest didactic poet of all time, and by a great didactic poet of our own time, Mr. Matthew Arnold. But the still more rapturous panegyric pronounced by the Roman enthusiast on Epicurus makes his testimony a little suspicious, and the lofty chant of our own contemporary must be taken rather as an expression of his own youthful opinions respecting mans place in Nature, than as a faithful exposition of the Sicilian thinkers creed. Many another name from the history of philosophy might with better reason have been prefixed to that confession of resigned and scornful scepticism entitled Empedocles on Etna. The real doctrines of an essentially religious teacher would hardly have been so cordially endorsed by Mr. Swinburne. But perhaps no other character could have excited the deep sympathy felt by one poetic genius for another, when with both of them thought is habitually steeped in emotion. Empedocles was the last Greek of any note who threw his philosophy into a metrical form. Neither Xenophanes nor Parmenides had done this with so much success. No less a critic than Aristotle extols the Homeric splendour of his verses, and Lucretius, in this respect an authority, speaks of them as almost divine. But, judging from the fragments still extant, their speculative content exhibits a distinct decline from the height reached by his immediate predecessors. Empedocles betrays a distrust in mans power of discovering truth, almost, although not quite, unknown to them. Too much certainty would be28 impious. He calls on the much-wooed white-armed virgin muse to146 02 Jul 2021

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    106th Annual General Meeting

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    22 Jun
    2021
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