Lucan (c. 39-65)

“Why do the gods above toil to follow, and fear
to spurn, magic chants and herbs? What pact of trade
holds gods duty-bound? Is it a necessity
or a pleasure to obey? Do they deserve it
for some secret piety? Or do they prevail
through tacit threats? Do they have this right
over every god, or do these tyrant songs
dictate to one certain god who can compel
the world however he himself is compelled?”

  • From Lucan’s Civil War (Book 6, between approximately lines 485-515), translated by Matthew Fox (Penguin Classics, 2012).

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