m = reading of part of the MS tradition
P = reading on a papyrus
T. Lucretius Carus nascitur Licinio Crasso oratore et Q. Mutio et Q. Mutio Scaeuola pont. consulibus, quo anno Q. Hortensius orator in foro quom diceret non paruam eloquentiae gloriam est auspicatus. uixit annos IV et XL, et noxio tandem improbae feminae poculo in furias actus sibi necem consciuit reste gulam frangens uel, ut alii opinantur, gladio incubuit, matre natus diutius sterili. cum T. Pomponio Attico, Cicerone, M. Bruto et C. Cassio coniunctissime uixit. Ciceroni uero recentia ostendebat carmina, eius limam secutus; a quo inter legendum aliquando admonitus, ut in translationibus seruaret uerecundiam: ex quibus duo potissimum loci referuntur, ‘Neptuni lacunas’ Cf. Rhet. Her. 4.10.15. The phrase is not, in fact, found in Lucretius. et ‘coeli cauernas’ Cf. Lucr. 4.171; 6.252.. C. Memmio Epicureo dictauit opus.
Titus Lucretius Carus was born in the consulship of Licinius Crassus the orator and Quintus Mucius Scaevola the pontifex, the year in which Quintus Hortensius the orator found great glory for his eloquence when he spoke in the forum. He lived forty-four years, and at last, driven mad by the noxious potion of an evil woman, he resolved to take his own life by hanging himself or else, as others think, he fell on his sword. His mother was sterile for a long time before she conceived him. He enjoyed very friendly relations with Titus Pomponius Atticus, Cicero, Marcus Brutus and Gaius Cassius. In fact, he used to show Cicero his recent compositions, seeking his polish. While reading over them, Cicero used to admonish him from time to time to preserve a sense of propriety in the use of metaphor, two striking instances of which are ‘hollows of Neptune’ and ’caves of heaven’. He dedicated his work to C. Memmius the Epicurean.