This work was way before its time. Lucretius saw into the future in a manner of speaking, and was able to elaborate on physical objects being composed of smaller objects he called atoms. He also touches on many other items with an acuracy that is unbelievable when one considers that scientific advancement has only recently made the tools contributing to the proof of these theories readily available.
Another striking characteristic of this work is that unlike practices in today's society, Lucretius also has his own theories and beliefs on religous matters, and incorporates these along with his scientific view of the world and how it works. (Religion is rarely even mentioned today in scientific papers.)
I enjoyed this work a lot more that I had thought I would. The translation has made it easy to read and comprehend. It wasn't an effort to get from the beginning to the end, and I am glad I took the time to read it.
I took a Roman history class called The Rise of Rome and this book was assigned to shed light upon some insightful details into one of the most popular Hellenistic philosophies, Epicureanism, and although Lucretius was of Roman nationality, this book is the most accessibly popular for students reading about Epicureanism for the first time. Copley's translation is written in meter, but what Lucretius was trying to say was very clear to me. I was actually most impressed by the clarity, although there were many other things that stayed with me after I read this. Although we don't know a lot about him comparatively to other Late-Republic figures like Cicero, Caesar, and Catullus, Lucretius was an interesting fellow (please read T.P. Wiseman's essay The Two Worlds of Titus Lucretius Carus), and he was evidently some sort of Renaissance man, as he was a scholar of everything from biology to philosophy to theology. Lucretius was quite an overachieving sort, as he was able, unlike many during the Roman republic, to find a patron, in this case the Roman politician Memmius, who was able to facilitate his ambitious literary aspirations via monetary funding. The Nature of Things is actually addressed to Memmius, just as the poet Lucan addressed his book on the Civil War between Pompey and Caesar, the Pharsalia, to the Roman emperor Nero a century later. Lucretius' proem in six books is in essence a comprehensive sermon whose message is basically how every man, and especially Memmius, should live his life.
The relationship between the princely poet Lucretius and the Machiavellian politician Memmius is quite interesting. Lucretius, from the evidence of his proem, was a man who lived very close to his ideals, whereas Memmius was a crafty "Goodie" who was later indicted of voting fraud by the senate. The Roman poet Catullus, a contemporary of Lucretius, mentions Memmius in one of his 'hate' poems, calling him something quite nasty, because Memmius--when he was holding the office of Praetor in Asia Minor--cheated Catullus and his companions out of some tribute. It's hard to pigeonhole The Nature of Things, as Lucretius covers many topics in the six books, most conspicuously love, sex, and death. But every line serves the purpose of creating a kind of Epicurean manifesto, listing and elaborating upon the principal concepts mothered by Lucretius' Mohammed, the philosopher Epicurus, who lived nearly three hundred years before Lucretius even started working on his great work. Pursuant to Roman literary convention, Lucretius, at the beginning of his book, invokes his celestial muse, the Roman goddess Venus, who like Memmius, was also reputed to possess Trojan heritage, something Memmius was akin to celebrate profusely.
This book is easy to take with you on a trip anywhere, and it's inexpensive too, so I recommend it highly. The notes on the bottom of the page are also helpful.