After returning to Rome to work for the Vatican, Poggio Bracciolini starting making some serious money of his own. Enough to get married and buy a big house. He served as chancellor of Florence for five years. After he died, Lucretius kept working its magic on the people of Europe. Forty years later, the Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola ruled Florence for several years as a strict “Christian republic” and tried to ban the book. And he wasn’t the last Christian to try to have it banned or at least scorned. But it kept influencing people. On the London stage in the mid-1590s, Mercutio teased Romeo with a fantastical description of Queen Mab:
She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate stone
On the forefinger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomi
Athwart men’s noses as they lie asleep . . .
(Romeo and Juliet, I.iv.55–59)