Given that Lucretius offers a systematic and cohesive explanation of the workings of nature, we should not expect inconsistencies in his poem. The explanation presented by Lucretius emphatically rejects any interventionist divine machinery of the cosmos, offering in its place the eminently regular dynamics of atomic configuration and dissolution, which can explain everything that pertains to natural philosophy without necessitating the activity of any divinity. The reader who understands the basics of Lucretius’ philosophy, therefore, should be surprised that the DRN begins with an anthropomorphic description of the goddess Venus, whom the poet petitions to intervene actively in human affairs. Lucretius gradually refines this initial presentation of the goddess’ essence throughout the poem, suggesting that the Venus who inaugurates the poem must be nuanced once one has learned the basic principles of Epicurean philosophy. At the end of DRN 4, Venus is presented not as a divine being but as nothing more than the sexual drive shared by all creatures in nature (haec Venus est nobis, 4.1058). Historically scholars have been keen to ‘correct’ perceived inconsistencies such as this, either by arguing that such imperfections derive from later interpolators or by appealing to the incomplete nature of the text as we possess it. Of course, no one has suggested that Lucretius would have changed or removed the proem, so the Venus problem remains an issue. One major aim of this article is to show that the process we witness with Lucretius’ Venus is not inconsistent but programmatic, a point grasped by many with regard to Venus herself but not in respect to the DRN as a whole. In other words, this article extends this insight about Lucretius’ Venus, whose providential attributes are only provisionally attached to her at the outset of the poem and, in due course, are completely removed. In fact, I will argue that the technique of gradually redefining initial propositions—a process I will refer to as provisional argumentation—fundamentally informs Lucretius’ famous metaphor of the honeyed cup, and I will suggest that we ought to recognize this technique as a major aspect of Lucretius’ discursive method throughout the DRN.