'Tis pleasant, when a tempest drives the waves in the wide sea, to view the sad distress of others from the land; not that the pleasure is so sweet that others suffer, but the joy is this, to look upon the ills from which yourself are free. It likewise gives delight to view the bloody conflicts of a war, in battle ranged all over the plains, without a share of danger to yourself: But nothing is more sweet than to attain the serene 'tho lofty heights of true philosophy, well fortified by learning of the wise, and thence look down on others, and behold mankind wandering and roving every way, to find a path to happiness; they strive for wit, contend for nobility, labor nights and days with anxious care for heaps of wealth, and to be ministers of state.
O wretched are the thoughts of men! How blind their souls! In what dark roads they grope their way, in what distress is this life spent, short as it is! Don't you see Nature requires no more than the body free from pain, she may enjoy the mind easy and cheerful, removed from care and fear?
And then we find a little will suffice the nature of our bodies, and take off every pain; nay will afford much pleasure, and Nature wishes for nothing more desirable than this. What, no golden images of boys, holding forth blazing torches in their hands, to light the midnight revels of the great, adorn they house? What thy rooms shine not with silver, nor are overlaid with gold, nor do thy arched gilded roofs rebound with the strong notes of music? Yet we find men sweetly indulge their bodies as they lie together on the soft and tender grass, hard by a river's side, under the boughs of some high tree, without a heap of wealth; chiefly when the spring smiles, and the season of the year sprinkles the verdant herbs with flowery pride. Nor will a burning fever sooner leave the body when you are tossed in clothes embroidered on beds of blushing purple, than when you lie in coarsest blankets.
Since riches then afford no comfort to our bodies, nor nobleness, nor the glory of ambition, 'tis plain you are to think they do the mind no good. If, when you behold your furious legions embattled over the plains, waging mock war, or when you view your navy stand eager to engage, or bear away over the wide sea, if struck with sights like these your fearful superstitions and the dread of death forsake your mind, and leave your breast serene, and free from care, 'twere something.
But if these things are vain and all grimace, and the truth is that nor the fears of men, nor following cares fly from the sound of alarms or cruel darts, but boldly force their way among the kings and mighty of the earth; nor do they homage pay to shining gold, nor the gay splendor of a purple robe. Do you doubt but all this stuff is want of sense, and all our life is groping in the dark?
For as boys tremble and fear every thing in the dark night, so we, in open day, fear things as vain, and little to be feared, as those that children quake at in the dark, and fancy making toward them. This terror of the mind, this darkness then, not the sun's beams, nor the bright rays of day can scatter, but the light of nature and the rules of reason.
But now, come on, remember you attend, while I explain by what motion the genial seeds of matter produce the various kinds of bodies, and dissolve them when produced, and by what force compelled they act, and what celerity of motion they possess to force their way through all the mighty void.
For certain it is that no seeds of matter stick close and unmoved among themselves; for we see every thing grows less, and perceive all things wear away by a long tract of time, and old age removes them quite from our sight. And yet the mass of things still remains safe and entire; and for this reason, because the particles of matter which fall off, lessen the bodies from which they fall, but add to those to which they join. There they force to decay; those, on the contrary, they increase: nor do they remain in this posture. And thus the universe of things is continually renewing; generations succeed one another, one kind of animal increases, another wastes away; and in a short time the living creation is entirely changed, and, like racers, delivers the lamp of life to those that are behind.
But if you think the seeds of things can be at rest, and, being themselves unmoved, can give motion to bodies, you wander wildly from the way of true reason. For since all the seeds of things are rambling through the void, they must necessarily be born along either by their own natural gravity, or by the outward stroke of something else; for then these seeds tending downward meet with others, they must all fly off, and rebound a different way, and no wonder, since they are hard bodies and of solid weight; nor is there any thing behind to stop the motion. But, that you may perceive more plainly how all the seeds of matter are tossed about, you must recollect that there is no such thing in the universe as the lowest place, where the first seeds may remain fixed, because I have shown fully, and proved by certain reason, that space is without end, without bounds immense, and lies extended every way.
This being plain, there can be no rest possibly allowed to these first seeds, forever wandering through the empty void; but being tossed about with constant and different motion, and striking against other bodies, some rebound to a great distance, others fly off, but not so far; such of them as rebound but for a small distance, their contexture being more close, and being hindered by their natural twinings, these compose the solid root of rocks, and the hard bodies of iron, and a few other things of the same nature; but such as wander widely through the void, and moved by the blow, fly further off, and rebound to greater distances; these compose the thin air, and the Sun's bright light.
Besides, there are many seeds keep wandering through the void that are refused all union with other seeds, nor could ever be admitted to join their motion to anything else. An instance or representation of this, as I conceive, is always at hand, and visibly before our eyes. When the Sun's light shoots its rays through a narrow chink into a darkened room, you shall see a thousand little atoms dance a thousand ways through the empty space, and mingle in the very rays of light, engaging, as it were, in endless war, drawing up their little troops, never taking breath, but meeting and exercising their hostile fury with constant blows. And hence you may collect in what manner the principles of things are tossed in this empty void; so small an instance will give you an example of these extraordinary motions, and open a way to your knowledge of greater events.
But here it is fit you should apply yourself more closely to observe these bodies which seem so disturbed in the Sun's beams; for it appears by these disorders that there are certain secret principles of motion in the seeds themselves, though invisible to us, for some of these motes you will see struck by secret blows, and forced to change their course, sometimes driven back, and again returning, now this, now that, and every other way; and this variety of motion is certainly in the very seeds, for the principles of things first move of themselves, then compound bodies that are of the least size, and approach nearest, as it were, to the exility of the first seeds, are by them struck with blows unseen, and put into motion, and these again strike those that are something larger; so from first seeds all motion still goes on, til at length it becomes sensible to us; and thus we see how these motes that play in the Sun's beams are moved, though the blows by which they are driven about do not so plainly appear to us.
And now, my Memmius, you may in brief, from the following instance, collect how rapid is the motion of the first seeds; for when the morning spreads the Earth with rising light, and sweet variety of birds frequent the woods, and fill each grove with most delightful notes through the soft air, every one perceives, and the thing we see is plain, how suddenly, and in a moment, the rising Sun covers the world and shines with instant light. But that vapour, that glittering ray, which the Sun sends forth, does not pass through mere empty space, and therefore is forced to move slower, as it has resisting air to part and divide as it goes; nor are the principles that compose this ray simple first seeds, but certain little globular bodies made up of these first seeds that pass through the air; and these first seeds being agitated by various motions, these little bodies which are formed of them are retarded by different motions within themselves, and are likewise hindered from without by other bodies, and so are obliged to move the slower.
But seeds that are solid and simple in their nature, when they pass through a pure void, having nothing to stop them from without, and being one, and uncompounded through all their parts, are carried at once, by an instant force, to the point to which they first set out. Such seeds much exceed the rays of the Sun in their motion, and be carried on with much more celerity; they must pierce through longer tracts of space in the same time in which the sunbeams pass through the air; for these seeds cannot agree together by design to move slowly, nor stop in the air to search into particulars, and be satisfied for what reason their several motions are thus carried on and disposed.
But some object to this, fools as they are, and conceive that simple matter cannot of itself, without the assistance of the gods, act so agreeably to the advantage and convenience of mankind, as to change the seasons of the year, to produce the fruits, and do other things which Pleasure, the deity and great guide of life, persuades men to value and esteem. It could not induce us to propagate our race, by the blandishments of tender love, lest the species of mankind should be extinct, for whose sake they pretend the gods made all the beings of the world; but all conceits like these fall greatly from the dictates of true reason. For though I were entirely ignorant of the rise of things, yet from the very nature of the heavens, and the frame of many other bodies, I dare affirm and insist that the nature of the world was by no means created by the gods upon our account, it is so very faulty and imperfect; which, my Memmius, I shall fully explain. But now let us explain what remains to be said of motion.
And here, I think, is the proper place to prove to you that no being can be carried upwards or ascend by any innate virtue of its own, lest by observing the tendency of flame you should be led into a mistake. For flame, you know, is born upwards, as well when it begins to blaze as when it is increased by fuel; so the tender corn and lofty trees grow upwards. Nor when the flames aspire and reach the tops of houses, and catch the rafters and the beams with a fierce blaze, are you to suppose they do this by voluntary motion, and not compelled by force. 'Tis the same when the blood gushes from a vein, it spouts bounding upwards, and sprinkles all about the purple stream. Don't you observe likewise with what force the water throws up the beams and posts of wood? The more we plunge them in, and press them down with all our might, the more forcibly the stream spews them upwards, and sends them back; so that they rise and leap up at least half their thickness above the water. And yet I think, we make no question that all things as they pass through empty void are carried naturally down below. So likewise the flame rises upwards, being forcibly pressed through the air, though its weight, by its natural gravity, endeavors to descend. Don't you see the nightly meteors of the sky flying aloft, and drawing after them long trains of flame, which way soever Nature yields a passage? Don't you see also the stars and fiery vapors fall downwards upon the Earth? The Sun too scatters from the tops of heaven his beams all round, and sows the fields with light: Its rays therefore are downward sent to us below. You see the lightning through opposing showers fly all about; the fires burst from clouds, now here now there engage, at length the burning vapor falls down upon the ground.
I desire you would attend closely upon this subject, and observe that bodies when they are carried downward through the void in a straight line, do at some time or other, but at no fixed and determinate time, and in some parts of the void likewise, but not in any one certain and determinate place of it, decline a little from the direct line by their own strength and power; so, nevertheless, that the direct motion can be said to be changed the least that can be imagined.
If the seeds did not decline in their descent, they would all fall downwards through the empty void, like drops of rain; there would be no blow, no stroke given by the seeds overtaking one another, and by consequence Nature could never have produced any thing.
But if any one should suppose that the heavier seeds, as they are carried by a swift motion through the void in a straight line, might overtake and fall from above upon the lighter, and so occasion those strokes which produce a genial motion by which things are formed, he is entirely out of the way, and wanders from the rule of true reason. Indeed, whatever falls downward through the water, or through the air, must necessarily have its speed hastened in proportion to its weight, and for this reason, because the body of water and the thin nature of the air cannot equally delay the progress of every thing that is to pass through it, but must be obliged to give way soonest to heavy bodies. But, on the contrary, mere empty space cannot oppose the passage of any thing in any manner, but must, as its nature requires, continue for ever to give way: Therefore all things must be carried with equal force through a void that cannot resist, though their several weights be unequal, so that the heavier bodies can never fall from above upon the lighter, nor occasion those blows which may change their motions, and by which all things are naturally produced.
It follows then that the seeds do every now and then decline a little from a direct line in their descent, though the least that can be imagined, lest we should think their motion were oblique, which the nature of things refutes. For we see this is plain and obvious, that bodies by their natural gravity do not obliquely descend, when they fall swiftly from above through a void, which you may discovery by your eyes. But that nothing declines in its descent ever so little from a direct line, who is so sharp-sighted as to distinguish?
Besides, were all motion of the seeds uniform, and in a straight line, did one succeed another in an exact and regular order, did not the seeds, by their declining, occasion certain motions, as a sort of principle, to break the bonds of fate, and prevent a necessity of acting, and exclude a fixed an eternal succession of causes, which destroy all liberty, whence comes that free will, whence comes it, I say, so sensibly observed in all creatures of the world who act as they please, wholly rescued from the power of fate and necessity? That will by which we are moved which way soever our inclination leads us? We likewise forbear to move, not at any particular time, nor at any certain place, but when and here our mind pleases; and without doubt, the will is the principle that determines these motions, and from whence all motion is conveyed to the limbs. Don't you observe, when the barriers of the lists are thrown open of a sudden, the eager desire of the horses cannot start to the race with that celerity as their mind requires? Because the spirits, or particles of matter that maintain the course, must be got together from all parts of the body, and stirred through every limb, and fitly united, that they may readily follow the eager desire of the mind. You see then the beginning of motion rises in the heart, proceeds then by means of the will, and is thence diffused through every limb over the whole body.
But the case is otherwise, when we act as we are compelled by force by the prevailing power and the great violence of another, for then we feel plainly that the whole weight of our body moves, and is urged on against our consent, ‘til our will restrains the motion through all our limbs. Don't you see now that though an outward force drives us on, and often compels us to proceed against our will, and hurries us headlong, yet there is something in the heart that resists and strives against that compulsion, at whose command the spirits or particles of matter are forced through the nerves into the several limbs and members, and are curbed likewise by the same nerves, and obliged to retire backwards.
Wherefore you must needs confess there is something else beside stroke and weight which is the cause of those motions from whence this innate power of our will proceeds. We see nothing can arise from nothing, for weight, which is natural to bodies, hinders us to conclude that all things are moved by stroke or outward force, and lest the mind should seem to act by some necessary impulse within itself (this is, by motion that proceeds from weight) and overpowered, be compelled, as it were, to bear and suffer, this is occasioned by ever so little a declination of the seeds, which however is done at no certain or determinate time or place.
Nor was the mass of matter ever more close or more loose, nor did the number of seeds ever increase or diminish, and therefore the same course in which the seeds move now, the same motion they had for the time past, and they will be carried on hereafter in the very same manner, and the things that have been hitherto produced shall be formed again in the same way; they shall come into being, grow, and arrive at perfection, as far as the laws of their respective natures will admit. For this universe of things no force can change, neither is there any place into which the least particle of matter may fly off from the whole mass, nor is there a place from whence any new seeds may break in upon this All, and so change the nature of things and disorder their motions.
There is nothing wonderful in this, that when all the principles of things are in continual motion the whole should at the same time seem to be at perfect rest, though every particular body has a sort of motion peculiar to itself, for the nature of first seeds is so subtle that they lie far beyond the reach of our sense. And therefore, since you cannot perceive them by the eye, their motions are much less to be discerned, especially, as we observe many things are discovered to us by our sight whose motions we cannot perceive, by being placed at a remote distance from us. For often the wooly flock upon a hill wander about, and crop the tender grass, wherever the sweet herbs crowned with pearly dew invite. The lambs, their bellies full, wantonly play and try their tender horns. All this to us standing far off appears confused, and like a steady white spread over the green. And this a mighty army fills the plain, and moves about, and acts a real fight - the horse scour over the field and wheel at once, and in the center charge, and shake the ground with mighty force. The blaze of arms darts up to heaven, all the earth around glitters with brazen shields, and groans beneath the feet of men engaged. The neighboring hills, struck with the noise, rebound it to the skies. Yet place yourself upon a mountain-top to view this wild confusion, and you'd think it was a fixed and steady light that filled the plain.
Now learn at length the form of these first seeds, these principles of things, how widely different is their shape, of what variety of figure their frame consists. For though many are endowed with a form not much alike, yet all are far from being of the same figure. And no wonder, for since (as I have said) their number is so great that no end, no bound is to be set to them; they ought, for the same reason, to be all of a different contexture, and not fashioned alike of the same form.
Besides, consider well mankind, the scaly fry of silent fish that swim the flood, the verdant trees, wild beasts, the various kinds of birds, such as flock about the banks of pleasant streams, the fountains and the lakes and those who frequent the thick covers of the woods; consider all these in their several kinds, and you will find them all consist of forms different among themselves. 'Tis by nothing else the tender young knows its own Dam, and thus the Dam distinguishes her young, thus we see each creature knows its own kind, no less than men, and so unite together. For often before the gilded temples of the gods a young heifer falls a slain victim beside the alter flaming with incense, and breathes from her heart a reeking stream of blood. The Dam, robbed of her young, beats over the fields and leaves the marks of her divided hoofs upon the pressed grass, and searches every place with careful eyes to find her the young she lost; then stops and fills the branched woods with her complaints, and often returns back to her stall, distracted with the love of her dear young - no more the tender willows, or the herbs freshened with dew, nor can the running streams within the full banks divert her mind, or turn away her care, nor can a thousand other heifers, as they play wantonly over the grass, take off her eye, or ease the pain she feels - so plain it is that she searches for her own, for what she knows full well. And thus the tender kids find by their bleat their horned Dams, and so the sporting lambs know their own flocks, and, as by Nature taught, each hastest to the full dug of its own Dam.
Observe again the various sorts of corn, you'll find each grain, though in kind of the same, not so much alike; but there will be a difference in their figure; and so a great variety of shells, we see, paints the Earth's lap, where the Seas gentle waves feed the most sand along the winding Shore. And thus, by parity of reason, it must follow that the first seeds of things, as they are formed by Nature, not made by Art in any certain figure, must fly about in shapes various and different among themselves.
It is easy for us now to unfold the difficulty why the flame of lightning is much more penetrating than our common fire race from fuel here below. You may give this reason, that the subtle Celestial fire of lightning consist of particles much smaller, and so passes through pores, which are fire, made from toe or wood, cannot.
Besides, Light, we perceive, finds a way through horn, but water does not; because the principles of light are smaller than those of which water is composed. So we see wine passes swiftly through a strainer; on the contrary, heavy oil moves slowly through, either because it is made up of larger seeds, or its principles are more hooked and entangled among themselves. And thus it happens that the several particles cannot be so soon separated from one another so as to flow through the little holes with the same ease. Thus it is that honey and milk pass in the mouth with a pleasing sensation over the tongue; on the contrary, the bitter juice of wormwood and sharp Centaury torment the palate with a loathsome taste. From whence you collect easily that those things which agreeably affect the sense are composed of particles smooth and round; and such again that seem rough and bitter are bound together by parts more hooked, and closer twined; and therefore they tear the way to our senses, and wound the body as they enter through the skin. In short, such things as are agreeable to our senses, and those that are rough and unpleasant to the touch, are opposite, and formed of a figure very different from one another; lest you should think perhaps that the grating sound of the whetting of a saw was made of parts equally smooth, without the soft notes of a lute, which the musician forms upon the strings, awaked, as it were, by the gentle strokes of his fingers.
Nor are you to suppose that the seeds are of the same form which strike upon our nerves of smell, when a filthy carcass is burning, or when the stage is fresh sprinkled with Cilician saffron, or the altar sweetens the air with the odor of Arabian incense.
And so in colors you must not imagine such as are agreeable and delight our eyes are composed of the same fashioned seeds with those which prick our sense, and force us to weep, or seem dark or ugly, and shocking in appearance to us; for whatever pleases and delights our senses cannot be composed but of smooth particles; and, on the contrary, things that are hurtful and harsh cannot be formed without seeds that are filthy and disagreeable.
There are other seeds, likewise, which you cannot properly call smooth, nor are altogether hooked, with their points bent, but are rather shaped with small ankles, a little jutting out, and may be sad rather to tickle than to hurt the senses; such as the acid taste of the sweet sauce made of the Lees of wine, or the sweet sauce made of the sweetish-bitter root of Elecampane. Lastly, that burning heat, or freezing cold, being formed of seeds of different figures, do affect the body with different sensation our touche is evidence sufficient to evince.
For Touch, the Touch (blessed be the Gods above!) is a Sense of the Body, either when something from without enters through the pores, or something from within hurts us, as it forces its way out, or pleases, as the effect of venery tickles as it passes through, or when the seeds, by striking against each other, raise a tumult in the body, and in that agitation confound the Sense; and this you may soon experience, if you strike yourself in any part with a blow of your hand. It is necessary, therefore, that the Principles of Things should consist of figures very different in themselves, since they affect the Senses in so different a manner.
Further, those things which appear to us hard and thick, must necessarily be joined together by particles more hooked among themselves, and be held close by branched seeds. In the first rank of these, you are to place the rocks of Adamant, that defy the force of blows, and solid flints, and the strength of hard iron, and brazen hinges, that creak under the weight of their gates.
But Liquids that consist of fluid bodies, must be formed of seeds more smooth and round; for their globular particles are not entangled among themselves, and their flowing motion rolls on forward with the greater Ease.
But lastly, all such Things which you observe instantly to scatter, and fly away as smoke, clouds, and flame, if they do not consist altogether of particles that are smooth and round, yet neither are they formed of hooked Seeds, and therefore may pierce through bodies, and penetrate into stones; nor do their particles nevertheless stick mutually to one another, as we observe the particles of thorns do. From thence you may easily conclude that they are not composed of hooked or entangled, but of acute Principles.
But because you see the same things are bitter and fluid, as the Sea- water, are you to wonder in the least at this; For what is fluid is formed of Principles that are smooth and round, but with these smooth and round seeds are mixed others that are sharp, and give pain. Yet there is no necessity that these sharp seeds should be hooked and twined together; it is sufficient that they be globous as well as rough, that they may be qualified to flow along in their proper Course, as well as to hurt the sense.
And that you may the sooner believe that these sharp seeds are mixed with those that are smooth, from whence the body of the sea becomes salt, the way is to separate them, and consider them distinct; for the Sea-water grows sweet by being often filtered through the Earth, and so fills the ditches, where it becomes soft; for it leaves behind the pungent seeds of the rough salt, which are more inclined to stick as they pass along, than those particles that are globular and smooth.
This being proved, I shall here join another observation, which justly derives its credit from what is explained before: That the seeds of things vary their figure not without End, but after a finite manner. If it were not so, some seeds, by an infinite increase of their parts, would be of an immense size; for in so small a body as an atom consists of, the figures have not room to change often among themselves. Suppose, if you will, these atoms or first seeds consist of smallest parts, three suppose, or a few more, if you please; now, by varying these several Parts of one Atom or Seed into all possible shapes, placing the Uppermost below, or turning the right to the left, you will find the several figures that every change will give this Seed in all its Parts. But if you would change its figure still further, you must add new parts to it and, by the same reason, you must still add more, if you still think of changing its figure into more shapes, so that the body must increase in proportion as every new figure appears; and therefore, you cannot conceive, that the seeds should be distinguished by an infinite variety of forms, unless you admit that they are likewise infinite in magnitude, which, as I said above, is impossible to be proved.
Besides, the embroidered vests of Asia, the bright Melibean Purple, dipped in the blood of the Thessalian Shellfish, and the golden Brood of Peacocks, glittering with their gaudy plumes, would lie undistinguished, being exceeded by other things of greater lustre, and the smell of myrrh, and the Taste of Honey, would be despised, and the singing of the swan, and the noblest Verse sung to sweet music would, by the same rule, be outdone, and cease to please; for some other things might arise more agreeable than these.
And as some things, we observe, may advance into greater perfection, so others likewise may decline, and grow worse; for one thing may succeed another still more disagreeable to the Nose, the Ears, the Eyes, and Taste. But since this does not appear in the Nature of Things, since there is a certain boundary to what is best and worst, we are obliged to own, that matter is diversified by shapes that are finite, and within fixed Bounds.
Lastly, from Fire, to the piercing Cold of Winter, a Point is set, and so, from Cold to Heat, they are both intense: for heat and cold are the extremes, the middle warmth lies between both, and thus orderly fills up the whole. This warmth is distant equally from both extremes, and is confined by bounds on both sides, kept in on this by heat, and on that by smarting cold.
This being proved, I shall here join another observation, which justly derives it credit from what is explained before: This is that the seeds of things that are alike, and perfectly of the same figure, are in number infinite, for though the variety of their figures be only finite, yet the seeds themselves that are alike in nature must indeed be infinite, otherwise the whole of matter must be finite, which I have fully proved is not.
Thus having cleared the way I shall now show, in short but sweetest numbers, that the seeds of matter are infinite, and hold together the whole of things, by constant force of blows on every side.
For though you observe some species of animals are less common, and nature seems less fruitful in their production, yet in other countries, in other places, and in lands more remote, you meet with many creatures of that kind, and more, in number. For you observe the elephant, chief of beats, wreathing his lithe proboscis like a snake. How many thousands of them India breeds, which fortify her with a wall of ivory impenetrable, not to be forced, but we see but few at Rome. But grant, if you please, there was only one single create of a particular kind in Nature, whose like was not to be found throughout the world, yet unless the seeds of which it was formed were in number infinite, it could never come into being, or, when once made, could it increase or be supported.
For fancy you see the finite seeds of any body tossed about through the infinite space, whence, where, by what force, by what design, could they meet and unite in that wide ocean of matter, that strange confusion? They have no reason, I suppose, to direct them to this union. But, as in dreadful wrecks, when many ships are lost, the troubled sea scatters abroad the seats, the sterns, the sail-yards, the prows, the masts, the floating oars, the flags swimming about all the shores, that they may be seen, and forewarn poor mortals to fly, and at no time to trust the treachery, the power, and the deceit of that unfaithful element, even when the perfidious flattery of her smooth face smiles upon them. So, if you allow the first seeds of things to be finite, the various agitation of matter must forever toss them about, scattered as they are, so that they could never be forced to unite; or, if they could, could they preserve that union, or admit of any increase? And yet the Nature of Things evidently proves that beings are produced, and, when produced, increase; and therefore the Principles of Things in every kind, 'tis plain, are infinite, and by them all beings are formed and supported.
Nor do those motions that are fatal and destructive to beings always prevail, and cause a dissolution never to be recovered. Nor, on the contrary, do those motions by which beings are formed and increased always preserve things when they are produced, but a perpetual war has been forever carried on, with equal success, between the principles of things; one while the vital seeds prevail, and now again they are routed, and beaten out of the field. The cries of infant beings, which the send out as soon as they see the light, are mingled with the funeral of others that are departed; nor is there a night that follows the day, nor a morning which succeeds the night, that does not hear the groans, the attendants of death, and sad obsequies, mingled with the tender laments of new-born babes rising into being.
'Tis proper likewise that in this place you fix it as an established truth, and impress it deeply upon your mind, that there is no being to be found in nature that consists altogether of principles of one kind, nor is there any thing that is not made up of mingled seeds; and the more powers and faculties any being is endued with, the more it appears to be formed of various sorts of seeds that differ in figure among themselves.
And first, the Earth contains within herself first principles, from whence the fountains, flowing with their streams, do constantly supply the mighty Sea. She holds likewise within her womb the seeds of fire. We see in many places how she burns, how Aetna rages with distinguished flames. She likewise has the seeds from whence she forms sweet fruits, and pleasant trees for men; from whence she does afford the tender shrubs and verdant grass to savage beasts that wander on the hills.
Therefore this Earth alone is called great Mother of the Gods, parent of beasts, and of the human race. Of her the learned Grecian bards of old have feigned that in her chariot she rides aloft, she drives a pair of lions harnessed; to teach that in the spacious air hangs the vast mass of Earth, without a lower Earth to prop it up. These beasts they yoked, to show that youth, although by nature wild, yet, softened by the parents tender care, grows tame. Her head they compass with a mural crown, because, in places strongly fortified, she bears up cities, and in this pomp adored, the image of this sacred mother is born with dread solemnity throughout the world. Her, after the ancient use of holy rites, the different nations call Mother of Mount Ida, and give her for attendants a train of Phyrgian dames, because in Phrygia corn was first raised, and thence was scattered over all the Earth. They serve her by eunuch priests, to show that those who violate the sacred character of their mother, or are found undutiful to their parents from whence they sprung, should be thought worthy to raise a living offspring to succeed them. With their hands they beat loudly upon drums well-braced; the hollow symbols all about, and horns with their hoarse noise threaten dreadfully around her; the pipe, with Phrygian airs, mads their very souls; and they carry arms, the signs of their distracted rage, to terrify the stubborn minds and impious hearts of the vulgar, with a fear and reverence of this great deity.
When therefore she is carried in procession, through the great towns, and, dumb as she is, silently bestows health upon her votaries, they scatter brass and silver in all the way she passes, enriching her with profuse oblations; they shower down the flowers of roses, and so cover the great mother, and the whole train of her attendants. Her an armed Troop (the Greeks call them the Phrygian Curates) leap about, with a chain through their hands, and wanton in the blood they have drawn, dance to exact time, and, full of the Goddess, shake their dreadful crests upon their heads. They represent the Dictean Curetes, who are said formerly to have drowned the infant cries of Jupiter in Crete; when the young priests, all armed, struck their Brazen Bucklers together, as they danced nimbly round the boy, lest Saturn should seize upon him, and devour him, and, by that means, wound his mother to the heart, with a grief never to be Forgotten. For this reason, and armed train accompany the great mother semicolon or else the goddess signifies that they should preserve their native country by their arms and Valor, NBA protection and honor to their parents. Such fancies, the will and wittily contrived, yet are far removed from truth and right reason. For the whole nature of the Gods Must spend an immortality and softest piece, removed from out of Affairs, and separated by distance infinite semicolon from sorrow free, secure from danger, and its own happiness sufficient, and not of ours can watch semicolon is neither pleased with good, nor vexed with Hill.
The Earth is indeed at all times void of real sense, but it contains within itself the first seeds of many things, it produces them into being after various manners. So, if anyone here resolves to call the Sea by the name of Neptune, and corn by the title of Ceres, and chooses rather to abuse the name of Bacchus, than to speak the proper appellation of wine, such a one, we allow, may style this globe of Earth the mother of the gods, when really she is no such thing.
But to return, we see the wooly sheep, the warlike breed of horses, and horned bulls, living under the same covert of the sky, grazing together in the same field, and quenching their thirst in the same stream of water; yet they are each of a different species, and retain the nature of their sires, and every kind imitates the dispositions of the race from which they came, so different Is the nature of the seeds in every herb, so various are the principles of water in every stream.
Now though blood, bones, veins, heat, moisture, bowels, nerves, go to the formation of every animal, yet of what variety of figures, widely different in themselves, do their seeds consist?
And then all bodies that are combustible, and burnt by fire, if they agree on nothing else, yet discharge from themselves such parts, by which they spread about their flame and light; from whence they raise sparkles, and scatter their embers all abroad. So if you examine other things by the same rule, you will find seeds of different kind lie concealed in all bodies within, and show themselves of a different figure.
Lastly, you observe many things that emit both smell and taste, especially those victims you offer when your mind is religiously moved for something you have unjustly acquired. These sensations, therefore, must be raised by seeds of different figure; for smell pierces through pores where taste can find no passage. The juice likewise, and the taste of things, affect the sense by proper organs, to convince that their seeds vary in their figure. Principles therefore of various shape make up every particular mass, and things in general are composed of mingled seeds; for, in these verses of mine, you may all along observe that many letters are common to many words, and yet you must confess, that some verses and some words consist of very different letters, not because the number of letters are few, or no two words are formed of the same letters, but because every verse and every word is composed of letters altogether different. So, though the same principles are common to many things, yet the things may remain very different among themselves; and it may properly enough be said that men, and fruits, and pleasant trees are made up of different seeds.
Yet we are not to suppose that all seeds of whatever figure do mutually unite to the production of beings, for then you would observe monsters springing up every day, creatures half man, half horse, the lofty boughs of trees growing out of a living body, and the limbs of land animals joined to the bodies of fish, and nature forming every where out of the earth (the mother of all things) Chimaeras from their dreadful mouths breathing out flames; but ‘tis plain, nothing of this happens, since we see all things are formed from certain seeds, and regular principles, and preserve their kind as they grow up and increase.
Nor indeed can it, by the fixed rules of reason, be otherwise; for, out of the several sorts of food, the particles of that which is proper to every animal descend into the limbs, and there united, produce the motions suitable to that animal; but, on the contrary, those particles of food that are destructive, some of them, we find, nature throws off through open passages, others are, insensibly to us, forced out of the body through the pores, such as would admit of no Union with others, no agree to promote the vital motions and purposes of life.
But lest you should think that living creatures only are bound by these laws, the same reason holds with regard to all other beings; for as all bodies are in their nature different in themselves, so it is necessary that each should consist of principles of a different figure, not but that many seeds are the same in shape, but they do not all agree in form perfectly alike.
Since then the seeds differ, it is necessary that their intervals, their courses, connections, weights, strokes, concussions, and motions, should differ likewise; Properties, that not only make a distinction between animals, but divide the Earth and the Sea, and preserve the heavens separate from the earth, and secure all things from being confusedly mingled together.
Now, come on, attend to the rules which I have found, by a labor very delightful to myself; lest you should think those bodies that appear white to your eyes are composed of white seeds, for such as show black, are formed of black; or what color soever a thing wears, you should conclude the cause of it to be that the seeds of which it is made are stained with the same color; For the principles of matter are void of all color, both like or unlike what appears upon the bodies they produce.
If you should chance to think that the Mind cannot possibly form an idea of seeds without color, you are under a strange mistake; for persons born blind, who never saw the light of the Sun, yet discover bodies by the touch, as if they had no manner of color belonging to them. So that seeds imbued with no color can offer themselves to our mind, and be conceived by us. And besides, the things we touch in the dark night we distinguish without any regard to the color they may otherwise appear in.
That seeds may be void of color I have shown; I shall now prove that they actually are so. Now every color may be changed one into another; but the principles of things will by no means in admit of change, there necessarily must be something that remains immutable, lest all things should be utterly reduced to nothing; for whatsoever is changed, and breaks the bounds of its first nature, instantly dies, and is no more what first it was. Be cautious therefore, how you stain the seeds of things with color, lest all things should recur to nothing, and be utterly destroyed.
Besides, though Nature bestows no color upon seeds, yet they are endued with different figures, from which they form and vary the colors of every kind which show upon them. (For it is of great concern what seeds unite with others, and what positions they are preserved, and what motions they give and receive among themselves;) and thus you may readily account why things that just before appeared black, should suddenly look white. As the sea, when the rough winds enrage the waters, grows white with foaming waves. So you may say of what commonly appears black to us, when the seeds of which it is formed are mingled, and their order changed, when some new seeds are added, and some old ones are removed, the direct consequence is that its color is changed, and appears white. But if the water of the sea consisted essentially of blue particles, it could by no means change into a white color. Disturb the order of the seeds how you would, the principles that are blue would never pass into a white.
But if you say that the seeds which make the sea look of one uniform white are stained with different colors, as a perfect square that is one figure, is made up of several bodies that are of several figures, then it would follow that, as we perfectly see that dissimilar figures which the square contains within it, so we might discover in the water of the sea, or in any other body of one simple color, the mixed and different colors from which that simple color proceeds.
Besides, the dissimilar figures that go to make up a square do by no means hinder that the surface of the body should appear square, but a mixed variety of colors will forever prevent that the surface of any body should appear of one fixed and uniform color.
And then the very reason that would incline us sometimes to impute colors to seeds is by this means destroyed, or, in this case, white Bodies are not produced from white, or black from black, but from seeds of various colors. Now a white would much sooner proceed from seeds of no color at all, then from such as are black, or any other opposite color whatsoever.
Besides, since colors cannot appear without light, and since the seeds of things cannot appear in the light, you may thence conclude that they are covered with no colors at all. For how can any color show itself in the dark, which surround in the light itself, as it is differently struck either with a direct or oblique ray of light? After this manner, the plumes of doves, which grow about their neck, and are an ornament to it, show themselves in the sun. In one position they appear red like a fiery carbuncle, in another light, the greenness of the emerald is mixed with a sky blue. So, likewise, the tail of the peacock, all filled with light, changes its colors, as the rays strike directly or obliquely upon it. Since therefore colors are produced only by the strokes of light, we cannot suppose that they can possibly exist without it.
And since the eye receives within itself one sort of stroke with when it is said to perceive a white Color, and another contrary one, when it views an object of a black or any other color, and since it is of no moment by what color any thing you touch is distinguished, but rather of what peculiar shape and figure it is, you may conclude there is no manner of occasion that seeds should be stained with any colors, but that they should cause that variety of touch by the various figures with which they are imbued.
Besides, since there are no certain colors peculiar to certain figures, and since seeds of any figure may be of any color, whence is it that bodies that consist of such seeds are not in there several kinds imbued with all sorts of colors? It would be common to see crows, as they fly about, cast a white color from their white feathers, and black swans might be produced from black seeds, or be of any other one or more colors, as there seeds chance to be distinguished.
Further, the more any body is broken into small parts, the more you may perceive its color languishes by degrees, and dies away. This is the case of gold, when it is divided into thin shavings, its luster is extinguished, and the purple guy, by much the richest, when it is drawn out thread by thread, is quite lost. Hence you may infer that the particles of bodies discharge themselves of all color before they come to be as small as seeds.
Again, since you allow that all bodies do not emit sound and smell, and not attribute sound and smell to every body; so, since we cannot discover every thing by our eyes, you may conclude there are some bodies as much void of color, as there are others without smell or sound; and a judicious mind can properly form a notion of such bodies void of color, as it can of others that are without smell or sound, or any other qualities whatsoever.
But lest you should conceive the first seeds are void only of color, you must know that they are without warmth, are altogether free from cold or heat, the emit no sound, are without moisture, nor do they send out any smell from their several bodies; so when you propose to compound a pleasant ointment of sweet marjoram, myrrh, and flowers of spikenard, that send out the richest odor up to the nose, the first thing you are to do is to choose, as far as it lies in your power, an oil that has no smell, that it may, as little as possible, infect and corrupt those few sweet ingredients, being mixed and digested with them, with its native rankness.
Lastly, the seeds do not bestow any smell upon the bodies they produce, nor any sound, for they can exhale nothing from themselves; and, for the same reason, they can communicate no taste, nor cold, nor any vapor hot or warm. You must separate all qualities from the seeds that render them liable to dissolution, such as viscous, brittle, hollow, which proceeded from qualities that are soft, putrid, and rare, the seeds must have nothing of these properties if you would fix them upon an eternal foundation, upon which alone depends the security of beings, lest all things should fall to nothing, and perish beyond recovery.
Now farther, those beings we see indued with sense, you must needs own are produced from insensible seeds; nor is there anything we perceive by common experience, which refutes or opposes this opinion. Everything rather leads us on, and compels us to believe that animals, I say, proceed from principles that are void of sense; for we observe living worms come into being from stinking dung, when the earth, moistened by unseasonable showers, grows putrid and rotten.
Besides, beings of all kinds undergo continual changes; the waters, the leaves, and the sweet grass turn themselves into beasts; the beasts convert their nature into human bodies; and the bodies of wild beasts and birds increase and grow strong by these bodies of ours. Nature therefore changes all sorts of food into living bodies; and hence she forms the senses of all creatures, much after the same manner as she quickens dry wood into fire, and sets everything in a blaze. You see now it is of the utmost importance in what order these first seeds are ranged, and, when mingled together, what motions they give, and receive among themselves.
But tell me, what is it that lays a force upon your mind? What moves you? What drives you into another opinion, that you should not believe a thing sensible can be formed from insensible seeds? Perhaps you observe that stones, and wood, and earth, when mingled together, can produce no creature indued with sense; but you will do well to remember, upon this occasion, that I did not say things sensible, or sense, could instantly proceed from all seeds in general, which go to the production of beings, but that it was of great consequence of what size the seeds are that created a being of sense, with what figures, motions, order, and position they are distinguished. Nothing of which we observe in wood, or clods of Earth. Yet these, when they are made rotten by moisture, produce worms, because the particles of matter, being changed from their former course by some new cause, are so united and disposed, that living creatures are formed, and creep into being.
Besides, those who contend that a sensible being may be raised from sensible seeds, (and this you are taught by some philosophers), must needs allow those seeds to be soft; for all sense is joined to bowels, nerves, and veins, all which, we know, are soft, and consequently liable to change and dissolution.
But grant their seeds to be eternal, yet if they are sensible, each seed must be endued with sense, either as a part or a whole, and be like a complete animal of itself; but no single part can perceive or exist of itself, for each part requires a union with the other parts, to make it capable of sense, nor can the hand feel any more, or any other part retain its sense, when separated from the body. These seeds therefore must be perfect animals, and so unite together in a vital sensibility; but how then can be seeds be said to be eternal, and secure from death, when they have the nature of animals, and are one and the same with them in all respects, and therefore are mortal, and must die?
But allow these seeds to be sensible and Incorruptible too, yet, by their union and agreement, they can produce nothing but animals and things sensible; that is, mankind, and cattle, and wild beasts, can produce nothing but men, and cattle, and wild beasts. (How then could things insensible, such as trees, metals, have a being?)
If you say these seeds, in mingling together, lose their own proper sense, and assume another, what need you impute any sense at all to them, when they must lose it again? Besides, as we have proved before, since we perceive the eggs of birds are changing into living young, and that worms break out of the earth, when it is made rotten by unseasonable showers, we may conclude, that things sensible may arise from insensible seeds.
If anyone will assert here that sense indeed may proceed from insensible seeds, by sort of change made in the seeds, by virtue of the thing that generates, before the animal is formed, it will be sufficient plainly to show him, that no animal can be formed but by a union, first of the seeds, nor can anything be changed but by agreement of the seeds, so that there can be no such thing as sense in any body before the animal is completely formed. And for this reason: because the seeds lie scattered in the air, the water, the earth, the fire, nor have they yet united together, after a proper manner, into any vital motions by which the senses of any animal may be produced, in order to guide and preserve it.
Besides, a blow falling upon any animal, heavier than its nature can endure, immediately torments it, and confounds all its senses both of body and mind; for the connection of the seeds is dissolved, and the vital motions are wholly obstructed, till the force of the blow being agitated violently through the limbs dissolves the vital ties of the soul from the body, and compels her, scattered and broken to pieces, to fly out through every pore. For what can we conceive to be the effect of such a stroke but to separate and dissolve the seeds that were united before?
And then it happens, when the blow falls with less violence, that the remains of vital motion often get the better, they recover and calm the great disorders of the blow, and recall everything again into its proper channel. They rescue the body, as it were, from the jaws of death, and give new life to the senses that were almost destroyed; else why should creatures rather return to life from the very gates of death with new spirits, than when they were just entering in, proceed on, and utterly perish?
Further, since we feel pain when the seeds are shaken from their natural state and situation within, and are disordered through all the bowels and limbs by any outward force, and when they return again into their proper place, a quiet pleasure immediately succeeds, you may conclude that simple seeds cannot be tormented with pain, nor of themselves be affected with pleasure; because they do not consist of principles or other seeds by whose violent motions they may be disturbed, or be delighted with any pleasure they can give; and therefore they cannot possibly be endued with any sense at all.
Again, if in order to produce creatures with sense, sense must be imputed to the seeds from which they are formed, of what principles, I pray, is the human race properly composed? Of such, no doubt, as laugh, and shake their little sides, such as bedew their face and cheeks with flowing tears, such as can widely talk how things are mixed, and such as search of what first principles themselves are formed; For all things that enjoy the faculties of perfect animals must consist of other seeds like them, and these must arise from others, and thus the progression would be infinite. I urge further, whatever you observe to speak, to laugh, to be wise, must proceed from other seeds that can perform the same; but if this be ridiculous and downright madness, and things that can laugh can spring from seeds that never smile, and the wise, that learnedly dispute, are produced from foolish seeds and stupid, what hinders that sensible things may not as well be formed from seeds without any matter of sense at all?
Lastly, we all spring from ethereal seed; we have all one common parent, when the kind Earth, our mother, receives the quickening drops of moisture from above, she conceives us and brings forth shining fruits, and pleasant trees, the human race, and all the race of beasts, she yields them proper food on which they feed, and lead a pleasant life, and propagate their kind, and therefore has she justly gained the name of mother. The parts that first from Earth arose return to Earth again; what descended from the sky, those parts brought back again that heavens receive; nor does death so put an end to beings as to destroy the very seeds of them, but only disunites them, then makes new combinations, and is the cause that all things vary their forms, and change their colors, become sensible, and in a moment lose all their sense again. You may know from hence of what importance it is, with what the first seeds of things are united, and in what position they are contained, and what are the several motions they give and take among themselves. And from hence you may conclude that these first seed are not the less eternal, because you perceive them floating, as it were, upon the surface of bodies, and subject to be born, and die. It is of like concern with what the several letters are joined in these verses of mine, and in what order each of them is disposed; for the same letters make up the words to signify the heaven, the sea, the Earth, the rivers, the sun; the same express the fruits, the trees, the creatures; if they are not all, yet by much the greater part are alike, but they differ in their situation. So, likewise, in bodies, when the intervals of the seeds, their courses, connections, weights, strokes, union, motions, order, position, figure; when these things are changed, the things themselves must be changed likewise.
Now apply your mind closely to the documents of true reason, for a new scheme of philosophy presses earnestly for your attention, a new scene of things displays itself before you. Yet there is nothing so obvious but may at first view seem difficult to be believed, and there is nothing so prodigious and wonderful at first that men do not by degrees cease to admire. For see the bright and pure color of the sky, possessed on every side by wandering stars, and the Moon’s splendor, and the Sun's glorious light; these, if they now first shown to mortal eyes, and suddenly presented to our view, what could more wonderful appear than these? And what before could men less presume to expect? Nothing surely, so surprising would be the sight have been. But now, quite tired and cloyed with the prospect, none of us vouchsafes so much as to cast our eyes up towards the bright temples of the sky. Therefore do not be frightened, and conceive an aversion to an opinion because of its novelty; but search it rather with a more piercing judgment. If it appears true to you, embrace it; if false, set yourself against it.
Now, I should be glad to know - since, without the walls of this world, the visible heavens, there lies an infinite space - what is contained there. This the Mind desires eagerly to search into, and, by its own vigor, to range over freely, and without obstruction.
And first, since there is no bound to space in any part of it, on no side of it, neither above or below it, as I have proved, and the thing itself proclaims it, and the very nature of space confirms it; we are not to suppose, (since this space is infinitely extended every way, and the seeds innumerable fly about this mighty void in various manners, urged on by an eternal motion) that this one globe of Earth, and the visible heavens only, were created, and that so many seeds of matter that lie beyond do nothing; especially since this world was made naturally, and without design, and the seeds of things of their own accord, jostling together by variety of motions, rashly sometimes, in vain often, and to no purpose, at length suddenly agreed and united, and became the beginning of mighty productions, of the Earth, the Sea, and the Heavens, and the whole animal creation. Wherefore, it needs must be allowed, there were in many other places agreements and unions of the seeds of the same nature with this world of ours, surrounded as it is with the fast embraces of the heavens above.
Besides, since there is a large stock of matter already, and a place suitable, nor is there anything or cause to hinder and delay, things must necessarily be produced, and come into being. Now, since there is so great a plenty of seeds, that all the ages of men would not be sufficient to number them, and the same power, the same nature remains, that can dispose the seeds of things in any other place, by the same rule as that united in this world of ours, we must needs confess, that there are other worlds in other parts of the universe, possessed by other kinds of inhabitants, both of men and beasts.
Add to this, that in the universe there is no species that has but one of a sort, that is produced alone, that remain single, and grows up by itself; but whatever species things are of, there are many more individuals of the same kind. This you may observe in the animal creation, this you will find to be the state of the wild beasts, of the human race, of the silent fish, and the whole brood of birds. By the same reason you must own, that the heavens, the Earth, the Sun, the moon, the Sea, and all other beings that are, do not exist singly, but are rather innumerable in their kind; for every one of these have a proper limit fixed to their beings, and are equally bound by the general laws of nature, with all those whose species include a numerous train of individuals under them.
These things, if you rightly apprehend, Nature will appear free in her operations, wholly from under the power of domineering deities, and to act all things voluntarily, and of herself, without the assistance of gods. For Oh - the undisturbed bosoms of the powers above, blessed with sacred peace! How they live in everlasting ease, a life void of care! Who can rule this infinite Universe? Who has the power to hold the mighty reigns of government in his hands over this whole mass? Who likewise can turn about all these heavens? And cherish all these fruitful globes of Earth with celestial heat? Who can be present at all times, and in all places? To darken the world with clouds, to shake the vast expansion of the serene heavens with noise; to dart the thunder, and often overturn his own temples, to fly into the wilderness, and furiously brandish that fiery bolt, which often passes by the guilty, and strikes dead the innocent and undeserving?
Besides, after this world was formed, and the birthday of the Sea, the Earth, and the Sun was over, there were many particles of matter added to them from without, many seeds were received every way, which the infinite mass of universe constantly discharged; from whence the Sea and the Earth grew more strong and vigorous; from when the mansions of the heavens were enlarged, and raised their lofty arches higher from the Earth, and new air was produced. For from all the parts of the universe the proper seeds are distributed, and retire severally in all places to their proper kinds; the watery to the water, the Earth increases by earthy particles, the fiery produce fire, the airy air, til Nature, the parent and perfectress of all things, improves all beings to the utmost extent of growth they are capable of. This comes to pass, when no more is received into the vital passages, than what is perspired, and flies off; then it is that the growth of the creature is at a full stand, and nature restrains it from further increase.
For whatever creature you observe to thrive and grow lively and large, and by degrees climb up to a mature age, receives more particles into itself than it emits, because all the nourishment is easily distributed into the veins, and there confined, and the particles are not so widely scattered as in any proportion to fly off, and so receive a loss faster than they are supplied. For we must allow that many particles certainly fly off from bodies, but many others ought to be coming on, til the thing arrives to its utmost pitch of bulk. Then, by degrees, its strength and maturity of vigor decays, its age melts away and dissolves; for the larger any body is, the greater it is in size, when its growth is over, it wastes the more every way, and sends out more particles from itself; nor is the nourishment easily distributed into the veins, or nature sufficient to renew and supply those effluvia it throws off in such abundance, in proportion as the defect and the loss require. The animal therefore must necessarily perish when it is made thin by continual perspiration, and all things must at length fall by constant strokes from without; for the supplies from food must fail in old age, nor do bodies from without ever cease to batter and break to pieces all things with strokes not to be resisted.
By the same rule, the visible heavens, the surrounding walls of this great world, must tumble down by continual attacks, and fall to ruin. It is the nourishment that preserves things in being by constant supplies, but ‘tis all to no purpose: For neither are the veins capable to receive what is sufficient, nor can nature afford a proper and needful recruit. Even now, the age of the world is broken, and the Earth so feeble and worn out, that it scarce produces a puny kind of creatures, when it bore formerly a lusty race, and brought forth such prodigious bodies of wild beasts. Or I cannot think all species of creatures descended from the sky by a Golden Chain upon the Earth, nor were they by the Sea created, nor by the waves that beat the Rocks, but the same Earth which now supports them, at first gave them being. At first she kindly, of her own accord, raised the rich fruits and delightful vines for the benefit of men. She freely of herself offered her sweet produce, the corn and tender grass, which now scare rise to perfection with all our labor.
We wear out our oxen, and the strength of our husbandmen; we can scarce find plowshares sufficient to till the fields, things are so averse to grow, and our labors are forever increasing. And now the lusty plowman shakes his head, and laments the pains he took was oft in vain; and when he compares the present times with the glorious days that are past, he blesses the good fortune of those that were before him; he talks loudly how the old race of men, filled with piety, no doubt spent their happy days within the narrow bounds of their own field, (for then every man's share of ground was much less than it is now) but has no notion, fond fool! that things by degrees decay, and, worn out by old age, hasten to ruin to the utmost period of their duration.