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Suppose all sprang from all thing: any kind might take its origin from any thing, no fixed seed required.
Men from the sea might rise, and from he land the scaly breed, and, fowl full fledged come bursting from the sky; The horned cattle, the herds and all the wild would haunt with varying offspring tilth and waste;
Nor would the same fruits keep their olden trees, but each might grow from any stock or limb by chance and change.
Indeed, and were there not for each its procreant atoms, could things have each its unalterable mother old?
But, since produced from fixed seeds are all, each birth goes forth upon the shores of light from its own stuff, from its own primal bodies.
And all from all cannot become, because in each resides a secret power its own.
Extract from the book « Of the Nature of Things » by Lucretius
Translation by William Ellery Leonard of his poem De rerum natura
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