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Again, why see we lavished o’ver the lands at spring the rose, at summer heat the corn, the vines that mellow when the autumn lures,
if not because the fixed seeds of things at their season must together stream, and new creations only be revealed when the due times arrive and pregnant earth safely may give unto the shores of light her tender progenies?
But if from naught were their becoming, they would spring abroad suddenly, unforeseen, in alien months, with no primordial germs, to be preserved from procreant unions at an adverse hour.
Nor on the mingling of the living seeds would space be needed for the growth of things were life an increment of nothing: then the tiny babe forthwith would walk a man, and from the turf would leap a branching tree -wonders unheard of;
for, by Nature, each slowly increases from its lawful seed, and through that increase shall conserve its kind.
Whence take the proof that things enlarge and feed from out their proper matter.
Thus it comes that earth, without her seasons of fixed rains, could bear no produce such as makes us glad, and whatsoever lives, if shut from food, prolongs its kind and guards its life no more.
Thus easier ’tis to hold that many things have primal bodies in common (as we see the single letters common to many words) than aught exists without its origins.
Continuation of the extract from the book « Of the Nature of Things » by Lucretius -1st century BC.
Translation by William Ellery Leonard of his poem De rerum natura
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