1. Wherefore do the Romans require a new-married woman to touch fire and water?
Is it not for one of these reasons; amongst
elements and principles, one is masculine and the other
feminine;— one (fire) hath in it the principles of motion,
the other (water) hath the faculty of a subject and matter?
Or is it because fire refines and water cleanseth, and a
married wife ought to continue pure and chaste? Or is it
because fire without moisture doth not nourish, but is
adust, and water destitute of heat is barren and sluggish;
so both the male and female apart are of no force, but
a conjunction of both in marriage completes society? Or
is the meaning that they must never forsake each other,
but must communicate in every fortune, and although
there be no goods, yet they may participate with each
other in fire and water?