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Chapter XXVI.

PLATO and Empedocles believe, that plants are animals, and are informed with a soul; of this there are clear arguments, for they have tossing and shaking, and their branches are extended; when the woodmen bend them they yield, but they return to their former straightness and strength again when they are let loose, and even draw up weights that are laid upon them. Aristotle doth grant that they live, but not that they are animals; for animals are affected with appetite, sense, and reason. The Stoics and Epicureans deny that they are informed with a soul; by reason that all sorts of animals have either sense, appetite, or reason; but plants move fortuitously, and not by means of any soul. Empedocles, that the first of all animals were trees, and they sprang from the earth before the sun in its glory enriched the world, and before day and night [p. 191] were distinguished; but by the harmony which is in their constitution they partake of a masculine and feminine nature; and they increase by that heat which is exalted out of the earth, so that they are parts belonging to it, as embryos in the womb are parts of the womb. Fruits in plants are excrescences proceeding from water and fire; but the plants which have a deficiency of water, when this is dried up by the heat of summer, lose their leaves; whereas they that have plenty thereof keep their leaves on still, as the olive, laurel, and palm. The differences of their moisture and juice arise from the difference of particles and various other causes, and they are discriminated by the various particles that feed them. And this is apparent in vines; for the excellence of wine flows not from the difference in the vines, but from the soil from whence they receive their nutriment.

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