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Such, then, is the history, according to their various species and their peculiar conformations, of all the animals within the compass of our knowledge. It now remains for us to speak of the vegetable productions of the earth, which are equally far from being destitute of a vital spirit,1 (for, indeed, nothing can live without it), that we may then proceed to describe the minerals extracted from it, and so none of the works of Nature may be passed by in silence. Long, indeed, were these last bounties of hers concealed beneath the ground, the trees and forests being regarded as the most valuable benefits conferred by Nature upon mankind. It was from the forest that man drew his first aliment, by the leaves of the trees was his cave rendered more habitable, and by their bark was his clothing supplied; even at this very day,2 there are nations that live under similar circumstances to these. Still more and more, then, must we be struck with wonder and admiration, that from a primæval state such as this, we should now be cleaving the mountains for their marbles, visiting the Seres3 to obtain our clothing, seeking the pearl in the depths of the Red Sea, and the emerald in the very bowels of the earth. For our adornment with these precious stones it is that we have devised those wounds which we make in our ears; because, forsooth, it was deemed not enough to carry them on our hands, our necks, and our hair, if we did not insert them in our very flesh as well. It will be only proper, then, to follow the order of human inventions, and to speak of the trees before treating of other subjects; thus may we trace up to their very origin the manners and usages of the present day.

1 "Animâ." The notion that plants are possessed of a soul or spirit, is derived from the Greek philosophers, who attributed to them intellect also, and sense.

2 Vitruvius mentions the people of Gaul, Hispania, Lusitania, and Aquitania, as living in his day in dwellings covered with oak shingles, or with straw.

3 See B. vi. c. 20, and B. xi. c. 26.

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