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I.Is it not for the same reason that it nourishes not earthly animals? For Plato, Anaxagoras, and Democritus think plants are earthly animals. Nor, though sea-water be aliment to marine plants, as it is to fishes, will it therefore nourish earthly plants, since it can neither penetrate the roots, because of its grossness, nor ascend, by reason of its weight; for this, among many other things, shows seawater to be heavy and terrene, because it more easily bears up ships and swimmers. Or is it because drought is a great enemy to trees? For sea-water is of a drying faculty; upon which account salt resists putrefaction, and the bodies of such as wash in the sea are presently dry and rough. Or is it because oil is destructive to earthly plants, and kills things anointed with it? But sea-water participates of much fatness; for it burns together with it. Wherefore, when men would quench fire, we forbid them to throw on sea-water. Or is it because sea-water is not fit to drink and bitter (as Aristotle says) through a mixture of burnt earth? For a lye is made by the falling of ashes into sweet water, and the dissolution ejects and corrupts what was good and potable, as in us men fevers convert the humors into bile. As for what woods and plants men talk of growing in the Red Sea, they bear no fruit, but are nourished by rivers casting up much mud; therefore [p. 496] they grow not at any great distance from land, but very near to it.
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