Of Elements. cap. 3.
AS Constantine sayth, Elements bée simple and least particle of a bodye that is compownded: & it is called least touching vs. For it is not perceiued by wittes of seeling. For it is the least parte, and last in vndoing of the bodye, as it is first in composition: and is cal∣led simple, not for that an element is sim∣ple, without any composition, but for it hath no partes that compowne it, that be diuerse in kinde and in number, as some meddeled bodies haue: as it fareth in mettalls, of the which some partes bée diuerse: For some parte is ayre, and some is earth, and so of other. But each parte of sire, is fire, and so of other. Elementum hath that name, as it were Ilementum, as Isidore sayth, of Ile: for that he hath matter of all bodyes, and as it were the first foundament: and other men meane, that hee hath that name, as it were Elementum, or Alimentum. For all bodyes be nourished, fedde, and increased, by qualityes of Elementes, Page 154 Qualities of Elements be roure: Two worke, as heate and colde: and two of them suffer, as drinesse and moysture. The accord and difference of these, bée more plainly described before in ye third booke: Looke there. Euen betwéene the qualities of elements, is contraciousnes and strife, by reason whereof they work togethers, and suffer, and ingender, and corrupt. And though the Elements bée neuer so contrarye, euery each to other: yet by influence of heauen, and vertue of Planets, they be reconciled in their doo∣ings, and brought to accord: and there∣fore they be onyd & ioyned with a won∣derfull bond in kinde. For fire and aire accord in heate, though they discorde in drinesse and moystnesse: and ayre and water accord in moysture, but they dis∣corde in heate and coldnesse. And wa∣ter and earth accord in coldnesse, though they discord in moysture and drinesse. Fire and earth that be elements in place most farre asunder, accord in drines, and discord in heate and coldnesse: for earth is substantially most colde, and fire most hot: and of the foure elements these two be most noble, & most pure of substance, and most light, that be aire and fire, and therefore they moue fromward the mid∣dle toward the roundnesse, and moue kindly vpward. And these two elements take noblenes and worthinesse touching vertue in working & substance of ye body of heauen, of yt which they receiue influ∣ence of mouablenesse and of vertue: for the vertue of heauen giueth first influ∣ence vpon the sphere and roundnesse of fire, and by and through the fire, vppon the roundnesse of the aire: and therfore these two Elementes be more high in place and stead, than other Elementes: more able to moue, more pure & cleane, and subtill, in substaunce, more cléere and bright in forme, more vertuous in wor∣king and déede And the two neather E∣lements, water & earth, be kindly more heavie than the other twaine, and moue fromward the roundnesse, towarde the middle downward, and by gathering of parts & compaction, they be sad and boy∣stous and therefore they be thicker, sad∣der, & dimmer, than the other twaine, & more materiall, & haue more of matter, than of forme: & so for sa•nesse from the sphere a roundnes of heauen, they bee not so obedient to the vertue of mouing of heauen as the two other elements bée. And elements be neuer idle: but be con∣tinually in doing & suffering: & so they neuer rest, nor cease off generation & mo∣uing. And though the earth rest of mo∣uing, yet it neuer resteth nor ceaseth do∣ing & working: and as they be not idle from dooing, so they bée not barren of araieng or adorning, for each Element hath his araieng & ornament. The fire hath stars, the aire hath birdes & fowles, the waier hath fishes & beasts yt swim therin, ye earth hath beasts ye moue & goe therein, as Beda saith. Of the which by helpe of God, somewhat shallbe shortly sayde.