Observations upon experimental philosophy to which is added The description of a new blazing world
Newcastle, Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of, 1624?-1674.
Page  77

22. Of Wood Petrified.

I Cannot admire, as some do, that Wood doth turn into stone, by reason I observe, that Slime, Clay, Dirt, nay Water, may and doth often the same, which is further off from the nature of Stone then Wood is, as being less dense, and its interior figurative motions being dilating: but yet this doth not prove that all other Creatures may as easily be metamorphosed into stone as they; for the parts of water are composed but of one sort of figure, and are all of the same nature; and so is wood, clay, shells, &c. whose parts are but of one figure, at least not of so many different fi∣gures as the parts of Animals, or other Creatures; for as Animals have different parts, so these parts are of different figures, not onely exteriously, but interi∣cusly; as for example, in some or most Animals there are Bones, Gristles, Nerves, Sinews, Muscles, Flesh, Blood, Brains, Marrow, Choler, Phlegme, and the like; besides, there are several sorts of flesh, witness their interior and exterior parts, as the Heart, Lungs, Liver, Spleen, Guts, and the like; as also the Head, Breast, Armes, Body, Legs, and the like: all which would puzzle and withstand the power of Ovid's Me∣tamophosing of Gods and Goddesses. Wherefore it is but a weak argument to conclude, because some Crea∣tures or parts can change out of one figure into another Page  78 without a dissolution of their composed parts, therefore all Creatures can do the like; for if all Creatures could or should be metamorphosed into one sort of figure, then this whole World would perhaps come to be one Stone, which would be a hard World: But this Opi∣nion, I suppose, proceeds from Chymistry; for since the last Art of Chimystry (as I have heard) is the Production of glass, it makes perhaps Chymists believe, that at the last day, when this Word shall be dissolved with Fire, the Fire will calcine or turn it into Glass: A brittle World indeed! but whether it will be transpa∣rent, or no, I know not, for it will be very thick.