Observations upon experimental philosophy to which is added The description of a new blazing world
Newcastle, Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of, 1624?-1674.
Page  51

16. Whether Animal Parts separated from their Bo∣dies have Life.

SOme do question, Whether those Parts that are separated from animal Bodies do retain life? But my opinion is, That all parts of Nature have life, each according to the propriety of its figure, and that all parts of an animal have animal life and motion as long as they continue parts of the animal body; but if they be separated from the body to which they did belong, although they retain life, yet they do not retain animal life, because their natural motions are changed to some other figure when they are separated, so that the parts which before had animal life and motion, have then such a kind of life and motion as is proper and natural to the figure into which they are changed or transform∣ed. But some separated parts of some Creatures retain longer the life of that composed figure whose parts they were, then others, according as the dissolving and transforming motions are slower or quicker; as for ex∣ample, in some Vegetables, some Trees, if their boughs, armes, or branches, be lopt or cut from a lively stock, those boughs or branches will many times re∣main lively, according to the nature of the figure whose parts they were, for a good while; nay, if they be set or planted, they will grow into the same figure as the stock was; or if joyned into another stock, they will Page  52 be partly of the nature of the stock which they did pro∣ceed from, and partly of the nature of the stock into which they were ingrafted; But yet I do not perceive that animal kind can do the like; for I make a questi∣on, whether a man's arm, if cut off from his body, and set to another mans body, would grow, and keep its natural form and figure, so as to continue an arm, and to receive nourishment from that body it is joyned to? nevertheless, I will not eagerly contradict it, consider∣ing that Nature is very different and various both in her productions and nourishments, nay, so various, as will puzzle, if not confound, the wisest part or Crea∣ture of Nature to find them out.