Excerpt from “The Interlude of the Four Elements” by John Rastell

For though the forme and facyon of any thyng
That is a corporall body be distroyed,
Yet every matter remaynyth in his beynge,
Wherof it was furst made and formyd;
For corrupcyon of a body commyxyd
Ys but the resolucyon by tyme and space
Of every element to his owne place;
For who that wyll take any body corporall,
And do what he can it to distroy,
To breke it or grynde it into ponder small,
To washe, to drown, to bren it, or to dry,
Yet the ayre and fyre therof naturally
To their owne proper places wyll ascende,
The water to the water, the yerth to the yerth tende;
For yf hate or moysture of any thynge certayne
By fyre or be water be consumyd,
Yet yerth or ashes on yerth wyll remayne,
So the elementis can never be distroyed.
For essencyally ther is now at this tyde
As muche fyre, ayre, water, yerth, as was
Ever before this tyme, nether more nor las.

From: Rastell, John and Halliwell-Phillipps, James Orchard (ed.), The Interlude of the Four Elements: An Early Moral Play, 1848, The Percy Society: London, p. 9.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=mJhTAAAAcAAJ)

Date: c1519

By: John Rastell (c1475-1536)

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