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On Generation and corruption   

than one. Indeed, even the plants, though it might be thought they are

fed by one substance only, viz. by Water, are fed by more than one:

for Earth has been mixed with the Water. That is why farmers too

endeavour to mix before watering. Although food is akin to the matter,

that which is fed is the 'figure'-i.e. the 'form' taken along with the

matter. This fact enables us to understand why, whereas all the

'simple' bodies come-to-be out of one another, Fire is the only one of

them which (as our predecessors also assert) 'is fed'. For Fire

alone-or more than all the rest-is akin to the 'form' because it tends

by nature to be borne towards the limit. Now each of them naturally

tends to be borne towards its own place; but the 'figure'-i.e. the

'form'-Of them all is at the limits.

Thus we have explained that all the compound bodies are composed

of all the 'simple' bodies.


Since some things are such as to come-to-be and pass-away, and since

coming-to-be in fact occurs in the region about the centre, we must

explain the number and the nature of the 'originative sources' of

all coming-to-be alike: for a grasp of the true theory of any

universal facilitates the understanding of its specific forms.

The 'originative sources', then, of the things which come-to-be

are equal in number to, and identical in kind with, those in the

sphere of the eternal and primary things. For there is one in the

sense of 'matter', and a second in the sense of 'form': and, in

addition, the third 'originative source' must be present as well.

For the two first are not sufficient to bring things into being, any

more than they are adequate to account for the primary things.

Now cause, in the sense of material origin, for the things which

are such as to come-to-be is 'that which can be-and-not-be': and

this is identical with'that which can come-to-be-and-pass-away', since

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