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The Four Elements


And when the aforesaid winds strike upon the salt waters, then their direction becomes clearly visible, in the angle that is formed by the lines of incidence and of recoil; and from these result the proud and menacing and engulfing waves, of which one is the cause of the other. As the natural warmth spread through the human limbs is driven back by the surrounding cold which is its opposite and enemy flowing back to the lake of the heart and the liver fortifies itself there, making of these its fortress and defence, so the clouds being made up of warmth and moisture, and in summer of certain dry vapours, and finding themselves in the cold and dry region, act after the manner of certain flowers and leaves which when attacked by the cold hoar-frost pressing cold together offer a greater resistance. So these in their first contact with the cold air begin to resist and not to wish to pass further forward; the others below continue to rise; the part above being stationary proceeds to thicken; the warmth and dryness recede to the centre; the part above abandoned by the warmth begins to freeze or rather to dissolve; the clouds below continue to rise and press the warmth nearer to the cold; and thus the warmth being constrained to return to its primary element is suddenly transformed into fire and twines itself across the dry vapour, and in the centre of the cloud makes a great increase, and kindling within the cloud which has become cool it makes a noise that resembles that of water falling on boiling pitch or oil, or of molten copper when plunged into cold water; even so, driven out by its opposite it shatters the cloud that would withstand it and dashing through the air breaks and destroys everything that opposes it; and this is the thunderbolt.57 Where the flame cannot live no animal that draws breath can live The bottom part of the flame is the first origin of this flame and through it passes all its nutriment of fat; and it is of less heat than the rest of the flame, just as it is of less brightness; and it is blue in colour and here its nutriment is purged and

Leonardo da vinci  
Leonardo da vinci