Nonfiction > Henry Craik, ed. > English Prose > Vol. I. Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century
Henry Craik, ed.  English Prose.  1916.
Vol. I. Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century
Causes of the Longevity of the Antediluvians
By John Capgrave (1393–1464)
MEN that be studious move this question, why men at that time lived so long. And they assign many reasons. One is the goodness and the cleanness of complexion 1 which was new given them by God. For when it was newly taken, it had more virtue because of the Giver. Another cause is, that men lived that time with more temperance than they do now. The third cause may be cleped the goodness of those meats which they ate; for they ate no thing but such as groweth freely on the earth, neither flesh nor fish; and by the Flood, which came for the most part out of the salt sea, cleped the ocean, the earth was so impaired that it bare never so good fruits sith. The fourth is of the great science which Adam had, and which he taught his issue: for he knew the virtue of herbs and seeds better than ever did any earthly man, save Christ; and he knew the privy working of them which were most able to preserve men in long life. The fifth cause is of the good aspect of stars, that was over them at those days, which aspect profiteth much to the length of life to man and to beast; for this is a common proverb at the philosophers, that the bodies in earth be much ruled after the planets above. The sixth cause is of God’s ordination, that would those men should live so long for multiplication of their kindred, and eke for to have long experience of certain sciences.  1
Note 1. complexion = constitution. [back]

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