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phaedo   


perforations, and passages broad and narrow in the interior of the

earth, connecting them with one another; and there flows into and

out of them, as into basins, a vast tide of water, and huge

subterranean streams of perennial rivers, and springs hot and cold,

and a great fire, and great rivers of fire, and streams of liquid mud,

thin or thick (like the rivers of mud in Sicily, and the

lava-streams which follow them), and the regions about which they

happen to flow are filled up with them. And there is a sort of swing

in the interior of the earth which moves all this up and down. Now the

swing is in this wise: There is a chasm which is the vastest of them

all, and pierces right through the whole earth; this is that which

Homer describes in the words,



"Far off, where is the inmost depth beneath the earth";



and which he in other places, and many other poets, have called

Tartarus. And the swing is caused by the streams flowing into and

out of this chasm, and they each have the nature of the soil through

which they flow. And the reason why the streams are always flowing

in and out is that the watery element has no bed or bottom, and is

surging and swinging up and down, and the surrounding wind and air

do the same; they follow the water up and down, hither and thither,

over the earth-just as in respiring the air is always in process of

inhalation and exhalation; and the wind swinging with the water in and

out produces fearful and irresistible blasts: when the waters retire

with a rush into the lower parts of the earth, as they are called,

they flow through the earth into those regions, and fill them up as

with the alternate motion of a pump, and then when they leave those

regions and rush back hither, they again fill the hollows here, and

when these are filled, flow through subterranean channels and find

their way to their several places, forming seas, and lakes, and

rivers, and springs. Thence they again enter the earth, some of them

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