r-nought literature

Say, Goddess, what causes, after so many centuries, brought forth among us this strange affliction. Did it reach our hemisphere, carried from the Western sea, after a select group of men set sail from Spain, braving the open waves and the unknown waters of changeful Ocean, as they searched for lands that lay in another world? For it is said that in those parts this pestilence reigns in every city with unending affliction, that it wanders abroad because of a perpetual flaw in the climate, sparing few people. Should we then believe that it was commerce that brought the disease to us, that, small at first, it gradually gained force and sustenance, spreading itself to every land? As when a spark happens to fall upon some dried twigs from a torch that a shepherd has forgotten in a field: at first it is little and appears to be biding its time; presently, as it gathers strength, it rises up and victoriously lays waste the harvest and the fields and the neighboring woods, tossing flames up to heaven. Far off some distant thicket, sacred to Jove, begins to roar, and for miles around the sky and the fields are aflame.

Girolamo Fracastoro, Syphilis (trans. J. Gardner), 1530