“… Year after circling year,
the ring upon a finger thins from the inside out with wear.
The steady drop of water causes stone to hollow and yield,
The curving iron of the ploughshare fritters in the field
By imperceptible degrees. The cobbles of the street
We see are polished smooth by now from throngs of passing feet.
And at the city gates, right hands of statues made of brass
Are worn away by touches of the greeting hands that pass.
And thus we see things dwindle by their being rubbed away-
But what is lost at any given moment we can’t say
Because our stingy sense of sight will never let us see.”
– Lucretius on Creation and Decay, speaking of matter and void, atoms and particles, and how those combined create mass and density of it. From De Rerum Natura, ca 50BC.