Why do we say "Let nature take its course"?

Well-Known Expressions

Let nature take its course


Don't try to change the inevitable.


According to the Random House Dictionary of America's Popular Proverbs and Sayings, this expression is first found in The Tale of Beryn which is one of a handful of stories that scholars generally believe to be later editions to Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer wrote his stories between 1387 and his death in 1400. The only manuscript that includes The Tale of Beryn has been dated to 1450 or later, and is believed to be an adaptation of Berinus, a French romance written in the middle of the 14th century.

With all that said, while nobody at BookBrowse can claim anything more than the most rudimentary Middle English gleaned decades ago in dusty classrooms, the University of Rochester have helpfully posted a partial translation of The Tale of Beryn, and we were unable to find any reference to the expression "let nature take its course." If anyone knows differently, please do contact us!

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