Of Quenching out of Fire

1


The2 atoms round,3 ’tis not their numbers4 great
That put out fire,5 quenching both light and heat.
But being wet, they loosen and unbind
Those sharp dry atoms, which together joined.
For when they are dispersed, their power is6 small,        5
Nor give they light nor heat if single all.
Besides, those7 atoms sharp will smothered be,
Having no vent, nor yet vacuity.
For if that fire8 in a place lies9 close,
Having no vent, but stopped, straight out it10 goes.         10
There is no better argument to prove
A vacuum, than to see how fire doth move:11
For if fire should not have the12 liberty
To run about, how quickly would it die?

  1. In 1653 this poem is called “Quenching Out of Fire” and in 1664 and 1668 “Of Quenching Out Fire”
  2. The] It is not 1664, 1668
  3. A marginal note in Cavendish’s 1653 text reads: “Round atoms are water.”
  4. ’tis not their numbers] their Number 1664, 1668
  5. A marginal note in Cavendish’s 1653 text reads: “Sharp atoms.” In 1664 and 1668 these two notes are combined into one note, which reads “Round atoms are water; sharp are fire.”
  6. power is] power’s but 1653
  7. those] these 1664, 1668
  8. For if that fire] For Fire if 1664; For Fire, if 1668
  9. lies] it doth lye 1664, 1668
  10. straight out it] it strait out 1653
  11. A vacuum, than to see how fire doth move:] That Vacuum is, then to see Fire move. 1653
  12. fire should not have the] that Fire had not 1653