Whether the Sun Doth Set the Air on a Light, as Some Opinions Hold

1

If that2 the sun so3 like a candle is4
That all the air doth take a light from his—5
Not by6 reflection, but by kindling all
That part, which we our hemisphere do call—
If so, the7 air whereon his light is cast8                                 5
Would ne’er go9 out, unless that substance10 waste.
Or ’less11 the sun extinguishers should12 throw
Upon the air, to cause light out to go.13
But sure the sun’s reflection gives the light, 14
For when he’s gone, to us it is dark night.                           10
And why?15 The sun is atoms sharp entire,
Which wedged in round, do make16 a wheel of fire.17
About this18 wheel continually do flow
Sharp streaming atoms, which like flame do show.
And in this flame19 the Earth itself20 doth see,                               15
As in a glass, as clear as e’er21 may be.
But22 when the Earth doth turn aside its23 face,
It is not seen, but darkness doth take24 place.25
Or when the moon doth come betwixt that light,
Then is the Earth shut up as in dark night.26                     20

  1. In 1653 this poem is called “The Sun Doth Set the Air on a Light, as Some Opinions Hold.”
  2. If that] Some do 1664, 1668
  3. so] just 1664, 1668
  4. is] make, 1664; make; 1668
  5. That all the air doth take a light from his—] From which, they say, Air all its Light doth take, 1664, 1668
  6. by] from 1653
  7. If so, the] Then should that 1653
  8. is cast] takes place, 1653
  9. Would ne’er go] Be never 1653
  10. substance] Air did 1664, 1668
  11. Or ’less] Unlesse 1653; Or else 1664, 1668
  12. should] did 1664, 1668
  13. to cause light out to go.] so out the Light doth go. 1653
  14. A marginal note in Cavendish’s text reads: “No atoms shine but sharp atoms.”
  15. And why?] For why, 1653
  16. Which wedged in round, do make] Being close wedg’d round, is like 1653
  17. A marginal note in Cavendish’s text reads: “It seems like a burning coal.”
  18. About this] And round that 1653
  19. A marginal note in Cavendish’s text reads: “Long atoms sharp at each end.”
  20. itself] its face 1653
  21. e’er] cleere 1653
  22. But] And 1653
  23. its] his 1653
  24. doth take] in that 1653
  25. A marginal note in Cavendish’s text reads: “That part of the Earth is dark which is from the sun.”
  26. A marginal note in Cavendish’s 1653 text reads: “To that part of the Earth the moon hides.” In 1664 and 1668 the note reads: “That part of the Earth which the moon hides.”