Of Cold Winds

As water rarified doth make1 winds blow,
So winds when rarified2 do colder grow.
For if they thin are3 rarified, then they
Do further blow, and spread out every way.
So cold they are, and sharp as needle points,4                          5
For by the thinness breaks and disunites,5
Into such6 atoms fall, sharp figures be,7
Which porous bodies pierce, if we could8 see.
Yet some will think, if air were parted so
The winds could not have such strong force to blow.             10
’Tis true, if atoms all were blunt and flat,9
Or round like rings, they could not pierce, but pat.10
But by dividing, they so sharp do grow,11
That12 through all porous bodies they do go.13
But when the winds are soft, they intermix,                             15
As water doth, and in one body fix.
They rather14 wave than blow as fans are spread,
Which ladies use to cool their cheeks when red,
Or like as water drops that disunite15
Feel harder than when mixed they16 on us light,                     20
Unless such streams upon our heads do17 run,
As we a shelter seek, the wet to shun.
But when a drop congealèd is with cold,
As hailstones are, then it more strength18 doth hold.
For19 flakes of snow may have more quantity                          25
Than hailstones, yet not have more20 force thereby.
They fall so soft that they scarce21 strike our touch;
Hailstones we feel and know their weight too much.
But figures that are flat are dull and slow,
Make weak impressions22 wheresoe’er they go.                      30
For let ten times the quantity of steel
Be beaten thin,23 no hurt by that you’ll feel.
But if that one will take a needle small,
Whose point is sharp, and prick24 the flesh withal,
Straight it shall hurt, and put the flesh to pain,                        35
Which greater strength doth not of what is25 plain.
For though26 you press it hard against the skin,
’T may27 heavy feel, but cannot28 enter in.
And so29 the wind that’s thin and30 rarified
May press31 us down, but never32 pierce the side.                   40
Or take a blade that’s flat, though strong and great,
And with great strength upon one’s head it33 beat:
You’ll break the skull, but not knock out his34 brains,
Which arrows sharp soon do, and with less pains.
Thus what is small is subtler and more35 quick,                       45
For all small points36 in porous bodies stick.
Winds broken small to atoms, when they37 blow,
Are colder much than when they38 streaming flow,
For all which knit39 and united close40
Much stronger are, and give41 the harder blows.                     50
This shows what’s closest in itself42 to be,
Although an atom in43 its small degree.
Take quantity, for quantity alike,
Union44 more than mixture hard shall strike.

  1. water rarified doth make] rarified water makes 1653
  2. winds when rarified] rarified Winds 1653
  3. thin are] much be 1664, 1668
  4. and sharp as needle points,] as they like Needles prick; 1664; as they like Needles prick: 1668
  5. For by the thinness breaks and disunites,] Through thinness they do break, and cannot stick, 1664; Through thinness they do break, and cannot stick; 1668
  6. Into such] But into 1664, 1668
  7. sharp figures be] whose Figures be 1664, 1668
  8. Which porous bodies pierce, if we could] Sharp and pierce porous Bodies, as we 1664; Sharp, and pierce porous Bodies, as we 1668
  9. ’Tis true, if atoms all were blunt and flat,] True, Atomes could not peirce, if they were found 1664; True, Atoms could not peirce, if they were found 1668
  10. Or round like rings, they could not pierce, but pat.] To be all Dull, Flat, Heavy, Blunt or Round; 1664, 1668
  11. dividing, they so sharp do grow,] themselves do so Sharp become 1653
  12. That] Shat 1664
  13. go] run 1653
  14. They rather] More like they 1653
  15. Or like as water drops that disunite] As water Drops feele harder when they strike, 1653
  16. Feel harder than when mixed they]Then when they’re intermixt, and 1653
  17. do] downe 1653
  18. then it more strength] more strength thereby 1653
  19. For] Then 1653
  20. not have more] they’ve no such 1664, 1668
  21. that they scarce] they scarce do 1653
  22. impressions] Impression 1653
  23. thin,] small, 1664, 1668
  24. Whose point is sharp, and prick] The Point be sharpe, and presse 1653
  25. greater strength doth not of what is] with more strength that shall not do, that’s 1653
  26. For though] Although 1653
  27. ’T may] May 1653
  28. cannot] shall not 1653
  29. And so] So may 1653
  30. thin and] thinly 1653
  31. May press] Presse 1653
  32. never] it shall not 1653
  33. one’s head it] the Head that 1653
  34. You’ll break the skull, but not knock out his] The Skull may breake, seldome knocke out the 1653
  35. is subtler and more] more subtle is, and 1653
  36. small points] that’s small 1653
  37. Winds broken small to atoms, when they]  Then are the Winds more cold when they do 1653
  38. Are colder much than when they] Broke into Atomes small, then 1653
  39. which knit,] that’s joyned 1664, 1668
  40. united close] closely do compose, 1653
  41. Much stronger are, and give] Is stronger much, and gives 1664, 1668
  42. closest in itself] neerest absolute 1653
  43. in] to 1653
  44. Union] And Union 1664; And Union, 1668