Nature Calls a Counsel, which is Motion, Figure, Matter, and Life, to Advise about Making the World.

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When Nature first the world’s foundation laid,2
She called a counsel how it might be made.3
Motion was first, who4 had a subtle wit,
And then came Life, and Form, and Matter fit.
First Nature spake:5 “My friends, if we agree,             5
We can and may do a fine work,” said she,
“Make some things to adore us,6 worship give,
Whereas now we but to7 ourselves do live.
Besides, it is my nature things to make,
To give out work, and8 you directions take.               10
Wherefore if you will pleasure have therein,9
You’ll10 breed the Fates in housewif’ry to spin,
And make strong Destiny to take some11 pains,
Lest she grow idle, let her12 link some chains.
Inconstancy and Fortune turn a wheel,                      15
Since both are13 wanton, cannot stand, but reel.
And as for moisture, let it water give,14
Which heat suck up, to make things grow and live,15
And let sharp cold stay things that run about,
And drought stop holes, to keep the water out.         20
Vacuum and darkness they will domineer
If Motion’s power make no16 light appear;
Wherefore produce a light, the world to see,17
My only child from all eternity—
Beauty, my love, my joy and dear delight—                25
Else darkness rude will cover her with spite.”
        “Alas!” said Motion, “all pains I can take18
Will do no good, Matter a brain must19 make,
And Figure20 draw a circle, round, and small,
Where in the midst must stand a glassy ball,              30
Without convex, but inwardly21 concave,
And in its middle22 a round small hole must have,
That species may thorough pass, and Life23
May view all things as through a prospective.”24
        “Alas!” said Life, “whatever we do make,           35
Death, my great enemy, will from us take:
And who can hinder his strong,25 mighty power?
He with his cruelty doth26 all devour,
And Time, his agent, brings27 all to decay:
Thus neither Death nor Time will you obey.               40
He cares for none of your commands, nor will
Obey your laws, but doth what likes him28 still.
He knows his power far exceedeth ours,
For whatsoe’er we make, he soon devours.
Let me advise you ne’er to take29 such pains              45
A world to make, since Death hath all the gains.”
        Figure’s opinion did agree with Life,
“For Death,” said she, “will fill the world with strife.
What Form soever I do turn into,
Death finds me out: that Form he doth undo.”            50
Then Motion spake: “None hath such cause as I
For to complain, for Death makes Motion die.
’Tis best to let alone this work, I think.”
Says Matter, “Death corrupts, and makes me stink.”
Says Nature, “I am of another mind:                            55
If we let Death alone, we soon shall find
He wars will make, and raise a mighty power,
If we divert him not, may us devour.
He is ambitious, will in triumph sit,30
Envies my works, and seeks my State to get.31            60
And Fates, though they upon great Life attend,
Yet fear they Death, and dare not him32 offend.
Though two be true, and spin as Life them bids,
The third is false, and cuts short the long threads.33
Let us agree, for fear we should do worse,                   65
And make some work for to employ34 his force.”
Then all rose up: “We do submit,” said35 they,
“And36 Nature’s will in every thing obey.”
        First Matter she materials in did bring,37
And Motion cut, and carved out every thing.               70
And Figure, she did draw the forms and plots,
And Life divided all out into lots.
And Nature, she surveyed, directed all,
And with four elements38 built the world’s ball.
The solid earth she as foundation39 laid;                       75
The waters round about as walls were raised,40
Where every drop lay close, like41 stone or brick,
Whose moisture like to42 mortar made them stick.
Air, as the ceiling, keeps all close within,43
Lest some materials out of place might spring.            80
And presses down the seas, lest44 they should rise
And45 overflow the Earth, and drown the skies.
For as a roof is46 laid upon a wall,
To keep it steady, that no side may47 fall,
So Nature in that place air wisely stayed,48                   85
And fire, like tile or slate, the highest laid49
To keep out rain, or wet, else it would rot:
So50 would the world corrupt if fire were not.
The planets, like as weather-fans, turn round;
The sun a dial in the midst is found,                                90
Where he doth give so just account of time51
And52 measures all, though round, by even line.
But when the Earth was made, and seed did sow,53
Plants on the Earth, and minerals down grow,54
Then creatures made, which Motion did give55 sense, 95
Yet reason none to give56 intelligence.
But Nature found, when she to make Man came,57
It was more difficult than worlds to frame;58
For she did strive to make him long to last,
And so into eternity him59 cast.                                         100
Who60 in no other place could be kept61 long,
But in eternity, that castle strong.
There she was sure that Death she could keep62 out,
Although he is a warrior strong and stout.
Man she would make, but not like other kind:63            105
Though not in body, like a God in mind.
Then she did call her counsel once again,
Told them the greatest work did64 yet remain.
“For how,” said she, “can we ourselves new make?65
Yet Man we must like to ourselves create,66                    110
Or else he never can67 escape Death’s snare;
To make this work requires68 both skill and care.
But I a mind will mix69 as I think fit,
With knowledge, understanding, and with wit.
And Motion, you your servants70 must employ,              115
Which Passions are, to wait still in the eye,
To dress, and clothe this71 mind in fashions new,
Which none knows better how to do72 you,
That, though his body die,73 this mind shall74 live,
And a free will we must unto it give.                                 120
But Matter, you from Figure form must take,
And Man from other creatures different75 make.
For he shall upright go;76 the rest shall not.
And Motion, you in him must tie a knot
Of several motions, there to meet in one.                         125
Thus Man like to himself shall be alone.
You, Life, command the Fates a thread to spin,
From which small thread the body shall begin.
And while the thread doth last, not cut in twain,
The body shall in motion still remain.                                130
But when the thread is broke, he77 down shall fall,
And for a time no motion have at all.
But yet the mind shall live and never die;
We’ll raise the body too for company.
Thus, like ourselves, we can78 make things to live          135
Eternally, but no past times can give.

Atoms and Motion Fall out.

When Motion and all atoms disagree,
Thunder in skies1 and sickness in men be.
Earthquakes and winds, which make disorder great,
Are when as Motion doth all atoms2 beat.
In this confusion, a horrid noise they make,3                5
For Motion lets them not their places4 take,
Like frighted flocks that do together keep,5
Which Motion worries, as a wolf doth sheep.6

Motion Directs, While Atoms Dance.

Atoms will in just measures dance, and join1
All one by one in a2 round circle-line,3
Run in and out, as we do dance the hay,
Crossing about, yet keep just time and way,
While4 Motion doth direct. And thus they dance,5     5
And meet all by consent, not by mere chance.6
This harmony is health, makes life live long,7
But when they’re out,8 ’tis death, so dancing’s done.

The Difference of Atoms and Motion in Youth and Age

In all things which are young, Motion is swift,1
But moving long, is2 tired and groweth stiff.3
So4 atoms are in youth more nimble, strong5
Than6 in old age, but apt more7 to go wrong.
Thus youth by false notes and wrong steps doth die;     5
In age atoms and Motion weary lie.8
Motion’s ease is change, weary soon doth grow,9
If in one figure she doth often go.10

Motion Makes Atoms a Bawd for Figure.

Did not wild Motion, with his subtle wit,1
Make atoms as his bawd, new forms to get,2
They still would constant be in one figure,3
And as they place themselves, would last forever.4
But Motion, he persuades new forms to make,           5
Because he5 doth in change great pleasure take,
And makes all atoms run from place to place,
That figures young he might have to embrace.
For some short time he loves to make a stay,6
But after he is tired, he’ll run away.7                            10
And by his change most figures are8 undone,
For young take place of th’old when they are gone.9
Yet ’tis but like a batch of bread, which still10
Is of the same flower and seed. Thus will11
Inconstant Motion a new figure bake,12                       15
Only that he may13 have a new hot cake.

Of Contracting and Dilating, Whereby Vacuum Must Needs Follow

Contracting and dilating of each part:
These are1 the chiefest works2 of Motion’s art.
But3 Motion can’t dilate nor yet contract
A body which is close, firm, and4 compact,
Unless at first an empty place be5 found,                            5
Wherein to6 spread those compact bodies round.
Neither can matter fluid contract so7 close,
But by contracting it some place must lose.

Of the Attraction of the Sun

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When all those atoms which in rays2 do spread
Are3 ranged long, like to a slender thread,
They do not scattered fly, but join in length,
And being joined, though small, add to their strength.
The further forth they stream, more weak become,4         5
Although those beams5 are fastened to the sun.6
For all those rays which Motion down doth send7
Sharp atoms are, which from the sun descend;8
And as they flow in several streams and rays,
They stick their points in all that stop their ways,             10
Like needle points, whereon doth something stick,
No passage9 make, having no force10 to prick.11
Thus12 being stopped, they straightways13 back do run,
Drawing those bodies with them to the sun.

Of the Sound of Water, Air and Flame

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When crowds of atoms meet, not joinèd close,
By Motion quick they2 give each other blows.3
So atoms hollow, which are long and round,
When they do strike, do make the greatest sound.
Not that there’s anything that moves therein                      5
To make rebounds, but that their form’s more thin.4
For being thin, they larger are, and wide,
Which make them apt to strike each other’s side.
In larger bulks, encounters are more fierce
When they do5 strike, though not so quick to pierce.       10
This is the reason water, air, and flame
Do make most noise when motions move the same.
For atoms loose are like to people rude,
And make great6 noise when in a multitude.