The Four Principle Figured Atoms Make the Four Elements, as Square, Round, Long, and Sharp.

1

The square flat atoms as dull earth appear;
The atoms round do make the water clear.
The long straight atoms like to2 arrows fly,
Mount next the sharp3 and make the airy sky.
The sharpest atoms into fire do turn,4                            5
And5 by their piercing quality do6 burn:
That figure makes them active, active light,
Which makes them get above the rest in flight.
And by this figure they stick fast, and draw
Up other atoms, which are round and raw.                 10
But water is7 round drops, though ne’er so small,
Which shows8 its figure to be9 spherical.
That figure makes it spongy, spongy wet,
And10 being hollow, softness doth beget.
And being soft, that11 makes it run about;                   15
More solid atoms thrust it in, or out.
But sharpest atoms have most power thereon,12
For cold doth nip it, and heat makes it run.13
But atoms flat,14 are heavy, dull, and slow,
And sinking downward15 to the bottom go.                 20
These16 figured atoms are not active, light,
Whereas the long are like the sharp in flight.
For as the sharp do pierce and get on high,
So do the long shoot straight and evenly.
The round are next the flat, the long next round;        25
Those which are sharp are still the highest found.
The flat turn all to earth and17 lie most low,
The round to water clear, which18 liquid flow.
The long to air, from whence the clouds do grow;19
The sharp to fire do turn20, which hot doth glow.        30
Thus these four figures th’elements21 do make,
And as their figures do incline, they take.
For they22 are perfect in themselves alone,
Not taking any shape, but what’s their own.
And whatsoever form is elsewhere found,23                35
Must take from long or square or sharp or round.24
For25 those that are like to triangles26 cut,
Part of three figures in one form is put.
And those that bow and bend like to a bow
Like to the round, and jointed atoms27 show.               40
In those that28 branched, or those which crooked be,
You may both the long and29 sharp figures see.
Thus several figures several tempers make,
But what is mixed doth of the four partake.

Of Airy Atoms

Long atoms, which the streaming air do make,1
Are hollow, from which form air softness takes.2
This makes that air and water ne’er agree,
Because in hollowness alike they be.
For airy atoms made are like a pipe,3                        5
And wat’ry atoms, round and cymbal-like.4
Although the one is long, and th’other5 round,
Yet in the midst a hollowness is found.
This makes us think that water turns to6 air,
And air runs often7 into water fair.                           10
And like two twins they are mistaken8 oft,
Because their hollowness makes both them soft.

Of Air

The reason why air is1 so equal spread,
Is atoms long, at each end balancèd.
For being long, and each end both alike,2
Are like to weights, which keep it steady, right.3
For howsoe’er it moves,4 join to what form it will,5       5
Yet lies in every line that figure still.6
For atoms long, their forms as thread are spun,7
And like a cobweb interwoven run;8
And thus air, being thin, so9 subtle grows,
That into every empty place it goes.                                 10

Of the Sound of Water, Air and Flame

1

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.

If Infinite Worlds, There Must Be Infinite Centers.

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If infinites of worlds, they must be placed
At such a distance, as between lies waste.
If they were joined close, moving about,
By jostling they would push each other out.
And if they swim in air, as fishes do                                   5
In water, they would meet as they did go.2
But if the air doth every world3 enclose
And compass4 all about, as5 water flows,
It keeps6 them equal in their proper seat,7
That as they move shall not each other beat.8                 10
Or if like wheels which turn by water round,9
So air about these10 worlds is running found.11
And12 by that motion they do turn about
No further than that motion’s strength runs out.13
Like to a bowl which will no14 further go,                        15
But runs according as that strength did15 throw.
And thus like16 bowls, the worlds do turn and run,
But still the jack and center is the sun.17

Air Begot by Heat and Moisture

1

 

When heat and moisture join2 with equal merit,
They get a body3 thin of air, or spirit,
Which is a smoke or steam begot from both.
If Mother Moisture4 rule, ’tis full of sloth,
But if the5 Father Fire predominates,                       5
Then it is active, quick, and elevates.
This airy child is sometimes good or bad
According to the nourishment it had.

Wind Is Made in the Air, Not in the Earth.

1

 

How can we think winds come from th’Earth2 below,
When from the sky they3 down upon us blow?
If they came4 from the Earth, they must ascend,5
And back again their strength against it bend;6
They cannot freely blow, lest7 Earth were made                     5
Like to a bowling-green, and8 level laid.
But there are rocks, and hills, and mountains great
Which stop their ways and make them soon retreat.
Then sure it is, the sun draws vapor out
And makes9 it thin, then blows it all10 about.                            10
By11 heat condensed, it turneth12 into rain,
And by its weight falls to the Earth again.
Thus moisture and the sun do cause the winds,
And not the crudities in hollow mines.13

What Makes Echo

The same motion which from the mouth doth move1
Runs through the air, which we by echo prove.2
As several letters in one word do join,3
So several figures through the air combine.
The air is wax, words seal, and give the print,           5
And so4 an echo in the air do mint.
And while those figures last, they life5 maintain;
When motion wears them out, echo is6 slain.
As sugar in the mouth doth melt with7 taste,
So echo in the air itself doth waste.                             10