Of Fire and Flame


Although we at a distance stand, if great
A fire be, the body through1 will heat.
Yet those sharp atomes we do not perceive,
How they fly out, nor how to us they cleave.2
Nor do they3 flame, nor shine they clear and bright       5
When they fly out and on our bodies strike.4
The reason is they loose and scattered fly,
And not in troops, nor do they on heaps lie.
Like small dust rais’d, which,5 scatter’d all about,
We see it not, nor doth it light keep6 out.                         10
But gathered up thick7 to a mountain high,
We then see they in solid earth do8 lie.
Just so do atoms sharp look, clear and bright,
When in heaps lie,9 or in a streaming flight.

  1. A fire be, the body through] The Fire be, the Body through 1653; A Fire there be, the Body through 1664; The Fire be, the Body through’t 1668
  2. they] they to us 1664, 1668
  3. Nor do they] Neither do 1664, 1668
  4. strike] light; 1664; light. 1668
  5. which,] and 1664, 1668
  6. light keep] keep Light 1653
  7. But gathered up thick] When gathered thick up 1653
  8. We then see they in solid earth do] We see them then in solid Earth to 1653
  9. in heaps lie,] heaped up, 1664, 1668