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.

Of the Four Principle Sorts of Atoms


Atoms by sympathy2 are fixèd so,
As past some principles they do not go.
For count the3 principles of all their works,4
You’ll find there are not many several sorts.5
For when they do dissolve and new forms6 make,      5
They still to their first principles do take.
All creatures, howsoe’er they may be named,7
Are of long, square, flat, or sharp atoms framed.8

Of the Sympathy of These Four Principle Figured Atoms


Such sympathy there is in every figure,23
That every several sort do flock together,4
As air, water, earth, and5 fire,
Which make each element to be entire.
Not but loose atoms like sheep stray6 about,          5
And into7several places go in8 and out,
And some as sheep and kine do mix9 together,
Which10 when they mix, ’tis several change of weather.
But Motion as their shepherd drives them so,
As not to let them out of order go.                             10

What Atoms Make Heat and Cold

Such kind of atoms which1 make heat, make cold,
Like pincers sharp that2 nip and do take hold.
But atoms that are pointed sharp pierce through,3
And atoms which are sharp and4 hooked pull to.
Yet all must into pointed figures turn,                                 5
For atoms blunt will never freeze nor burn.
’Cause blunt figures do to a soft form5 bend,
And soft do6 unto wet or liquid tend.