’Tis several figured atoms that make change,
When several bodies meet as they do range.
For if they sympathize and do agree,
They join together, as1 one body be.
But if they meet,2 like to a rabble rout, 5
Without all order running in and out,
Then disproportionable things they make,
Because they did not their right places take.
Atoms which loosely join1 do not remain
So long as those which closeness do maintain.
Those make all things i’th’world to ebb2 and flow,
According as the moving atoms go.
Others in bodies, they do join so close, 5
As in long time, they never stir nor loose.
And some will join so close and knit so fast,
As if unstirred they would forever last.
In smallest vegetables, loosest atoms3 lie,
Which is the reason they so quickly die. 10
In animals, much closer they are laid,
Which is the cause their life is longer4 stayed.
Some vegetables and animals do join
In equal strength, if atoms so combine.
But animals, where atoms close lie5 in, 15
Are stronger than some vegetables thin.
But in vegetables, where atoms do stick6 fast,
As in7 strong trees, the longer they do last.8
In minerals, they so together cleave,9
As they not any space for motion leave.10 20
Being pointed all, the closer they do lie,
Which makes11 them not like vegetables die.
Those bodies where12 loose atoms most move in,
Are soft and porous, and many times thin;
Those porous13 bodies never do live long. 25
Why so?14 Loose atoms never can be strong.
For motion’s power tosseth15 them about,
Keeps them16 from their right places:17 so life goes out.
The branchèd atoms form each planted thing:
The hooked points pull out, and make1 them spring;
The atoms round give juice, the sharp give heat,2
And those grow herbs, and fruits, and flowers sweet.3
Those that are square and flat, not rough withal, 5
Make those which stone and minerals we call.
But in all stones and minerals (no doubt)
Sharp points do lie, which fiery sparks4 strike out.
Thus vegetables and minerals do5 grow
According as the several atoms go. 10
In animals all figures do agree,
But in mankind the best of atoms be.
And thus, for ought we know, the world’s whole frame6
May last unto eternity the same.7
Some learnèd men, which think1 to reason well,
Say light and color in the brain do dwell,
That motion in the brain doth light beget,2
And if no brain, the world in darkness shut.3
But be it4 that the brain hath eyes to see, 5
Then5 eyes and brain would6 make the light to be.
If so, poor Donne was out when he did say
If all the world were blind, ’twould still be day.
Say they, light would not in the air7 reign,
Unless you’ll grant8 the world were one great brain. 10
Some ages in some opinions all agree;9
The next doth strive to make them false to be.
But10 what is new doth all so pleasing sound,11
That reasons old are as mere nonsense found.12
But all opinions are by fancy fed, 15
And truth lies under those opinions,13 dead.
We should those men think mad which should us tell1
That they did see a sound, or taste a smell.
Yet reason proves a man doth not err much
Whenas he says2 his senses all are touch.
If actions in a picture3 be lively4 told, 5
The brain straight thinks the eye the same5 behold.
The stomach hungry, the nose good meat doth6 smell;
The brain doth7 think that smell the tongue tastes well.
If we a thief do see, and do him8 fear,
We straight do think that breaking doors9 we hear. 10
Imaginations just like motions make,
That every sense is struck with a10 mistake.
Musing one time alone,1 mine eyes being2 fixed
Upon the ground, my sight with gravel mixed,
My feet did walk without direction’s guide;
My thoughts did travel far and wander wide.
At last they chanced upon3 a hill to climb, 5
And being there, saw things that were divine.
First, what4 they saw: a glorious light did5 blaze,
Whose splendor made it painful for the6 gaze.
No separations nor shadows by stops7 made,
No darkness did8 obstruct this light with shade. 10
This light had no dimension, nor no bound,9
No limits, but it10 filled all places round.11
Always in motion ’twas,12 yet fixed did prove,
Like to the twinkling stars, which never move.
This motion working, running several ways, 15
Seemed as if contradictions it would13 raise,
For with itself it seemed not to agree,14
Like to15 a skein of thread, if’t knotted be.
For some did go straight in an even line,
But some again did cross, and some did twine. 20
Yet at the last, all several motions run
Into the first Prime Motion, which begun.
In various forms and shapes did life run through,
Which was eternal, but the shapes were16 new;
No17 sooner made, but quickly18 passed away, 25
Yet while they were, they did desire19 to stay.
But motion to one form can ne’er constant20 be,
For life, which motion is, joys in21 variety.
For the22 First Motion everything can make,
But cannot add unto itself, nor take. 30
Indeed no other matter could it23 frame:
Itself was all, and in itself the same.
Perceiving now this fixèd point of light,
I spied24 a union: Knowledge, Power, and Might,
Wisdom, Truth, Justice,25 Providence, all one, 35
No attribute was by itself26 alone.
Not like to27 several lines drawn to one point,
For what doth meet may be again28 disjoint.
But this same29 point, from whence all lines did30 flow,
Nought can diminish it, or31 make it grow. 40
’Tis its own center and circumference round,
Yet neither has a limit nor32 a bound.
A fixed eternity,33 and so will last:
All present is, nothing to come or34 past.
A fixed perfection; nothing can add more; 45
All things is it, and itself doth35 adore.
My thoughts then wondering at what they did see,
Found at the last themselves the same to be,36
Yet were37 so small a branch, as they38 could not
Know39 whence they sprung, nor how they40 were begot. 50
Some say, all that41 we know of Heaven above
Is that we joy, and that we love.42
But who43 can tell that? For all we know,44
Those passions we call joy and love below45
May by excess such other passions grow; 55
None in the world is capable to know.
Just like our bodies, although46 they shall rise,
And as St. Paul says, see God with our eyes,
Yet may we in the change such difference find,
Both in our bodies, and also in mind,47 60
As if we never had been of48 mankind,
And that these49 eyes we see with now were blind.
Say we can measure all the planets high,
And number all the stars be50 in the sky,
And we can circle51 all the world about, 65
And can find all52 th’effects of nature out:53
Yet all54 the wise and learnèd cannot tell55
What’s done in Heaven, or how we there shall dwell.