All Things Last or Dissolve According to the Composure of Atoms.


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.

What Atoms make Vegetables, Minerals, and Animals

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