When sick and well the body is by fits,
Atoms are fighting, but none the better gets.
If they agree, then health returns again,
And so shall live as long as peace remain.
When atoms round do join into one ball,
Then they swell high and grow hydropical.
And joining thus they do so powerful grow,
As they all other atoms overflow.
Sharp atoms when they meet do get such heat,
Such power and strength, as they all others beat,
And being hot, become so very dry,
They drink life’s moisture up, make motion die.
Long airy atoms, when they are combined,
Do spread themselves abroad, and so make wind,
Making a length and breadth extend so far,
That all the rest can neither go nor stir,
And, being forced, not in the right places lie; 5
Thus pressed too hard, man in great pain doth lie.
When dull flat atoms do together join,
And with each other in a heap combine,
This body thick doth stop all passage so,
Keeps motion out, and makes the body grow
Numbed. For sharp atoms, in which heat doth live, 5
Being close and smothered up no heat can give,
But if these atoms flat meet in the brain,
The spirits are choked and can no heat obtain.
In all other diseases they are mixed,
And not in one united body fixed.
But do in factions part, and when they rise,
Striving to beat each other out, man dies.
Thus life and death, and young and old,
Are as the several atoms hold.
Wit, understanding in the brain
Are as the several atoms reign,
And dispositions good or ill 5
Are as the several atoms still.
And every passion which doth rise
Is as the several atoms lie.
Thus sickness, health, and peace and war
Are as the several atoms are. 10