The pointed atoms all to fire do turn,
And being sharp, do pierce, which we call burn.
But by their dryness they become so light
As they do get above the rest in flight,
Where by consent a wheel of fire they make, 5
Which being spherical, doth round motion take.
This motion makes round atoms turn about,
Which atoms round are water, without doubt,
And makes the sea go round, like watermill,
For as the sun, so water turns round still. 10
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.
The sea, which always constant ebbs and flows,
Is like the hammer of a clock that goes.
For as it coming to the notch doth strike,
So water where ’tis empty doth the like.
For when it flows, water is cast out still, 5
And when it ebbs, runs back that place to fill.
Some atoms sharp thrust from the Earth some round,
And then a pearlèd dew lies on the ground.
But if on their sharp points they bear them high,
They, being raised, a mist make in the sky.
On the circumference of the Earth there lies 5
The loosest atoms, which are apt to rise;
Though not so high as them the sun may burn,
For being dull, they back to Earth return.
As water, which is shoved with force of strength
Is not so apt to move, as run at length. 10
The atoms round, ’tis not their numbers great
That put out fire, quenching both light and heat.
But being wet, they loosen and unbind
Those sharp dry atoms, which together joined.
For when they are dispersed, their power is small, 5
Nor give they light nor heat if single all.
Besides, those atoms sharp will smothered be,
Having no vent, nor yet vacuity.
For if that fire in a place lies close,
Having no vent, but stopped, straight out it goes. 10
There is no better argument to prove
A vacuum, than to see how fire doth move:
For if fire should not have the liberty
To run about, how quickly would it die?
’Tis not that atoms sharp have alterèd
Their form when fire’s put out, but motion’s fled.
Which being gone, sharp atoms cannot prick,
Having no force in any thing to stick.
For as the sun, if motion moved it not, 5
Would neither shine, nor be to us so hot,
Just so, when creatures die, their form’s not gone,
But motion, which gave life, away is flown.
For animal spirits, which we life do call,
Are only of the sharpest atoms small. 10
Thus life is atoms sharp, which we call fire;
When those are stopped or quenched, life doth expire.
A spark of fire is like a mouse, doth eat
Into a cheese, although both hard and great.
Just so a spark, although it be but small,
If once those points can fasten, pierce through all.
The cause a coal doth set a house on fire
Is atoms sharp are in that coal entire.
Being strong armed with points, do quite pierce through
Those flat dull atoms, and their forms undo.
And atoms sharp, whose form is made for flight, 5
If loose, do run to help the rest in fight,
For like as soldiers which are of one side,
When they see friends engaged, to rescue ride.
But atoms flat, where motion is but slow,
They cannot fight, but straight to ashes go. 10
Burnt wood is like unto an army’s rout;
Their forms undone lie scattered all about.
When atoms sharp unbind the flat, then all
Those loose flat atoms, we do ashes call.
Fire being kindled first appears but small,
But growing strong, it wastes and burns up all.
Just like a crow, that on a dead horse lights:
When other crows perceive it in their flights,
They straight invite themselves unto that feast, 5
And thus from one, to numbers are increased.
So atoms sharp which singly fly about
Join with the rest to eat the fuel out.
And as the fuel doth increase, so they,
And as it wastes, so they do fly away. 10