All Things Are Governed by Atoms.

Thus life and death, and young and old,
Are as the several atoms hold.
Wit, understanding1 in the brain
Are as the several atoms reign,
And dispositions2 good or ill                                5
Are as the several atoms still.
And every passion which doth rise
Is as the several3 atoms lie.4
Thus sickness, health, and peace and war
Are5 as the several atoms are.                             10

Whether the Sun Doth Set the Air on a Light, as Some Opinions Hold

1

If that2 the sun so3 like a candle is4
That all the air doth take a light from his—5
Not by6 reflection, but by kindling all
That part, which we our hemisphere do call—
If so, the7 air whereon his light is cast8                                 5
Would ne’er go9 out, unless that substance10 waste.
Or ’less11 the sun extinguishers should12 throw
Upon the air, to cause light out to go.13
But sure the sun’s reflection gives the light, 14
For when he’s gone, to us it is dark night.                           10
And why?15 The sun is atoms sharp entire,
Which wedged in round, do make16 a wheel of fire.17
About this18 wheel continually do flow
Sharp streaming atoms, which like flame do show.
And in this flame19 the Earth itself20 doth see,                               15
As in a glass, as clear as e’er21 may be.
But22 when the Earth doth turn aside its23 face,
It is not seen, but darkness doth take24 place.25
Or when the moon doth come betwixt that light,
Then is the Earth shut up as in dark night.26                     20

Of Stars

We find that i’th’East Indies1 stars there be,
Which we in our horizon ne’er did2 see;
Yet we do take great pains in glasses clear
To see what stars do in the sky appear.
But yet the more we search, the less we know,                  5
Because we find our work doth endless grow.
For who knows, but those stars3 we see by night
Are suns which to some other worlds give light?
But could our outward senses pace the sky,
As well as can4 imaginations high,5                                     10
If we were there, we might as little6 know
As those which stay, and never up do7 go.
Then let no8 man in fruitless pains life spend:
The most we know is, Nature death will send.

Of Light and Sight

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.

The Objects of Every Sense Are According to their Motions in the Brain.

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.

According as the Notes in Music Agree with the Motions of the Heart or Brain, Such Passions Are Produced Thereby.

1

 

The eights in music, when they2 equal are,
If one be struck, the other seems to jar.
So the heartstrings, if equally be3 stretched
To4 those of music, love from thence is fetched.
For when one’s struck, the other moves just so,       5
And with delight as evenly doth go.

The Motion of Thoughts

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.

The Reason Why the Thoughts Are Only in the Head

Each sinew is a small and slender string,1
Which to the body all the senses bring.2
And they like3 pipes or gutters hollow be,
Where animal spirits run continually.
Though small, yet they4 such matter do contain           5
As in the skull doth lie, which we call brain.
That makes if anyone doth strike the heel,
The thought of that sense in the brain doth feel.
Yet ’tis5 not sympathy, but ’tis the same6
Which makes us think and feel the pain.7                     10
For had the heel such quantity of brain
As8 doth the head and skull therein contain,
Then would such thoughts, which in the brain dwell high,
Descend down low, and in the heel9 would lie.
In sinews small, brain scattered lies about;                 15
It wants both room and quantity, no doubt.
For if a sinew so10 much brain could hold,11
Or had so large a skin it12 to enfold
(As hath13 the skull), then might the toe or knee,
Had they an optic nerve, both hear and see.               20
Had sinews room fancy therein to breed,
Copies of verses might from the heel14 proceed.

Of Many Worlds in this World

Just like as in1 a nest of boxes round
Degrees of sizes in2 each box are found,
So in this world, may many worlds more3 be,
Thinner and less, and less still by degree.
Although they are not subject to our sense,              5
A world may be no bigger than twopence.
Nature is curious, and such works may shape4
Which our dull senses easily escape.5
For creatures small as atoms may be there,
If every atom6 a creature’s figure bear.                    10
If atoms four7 a world can make,8 then see
What several worlds might in an earring be.
For millions of these9 atoms may be in
The head of one small little single pin.
And if thus small, then ladies well may10 wear       15
A world of worlds as pendants in each ear.

The Clasp

When I did write this book I took great pains,
For I did walk, and think, and break my brains.
My thoughts run out of breath, then down did1 lie,
And panted2 with short wind, like those that die.
When time had given ease and lent them3 strength,             5
Then up they’ll4 get and run another length.
Sometimes I kept my thoughts with a strict diet,5
And made them fast with ease, and rest, and quiet,
That they might run again with swifter speed,
And by this course new fancies they could6 breed.               10
But I do fear they’re not so good to please;
Yet7 now they’re out, my brain is more at ease.