Long airy atoms, when they are combined,
Do spread themselves abroad, and so make1 wind,
Making a length and breadth extend so far,2
That3 all the rest can neither go nor stir,4
And, being forced, not in the right places5 lie; 5
Thus6 pressed too hard, man in great pain doth lie.7
All water’s spherical; when tides do flow,
Beat all those spherical drops as they do go.1
So winds do strike those wat’ry drops together,
Which we at sea do call tempestuous weather.
And being spherical and cymbal-like, 5
They make a sound when each ’gainst other strike.
How can we think winds come from th’Earth2 below,
When from the sky they3 down upon us blow?
If they came4 from the Earth, they must ascend,5
And back again their strength against it bend;6
They cannot freely blow, lest7 Earth were made 5
Like to a bowling-green, and8 level laid.
But there are rocks, and hills, and mountains great
Which stop their ways and make them soon retreat.
Then sure it is, the sun draws vapor out
And makes9 it thin, then blows it all10 about. 10
By11 heat condensed, it turneth12 into rain,
And by its weight falls to the Earth again.
Thus moisture and the sun do cause the winds,
And not the crudities in hollow mines.13
Who knows, but thunders are great winds which lie
Within the middle vault above the sky?
Which wind1 the sun on2 moisture cold begot,
When he was3 in his region Cancer hot.
This child4 is thin and subtle, made by heat; 5
Its voice is strong5 and makes a noise that’s great.
Its thinness makes it agile, agile strong,
And6 by its force doth drive the clouds along.
And when the clouds do meet, they each do strike,
Flashing out fire, as do flints7 the like. 10
Thus in the summer thunder’s caused by wind,
For vapor drawn up8 high no way can find9
To pass; in winter time,10 when clouds11 are loose,
Then doth the wind on Earth keep rendezvous.
As water rarified doth make1 winds blow,
So winds when rarified2 do colder grow.
For if they thin are3 rarified, then they
Do further blow, and spread out every way.
So cold they are, and sharp as needle points,4 5
For by the thinness breaks and disunites,5
Into such6 atoms fall, sharp figures be,7
Which porous bodies pierce, if we could8 see.
Yet some will think, if air were parted so
The winds could not have such strong force to blow. 10
’Tis true, if atoms all were blunt and flat,9
Or round like rings, they could not pierce, but pat.10
But by dividing, they so sharp do grow,11
That12 through all porous bodies they do go.13
But when the winds are soft, they intermix, 15
As water doth, and in one body fix.
They rather14 wave than blow as fans are spread,
Which ladies use to cool their cheeks when red,
Or like as water drops that disunite15
Feel harder than when mixed they16 on us light, 20
Unless such streams upon our heads do17 run,
As we a shelter seek, the wet to shun.
But when a drop congealèd is with cold,
As hailstones are, then it more strength18 doth hold.
For19 flakes of snow may have more quantity 25
Than hailstones, yet not have more20 force thereby.
They fall so soft that they scarce21 strike our touch;
Hailstones we feel and know their weight too much.
But figures that are flat are dull and slow,
Make weak impressions22 wheresoe’er they go. 30
For let ten times the quantity of steel
Be beaten thin,23 no hurt by that you’ll feel.
But if that one will take a needle small,
Whose point is sharp, and prick24 the flesh withal,
Straight it shall hurt, and put the flesh to pain, 35
Which greater strength doth not of what is25 plain.
For though26 you press it hard against the skin,
’T may27 heavy feel, but cannot28 enter in.
And so29 the wind that’s thin and30 rarified
May press31 us down, but never32 pierce the side. 40
Or take a blade that’s flat, though strong and great,
And with great strength upon one’s head it33 beat:
You’ll break the skull, but not knock out his34 brains,
Which arrows sharp soon do, and with less pains.
Thus what is small is subtler and more35 quick, 45
For all small points36 in porous bodies stick.
Winds broken small to atoms, when they37 blow,
Are colder much than when they38 streaming flow,
For all which knit39 and united close40
Much stronger are, and give41 the harder blows. 50
This shows what’s closest in itself42 to be,
Although an atom in43 its small degree.
Take quantity, for quantity alike,
Union44 more than mixture hard shall strike.