’Tis several figured atoms that make change,
When several bodies meet as they do range.
For if they sympathize and do agree,
They join together, as one body be.
But if they meet, like to a rabble rout, 5
Without all order running in and out,
Then disproportionable things they make,
Because they did not their right places take.
Atoms which loosely join do not remain
So long as those which closeness do maintain.
Those make all things i’th’world to ebb 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 atoms lie,
Which is the reason they so quickly die. 10
In animals, much closer they are laid,
Which is the cause their life is longer stayed.
Some vegetables and animals do join
In equal strength, if atoms so combine.
But animals, where atoms close lie in, 15
Are stronger than some vegetables thin.
But in vegetables, where atoms do stick fast,
As in strong trees, the longer they do last.
In minerals, they so together cleave,
As they not any space for motion leave. 20
Being pointed all, the closer they do lie,
Which makes them not like vegetables die.
Those bodies where loose atoms most move in,
Are soft and porous, and many times thin;
Those porous bodies never do live long. 25
Why so? Loose atoms never can be strong.
For motion’s power tosseth them about,
Keeps them from their right places: so life goes out.
In every brain there do loose atoms lie,
Those which are sharp, from them do fancies fly.
Long airy atoms nimble are, and free,
But atoms round and square are dull and sleepy.
Some factious atoms ’mongst themselves combine,
And strive some formed body to unjoin.
Round atoms do beat out the sharp; the long
With flat atoms do fight: thus all go wrong.
Those which make Motion general in their war 5
By his directions, they much stronger are.
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?
The reason fire by water is quenched out
Is that round atoms do put to a rout
The sharp, for when a house on fire is set,
Then atoms sharp are in great armies met,
Where they themselves range into ranks and files, 5
And strive always to havoc and make spoils,
Running about as nimble as may be
From side to side, as in great fires we see.
But atoms round do like a rescue come,
And separate the sharp, which in heaps run. 10
For being separate, they have no force,
Like to a troop or regiment of horse,
Which when great cannon bullets are shot through,
They disunite, and quite their strength undo.
So water that is thrown on flaming fire 15
Doth separate and make that strength expire.