Of the Sympathy of These Four Principle Figured Atoms


Such sympathy there is in every figure,23
That every several sort do flock together,4
As air, water, earth, and5 fire,
Which make each element to be entire.
Not but loose atoms like sheep stray6 about,          5
And into7several places go in8 and out,
And some as sheep and kine do mix9 together,
Which10 when they mix, ’tis several change of weather.
But Motion as their shepherd drives them so,
As not to let them out of order go.                             10

What Atoms Make Heat and Cold

Such kind of atoms which1 make heat, make cold,
Like pincers sharp that2 nip and do take hold.
But atoms that are pointed sharp pierce through,3
And atoms which are sharp and4 hooked pull to.
Yet all must into pointed figures turn,                                 5
For atoms blunt will never freeze nor burn.
’Cause blunt figures do to a soft form5 bend,
And soft do6 unto wet or liquid tend.

What Atoms Make Fire Burn, and What Flame


What makes a spark of fire to burn more quick
Than a great flame? Because ’tis small to stick.
For fire itself is in its nature dry,2
Falls into parts as crowds of atoms lie.
The sharpest atoms keep the body hot;                                 5
To give out heat some atoms forth are shot.
Sometimes the sparks for anger fly about,3
Or, wanting room, do thrust the weakest4out.
They are so sharp, that what they meet, devour56
If other atoms them not overpower:7                                    10
As ants, though8 small, will eat up a dead horse,
So atoms sharp use9 bodies of less force.
Thus atoms sharp grow10 sharper by degrees,
As stings in flies are not so sharp as bees’.
And when they meet a body solid, flat,                                 15
The weakest fly; the sharpest work on that.
Those that are not so sharp do fly about
To seek some lighter matter to eat11 out.
Thus12 lighter atoms do turn air13 to flame,
Because more thin and porous is the same.                         20
Thus flame is not so hot as burning coal:14
The atoms are too weak to take fast hold.15
The sharpest into firmest bodies fly,
But if their strength be small, they quickly die.
Or if their number be not great, but small,                          25
The blunter atoms beat and quench out all.

Of Quenching out of Fire


The2 atoms round,3 ’tis not their numbers4 great
That put out fire,5 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 is6 small,        5
Nor give they light nor heat if single all.
Besides, those7 atoms sharp will smothered be,
Having no vent, nor yet vacuity.
For if that fire8 in a place lies9 close,
Having no vent, but stopped, straight out it10 goes.         10
There is no better argument to prove
A vacuum, than to see how fire doth move:11
For if fire should not have the12 liberty
To run about, how quickly would it die?

The Quenching out and Smothering of Heat and Light Doth Not Change the Property nor Shape of Sharp Atoms.


’Tis not that atoms sharp have alterèd2
Their form when fire’s put out, but motion’s fled.3
Which being4 gone,5 sharp atoms cannot prick,
Having no force in any thing to stick.
For as the sun, if6 motion moved it not,                                     5
Would7 neither shine, nor be to us so hot,
Just so, when creatures die, their form’s not gone,8
But motion, which gave life, away is flown.910
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,11 life doth expire.

Of a Burning Coal


The cause a coal doth2 set a house on fire
Is atoms sharp are in that coal entire.
Being strong armed with points, do quite pierce through3
Those flat dull atoms, and4 their forms5 undo.
And atoms sharp, whose form is made for flight,              5
If loose, do run to help the rest in fight,
For like as6 soldiers which are of one side,
When they see7 friends engaged, to rescue ride.8
But atoms flat, where motion is but slow,
They cannot fight, but straight to ashes go.                        10

Of Burning, Why It Causes Pain


The reason why fire burns,2 and burning smarts,
Is that it hath so many3 little parts—
Which parts are atoms sharp, and wound more fierce4
If they so far into our skins do pierce—5
And like an angry porcupine, doth shoot6                             5
His7 fiery quills, if nothing quench them out.
Their figure makes their motion nimble, quick,8
And being sharp, they do like9 needles prick.
If they do pierce too deep,10 our flesh will11 ache;
If they but12 touch the skin,13 we pleasure take;                 10
That kind of pain we do14 a “burning” call.
These atoms numerous are,15 and very small,
And make from needles’ points16 a different touch,
Whose17 points are gross, and numbers not so much,
And18 cannot lie so close, nor19 spread so thin,                   15
All at one time to enter through our skin.20