The Reason Water Quenches Fire

The reason fire by water is quenched1 out
Is that round atoms do2 put to a rout
The sharp,3 for when a house on fire is set,4
Then atoms sharp are5 in great armies met,6
Where they themselves range into7 ranks and files,          5
And strive always to havoc and make spoils,
Running about as nimble as may be8
From side to side, as in great fires9 we see.
But atoms round do like a rescue come,1011
And separate the sharp, which in heaps run.12                  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.

Of the Elements



Some hold four perfect elements there be,
Which do surmount each other by degree.
And some opinions think that one is all,
The rest from that and to that one shall2 fall:
This single3 element itself doth4 turn                                     5
To several qualities, as fire to burn,
Then5 water moist to quench that heat,6 and then
To subtle air, and so to earth again.
Like fluid water, which when turned with frost7
To snow or ice, its outward form has lost.8                         10
But whenas9 heat doth melt that icy chain,
Then into water doth it10 turn again.
Or like as vapor thick, which doth ascend11
From th’Earth, and to thin air itself doth spend,12
Or else it will condense itself to13 rain,                                15
And by its weight will fall to14 Earth again.
So15 what is very thin doth subtle grow,16
Turns into17 fire, and a18 bright flame doth show.19
But20 what is dull, heavy, and slow21 to move
Of a cold quality doth often22 prove.                                    20
Thus by contracting and dilating parts
Is all the skill of Nature’s working arts.

Of Fire and Moisture



If hay be not quite dry, but stacked up wet,
That moisture will in time2 a fire beget.
This proves that fire may from moisture grow;3
We proof have none, moisture from fire flow.4
This shows that fire in itself is free:5                           5
No other element in it can be.
For fire is pure and still doth keep6 the same;
Where oily moisture’s not, no fire can flame.

Air Begot by Heat and Moisture



When heat and moisture join2 with equal merit,
They get a body3 thin of air, or spirit,
Which is a smoke or steam begot from both.
If Mother Moisture4 rule, ’tis full of sloth,
But if the5 Father Fire predominates,                       5
Then it is active, quick, and elevates.
This airy child is sometimes good or bad
According to the nourishment it had.

Of Cold Winds

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.

Of the Motion of the Sun

Sometimes we find it hot, and sometimes cold,
Yet equal in degrees the sun1 doth hold.
And in a winter’s day more heat is2 found
Than summer, when the sun should parch the ground.
For if this3 heat doth make him gallop fast,                         5
’T must4 ever equal be, or stay his haste.
If so, then seas which send up vapor may5
His fiery courage cool in the midway.6
Besides, the middle region, which is cold
And full of ice, will of his strength take hold.                     10
Then ’tis not heat that makes him run so fast,
But running fast doth heat upon Earth7 cast,
And Earth sends vapors cold to quench his heat,8
Which break his strength, and make9 his beams so weak.

A Fire is in the Center of the Earth.



As heat about the heart always2 keeps nigh,
So doth a fire about the3 center lie.
This heat disperses4 through the body round,
And when that heat is not,5 no life is found.
So this heat6 makes all things to bud7 and bear,                  5
Although the sun’s hot beams do ne’er come there.
Yet doth the sun nourish all things8 without,
Though9 fire within the Earth gives life, no doubt.
Thus10 heat within begets with child the Earth,
And heat without is midwife to her birth.                           10