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


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

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 the Sound of Water, Air and Flame


When crowds of atoms meet, not joinèd close,
By Motion quick they2 give each other blows.3
So atoms hollow, which are long and round,
When they do strike, do make the greatest sound.
Not that there’s anything that moves therein                      5
To make rebounds, but that their form’s more thin.4
For being thin, they larger are, and wide,
Which make them apt to strike each other’s side.
In larger bulks, encounters are more fierce
When they do5 strike, though not so quick to pierce.       10
This is the reason water, air, and flame
Do make most noise when motions move the same.
For atoms loose are like to people rude,
And make great6 noise when in a multitude.

The Reason of the Roaring of the Sea

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.

Thunder is a Wind in the Middle Region.

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.


What Makes Echo

The same motion which from the mouth doth move1
Runs through the air, which we by echo prove.2
As several letters in one word do join,3
So several figures through the air combine.
The air is wax, words seal, and give the print,           5
And so4 an echo in the air do mint.
And while those figures last, they life5 maintain;
When motion wears them out, echo is6 slain.
As sugar in the mouth doth melt with7 taste,
So echo in the air itself doth waste.                             10

What Makes Echo Rebound


Rebounds resisting substance must work on,2
Both in itself, and what it beats upon,3
For yielding bodies which do bow or break
Can ne’er rebound, nor like an4 echo speak.
Then every word of aïr forms5 a ball,                                      5
And every letter like a ball doth fall.
Words are condensèd air, which heard, do grow
As water which by cold doth turn to snow.
And as when snow is pressed hard balls become,6
So words being pressed as balls do backward run.7           10

Of the Sound and Echo



A sound2 seems nothing, yet a while it lives,3
And like a wanton lad, mock answers gives,4
Not like the souls that from the bodies5 go,
For echo hath a body6 of air, we know.
But7 strange it8 is that sounds9 so strong and clear              5
Resisting bodies have, yet10 not appear,
But11 air, which subtle is, encounter may:
Thus words as sounds may with self-echo12 play.
But they grow weary soon, hold not13 out long,
Seem14 out of breath, and falter with the tongue.               10

Of Shadow and Echo

A shadow fell in love with the1 bright light,
Which makes her walk perpetually2 in his3 sight.
And when he’s absent, then, poor soul, she dies,
But when he shows himself, her life revives.
She sister is to Echo loud and clear,                           5
Whose voice is heard, but no body4 appear.
She hates to see or show herself to men,
Unless Narcissus could live once5 again.
But these two souls (for they no bodies have)6
Do wander in the air to seek a grave.                       10
Silence would bury one,7 the other night;
Both are8 denied by Repercussion’s9 spite.
And each of these are subject to the sense:10
One strikes the ear, shadow the eye presents.11