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

1

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.

1

’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 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

Of Light and Sight

Some learnèd men, which think1 to reason well,
Say light and color in the brain do dwell,
That motion in the brain doth light beget,2
And if no brain, the world in darkness shut.3
But be it4 that the brain hath eyes to see,                           5
Then5 eyes and brain would6 make the light to be.
If so, poor Donne was out when he did say
If all the world were blind, ’twould still be day.
Say they, light would not in the air7 reign,
Unless you’ll grant8 the world were one great brain.     10
Some ages in some opinions all agree;9
The next doth strive to make them false to be.
But10 what is new doth all so pleasing sound,11
That reasons old are as mere nonsense found.12
But all opinions are by fancy fed,                                        15
And truth lies under those opinions,13 dead.

The Motion of Thoughts

Musing one time alone,1 mine eyes being2 fixed
Upon the ground, my sight with gravel mixed,
My feet did walk without direction’s guide;
My thoughts did travel far and wander wide.
At last they chanced upon3 a hill to climb,                                 5
And being there, saw things that were divine.
        First, what4 they saw: a glorious light did5 blaze,
Whose splendor made it painful for the6 gaze.
No separations nor shadows by stops7 made,
No darkness did8 obstruct this light with shade.                     10
This light had no dimension, nor no bound,9
No limits, but it10 filled all places round.11
Always in motion ’twas,12 yet fixed did prove,
Like to the twinkling stars, which never move.
This motion working, running several ways,                           15
Seemed as if contradictions it would13 raise,
For with itself it seemed not to agree,14
Like to15 a skein of thread, if’t knotted be.
For some did go straight in an even line,
But some again did cross, and some did twine.                        20
Yet at the last, all several motions run
Into the first Prime Motion, which begun.
In various forms and shapes did life run through,
Which was eternal, but the shapes were16 new;
No17 sooner made, but quickly18 passed away,                         25
Yet while they were, they did desire19 to stay.
But motion to one form can ne’er constant20 be,
For life, which motion is, joys in21 variety.
For the22 First Motion everything can make,
But cannot add unto itself, nor take.                                           30
Indeed no other matter could it23 frame:
Itself was all, and in itself the same.
Perceiving now this fixèd point of light,
I spied24 a union: Knowledge, Power, and Might,
Wisdom, Truth, Justice,25 Providence, all one,                          35
No attribute was by itself26 alone.
Not like to27 several lines drawn to one point,
For what doth meet may be again28 disjoint.
But this same29 point, from whence all lines did30 flow,
Nought can diminish it, or31 make it grow.                               40
’Tis its own center and circumference round,
Yet neither has a limit nor32 a bound.
A fixed eternity,33 and so will last:
All present is, nothing to come or34 past.
A fixed perfection; nothing can add more;                               45
All things is it, and itself doth35 adore.
My thoughts then wondering at what they did see,
Found at the last themselves the same to be,36
Yet were37 so small a branch, as they38 could not
Know39 whence they sprung, nor how they40 were begot.    50
        Some say, all that41 we know of Heaven above
Is that we joy, and that we love.42
But who43 can tell that? For all we know,44
Those passions we call joy and love below45
May by excess such other passions grow;                                  55
None in the world is capable to know.
Just like our bodies, although46 they shall rise,
And as St. Paul says, see God with our eyes,
Yet may we in the change such difference find,
Both in our bodies, and also in mind,47                                      60
As if we never had been of48 mankind,
And that these49 eyes we see with now were blind.
Say we can measure all the planets high,
And number all the stars be50 in the sky,
And we can circle51 all the world about,                                    65
And can find all52 th’effects of nature out:53
Yet all54 the wise and learnèd cannot tell55
What’s done in Heaven, or how we there shall dwell.