All Things Last or Dissolve According to the Composure of Atoms.

 

Atoms which loosely join1 do not remain
So long as those which closeness do maintain.
Those make all things i’th’world to ebb2 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 atoms3 lie,
Which is the reason they so quickly die.               10
In animals, much closer they are laid,
Which is the cause their life is longer4 stayed.
Some vegetables and animals do join
In equal strength, if atoms so combine.
But animals, where atoms close lie5 in,                15
Are stronger than some vegetables thin.
But in vegetables, where atoms do stick6 fast,
As in7 strong trees, the longer they do last.8
In minerals, they so together cleave,9
As they not any space for motion leave.10            20
Being pointed all, the closer they do lie,
Which makes11 them not like vegetables die.
Those bodies where12 loose atoms most move in,
Are soft and porous, and many times thin;
Those porous13 bodies never do live long.            25
Why so?14 Loose atoms never can be strong.
For motion’s power tosseth15 them about,
Keeps them16 from their right places:17 so life goes out.

What Atoms Make Life

All pointed atoms1 to life do2 tend,
Whether pointed all, or3 at one end,
Or whether they be set round like a ring,4
Or whether long and5 rolled as on a string.
Those which are pointed, straight, quick motion give,  5
But those that bow and bend, more dull do live.
For life lives dull or merrily6
According as sharp atoms be.7
And thus the only cause why things do die8
Or live, is9 as the mixèd atoms lie.                                    10

Of the Subtlety of Motion

Could we the several motions of life know,
The subtle windings, and the ways they go,
We should of unknown things dispute no more,1
How they be2 done, but the great God adore.3
But we with ignorance about do run                           5
To know the ends and how they first begun,
Spending that life—which God in us did raise4
To worship him and in his works to praise—5
With fruitless, vain, impossible pursuits
In schools, lectures, and6 quarrelling disputes.        10
We7 never give him thanks that did us make,
But proud8 as petty gods ourselves do take.

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.