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The Atomic Poems of Margaret (Lucas) Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, from her Poems, and Fancies, 1653, an electronic edition. Edited with an introduction by Leigh Tillman Partington

by Margaret Cavendish [Newcastle, Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of, 1624?-1674]

date: 1653
source publisher:
collection: Early Modern through the 18th Century

Table of Contents

<< Poem Poem >>
Cavendish, Margaret (Lucas).

What Atomes make Fire to burne, and whatFlame.

1653


WHat makes a Sparke of Fire to burne more quick,
Then a great Flame? because 'tis small to stick.
For Fire of it selfe, it is so dry,
Falls into parts, as crowds of Atomes lye.
The Sharpest Atomes keepe the Body hot, [5]
To give out Heat, some Atomes forth are shot.
Sometimes for anger, the Sparkes do fly about;
Or want of roome, the weakest are thrust out.
They are so sharpe, that whatsoere they meet,
If not orepowr'd, by other Atomes,
5 eate: [10]
As Ants, which small, will eate up a dead Horse:
So Atomes sharpe, on Bodies of lesse force.
Thus Atomes sharpe, yet sharper by degrees;
As Stings in Flies, are not so sharpe as Bees.
And when they meet a Body, solid, flat, [15]
The weakest Flye, the Sharpest worke on that.
Those that are not so sharpe, do flye about,
To seeke some lighter matter, to eate out.
So lighter Atomes do turn Aire to Flame,
Because more Thin, and Porous is the same [20]
Thus Flame is not so hot as Burning Coale;
The Atomes are too weake, to take fast hold.
The sharpest into firmest Bodies flye,
But if their strength be small, they quickly dye.
Or if their Number be not great, but small; [25]
The Blunter Atomes beate and quench out all.

Notes

5. This is, when some Atomes overpower others by their Numbers, for they cannot change their Formes.

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