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.

  1. Atoms which loosely joyn] Those Atomes loosely joyn’d 1653
  2. to ebb] ebb 1653
  3. In smallest vegetables, loosest atoms] Loose Atoms in small Vegetables 1664, 1668
  4. their life is longer] Life is the longer 1653
  5. lie] lay 1653
  6. But in vegetables, where atoms do stick] And Vegetables, wherein Atomes 1664; And Vegetables, wherein Atoms 1668
  7. As in] Do stick, as in 1664, 1668
  8. the longer they do last.] they longer last. 1664, 1668
  9. so together cleave,] are so hard wedg’d in, 1653
  10. As they not any space for motion leave.] No space they leave for Motion to get in: 1653
  11. makes] make 1653
  12. where] which 1664, 1668
  13. Those porous] And those soft 1664, 1668
  14. Why so?] For why, 1653
  15. For motion’s power tosseth] There Motion having power, tosses 1653
  16. Keeps them] And 1664, 1668
  17. right places:] places keeps; 1664, 1668