Of the Center of the World


In infinites2 no center can be laid,
But if the world has limits, center’s made.3
For all that with circumference is4 faced,
A center in the midst must needs be5 placed.
This makes each form that’s limited6 and bound        5
To have a center and circumference round.
This7 is the cause: the world in circle runs8
Because a center hath whereon it turns.9
The center’s10 small, circumference11 big without,
Which by the weight doth make it turn about.           10

  1. In 1653 this poem is called “Of the Center.”
  2. infinites] Infinite 1664; Infinite, 1668
  3. A marginal note in Cavendish’s 1653 text reads: “Unless there be infinites of worlds; then there may be infinites of centers, although not a center in infinites.” In 1664 and 1668, the note reads, “Unless there be infinite worlds, then there may be infinite centers, but not a center in infinite.”
  4. all that with circumference is] whatsoe’re’s with Circumference 1653
  5. be] have 1664, 1668
  6. each form that’s limited] all Formes that Limit have, 1653
  7. This] And 1664, 1668
  8. in circle runs] goes like a Bowl, 1664, 1668
  9. a center hath whereon it turns.] it doth about its Centre rowl; 1664; it doth about its Center rowl: 1668
  10. center’s] Center 1653
  11. circumference] the Compass 1664, 1668