A Complaint of Water, Earth, and Air, against the Sun, by Way of Dialogue

Moisture to Earth1
There’s none hath such an enemy as I;
The sun doth drink me up when he is2 dry;
He sucks me out of every hole I lie,

Draws me up high, from whence I down do fall
In showers of rain; I’m3 broke in pieces small,                 5
Where I am forced to Earth4 for help to call.

Straight Earth her porous doors sets5 open wide,
And takes6 me in with haste on every side,
Then joins7 my limbs fast in a flowing tide.8

Earth to Moisture
Alas, dear friend,9 the sun’s10 my greatest foe,                  10
Doth blast my tender buds11 as they do grow.
He burns my face and makes it parched and dry;
He sucks my breast, and12 starves my young thereby.
Thus I and all my young for thirst were slain,
But that with wet you fill my breast again.                         15

Air to Earth and Moisture
The sun doth use me ill, as all the rest,
For his hot sultry beams13 do me molest,
Melts me into a thin and flowing flame,
To make him light when men it day do name.
Corrupts me, makes me full of plaguey sores,                    20
Which14 putrefaction on men’s bodies pours,
Or else with subtile15 flame into men’s spirits run,16
Which makes them raging or stark mad become.17
Draws me into a length and breadth, till I
Become so thin, with windy wings do fly.                           25
He never leaves,18 till all my spirits’re19 spent,
And then I die, and leave no monument.

The Sun to Earth
O most unkind and most ungrateful Earth!20
I am thy midwife, bring thy21 young to birth;
I with my heat do cause thy22 young to grow,                   30
And with my light I teach them how to go.
My shining beams23 are strings whereon to hold,
For fear they fall and break their limbs on cold.
All to maturity I24 bring, and give
Youth, beauty, strength, and make old age to live.           35

The Sun to Water
Dull moisture I do light and active25 make,
And from it all corrupt, gross humours26 take.
All superfluities27 I dry up clean,
That nothing but pure crystal water’s28 seen.
The hardbound cold I loosen and untie,                             40
When you in icy chains29 a prisoner lie.
Your limbs when nipped with frost30 and bit with cold,
Your smooth and glassy face grows31 wrinkled, old.
I32 make you nimble, soft, and fair,
Liquid, and nourishing,33 and debonair.                            45

The Sun to Air
Air I do34 purge, and make it clear and bright,
Black clouds dissolve, which make the day seem night.
The crude, raw vapors I digest and strain,
The thicker part all into showers of rain.
The thinnest part I turn all into wind,35                              50
Which, like a broom, sweeps out all dirt it finds.36
The clearest part I turn to37 azure sky,
Hanged all with stars. Thus38 next the gods you lie.

  1. Moisture to Earth] Moisture to the Earth. 1664; Moisture to the Earth. 1668
  2. he is] he’s a 1653
  3. I’m] am 1653
  4. Earth] you 1664, 1668
  5. Straight Earth her porous doors sets] You strait your precious Door set 1664; You straight your precious Doors set 1668. The 1664 Errata list corrects the singular “Door” to “doors”; the correction is also carried forward into 1668.
  6. takes] take 1664, 1668
  7. joins] Joyn 1664; joyn 1668
  8. flowing tide.] Flowing-Tide. 1668
  9. friend,] Friend! 1668
  10. sun’s] Sun, 1653, 1668
  11. Doth blast my tender buds] My tender Buds he blasts 1653
  12. and] which 1653
  13. beams] heats 1653
  14. Which] And 1664, 1668
  15. with subtile] the subtle 1653
  16. into men’s spirits run,] Men’s Spirits fills, 1664; men’s Spirits fills, 1668
  17. makes them raging or stark mad become.] them almost with Rage or Madness kills; 1664; them, almost, with Rage or Madness kills. 1668
  18. He never leaves,] Never can leave, 1653
  19. spirits’re] Spirits 1653; Spirits 1664
  20. Earth!] Earth, 1653, 1664
  21. bring thy] brings your 1653
  22. thy] your 1653
  23. shining beams] Sun-beames 1653; Shining-beams 1668
  24. I] I do 1653
  25. Dull moisture I do light and active] Sluggish Moisture I active, and light 1653
  26. And from it all corrupt, gross humours] All grosse and corrupt Humours away 1653
  27. superfluities] Superfluity 1653
  28. crystal water’s] Crystal-Water’s 1668
  29. icy chains] Icy-Chains, 1668
  30. Your limbs when nipped with frost] With Frost your Limbs are nipt, 1653
  31. grows] makes 1653
  32. I] Then I do 1664, 1668
  33. Liquid, and nourishing,] And Liquid, Nourishing, 1653
  34. I do] I 1653
  35. wind,] Winds, 1653
  36. sweeps out all dirt it finds.] sweep out all Dirt, they find; 1664; sweep out all Dirt they find: 1668
  37. I turn to] turne into 1653
  38. Thus] and 1653