The airy clouds do swiftly run a race,
Each other following as2 in a chase.
Like horses, some are sprightful, nimbl’and3 fleet,
Others swelled big with wat’ry spavined feet.
Some4 lag behind, as tired in5 midway, 5
And some,6 like resty jades, stock-still will stay.
They all of7 several shapes and colors be,
Of several tempers, seldom well agree.
And as those horses which are8 highly fed
Do proudly snort—their eyes look fiery red— 10
So clouds exhaled, fed by the hot sun,9
With sulphur and saltpetre fierce become,10
Flash out fire when they on each other light,11
And with those flames the12 world with terror fright;
Meeting each other,13 they encounters make, 15
And do with strong assaults each other14 break,
Falling upon each other’s head and back,
Ne’er parted are, but by a15 thunder crack.16
Then pouring down some show’rs of rain they do17
Strong gusts of wind with their long breath out blow.18 20
Then Boreas whips19 them up, and makes them run
Till all their breath is spent, and spirits20 gone.
Apollo breaks and backs them fit to ride,
Bridling with his hot beams their strengths21 to guide;
He22 gives them heats until they foam and sweat, 25
Then23 wipes them dry, lest they a cold should get,
Leads them into the middle-region stable,
Where are all sorts: dull, quick, weak, and24 able.
But when they loose do get, having no fears,
They fall together all out25 by the ears. 30
- Similizing the Clouds to Horses] Nature’s Horses. 1664; Nature’s Horses. 1668. The title in 1664 and 1668 exists as a marginal note in Cavendish’s 1653 text.
- Each other following as] And one another follow 1653
- nimbl’and] nimble, fleet 1653
- Some] Which 1653
- in] in the 1664, 1668
- And some,] Or else, 1653
- all of] of all 1653
- And as those horses which are] As when we see Horses, which 1653
- fed by the hot sun,] and by the Sun fed, do 1664, 1668
- With sulphur and saltpetre fierce become,] Feirce with Salt-peter and with Sulphur grow, 1664; Fierce, with Salt-peter, and with Sulphur grow; 1668
- Flash out fire when they on each other light,] Flashing out Fire, when together strike, 1653; Fire out flash, when they on each other light, 1668
- those flames the] their Flames do th’ 1653
- other,] others 1653
- And do with strong assaults each other] With strong Assaults they one another 1653
- Ne’er parted are, but by a] Never do part till they with 1664; Never do part, till they with 1668
- crack.] Clap; 1653
- Then pouring down some show’rs of rain they do] Pouring downe Showres of Raine upon the Earth, 1653
- Strong gusts of wind with their long breath out blow.] Blow out strong Gusts of Wind with their long Breath. 1653
- Then Boreas whips] Boreas doth whip 1664, 1668
- all their breath is spent, and spirits] their Spirits are spent, and Breath is 1653
- strengths] Strength 1664, 1668
- He] And 1653
- Then] And 1664, 1668
- and] Strong and 1664; Strong, and 1668
- They fall together all out] Then fall they all together 1664, 1668