Of Earth

Why’s earth1 not apt to move, but slow and dull?
Flat atoms have no vacuum, but are2 full.
That form admits no empty place to bide;
All parts are filled, having no hollow side.3
And where no vacuum is, motion is4 slow,                   5
Having no empty places for to go.
Though atomes all are small, as small may be,
Yet by their forms doth motion5 disagree.
For atoms sharp do make themselves a way,6
Cutting through other atoms as they stray.                 10
But atoms flat will dull and lazy lie,7
Having no edge or point to make a way.8

  1. Why’s earth] Why Earth’s 1653
  2. Flat atoms have no vacuum, but are] Is, Atomes flat no Vacuum hath but 1653
  3. A marginal note in Cavendish’s text reads: “As round and long have.” In 1664 and 1668 it reads, “As round and long atoms have.”
  4. motion is] there’s Motion 1664, 1668
  5. doth motion] Motion doth 1653
  6. A marginal note in Cavendish’s text reads: “As the numbers of sharp atoms do pierce and make way through greater numbers, as a spark of fire will kindle and burn up a house.” In 1664 and 1668, there is no “As” at the beginning of the note, and where 1653 reads “numbers, as a spark”, 1664 and 1668 read “numbers of other atoms, as for example a spark.”
  7. lie] lay 1653
  8. or point to make a way.] nor Point a way to try. 1664; nor Point, a Way to try. 1668