If Infinite Worlds, There Must Be Infinite Centers.


If infinites of worlds, they must be placed
At such a distance, as between lies waste.
If they were joined close, moving about,
By jostling they would push each other out.
And if they swim in air, as fishes do                                   5
In water, they would meet as they did go.2
But if the air doth every world3 enclose
And compass4 all about, as5 water flows,
It keeps6 them equal in their proper seat,7
That as they move shall not each other beat.8                 10
Or if like wheels which turn by water round,9
So air about these10 worlds is running found.11
And12 by that motion they do turn about
No further than that motion’s strength runs out.13
Like to a bowl which will no14 further go,                        15
But runs according as that strength did15 throw.
And thus like16 bowls, the worlds do turn and run,
But still the jack and center is the sun.17

  1. In 1653 this poem is called “If Infinite Worlds, Infinite Centers.”
  2. A marginal note in Cavendish’s 1653 text reads: “They would beat against each other.” In 1664 and 1668, the note reads, “Beat against each other.”
  3. doth every world] each World doth 1653
  4. And compass] Them 1653
  5. as] then like to 1653
  6. It keeps] Keeping 1653
  7. in their proper seat] and in order right 1653
  8. beat.] strike. 1653
  9. if like wheels which turn by water round,] like to water wheels by water turn’d, 1653
  10. about these] round about those 1653
  11. is running found.] do run: 1653
  12. A marginal note in Cavendish’s text reads: “They are stinted according to the several strengths of their motion.”
  13. no] not 1664, 1668
  14. did] do 1653
  15. And thus like] Thus like as 1653
  16. A marginal note in Cavendish’s 1664 and 1668 texts reads: “Which is as the jack and mark of them all.” In 1653 this note reads, “They turn as they go. A jack bowl is the mark.”