Of the Motion of the Blood

Some by their industry and2 learning found
That all the blood like to the sea runs round:
From two great arteries it doth begin,3
Runs through all veins, and so comes back again.4
The muscles like the tides do ebb and flow                   5
According as the several spirits go.
The sinews, as small pipes, come from the head,
And5 all about the body they are6 spread,
Through which the animal spirits are conveyed
To every member, as the pipes are laid.                        10
And from those sinews-pipes each sense doth take
Of those pure spirits, as they us do make.

The Traffic betwixt the Sun and the Earth


Tis thought an unctuous matter comes from2 the sun
In streaming3 beams, which Earth doth feed upon,
And that the Earth by them, when they ascend,4
Unto the sun a nourishment doth send.5
And so each6 beam the sun doth make a chain,                         5
Which brings down food and draws food7 back again.
Or we may well those beams to ships compare,8
Where each is laden with the richest ware.9
Each ship10 is fraught with heat; through air it sails11
And brings this heat to th’Earth, which never fails12              10
By traffic’s laws equal returns to make,13
And sends instead of heat moist vapor back.14
Great danger is, if ships be overfraught,15
For many times they sink with their own weight:16
And17 those gilt ships such fate18 do19 often find,                         15
They sink with too much weight or split with wind.

It Is Hard to Believe that there Are Other Worlds in this World.


Nothing so hard in nature as faith is,2
For3 to believe impossibilities—
Not that they’re not,4 but that they do not clear5
Unto our reason and to sense appear.6                      
For reason cannot find them out, since they7                    5
Seem wrought beyond all Nature’s course and way.8
For9 many things our senses dull may scape,10
For they’re too gross to know each form and11 shape.
So in this world another world12 may be,
Which13 we do neither touch, taste, smell, hear, see.14   10
What eye so clear is, yet did ever see15
Those little hooks that in the loadstone be,16
Which draw hard iron, or give reasons why17
The needle’s point still in the north will lie?
As for example, atoms in the air                                           15
We ne’er perceive, although the light be fair.
And18 whatsoever can a body claim,
Though ne’er so small, life may be in the same.
And what has19 life may understanding have,
Though’t20 be to us as buried in the21 grave.                      20
Then probably may men and women small,
Live in the world, which we know not22 at all,
May build them houses to dwell in, and make23
Orchards and gardens,24 where they pleasure take,
Have25 birds which sing, and cattle in the field,                25
May plow and sow, and there26 small corn may yield;
They may have commonwealths,27 and kings to reign,
Make wars and battles, where are many28 slain,
And all without our hearing, or our sight,
Or29 any of our other senses30 light.                                     30
And other stars, and suns, and moons31 may be,
Which our dull eyes shall never come to see.
But we are apt to laugh at tales so told:
Thus senses gross do back our reason32 hold.
Yet things which are ’gainst nature we think33 true,        35
That spirits change and can take bodies new,
That life may be, yet in no body live,
For which no sense nor reason we can give.
As34 incorporeal spirits this fancy35 feigns,
Yet fancy cannot be without some brains.                          40
If fancy36 without substance cannot37 be,
Then souls are more than reason well can see.

Of Many Worlds in this World

Just like as in1 a nest of boxes round
Degrees of sizes in2 each box are found,
So in this world, may many worlds more3 be,
Thinner and less, and less still by degree.
Although they are not subject to our sense,              5
A world may be no bigger than twopence.
Nature is curious, and such works may shape4
Which our dull senses easily escape.5
For creatures small as atoms may be there,
If every atom6 a creature’s figure bear.                    10
If atoms four7 a world can make,8 then see
What several worlds might in an earring be.
For millions of these9 atoms may be in
The head of one small little single pin.
And if thus small, then ladies well may10 wear       15
A world of worlds as pendants in each ear.

A World in an Earring

An earring round may well a zodiac1 be,
Wherein a sun goes round, which we don’t2 see;
And planets seven about that sun may move,
And he stand still, as learnèd men3 would prove;
And fixèd stars like twinkling diamonds, placed                   5
About this earring, which a world is vast.
That same which doth the earring hold, the hole,
Is that we call the North and Southern Pole;4
There nipping frosts may be, and winters5 cold,
Yet never on the lady’s ear take hold.                                      10
And lightning,6 thunder, and great winds may blow
Within this earring, yet the ear not know.
Fish there may swim in seas, which ebb and flow,7
And islands be, wherein do spices grow;8
There crystal rocks hang dangling at each ear,                     15
And golden mines as jewels may they wear.
There earthquakes9 be, which mountains vast down fling,
And yet ne’er stir the lady’s ear, nor ring.
There meadows10 be, and pastures fresh and green,
And cattle feed, and yet be never seen,                                   20
And gardens fresh,11 and birds which sweetly sing,
Although we hear them not in an earring.
There12 night and day, and heat and cold, and so13
May14 life and death, and young and old still grow.15
Thus16 youth may spring, and several ages die;                    25
Great plagues may be, and no infections17 nigh.
There cities18 be, and stately houses19 built,
Their20 inside gay, and finely may be gilt.
There churches be,21 wherein priests teach and sing,22
And steeples23 too, yet hear the bells not ring.                      30
From thence may pious tears to Heaven run,24
And yet the ear not know which way they’re gone.
There markets be,25 where things are26 bought and sold,
Though th’ear knows not the price their27 markets hold.
There governors do28 rule, and kings do29 reign,                  35
And battles fought, where many may be30 slain.
And all within the compass of this ring,
Whence they no31 tidings to the wearer bring.
Within the32 ring, wise counsellors may sit,
And yet the ear not one wise word may get.                           40
There may be dancing all night at a ball,
And yet the ear be not disturbed at all.
There rivals33 duels fight, where some are slain;
There34 lovers mourn, yet hear them not complain.
And Death may dig a lover’s grave: thus were                        45
A lover dead in a fair lady’s ear.
But when the ring is broke, the world is done;
Then lovers they into Elysium run.35

Several Worlds in Several Circles

There may be many worlds like circles round;
In after ages more worlds may be found.1
If we by art of shipping could into2
Each circle slip, we might perhaps it know.3
This world compared to some may be but small:              5
No doubt but4 Nature made degrees of all.
If not, Drake ne’er had made so quick a skip5
About the largest circle in6 his7 ship.
For8 some may be so big as none can swim,
Had they the life of old Methusalem.                                  10
Or had they lives to number with each day,
They would want time to compass half the way.
But if that Drake had lived in Venus’s9 star,
His journey shorter might have10 been by far.

Untitled [When I did write this book I took great pains]


When I did write this book I took great pains,
For I did walk, and think, and break my brains.
My thoughts run out of breath, then down did2 lie,
And panted3 with short wind, like those that die.
When time had given ease and lent them4 strength,             5
Then up they’ll5 get and run another length.
Sometimes I kept my thoughts with a strict diet,6
And made them fast with ease, and rest, and quiet,
That they might run again with swifter speed,
And by this course new fancies they could7 breed.               10
But I do fear they’re not so good to please;
Yet8 now they’re out, my brain is more at ease.

The Circle of the Brain Cannot Be Squared.

A circle round divided in four parts
Hath been great1 study amongst2 men of arts;
Since Archimede’s or Euclid’s time, each brain3
Hath on a line been stretched, yet all in vain,4
And every thought hath been a figure set;                           5
Doubts cyphers were, hopes as triangles met;5
There was6 division and subtraction made,
And lines drawn out, and points exactly laid.
But none hath yet by demonstration found7
The way by which to square a circle round.8                      10
Thus9 while the brain is round, no squares10 will be:
While thoughts are in divisions,11 no figures will agree.

The Circle of Honesty Squared


Within the head of man’s a circle round
Of Honesty, in which no end2 is found.
Some think it fit this circle should be squared,3
Though to make Honesty take sides is hard.4
Prudence and Temperance as two lines5 take;                 5
With Fortitude and Justice, four will6 make.
If Temperance do prove too short a line,7
Then do the figure of Discretion join;8
Let9 Wisdom’s point draw up Discretion’s figure,10
That make two equal lines joined both together.11         10
Betwixt the line Temperance and Justice,12 Truth must point;
Justice’s line draw down to Fortitude,13 that corner joint.
Of Fortitude, which line do make agree14
With Prudence; Temperance must also be15
Of equal length with Justice; both must stand16               15
’Twixt Fortitude and Prudence on each hand.17
At every corner must a point be laid,
Where every line that meets, an angle’s made.18
And when those19 points too high or low do fall,
Then must the lines be stretched, to make them20 all      20
Even. And21 thus the circle round, you’ll find,
Is squared with the four virtues of the mind.