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The Four Elements [Fire, Earth, Air and Water]
by [?]

As I ingenuously with thanks confess,
My cold thy fruitfull heat doth crave no less;
But how my cold dry temper works upon
The melancholy Constitution;
How the Autumnal season I do sway,
And how I force the gray-head to obey,
I should here make a short, yet true narration.
But that thy method is mine imitation
Now must I shew mine adverse quality,
And how I oft work man’s mortality;
He sometimes finds, maugre his toiling pain
Thistles and thorns where he expected grain.
My sap to plants and trees I must not grant,
The vine, the olive, and the fig tree want:
The Corn and Hay do fall before the’re mown,
And buds from fruitfull trees as soon as blown;
Then dearth prevails, that nature to suffice
The Mother on her tender infant flyes;
The husband knows no wife, nor father sons.
But to all outrages their hunger runs:
Dreadful examples soon I might produce,
But to such Auditors ’twere of no use,
Again when Delvers dare in hope of gold
To ope those veins of Mine, audacious bold;
While they thus in mine entrails love to dive,
Before they know, they are inter’d alive.
Y’ affrighted nights appal’d, how do ye shake,
When once you feel me your foundation quake?
Because in the Abysse of my dark womb
Your cities and yourselves I oft intomb:
O dreadful Sepulcher! that this is true
Dathan and all his company well knew,
So did that Roman far more stout than wise
Bur’ing himself alive for honours prize.
And since fair Italy full sadly knowes
What she hath lost by these remed’less woes.
Again what veins of poyson in me lye,
Some kill outright, and some do stupifye:
Nay into herbs and plants it sometimes creeps,
In heats & colds & gripes & drowzy sleeps;
Thus I occasion death to man and beast
When food they seek, & harm mistrust the least,
Much might I say of the hot Libian sand
Which rise like tumbling Billows on the Land
Wherein Cambyses Armie was o’rethrown
(but winder Sister, ’twas when you have blown)
I’le say no more, but this thing add I must
Remember Sons, your mould is of my dust
And after death whether interr’d or burn’d
As Earth at first so into Earth returned.


Scarce Earth had done, but th’ angry water moved.
Sister (quoth she) it had full well behoved
Among your boastings to have praised me
Cause of your fruitfulness as you shall see:
This your neglect shews your ingratitude
And how your subtilty, would men delude
Not one of us (all knows) that’s like to thee
Ever in craving from the other three;
But thou art bound to me above the rest,
Who am thy drink, thy blood, thy Sap, and best:

If I withhold what art thou? dead dry lump
Thou bearst nor grass or plant, nor tree nor stump,
Thy extream thirst is moistn’ed by my love
With springs below, and showres from above
Or else thy Sun-burnt face and gaping chops
Complain to th’ heavens, if I withhold my drops
Thy Bear, thy Tiger and thy Lion stout,
When I am gone, their fierceness none needs doubt
Thy Camel hath no strength, thy Bull no force
Nor mettal’s found in the courageous Horse
Hinds leave their calves, the Elephant the fens
The wolves and Savage beasts forsake their Dens
The lofty Eagle, and the stork fly low,
The Peacock and the Ostrich, share in woe,
The Pine, the Cedar, yea, and Daphne’s Tree
Do cease to nourish in this misery,
Man wants his bread and wine, & pleasant fruits
He knows, such sweets, lies not in Earth’s dry roots
Then seeks me out, in river and in well
His deadly malady I might expell:
If I supply, his heart and veins rejoyce,
If not, soon ends his life, as did his voyce;
That this is true, Earth thou can’st not deny
I call thine Egypt, this to verifie,
Which by my falling Nile, doth yield such store
That she can spare, when nations round are poor
When I run low, and not o’reflow her brinks
To meet with want, each woeful man bethinks;
And such I am in Rivers, showrs and springs
But what’s the wealth, that my rich Ocean brings
Fishes so numberless, I there do hold
If thou should’st buy, it would exhaust thy gold: