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of this divine science. The following extracts from Young, will be read with interest
This theatre !-what eye can take it in?
By what divine enchantment was it rais'd,
For minds of the first magnitude to launch
In endless speculation, and adore ?
One sun by day, by night ten thousand shine,
And light us deep into the Deity;
How boundless in magnificence and might!
Oh! what a confluence of ethereal fires,
From urns unnumber'd, down the steep of heav'n,
Streams to a point, and centres in my sight!
Nor tarries there; I feel it at my heart.
My heart at once it humbles and exalts ;
Lays it in dust, and calls it to the skies.
How is night's sable mantle labour'd o'er!
How richly wrought with attributes divine!
What wisdom shines ! what love! This midnight pomp,
This gorgeous arch, with golden worlds inlaid,
Built with divine ambition ! nought to Thee :
Por others this profusion.
The soul of man, his face design'd to see,
Who gave these wonders to be seen by man,
Has here a previous scene of objeets great
On which to dwell; to stretch to that expanse
Of thought, to rise to that exalted height
Of admiration, to contract that awe,
And give her whole capacities that strength,
Which best may qualify for final joy..
This prospect vast, what is it?-Weigh'd aright,
"Tis nature's system of divinity,
And every student of the night inspires.
'Tis elder scripture writ by God's own hand.
What read we here ?_Th' existence of a God?
Yes, and of other beings, man above;
Natives of ether, sons of higher climes.
Why from yon arch, that infinite of space,
Whát infinite of lucid orbs replete,
Which set the living firmament on fire,
At the first glance, in such an overwhelm
Of wonderful, on man’s astonish'd sight
Rushes Omnipotence ?
Night opes the noblest Scenes, and sheds an awe, } which gives those venerable seenes full weight,
And deep reception in the intender'd heart.
This gorgeous apparatus ! this display!
This ostentation of creative power!
Bright legions swarm unseen, and sing, unheard
By mortal ear, the glorious Architect,
In this his universal temple, hung
With lustres, with innumerable lights,
That shed religion on the soul; at once.
The temple and the preacher ! Oh! how loud
It calls devotion! genuine growth of night!
Devotion! daughter of Astronomy !
An undevout astronomer is mad.
The planets of each system represent
Kind neighbours : mutual amity prevails :
Sweet interchange of rays, receiv'd, return’d:
Enlightning and enlighten’d! All at once
Attracting and attracted ! Patriot-like,
None sin against the welfare of the whole ;
But this reciprocal, unselfish aid,
Affords an emblem of millennial love.
Nothing in nature, much less conscious being,
Was e'er created solely for itself :
Thus man, his sov'reign duty beams in this
Material picture of benevolence. The greatest poets in every age have vied with each other in the description of a moonlight evening. But, among all the treasures of ancient and modern poetry, there is not one superior for pleasing imagery, and variety of numbers, than that of Milton
Now came still evening on, and twilight gray
Had in her sober livery all things elad:
Silence accompanied; for beast and bird,
They to their grassy couch, these to their nests,
Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale,
She all night long her amorous descant sung.
Silence was pleas'd. Now glow'd the firmament
With living sapphires : Hesperus that led
The starry host rode brightest, till the moon,
Rising in cloudy majesty, at length,
Apparent queen, unveil'd her peerless light,
And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw. There is but one description worthy to be mentioned after this. It is of a fine moonshine night, by way of a simile, in the eighth book of the Iliad. It is
esteemed, indeed, a master-piece of nocturnal painting. But Milton's description, it must be observed, leaves off where that of Homer begins:
As when the moon, refulgent lamp of night,
O'er heav'n's clear azure sheds her sacred light,
When not a breath disturbs the deep serene,
And not a cloud o'ercasts the solemn scene ;
Around her throne the vivid planets roll,
And stars unnumber'd gild the glowing pole;
O'er the dark trees a yellower verdure shed,
And tip with silver every mountain's head;
Then shine the vales, the rocks in prospect rise,
A flood of glory bursts from all the skies.
The conscious swains, rejoicing in the sight,
Eye the blue vault, and bless the useful light. POPE. The wise Son of Sirach beautifully observes, “The Lord made the moon also to serve in her season, for a declaration of times, and a sign of the world. From the moon is the sign of feasts, a light that decreaseth in her perfection. The month is called after her name, increasing wonderfully in her changing, being the instrument of the armies above, shining in the firmament of heaven; the beauty of heaven, the glory of the stars, an ornament giving light to the highest places of the Lord. At the command of the Holy One they will stand in their order, and never faint in their watches.”—This is paraphrased with great elegance and spirit by Mr. Broome :
By thy command the moon, as daylight fades,
Lifts her broad circle in the deep'ning shades;
Array'd in glory, and enthron'd in light,
She breaks the solemn terrors of the night;
Sweetly inconstant in her varying flame,
She changes still,—another, yet the same!
Now in decrease by slow degrees she shrouds
Her fading lustre in a veil of clouds ;
Now of increase, her gathering beams display
A blaze of light, and give a paler day.
Ten thousand stars adorn her glittering train,
Fall when she falls, and rise with her again;
And o'er the deserts of the sky unfold
Their burning spangles of sidereal gold :
Through the wide heavens she moves serenely bright,
Queen of the gay attendants of the night;
Orb above orb in sweet confusion lies,
And with a bright disorder paints the skies. It would be foreign to the design of this work to give regular treatises on the sciences; but, as Astronomy is a science of such high interest, I submit the following poetical descriptions of the celestial bodies in their order:
Hail, sacred Source of inexhausted light!
Prodigious instance of creating might !
His distance man's imagination foils;
Numbers will scarce avail to count the miles.
His globose body how immensely great!
How fierce his burnings! how intense his heat!
As swift as thought he darts his radiance round
To distant worlds his system's utmost bound;
Of all the planets the directing soul,
That heightens and invigorates the whole. BROWN.
First, Mercury, amidst full tides of light,
Rolls next the Sun, through his small circle bright;
All that dwell there must be refined and pure,
Bodies like ours such ardour can't endure;
Our earth would blaze beneath so fierce a ray,
And all its marble mountains waste away.
Fair Venus next fulfils her larger round,
With softer beams and milder glory crown'd;
Friend to mankind, she glitters from afar,
Now the bright evening, now the morning star. IBID.
THE EARTH AND MOON.
More distant still our earth comes rolling on,
And forms a wider circle round the Sun;
With her the Moon, companion ever dear,
Her course attending through the shining year. Ibid.
He smooth'd the rough-cast Moon's imperfect mould,
And comb'd her beamy locks with sacred gold ;
Be thou, said he, queen of the mournful night,
And as he spoke, she rose o'erclad with light;
With thousand stars attending on her train.
In larger circuit rolls the orb of Mars,
Guiltless of stern debate, and wasteful wars,
As some have erring taught ; he journeys on,
Impelld and nourish'd by th' attractive Sun; ;
Like us, his seasons and his day he owes
To the vast bounty which from Phoebus flows.
Next Jove, prodigious planet of the skies !
His orb presents of huge amazing size.
In ample compass Jove conducts his sphere,
And later finishes his tedious year ;
Yet swiftly on his axle turn'd, regains
The frequent aid of day to warm his plains.
But farther yet the tardy Saturn lags,
And seven attendant luminaries drags,
Investing with a double ring his pace,
He circles thro' immensity of space.
GEORGIUM SIDUS, OR HERSCHELL,
Last of the splendid planetary throng,
See Georgium Sidus gently slides along;
For ages from the world conceal'd he stray'd,
Till noted Herschell the discovery made;
His worth should be for ever known to fame,
So let the new-found planet bear his name. ANON.
At his command, affrighting human kind,
Comets drag on their blazing lengths behind ;
Nor, as we think, do they at random rove,
But in determin'd times thro' long ellipses move :
And though sometimes they near approach the Sun,
Sometimes beyond our system's orbít run,
Throughout their race they act their Maker's will,
His power declare, his purposes fulfil. BAKER. The following beautiful hymn, generally attributed to Addison, but said to be Andrew Marvell's, will conclude this paper on the pleasures of Astronomy:
The spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heav'ns, a shining frame,
Their great original proclaim :
Th' unwearied sun, from day to day,
Does his Creator's power display ;
And publishes to every land
The work of an Almighty hand.