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Oliver & Boyd, Printers, Edinburght,




APRIL 1818.


No II.

Galileo in the Inquisition.

Galileo. So you are come to close the shutters of my window before nightfall. Surely these bars are strong enough. I would fain have the consolation of viewing the heavens after it is dark. My sleep is unquiet and short, for want of exercise; and when I lie awake, the roof of my prison presents nothing but a sable blank. Do not, I beseech you, conceal from me the blue vault, and those hosts of light, upon which I still love to gaze in spite of all my troubles.

Monk. You must not see the stars. It is the stars which have put you wrong. Poor man! to think the earth was turning round.

Galileo. Alas! alas! Is it for this that I have studied?

Monk. Do you suppose, that if the earth had been turning all this while, the sea would not have drowned every living soul? I put this to you, as a simple question, and level with the most ordinary capacity.

Galileo. My good friend, you know that I have recanted these things, and therefore it is needless for me to dispute farther upon the subject.

Monk. Your books were burnt at Rome, which, in my opinion, was an idle business. In a few years they would have turned to smoke of their own accord. 'Tis the way with all new discoveries, for I am an old Christian, and have seen the fashion of the world before now.

Galileo. Do you suppose that glass windows were used in the time of Adam?

Monk. No; for the Scripture mentions no such thing. But what then? Galileo. Why then, you must admit that time teaches things which were unknown before.

Monk. That is possible enough. But now things are different; for my head is gray, and I have no faith in new discoveries.

Galileo. We know not what time may bring about. Perhaps the earth may yet be weighed.

Monk. Go on-you shall receive no You perceive interruption from me. that I only smile gently and goodnaturedly when you talk in this manner.

Galileo. What is the matter? what makes you look so wise?

Monk. Never mind. Go on. Galileo. What is the meaning of this extraordinary look of tenderness and benignity, which you are attempting to throw into your features.

Monk. When I consider what is your real condition, it moves my pity. For my part, when the Cardinals made so much ado about your writings, I always thought they were trifling with their office.


Galileo. I wish you would convince them of that; for all I desire is, to have the privilege of looking through my telescopes, and to live quietly without doing harm to any man. pray you, allow the window to remain open; for darkness is gathering, and Jupiter already blazes yonder through the twilight. So pure a sky!—and to be debarred from my optical contrivances.

Monk. Study the Scriptures, my son, with care and diligence, and you will have no need of optical contriv


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