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Yet, all, the same eternal laws obey,
While God's unerring finger points their way.
First MERCURY, amidst full tides of light,
Rolls next the Sun, through his small circle bright.
All that dwell there, must be refin'd and pure:
Bodies like our's such ardor can't endure:
Our earth would blaze beneath so fierce a ray,
And all its marble mountains melt away.
* Whether the heat of planetary bodies be in proportion to the quantity of solar light, which they receive, is uncertain. It is by no means unphilosophical to suppose that, by some peculiarities in their atmospheres, Mercury's heat and GEORGIAN's cold may both be moderate : by respectively possessing more or less of calorific matter. See note p. 2.
The planet Mercury is about thirty-seven millions of miles distant from the sun ; round which it revolves in eighty-seven days, twentythree hours, and fifteen minutes; being at the rate of ninety-five thousand miles an hour. His diameter is three thousand, two hundred and twenty-two miles.-Its bulls only one-fifteenth as large as the earth.
Fair Venus, next, fulfils her larger round,
With softer beams, and milder glory crown'd.
Friend to mankind, she glitters from a-far,
Now the bright ev’ning, now the morning star.*
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. +
See Mars, I alone, runs his appointed race,
And measures out, exact, the destin'd space :
* The mean distance of Venus from the sun is fixty-eight millions of miles ;-her diameter is seven thousand, six hundred and eighty-seven miles, or more ;-her annual revolution is performed in two hundred and twenty-four days, sixteen hours, and forty-nine minutes ; -her diurnal rotation on her axis takes twenty-three hours and twenty-two minutes ; being at the rate of about seven thousand and six hundred miles in an hour ;-her hulk is four-fifths of that of the earth. + See note p. 5.
C. # Mars is distant from the sun about one hundred and forty-four millions of miles ;-round which he travels in one year, 'three hundred and twenty-one days, seventeen hours, and forty-one minutes ;-his Nor nearer does he wind, nor farther stray,
But finds the point whence first he roll’d away.
Beyond the orb of Mars behold we find
Four smaller bodies of the planet kind.
The first, though last reveal'd to human sight,
Is VESTA* call'd; of feeble, dusky light;
Whose bulk and distance are to us unknown,
Nor have her revolutions yet been shown.
Still farther off (with telescopic eye)
The late discovered CERES we descry;
diameter is four thousand, one hundred and eighty-nine miles ;-his diurnal rotation is performed (at the rate of fifty-five thousand miles an hour) in twenty-four hours and forty minutes.-His bulk, compared with that of the earth, is as one is to six.
* The planet Vesta was discovered on the 29th of March, 1807, by OLBERS, a German astronomer.---It appears like a star of the sixth magnitude. Its mean motion is greater than that of either of the three next mentioned planets ;-and her inclination less than that of either of them.
Of size minute, and various in her hue,
Sometimes a red, at others, white or blue,*
See PALLAS, gliding on in annual round,
The minimus of planet-stars, is found; +
Of size so small, as well as feeble light,
No wonder she so long escap'd our sight.
* From some peculiar properties in her atmosphere, she is found to assume those various appearances of colour. This planet was discovered on the 1st of January, 1801, by Piazzi, an Italian astronomer. She is about one hundred and sixty-two miles in diameter ;-placed at two hundred and fifty-nine millions of miles from the sun ;-round which she performs her annual circuit in about four years, one hundred and eighty-nine days.—She is but the one hundred and eighteen thousand, eight hundred and eighth part of the bulk which the earth is.
+ The diameter of this planet is no more than about righty miles, She was discovered on the 28th of March, 1802, by Dr. OLBERS, before-mentioned. Her distance from the sun is two hundred and sixty-five millions of miles ; -and she performs her annual course in about four years and two hundred and forty-three days.—This very diminutive planet is in solidity only the nine hundred and seventyfive thousand and thirty-sixth part of that of the earth. C.
In path elliptic, Juno* wings her way,
And feebly sheds on us her silver ray ;
Her length of days (as yet to us unknown)
By future observations, will be shown.
Whate'er her bulk, her days how short or long,
In ev'ry world, in ev'ry part, we find
Th’ unerring wisdom of th' eternal mind.
More yet remote from day's all-cheering source,
Vast JUPITER performs his constant course :
Four friendly moons, with borrow'd lustre, rise,
Bestow their beams, benign, and light his skies. †
* This planet was discovered by HARDING, a German astronomer, in December, 1804.--All that we yet learn respecting her is, that her distance from the sun is abont two hundred and ninety millions of miles :--and that her periodical revolution round the sun is performed in about four years, one hundred and fourteen days.
C. + Jupiter, the largest planet in our system, is cighty-nine