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So welcome when the bigot's hell-touch burns;
The Fairy waves her wand of charm.
That rolled beside the battlement, Bending her beamy eyes in thankfulness.
Again the enchanted steeds were yoked, Again the burning wheels inflame The steep descent of heaven's untrodden way. Fast and far the chariot flew: The vast and fiery globes that rolled Around the Fairy's palace-gate Lessened by slow degrees, and soon appeared Such tiny twinklers as the planet orbs That there attendant on the solar power With borrowed light pursued their narrower way. Earth floated then below: The chariot paused a moment there; The Spirit then descended: The restless coursers pawed the ungenial soil, Snuffed the gross air, and then, their errand done, Unfurled their pinions to the winds of heaven.
The Body and the Soul united then, A gentle start convulsed Ianthe's frame: Her veiny eyelids quietly unclosed; Moveless awhile the dark blue orbs remained: She looked around in wonder and beheld Henry, who kneeled in silence by her couch, Watching her sleep with looks of speechless love, And the bright beaming stars That through the casement shone.
I. Page 15.
The sun's unclouded orb
Rolled through the black concave.
Beyond our atmosphere, the sun would appear a rayless orb of fire in the midst of a black concave. The equal diffusion of its light on earth is owing to the refraction of the rays by the atmosphere, and their reflection from other bodies. Light consists either of vibrations propagated through a subtle medium, or of numerous minute particles repelled in all directions from the luminous body. Its velocity greatly exceeds that of any substance with which we are acquainted: observations on the eclipses of Jupiter's satellites have demonstrated that light takes up no more than eight minutes and seven seconds in passing from the sun to the earth, a distance of 95,000,000 miles. Some idea may be gained of the immense distance of the fixed stars, when it is computed that many years would elapse before light could reach this earth from the nearest of them; yet in one year light travels 5,422,400,000,000 miles, which is at a distance 5,707,600 times greater than that of the sun from the earth.
I. Page 15.
Whilst round the chariot's way
The plurality of worlds, the indefinite immensity of the universe is a most awful subject of contemplation. He who rightly feels its mystery and grandeur is in no danger of seduction from the falsehoods of religious systems, or of deifying the principle of the universe. It is impossible to believe that the spirit that pervades this infinite machine, begat a son upon the body of a Jewish woman; or is angered at the consequences of that necessity, which is a synonyme of itself. All that miserable tale of the Devil and Eve, and an Intercessor, with the childish mummeries of the God of the Jews, is irreconcileable with the knowledge of the stars. The works of his fingers have borne witness against him.
The nearest of the fixed stars is inconceivably distant from the earth, and they are probably proportionably distant from each other. By a calculation of the velocity of light, Sirius is supposed to be at least 54,224,000,000,000, miles from the earth.* That which appears only like a thin, silvery cloud, streaking the heaven, is in effect composed of innumerable clusters of suns, each shining with its own light, and illuminating numbers of planets that revolve around them. Millions and millions of suns are ranged around us, all attended by innumerable worlds, yet calm, regular, and harmonious, all keeping the paths of immutable necessity.
IV. Page 32.
These are the hired bravos who defend
To employ murder as a means of justice, is an idea wh ich a man of an enlightened mind will not dwell upon with pleasure. To march forth in rank and file, with all the pomp of streamers and trumpets, for the purpose of shooting at our fellow-men as a mark; to inflict upon them all the variety of wound and anguish; to leave them weltering in their blood; to wander over the field of desolation, and count the number of the dying and the dead,—are employments which in thesis we may maintain to be necessary, but which no good man will contemplate with gratulation and delight. A battle we suppose is won ;—thus truth is established;—thus the cause of justice is confirmed! It surely requires no common sagacity to discern the connexion between this immense heap of calamities, and the assertion of truth, or the maintenance of justice.
Kings, and ministers of state, the real authors of the calamity, sit unmolested in their cabinet, while those against whom the fury of the storm is directed, are, for the most part, persons who have been trepanned into the service, or who
* See Nicholson's Encyclopedia, art. Light.