THE HOME OF GALILEO.
On this great name, my Friends, assembled as we are to dedicate a temple to instrumental Astronomy, we may well pause for a moment.
There is much, in every way, in the city of Florence to excite the curiosity, to kindle the imagination, and to gratify the taste. Sheltered on the north by the vine-clad hills of Fiesoli, whose cyclopean walls carry back the antiquary to ages before the Roman, before the Etruscan power, the flowery city (Fiorenza) covers the sunny banks of the Arno with its stately palaces. Dark and frowning piles of mediaeval structure; a majestic dome, the prototype of St. Peter's; basilicas which enshrine the ashes of some of the mightiest of the dead; the stone where Dante stood to gaze on the Campanile; the house of Michael Angelo, still occupied by a descendant of his lineage and name, his hammer, his chisel, his dividers, his manuscript poems, all as if he had left them but yesterday; airy bridges, which seem not so much to rest on the earth as to hover over the waters they span; the loveliest creations of ancient art, rescued from the grave of ages again to enchant the world; the breathing marbles of Michael Angelo, the glowing canvas of Raphael and Titian, museums filled with medals and coins of every age from Cyrus the younger, and gems and amulets and vases from the sepulchers of Egyptian Pharaohs coeval with Joseph, and Etruscan Lucumons that swayed Italy before the Romans,—libraries stored with the choicest texts of ancient literature,—gardens of rose and orange, and pomegranate, and myrtle,—the very air you breathe languid with music and perfume;—such is Florence. But among all its fascinations, addressed to the sense, the memory, and the heart, there was none to which I more frequently gave a meditative hour during a year's residence, than to the spot where Galileo Galilei sleeps beneath the marble door of Santa Croce; no building on which I gazed with greater reverence, than I did upon the modest mansion at Arcetri, villa at once and prison, in which that venerable sage, by command of the Inquisition, passed the sad closing years of his life. The beloved daughter on whom he had depended to smooth his passage to the grave, laid there before him; the eyes with which he had discovered worlds before unknown, quenched in blindness:
Ahime! quegli occhi si son fatti oscuri, Che vider piu di tutti i tempi antichi, E luce fur dei secoli futuri.
That was the house, "where," says Milton (another of those of whom the world was not worthy), "I found and visited the famous Galileo, grown old—a prisoner to the Inquisition, for thinking on astronomy otherwise than as the Dominican and Franciscan licensers thought."[A] Great Heavens! what a tribunal, what a culprit, what a crime! Let us thank God, my Friends, that we live in the nineteenth century. Of all the wonders of ancient and modern art, statues and paintings, and jewels and manuscripts,—the admiration and the delight of ages,—there was nothing which I beheld with more affectionate awe than that poor, rough tube, a few feet in length,—the work of his own hands,—that very "optic glass," through which the "Tuscan Artist" viewed the moon,
"At evening, from the top of Fesole, Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands, Rivers, or mountains, in her spotty globe."
that poor little spy-glass (for it is scarcely more) through which the human eye first distinctly beheld the surface of the moon—first discovered the phases of Venus, the satellites of Jupiter, and the seeming handles of Saturn—first penetrated the dusky depths of the heavens—first pierced the clouds of visual error, which, from the creation of the world, involved the system of the Universe.
[Footnote A: Prose Works, vol. 1, p. 213.]
There are occasions in life in which a great mind lives years of rapt enjoyment in a moment. I can fancy the emotions of Galileo, when, first raising the newly-constructed telescope to the heavens, he saw fulfilled the grand prophecy of Copernicus, and beheld the planet Venus crescent like the moon. It was such another moment as that when the immortal printers of Mentz and Strasburg received the first copy of the Bible into their hands, the work of their divine art; like that when Columbus, through the gray dawn of the 12th of October, 1492 (Copernicus, at the age of eighteen, was then a student at Cracow), beheld the shores of San Salvador; like that when the law of gravitation first revealed itself to the intellect of Newton; like that when Franklin saw by the stiffening fibers of the hempen cord of his kite, that he held the lightning in his grasp; like that when Leverrier received back from Berlin the tidings that the predicted planet was found.
Yes, noble Galileo, thou art right, E pur si muove. "It does move." Bigots may make thee recant it; but it moves, nevertheless. Yes, the earth moves, and the planets move, and the mighty waters move, and the great sweeping tides of air move, and the empires of men move, and the world of thought moves, ever onward and upward to higher facts and bolder theories. The Inquisition may seal thy lips, but they can no more stop the progress of the great truth propounded by Copernicus, and demonstrated by thee, than they can stop the revolving earth.
Close now, venerable sage, that sightless, tearful eye; it has seen what man never before saw—it has seen enough. Hang up that poor little spy-glass—it has done its work. Not Herschell nor Rosse have, comparatively, done more. Franciscans and Dominicans deride thy discoveries now; but the time will come when, from two hundred observatories in Europe and America, the glorious artillery of science shall nightly assault the skies, but they shall gain no conquests in those glittering fields before which thine shall be forgotten. Rest in peace, great Columbus of the heavens—like him scorned, persecuted, broken-hearted!—in other ages, in distant hemispheres, when the votaries of science, with solemn acts of consecration, shall dedicate their stately edifices to the cause of knowledge and truth, thy name shall be mentioned with honor.
NEW PERIODS IN ASTRONOMICAL SCIENCE.
It is not my intention, in dwelling with such emphasis upon the invention of the telescope, to ascribe undue importance, in promoting the advancement of science, to the increase of instrumental power. Too much, indeed, cannot be said of the service rendered by its first application in confirming and bringing into general repute the Copernican system; but for a considerable time, little more was effected by the wondrous instrument than the gratification of curiosity and taste, by the inspection of the planetary phases, and the addition of the rings and satellites of Saturn to the solar family. Newton, prematurely despairing of any further improvement in the refracting telescope, applied the principle of reflection; and the nicer observations now made, no doubt, hastened the maturity of his great discovery of the law of gravitation; but that discovery was the work of his transcendent genius and consummate skill.
With Bradley, in 1741, a new period commenced in instrumental astronomy, not so much of discovery as of measurement. The superior accuracy and minuteness with which the motions and distances of the heavenly bodies were now observed, resulted in the accumulation of a mass of new materials, both for tabular comparison and theoretical speculation. These materials formed the enlarged basis of astronomical science between Newton and Sir William Herschell. His gigantic reflectors introduced the astronomer to regions of space before unvisited—extended beyond all previous conception the range of the observed phenomena, and with it proportionably enlarged the range of constructive theory. The discovery of a new primary planet and its attendant satellites was but the first step of his progress into the labyrinth of the heavens. Cotemporaneously with his observations, the French astronomers, and especially La Place, with a geometrical skill scarcely, if at all, inferior to that of its great author, resumed the whole system of Newton, and brought every phenomenon observed since his time within his laws. Difficulties of fact, with which he struggled in vain, gave way to more accurate observations; and problems that defied the power of his analysis, yielded to the modern improvements of the calculus.
HERSCHELL'S NEBULAR THEORY.
But there is no Ultima Thule in the progress of science. With the recent augmentations of telescopic power, the details of the nebular theory, proposed by Sir W. Herschell with such courage and ingenuity, have been drawn in question. Many—most—of those milky patches in which he beheld what he regarded as cosmical matter, as yet in an unformed state,—the rudimental material of worlds not yet condensed,—have been resolved into stars, as bright and distinct as any in the firmament. I well recall the glow of satisfaction with which, on the 22d of September, 1847, being then connected with the University at Cambridge, I received a letter from the venerable director of the Observatory there, beginning with these memorable words:—"You will rejoice with me that the great nebula in Orion has yielded to the powers of our incomparable telescope! * * * It should be borne in mind that this nebula, and that of Andromeda [which has been also resolved at Cambridge], are the last strongholds of the nebular theory."[A]
[Footnote A: Annals of the Observatory of Harvard College, p. 121.]
But if some of the adventurous speculations built by Sir William Herschell on the bewildering revelations of his telescope have been since questioned, the vast progress which has been made in sidereal astronomy, to which, as I understand, the Dudley Observatory will be particularly devoted, the discovery of the parallax of the fixed stars, the investigation of the interior relations of binary and triple systems of stars, the theories for the explanation of the extraordinary, not to say fantastic, shapes discerned in some of the nebulous systems—whirls and spirals radiating through spaces as vast as the orbit of Neptune;[A] the glimpses at systems beyond that to which our sun belongs;—these are all splendid results, which may fairly be attributed to the school of Herschell, and will for ever insure no secondary place to that name in the annals of science.
[Footnote A: See the remarkable memoir of Professor Alexander, "On the origin of the forms and the present condition of some of the clusters of stars, and several of the nebulae," (Gould's Astronomical Journal, Vol. iii, p. 95.)]
RELATIONSHIP OF THE LIBERAL ARTS.
In the remarks which I have hitherto made, I have had mainly in view the direct connection of astronomical science with the uses of life and the service of man. But a generous philosophy contemplates the subject in higher relations. It is a remark as old, at least, as Plato, and is repeated from him more than once by Cicero, that all the liberal arts have a common bond and relationship.[A] The different sciences contemplate as their immediate object the different departments of animate and inanimate nature; but this great system itself is but one, and its parts are so interwoven with each other, that the most extraordinary relations and unexpected analogies are constantly presenting themselves; and arts and sciences seemingly the least connected, render to each other the most effective assistance.
[Footnote A: Archias, i.; De Oratore, iii., 21.]
The history of electricity, galvanism, and magnetism, furnishes the most striking illustration of this remark. Commencing with the meteorological phenomena of our own atmosphere, and terminating with the observation of the remotest heavens, it may well be adduced, on an occasion like the present. Franklin demonstrated the identity of lightning and the electric fluid. This discovery gave a great impulse to electrical research, with little else in view but the means of protection from the thunder-cloud. A purely accidental circumstance led the physician Galvani, at Bologna, to trace the mysterious element, under conditions entirely novel, both of development and application. In this new form it became, in the hands of Davy, the instrument of the most extraordinary chemical operations; and earths and alkalis, touched by the creative wire, started up into metals that float on water, and kindle in the air. At a later period, the closest affinities are observed between electricity and magnetism, on the one hand; while, on the other, the relations of polarity are detected between acids and alkalis. Plating and gilding henceforth become electrical processes. In the last applications of the same subtle medium, it has become the messenger of intelligence across the land and beneath the sea; and is now employed by the astronomer to ascertain the difference of longitudes, to transfer the beats of the clock from one station to another, and to record the moment of his observations with automatic accuracy. How large a share has been borne by America in these magnificent discoveries and applications, among the most brilliant achievements of modern science, will sufficiently appear from the repetition of the names of Franklin, Henry, Morse, Walker, Mitchell, Lock, and Bond.
VERSATILITY OF GENIUS.
It has sometimes happened, whether from the harmonious relations to each other of every department of science, or from rare felicity of individual genius, that the most extraordinary intellectual versatility has been manifested by the same person. Although Newton's transcendent talent did not blaze out in childhood, yet as a boy he discovered great aptitude for mechanical contrivance. His water-clock, self-moving vehicle, and mill, were the wonder of the village; the latter propelled by a living mouse. Sir David Brewster represents the accounts as differing, whether the mouse was made to advance "by a string attached to its tail," or by "its unavailing attempts to reach a portion of corn placed above the wheel." It seems more reasonable to conclude that the youthful discoverer of the law of gravitation intended by the combination of these opposite attractions to produce a balanced movement. It is consoling to the average mediocrity of the race to perceive in these sportive assays, that the mind of Newton passed through the stage of boyhood. But emerging from boyhood, what a bound it made, as from earth to heaven! Hardly commencing bachelor of arts, at the age of twenty-four, he untwisted the golden and silver threads of the solar spectrum, simultaneously or soon after conceived the method of fluxions, and arrived at the elemental idea of universal gravity before he had passed to his master's degree. Master of Arts indeed! That degree, if no other, was well bestowed. Universities are unjustly accused of fixing science in stereotype. That diploma is enough of itself to redeem the honors of academical parchment from centuries of learned dullness and scholastic dogmatism.
But the great object of all knowledge is to enlarge and purify the soul, to fill the mind with noble contemplations, to furnish a refined pleasure, and to lead our feeble reason from the works of nature up to its great Author and Sustainer. Considering this as the ultimate end of science, no branch of it can surely claim precedence of Astronomy. No other science furnishes such a palpable embodiment of the abstractions which lie at the foundation of our intellectual system; the great ideas of time, and space, and extension, and magnitude, and number, and motion, and power. How grand the conception of the ages on ages required for several of the secular equations of the solar system; of distances from which the light of a fixed star would not reach us in twenty millions of years, of magnitudes compared with which the earth is but a foot-ball; of starry hosts—suns like our own—numberless as the sands on the shore; of worlds and systems shooting through the infinite spaces, with a velocity compared with which the cannon-ball is a way-worn, heavy-paced traveler![A]
[Footnote A: Nichol's Architecture of the Heavens, p. 160.]
THE SPECTACLE OF THE HEAVENS.
Much, however, as we are indebted to our observatories for elevating our conceptions of the heavenly bodies, they present, even to the unaided sight, scenes of glory which words are too feeble to describe. I had occasion, a few weeks since, to take the early train from Providence to Boston; and for this purpose rose at 2 o'clock in the morning. Every thing around was wrapped in darkness and hushed in silence, broken only by what seemed at that hour the unearthly clank and rush of the train. It was a mild, serene midsummer's night; the sky was without a cloud—the winds were whist. The moon, then in the last quarter, had just risen, and the stars shone with a spectral luster but little affected by her presence; Jupiter, two hours high, was the herald of the day; the Pleiades, just above the horizon, shed their sweet influence in the east; Lyra sparkled near the zenith; Andromeda veiled her newly discovered glories from the naked eye in the south; the steady Pointers, far beneath the pole, looked meekly up from the depths of the north to their sovereign.
Such was the glorious spectacle as I entered the train. As we proceeded, the timid approach of twilight became more perceptible; the intense blue of the sky began to soften, the smaller stars, like little children, went first to rest; the sister-beams of the Pleiades soon melted together; but the bright constellations of the west and north remained unchanged. Steadily the wondrous transfiguration went on. Hands of angels hidden from mortal eyes shifted the scenery of the heavens; the glories of night dissolved into the glories of the dawn. The blue sky now turned more softly gray; the great watch-stars shut up their holy eyes; the east began to kindle. Faint streaks of purple soon blushed along the sky; the whole celestial concave was filled with the inflowing tides of the morning light, which came pouring down from above in one great ocean of radiance; till at length, as we reached the Blue Hills, a flash of purple fire blazed out from above the horizon, and turned the dewy teardrops of flower and leaf into rubies and diamonds. In a few seconds the everlasting gates of the morning were thrown wide open, and the lord of day, arrayed in glories too severe for the gaze of man, began his course.
I do not wonder at the superstition of the ancient Magians, who in the morning of the world went up to the hill-tops of Central Asia, and ignorant of the true God, adored the most glorious work of his hand. But I am filled with amazement, when I am told that in this enlightened age, and in the heart of the Christian world, there are persons who can witness this daily manifestation of the power and wisdom of the Creator, and yet say in their hearts, "There is no God."
Numerous as are the heavenly bodies visible to the naked eye, and glorious as are their manifestations, it is probable that in our own system there are great numbers as yet undiscovered. Just two hundred years ago this year, Huyghens announced the discovery of one satellite of Saturn, and expressed the opinion that the six planets and six satellites then known, and making up the perfect number of twelve, composed the whole of our planetary system. In 1729 an astronomical writer expressed the opinion that there might be other bodies in our system, but that the limit of telescopic power had been reached, and no further discoveries were likely to be made.[A] The orbit of one comet only had been definitively calculated. Since that time the power of the telescope has been indefinitely increased; two primary planets of the first class, ten satellites, and forty-three small planets revolving between Mars and Jupiter, have been discovered, the orbits of six or seven hundred comets, some of brief period, have been ascertained;—and it has been computed, that hundreds of thousands of these mysterious bodies wander through our system. There is no reason to think that all the primary planets, which revolve about the sun, have been discovered. An indefinite increase in the number of asteroids may be anticipated; while outside of Neptune, between our sun and the nearest fixed star, supposing the attraction of the sun to prevail through half the distance, there is room for ten more primary planets succeeding each other at distances increasing in a geometrical ratio. The first of these will, unquestionably, be discovered as soon as the perturbations of Neptune shall have been accurately observed; and with maps of the heavens, on which the smallest telescopic stars are laid down, it may be discovered much sooner.
[Footnote A: Memoirs of A.A.S., vol. iii, 275.]
THE VASTNESS OF CREATION.
But it is when we turn our observation and our thoughts from our own system, to the systems which lie beyond it in the heavenly spaces, that we approach a more adequate conception of the vastness of creation. All analogy teaches us that the sun which gives light to us is but one of those countless stellar fires which deck the firmament, and that every glittering star in that shining host is the center of a system as vast and as full of subordinate luminaries as our own. Of these suns—centers of planetary systems—thousands are visible to the naked eye, millions are discovered by the telescope. Sir John Herschell, in the account of his operations at the Cape of Good Hope (p. 381) calculates that about five and a half millions of stars are visible enough to be distinctly counted in a twenty-foot reflector, in both hemispheres. He adds, that "the actual number is much greater, there can be little doubt." His illustrious father, estimated on one occasion that 125,000 stars passed through the field of his forty foot reflector in a quarter of an hour. This would give 12,000,000 for the entire circuit of the heavens, in a single telescopic zone; and this estimate was made under the assumption that the nebulae were masses of luminous matter not yet condensed into suns.
These stupendous calculations, however, form but the first column of the inventory of the universe. Faint white specks are visible, even to the naked eye of a practiced observer in different parts of the heavens. Under high magnifying powers, several thousands of such spots are visible,—no longer however, faint, white specks, but many of them resolved by powerful telescopes into vast aggregations of stars, each of which may, with propriety, be compared with the milky way. Many of these nebulae, however, resisted the power of Sir Wm. Herschell's great reflector, and were, accordingly, still regarded by him as masses of unformed matter, not yet condensed into suns. This, till a few years since, was, perhaps, the prevailing opinion; and the nebular theory filled a large space in modern astronomical science. But with the increase of instrumental power, especially under the mighty grasp of Lord Rosse's gigantic reflector, and the great refractors at Pulkova and Cambridge, the most irresolvable of these nebulae have given way; and the better opinion now is, that every one of them is a galaxy, like our own milky way, composed of millions of suns. In other words, we are brought to the bewildering conclusion that thousands of these misty specks, the greater part of them too faint to be seen with the naked eye, are, not each a universe like our solar system, but each a "swarm" of universes of unappreciable magnitude.[A] The mind sinks, overpowered by the contemplation. We repeat the words, but they no longer convey distinct ideas to the understanding.
[Footnote A: Humboldt's Cosmos, iii. 41.]
CONCEPTIONS OF THE UNIVERSE.
But these conclusions, however vast their comprehension, carry us but another step forward in the realms of sidereal astronomy. A proper motion in space of our sun, and of the fixed stars as we call them, has long been believed to exist. Their vast distances only prevent its being more apparent. The great improvement of instruments of measurement within the last generation has not only established the existence of this motion, but has pointed to the region in the starry vault around which our whole solar and stellar system, with its myriad of attendant planetary worlds, appears to be performing a mighty revolution. If, then, we assume that outside of the system to which we belong and in which our sun is but a star like Aldebaran or Sirius, the different nebulae of which we have spoken,—thousands of which spot the heavens—constitute a distinct family of universes, we must, following the guide of analogy, attribute to each of them also, beyond all the revolutions of their individual attendant planetary systems, a great revolution, comprehending the whole; while the same course of analogical reasoning would lead us still further onward, and in the last analysis, require us to assume a transcendental connection between all these mighty systems—a universe of universes, circling round in the infinity of space, and preserving its equilibrium by the same laws of mutual attraction which bind the lower worlds together.
It may be thought that conceptions like these are calculated rather to depress than to elevate us in the scale of being; that, banished as he is by these contemplations to a corner of creation, and there reduced to an atom, man sinks to nothingness in this infinity of worlds. But a second thought corrects the impression. These vast contemplations are well calculated to inspire awe, but not abasement. Mind and matter are incommensurable. An immortal soul, even while clothed in "this muddy vesture of decay," is in the eye of God and reason, a purer essence than the brightest sun that lights the depths of heaven. The organized human eye, instinct with life and soul, which, gazing through the telescope, travels up to the cloudy speck in the handle of Orion's sword, and bids it blaze forth into a galaxy as vast as ours, stands higher in the order of being than all that host of luminaries. The intellect of Newton which discovered the law that holds the revolving worlds together, is a nobler work of God than a universe of universes of unthinking matter.
If, still treading the loftiest paths of analogy, we adopt the supposition,—to me I own the grateful supposition,—that the countless planetary worlds which attend these countless suns, are the abodes of rational beings like man, instead of bringing back from this exalted conception a feeling of insignificance, as if the individuals of our race were but poor atoms in the infinity of being, I regard it, on the contrary, as a glory of our human nature, that it belongs to a family which no man can number of rational natures like itself. In the order of being they may stand beneath us, or they may stand above us; he may well be content with his place, who is made "a little lower than the angels."
CONTEMPLATION OF THE HEAVENS.
Finally, my Friends, I believe there is no contemplation better adapted to awaken devout ideas than that of the heavenly bodies,—no branch of natural science which bears clearer testimony to the power and wisdom of God than that to which you this day consecrate a temple. The heart of the ancient world, with all the prevailing ignorance of the true nature and motions of the heavenly orbs, was religiously impressed by their survey. There is a passage in one of those admirable philosophical treatises of Cicero composed in the decline of life, as a solace under domestic bereavement and patriotic concern at the impending convulsions of the state, in which, quoting from some lost work of Aristotle, he treats the topic in a manner which almost puts to shame the teachings of Christian wisdom.
"Praeclare ergo Aristoteles, 'Si essent,' inquit, 'qui sub terra semper habitavissent, bonis et illustribus domiciliis quae essent ornata signis atque picturis, instructaque rebus iis omnibus quibus abundant ii qui beati putantur, nec tamen exissent unquam supra terram; accepissent autem fama et auditione, esse quoddam numen et vim Deorum,—deinde aliquo tempore patefactis terrae faucibus ex illis abditis sedibus evadere in haec loca quae nos incolimus, atque exire potuissent; cum repente terram et maria coelumque, vidissent; nubium magnitudinem ventorumque vim, cognovissent; aspexissentque solem, ejusque tum magnitudinem, pulchritudinemque; tum etiam efficientiam cognovissent, quod is diem efficeret, toto coelo luce diffusa; cum autem terras nox opacasset, tum coelum totum cernerent astris distinctum et ornatum, lunaeque luminum varietatem tum crescentis tum senescentis, corumque omnium ortus et occasus atque in aeternitate ratos immutabilesque cursus;—haec cum viderent, profecto et esse Deos, et haec tanta opera Deorum esse, arbitrarentur."[A]
There is much by day to engage the attention of the Observatory; the sun, his apparent motions, his dimensions, the spots on his disc (to us the faint indications of movements of unimagined grandeur in his luminous atmosphere), a solar eclipse, a transit of the inferior planets, the mysteries of the spectrum;—all phenomena of vast importance and interest. But night is the astronomer's accepted time; he goes to his delightful labors when the busy world goes to its rest. A dark pall spreads over the resorts of active life; terrestrial objects, hill and valley, and rock and stream, and the abodes of men disappear; but the curtain is drawn up which concealed the heavenly hosts. There they shine and there they move, as they moved and shone to the eyes of Newton and Galileo, of Kepler and Copernicus, of Ptolemy and Hipparchus; yes, as they moved and shone when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy. All has changed on earth; but the glorious heavens remain unchanged. The plow passes over the site of mighty cities,—the homes of powerful nations are desolate, the languages they spoke are forgotten; but the stars that shone for them are shining for us; the same eclipses run their steady cycle; the same equinoxes call out the flowers of spring, and send the husbandman to the harvest; the sun pauses at either tropic as he did when his course began; and sun and moon, and planet and satellite, and star and constellation and galaxy, still bear witness to the power, the wisdom, and the love, which placed them in the heavens and uphold them there.
[Footnote A: "Nobly does Aristotle observe, that if there were beings who had always lived under ground, in convenient, nay, in magnificent dwellings, adorned with statues and pictures, and every thing which belongs to prosperous life, but who had never come above ground; who had heard, however, by fame and report, of the being and power of the gods; if, at a certain time, the portals of the earth being thrown open, they had been able to emerge from those hidden abodes to the regions inhabited by us; when suddenly they had seen the earth, the sea, and the sky; had perceived the vastness of the clouds and the force of the winds; had contemplated the sun, his magnitude and his beauty, and still more his effectual power, that it is he who makes the day, by the diffusion of his light through the whole sky; and, when night had darkened the earth, should then behold the whole heavens studded and adorned with stars, and the various lights of the waxing and waning moon, the risings and the settings of all these heavenly bodies, and the courses fixed and immutable in all eternity; when, I say, they should see these things, truly they would believe that there were gods, and these so great things are their works."—Cicero, De Natura Deorum lib. ii., section 30.]