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From the circumstance that in the mythological fictions the giants are brought in opposition to the gods, it may be inferred that the ancients did not ascribe to their gods immense magnitude. Intellectual power had always with them the preference over corporeal bulk; and the monstrous beings that fancy created rose into existence only in order ... vanquished by the divine power of intellect, and to sink down under their own shapelessness. The noble propriety which avoids the monstrous, and assigns due limits to all the subjects represented, is the chief feature in the fine arts of the ancients; and not without reason does their imagination, even in the oldest fictions, always incline to the representation, that shapelessness and enormity in form and limits must necessarily be first conquered and destroyed, before things can take their proper course. The whole fiction of the war between the gods seems to rest on that idea. Uranos, or the widely expanded vault of heaven, was not to be comprehended in a single image; what fancy had conceived was still too shapeless and unlimited; to Uranos, therefore, his own productions, his children, must become dangerous. They must rise against him, and his realm disappear in night and darkness. Even the name of the Titans indicates the want of bounds and limits in their nature, whereby the pictures which imagination forms of them become fluctuating and uncertain. Imagination shuns this boundlessness; the modern deities vanquish; the Titans cease to reign, and their forms retreat, as it were, into mist, through which they are but dimly seen. In the place of the Titan Helios, god of the Sun, Apollo now stands in eternal youth, with bow and arrows. The image of Helios, however, still shines through, uncertain and wavering, so that imagination, in poetical works, often confounds them. In the place of old Oceanus, Neptune now appears with the trident, reigning over the floods of the sea. ~ * The ancient deities, nevertheless, continue to be regarded with veneration; for they were not brought in opposition to the modern gods, like permicious beings to good and beneficent ones, and as such deserving of hatred; but power rose against power, power was conquered by power, and the vanquished continued great even in his fall. For, though the realm of the Titans, and the government of Saturn, who swallowed up his own children, imply the idea of chaos, of want of bounds and forms; yet, at the same time, the idea of liberty and equality is connected with it, which must cease under the monarchical government of him who is armed with thunder and lightning. Therefore, too, the golden age was transposed under the reign of Saturn, who, after having been deprived of his destructive power in the war of the gods, escaped the fate of the other Titans, and
Fled over Adria to the Hesperian fields.
There, in the plains of Latium, surrounded by high mountains, he hid himself, and transferred thither the golden age, that happy period, when mankind lived in a state of perfect equality, and all things were in common. He is said to have arrived in a ship at the Tiber, in the dominions of Janus, and in union with him to have reigned over men with wisdom and benignity.
This fiction is extremely beautiful and attractive, because of the unexpected transition from war and destruction to peace and the quiet exercise of justice and benevolence. While Jupiter, still in danger of being deprived again of his usurped authority, is hurling his thunderbolts against his foes; Saturn, far from the scene of violence, has arrived in the quiet fields of Latium, where, under his reign, those happy times pass away which afterwards are celebrated and lamented in the songs of men as a good that is gone, and sought for in vain.
on the side of which rises part of an edifice and a wall.
This is probably an allusion to Saturn's having built, near the Tiber, on the hills where Rome was afterwards founded, the old city of Saturnia. In this manner, Saturn sometimes appears as a symbo, of all-destroying time, and sometimes as a king who once reigned in Latium. What is related of him is neither mere allegory nor true history, but both are mixed and blended together according to the laws of fancy. The same may be said with respect to the stories of the other deities, which we are to consider altogether as poetical pictures, easily injured by extending our scrutiny too far. For as the whole religion of the ancients was a religion of the imagination, and not of reason or higher authority, their Mythology is a beautiful dream, which certainly has much signification and connexion in it; giving also, from time to time, some sublime views, in which, however, the accuracy and certainty of the ideas of a waking state ought not to be expected. Although Jupiter had banished the Titans into Tartarus, and at length subdued the giants also, having rolled upon them some islands of the sea, under which their impotent rage spends itself in those fiery eruptions called volcanoes, which desolate the surrounding country : yet his authority was not without opposition. Earth again growing angry at the imprisonment of her children, brought forth Typhon or Typhaeus, her youngest son, whose father was Tartarus himself. This Typhon is the most hideous monster that ever rose out of uncreated night. The upper part of his body is covered with impenetrable feathers, and the lower part defended by horrible serpents that coil themselves round his huge limbs; his hundred dragon-heads are continually darting their black tongues, and rolling their fiery eyes; devouring flames issue from his mouths; sometimes he utters articulate sounds, then again he howls and roars with a hundred different voices of forest beasts, so that the mountains resound with the horrid noise. - And now the new divinities had been undone, had not Jupiter instantly seized his lightnings, and hurled them upon the monster without intermission, till Earth and eaven stand in flames, and the Universe is shaken, so that Pluto, the King of the shades, and the Titans in Tartarus, begin to tremble. Of all the triumphs gained by Jupiter over his adversaries, the victory over this monster was the most difficult, and threatened himself with destruction. Typhoeus, however, was at last overcome, and secured under Mount Etna. Thus has Jupiter subdued his most dangerous foe, and “He now triumphs, and in th’ excess of joy Sole reigning, holds the tyranny of heaven.” But after he had rid himself of his external adversaries, new dangers arose to him from his own resolutions. He married Metis, (Prudence,) daughter of Oceanus, and an oracle predicted that he would have a son by her who should be endowed with his mother's prudence and his father's strength, and rule over all the gods. To prevent this, Jupiter, with flattering allurements drew Metis over into his own person, and he himself now brought forth Minerva, who, as a full grown virgin, in complete panoply, sprang out of his head. A similar danger threatened him when he had a desire of marrying Thetis, who, according to another oracle, was to bring forth a son, who should be more powerful than his own father. In this manner the mightiest being, as it is represented in these fictions, always dreads a still mightier one. With the idea of an entirely unlimited power, every poetical fiction ceases, fancy having no farther scope. In latter times, also, two sons of Neptune and Iphimedia, daughter of Aloeus, from whom they are called Aloides, became dangerous to Jupiter. Otus and Ephaltes, these are their names, flourishing in youth and beauty, and of gigantic bodies, threatened the immortal gods, piling mountains on top of mountains, over Olympus Ossa, and over Ossa Pelion, in order thus to scale the heavens. This design would have been accomplished by them, if they had arrived at the age of manhood. Apollo killed them with his arrows, before the soft down had covered their cheeks. Thus, even mortals ventured to rise against the gods,
When one phenomenon is observed constantly to happen at or near the same time as another, the most seeptical mind is convinced that there must be some connexion between the two. It does not follow that the second is caused by the first: but if not, the necessary alternative is, that both must depend upon or in some way be derived from the same cause. And every circumstance which in any way adds a new and constant relation, is so much additional proof of the connexion. However extraordinary or uncommon it may be that two phenomena should always happen together, the mere fact of their so hapy ening should be an argument in proof of their connexion, which it is impossibletooverturn by any reasoning whatever.
Nothing is more common than to hear the evidence of such connexion opposed by arguments which, after all, amount to this—that the speaker does not see any way of explaining how this connexion exists. And still more common is it to maintain the existence of a connexion for which there is no evidence, because it is not more extraordinary than something else for which there is evidence. A philosophical mind will not allow the word extraordinary to have any place in its vocabulary of words employed in reasoning, but will stand prepared to admit that any two phenomena whatsoever which con
* Paradise Lost, Book I, 223; s.
stantly occur together are in some manner related to one another. The determination becomes more difficult when the two phenomena do not occur constantly together, but only more or less frequently. In such a case, the only method is to examine a large number of observations, with a view of finding whether there is any particular circumstance hitherto neglected which distinguishes the cases in which the phenomena have occurred together from those in which one has happened unaccompanied by the other. For example—the attention of astronomers has lately been very much turned to the observation of eclipses of stars by the moon, or, as they are called, occultations. The subject was taken up as affording a useful method of finding the longitude; but several persons soon observed that frequently, when the moon approached the star, instead of hiding it instantaneously, the effect is for a second just that which might be expected if the star were the nearer body of the two: that is, the star appears to move forward upon the moon's disk, or to be projected upon it for a very small time, after which it disappears. Remarkable as this may appear, it is still more worthy of notice that it is not every observer who is gifted with the power of seeing this phenomenon, that some stars are almost always, others hardly ever, projected—that some observers see the projection at some occultations of a star, but not at other occultations of the same. About five years ago the Astronomical Society called the particular attention of observers to these circumstances, and they thereby procured a mass of information, which is published at the end of the fourth volume of their Momoirs. Amongst other occultations, that of Aldebaran was observed, which took place October 15, 1829. Thirty-one different observers sent accounts of what they saw, variously distributed in England, France, and Germany. Of these, twenty-three agree in stating that they saw the star visibly projected on the moon's limb, some more and some less, but mostly from two to three seconds. The other eight saw nothing of the kind. We see then that in this particular case nothing can be done until a great multitude of observations shall furnish the means of ascertaining whether this phenomenon is in the eye of the observer, in his telescope, in the surrounding atmosphere, or whether it really arises out of any circumstance connected with the moon itself. When two phenomena are suspected to have any connexion with one another, nothing but a large number of observations can be of use in ascertaining whether or no the suspicion is well founded. Let us suppose, for example, that a die of six faces is suspected to be very slightly loaded on the side of the ace ; from which, if true, it will follow that in a large number of successive throws the ace will appear more than its fair proportion of times. Since there are six throws, all of which, on a fair die, are equally probable, we must expect that out of a large number of throws one-sixth nearly will be aces. No small number of throws will enable us to form a fair conclusion; and we must not of course expect exactly one-sixth to be aces, or even very nearly one-sixth. Suppose, for example, that six thousand throws have been made and registered, of which we might therefore expect about one thousand to be aces. We find, however, that there are eleven hundred aces, more than the expected proportion, but not so much more as to justify us in coming to any conclusion But if we now examine each thousand throws by itseli, and find that each of them has more than its proportion of aces, we have very strong grounds for suspecting that there is some reason for the appearance of the ace, of which we were not aware when we said that all throws were equally probable. And if instead of thousands we divided the throws into five hundreds, and found still that each lot contained more than its proportion of aces, we should have moral certainty, that is, a probabilsity of a very high order, that the die was loaded in some way. The general principle on which the preceding reasoning is founded is, that if in a very large number of observations we perceive a constant tendency to the happening of some event more often than from our previous knowledge of the circumstances we thought it fair to expect, and if upon repeating our observations, or looking at the several lots of observations of which our large number was composed, we still find the same result, we must conclude that there is more reason for the happening of that event than we were aware of. We now proceed to give the contents of the paper by M. Arago on the connexion of the moon with the state of the weather. The lunar month of twenty-nine days and a half is, as is well known, divided into four quarters, each on the average of 73–8 days. The first quarter lies between the new and half moon: the second between the half and full moon: and during these two quarters the moon is increasing. The third and fourth quarters, which include the whole wane of the moon, are from full to half moon, and from half to new moon, respectively. In 1830, M. Schubler, of Tubingen, published a series of observations on the weather, made in twenty-one different years, viz. at Munich from 1781 to 1788; at Stuttgard, from 1809 to 1812, and at Augsbourg from 1813 to 1828, all inclusive. The following table gives the numbel of rainy days in each quarter for a part of that period.
This table, though constructed for short periods, not very likely to give good averages of all the changes, yet offers no exception to the following rule: that there are more rainy days in the second quarter of the moon than in any other, and fewer in the fourth. Also, that the first half of the lunar month is more rainy than the second. Some old observations made at Vienna in and about 1788, confirm the preceding results obtained at Augsbourg and Stuttgard. And it must be remarked that the quantities of rain which fall in these three capitals are very disserent; for to every 43 inches of rain which fall at Vienna, there are 64 at Stuttgard, and 97 at Augsbourg. Some results obtained at Montpelier about 1777 contradict the preceding conclusions. However, as M. Arago remarks, the experiments there were made through a shorter time, and no very distinct information was given as to what was recognized as constituting a rainy day. In the results of M. Schubler, a day was called rainy in which the quantity of rain which fell amounted to more than two-hundredths of a line (the line being the twelfth part of a French inch.) We may add that the Montpelier experiments are not presented broken up into smaller lots, so that we cannot compare the result of the whole series with that derived from its separate component parts. And it must be observed, that whatever probability may exist as to the quantity of rain being greater in one quarter of the moon than in others, the observations are yet too few to enable us to say whether there is o that it is the same quarter in all places. . Schubler then compares the number of rainy days which have happened at the different phases of the moon during twenty-eight years, which amounted to 4299 rainy days. From which he finds the following result: that out of 10,000 rainy days, the following was the number which happened at each phase. The octant is the real quarter, or three quarter moon, that is, half way between new and half moon, or half and full moon, &c. New moon . . . . . . . . . . 306 | Full moon . . . . . - - - First octant . . . . . . . . . 306 | Third octant . . . . . . . 313
The following table is made from sixteen years of observations at Augsbourg. By a clear day is meant one in which there were no clouds at seven in the morning, and at two and nine in the afternoon: by a cloudy day, one in which the sky was cloudy at all these periods. The quantity of rain is measured in lines, or twelfths of inches.
Clear Cloudy Quantity
days. days. of rain. New moon . . . . . . . . . . 31 . . . 61 . . . . .299 Half moon (increasing) . . . . .38 . . . 57 . . . . .277 Second octant . . . . . . . . 25 . . . 65 . . . . .301 Full moon . . . . . . . . . . 26 . . . 61 . . . . 278 Half moon (waning) . . . . . 41 . . . 53 . . . . 220
Which results agree in general indications with the pre
With regard to the distance of the moon from the earth, two observations have been made which confirm each other, by M. Schubler and M. Pilgram, the Vienna obserwer above-mentioned. From the former it appears that in twenty-eight years, the week in the middle of which the moon was at her nearest distance to the earth, gave 1169 rainy days; while the similar week for the furthest distance of the moon gave 1096 such days. The Vienna observations, out of one hundred different months, gave thirty-six days of rain when the moon was nearest the earth, and twenty when furthest from it. In some observations made in 1774, at Montpelier, it appeared that out of 760 rains, 646 began either when the moon was very near the upper or lower meridian, or very nearly rising or setting. This is, however, not a sufficient number of observations on which to ground even a surnalse. In sixteen years observations made by M. Schubler, at Augsbourg, he found that south and west winds prevailed most from new moon to the middle of the second quarter, while north and east winds were most frequent during the last quarter. We shall proceed with the details of M. Arago's paper in our next. We shall only observe, that while some will admit a higher, some a lower probability of the connexion between the moon and the weather, according to their various temperaments, all will see that nothing which has been said tends in any degree to confirm the common opinion, that change of weather takes place at or cery near the change of the moon. All the observers must have been aware of this common opinion, which is older than the Christian era; so that had any thing approaching to a verification of it occurred, they would certainly have noticed it.—Penny Magazine.
The most cur ous thing in the cathedral of Lubeck is a clock of singular construction, and very high antiquity. It is calculated to answer astronomical purposes, representing the places of the sun and moon in the ecliptic, the moon's age, a perpetual almanac, and many other contrivances. The clock, as an inscription sets forth, was placed in the church upon Candlemas-day, in 1405.Over the face of it appears an image of our Saviour, and on either side of the image are solding doors, so constructcd as to fly open every day when the clock strikes twelve. At this hour, a set of figures representing the twelve apostles come out from the door on the left hand of the image, . and pass by in review before it, each figure making its obeisance by bowing as it passes that of our Saviour, and afterwards entering the door on the right hand. When the procession terminates, the doors close.—Clark, 's Travels in Scandinavia.
Great men often obtain their ends by means beyond the grasp of vulgar intellect, and even by methods diametrically opposite to those which the multitude would pursue. But, to effect this, bespeaks as profound a knowledge of mind, as that philosopher evinced of matter, who first produced ice by the agency of heat.—Lacon.
ONE of the most celebrated trees in the world is the great Chestnut tree of Mount AEtna, of which the above wood-cut is a representation, as it existed in 1784; it is known by the name of the Castagno de' cento caralli (the Chestnut tree of a hundred horses). A tradition says, that Jane, queen of Arragon, on her voyage from Spain to Naples, landed in Sicily for the purpose of visiting Mount AEtna; and that being overtaken by a storm, she and her hundred attendants on horseback found shelter within the enormous trunk of this celebrated tree. At any rate, the name which it bears, whether the story be true or not, is expressive of its prodigious size. We extract the following passage, descriptive of this tree, from the article “AEtna,” in the Penny Cyclopædia — “It appears to consist of five large and two smaller trees, which, from the circumstance of the barks and boughs being all outside, are considered to have been one trunk originally. The largest trunk is thirty-eight feet in circumference, and the whole five, measured just above the ground, are one hundred and sixty-three feet, it still bears rich foliage, and much small fruit, though the heart of the trunk is decayed, and a public road leads through it wide enough for two coaches to drive abreast. In the middle cavity a hut is built for the accommodation of those who collect and preserve the chestnuts. “This is said, by the natives, to be “the oldest of trees." From the state of decay, it is impossible to have recourse to the usual mode of estimating the age of trees by counting the concentric rings of annual growth, and therefore no exact numerical expression can be assigned to this individual. That it may be some thousand years old is by no means improbable. Adanson examined in this manner a Baobab tree (Adamsonia digitata) in Senegal, and inferred that it had attained the age of five thousand one
hundred and fifty years; and De Candolle considers it not improbable that the celebrated Taxodium of Chapultopec, in Mexico, (Cupressus disticha, Linn.) which is one hundred and seventeen feet in circumference, may be still more aged. It is evident that if the great chestnut tree were in reality a collection of trees, as it appears to be, the wonder of its size would at once be at an end. Brydone, who visited it in 1770, says— “I own I was by no means struck with its appearance, as it does not seem to be one tree, but a bush of five large trees growing together. We complained to our guides of the imposition: when they unanimously assured us, that by the universal tradition, and even testimony of the country, all those were once united in one stem; that their grandfathers remembered this, when it was looked upon as the glory of the forest, and visited from all quarters; that for many years past it had been reduced to the venerable ruin we beheld. We began to examine it with more attention, and found that there was indeed an appearance as if these five trees had really been united in one. The opening in the middle is at present prodigious; and it does indeed require faith to believe, that so vast a space was once occupied by solid timber. But there is no appearance of bark on the inside of any of the stumps, nor on the sides that are opposite to one another. I have since been told by the Canonico Recupero, an ingenious ecclesiastic of this place, that he was at the expense of carrying up peasants with tools to dig round the Castagno de' cento cavalli, and he assures me, upon his honour, that he found all these stems united below ground in one root.” Houel, in his ‘Voyage Pittoresque des Isles de Sicile,' tome ii, p. 79, 1784, has given a plate of this tree, from which the above cut is copied.—Penny Magazine.