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WHEN we supped with Ammonius at Athens, who was then the third time captain of the city-bands, there was a great noise about the house, some without doors calling, Captain! Captain! After he had sent his officers to quiet the tumult, and had dispersed the crowd, we began to enquire what was the reason that those that are within doors hear those that are without, but those that are without cannot hear those that are within as well. And Ammonius said, that Aristotle had given a reason for that already; for the sound of those within, being carried without into a large tract of air, grows weaker presently and is lost; but that which comes in from without is not subject to the like casualty, but is kept close, and is therefore more easy to be heard. But that seemed a more difficult question, Why sounds seem greater in the night than in the day, and yet altogether as clear. For my own part (continued he) I think Providence hath very wisely contrived that our hearing should be quickest when our sight can do us very little or no service; for the air of the ‘blind [p. 407] and solitary Night,’ as Empedocles calls it, being dark, supplies in the ears that defect of sense which it makes in the eyes. But since of natural effects we should endeavor to find the causes, and to discover what are the material and mechanical principles of things is the proper task of a natural philosopher, who shall first assist us with a rational account hereof?
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