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In the first place, then, it appears, that this should be estimated at half the globe1, as if no portion of this half was encroached upon by the ocean. But surrounding as it does the whole of the land, pouring out and receiving all the other waters, furnishing whatever goes to the clouds, and feeding the stars themselves, so numerous and of such great size as they are, what a great space must we not suppose it to occupy! This vast mass must fill up and occupy an infinite extent. To this we must add that portion of the remainder which the heavens2 take from us. For the globe is divided into five parts3, termed zones, and all that portion is subject to severe cold and perpetual frost which is under the two extremities, about each of the poles, the nearer of which is called the north, and the opposite the south, pole. In all these regions there is perpetual darkness, and, in consequence of the aspect of the milder stars being turned from them, the light is malignant, and only like the whiteness which is produced by hoar frost. The middle of the earth, over which is the orbit of the sun, is parched and burned by the flame, and is consumed by being so near the heat. There are only two of the zones which are temperate, those which lie between the torrid and the frigid zones, and these are separated from each other, in consequence of the scorching heat of the heavenly bodies. It appears, therefore, that the heavens take from us three parts of the earth; how much the ocean steals is uncertain.

And with respect to the part which is left us, I do not know whether that is not even in greater danger. This same ocean, insinuating itself, as I have described it, into a number of bays, approaches with its roaring4 so near to the inland seas, that the Arabian Gulf is no more than 115 miles from the Egyptian Sea5, and the Caspian only 375 miles from the Euxine. It also insinuates itself into the numerous seas by which it separates Africa, Europe, and Asia; hence how much space must it occupy? We must also take into account the extent of all the rivers and the marshes, and we must add the lakes and the pools. There are also the mountains, raised up to the heavens, with their precipitous fronts; we must also subtract the forests and the craggy valleys, the wildernesses, and the places, which, from various causes, are desert. The vast quantity which remains of the earth6, or rather, as many persons have considered it, this speck of a world7 (for the earth is no more in regard to the universe), this is the object, the seat of our glory—here we bear our honours, here we exercise our power, here we covet wealth, here we mortals create our disturbances, here we continually carry on our wars, aye, civil wars, even, and unpeople the earth by mutual slaughter. And not to dwell on public feuds, entered into by nations against each other, here it is that we drive away our neighbours, and enclose the land thus seized upon within our own fence8; and yet the man who has most extended his boundary, and has expelled the inhabitants for ever so great a distance, after all, what mighty portion of the earth is he master of? And even when his avarice has been the most completely satisfied, what part of it can he take with him into the grave?

1 "Jam primum in dimidio computari videtur."

2 "Cœlum;" the rigour of the climate.

3 The division of the globe into five zones is referred to by Virgil, Geor. i. 233–239, and by Ovid, Met. i. 45, 46.

4 "...interna maria allatrat,..."

5 This is considerably more than the distance in the present day. The Isthmus of Suez appears, according to the statement of the most accurate geographers, to be about 70 miles in breadth.

6 Hæ tot portiones terræ, as Alexandre correctly remarks, "ironice dictum. Quam paucæ enim supersunt!" Lemaire, i. 383.

7 "Mundi punctus." This expression, we may presume, was taken from Seneca; "Hoc est illud punctum, quod inter tot gentes ferro et igni dividitur." Nat. Quæst. i. præf. p. 681.

8 Nostro solo adfodimus; "addimus, adjungimus, annectimus, ut una fossione aretur." Hardouin, in Lemaire, i. 383.

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