previous next
     The moon she possibly doth shine because
Strook by the rays of sun, and day by day
May turn unto our gaze her light, the more
She doth recede from orb of sun, until,
Facing him opposite across the world,
She hath with full effulgence gleamed abroad,
And, at her rising as she soars above,
Hath there observed his setting; thence likewise
She needs must hide, as 'twere, her light behind
By slow degrees, the nearer now she glides,
Along the circle of the Zodiac,
From her far place toward fires of yonder sun,-
As those men hold who feign the moon to be
Just like a ball and to pursue a course
Betwixt the sun and earth. There is, again,
Some reason to suppose that moon may roll
With light her very own, and thus display
The varied shapes of her resplendence there.
For near her is, percase, another body,
Invisible, because devoid of light,
Borne on and gliding all along with her,
Which in three modes may block and blot her disk.
Again, she may revolve upon herself,
Like to a ball's sphere- if perchance that be-
One half of her dyed o'er with glowing light,
And by the revolution of that sphere
She may beget for us her varying shapes,
Until she turns that fiery part of her
Full to the sight and open eyes of men;
Thence by slow stages round and back she whirls,
Withdrawing thus the luminiferous part
Of her sphered mass and ball, as, verily,
The Babylonian doctrine of Chaldees,
Refuting the art of Greek astrologers,
Labours, in opposition, to prove sure-
As if, forsooth, the thing for which each fights,
Might not alike be true,- or aught there were
Wherefore thou mightest risk embracing one
More than the other notion. Then, again,
Why a new moon might not forevermore
Created be with fixed successions there
Of shapes and with configurations fixed,
And why each day that bright created moon
Might not miscarry and another be,
In its stead and place, engendered anew,
'Tis hard to show by reason, or by words
To prove absurd- since, lo, so many things
Can be create with fixed successions:
Spring-time and Venus come, and Venus' boy,
The winged harbinger, steps on before,
And hard on Zephyr's foot-prints Mother Flora,
Sprinkling the ways before them, filleth all
With colours and with odours excellent;
Whereafter follows arid Heat, and he
Companioned is by Ceres, dusty one,
And by the Etesian Breezes of the north;
Then cometh Autumn on, and with him steps
Lord Bacchus, and then other Seasons too
And other Winds do follow- the high roar
Of great Volturnus, and the Southwind strong
With thunder-bolts. At last earth's Shortest-Day
Bears on to men the snows and brings again
The numbing cold. And Winter follows her,
His teeth with chills a-chatter. Therefore, 'tis
The less a marvel, if at fixed time
A moon is thus begotten and again
At fixed time destroyed, since things so many
Can come to being thus at fixed time.
Likewise, the sun's eclipses and the moon's
Far occultations rightly thou mayst deem

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Southwind (Tennessee, United States) (1)
Ceres (Oklahoma, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (2):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: