And first, Since body of earth and water, air's light breath, And fiery exhalations (of which four This sum of things is seen to be compact) So all have birth and perishable frame, Thus the whole nature of the world itself Must be conceived as perishable too. For, verily, those things of which we see The parts and members to have birth in time And perishable shapes, those same we mark To be invariably born in time And born to die. And therefore when I see The mightiest members and the parts of this Our world consumed and begot again, 'Tis mine to know that also sky above And earth beneath began of old in time And shall in time go under to disaster. And lest in these affairs thou deemest me To have seized upon this point by sleight to serve My own caprice—because I have assumed That earth and fire are mortal things indeed, And have not doubted water and the air Both perish too and have affirmed the same To be again begotten and wax big— Mark well the argument: in first place, lo, Some certain parts of earth, grievously parched By unremitting suns, and trampled on By a vast throng of feet, exhale abroad A powdery haze and flying clouds of dust, Which the stout winds disperse in the whole air. A part, moreover, of her sod and soil Is summoned to inundation by the rains; And rivers graze and gouge the banks away. Besides, whatever takes a part its own In fostering and increasing [aught]... Is rendered back; and since, beyond a doubt, Earth, the all-mother, is beheld to be Likewise the common sepulchre of things, Therefore thou seest her minished of her plenty, And then again augmented with new growth. And for the rest, that sea, and streams, and springs Forever with new waters overflow, And that perennially the fluids well, Needeth no words—the mighty flux itself Of multitudinous waters round about Declareth this. But whatso water first Streams up is ever straightway carried off, And thus it comes to pass that all in all There is no overflow; in part because The burly winds (that over-sweep amain) And skiey sun (that with his rays dissolves) Do minish the level seas; in part because The water is diffused underground Through all the lands. The brine is filtered off, And then the liquid stuff seeps back again And all regathers at the river-heads, Whence in fresh-water currents on it flows Over the lands, adown the channels which Were cleft erstwhile and erstwhile bore along The liquid-footed floods. Now, then, of air I'll speak, which hour by hour in all its body Is changed innumerably. For whatso'er Streams up in dust or vapour off of things, The same is all and always borne along Into the mighty ocean of the air; And did not air in turn restore to things Bodies, and thus recruit them as they stream, All things by this time had resolved been And changed into air. Therefore it never Ceases to be engendered off of things And to return to things, since verily In constant flux do all things stream. Likewise, The abounding well-spring of the liquid light, The ethereal sun, doth flood the heaven o'er With constant flux of radiance ever new, And with fresh light supplies the place of light, Upon the instant. For whatever effulgence Hath first streamed off, no matter where it falls, Is lost unto the sun. And this 'tis thine To know from these examples: soon as clouds Have first begun to under-pass the sun, And, as it were, to rend the rays of light In twain, at once the lower part of them Is lost entire, and earth is overcast Where'er the thunderheads are rolled along— So know thou mayst that things forever need A fresh replenishment of gleam and glow, And each effulgence, foremost flashed forth, Perisheth one by one. Nor otherwise Can things be seen in sunlight, lest alway The fountain-head of light supply new light. Indeed your earthly beacons of the night, The hanging lampions and the torches, bright With darting gleams and dense with livid soot, Do hurry in like manner to supply With ministering heat new light amain; Are all alive to quiver with their fires,— Are so alive, that thus the light ne'er leaves The spots it shines on, as if rent in twain: So speedily is its destruction veiled By the swift birth of flame from all the fires. Thus, then, we must suppose that sun and moon And stars dart forth their light from under-births Ever and ever new, and whatso flames First rise do perish always one by one— Lest, haply, thou shouldst think they each endure Inviolable. Again, perceivest not How stones are also conquered by Time?— Not how the lofty towers ruin down, And boulders crumble?—Not how shrines of gods And idols crack outworn?—Nor how indeed The holy Influence hath yet no power There to postpone the Terminals of Fate, Or headway make 'gainst Nature's fixed decrees? Again, behold we not the monuments Of heroes, now in ruins, asking us, In their turn likewise, if we don't believe They also age with eld? Behold we not The rended basalt ruining amain Down from the lofty mountains, powerless To dure and dree the mighty forces there Of finite time?—for they would never fall Rended asudden, if from infinite Past They had prevailed against all engin'ries Of the assaulting aeons, with no crash. Again, now look at This, which round, above, Contains the whole earth in its one embrace: If from itself it procreates all things— As some men tell—and takes them to itself When once destroyed, entirely must it be Of mortal birth and body; for whate'er From out itself giveth to other things Increase and food, the same perforce must be Minished, and then recruited when it takes Things back into itself. Besides all this, If there had been no origin-in-birth Of lands and sky, and they had ever been The everlasting, why, ere Theban war And obsequies of Troy, have other bards Not also chanted other high affairs? Whither have sunk so oft so many deeds Of heroes? Why do those deeds live no more, Ingrafted in eternal monuments Of glory? Verily, I guess, because The Sum is new, and of a recent date The nature of our universe, and had Not long ago its own exordium. Wherefore, even now some arts are being still Refined, still increased: now unto ships Is being added many a new device; And but the other day musician-folk Gave birth to melic sounds of organing; And, then, this nature, this account of things Hath been discovered latterly, and I Myself have been discovered only now, As first among the first, able to turn The same into ancestral Roman speech. Yet if, percase, thou deemest that ere this Existed all things even the same, but that Perished the cycles of the human race In fiery exhalations, or cities fell By some tremendous quaking of the world, Or rivers in fury, after constant rains, Had plunged forth across the lands of earth And whelmed the towns—then, all the more must thou Confess, defeated by the argument, That there shall be annihilation too Of lands and sky. For at a time when things Were being taxed by maladies so great, And so great perils, if some cause more fell Had then assailed them, far and wide they would Have gone to disaster and supreme collapse. And by no other reasoning are we Seen to be mortal, save that all of us Sicken in turn with those same maladies With which have sickened in the past those men Whom nature hath removed from life. gain, Whatever abides eternal must indeed Either repel all strokes, because 'tis made Of solid body, and permit no entrance Of aught with power to sunder from within The parts compact—as are those seeds of stuff Whose nature we've exhibited before; Or else be able to endure through time For this: because they are from blows exempt, As is the void, the which abides untouched, Unsmit by any stroke; or else because There is no room around, whereto things can, As 'twere, depart in dissolution all,— Even as the sum of sums eternal is, Without or place beyond whereto things may Asunder fly, or bodies which can smite, And thus dissolve them by the blows of might. But not of solid body, as I've shown, Exists the nature of the world, because In things is intermingled there a void; Nor is the world yet as the void, nor are, Moreover, bodies lacking which, percase, Rising from out the infinite, can fell With fury-whirlwinds all this sum of things, Or bring upon them other cataclysm Of peril strange; and yonder, too, abides The infinite space and the profound abyss— Whereinto, lo, the ramparts of the world Can yet be shivered. Or some other power Can pound upon them till they perish all. Thus is the door of doom, O nowise barred Against the sky, against the sun and earth And deep-sea waters, but wide open stands And gloats upon them, monstrous and agape. Wherefore, again, 'tis needful to confess That these same things are born in time; for things Which are of mortal body could indeed Never from infinite past until to-day Have spurned the multitudinous assaults Of the immeasurable aeons old. Again, since battle so fiercely one with other The four most mighty members the world, Aroused in an all unholy war, Seest not that there may be for them an end Of the long strife?—Or when the skiey sun And all the heat have won dominion o'er The sucked-up waters all?—And this they try Still to accomplish, though as yet they fail,— For so aboundingly the streams supply New store of waters that 'tis rather they Who menace the world with inundations vast From forth the unplumbed chasms of the sea. But vain—since winds (that over-sweep amain) And skiey sun (that with his rays dissolves) Do minish the level seas and trust their power To dry up all, before the waters can Arrive at the end of their endeavouring. Breathing such vasty warfare, they contend In balanced strife the one with other still Concerning mighty issues,—though indeed The fire was once the more victorious, And once—as goes the tale—the water won A kingdom in the fields. For fire o'ermastered And licked up many things and burnt away, What time the impetuous horses of the Sun Snatched Phaethon headlong from his skiey road Down the whole ether and over all the lands. But the omnipotent Father in keen wrath Then with the sudden smite of thunderbolt Did hurl the mighty-minded hero off Those horses to the earth. And Sol, his sire, Meeting him as he fell, caught up in hand The ever-blazing lampion of the world, And drave together the pell-mell horses there And yoked them all a-tremble, and amain, Steering them over along their own old road, Restored the cosmos,—as forsooth we hear From songs of ancient poets of the Greeks— A tale too far away from truth, meseems. For fire can win when from the infinite Has risen a larger throng of particles Of fiery stuff; and then its powers succumb, Somehow subdued again, or else at last It shrivels in torrid atmospheres the world. And whilom water too began to win— As goes the story—when it overwhelmed The lives of men with billows; and thereafter, When all that force of water-stuff which forth From out the infinite had risen up Did now retire, as somehow turned aside, The rain-storms stopped, and streams their fury checked. FORMATION OF THE WORLD AND ASTRONOMICAL QUESTIONS But in what modes that conflux of first-stuff Did found the multitudinous universe Of earth, and sky, and the unfathomed deeps Of ocean, and courses of the sun and moon, I'll now in order tell. For of a truth Neither by counsel did the primal germs 'Stablish themselves, as by keen act of mind, Each in its proper place; nor did they make, Forsooth, a compact how each germ should move; But, lo, because primordials of things, Many in many modes, astir by blows From immemorial aeons, in motion too By their own weights, have evermore been wont To be so borne along and in all modes To meet together and to try all sorts Which, by combining one with other, they Are powerful to create: because of this It comes to pass that those primordials, Diffused far and wide through mighty aeons, The while they unions try, and motions too, Of every kind, meet at the last amain, And so become oft the commencements fit Of mighty things—earth, sea, and sky, and race Of living creatures. In that long-ago The wheel of the sun could nowhere be discerned Flying far up with its abounding blaze, Nor constellations of the mighty world, Nor ocean, nor heaven, nor even earth nor air. Nor aught of things like unto things of ours Could then be seen—but only some strange storm And a prodigious hurly-burly mass Compounded of all kinds of primal germs, Whose battling discords in disorder kept Interstices, and paths, coherencies, And weights, and blows, encounterings, and motions, Because, by reason of their forms unlike And varied shapes, they could not all thuswise Remain conjoined nor harmoniously Have interplay of movements. But from there Portions began to fly asunder, and like With like to join, and to block out a world, And to divide its members and dispose Its mightier parts—that is, to set secure The lofty heavens from the lands, and cause The sea to spread with waters separate, And fires of ether separate and pure Likewise to congregate apart. For, lo, First came together the earthy particles (As being heavy and intertangled) there In the mid-region, and all began to take The lowest abodes; and ever the more they got One with another intertangled, the more They pressed from out their mass those particles Which were to form the sea, the stars, the sun, And moon, and ramparts of the mighty world— For these consist of seeds more smooth and round And of much smaller elements than earth. And thus it was that ether, fraught with fire, First broke away from out the earthen parts, Athrough the innumerable pores of earth, And raised itself aloft, and with itself Bore lightly off the many starry fires; And not far otherwise we often see And the still lakes and the perennial streams Exhale a mist, and even as earth herself Is seen at times to smoke, when first at dawn The light of the sun, the many-rayed, begins To redden into gold, over the grass Begemmed with dew. When all of these are brought Together overhead, the clouds on high With now concreted body weave a cover Beneath the heavens. And thuswise ether too, Light and diffusive, with concreted body On all sides spread, on all sides bent itself Into a dome, and, far and wide diffused On unto every region on all sides, Thus hedged all else within its greedy clasp. Hard upon ether came the origins Of sun and moon, whose globes revolve in air Midway between the earth and mightiest ether,— For neither took them, since they weighed too little To sink and settle, but too much to glide Along the upmost shores; and yet they are In such a wise midway between the twain As ever to whirl their living bodies round, And ever to dure as parts of the wide Whole; In the same fashion as certain members may In us remain at rest, whilst others move. When, then, these substances had been withdrawn, Amain the earth, where now extend the vast Cerulean zones of all the level seas, Caved in, and down along the hollows poured The whirlpools of her brine; and day by day The more the tides of ether and rays of sun On every side constrained into one mass The earth by lashing it again, again, Upon its outer edges (so that then, Being thus beat upon, 'twas all condensed About its proper centre), ever the more The salty sweat, from out its body squeezed, Augmented ocean and the fields of foam By seeping through its frame, and all the more Those many particles of heat and air Escaping, began to fly aloft, and form, By condensation there afar from earth, The high refulgent circuits of the heavens. The plains began to sink, and windy slopes Of the high mountains to increase; for rocks Could not subside, nor all the parts of ground Settle alike to one same level there. Thus, then, the massy weight of earth stood firm With now concreted body, when (as 'twere) All of the slime of the world, heavy and gross, Had run together and settled at the bottom, Like lees or bilge. Then ocean, then the air, Then ether herself, the fraught-with-fire, were all Left with their liquid bodies pure and free, And each more lighter than the next below; And ether, most light and liquid of the three, Floats on above the long aerial winds, Nor with the brawling of the winds of air Mingles its liquid body. It doth leave All there—those under-realms below her heights— There to be overset in whirlwinds wild,— Doth leave all there to brawl in wayward gusts, Whilst, gliding with a fixed impulse still, Itself it bears its fires along. For, lo, That ether can flow thus steadily on, on, With one unaltered urge, the Pontus proves— That sea which floweth forth with fixed tides, Keeping one onward tenor as it glides. And that the earth may there abide at rest In the mid-region of the world, it needs Must vanish bit by bit in weight and lessen, And have another substance underneath, Conjoined to it from its earliest age In linked unison with the vasty world's Realms of the air in which it roots and lives. On this account, the earth is not a load, Nor presses down on winds of air beneath; Even as unto a man his members be Without all weight—the head is not a load Unto the neck; nor do we feel the whole Weight of the body to centre in the feet. But whatso weights come on us from without, Weights laid upon us, these harass and chafe, Though often far lighter. For to such degree It matters always what the innate powers Of any given thing may be. The earth Was, then, no alien substance fetched amain, And from no alien firmament cast down On alien air; but was conceived, like air, In the first origin of this the world, As a fixed portion of the same, as now Our members are seen to be a part of us. Besides, the earth, when of a sudden shook By the big thunder, doth with her motion shake All that's above her—which she ne'er could do By any means, were earth not bounden fast Unto the great world's realms of air and sky: For they cohere together with common roots, Conjoined both, even from their earliest age, In linked unison. Aye, seest thou not That this most subtle energy of soul Supports our body, though so heavy a weight,— Because, indeed, 'tis with it so conjoined In linked unison? What power, in sum, Can raise with agile leap our body aloft, Save energy of mind which steers the limbs? Now seest thou not how powerful may be A subtle nature, when conjoined it is With heavy body, as air is with the earth Conjoined, and energy of mind with us? Now let us sing what makes the stars to move. In first place, if the mighty sphere of heaven Revolveth round, then needs we must aver That on the upper and the under pole Presses a certain air, and from without Confines them and encloseth at each end; And that, moreover, another air above Streams on athwart the top of the sphere and tends In same direction as are rolled along The glittering stars of the eternal world; Or that another still streams on below To whirl the sphere from under up and on In opposite direction—as we see The rivers turn the wheels and water-scoops. It may be also that the heavens do all Remain at rest, whilst yet are borne along The lucid constellations; either because Swift tides of ether are by sky enclosed, And whirl around, seeking a passage out, And everywhere make roll the starry fires Through the Summanian regions of the sky; Or else because some air, streaming along From an eternal quarter off beyond, Whileth the driven fires, or, then, because The fires themselves have power to creep along, Going wherever their food invites and calls, And feeding their flaming bodies everywhere Throughout the sky. Yet which of these is cause In this our world 'tis hard to say for sure; But what can be throughout the universe, In divers worlds on divers plan create, This only do I show, and follow on To assign unto the motions of the stars Even several causes which 'tis possible Exist throughout the universal All; Of which yet one must be the cause even here Which maketh motion for our constellations. Yet to decide which one of them it be Is not the least the business of a man Advancing step by cautious step, as I. Nor can the sun's wheel larger be by much Nor its own blaze much less than either seems Unto our senses. For from whatso spaces Fires have the power on us to cast their beams And blow their scorching exhalations forth Against our members, those same distances Take nothing by those intervals away From bulk of flames; and to the sight the fire Is nothing shrunken. Therefore, since the heat And the outpoured light of skiey sun Arrive our senses and caress our limbs, Form too and bigness of the sun must look Even here from earth just as they really be, So that thou canst scarce nothing take or add. And whether the journeying moon illuminate The regions round with bastard beams, or throw From off her proper body her own light,— Whichever it be, she journeys with a form Naught larger than the form doth seem to be Which we with eyes of ours perceive. For all The far removed objects of our gaze Seem through much air confused in their look Ere minished in their bigness. Wherefore, moon, Since she presents bright look and clear-cut form, May there on high by us on earth be seen Just as she is with extreme bounds defined, And just of the size. And lastly, whatso fires Of ether thou from earth beholdest, these Thou mayst consider as possibly of size The least bit less, or larger by a hair Than they appear—since whatso fires we view Here in the lands of earth are seen to change From time to time their size to less or more Only the least, when more or less away, So long as still they bicker clear, and still Their glow's perceived. Nor need there be for men Astonishment that yonder sun so small Can yet send forth so great a light as fills Oceans and all the lands and sky aflood, And with its fiery exhalations steeps The world at large. For it may be, indeed, That one vast-flowing well-spring of the whole Wide world from here hath opened and out-gushed, And shot its light abroad; because thuswise The elements of fiery exhalations From all the world around together come, And thuswise flow into a bulk so big That from one single fountain-head may stream This heat and light. And seest thou not, indeed, How widely one small water-spring may wet The meadow-lands at times and flood the fields? 'Tis even possible, besides, that heat From forth the sun's own fire, albeit that fire Be not a great, may permeate the air With the fierce hot—if but, perchance, the air Be of condition and so tempered then As to be kindled, even when beat upon Only by little particles of heat— Just as we sometimes see the standing grain Or stubble straw in conflagration all From one lone spark. And possibly the sun, Agleam on high with rosy lampion, Possesses about him with invisible heats A plenteous fire, by no effulgence marked, So that he maketh, he, the Fraught-with-fire, Increase to such degree the force of rays. Nor is there one sure cause revealed to men How the sun journeys from his summer haunts On to the mid-most winter turning-points In Capricorn, the thence reverting veers Back to solstitial goals of Cancer; nor How 'tis the moon is seen each month to cross That very distance which in traversing The sun consumes the measure of a year. I say, no one clear reason hath been given For these affairs. Yet chief in likelihood Seemeth the doctrine which the holy thought Of great Democritus lays down: that ever The nearer the constellations be to earth The less can they by whirling of the sky Be borne along, because those skiey powers Of speed aloft do vanish and decrease In under-regions, and the sun is thus Left by degrees behind amongst those signs That follow after, since the sun he lies Far down below the starry signs that blaze; And the moon lags even tardier than the sun: In just so far as is her course removed From upper heaven and nigh unto the lands, In just so far she fails to keep the pace With starry signs above; for just so far As feebler is the whirl that bears her on, (Being, indeed, still lower than the sun), In just so far do all the starry signs, Circling around, o'ertake her and o'erpass. Therefore it happens that the moon appears More swiftly to return to any sign Along the Zodiac, than doth the sun, Because those signs do visit her again More swiftly than they visit the great sun. It can be also that two streams of air Alternately at fixed periods Blow out from transverse regions of the world, Of which the one may thrust the sun away From summer-signs to mid-most winter goals And rigors of the cold, and the other then May cast him back from icy shades of chill Even to the heat-fraught regions and the signs That blaze along the Zodiac. So, too, We must suppose the moon and all the stars, Which through the mighty and sidereal years Roll round in mighty orbits, may be sped By streams of air from regions alternate. Seest thou not also how the clouds be sped By contrary winds to regions contrary, The lower clouds diversely from the upper? Then, why may yonder stars in ether there Along their mighty orbits not be borne By currents opposite the one to other? But night o'erwhelms the lands with vasty murk Either when sun, after his diurnal course, Hath walked the ultimate regions of the sky And wearily hath panted forth his fires, Shivered by their long journeying and wasted By traversing the multitudinous air, Or else because the self-same force that drave His orb along above the lands compels Him then to turn his course beneath the lands. Matuta also at a fixed hour Spreadeth the roseate morning out along The coasts of heaven and deploys the light, Either because the self-same sun, returning Under the lands, aspires to seize the sky, Striving to set it blazing with his rays Ere he himself appear, or else because Fires then will congregate and many seeds Of heat are wont, even at a fixed time, To stream together—gendering evermore New suns and light. Just so the story goes That from the Idaean mountain-tops are seen Dispersed fires upon the break of day Which thence combine, as 'twere, into one ball And form an orb. Nor yet in these affairs Is aught for wonder that these seeds of fire Can thus together stream at time so fixed And shape anew the splendour of the sun. For many facts we see which come to pass At fixed time in all things: burgeon shrubs At fixed time, and at a fixed time They cast their flowers; and Eld commands the teeth, At time as surely fixed, to drop away, And Youth commands the growing boy to bloom With the soft down and let from both his cheeks The soft beard fall. And lastly, thunder-bolts, Snow, rains, clouds, winds, at seasons of the year Nowise unfixed, all do come to pass. For where, even from their old primordial start Causes have ever worked in such a way, And where, even from the world's first origin, Thuswise have things befallen, so even now After a fixed order they come round In sequence also. Likewise, days may wax Whilst the nights wane, and daylight minished be Whilst nights do take their augmentations, Either because the self-same sun, coursing Under the lands and over in two arcs, A longer and a briefer, doth dispart The coasts of ether and divides in twain His orbit all unequally, and adds, As round he's borne, unto the one half there As much as from the other half he's ta'en, Until he then arrives that sign of heaven Where the year's node renders the shades of night Equal unto the periods of light. For when the sun is midway on his course Between the blasts of northwind and of south, Heaven keeps his two goals parted equally, By virtue of the fixed position old Of the whole starry Zodiac, through which That sun, in winding onward, takes a year, Illumining the sky and all the lands With oblique light—as men declare to us Who by their diagrams have charted well Those regions of the sky which be adorned With the arranged signs of Zodiac. Or else, because in certain parts the air Under the lands is denser, the tremulous Bright beams of fire do waver tardily, Nor easily can penetrate that air Nor yet emerge unto their rising-place: For this it is that nights in winter time Do linger long, ere comes the many-rayed Round Badge of the day. Or else because, as said, In alternating seasons of the year Fires, now more quick, and now more slow, are wont To stream together,—the fires which make the sun To rise in some one spot—therefore it is That those men seem to speak the truth [who hold A new sun is with each new daybreak born]. 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 As due to several causes. For, indeed, Why should the moon be able to shut out Earth from the light of sun, and on the side To earthward thrust her high head under sun, Opposing dark orb to his glowing beams— And yet, at same time, one suppose the effect Could not result from some one other body Which glides devoid of light forevermore? Again, why could not sun, in weakened state, At fixed time for-lose his fires, and then, When he has passed on along the air Beyond the regions, hostile to his flames, That quench and kill his fires, why could not he Renew his light? And why should earth in turn Have power to rob the moon of light, and there, Herself on high, keep the sun hid beneath, Whilst the moon glideth in her monthly course Athrough the rigid shadows of the cone?— And yet, at same time, some one other body Not have the power to under-pass the moon, Or glide along above the orb of sun, Breaking his rays and outspread light asunder? And still, if moon herself refulgent be With her own sheen, why could she not at times In some one quarter of the mighty world Grow weak and weary, whilst she passeth through Regions unfriendly to the beams her own?