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Sixth Series, Volume XV.
No. 2767–July 17, 1897.
I. THE NEW ASTRONOMY. By Willia ai
By R. Y.
Cosmopolis, VI. THE 661
"ORSE." By Mary L. Pendered, Longman's Magazine,
Gentleman's Magazine, .
IN THE SWEET O'THE YEAR, 154 | A SONG FOR LADY DAY,
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IN THE SWEET O' THE YEAR.
And when high noon on many a sail
Was bright along the brimming low, Merrily piping a carol of mirth,
Or when the westering sun must fail And of thanks for the life that was
Blood-red, and from the shifting gluw dear;
Of lilac-citron skies the queen Glad of the breath of the Spring o'er the
That sways your motion glimmered earth,
green, Sang a bird in the sweet o' the year.
One lesson still my spirit learned Singing a message of death as it sped,
From flood and daylight fleeting past, Woe is me for the life that we fear
And from its own strange 'self that Swift from the string flew an arrow, and
Like them to lapse into the vast, Fell the bird in the sweet o' the year.
And merge and end its vague unrest Sunday Magazine. In some wide ocean of the West;
Ere we can find true peace again,
Our being must have second birth, A SONG FOR LADY DAY.
Purged and made one through toil and
pain A home she makes where'er our Lady With Him Who rules and rounds the goes:
earth, Her bosom is the garden of the rose,
Beyond the dark, behind the light, At her approach the Winter turns to In mystery of the Infinite.
Spring, Beneath her feet the flowers laugh and And we like rivers from their source sing
Through cloud and shine, by deep or With bloom and fragrance, perfuming the
Must follow that which draws our course, So glad are they her presence to declare.
The Love that is its guide and goal;
Waters and hills of Severn Sea!
“O Rataplan! It is a merry note,
coat, “AH, WESTERN WINDS AND WATERS Go leave your mother's latter age forMILD."
"O mother, I am sick of sheep and goat, Ah, western winds and waters mild!
Fat cattle, and the reaping of the corn: Others your vaporous languors chide; They have not loved you from a child,
I long to see the British colors float: Nor grown to strength your shore
For glory, glory, glory, was I born." beside.
She saw him march. It was a gallant Ye speak of youth and hope to me,
sight. Ye airs, ye floods of Severn Sea!
She blest herself, and praised him for a
man. For I was native to your mood
And straight be hurried to the bitter And apt to take your influence,
fight, To muse and pause, to pore and brood,
And found a bullet in the drear Soudan. To doubt the shows and shapes of They dug a shallow grave-'twas all they sense,
might: To dream how not to dream away
And that's the end of glory. Rata plan! The long large hours of boyhood's day.
April, 1891. EDWARD CRACROFT LEFROY.
From The Nineteenth Century.
edge which the new methods of reTHE NEW ASTRONOMY: A PERSONAL search of which I am about to speak RETROSPECT.
have revealed to us, to put themselves. While progress in all branches of back a generation, into the position of knowledge has been rapid beyond prece- the scientific thought which existed on dent during the past sixty years, in at these subjects in the early years of the least two directions this knowledge has queen's reign. At that time any knowlbeen so unexpected and novel in char- edge of the chemical nature and of the acter that two new sciences may be physics of the heavenly bodies was resaid to have arisen: the new medicine, garded as not only impossible of attainwith which the names of Lister and of
ment by any methods of direct observaPasteur will remain associated; and tion, but as, indeed, lying altogether the new astronomy, of the birth and outside the limitations imposed upon early growth of which I have now to man by his senses, and by the fixity of speak.
his position upon the earth. The new astronomy, unlike the old It could never be, it was confidently astronomy to which we are indebted for thought, more than a matter of preskill in the navigation of the seas, the sumption, whether even the matter of calculation of the tides, and the daily the sun, and much less that of the stars, regulation of time, can lay no claim to were of the same nature as that of the afford us material help in the routine of earth, and the unceasing energy radidaily life. Her sphere lies outside the ated from it due to such matter at a earth. Is she less fair? Shall we pay high temperature. The nebular hyher less court because it is to mental pothesis of Laplace at the end of the culture in its highest form, to our purely last century required, indeed, that matintellectual joys that she contributes? ter similar to that of the earth should For surely in no part of nature are the exist throughout the solar system; but noblest and most profound conceptions then this hypothesis itself needed for of the human spirit more directly called its full confirmation the independent forth than in the study of the heavens and direct observation that the solar and the host thereof.
matter was terrestrial in its nature.
This theoretical probability in the case That with the glorie of so goodly sigbt of the sun vanished almost into thin The hearts of men
air when the attempt was made to exmay lift themselves up hyer.
tend it to the stellar hosts; for it might May we not rather greet her in the well be urged that in those immensely words of Horace: “O matre pulchra distant regions an original difference of filia pulchrior"?
the primordial stuff as well as other As it fell to my lot to have some part conditions of condensation were presin the early development of this new ent, giving rise to groups of substances science, it has been suggested to me which have but little analogy with that the present Jubilee year of retro- those of our earthly chemistry. spect would be a suitable occasion to About the time of the queen's accesgive some account of its history from sion to the throne the French philosthe standpoint of my own work.
opher Comte put very clearly in his Before I begin the narrative of my “Cours de Philosophie Positive” the personal observations, it is desirable views then held, of the impossibility of that I should give a short statement of direct observations of the chemical nathe circumstances which led up to the ture of the heavenly bodies. He says:birth of the new science in 1859, and also say a few words of the state of On conçoit en effet, que nous puissions scientific opinion about the matters of conjecturer, avec quelque espoir de sucwhich it treats, just before that time. cès, sur la formation du système solaire It is not easy for men of the present sente de nombreux phénomènes parfaite
dont nous faisons partie, car il nous prégeneration, familiar with the knowl- ment connus, susceptibles peut-être de
porter un témoignage décisif de sa vérita- rays may be blotted out, others may be ble origine immédiate. Mais quelle pour enhanced in brilliancy. These differrait être, au contraire, la base rationnelle
ences, countless in variety, form a code de nos conjectures sur la formation des
of signals, in which is conveyed to us, soleils eux-mêmes? Comment confirmer
when once we have made out the cipher vu infirmer à ce sujet, d'âpres les phénomènes, aucune hypothèse cosmogonique, in which it is written, information of lorsqu'il n'existe vraiment en ce gene
the chemical nature of the celestial aucum phénomène exploré, ni même, sans gases by which the different light rays doute, EXPLORABLE? [The capitals have been blotted out, or by which they are mine.]
have been enhanced. In the hands of We could never know for certain, it the astronomer a prism has now beseemed, whether the matter and the come more potent in revealing the unforces with which we are familiar are
known than even was said to be peculiar to the earth, or are common
“Agrippa's magic glass." with it to the midnight sky,
It was the discovery of this code of
signals, and of its interpretation, which All sow'd with glistering stars more thiıke made possible the rise of the new than grasse,
astronomy. We must glance, but very Whereof each other doth in brightnesse briefly, at some of the chief steps in the passe.
progress of events which slowly led up
to this discovery. For how could we extend the methods of the laboratory to bodies at distances
Newton, in his classical work upon so great that even the imagination fails
the solar spectrum, failed, through to realize them?
some strange fatality, to discover the The only communication from them
narrow gaps wanting in light, which, as which reaches us across the gulf of
dark lines, cross the colors of the :space is the light which tells us of their spectrum and constitute the code of rexistence. Fortunately this light is not symbols. His failure is often put down so simple in its nature as it seems to be to his using a round hole in place of a to the unaided eye. In reality it is very
narrow slit, through the overlapping of complex; like a cable of many strands, the images of which the dark lines it is made up of light rays of many failed to show themselves. Though kinds. Let this light-cable pass from
Newton did use a round hole, he states air obliquely through a piece of glass, distinctly in his "Optics” that later he and its separate strand-rays all go adopted a narrow opening in the form astray, each turning its own way, and
of a long parallelogram—that is, a true
slit-at first one-tenth of an inch in then go on apart. Make the glass into the shape of a wedge or prism, and the width, then only one-twentieth of an
inch, and at last still narrower. These rays are twice widely scattered.
conditions under which Newton worked First the flaming red were such as should have shown him Sprung vivid forth: the tawny orange the dark lines upon his screen. Pronext;
fessor Johnson has recently repeated And next delicious yellow; by whose side Newton's experiments under strictly Fell the kind beams of all-refreshing similar conditions, with the result that green.
the chief dark lines were well seen. Then the pure blue, that swells autumnal skies,
For some reason Newton failed to disEthereal played; and then, of sadder nue,
cover them. A possible cause may Emerged the deepened indigo, as when have been the bad annealing of his The heavy-skirted evening droops with prism, though he says that it was made frost;
of good glass and free from bubbles. While the last gleamings of refracted light
The dark lines were described first by Died in the fainting violet away.
Wollaston in 1792, who strangely assoWithin this unravelled starlight exists ciated them with the boundaries of the a strange cryptography. Some of the spectral colors, and so turned contemporary thought away from the direction In 1856 I built a convenient observain which lay their true significance. It tory opening by a passage from the was left to Fraunhofer in 1815, by house, and raised so as to command an whose name the dark lines are still uninterrupted view of the sky except on known, not only to map some six bun- tue north side. It consisted of a dome dred of them, but also to discover sim- twelve feet in diameter and a transit ilar lines, but differently arranged, in room. There was erected in it an several stars. Further, he found that a equatorially mounted telescope by Dolpair of dark lines in the solar spectrum lond of five inches aperture, at that time appeared to correspond in their position looked upon as a large rather than a in the spectrum, and in their distance small instrument. I commenced work from each other, to a pair of bright lines on the usual lines, taking transits, obwhich were nearly always present in serving and making drawings of planterrestrial flames. This last observa- ets. Some of Jupiter now lying before tion contained the key to the interpreta- me, I venture to think, would not comtion of the dark lines as a code of pare unfavorably with drawings made symbols; but Fraunhofer failed to use with the larger instruments of the presit; and the birth of astrophysics was ent day. delayed. An observation by Forbes at About that time Mr. Alvan Clark, the the eclipse of 1836 led thought away founder of the American firm famous from the suggestive experiments of for the construction of the great objectFraunhofer; so that in the very year of glasses of the Lick and the Yerkes Obthe queen's accession the knowledge of servatories, then a portrait-painter by the time had to be summed up by Mrs. profession, began, as an amateur, to Somerville in the negation: “We are make object-glasses of large size for still ignorant of the cause of these ray- that time, and of very great merit. less bands."
Specimens of his earliest work came Later on, the revelation came more or into the hands of my friend Mr. Dawes less fully to many minds. Foucault, and received the high approval of that Balfour Stewart, Angström prepared distinguished judge. In 1858 I purthe way. Prophetic guesses were made chased from Mr. Dawes an object-glass by Stokes and by Lord Kelvin. But it by Alvan Clark of eight inches diameter, was Kirchhoff who, in 1859, first fully which he parted with to make room for developed the true significance of the a lens of a larger diameter by a quarter dark lines; and by his joint work with of an inch, which Mr. Clark had underBunsen on the solar spectrum proved taken to make for him. I paid the price beyond all question that the dark lines that it had cost Mr. Dawes-namely, in the spectrum of the sun are produced 2001. This telescope was mounted for by the absorption of the vapors of the me equatorially and provided with a same substances, which when suitably clock motion by Mr. Cooke of York. heated give out corresponding bright I soon became a little dissatisfied with lines; and, further, that many of the the routine character of ordinary assolar absorbing vapors are those of sub- tronomical work, and in a vague way stances found upon the earth. The new sought about in my mind for the possiastronomy was born.
bility of research upon the heavens in At the time that I purchased my pres- a new direction or by new methods. It ent house, Tulse Hill was much more was just at this time, when a vague than now in the country and away from longing after newer methods of obserthe smoke of London. It was after a vation for attacking many of the problittle hesitation that I decided to give lems of the heavenly bodies filled my my chief attention to observational mind, that the news reached me of astronomy, for I was strongly under the Kirchhoff's great discovery of the true spell of the rapid discoveries then tak- nature and the chemical constitution of ing place in microscopical research in the sun from his interpretation of the connection with physiology.