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opens like a game-bag, and serves at the same time as a pocket. His senses are likewise secured against injury; for he takes out his eyes and puts them in again at will, while his ears are simple plantain-leaves. But the worst remains to be told. The Man in the Moon is a man indeed; there are no women there to be his better half.
We are not told whether Lucian's imagination was exhausted, or the patience of his readers; but he returned speedily to the earth, and ends his book rather abruptly. After the romancer came the historian; and the great writer, whose lives have, ever since they first were read, formed the delight and developed the character of so many thousands, does not neglect the opportunity of telling us all he can learn of the Man in the Moon also. Plutarch says the lights and shadows on the surface of our faithful satellite are so skilfully intermingled, that they represent the natural shape of a human face; and he is evidently very much annoyed by this watchfulness of a countenance which is utterly beyond our reach, and yet inspects and examines us unceasingly from the height of the starry heavens. It is exceedingly interesting to see how, occasionally, a bright truth shines forth from the dark night of ignorance in which men lived in those days. As Plutarch tries to convince us of his accuracy in reading the features of the Man in the Moon, he takes pains to refute the views of those who differ with him, and among these adversaries he holds up to our contempt a Greek, named Aristarchus-and why? Because he had dared to suppose to the disgust of Vesta and the other guardians of the universe-that the ether was immovable, while the earth was in motion, proceeding along the zodiac, and, besides, revolving around its own axis! And yet that simple truth, felt and uttered by the ancient Greek, remained hid to mankind for thousands of years, was barely acknowledged by Galileo, and is not without opponents even in our day among the savans of the most enlightened nation on earth!
There is something exquisitely painful in watching men as they come near great truths and leave them again to plunge once more, and for centuries, into the darkest of errors. Did not Plutarch himself inveigh against those paradoxical philosophers, who advance the absurd ideas, that the earth has the shape of a sphere-that there are antipodes, who, head down, hold on to the earth as cats do with their claws-and that a weight, which should reach the centre of the globe, would rest there without being held-opinions so very foolish, that the most lively imagination could not admit them as possible"?
His views of the moon present to us the same strange mixture of truth with marvellous errors. Plutarch saw in the moon, as in the earth itself, a deity worthy of our gratitude-a being consisting of body and soul, and endowed with all the powers of life. Perhaps we shall be less disposed to smile at the great historian, if we recollect that this belief is by no means extinct, but held in our day and defended by men of superior intelligence, such as the French reformer, Father Enfantin, and the founder of modern Communism, Fourier. Plutarch peoples the moon with men and animals made after the models furnished by the earth, but endowed with such delicate organizations that they either exist without eating at all, or, at the worst, inhale the odors of earth-born nourishment. In confirmation of this theory, he quotes the wellknown sage, Epimenides, whom we might suspect of having known Liebig's Meat-Extract, for he was reported to live without any other food than a mouthful of a certain paste, which made up his daily ration.
In his effort to explain the difference between the inhabitants of the moon and ourselves, Plutarch sets forth some startling truths, evidently far in advance of his age. We ought to remember, he says, that their climate, their nature, and their constitutions are all very different from our own, and must needs produce very different beings. If we
could not get near the sea, but only saw it from a distance, and knew by report that it was salt and bitter, would we be willing to believe the first man who should tell us that its depths are filled with countless animals of every size and shape, and that they use the water exactly as we do air, to breathe and to live? This is precisely the condition of the moon; and we might just as well refuse to believe in lunar men as in marine monsters. He gives an additional interest to the former by connecting them intimately with our own life and death. Quoting the opinions entertained by wise men living "in an island of the West, situated far beyond Great Britain and not far from the poles"-could he have meant the people of Boston?-he states that man consists of three parts, body, soul, and intellect, of which the last is the greatest. The body is earthy, of the earth; the soul comes from the moon, and the intellect from the sun; for the understanding is the light of the soul, as the sun is the light of the moon. There are two deaths appointed unto man: one upon earth, when his body returns to its first elements; then the soul remains for a while suspended between the earth and the moon, till the innate longing for home draws it up to those regions of the moon which face the sun; here the soul dies also, but only in order to become a pure and unhampered intellect for all eternity!
Nor does Plutarch neglect to mention the strange influence which the changes of the moon have on earthly affairs, though he does not ascribe it, as other writers of antiquity have done, to the liberality of the Man in the Moon, who looks with his full face favorably upon the growth of plants and the enterprises of men, but with darkened features askant at others. We must not forget that the ancients firmly believed in the entire dependence of agriculture on the phases of the moon, and regulated it accordingly. "Whatever is to be cut, shorn, or gathered," says Pliny, "is done better as the moon decreases; but what is to grow again ought to be
cut during the increase of the moon;" and other authors extended the rule even to the cutting of their own hair, fearing baldness if they neglected such precaution. Physicians of great eminence believed, in like manner, that during the increase the brains of men filled the "golden bowl," and the blood abounded in the veins; while, as in ebb and tide, brains and blood sank below the level as the moon grew less and less. Nor have these doctrines been confined to the days of ignorance in antiquity, or even the Dark Ages of our era; they are cherished by millions in our day, and almanacs derive not a little popularity from the care with which they indicate the favorable aspects of the moon for cupping and leeching, for planting and harvesting, and even for the more serious affairs of life.
The early Christian writers were perhaps wiser, but hardly less painfully misled, by their habit of literal interpretation of Holy Writ, than the ancients were by their superstition and ignorance. Because the Saviour ordered the apostles to preach the gospel to “all the world and to all the nations of the earth," the councils of the Church denied the existence of other worlds, and pious divines were occasionally excom- " municated for entertaining heretical views on this subject. Voyages of discovery were, however, made by saints and holy men in a state of vision. Some went to heaven after the manner of the great apostle; others visited purgatory, and some even descended into hell; though none of them equalled the despatch with which Mohammed went through seven heavens, saw all their wonders, and ascended to the throne of the Almighty. For such was his speed, that, when he returned, he found his bed still warm, and a vessel filled with hot water, which was just falling over on one side as he left, was kept from spilling a drop by his reappearance. But whatever marvellous accounts these heavenly pilgrims brought home from their ecstatic wanderings, they invariably reasserted the doctrine, that, as the Scriptures only speak of
one world, and the holy fathers teach the same, there can be no other world. Thomas Aquinas, in his famous treatise on the "Sum of all Theology," distinctly states it to be the great dogma of the Church that the earth is the one and exclusive aim of the Creator; and that the sun, the moon, and the stars were made only to serve man, "to be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and to be for lights in the firmament of the heavens, to give light upon the earth." Thus the poor Man in the Moon was abolished with the stroke of a pen, and woe was him who should hereafter imagine the moon to hold created beings like ourselves!
It was only after a long and severe struggle that the actual facts perceived by the senses and recorded by men like Copernicus and Tycho Brahe succeeded in making any impression upon the mind, and led to a general change of belief. Once, however, subjected to a rigorous examination by the light of these newly-discovered truths, the old superstitions and the forced faith of the early Church gave way alike, and sounder views began to be entertained by the better-informed. It was with such lights before him that the great bard of Italy undertook to embody in his immortal poem his views on the worlds lying beyond the limits of our earth. On Good Friday of the year 1300, when barely thirty-three years old, Dante descended into hell. He passed through all its circles in the short space of twenty-four hours, reached the centre of the earth, marked by the gigantic body of Lucifer and reascending to the surface of our globe, he reached on the next day Purgatory Mountain. Here Virgil, who had so far guided his brother-poet, handed him over to Beatrice; with whom, after being purified, he ascended into heaven, and there first entered the sphere of the moon. Graceful and beauteous above all women, his beloved here turned to him, saying, "Lift up your grateful heart to God, who has led us to this the first of stars."
This first star, which the poet afterwards calls the Eternal Pearl, looked to
him like a globe of limpid diamond. As he approached nearer, a light-giving cloud enveloped him and his guide, and the two travellers passed apparently right into the very substance of which the moon is formed. They found it to be the place of residence of virginity, containing pure, virgin-like souls on their way to the angelic paradise, where the Most High thrones in His glory. The poet met here the souls of many who had been forced to break their Vows upon earth, but who now enjoyed a degree of bliss, being forgiven, which fully contented their heart. Then proceeding to other stars, the poet ascended higher and higher in the scales of eternal happiness, till he reached the Divine Presence itself.
Another Italian poet, by many esteemed the equal of Dante, also describes a short journey he made to the This was Ariosto, whose hero Astolfo has reached Nubia after many adventures, and there meets the famous Prester John, the hero of countless legends belonging to the Middle Ages. Aided by his advice, he defeats the Harpies who try to bar the way to a gigantic mountain from which springs the mysterious Nile, but, finding him invincible, escape into an opening at the foot of the mountain. The hero follows them and finds himself in hell; while high above him, on the summit, there lies the earthly paradise. Astolfo visits it, and, having tasted the fruit that grows on its trees, wonders no longer at the disobedience of our first parents. He discovers at the same time that, once on the immensely high top of this mountain, the road to the moon is not very long. Enoch, and Elias, and the Apostle St. John, moreover, join in encouraging him to visit the moon, and offer to accompany him for a special purpose. As soon as the sun has sunk into the sea, so as to allow the crescent to become visible, the Saint sends for the chariot on which men commonly are carried to heaven, and, after having driven through the eternal fires, they arrive in the vast kingdom of the
The paladin finds, to his amazement, that the moon, which looks so small when seen from the earth, is in reality as large as the latter, and so full of life that his attention is engaged on all sides, and he has to make a great effort to remember his errand. He is next led to an immense valley filled with all that men lose by their own faults, by the ravages of time, or the workings of chance; not kingdoms and fortunes bestowed and taken again by capricious fortune, but things over which even Fate has no control. The hero sees here the reputations of men undermined or destroyed by time; all the prayers and vows sent by sinners to heaven; the tears and sighs of lovers; the time lost in frivolous amusements; plans not carried out and wishes left unfulfilled. As if to make amends for so many lost things, there is a precious mountain in this valley consisting of Good Sense; and even in the moon that article, though not as rare as upon earth, is held in such high appreciation, that it is carefully preserved in little phials marked with the owner's name. Astolfo finds, to his surprise, how many wise men he has known on earth have left their good sense in the moon; but takes good care, when he sees his own name, to grasp his phial and to consume the contents on the spot. Farther on he meets the Fates spinning busily on the banks of a river, and sees how each thread is ticketed with the name of the owner on earth. An active old man steals the tickets as fast as the silk is spun, and throws them into the water, where they are quickly lost. A few only are saved by two white swans, who carry them to a beautiful nymph. The latter affixes these names to the gates of the temple of Immortality, and there they remain for eternity, visible to all the dwellers on earth.
After all these strange superstitions and crude notions, light began at last to break. The doctrine of the rotation of the earth had gained many adherents since the days of Copernicus, and the newly-invented instruments had enabled the human eye to penetrate into the im
mense space around us, to discover new constellations, and to discern the mountains in the moon, as well as the changes of Venus and the satellites of Jupiter; but the Church still ruled supreme, and forbade all theories which seemed to "make the Incarnate Word a liar." A French writer, P. Chasles, says, with regard to the dread fear which men had in those days of the word "heretic," "We in our age would do no harm to our enemy by merely saying that he was a heretic. But it has not always been so. Under Louis XIV, a hero could cheat at play and remain a hero still. The eighteenth century was not so indulgent for these sins; but to steal your neighbor's wife was then an elegant, graceful thing. In 1793, the man who should have spoken openly in favor of Holy Mass would have been guillotined; a hundred years before, a word against the liturgy would have led to the funeral pile. In 1620, in the times of Galileo, it was heresy that was punished with death." When the great astronomer first proclaimed his doctrine of the rotation of the earth around the sun, and of the existence of other planets besides our own, he was immediately attacked from all pulpits and by all the means of the press then in existence. The first accusation was made by a Dominican monk, who opened his sermon with the punning text, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?" But Galileo had not yet been terrified, and he dared even give his opinion of the moon in the following words: "Are there on the moon herbs, plants, or animals like our own? Are there rains, winds, and thunders, as upon the earth? I do not know, and do not believe it, and still less that there are men in the moon. But, because nothing exists there exactly like what we have, it does not follow that there should not be things there as well as here, which arise, change, and dissolve again, though different from our things, very far from our notions, and, in fact, altogether inconceivable. Just as a person brought up in a vast forest, amid wild beasts and birds, and with
out any conception of the ocean, would find it impossible to believe that there should exist another world quite different from the firm land, filled with animals who, without legs and wings, still move swiftly, not only on the surface, but in the interior, and that men should live near this element and convey on it houses and goods, without any exertion of their own, swiftly and to great distances;-as such a person, I say, could never have a correct idea of the sea, its fish, its vessels, and its fleets, so we also can have no idea of the inhabitants of that planet which is separated from us by so vast a distance."
No better description of the probable Man in the Moon could be given in our day, and nothing shows more clearly the immense superiority of Galileo's mind, than the wise reserve with which he treated the subject. How painful is it, after such words of wisdom, to hear the venerable old man, a few years later, declare, while kneeling before the tribunal of the Inquisition: "I, Galileo, in the seventieth year of my life, being a prisoner and on my knees before Your Eminences, and having before my eyes the Holy Gospel, which I touch with my own hands, I abjure, curse, and detest the error and the heresy of the motion of the earth"! Condemned to lifelong imprisonment, and to the weekly recital of the seven penitential psalms, he was allowed, in the same year, to retire to his villa near Florence, but under the condition that "he should live there in solitude, invite no one to visit him, and to receive no one who might present himself." His works were prohibited and put on the Index of forbidden books-where they still are.
What Copernicus had only faintly anticipated, and Galileo, yielding to the timidity of the flesh, had failed to assert, even Kepler, the greatest of them all, dared not assert openly. The slow and painful discovery of his immortal three laws established forever the true fraternity of the earth and the other planets; but even his views on the moon he ventured only to publish under a disguise in his famous "Dream."
Having read Bohemian books, he says, and among them the story of the Virgin Libussa, renowned in the records of Magic, and having at the same time spent several hours in watching the moon and the stars, it was but natural that, when sleep overcame him, he should dream of the former. He thought he was reading a book bought at the fair, which gave him the following account of the Man in the Moon:
Duracoto is his name, and his coun try is Iceland, known to the ancients as Thule. His mother made him write this account after her death. He was brought up in that distant island, and on the slopes of Mount Hecla, where he was initiated in the mysteries of the magic art. Afterwards he went with his mother to Bergen, in Norway, where the young man was initiated into the mysteries of astrology; and one fine evening he went off travelling towards the North Pole, till he came in contact with the rising crescent of the moon, and explored that remarkable orb. He found it to be an island, called by a Hebrew name, Levana, and at a distance of about 250,000 miles from the earth. He was most amused with the fact that the men in the moon looked upon their own home as immovable in the heavens, just as we do not feel the earth revolving around the sun, or its own axis. On the other hand, he found days and nights there, as here below, only of nearly equal length. The Man in the Moon, as he saw him, possessed marvellous powers. He could walk or fly or sail around his little globe in the course of a single day; but he had to hide in deep caverns in order to protect himself from excessive heat and cold. The fruits of the moon bud and ripen also in a single day; but every day brings them forth anew. casionally a violent storm disturbs the peace which otherwise reigns forever among these sublime mountains and unfathomable gorges; and one of these roused Kepler from his dreams before he could fully examine the inhabitants of the moon.
Nor was Kepler much to be blamed