Imágenes de páginas

original production; and that the earth, with all it's variations, and in all it's parts, has ever been what it now is. The later Platonists deduce their principal arguments in favour of the eternity of the world, from the eternity of God's decree for it's creation, “and the indivisibility of the real duration of God.” They maintain that God always existed; that his decree was eternal; and that there could not be a time in which it did not exist in the divine mind. Be it so : there remains still much perplexity in their reasoning; and, as it appears to me, much sophism in their deductions. There must be a difference between ideal (if the expression be lawful) and actual creation; and I do not see how it can be proved, that the decree was not anterior to the accomplishment of that decree. Xenophanes and his followers supposed, that God and the world were one and the same thing; and of course held it's eternity and immutability. This, again, has been denied by others: but there is so much obscurity in the statement which these philosophers have made of their own opinions, that if they did not mean this, it is difficult to decide what hypothesis they did intend to convey. Of one or the other of these opinions respecting the eternity of the world, appear to have been Strato of Lampsacus, and Alexander the Epicurean, the contemporary of Plutarch. Others supposed the matter of the world to be eternal, but not the form of it. These, in fact, held the eternity of the chaos, to which they attributed a certain motion arising from the action and reaction of the first four qualities, producing the earth by mere fortuitous fluctuations; and thus, this hypothesis resolves itself into the preceding one, viz. that the world itself was produced by chance. The reader who may wish to see a larger and more laborious statement of these several hypotheses, and others, not brought forward in this note, will find a full and satisfactory discussion of them in Anc. Univ. Hist, vol. I. p. 77–91; title, The Cosmogony. But in some later 8vo. editions, these statements are transferred to vol. XVIII. Appendix, p. 114–126. This note bears reference to p. 56 of the preceding Lecture.

Note 4.—Extracted from Ovid :
“Ante mare et tellus, et, quod tegit omnia, coelum,
Unus erat toto naturae vultus in orbe,

Quem dixere chaos; rudis, indigestaque moles;
Nec quicquam nisi pondus iners; congestaque eodem
Non bene junctarum discordia semina rerum.
Nullus adhuc mundo praebebat lumina Titan;
Nec nova crescendo reparabat cornua Phoebe;
Nec circumfuso pendebat in aére tellus
Ponderibus librata suis: nec brachia longo
Margine terrarum porrexerat Amphitrite.
Quaque fuit tellus, illic et pontus et aer:
Sic erat instabilis tellus, innabilis unda,
Lucis egens aér. Nulli sua forma manebat.
Obstabatdue aliis aliud: quia corpore in uno
Frigida pugnabant calidis, humentia siccis,
Mollia cum duris, sine pondere habentia pondus.
Hanc Deus, et melior litem Natura derenit.
Nam coelo terras, et terris abscidit undas:
Et liquidum spisso secrevitab aere coelum.
Quae postduam evolvit, caecoque exemit acervo,
Dissociata locis concordi pace ligavit.
Ignea convexivis et sine pondere coeli
Emicuit, summaque locum sibi legit in arce.
Proximus est aer illi levitate, locoque:
Densior his tellus: elementaque grandia traxit;
Et pressa est gravitate sui. Circumfluus humor
Ultima possedit, solidumque coércuit orbem.
“Sic ubi dispositam, quisquis fuit ille Deorum,
Congeriem secuit, sectamgue in membra redegit;
Principio terram, ne non aequalisab omni
Parte foret, magni speciem glomeravit in orbis.
Tum freta defundi, rapidisque tumescere ventis
Jussit, et ambita circumdare littora terrae.
Addidit et fontes, immensaque stagna lacusque;
Fluminaque obliquis cinxit declivia ripis:
Quae diversa locis partim sorbentur ab ipsa;
In mare perveniunt partim, campoque recepta
Liberioris aquae, pro ripis littora pulsant.
Jussit et extendi campos, subsidere valles,
Fronde tegi silvas, lapidosos surgere montes,

Utgue dual dextra coelum, totidemque sinistra
Parte secant Zonas, quinta estardentior illis;
Sic onus inclusum numero distinxit eodem
Cura Dei. totidemgue plaga tellure premuntur.
Quarum quae media est, non est habitabilis a stu:
Nix tegit alta duas: totidem inter utramque locavit;
Temperienque dedit, mista cum frigore flamma.
Imminet his aér, qui, quanto est pondere terrae
Pondus aquae levius, tanto est onerosior igni.
Illic et nebulas, illic consistere nubes
Jussit, et humanas motura tonitrua mentes,
Et cum fulminibus facientes frigora ventos. -
His quoque non passim mundi fabricator habendum
Aéra permisit. Vix nunc obsistitur illis,
Cum sua quisque regat diverso flamina tractu,
Quinlanient mundum : tanta est discordia fratrum.
“ Eurus ad Auroram, Nabatha aque regna recessit,
Persidague, et radiis juga subdita matutinis.
Vesper, et occiduo quae littora sole tepescunt,
Proxima sunt Zephyro: Scythiam septemque triones
Horrifer invasit Boreas: contraria tellus
Nubibus assiduis, pluvioque madescit ab Austro.
Harc super imposuit liquidum et gravitate carentem
AEthera, nec quicquam terrense faecis habentem,
Vix ita limitibus discreverat omnia certis,
Cum, quae pressa diu massa latuere sub ipsa,
Sidera coeperunt toto effervescere coelo:
Neu regio foret ulla suis animalibus orba,
Astra tenent coeleste solum, formaeque Deorum :
Cesserunt nitidis habitandae piscibus undae:
Terra feras cepit, volucres agitabilis aer.
“Sanctius his animal mentisque capacius unum
Deerat adhuc, et quod dominari in caetera posset.
Natus homo est: sive hunc divino semine fecit
Ille opifex rerum, mundi melioris origo:
Sive recens tellus seductaque nuper ab alto
AEthere, cognati retinebat semina coeli:
Quam satus Japeto, mixtam fluvialibus undis,

Finxit in effigiem moderantum cuncta Deorum.
Pronaque cum spectent animalia caetera terram,
Os homini sublime dedit, coelumque videre
Jussit, et erectos ad sidera tollere vultus.”
Ovid. Metam. lib, I. l. 5-86.


“Before the seas, and this terrestrial ball,
And heav'n's high canopy, that covers all,
One was the face of nature; if a face,
Rather a rude and indigested mass,
A lifeless lump, unfashion'd, and unfram’d,
Of jarring seeds; and justly Chaos uam'd.
No sun was lighted up, the world to view;
No moon did yet her blunted horns renew;
Nor yet was earth suspended in the sky;
Nor pois'd, did on her own foundations lie:
Nor seas about the shores their arms had thrown;
But earth, and air, and water were in one.
Thus, air was void of light, and earth unstable,
And waters dark abyss unnavigable. *
No certain form on any was imprest;
All were confus'd, and each disturb’d the rest.
For hot and cold, were in one body fixt;
And soft with hard, and light with heavy mixt.

“But God, or Nature, while they thus contend,
To these intestine discords put an end; .
Then earth from air, and seas from earth were driven,
And grosser air sunk from ethereal heaven.
Thus, disembroil'd, they take their proper place;
The next of kin, contiguously embrace; , }
And foes are sunder'd by a larger space.
The force of fire ascended first on high,
And took it's dwelling in the vaulted sky:
Then air succeeds, in lightness next to fire;
Whose atoms from unactive earth retire.

Earth sinks beneath, and draws a num’rous throng
Of pond’rous, thick, unwieldy seeds along.
About her coasts, unruly waters roar;
And, rising on a ridge, insult the shore.
“Thus, when the God, whatever God was he,
Had form'd the whole, and made the parts agree,
That no unequal portions might be found,
He moulded earth into a spacious round:
Then with a breath, he gave the winds to blow:
And bade the congregated waters flow.
He adds the running springs, and standing lakes;
And bounding banks for winding rivers makes.
Some part in earth are swallow'd up, the most
In ample oceans disembogu'd, are lost.
He shades the woods, the vallies he restrains
With rocky mountains, and extends the plains.
“And as five zones th’ etherial regions bind,
Five, correspondent, are to earth assign'd:
The sun with rays, directly darting down,
Fires all beneath, and fries the middle zone:
The two beneath the distant poles, complain
Of endless winter, and perpetual rain.
Betwixt th' extremes, two happier climates hold
The temper that partakes of hot, and cold.
The fields of liquid air, inclosing all,
Surround the compass of this earthly ball:
The lighter parts lie next the fires above;
The grosser near the wat'ry surface move:
Thick clouds are spread, and storms engender there,
And thunder's voice, which wretched mortals fear,
And winds that on their wings cold winter bear.
Nor were those blust'ring brethren left at large,
On seas, and shores, their fury to discharge:
Bound as they are, and circumscrib'd in place,
They rend the world, resistless as they pass;
And mighty marks of mischief leave behind;
Such is the rage of their tempestuous kind.

« AnteriorContinuar »