Imágenes de páginas

which are called Signs, and have different names and characters.


dries Taurus, Gemini. Cancer.

Leo. Virgo.
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SOUTHERN. Libra. Scorpie. Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius. Pifces.


The signification of thefe names is as follows. Aries fignifies the Ram ; Taurus the Bull; Gemini the Twins ; Cancer the Crab; Leo the Lion; Virgo the Virgin ; Libra the Balance ; Scorpio the Scorpion ; Sagittarius the Archer ; Capricornus the Goat; Aquarius the Water-bearer ; and Pifces the Fishes.

It is not easy to say, why the ancient astrono. mers affixed such images as the Ram, the Bull, &c. to the twelve Signs of the Zodiac. There is great reason, however, to suppose that they were placed as hieroglyphics of the seasons of the year, alluding to the annual course of the fun.

Thus, Aries, Taurus, and Gemini, represent March, April, and May, the spring quarter of the year, when lambs, calves, and goats (the latter generally bringing forth twin kids) are produced. 6


Cancer, the Crab, which creeps both ways, represents the increase and decrease of the sun's declination, to and from the summer solstice, in June.

Leo, the Lion, intimates the raging heat of the fun in July, which the ancients compared to the furious nature of that fierce animal.

Virgo, the Virgin, with a spike or ear of corn in her hand, properly represents August, when the harvest of the earth is ripe.

Libra, the Balance, is displayed in September, to intimate that the days, at the autumnal equinox, are equal in all parts of the globe.

Scorpio, the Scorpion, a noxious animal, is placed as the hieroglyphic of October ; because, at that season, diseases of various kinds too often rage.

Sagittarius, the Archer, marks November as the proper time for hunting,

Capricornus, the Goat, by its climbing up the rocks, is placed as an emblem of December, when the sun, at the winter solstice, begins to ascend again towards the equinoctial.

Aquarius, the Water-bearer, with his urn, represents January, when rains are frequent.

Pisces, the Fishes, are emblems of the fishing season, which began in the Nile during the month of February


The names of the twelve Signs are contained in the following verses.

The ram, the bull, the heavenly twins,
And next the crab, the lion shines,

The virgin and the scales :
The scorpion, archer, and sea-goat,
The man that holds the water pot,

And fish with glittering tails?




OME imagine the Sun to be a common fire,

continually supplied with globules of combustible matter, and therefore have thought it to be the place of hell. Others say that it is an elementary fire, which subsists without any kind of nourishment.

Though the sun be nine hundred thousand times bigger than the earth, it appears but small on ac

count of its distance, which is so very great, that a · cannon-ball would be twenty-five years coming

from thence to the earth, even if it flew as swift


as it does, when it is first discharged from the mouth of the cannon.

It was formerly supposed that the sun moved round the earth, because he seemed to do so. But it is now demonstrated that he always remains fixed in the same place, and that the earth and other planets move round about him.

The Moon is a large globe like our earth, both in matter and form. She is not a luminary like the sun, but a dark opaque body, and receives atl the light she shines with from the sun, and by reflection conveys it to us in the sun's absence.

The different degrees of light, with which the moon shines, are called her phases. At new moon she is between the sun and the earth, and her enlightened parts are hid or turned from us; when full, we are, between her and the sun, and we see all her enlightened side. She likewise appears a horned, half, or gibbous moon, when a little part of her light turns towards us.

The bright parts of the moon's body are the highest parts of the land, as hills, inountains, promontories, islands, &c. and the darker parts of the moon are caverns, deep pits, and places which reflect not the sun's light so strongly as others.

The earth is at least fifty times bigger than the moon; and the distance between them, as was beC


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fore observed, is about two hundred and forty thousand miles.

The moon is the cause of the tides. By attracting the waters of the sea, the raises them higher.

An Eclipse is a total or partial privation of the light of the sun or moon. An eclipse of the sun happens, when the moon comes between the fun and the earth. In this position she will wholly or partly intercept the rays of the fun, which is then said to undergo an eclipse. When this eclipfe is total, the darkness is so great, that the stars will appear at noon-day.

An eclipse of the moon is occasioned by the coming of the earth between the inoon and the sun. It is easy to be conceived, that the moon, having no light of her own, when the rays of the sun are in. tercepted from her, will appear dark or dulky.

An eclipse of the sun never happens but at a new moon, nor one of the moon, but when the is full.

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