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These flowers, whose varied and shining beauty we so much admire, are the tears of Aurora. It is the breath of Zephyrus which gently agitates the leaves. The soft murmurs of the waters are the fighs of the Naïades.
A god impels the wind; a god pours out the rivers ; grapes are the gift of Bacchus ; Ceres prelides over the harvest ; orchards are the care of Po
Does a shepherd sound his reed on the summit of a mountain. It is Pan who, with his pastoral pipe, returns the pleasing lay. When the sportsman's horn rouses the attentive ear, it is Diana, armed with her bow and quiver, and more nimble than the flag that the pursues, who takes the diversion of the chace. The sun is a god, who, riding on a car of fire, diffuses his light through the world. The stars are so many divinities, who measure with their golden beams the regular progress of fire. The moon presides over the filence of the night, and consoles the world for the absence of her brother. Neptune reigns in the fea, surrounded by the Nereides, who dance to the joyous fhells of the Tritons.
In the highest heaven is feated Jupiter, the master and father of men and gods. Under his feet roll the thunders, forged by the Cyclops in the caverns of Ætna. His smile rejoices nature, and his nod fhakes
the foundation of Olympus. Surrounding the throne of their sovereign, the other deities quaff nectar from a cup presented to them by the young and beautiful Hebe. In the middle of the great circle shines, with distinguished lustre, the goddess of beauty, adorned with a splendid girdle, in which the graces appear elegant and chearful ; and in her hand is a smiling boy, the picture of health and contentment.
Sweet illusions of the fancy! Pleasing errors of the mind! What objects of pity are those cold and infenfible hearts, who have never felt your charms ! And how destitute of taste must those persons be, who would destroy a world that has so long been the treasury of the arts; a world imaginary indeed, but delightful, and whose ideal pleasures are so well fitted to compensate for the real troubles and miseries of the world in which we live.
C H A P. LI.
time, and shews the different measures or computations of it, that have obtained in different
nations. It enables us truly to date the beginning and end of the reigns of princes, the sbirths and deaths of eminent persons, the revolutions of empires and kingdoms, battles, fieges, or any other remarkable events. Without chronology, that is, without distinguishing the times of events as clearly as the nature of the case will well admit, all history would be little better than a heap of confusion, destitute of light, order, or beauty:
In the study of history, an exact chronology is like Ariadne's clue, which guides us through the different windings of the labyrinth; and the mind being thus conducted, the ideas we obtain from reading are more distinct, and more eafily fixed in the memory.
In the chronology of ancient kingdoms, it must be confessed there is the utmost uncertainty, 'arising chiefly from the vanity of each in claiming the greatest antiquity. Thus the priests of Egypt, as Herodotus informs us, reckon from the reign of Menes to that of Sethon 341 generations, three of which they supposed equal to a hundred years ; so that, according to this computation, the whole time, from one reign to the other, was 11,340 years. The Chaldeans piqued themselves on their antiquity, pretending to have observed the stars 473 thousand years. Other eastern nations made the
like extravagant pretensions; all which were favoured by their having no exact accounts of time.
The chronology of the ancient Greeks is equally uncertain. Their writings are full of fables, being all in verse, from which fiction is inseparable, till the conquest of Asia by Cyrus the Persian. They did not begin to set down the generations, reigns and successions, in numbers of years, till some time after the death of Alexander the Great. This makes their chronology very uncertain ; and indeed such it was reputed by the Greeks themselves, as appears from several pallages in Plutarch.
In the chronology of the Latins we find still greater uncertainty. In a word, not one of the European nations had any chronology at all, till the time of the Persian empire, which began 536 years before the birth of Christ; and whatever chronology they now have of more ancient times, has been framed since by reasoning and conjecture. Therefore, on a strict and impartial examination, the Jewish records, exclusive of their divine authority, will appear to be the most certain and authentic, and consequently the surest foundation of chronology
c H A P.
CHA P. LII.
OF TIME AND ITS PARTS,
IME is distinguished into absolute and rela
tive. Absolute time is considered as in itself, and without any relation to bodies or their motions. This flows equally, never proceeding either fafter or flower. Relative time is that which is measured or estimated by certain motions, as those of the sun, moon, clocks and watches. This is otherwise called apparent or vulgar time.
The usual divisions of time are years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds; besides periods, centuries, and cycles.
CH A P. LIII.
which all the seasons return in fucceflion, and begin anew. It is that space of time wherein the sun finishes his course through the ecliptic, returning to the same point of it, from which he had