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CELESTIAL PHENOMENA OF THE
her twin sister, Legend, have much to tell MONTHS.
Cassiopea, say they, was a proud and FEBRUARY.
capricious dame: she boasted of her beauty,
and depreciated that of Juno and the " That starr'd Ethiope queen, who strove
Nereides--sea-nymphs who dwelt chiefly To set her beauties' praise above
in the Ægean Sea, and often danced in The sea-nymphs, and their powers offended.”
choruses around their father, Nereus.
“Is not my beauty greater far than those ?"MEN, in all ages, have regarded national
Thus spake the queen—"Nereides though calamities as the consequence of national
they be: crimes. This the Scriptures teach. When, Pale nymphs that haunt where'er the streamlet also, the light of true religion gleamed
flows, faintly, and imaginary deities were substi
Or ride in sea-shells o'er the briny sea.” tuted in the place of Him who is Lord of The Nereides heard, and they prepared for all, history speaks concerning expiatory vengeance. sacrifices offered by star or idol worshippers, Morning rose in beauty; the sun came wherewith to propitiate whatever fancied forth from his glorious canopy of clouds; being had become an object of divine and the rippling waves of the ancient sea honour.
broke in gentle murmurs on the shore. The history of Andromeda offers a case Damsels went forth to their pleasant labours in point. Much, too, of valuable informa- | by fountain side, or to gather the goldention with regard to ancient manners may tinted oranges and citrons that hung in be gleaned from its various incidents, and clusters beside the fields of pulse. The some important lessons from considering king was in his hall of state, the queen the antagonist principles that bore sway in presiding with her ladies at their looms; the minds of those whose names are in- there was peace within the city, and glad. scribed among the stars.
ness in the country: when suddenly the First, then, is Cassiopea, wife of Ce- sky was overcast, and a loud, bustling, pheus, king of Ethiopia, and mother of unusual kind of wind drove the dust in Andromeda first mentioned, because her clouds. reckless pride gave occasion for the calami-1. “I cannot see to go on with my emties that threatened to overwhelm her home broidery,” said the chief lady, whose office and country. The age in which she lived it was to superintend her younger compertains to remote antiquity; it forms an panions; “ we must all wait till the sky is era in the history of mankind, on account clear again.” And thus saying, she folded of the Argonautic expedition, conjectured | her hands together, and looked towards the to have taken place twelve hundred and heavens. sixty-three years before the coming of our The firmament, however, darkened more Lord, and in which King Cepheus bore a and more ; and presently a messenger came distinguished part. Those who are inte-in haste to say that the river had broken its rested in comparing events will find that bounds. Onward came the waters, rolling this important expedition occurred at least over their ancient limits; fields were ina century before the conquest of Egypt by undated, and cottages swept away; while the Shepherd Kings, whose great oppres- | the terrified inhabitants rushed tumulsion rendered the name of shepherd an tuously into the city, which stood on rising abomination to the natives of the country, ground; but presently the streets were and caused, in after years, the sons of overflown, and the whole population filed Jacob, whose trade had been about cattle with one accord to a considerable eminence, from their youth, to dwell in the land of which the torrent had not yet gained, Egypt. Saul and David had then no place That eminence was crowned with a temple in history; neither was Rome built till at of exceeding beauty, and shaded by an olive least seven hundred years aftor; and as grove. Jupiter Ammon, under the name of regards the land in which we dwell, its Osiris, was worshipped there, symbolic of inhabitants were equally uncivilized and the sun, and representing the principle of ferocious, tattooed like the dwellers in New light and heat; his altars were not, like Zealand, and mostly clothed with the skins those of other pagan deities, stained with of animals.
the blood of human victims; his sacrificial Authentic History can, therefore, throw offerings were goats, sheep, and white bulls. but little light on the period of which we Even in this early period men had turned speak; but Poesy—"celestial maid !”—and from the adoration of the true God, and
substituted symbolic worship; and their the priests will row me speedily to the high places retained a strong hold on the nearest rock." affections of the people, who ascended them And the boat was lowered: it bore a sacriat the dawn of day to hail the first appear- fice that day such as Ethiopia had never ance of the luminary whom they ignorantly before witnessed; the priests rowed hard, worshipped.
and wept in bitterness of heart, for AndroThe unwonted clouding of that luminary meda, the beloved of her father's house, had was therefore regarded as a proof of his grown up among them. The billows helped displeasure, “Haste, ye priests," said the on the boat-they seemed to run down the king, “consult the oracle, according to your sides of the mount-they rushed across the wont; even now the frantic billows, urged plains — they went sounding towards the by fierce winds, have reached the base of the sea, bearing with them a freight of boats, eminence; they prepare to scale the sides." for “She shall not die alone!" had been The priests made all haste; there was no heard as one wild cry from the trembling lack of beasts for sacrifice, for the herds- multitude. men had driven their choicest herds and Prayers, such as never had ascended from flocks for safety to the mount; and many a the land of Ethopia, were heard that day. terrified animal, after struggling through They invoked neither Jupiter nor yet Vepthe current, had rushed among the crowd. tune, nor any of those imaginary beings Two white calves were quickly sacrificed; who were fablel to preside over the destinies and priests, attired in sacerdotal vestments, of men. The terrible land-flood and the and bearing in their hands branches of oak prospcot of certain death had dissipated, as covered with acorns, entered a solemn in a moment, the illusions of past ages; wood, which clothed the hill eastwarl, the oneness and mighty power of some allwithin the precincts of which, and besi ie a presiding Deity seemed to fill their minds, rushing stream, dwelt the priester, whom and to Him alone they prayed, as having they invoked with loud cries, for already the power to save. the usurping waters might be seen gleaming). Andromeda was firmly bound; and around among the trees, far down, yet reaching her the raging billows tossed on high their above the giant roofs of such as skirted the crests of foam. Her eyes were closed, her margin of the wood.
hands folded on her breast : she looked like Slowly came forth the response. "Your one whose thoughts were not of earth-who queen," said the oracle, “ has drawn upon meekly submitted to lay down her innocent herself the vengeance of Neptune ; she has life for the saving of her father's land. boasted of
her beauty, and derided those | Suddenly, and with a terrible rush cam who dwell amid rushing waters. One only up a monster from the deep-half fish and offering can save her husband's realm from half serpent—and made towards the damsel; ruin. Let Andromedą be that sacritice- and as suddenly sprung forth the strong 'A votive offering to the raging main.'
| men from their boats, heedless of oracle or
Neptune; but, alas! they were unarmed, Bind her with strong cords to some sea and their deafening shouts were unavailing rock, and dare not to interfere, whatever to intimidate the monster. The parents in fate may threaten.”
their agony had fallen to the ground; but Who can describe the anguish of the the hideous reptile having struggled over a parents when listening to those words of sunken rock, and being in the act of sliding augury? They still sought to save their down the side nearest his victim, was sudchild, and hurried, together with their denly arrested by a flashing sword—that of people, to the highest summit of the hill; a stranger youth, who boldly advanced to the but the waters followed hard after them, rescue. The conflict that ensued was terand far as the eye could reach appeared one rible to witness. The reptile sought to vast sea-like lake, covered with raging bil-enwrap his opponent in his flapping fins, lows, each of which seemed as if urged while he lashed the billows into foam; but onward by remorseless genii ; high towers the stranger, eluding his attack, gave him a and domes came crashing, thundering dire thrust,' and escaped behind a jutting down; tall cocoa-trees were submerged to rock. The reptile followed him with open their branches, and yet the flood increased. mouth, and would have seized upon his
6 Oh, my parents !” said Andromeda, enemy, had not the rock proved a barrier 66 resist no longer, I beseech you. We must to his further progress. One moment all perish; see you not that the waters have more; and, while the hideous eyes of the gained the first grove of olives Quick, creature glared furiously within reach, a quick! let the consecrated boats be lowered, I rapid stroke from the good sword of the young prince deprived him of sight. Oh! away. Perseus bravely came to the rescue the terror and the gladness of that moment! of the maiden; and summer - which he
The furious serpent raged round and may be thought to symbolize-dries up the round; the waters smoked beneath the lash- surrounding waters, destroying by his beams ing of his tail, and his yells were horrible such monsters as lurk therein, and restoring to hear. Happily the first thrust had en- the plant to liberty, who then carries her tered a vital part, and his strength quickly head, the capsule, erect. failed. A few more efforts; a few more Thus closes the history of Andromeda opening of his wide jaws, as if eager to and its associations; of Cassiopea also. devour its prey-and he lay dead upon the He who wishes to become acquainted with waves.
the form and place of such constellations “Let us drag him out, and hang up his as bear their names may readily discover skin in the temple on the mount,” said a them, by comparing the heavens with his troop of young men, who came running chart; keeping steadily in view that they from the Lybian side. “No,” said Per- describe a circle round the Pole-star, and seus—for such was the stranger's name— form a family group, including Cepheus “ let us rather return thanks to the Ruler and Perseus — the father and husband of of heaven and earth, who alone checked the Andromeda-and near them is the Dragon land-flood, and strengthened my arm to and Great Bear. The Pole-star, therefore, overcome the terrible sea-monster, who is the termination of an axis round which would otherwise have devoured me.” myriads of stars revolve; and the reason
why a considerable number seem to rise “ Andromeda, thy gentle name is blended
and set, whilst others are always visible, is With that bright star which near to Perseus waits, Rising with him and waning, thou, descended
simply that such as are further removed From a long line of kings, and chief estates ! from the Pole-star form larger circles than Now moving through the calm and silent night, those which are nearer—a fact which may
All sorrow past, all mortal care gone by; be readily understood by observing the The stars that bear your names, with purest light motion of a wheel: the axle never changes, Beam on each lone grave where your ashes lie.
but any particular point on the outer edge And calmly seated in her starry chair, The chasten’d mother beams effulgent there."
of the wheel describes a larger circle than
such parts as are midway betweer the centre The courage and devotedness of Andro- and the circumference. meda are so inexpressibly touching, that Our readers must, however, bear in mind wherever her constellation becomes visible that stars actually neither rise nor set: that with that of Cassiopea, some affecting this beautiful effect is caused by the daily incidents are connected with them. The motion of the earth on its axis ; to which we Italian peasant sings concerning the way- owe the grateful vicissitudes of day and ward queen, and her meek and devoted child, night. And in order to assist them in disbeneath the shade of olive groves. The covering that beacon star which is allSavoyard hails the rising of his favourite important in finding the position of many stars over rocks and waterfalls, and strikes others, we shall briefly again repeat, that if up the merriest tune to their honour. Even we suppose the distance from the northern the Swedish peasant, who has heard their point of our horizon--where the mighty tale in songs which have been handed down dome of heaven seems to rise from off the from father to son since the days of Lin- earth to the zenith, which is immediately næus, associates with them that small above our heads — to be divided into five purple flower which grows in swamps and equal parts, then, at nearly the height of peat bogs, amid the wildest solitudes. three of those divisions gleams the Pole** This plant,” said the Swedish naturalist star. This star is about 1° 10" from the who first discovered it in the marshy parts Pole; and excepting the small circle which of Lapland, “shall be named Andromeda." it therefore necessarily describes, it is always The Ethiopian princess was chained to a in the same position, whether by day or sea-rock; the billows reached her feet, as night, summer or winter. The southern axis, fresh water the roots of this beauteous ever- on the contrary, is not distinguished by any green. A fierce dragon infested the ocean analogous star, or clusters, resembling the beside which her doom was fixed, as toads Great and Lesser Bears. Astronomers reand other reptiles infest the abode of her late that none of the stars in that quarter vegetable prototype. Andromeda cast down form circles, for that all appear to rise or her blushing head from excessive affliction, set. Still, however, the semicircles or and the rosy-coloured flower hangs its petals, portions of semicircles-usually called arcs which grow paler and paler, till she dies 1—which they describe, seem to have a
round the earth from east to west, in con
sequence of its daily rotation, they become Star of the first magnitude.
visible about 3' 56'' earlier every evening, and thus may be thought to gain nearly one
whole revolution more than the sun during Star of the second magnitude. the year. This is occasioned by that lumi
nary appearing to progress among the con
stellations of the zodiac from west to east, Star of the third magnitude.
in consequence of the earth's annual rotation. And in order to the better under
standing of this portion of our subject, it is Star of the fourth magnitude. needful to observe, that the term siderial
day, which often occurs, signifies the revo+ Star of the fifth magnitude.
lution of the earth on its axis in 23h. 56m.; being the time which elapses from the ap
pearing of a star upon the meridian till its & Nebula.
coming there again. If the earth was stacommon centre at some distance below the tionary, this period would comprise our horizon; and this may be considered as the day; but such is not the case : and the southern end of that great axis, which is so rolling ball, on which we live and move, gloriously studded at its northern point. advances nearly one degree in its daily
Circumpolar is a term usually applied to orbit. all such stars as revolve around the poles. When, at this season of the year, the Those which never rise nor set to an inha- nights are frosty and the heavens cloudless, bitant of London, and which are uniformly most glorious stars are revealed in all direcvisible unless obscured by clouds, or dis.. tions; we shall therefore defer speaking at appearing in the blaze of day, are called large concerning the fixed stars till the year stars of perpetual apparition; being con- is more advanced, and constellations are stantly above the horizon. This term per- scarcely visible in the light nights of tains to all such as belong to the constel- summer. lations of which we have just now been Pisces is the twelfth and last sign of the speaking.
zodiac, and although the least attractive, is Persons who watch from night to night one of the largest constellations pertaining the rising of those stars that gem the to the northern hemisphere. Unlike many heavens, will find it important to remember, others, it does not consist of an isolated that while the glittering hosts seem to move figure, but is composed of three parts, viz.,
of two fishes, at a little distance from each adopted such figures as characterise the other, connected by a line or cord. The twolve signs of the Zodiac, with reference fishes are not large, but the line is widely to the changes of the seasons or country extended, and lies between them in a very occupations; the constellation Pisces there. undulated position; no probable conjecture fore denotes the approach of spring, and the can be formed as regards the species, nor season for fishing. has any distinctive name been assigned The sun enters the sign Pisces on the them; they are merely represented as thick | 19th of this month, at 5h, A.m., and at ten and short, with large heads, wide mouths, at night this zodiacal constellation may be
seen westward above the horizon. No Andromeda
reason can be assigned for such a singular
appropriation, excepting that, as the EgypPegasus
tians worshipped fishes, it is probable that
1. 6h. 2m. A.M. Aries
First Quarter .......
.. 9d. 8h. 56m. A.M. Full Moon ................ 16d. 3h. 28m. A.Y. Last Quarter ..............
.. 22. 9h. 38m, P.M. Apogee, or greatest distance
from the earth .......... 2d, at noon. Perigee, or nearest distance
from the earth .......... 16d. lh. Om. A.H.
On the 2nd the moon passes into Aquaand forked tails, and having a kind of ring
rius--4th, Pisces-6th, Cetus-8th, Ariesaffixed to each tail, from which the cord
9th, Taurus-11th, Orion—12th, Geminidepends; this cord, in order to comprise the
14th, Cancer- 15th, Leo--17th, Virgo.greatest possible number of stars, appears
21st, Libra—22nd, Scorpio and Ophiuchus, fiat; and somewhat broad, extending not in
— 24th, Sagittarius - 27th, Capricornus a straight line from one fish to another, but
29th, Aquarius. She is above the horizon circuitous, and ornamented towards the
when the sun is below, during the morning middle with a kind of knot.
hours from the 10th to the 23rd-during Astronomers have not assigned any star
the evening hours from the 3rd to the 17th; of the first brilliancy to this constellation;
is at her extreme north declination on the such as compose it are mostly of the second
13th, again on the Equator on the 19th, or third magnitude, and yet they are dis
and at her extreme south declination on the posed so equally and regularly, that the
26th. Near Saturn on the 6th-Uranus on entire sign may be readily discerned.
the 7th-Aldebaron on the 10th-Jupiter The neighbouring constellations are those on the 19th-Venus on the 26th-Mars and of Aries. Andromeda, Pegasus, Aquarius. Mercury on the 28th. and the Whale. The upper fish lies in a Mercury is in the constellation Sagittaposition perpendicular to the ecliptic. while rius till the 13th; on the 14th in Caprithe lowest is nearly horizontal; the former cornus. verges on Andromeda and the Ram, the
Venus is in the constellation Ophiuchus latter on the pitcher belonging to Aquarius,
till the 3rd; in Sagittarius from the 4th till and the back and wing of Pegasus.
the end of the month :-brilliant morning Among the eight-and-forty constellations
star. which Greek astronomers derived from their
Mars is in Sagittarius till the 4th; in Egyptian brethren, and which have been
Capricornus from the 5th to the end of the transmitted to the present day, the Fishes have retained their form and station un
Jupiter is in Virgo throughout the month: altered. True it is, that whereas Hippar
| he is a morning star, chus and Ptolemy assigned only thirty
The constellation Pisces is nearly set at eight stars to this sign, Flamstead enume
ten at night. rates one hundred and thirteen, but no Virgo appears eastward. attempt has been ever made to improve its
Coma Berenices, and Böotes, are promiungainly appearance. The Greeks. that nent above the horizon. imaginative race, who peopled their groves Coryus is also visible in the same quarter. and streams with ideal beings, referred the origin of their favourite constellations to some historic event or poetic legend.
WORLDLY joy is a sunflower, which shuts when
It the gleam of prosperity is over: spiritual joy is was otherwise with the Egyptians; they | an evergreen-an unfading plant.