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His towering crest was glorious to behold,
His shoulders and his sides were scaled with gold;
Three tongues he brandish'd when he charged his foes;
The Tyrians in the den for water sought,
And with their urns explored the hollow vault:
Some are devour'd, or feel a loathsome death,
Cadmus, beholding such a scene, boldly resolved to avenge, or to share their fate. He therefore attacked the monster with slings and arrows, and, with tne assistance of Minerva, slew him. He then plucked out his teeth, and sowed them, at the command of Pallas, in a plain, when they suddenly sprung up into armed men.
"Pallas adest: motæque jubet supponere terræ
Ovid's Met. lib. iii. v. 102.
"He sows the teeth at Pallas's command,
Entertaining worse apprehension from the direful offspring than he had done from the dragon himself, he was about to fly, when they all fell upon each other, and were all slain in one promiscuous carnage, except five, who assisted Cadmus to build the city of Boeotia.
THE HARP.-This constellation is distinguished by one of the most brilliant stars in the northern hemisphere. It is situated directly south of the first coil of Draco, between the Swan, on the east, and Hercules, on the west; and when on the meridian, is almost directly over head.
It contains twenty-one stars, including one of the 1st magnitude, two of the 3d, and as many of the 4th.
By what is the constellation of the Harp distinguished? Where is it situated? What are the number and magnitude of its stars?
*There Lyra, for the brightness of her stars,
The heavens far around, blazing imperia.
In the first order."
This star, of "the first order, blazing with imperial" lustre, is called Vega, and sometimes Wega; but more frequently it is called Lyra, after the name of the constellation.
There is no possibility of mistaking this star for any other. It is situated 143° S. E. of Etanin, and about 30° N. Ñ. E. of Ras Alhague and Ras Algethi. It may be certainly known by means of two small, yet conspicuous stars, of the 5th magnitude, situated about 20 apart, on the east of it, and making with it a beautiful little triangle, with the angular point at Lyra.
The northernmost of these two small stars is marked Epsilon, and the southern one, Zeta. About 20 S. E. of Zeta, and in a line with Lyra, is a star of the 4th magnitude, marked Delta, in the middle of the Harp; and 4° or 5° S. of Delta, are two stars of the 3d magnitude, about 20 apart, in the garland of the Harp, forming another triangle, whose vertex is in Delta. The star on the east,
is marked Gamma; that on the west, Beta. If a line be drawn from £tanin through Lyra, and produced 6° farther, it will reach Beta.
This is a variable star, changing from the 3d to nearly the 5th magnitude in the space of a week; it is supposed to have spots on its surface, and to turn on its axis, like our sun.
Gamma comes to the meridian 21 minutes after Lyra, and precisely at the same moment with Epsilon, in the tail of the Eagle, 1710 S. of it.
The declination of Lyra is about 383 N.; consequently, when on the meridian, it is but 20 S. of the zenith of Hartford. It culminates at 9 o'clock, about the 13th of August. It is as favourably situated to an observatory at Washington, as Rastaben is to those in the vicinity of London.
Its surpassing brightness has attracted the admiration of astronomers in all ages. Manilius, who wrote in the age of Augustus, thus alludes to it :
"ONE, placed in front above the rest, displays
Astronomicon, B. i. p. 15.
HISTORY.-It is generally asserted that this is the celestial Lyre which Apollo or Mercury gave to Orpheus, and upon which he played with such a masterly hand, that even the most rapid rivers ceased to flow, the wild beasts of the forest forgot their wildness, and the mountains came to listen to his song.
Of all the nymphs who used to listen to his song, Eurydice was the only one who made a deep impression on the musician, and their nuptials were celebrated. Their happiness, however, was short. Aristaus became enamoured of Eurydice, and as she fled from her pursuer, a serpent, lurking in the grass, bit her foot, and she died of the wound. Orpheus resolved to recover her, or perish in the attempt. With his lyre in his hand, he entered the infernal regions, and gained admission to Pluto. The king of hell was charmed with his strains, the
What is the name of the principal star? Describe its position. By what means may it be certainly known? What are the names of the taro small stars forming the base of the triangle! Describe the star in the middle of the Harp, and those with which it forms another triangle. How are the stars in the base of this triangle marked on the map? How else may Beta be pointed out? What is there remarkable in the appearance of this star? When is Gamma on the meridian? What is the declination of Lyra? When does it culminate? What ancient poet mentions it?
wheel of Ixion stopped, the stone of Sisyphus stood still, Tantalus forgot his thirst, and even the furies relented.
Pluto and Proserpine were moved, and consented to restore him Eurydice, provided he forbore looking behind him till he had come to the extremest borders of their dark dominions. The condition was accepted, and Orpheus was already in sight of the upper regions of the air, when he forgot, and turned back to look at his long lost Eurydice. He saw her, but she instantly vanished from his sight. He attempted again to follow her, but was refused admission.
From this time. Orpheus separated himself from the society of mankind, which so offended the Thracian women, it is said, that they tore his body to pieces, and threw his head into the Hebrus, still articulating the words Euridice ! Eurydice! as it was carried down the stream into the Ægean sea. Orpheus was one of the Argonauts, of which celebrated expedition he wrote a poetical account, which is still extant. After his death, he received divine honours, and his lyre became one of the constellations.
This fable, or allegory, designed merely to represent the power of music in the hands of the great master of the science, is similarly described by three of the most renowned Latin poets. Virgil, in the fourth book of his Georgics, thus describes the effect of the lyre :
"E'en to the dark dominions of the night
He took his way, through forests void of light,
All dangers past, at length the lonely bride
Pythagoras and his followers represent Apollo playing upon a harp of seven strings, by which is meant (as appears from Pliny, ii. c. 22-Macrobius i. c. 19, and Censorinus c. ii.) the sun in conjunction with the seven planets; for they made him the leader of that septenary chorus, and the moderator of nature, and thought that by his attractive force he acted upon the planets in the harmonical ratio of their distances.
The doctrine of celestial harmony, by which was meant the music of the spheres, was common to all the nations of the East. To this divine music Euripides beautifully alludes:-"Thee I invoke, thou self-created Being, who gave birth to Nature, and whom light and darkness, and the whole train of globes encircle with eternal music."-So also Shakspeare :
"Look, how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold;
There's not the smallest orb, which thou behold'st,
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubim:
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But, whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it."
The lyre was a famous stringed instrument, much used among the ancients, said to have been invented by Mercury about the year of the world 2000; though some ascribe the invention to Jubal. (Genesis iv. 21.) It is universally allowed, that the lyre was the first in-trument of the string kind ever used in Greece. The different lyres, at various periods of time, had from four to eighteen strings each. The modern lyre is the Welsh harp The lyre, among painters, is an attribute of Apollo and the Muses.
All poetry, it has been conjectured, was in its origin lyric; that is, adapted to recitation or song, with the accompaniment of music and distinguished by the
utmost boldness of thought and expression; being at first employed in celebra ting the praises of gods and heroes.
Lesbos was the principal seat of the Lyric Muse; and Terpander, a native of this island, who flourished about 650 years B. C., is one of the earliest of the lyric poets whose name we find on record. Sappho, whose misfortunes have united with her talents to render her naine memorable, was born at Mitylene, the chief city of Lesbos. She was reckoned a tenth muse, and placed without controversy at the head of the female writers in Greece. But Pindar, a native of Thebes, who flourished about 500 years B. C., is styled the prince of lyric poets. To him his fellow-citizens erected a monument; and when the Laccdemonians ravaged Boeotia, and burnt the capital, the following words were written upon the door of the poet: FORBEAR TO BURN THIS HOUSE. IT WAS THE DWELLING OF PINDAR.
THE ARCHER.-This is the ninth sign and the tenth constellation of the Zodiac. It is situated next east of Scorpio, with a mean declination of 35° S. or 12° below the ecliptic. The sun enters this sign on the 22d of November, but does not reach the constellation before the 7th of December.
It occupies a considerable space in the southern hemisphere, and contains a number of subordinate, though very conspicuous stars. The whole number of its visible stars is sixtynine, including five of the 3d magnitude, and ten of the 4th.
It may be readily distinguished by means of five stars of the 3d and 4th magnitudes, forming a figure resembling a little short, straight-handled Dipper, turned nearly bottom upwards, with the handle to the west, familiarly called the Milk-Dipper, because it is partly in the Milky-Way.
This little figure is so conspicuous that it cannot easily be mistaken. It is situated about 33° E. of Antares, and comes to the meridian a few minutes after Lyra, on the 17th of August. Of the four stars forming the bowl of the Dipper, the two upper ones are only 3° apart, and the lower ones 5o.
The two smaller stars forming the handle, and extending westerly about 410, and the easternmost one in the bowl of the Dipper, are all of the 4th magnitude. The star in the end of the handle, is marked Lambda, and is placed in the bow of Sagittarius, just within the Milky-Way. Lambda may otherwise be known by its being nearly in a line with two other stars about 410 apart, extending towards the S. E. It is also equidistant from Phi and Delta, with which it makes a handsome triangle, with the vertex in Lambda. About 50 above Lambda, and a little to the west. are two stars close together, in the end of the bow, the brightest of which is of the 4th magnitude, and marked Mu. This star serves to point out the winter solstice, being about 20 N. of the tropic of Capricorn, and less than one degree east of the solstitial colure.
If a line be drawn from Sigma through Phi, and produced about 60 farther to the west, it will point out Delta, and produced about 3° from Delta, it will point out Gamma; stars of the 3d magnitude, in the arrow. The latter is in the point What is the order in the Zodiac, of Sagittarius? How is it situated? When does the sun appear to enter this constellation? What are its extent and appearance? What are the number and magnitude of its stars? How may it be readily distinguished! What is this figure called, and why? Where is this figure to be found, and when is it on the meridian? How far apart are the two upper stars in the bowl of the Dipper? How far apart are the two lower ones? Describe the stars in the handle. Describe the position of Lambda. How may Lambda be otherwise known? With what other stars does it form a handsome triangle? Describe the position of Mu. How may Delta and Gamma be pointed out?
of the arrow, and may be known by means of a small star just above it, on the right. This star is so nearly on the same meridian with Etanin, in the head of Draco, that it culminates only two minutes after it.
A few other conspicuous stars in this constellation, forming a variety of geo. metrical figures, may be easily traced from the map.
IIISTORY.-This constellation, it is said, commemorates the famous Centaur Chiron, son of Philyra and Saturn, who changed himself into a horse, to elude the jealous inquiries of his wife Rhea.
Chiron was famous for his knowledge of music, medicine, and shooting. He taught mankind the use of plants and medicinal herbs; and instructed, in all the polite arts, the greatest heroes of his age. He taught Esculapius physic; Apollo music; and Hercules astronomy; and was tutor to Achilles, Jason, and Eneas. According to Ovid, he was slain by Hercules, at the river Evenus, for offering indignity to his newly married bride.
"Thou monster double shap'd, my right set free
Swift as his words, the fatal arrow flew:
The Centaur's back admits the feather'd wood,
And through his breast the barbed weapon stood;
From both the wounds gush'd forth the spumy gore."
The arrow which Hercules thus sped at the Centaur, having been dipped in he blood of the Lernæan Hydra, rendered the wound incurable, even by the father of medicine himself, and he begged Jupiter to deprive him of immortality, if thus he might escape his excruciating pains. Jupiter granted his request, and translated him to a place among the constellations.
"Midst golden stars he stands refulgent now,
And thrusts the scorpion with his bended bow."
This is the Grecian account of Sagittarius; but as this constellation appears on the ancient zodiacs of Egypt, Dendera, Esne, and India, it seems conclusive that the Greeks only borrowed the figure, while they invented the fable. This is known to be true with respect to very many of the ancient constellations. Hence the jargon of the conflicting accounts which have descended to us.
AQUILA, ET ANTINOUS.
THE EAGLE, AND ANTINOUS.-This double constellation is situated directly south of the Fox and Goose, and between Taurus Poniatowski on the west, and the Dolphin, on the east. It contains seventy-one stars, including one of the 1st magnitude, nine of the 3d, and seven of the 4th. It may be readily distinguished by the position and superior brilliancy of its principal star.
Altair, the principal star in the Eagle, is of the 1st, or between the 1st and 2d magnitudes. It is situated about 14° S. W. of Dolphin. It may be known by its being the largest and middle one of the three bright stars which are arranged in a line bearing N. W. and S. E. The stars on each side of Altair, are of the 3d magnitude, and distant from it about This row of stars very much resembles that in the Guards of the Lesser Bear.
How is Gamma situated with respect to Etanin? In what part of the heavens is the Eagle situated? What are the number and magnitude of its stars? How is it distinguished? Describe its principal star. How may it be known? What is the magnitude of the stars on each side of Altair? How far distant from it are they? What row of s does this row resemble ?