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tinue the longer. Thi< is manifest in our can. non; which being fired in the night, a coruscation from the flame of the powder 19 diffused all around; whence men that stand at a distance easily guess, that they shall loon hear the report.
Ver. 161. This and the two next verses our translator has added to his author, she thought seems to be taken from Waller's sea-sight.
Ver 165. But if thunder and lightning be both made by the lame collision of the clouds, why do we fee the lightning before we hear the thunder? Because, says he, in these twelve verses, 1 j;ht is swifter than sound: For common experience evinces, that the species of a visible thing is sooner conveyed lo the eyes, than the noise it makes is to the ears. Thus Aristotle, lib. ii. Meteor, speaking of lightning, says, ynitm ii fcirx Tu» &kyiy*ivt r. u j'rtpr T«; /Wrriit, iWet Qxttircci TfOTtpy
3/« T» rviv 0^1* zrgo'jigc* T«f aKont' she coruscation is made after the stroke and after the thunder; but it is seen first, because the sense os seeing is swifter than that of hearing: And in the lame place he brings an instance of men rowing a boat in the water, and fays, that they are seen lifting up their oars the second time out of the water, by that time the noise of the first stroke is heard.
That the action of light is quicker than that of found; and that light is therefore sooner conveyed to the eyes, than found to the ears, is true beyond any contradiction; and the instance Lucretius brings to prove this assertion is just: for nothing is more certain, than that we fee the motion of the hatchet, lifted up the second time to strike, before we hear the found caused by the first blow, even though we are placed but at a small distance from the striker, 'she reason of which is, because the "materia subtilis" in lucid bodies, which is the medium by which we lee, consists of particles, that are much less, and more solid than those of the air, the medium by which we hear; And consequently the motion of that subtile matter is more quick than that of the air: because more strength is requisite to ovcicomc the resistance of a greater body, than that of a less: Besides, the gicater body loses much of its motion, in corquering the resistance of the body it meets: Therefore the air, whose particles are intricate, and, like those of all other sulphureous bodies, twisted and entangled in one another; and in their magnitude far surpassing those of the subtile matter, whose very name supposes something the most minute that can be conceived ; therefore, I say, the air cannot move with equal swiftness as does the " materia subtilis," whose particles being extremely minute, and solid, and inflexible, must therefore move more nimbly, and retain their motion longer. And this is the reason that the sense of seeing is quicker than that of hearing.
Ver. 177. In these fourteen verses, he fays, that if thunder be caused by the winds breaking and tearing the clouds, lightning is likewise made by the fame winds, that by the swiftness of their motion grow hot, and kindle into flames, as they arc agitated and whirled about in the bowels of the clouds. Thus Creech interpret this F=ssjge,
and sevs that Gassendus, and all that follow hitnj are mistaken in their interpretation of it. Now to confirm this opinion of Epicurus, we may okserve, that several of the ancients seem to have been of the fame sentiments: For Heraclitus, si Seneca, lib. ii. cap. c6. witnesses, held, that this fulgtiration is like the attempts of our fires, when they begin to kindle, and resembles the first tincertain flames, now dying, now rising again at every puss of the bellows. And we learn from Plutarch de Placit. Philofoph. lib. id. cap. 3. that Metrudorus believed, that this coruscation is produced, when a cloud is assaulted and dashed to pieces by the wind. And thcle opinions are like theirs, who hold, That motion is the cause of heat: For we see many things grow hot by motion, as wheels, the axletrccs on which they are hung, Sec.
Ver. 183. This is no truer than what Virgil writes of the arrow of Acestes, .
Qui tamen æthercas telum contorsit in auras Ostennns artem pariter, arcumque fonantem:
volans liquid's in nubibus arsit arundo, Signavitque viam flammis, tenuefque recessic Consumpta in ventot: cxlo leu szpc refixa Transeurrunt, crinemq. volantia s; dera ducunt.
JEu. V. tar. JJ»,
Who, shooting, upwards, sends his shaft to shew
Ver. 193. In these twenty-three verses ht»fwers the objections of those, who ptetend thit& clouds, though they are bioad, yet cannot be deep or thick enough to contain within their bowrtli, such vast hollows, as could be capable to enclose'« much wind: To which he adds something of tie winds grumbling within the clouds, and dm bursting out into flames.
Ver. 197. For this and the following verse, translator has no authority from his author: but has transcribed them from the Bishop of Rochester's Plague of Athens, and repeats them again almost word for word, ver. 1099. of this boot. Where indeed they are better applied than here: For how come the winds, that, in the preceding verse, whirled the clouds through the air, which implies a violent and swift motion, to be abie to move hut slowly in this, and to groan under the weight of their burdens? Dennis fueiking cf a row of oak«, as he calls thtm, lays finely,
The tempest sees their strength, and sigh'. pastes by.
Ver. 203. Sir R. Blackmore gives a li'f'7 *• feription of these mountain-clouds in the folk"ing verles:
VTicnon their march embattle'd clouds appear,! What formidable gloom their faces wear '. ( How wide their front! How deep and blacks
their recr! J How do their tbreat'uiog heads each othcr
How flow the crowding legions move along! The winds, with all their wings, can icarecly bear
Th' impending burden of th' oppressive war.
Ver. aoj. Thus after our poet Virgil fays of the winds,
Uli iodignantes magno cum rourmure montis
Thi< way and that th' impatient captives tend,
Ver. 214. In these eight verses he proposes another cause of lightning, and says, that not only the feeds of 6rc, agitated and whirled about in the clouds, may be kindled into flames, but the cloud* themselves contain many corpuscles of 6re, which they receive from the fun, or from elsewhere: and this is evident from the bright and flamy colour of seme clouds; Now these corpuscles, or feeds of fire, being forced out by the wind that drives and compresses the clouds together, make the lightning. Aristotle fays, that several adhered to this opinion, which nevertheless he confutes, lib. ii. Meteor. Empedocles held that this fire, that catches in the clouds, is kindled by the beams of the fun: but Anaxagoras will have it descend from the highest ether, which he holds to be
Ver. »x». He said in the last place, that the seeds of fire that are in the clouds, are driven out by the strength and violence of the wind: But now in these sour verses, he fay, that if they are not driven out in that manner, yet they must of necessity fall down, w hen the clouds grow thin, and brejk, and open of themselves: aud that from tbence proceeds the mild and gentle lightning, whose splendor dazzles the eyes, though no thunder invade the ear.
By this breaking, or rather rarefaction of the clouds, and the falling down of the atoms that m«ke the lightning without any thunder or noise, trie poet seems to insinuate the opinion of Clideruu>, who, as Aristotle fays, believed lightning not
10 be real fire, but only an empty species, that
11 to fay, that the cloud, being agitated, and a* it were struck aud beaten in the humid part of it, brightens in like manner as the sea foams and turns white, if it be beaten with a rod. To this purpose too Anaximcnes in Stobæus alleges the example of the sea turning bright when the oars cut the waves. Thus likewise Xcnophanes said, that the cloud by its motion conceives the splendor that lightens : And, lastly, Aniinaxandcr favoured this opinion, when he said, that lightning is only ■he wind that turns bright by forcing its way through the blackness of the cload
Ver. 126. Hitherto the poet has treated of the coruscation of lightning, which the Latics called
fulgw ■■ he is now going to dispute concerning the fulvun, by which the ancients meant the lightning, that falls and does mischief upon earth, and which in English is called a thunderbolt: The French call it " Carreau de Foudre :" which answers to our denomination i>f it: The Greeks; called it *i;«i/vt;; and Aristotle defines it in these words: ra &1 ifoa^av xiavrufvsu p«« us yv.i in^i xtgetl/vof xaXeiTai' U c. the lightning, ii it continues its course to, and dashes upon the earth, is called a thunderbolt; Lucretius, even in this disputation, confounds the words sulgur and fulme/i, often using one for the other: and in. deed they both signify lightning, and the sole difference is in the effects they produce: Our translator too does the like; nay, sometimes use* the word thunder for lightning, particularly in thi* verse; though thunder properly means only the noise. This distinction was necessary to be observed in order to the better understanding of the following disputation; in which the poet treats of many things relating to lightning: 1. Of its nature: II. How it is generated: III. Of its motion: IV. In what seasons of the year it is most frequent: And V. he inveighs against the superstition of such as ascribe thunder to Jupiter; and against the Thuseans, who drew their auguries from thunder and lightning. This disputation, continues to ver. 431; and, first, in these eighteen verses, he disputes of the nature of lightning, and teaches that it must consist of a fiery substance, because it singes and burns whatever it touches, sets fire to houses, ice. But that it pierces through walls, that it melts gold, brass, and other metals, that it draws out the liquor and leaves the vessel entire, must be ascribed to the swiftness of it* motion, and the tenuity and subtleness of ita fire. ,
Ver. 227. For things that are blasted by lightning not only seem burnt, but retain a sulphurous smell.
Ver. 234. While the poet here takes notice of the wonderful effects of lightning, he observes the several sorts of it. Arillotle allows only two; one, which he calls xurvvhu, smoky, which occasions the swarthy colour of the things it blasts: the other, Aapsrjaf, dear, to which he ascribes its penetration. But Pliny, lib. ii. cap. 51. adds a third sort, which he calls^tcnu, dry; whose nature, fays he, is indeed wonderful, since by that vessels are exhausted of their liquors, and drawn dry, while the vessels themselves remain untouched: Since gold, and silver, and brass, are melted by it, while the bags that contain them are not lo much as singed, nor even the wax which seals them in the least melted, nor the impression disordered: Nay, what is yet more strange than all this, " Mania Romancrum princeps," fays he, "icta gravida, partu exanimato, ipsa citra ulluni aliud incommodum visit:" Martia, a Roman princess, was slr.ck with lightning when she was big with child; which killed the child within her; but she received no other hurt whatever. To which we may add what Seneca fays, that it melts the sword without doing any hurt to the
T*. Why were the augurs permitted to handle such bodies?
Because holiness becomes the holy. "Sacros sacra decent."
ij. Why were the places that were blasted by lightning, hedged in and enclosed around }
Lest a sacred thing should be trampled on unaware!.
let. What meant Lucan by this verse, Inclusum Thusco veneratur cespite fulmen i
Because the place was immediately esteemed terra
17. 1' r what reason was it thought so?
They believed that God seemed to consecrate it to himself.
18. What then was their opinion of a person whi> wa. killed by thunder >
They seem to have had the same opinion of him too; for Artcmidorus held that a man, killed in that manner, was not polluted, but ought to be worshipped a- a god.
10. Why it the money melted, and the bag untouched: and in iike manner the sword, while the scabbard receives no damage: Seneca in Quell. Nat. lib. i. Q_ u.
Because of the subtle force of the lightning, which pastes through some things: though such 11 arc dense, and resist its force, it instantly tears to pieces.
ao Why are metals melted by lightning in a moment's time, while the workmen receive no damage-? Sen. loc citaL
Because of the arsenical spirits that are in the lightning For even the coiners of money can render metals fluid with a very small quantity os arsenic.
11. Why doet the wine stay 10 a broken vessel! Sencc ibid.
Because it is congealed by the nitral spirits. 11. Why docs not that stiffness last above three iays?
Because the remaining sulphurous spirits, favoured by the ambient air, at length overcome the nitral.
Why i» the wine hurtful, and even pernicious? eenec. lib. cit. Q_3
By reason of the virulence of the arsenic, that the wine has conceived; for wines will retain f metbiiig of sulphur, as we know by experience in Rhi Dish wines.
Why is the venom of serpents taken away by lightning?
Because lightning consumes it: Thus the poison of scammony abates by the bare steam of ful phur; which, continued for some time, totally takes away its cathartic virtue.
Why ire some things turned black by lightning i
Because, being burnt, they retain the sooty marks of the sire.
Why arc some things discoloured?
Because there is a less portion of sulphur in the lightning, and a greater of some other combus
tible; for fire alone gives iron a violet colour, and the foils that are put under precious stone*
are coloured by fire only.
To all which I add what Nardius relates of the wife of a certain apothecary at Florence, who had been blasted with lightning-, but was still living in his days, and who, after that misfortune had happened to her, became, of a very cold temperament, as she had been of before, to be of a constitution so extremaly hot, that she could scarce endure to wear any clothes, though ever so thin: of which he gives this reason: Because, says he, that most subtle fire consumed immediately the superfluous humidity that bad been long; stagnating in her members, and imprinted and left behind it some of its own fiery quality.
Ver. 144. In inquiring into the cause of thunder, it must be observed, that it never thunder* but when the sky is over-cast with clouds: For unless the clouds were thick and high-built, so great a quantity of rain or hail could not fall at the fame time. Therefore, in those clouds yon may imagine a wind agitated and whirled about in a turbulent motion, growing hot with that motion, and forcing out of the clouds many feeds or atoms of fire: And that at length the wind itself takes fire, either by its own motion, or by those fiery particles, and breaks our with a horrid roar; and that, by that violent eruption, it so shakes and tears the parts of the clouds, that they are all shivered into hail, or dissolved inti a shower of rain. This is contained in fifty-one verses.
Ver. iji The fame matter composes wind, thunder, lightning, and earthquakes, that is to lay, a dry exhalation, fays Aristotle, lib ii. Meteor cap. ult fr'or of this dry exhalation wind it made in the air, earthquakes within the earth; showers, tempests, thunder, and lightning in the clouds.
Ver. 2j6. These four verses Lucretius has before in bonk iv. ver. 172.
Ver. 260. Sir R Blackmore's excellent description of a storm at sea, will illustrate this passage of Lucretius:
Now gath'ring clouds the day begin to drown; Their thieat'ning fronts through all th' horizon frown:
Their swagging wombs low in the air depend. Which struggling flames, and in-bred thunder rend:
The strongest winds their breath and vigour prove, And through the beav'na th' unwieldy tempests shove:
O'ercharg'd with stores of hcav'ns artillery,
Horror, amazement, and despair appear
Ver. 266. Suetonius fays of Tiberius, that he was frighted at the noise of thunder, that he ran to hide himself in cave- and cellars.
Ver. 268. It is therefore evident, that there can be no thunder except in thick and deep-bellied clouds, that the matter that composes it may be included within them: For what Pliny fays to the contrary, " Catilianis prodigiis Pompeiano ex municipo M. Hercnniuni decurionem sereno die fulniine ictum fuissc:" and Horace, who, Carmin. lib. i speaking of Jupiter, fays, that he " plerumque per purum tonantes egit cquos, volucremque currum:" These instances, f fay, are no farther to be credited than that thunder may perhaps have sometimes been heard, and lightning seen by persons, over whose head the Iky was clear: but then some other part of the horizon must have been covered with clouds, from which the thunder and lightning broke out.
Ver. 173 The poet having taught, that lightning is generated in thick and high-built cloud*; lie now. in these twenty-two verses, farther shows, that the sires and winds, contained within the clouds, oft produce lightning, which is followed by a roaring noise, a trembling of the earth, and a violent shower of rain, For, first, says he, The clouds contain many leeds of sire : Secondly, Vhe wind drives and compels those clouds, as it were, into high mountains, and by that means squeeze out of the clouds those particles of fire, by whose contact, or at least by the violence of it* own motion, the wind itself is kindled into flame: Thirdly, When that wind is thus kindled, the lightning grown mature, cleaves the clouds, and glares around in dreadful slaflics: Lastly, The thunder roars, the earth trembles, mortals are seized with consternation and dismay, and the rain falls with such violence, as if the heavens were descending in the shower.
Ver. 287. Milton in Paradise Regained, Book
Either tropic now
'Can thunder: at both ends of hcav'n the clouds
And Sir R. Blackmorc:
Heav'n's crystal battlements, to pieces dafli'd,
And universal uproar fili'd the world:
At once the hills that to the clouds aspire;
Ver. 195. In these four verse?, he says, that if the wind that is pent up in the cloud cannot break through, it may he assisted by other winds sicm without; and by whatever means the cloud
I be opened, the flames that ii ripe for birth »J1
I necessarily fall down.
Ver. 299. Lucretius adds two other ways bf which lightning may be caused; the first in cite verst•«. For ui kindled wind breaking out ot 1 cloud may grow hot and take fire, by the swi!'. ness of its morion, and the length of its course: Nor is this in the least incredibla. since a ball of I lead, driven with mighty force, wiH melt 11 i: j flies. Thus the poet: and though the instance i he brings might be confirmed by several andm.
ritics of the ancient poets and historians, yet it 1 ought to be reckoned among the sables of iniquity : Nevertheless, no man will deny but list many things take fire by the swiftness of their motion.
Ver. 305. This instance the poet brought!*fore ver. 183. See the note upon it.
Ver. 308. The second, in these twelve verfts If the wind beat furiously upon any thing, tbt feeds of fire may flow together upon the strokr, as well nut of the wind as out of the thing it strikes. Thus the wind takes fire, and lightnicf is made. But that such a confluxion os the secdi of fire may he made in that manner, U erideE from the striking of fiint and iron: And the objection of the wind's being cold (though even that can by no means be granted, by reason of the swiftness ef their motion), is of no weight: for the nature of iron is full as cold, yet fire wiil sparkle out when we strike it.
Ver. 32c. Hitherto he has treated of themture and generation of thunder, be cornel nw to argue ol its swiftness, and violence of stroke; which, fays he, may be gathered and expliiaed from what has been said already. For wiatl In up in a cloud, rages and grows hot; OruggUi all sides to get out of its prison; and, thtreferr.
I where it finds a passage, it must of ncccflirjbcri cut with mighty force and violence, in sixts^ Besides, it consists of smooth and small parhd* and therefore passes through the void and arftj passages of the air, in six verses. Add tothisit! weight, and that too very much increased br blows, in four verses. And, lastly, in eight rriti, that it falls from a great distance, and therefore every moment increases the swiftness of its Do
I fion: perhaps, too, it is helped forward by the air. And what wonder that a heavy body, burst
I ing out with violence out of a close prison,
I shoved forward by other bodies, falls impetuous^ and dashes to pieces all it meets in its way?
Ver. 324. The balista was a warlike engine, which the ancients made use of in their wans shoot darts or stones. It was called balista stem liiXXu, I cast. ,
Ver. 316. fn these six verses, he proves UK swiftness of lightning, from the tenuity of the atoms of which it consists. See book ii. vcr\ 36Jwhere the poet has already proved, that ligbtnitj is composed of smooth and subtle principles, »hich is the reason that nothing can withstand the violence of its stroke.
Ver. 33a. In these four verses, the poet argtt» for the swiftness of lightning, and the vielciics"