Edmund Halley praises Sir Isaac Newton

When he wasn't busy making the first meteorological map of the world, cataloguing the stars of the Southern Hemisphere, or, in 1705, predicting a schedule for a certain comet that follows it to this day, astronomer Edmund Halley wrote Latin hexameters. In the English versification excerpted here, Halley praises Sir Isaac Newton and his contribution to the world of science. Halley helped Newton publish his famous ``Principia Mathematica.'' Behold the regions of the heav'ns survey'd, And this fair System in the balance weigh'd! Behold the law, which (when in ruin hurl'd God out of Chaos call'd the beauteous world) Th' almighty fix'd, when all things good he saw! Behold the chaste, inviolable law! Before us now new scenes unfolded lie, And heav'n appears expanded to the eye; Th' illumin'd mind now sees distinctly clear What pow'r impels each planetary sphere. Thron'd in the center glows the king of day, And rules all nature with unbounded sway; Thro' the vast void his subject planets run, Whirl'd in their orbits by the regal sun. What course the dire tremendous comets steer We know, nor wonder at their prone career; Why silver Phoebe, meek-ey'd queen of night, Now slackens, now precipitates her flight; Why, scan'd by no astronomers of yore, She yielded not to calculation's pow'r; Why the Node's motions retrograde we call, And why the Apsides progressional. Hence too we learn, with what proportion'd force The moon impels, erroneous in her course, The refluent main: as waves on waves succeed, On the bleak beach they toss the sea-green weed, Now bare the dangers of th' engulfing sand, Now swelling high roll foaming on the strand. What puzzling school-men sought so long in vain, See cloud-dispelling Mathesis explain! O highly blest, to whom kind fate has given Minds to expatiate in the fields of heaven, All doubts are clear'd, all errors done away, And truth breaks on them in a blaze of day. Awake, ye sons of men, arise! exclude Far from your breasts all low solicitude; Learn hence the mind's aetherial pow'rs to trace, Exalted high above the brutal race.

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