Friday, February 27, 2009

The Planetary System ~ Darwin

1. Fair star of Eve, thy lucid ray
Directs my thoughts to realms on high:
Great is the theme, though weak the lay,
For my heart whispers God is nigh.

2. The Sun, vicegerent1 of his power,
Shall rend the veil of parting night,
Salute the spheres, at early hour,
And pour a flood of life and light.

3. Seven circling planets I behold,
Their different orbits all described;
Copernicus these wonders told,
And bade the laws of truth revive.

4. Mercury and Venus first appear,
Nearest the dazzling source of day;
Three months compose his hasty year,
In Seven she treads the heavenly way.

5. Next earth completes her yearly course;
The Moon as satellite attends;
Attraction is the hidden force,
On which creation's law depends.

6. Then Mars is seen of fiery hue;
Jupiter's orb we next descry;
His atmospheric belts we view,
And four bright moons attract the eye.

7. Mars, soon his revolution makes,
In twice twelve months the Sun surrounds.
Jupiter, greater limits takes,
And twelve long years declare his bounds.

8.With ring of light, see Saturn slow,
Pursue his path in endless space;
By seven pale moons his course we know,
And thirty years that round shall trace.

9. The Georgium Sidus2 appears,
By his amazing distance known;
The lapse of more than eighty years
In his account makes one alone.

10. Six moons are his, by Herschel3 shown,
Herschel, of modern times the boast;
Discovery here is all his own,
Another planetary host!

11. And lo! by astronomic scan,
Three stranger planets track the skies,
Part of that high majestic plan,
Whence those successive worlds arise.

12. Next Mars, Piazzi's orb is seen,
Four years six months, complete his round;
Science shall renovated beam,
And gild Palermo's favored ground.

13. Daughters of telescopic ray,
Pallas4 Juno, smaller spheres,
Are seen near Jove's5 imperial way,
Tracing the heavens in destined years.

14. Comets and fixed stars I see,
With native luster ever shine;
How great! how good! how dreadful! He,
In whom life, light, and truth combine.

15. Oh! may I better know his will,
More implicitly obey;
Be God my friend, my father still,
From finite -- to eternal day.

Now, lest you think your eyes deceive you about the author of this poem I will inform you that this is not the more famous Darwin, though I have not yet been able to track down his first name (just try to Google Planetary System by Darwin and see what you find). If only the world had listened to this Darwin instead.

I discovered this beautiful and very educational poem (you could do whole unit study on it) in an antique school book printed in 1839 called The Reader and Definer: Pieces in Prose and Verse Designed for the Higher Classes by Albert Picket and John Picket. I have always been fascinated with school books printed before 1900, to consider the great thinkers educated by these books alone should make us wonder where we have went wrong with modern education. Perhaps this excerpt from the preface of the above mentioned book could give us a clue:
This second part of the New Juvenile Reader has been prepared with the direct reference to the objects of instruction -- the communication of ideas -- which are the elements of thought -- and the formation of moral character. The selection, therefore, are suited to the strength of young minds; to convey accurate and definite ideas, and to promote the growth and health of the moral affections.
All these old school books I have collected are based on a Biblical worldview and I don't mean Deistic either, Christ is often mentioned and extolled. As we homeschoolers seek to train up the next generation according to Scriptures I think we need to dust off these old educational books and reprint them (perhaps even update them a little) to use to educate true great thinkers -- those founded in the Word of God.

1VICEGE'RENT, n. [L. vicem gereus, acting in the place of another.] A lieutenant; a vicar; an officer who is deputed by a superior or by proper authority to exercise the powers of another. Kings are sometimes called God's vicegerents. It is to be wished they would always deserve the appellation.
VICEGE'RENT, a. Having or exercising delegated power; acting by substitution, or in the place of another.
~ Webster's 1828 Dictionary.
2 Uranus the planet.

3 astronomer (born in Germany) who discovered infrared light and who cataloged the stars and discovered the planet Uranus (1738-1822)

4 large asteroid; the second asteroid to be discovered

5A name for Jupiter.


Joyful Maiden said...

What an interesting post! I like old school books as well.:) Thanks for posting this!
(Sorry if there's a double of this comment.. *smile* I'm not sure if the first one went through.)

Louise Hammerhead said...

I liked the post a lot. It was really interesting. Thank you!

Louise Hammerhead said...

I liked your post. Thank you, Lydia!