Catalog # SKU3762
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Camille Flammarion
ISBN 10: 0000000000
ISBN 13: 0000000000000



Camille Flammarion

Illustrated By
De Bieler, Myrbach, & Gambard

Translated By
Augusta Rice Stetson

I WAS seventeen years old; her name was Urania. Was Urania a fair, blue-eyed maiden, a dream of spring, an innocent but inquisitive daughter of Eve? No; she was simply, as in days of yore, that one of the nine Muses who presided over astronomy, and whose celestial glance inspired and directed the chorus of the spheres; she was the angelic idea which soars above terrestrial dulness.

Print size, 13 point font



She had not the disturbing flesh, nor the heart whose palpitations are communicated at a distance, nor the gentle ardor of human life; but she existed nevertheless in a sort of ideal world,-lofty and always pure,-and yet she was human enough in name and form to produce a strong and deep impression upon an adolescent soul, to arouse in that soul an indefinite, indefinable feeling of admiration,-almost of love.

In his hours of solitude, and even through the intellectual labors with which the education of the day overloads his brain, a young man whose hand has never plucked the divine fruit from the tree of Paradise, whose lips are still untouched, whose heart has not yet spoken, whose senses are beginning to awaken amid vague new aspirations, thrills with a presentiment of the divinity to which he is soon to sacrifice, and personifies beforehand in ever-varying forms the unknown being who floats through the airy fabric of his dreams. He wishes, longs to reach this unknown being, but dares not yet, perhaps may never dare, in the purity of his admiration, unless some helping hand come to his aid. If Chloe is not well informed, indiscreet and talkative Lycinion must take it upon herself to instruct Daphnis.

Whatever tells us of the yet unknown attraction can charm, interest, delight, and captivate us. A cold engraving, showing the oval of a pure face, even an old-fashioned painting, a sculpture,-a sculpture especially,-awakens a new feeling in our hearts; the blood flows faster, or seems to stop; the idea crosses our reddening brow like a flash, and remains floating in our pensive mind. It is the beginning of desires, the beginning of life, the dawn of a beautiful summer day, harbinger of the sunrise. As for me, my first love, my adolescent passion, had, not for its object assuredly, but as a determining cause-a clock! It is rather odd, but so it is! Humdrum calculations used up all my afternoons from two until four; it was merely correcting observations, made the night before, of stars or planets by applying the reductions arising from atmospheric refraction, which itself depends on the height of the barometer and the temperature. These calculations are as simple as they are tiresome; they are made mechanically, by the help of prepared tables, while thinking of something else.

The illustrious Le Verrier was then director of the Paris Observatory. Although in no way artistic, he had in his study a golden bronze clock of very beautiful design, dating from the end of the First Empire,-the work of Pradier's chisel. The pedestal of this clock represented in bas-relief the birth of astronomy on the Egyptian plains. A massive celestial sphere surrounded by the zodiacal circle, supported by sphinxes, held the dial; Egyptian gods adorned the sides. But the chief beauty of this artistic work consisted of an exquisite little statue of Urania, lithe, elegant,-I had almost said majestic.

The celestial Muse was standing. With her right hand she measured the degrees of the starry sphere by the aid of a compass; her drooping left hand held a small astronomical telescope. Superbly draped, she looked down in an attitude of stately grandeur. I had never before seen so beautiful a face as hers. With the light falling directly upon it, the pure countenance looked grave and austere. If the light came to it obliquely, it appeared somewhat meditative; but coming from above and from the side, the enchanting face brightened with a mysterious smile, her glance grew almost caressing, her exquisite serenity gave place to an expression of joy, amiability, and happiness delightful to contemplate. It was like a song of the soul, a poetic melody. These changes of expression fairly made the statue alive. Muse and goddess, she was beautiful, she was enchanting, she was adorable.

242 pages - 7 x 8½ softcover

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