Short Fiction, Drollery
The narrator calls on a friend and is invited to go with him to join a group commenting on an epic poem by an 'amateur poet'. The subject of the poem is the solar eclipse of 1715, and a footnote by the narrator records that this was a total eclipse, directing the reader to an 'excellent paper respecting it by Dr. Halley' in the Philosophical Transactions for 1715. (322) Some of the objections raised to the poem by the assembled critics are of a physical nature. One critic observes: 'you have asserted too much when you say , "the beams impinge in streams;' how do you know this?'. The author refers his critic to Isaac Newton's Principia, but is answered: 'Yes, but I hold the sun to an efficient, not an emanative cause; with Euler, I hold that it produces certain vibrations in a certain fluid, which certainly produce light' (323).
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020
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