127. Humboldt, Personal Narrative, II. 19, Miss Williams's Tr.,
has this passage: "From the time we entered the torrid zone, we were
never wearied with admiring, every night, the beauty of the Southern
sky, which, as we advanced toward the south, opened new constellations
to our view. We feel an indescribable sensation, when, on
approaching the equator, and particularly on passing from on
hemisphere to the other, we see those stars, which we have
contemplated from our infancy, progressively sink, and finally
disappear. Nothing awakens in the traveller a livelier
remembrance of the immense distance by which he is separated from
his country, than the aspect of an unknown firmament. The
grouping of the stars of the first magnitude, some scattered
nebulae, rivalling in splendor the milky way, and tracks of
space remarkable for their extreme blackness, give a particular
physiognomy to the Southern sky. This sight fills with admiration
even those who, uninstructed in the branches of accurate science,
feel the same emotion of delight in the contemplation of the
heavenly vault, as in the view of a beautiful landscape, or a
majestic site. A traveller has no need of being a botanist, to
recognize the torrid zone on the mere aspect of its vegetation;
and without having acquired any notions of astronomy, without any
acquaintance with the celestial charts of Flamstead and De la
Caille, he feels he is not in Europe, when he sees the immense
constellation of the Ship, or the phosphorescent clouds of
Magellan, arise on the horizon."
142. Compare Tennyson's Ulysses:--
"There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toiled, and wrought, and thought with me,--
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads,--you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honor and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
`T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and, sitting well in order, smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."