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Truth, as found, according to the adage, in a well. The well itself is exhibited on the reverse side of the medal, and particularly denoted, to prevent mistake, by the word puteal : the resemblance to a well of the original prototype in the moon is very striking, not in general shape only, but as having the likeness of a wheel and axle, a rope and a bucket in it: the festoon engraved on the well in the medal may be traced likewise in the moon, as well as those appendages thereto which might have been intended, perhaps to represent hooped buckets. Finally, the word scribon seems referable to that likeness to a writing-desk or ink-stand with a pen in it, or to paper itself written upon, which the prototype of fig. 6 (which constitutes that of
dipus's swelled foot, with a hole or scar of a wound in it,) may be easily conceived to possess. On the whole it appears, from these last statements, that in sculpture and architecture of the oldest dates, (as well as in ancient poetry, which last has been shewn at so much length in the preceding volumes,) remains of art have come down to us which seem manifestly to have been intended to commemorate the different appearances exhibited by the moon, which appearances could never have been discernible unless by the aid of a telescope. . But as with some readers it may be still further
satisfactory, if the connection between the hiero. glyphics and the appearances in the moon be made out without the intervention of the telescope, an instrument which they may suppose, possibly, would give an opening for an undue exercise of the imagination; it may be observed, that it is only necessary to regard that luminary with the naked eye on any night of a full moon, in order to perceive, most clearly, on her disk, a groupe of figures made up of her shadows, similar to the rough sketch given in
which, indeed, is only a rough sketch, and not a
regular copy ; but if the reader is in any degree conversant with hieroglyphics, he cannot fail to recollect the seeing a groupe of figures, similar to that so pointed out to him in the moon, frequently engraved among the characters on the Egyptian temples and obelisks ; and to one of these, in particular as inserted in Pl. iv, in the sixth volume, I have already had occasion to draw his particular attention, in treating of the Signs of the Zodiac.
It is now twelve or fourteen years since I have looked at the moon with a telescope, but I have often amused myself with observing her with the naked eye; and though it is possible that either my eye or my memory may have deceived me, yet I cannot help thinking that the groupe which is sketched in fig. 149, undergoes, in the course of the year, several alterations. It has appeared to me that the standing figure on the right hand of the groupe approaches to and recedes from the centre of the moon in the course of that period, and that the sitting figure does the same, vice versa. Besides which, it has further appeared to me, that the bodies of the groupe which are much more distinctly visible in the months of Summer and Autumn; than they are in the Winter, are at some. seasons of the year, or perhaps at some part of each individual month, much more upright and erect
than they are at others, at which last times or seasons they decline their heads to the left hand, according more nearly with the position in which. fig. 149 is here inserted in the book. So that without any other assistance than the naked eye there would appear to be three great changes of the moon (other than her quarterly changes) visible in the course of a year, and a part of them perhaps in the course of each month, evidencing so many different sorts of libration; by means of the two first of which more of her eastern and western limbs are severally brought into view, and by the third there is a motion round her center from the north to the south; and it may be on this account that in Hudibras and in the Plays above inserted, there is such frequent reference to the three-fold action or three-fold speaking of the different characters represented therein.
Whether the reader will find my conjectures in these particulars, true or false, I know not; but it is proper he should be apprized that their truth or falsehood has no bearing one way or the other, upon the evidence on which that ancient system of physics rests, which has been so often mentioned to be reserved: and whatever may be the foundations of those conjectures, it will be admitted, probably, that I have thrown out sufficient