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above two total Eclipses that have happened in this or the last Century, viz. one in 1652, on Monday March 29; and the other in 1715, 21st of April, when it was total about two Minutes of Time. The next great Eclipse happened in 1737, Feb. 18. Another pretty large one happened in 1748 on the 13th of July ; besides these, we have no other to happen 'till the Year 1764, when more than five Parts out of six of the Sun's Diameter will be eclipsed *.
Euphrof. The Thing would not be so strange if it happened often.-The Sun recove.s his Splendor apáce the Stars begin to disappear; and the Beasts retreat from their Coverts to the open Fields again.
Cleon. Yes, 'iwill soon be Day once more; these ecliptic Nights last but a little Time ; they are scarce suf. ficient for a Nap
Euphrof. Pray, how large may the dark Shadow of the Moon be on the Part of the Earth which it sweeps ?
Cleon. When at a mean, it takes in the Comp ss of about 150 Miles ; and when greatest it extends to 220 Miles.
Euphrof. But what you call the Penumbral Shadow, I fee, is vastly larger . Cleon. Yes, it is so; it involves a Part of the Earth's Surface, no less than about four thousand three bundred and ninety-seven Miles over, at a Mean; and when greatest, it takes in about 600 Miles more ; and therefore all People about us, to the Distance of near two thousand five hundred Miles, will see the Sun eclipsed more or less.
Euphrof, The Eclipse, I see, is nearly at an End; I do assure you, Cleonicus, I never spent 21 Hours with more Pleasure and agreeable Surprize than now. If you please, we will now go to drink Tea, and then I shall trouble you with a few more Questions about an Eclipse of the Moon.
Cleon. With all my Heart, my Euphrofyne; you know nothing gives me a greater Pleasure than to satisfy your Enquiries about natural Things.
* This proved a most beautiful Annular Eclipse, for the Moon's Disk being at that time less than the Sun's, left a Ring on the Sun's Limb not eclipsed.
A must always happen in the Day-time, so those of
Cleon. And very justly, Sister; for since an Eclipse of the Moon can never happen, but when the Moon is at Full; and since the Moon is then in Opposition to the Sun, she will rise when the Sun sets; therefore no Eclipse of the Moon can be seen by us till after Sun-set. But the Moon may, and often does, rise and set eclipsed as well as the Sun. · Euphrof. As I said before, I need not ask how an Eclipse of the Moon happens, for 'tis plain from the Scheme,' that it is by the Moon's passing through the dark Shadow of the Earth FGLN.
Cleon. It is so; for the Earth at that Time coming between the Sun and Moon, and being much larger than the Moon, does cast so large a Shadow as often involves the Moon a' considerable Time therein. According to Lucretius :
So whilst the Moons their monthly Courses run
And hides the fick’ning Moon in Gloom of Night. Euphrof. The fick’ning Moon. I think it is a very beautiful Metaphor on that Occasion.
Cleon. It is fo; and it is only a Metaphor in the Poet; but the Vulgar among the Ancients did indeed believe that the Moon was actually fick, and laboured as in an Agony, and suffered a Kind of Death.
Euphros: Indeed! Pray, how came they by such a Notion ?
Cleon. Their Superstition taught them to look on the Moon as the Goddess who presided over the Earth ; and their Credulity (for the Ignorant believe any Thing) made them fit Fools for Magicians and Inchanters to work ppon; for these deceitful Wretches made them believe
that it was in their Power to bring the Goddess down from her Sphere, and to torture her by muttering over some Charms and Incantations in Verse; to which Milton thus ironically alludes,
Not uglier follow'd the Night Hag, when calld.
Eclipses at their Charms.
Or putting Tricks upon the Moon,
And to their Incantations floop Yea, so great was the Stupidity and Ignorance of the Ancients, that even Stefichorus and Pindar, two Poets of great Name, were of this ridiculous Opinion, if we believe Pliny the Historian.
Euphrof. And, pray, what did the poor deluded Mortals do in Behalf of their Deity, in such a disastrous Case ?
Cleon. Do! You'll smile to hear what they did ; they · endeavoured to relieve her by ringing of Bells, founding Trumpets, beating of brass Veliels, and making great Noises by hallooing, hooting, &c. to drown the muttering of Witches that the Moon might not hear them, and so receive no Harm. According to Lee's Imitation in his Oedipus
-The filver Moon is all o'er Blood :
And beat a thousand Drums to help her Labour. And Medea, boasting of her inchanting Power in Ovid, says,
I cleave the Rocks, the knotted Oaks I break;
Metam, Lib, YH,