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The stars in song and legend. 




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Cornell University 
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THE STARS IN SONG 
AND LEGEND 



BY 



JERMAIN G^^^RTER, Ph.D. 

Director of the Cincinnati Observatory and Professor of 
Astronomy in the University of Cincinnati 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS FROM THE DRAWINGS OF 

ALBEECHT DtJEEE 



Boston, U.S.A., and London 
GINN & COMPANY, PUBLISHEES 

1902 






h 



■TJU^ ^-■2--,?' 



I,/ 



ENTERED AT STATIOKEBS' HALL 
COPYBIGHT, 1901 

BY JEBMAIN G. PORTEB 

ALL BIGHTS KESEBVED 



PREFACE 

I HAVE attempted in this little volume to present the 
legendary lore of the heavens in such a way as to attract the 
unprofessional reader. By numerous poetical quotations I 
have tried also to show the intimate connection of the stars 
with the best and highest in literature. The book embodies 
to a considerable extent the material that I have collected on 
this subject in the course of many years' lecturing to col- 
lege classes, though I have made free use also of that ency- 
clopedic work on Star Names and their Meanings, by R. H. 
Allen, published only a year or two ago. So exhaustive is 
the treatment of the constellations in Mr. Allen's book, that 
there might seem small excuse for again presenting the sub- 
ject; but the very completeness of that volume will render 
it less useful to many who might be interested in a briefer 
and more popular account of the star legends. 

I wish also here to record my indebtedness to Sir Norman 
Lockyer's Dawn of Astronomy for much interesting informa- 
tion concerning sun worship among the ancients. I have 
consulted, besides, many of the older standard works on 
mythology and on the constellations. 



VI PEEFACE 

Most of the quotations are taken directly from the originals, 
though in a few cases I have copied these from Smyth's Cycle 
of Celestial Objects or from Mr. Allen's work. 

The Latin forms of classic names have in general been 

adopted, and care has been taken to avoid as far as possible 

the introduction of Greek words or technical terms which 

\yould puzzle the unscientific reader. 

JERMAIN G. PORTER. 
June, 1901. 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Introduction . . . .... ix 

The Day-Star — Sun Myths and Sun Worship . 1 

Lunar Fables and Fancies .... . . 1.3 

The Starry Heavens . . ... 22 

Aries, the Kam . . . ... 27 

Taurus, the Bull . . .... 30 

Gemini, the Twi>-s . . .... 39 

Cancer, the Crab . . . 43 

Leo, the Lion . . ... 45 

Virgo, the Virgin . . .47 

Libra, the Scales . . . . 50 

Scorpio, the Scorpion . . 52 

Sagittarius, the Archer . . . 54 

Capricorxus, the Goat . . ... 55 

Aquarius, the "Water-Bearer . . .57 

Pisces, the Fishes .... . .58 

Ursa Major, the Great Bear . . . 61 

Ursa Minor, the Little Bear . ... 67 

Cbpheus and Cassiopeia . . 72 

Perseus and Andromeda . . 74 

Auriga, the Charioteer .... .77 

Coma Berenices (Berenice's Hair) ..... 80 

Bootes, the Herdsman ........ 82 



viii CONTENTS 

J'AGE 

Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown 85 

Hercules 88 

Ophiuchus, the Serpent-Bearer 90 

Lyra, the Lyre; Delphinus, the Dolphin; A^uila, the 

Eagle . 92 

Cygxus, the Swan . . 96 

Pegasus, the ^Vinged Horse 99 

Orion , . . 101 

Canis ^Ja.iou and Cams Minor, the Great and Little 

Dogs . . 107 

Argo Xavis, the Ship Argo 111 

Crux, the Southern Cross 116 

TllK GaLAXV, OU JIlLKY Way HQ 



Index 



125 



INTRODUCTION 

Astronomy as usually taught is purely a nature study. 
Viewed solely in that light, none certainly will dispute its 
educational value. To a far greater extent than any other 
science does it enlarge the mind and give a true conception 
of the relation of man to his physical environment. A liberal 
education implies some general knowledge, at least, of the 
wonderful revelations of modern astronomy. 

But astronomy possesses an interest for the student also 
from other points of view. Its great antiquity, for instance, 
renders it worthy of attention historically. Unlike other 
branches of science, which, for the most part, are but of yes- 
terday, the science of the stars may be traced backward till 
its beginnings are lost in the mythological and the fabulous. 
It is not, however, the formal history of astronomy that I now 
refer to, so much as the general relation of the progress of 
astronomical ideas with the growth of civilization. It will, 
in fact, be found that the knowledge of practical astronomy 
possessed by a people forms a very good criterion of their 
advancement in those arts which minister to physical well- 
being. Among savage tribes the heavenly bodies may be 



X INTEODUCTION 

regarded with awe, and even worshiped; but their motions 
and their relations to the form of the earth are not understood, 
and hence cannot be employed for the accurate reckoning of 
time, for navigation and surveying, with all the attendant 
advantages. Throughout historic times the connection has 
always been very close between the intellectual activity 
which has sought to wrest the secrets of nature from the 
stars, and the industrial activity which has manifested itself 
in exploration and extended commerce. 

To take one illustration, why was the discovery of the 
western continent so long delayed? We admire the splen- 
did civilizations of classic times. Why was it that clouds 
and darkness then enveloped four-fifths of the earth's sur- 
face ? Why could not the art which built the pyramids, or 
the skill that clothed the hills and vales of Greece with 
beauty, or the administrative power that made Rome the 
mistress of the nations, have pierced also the secrets of 
the ocean and brought to light the continents and islands 
embosomed in its heaving billows ? Why was Atlantis but 
a myth, and the outlying waters so full of terrors to the 
imagination of the ancient mariners that they only groped 
along the shore? We readily find the explanation in the 
crude notions regarding the figure of the earth which still 
enchained the popular mind. 

The ideas of those philosophers of the Augustan age, who 
had already perceived the truth on this subject, failed to gain 



INTRODUCTION xi 

general acceptance and were soon lost amid the darkness of 
scholasticism. Only with the revival of learning and the 
renewed study of the Greek classics did they again appear 
and begin to influence the thought of the age. Even in the 
time of Columbus the figment of a flat earth surrounded by 
an ocean stream was still so prevalent that, as we know, it 
was with the greatest difficulty that he obtained the means to 
fit out his vessels or the crews to man them. But for his 
thorough belief in the most advanced astronomical teaching 
of his day, we may be sure he would never have ventured 
upon his momentous voyage. 

Again, astronomy possesses an interest from what we may 
call the aesthetic point of view ; and this is the phase of the 
subject which it is desired particularly to present in this book, 
though it is also true that the mythology of the heavens 
throws much light on the historical development of the sci- 
ence. In all ages the celestial bodies have been objects of 
admiration, yet no doubt this was so more universally in the 
infancy of the race than in modern times. The progress of 
civilization tends to wean us away from nature. We do 
indeed make use of her forces and her laws, but the knowl- 
edge and skill which such use implies and necessitates are 
confined mostly to scientists and inventors ; and the scien- 
tific spirit which insists on uncovering all the secret springs 
of the cosmos reacts also on the popular mind and leads to 
unromantic views of nature. The rising and setting of the 



xii INTKODUCTION 

sun, the waxing and waning of the moon, the solemn march 
of the glittering star host across the firmament, are taken as 
matters of course and excite no. wonder and inspire no awe. 

Very different was it in the early days, when nature was 
not regarded as one vast machine wherein each part and each 
movement were articulated with all the rest, hut rather as a 
series of phenomena with special relations and individual 
significance. In the case of the heavenly bodies this view 
would naturally lead to their deification and worship. More 
especially would this be true because of the seemingly inti- 
mate connection not simply of the sun, but of the stars as 
well, with the changes of the seasons and the varying round 
of human activity associated therewith. That this worship 
of the sun, moon, and stars was well-nigh universal, we have 
abundant evidence. Even the Israelites had to be cautioned 
many times against the practice, as in Deuteronomy iv. 15-19: 
" Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves . . . lest thou 
lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, 
moon and stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be 
driven to worship them, which the Lord thy God hath divided 
unto all nations under the whole heaven." 

Although such worship was frequently accompanied by 
cruel and shameful rites, nevertheless the beauty and dignity 
of the objects, together with theii- exalted position and mys- 
terious yet beneficent influence, certainly redeemed this spe- 
cies of idolatry from the grossness and degrading character of 



INTRODUCTION ■ xiii 

some other forms, — as, for instance, the worship of animals 
and reptiles. 

In this deification of the celestial bodies many of the 
legends relating to them had their origin. These old stories, 
wild and fanciful as they are, reveal to us the thoughts and 
feelings with which primitive man gazed into the sky, and 
the relations and influences which he there traced. While 
they contain much that is crude and even ridiculous, we may 
discover also many beautiful ideas and ennobling conceptions. 
It is certainly worth while to study these legends, both because 
of their intrinsic interest, and for the view they give us of the 
weak, but none the less honest and earnest efforts, which our 
remote ancestors made to solve that complex, momentous 
problem, the relation of heaven to earth. 

Not all the star legends, however, come to us from antiquity. 
"We meet them in the folklore of more recent periods. In the 
far north and in the sunny south, among the wild aborigines 
of the continents and islands of the sea, as well as the peas- 
antry of the more civilized nations, these stories concerning 
the sky and its inhabitants are current. Then, too, the litera- 
ture of modern times abounds in references to the constella- 
tions and the myths associated with them. It is impossible 
to read understandingly a poet like Tennyson, with his con- 
stant allusions to classic mythology, or Longfellow, whose 
verse mirrors in numberless instances the beauties of the 
starry firmament, without some knowledge not simply of 



xiv INTRODUCTION 

astronomy as a science, but of the legendary lore connected 
with it. 

It is in the hope of leading the reader to a fuller apprecia- 
tion of the poetry of the sky, as well as to a greater interest 
in the stars themselves, that this little book has been written. 
Emerson in his essay on Nature says : " If the stars should 
appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe 
and adore, and preserve for many generations the remem- 
brance of the city of God which had been shown ! But 
every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the 
universe with their admonishing smile." And, alas ! too 
often we pay them scant heed. Even though our minds be 
unscientific, and the dry facts of astronomy do not appeal to 
us, let us at least familiarize ourselves with the face of the 
sky ; let us make friends with those mysterious giant figures 
that people its depths, so that whenever we lift our eyes and 
behold them shining down from their serene heights of ether, 
we shall recall the wonderful legends told of them in the 
long-ago, and the beautiful fancies which they have inspired 
in the poetic soul of every age. 



When I survey the bright 

Celestial sphere, 
So rich "with jewels hung, that night 
Doth like an Ethiop bride appear ; 
My soul her wings doth spread. 

And heavenward flies, 
The Almighty's mysteries to read 
In the large volumes of the skies. 

WiLLiAj[ Habington, 1605-45. 



THE STARS IN SONG AND 
LEGEND 



THE DAY-STAR — SUN MYTHS AND 
SUN WORSHIP 

One sun by day, by night ten thousand shine, 

And light us deep into the Deity ; 

How boundless in magnificence and might ! 

Young — Night Thoughts. 

Theke can be no doubt that the sun was the first 
of all the celestial bodies to be observed and studied. 
The mysterious thoughts and unanswerable question- 
ings which its rising must have excited in the mind 
of the primitive philosopher are well voiced in the 
poems of Ossian : 

Whence are thy beams, Sun, thy everlasting light? 

Thou comest forth in thy awful beauty ; the stars hide them- 
selves in the sky ; the moon, cold and pale, sinks in 
the western wave ; but thou thyself movest alone. 



2 THE STAKS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

It is impossible for us, with our accurate knowledge 
of the natural causes that produce the phenomenon of 
day and night, to appreciate the feelings of our remote 
ancestors as the great orb of day sank below the hori- 
zon. How almost death-like must have seemed the 
darkness that settled over the landscape, and how 
tremendously important the coming of the dawn and 
the return of day ! That divine honors should be 
paid to the great source and dispenser of light and 
life was inevitable. 

Sun "Worship in India. — Evidences of this sun worship 
can be found in nearly every nation of antiquity. The 
Vedas contain hymns to the sky, to the dawn, and to 
the sun, forming a kind of ritual, which was chanted 
by the priests at sunset and sunrise. The burden of 
these hymns is the universal conflict between good and 
evil as typified by the struggle between light and dark- 
ness. " Will the dawn return ? Will the sun again 
rise? Will the powers of darkness be conquered by 
the god of light ? " 

Professor Max Miiller thus characterizes this primitive 
literature : " I look upon the sunrise and sunset, on 
the daily return of day and night, on the battle 
between light and darkness, on the whole solar drama 



SUN MYTHS AND SUN WORSHIP 3 

in all its details that is enacted every day, every 
month, every year, in heaven and in earth, as the 
principal subject." 

Egyptian Ideas of the Sun-God; the Myth of Horus. — 
WhUe the Vedas carry us back more than three 
thousand years and give us some insight into the forms 
of worship prevailing among the ancestors of our own 
Aryan race, in the Nile country we can trace the 
evidences of a similar cult to a period even more 
remote. By the Egyptians the sun was worshiped, 
not simply as the general source of light ; they dis- 
tinguished various forms of the sun-god, depending 
upon the positions occupied in its daily course. The 
rising sun was Horus, the child-god ; Amen Ra, the 
sun in his noontide strength; and Osiris, the setting 
sun, dying and passing into the under-world of dark- 
ness. The deity that presided over this under-world 
was Typhon, and we find him symbolized by the cir- 
cumpolar constellations. These constellations never 
set, and are consequently always visible when the sun 
is absent from the sky. To the untutored mind there 
came naturally, therefore, to be an antithesis between 
■the two. The relations, as they existed in the thoughts 
of those primitive peoples, between the rising and 



4 THE STAKS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

setting sun and the powers of darkness that ruled the 
night were beautifully set forth in the Myth of 
Horus. 

This legend, depicted on the temple walls, is exceed- 
ingly ancient, going back perhaps as early as 5000 B.C. 
It represents Horus, the rising sun, battling with and 
slaying Typhon, the god of darkness, in the form of 
a crocodile or hippopotamus, to revenge the death of 
his father Osiris, the setting sun. The astronomical 
significance of the myth is very plain. The rising sun 
blots out or destroys the circumpolar constellations, 
sjonbolized by the crocodUe or hippopotamus ; these in 
their turn being responsible for the disappearance and 
death of the setting sun. 

Orientation of Egyptian Temples. — It is a well-known 
fact that the pyramids stand square with the points of 
the compass, and therefore face .sunrise at the time of 
the equinox. But the pyramids do not represent by 
any means the oldest civilization of Egypt. Among 
the temple remains in Upper Egypt are some whose 
ruins must have been already hoary with the dust of 
centuries when the pyramid builders began their work. 
When these ruins were first explored and mapped, 
their arrangement greatly puzzled archaeologists ; they 



SUlSr MYTHS AND SUN WORSHIP 



seemed to have been set down haphazard, facing indis- 
criminately in all directions. Later and more careful 
study has revealed the inter- 
esting fact that these temples 
were erected for the purpose of 
observing the rising or setting 
of different heavenly bodies. 
Indeed, in some respects they 
resembled gigantic telescopes. 
Their ground plan was such, 
with chamber and ante-cham- 
ber connected by ever-narrow- 
ing apertures, that a beam of 
light entering through the 
outer pylon would pass along 
the whole length of the tem- 
ple, until finally it penetrated 
to the inmost sanctuary and 
there formed an image of 
the luminous object upon the 
wall. 

Some of these structures were used for observing 
the sun, others for the stars. It was found that 
many of the solar temples faced the sunrise or sunset 




Ground Plan of Temple at 
Thebes (Lepsius) 

A. Pylon 

B. Inner sanctuary 



6 THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

at the time of the summer solstice. The motive that 
suggested this arrangement we can readily under- 
stand. The rising of the Nile was to the Egyptians 
the most important event of the year, and this rise 
during all historic time has begun very near the sol- 
stice. The priests, in the absence of an accurate cal- 
endar, were enabled to determine the time when the 
inundation was due by watching from their temples 
the gradual northward movement of the sun. No 
doubt the temples of this class played a prominent 
part in the ceremonies connected with the great 
annual festival which celebrated the approach of the 
life-giving flood. 

Other temples were oriented to the winter solstice. 
Here, too, the motive is not far to seek. As the sun 
was the personification of all good, its gradual sinking 
downward in the south, causing shorter days and a 
longer reign of the nocturnal powers of darkness, was 
naturally regarded with foreboding and dread. The 
cessation of this southward movement and the begin- 
ning of the sun's return were hailed with gladness and 
made the occasion of joyous festivities. 

Solar Temples ia Greece. — Although the worship of 
the sun was perhaps more thoroughly organized and 



SUN MYTHS AND SUN WORSHIP 7 

attended by more elaborate ceremonies in Egypt than 
elsewhere, yet traces of this cult may be discovered in 
nearly every land. Recent investigations have shown 
that almost all the Grecian temples were oriented so 
that the sunlight might enter them at some time in the 
year. While the artistic spirit of the Greeks trans- 
formed the Egyptian architectural ideas of massiveness 
and mystery into those of grace and beauty, yet the 
one fundamental thought remained the ^ame, — an 
unobstructed axis, so that the sun's rays might pierce 
through to the cella and render glorious the statue 
of the god there erected. 

The sun's representative in the Greek pantheon was 
Helios, afterwards identified, partially at least, with 
Phoebus Apollo. According to the later poets, he inhab- 
ited a splendid palace somewhere below Colchis, to 
which, after his daily drive in a glowing chariot across 
the sky, he was conveyed in a winged boat of gold 
along the northern coast of the Euxine sea. 

Baal Worship. — The Phoenicians worshiped the sun 
under the name of Baal. The Moloch of the Ammon- 
ites and Chemosh of the Moabites were probably variant 
names of the same deity. From these nations the Israel- 
ites borrowed their idolatrous practices. Some have 



THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 



thought that the Beltane, or sacred fire of the Celtic 
nations, was a survival of Baal worship. However this 
may be, it is certain that the sun was reverenced 
among these peoples, and yearly festivals in his honor 
were held. 

The Druids. — The priests of this worship were the 
Druids. They seem to have erected no temples, but to 
have performed their rites under the open sky. The 




Stonehenge 



immense circles of standing stones, of which Stone- 
henge on Salisbury plain is the most famous, probably 
marked their sacred places. The circular arrangement 



SUN MYTHS AND SUN WORSHIP 9 

of these monoliths in itself suggests a connection with 
the worship of the sun, and this idea has received 
confirmation by the discovery that the single large 
rock lying in the avenue which forms the approach to 
Stonehenge is so placed that, as the sun rises on mid- 
summer's day, its shadow falls upon the central altar. 
The Druids, like the Egyptian priests, no doubt 
determined in this way the turning point of the year. 
Mrs. Hemans thus refers to this Druidical worship : 

Where the Druid's ancient cromlech frowned, 
And the oaks breathed mysterious murmurs round, 
There thronged the inspired of yore, on plain or height, 
In the sun's face, beneath the eye of light, 
And baring unto heaven each noble head. 
Stood in the circle, where none else might tread. 

Scandinavian Myths. — In the cosmogony of the north- 
ern nations the sun naturally played a prominent part. 
The conflict of the wild, bitter forces of the north with 
the genial, radiant influences of the south resulted in 
the birth of the world and its inhabitants. Night was 
of the race of the giants, and Day was her son. To 
them the All-father gave chariots and horses. As 
Night courses across the sky the foam from the mouths 
of her steeds flecks the earth with rime-drops. Following 



10 THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

close in her tracks comes the fair youth Day, and the 
light which streams from the glowing manes of his 
horses illumines the sky and the world. 

It is a somewhat curious fact that, according to the 
Norse mythology, the end of the world, as well as its 
beginning, will be due to the agency of the fire prin- 
ciple. The personification of this principle is Loki, 
who at first was beneficent, but fell from his high 
estate and became destructive like a raging flame. 
His progeny will finally, in the " twilight of the gods," 
prevail over the other deities, devouring the sun, moon, 
and stars, and scattering abroad firebrands which will 
burn up, not only the world, but even Valhalla itself. 
Among the Scandinavian as well as the Celtic peoples, 
the worship of fire and sun seems to have been very 
prevalent. 

Peruvian Sun Worship. — Again, in far-away Peru, the 
Spanish conquerors found this cult well organized with 
elaborate ceremonials. The Incas claimed to be the 
children of the sun, and his worship was their peculiar 
care. In Cuzco, the capital, stood a splendid temple 
with an image of the sun in solid gold upon the 
western wall. When the huge doors of the eastern 
portal were thrown open, the rays of the rising sun 



SUN MYTHS AND SUN WORSHIP 11 

fell full upon this image, which shone with dazzling 
splendor. All of the implements and ornaments of 
the temple were likewise of gold. In the figurative 
language of the people, gold was the " tears wept by 
the sun." 

Orientation of Christian Cathedrals. — We thus see how 
exceedingly widespread was the worship of the great 
luminary. It is not surprising that upon the introduc- 
tion of Christianity the usages incident to sun worship 
could not be wholly displaced, but were to some extent 
retained and adapted to Christian ideas. The medieval 
cathedrals, for instance, like the temples of Egypt and 
Greece, were oriented to the sunrise. The old basilica 
of Saint Peter at Rome was so exactly aligned to the 
east, that when the great doors were opened on the 
verjial equinox, the sun's rays penetrated straight 
through the nave and illuminated the high altar. 
From the fifth century to the Renaissance this practice 
was generally carried out, many even of the old Eng- 
lish cathedrals facing either due east or to the point 
of sunrise on the festival of their patron saint. The 
mystical reasons given in defense of this custom were 
that the Saviour on the cross had his face toward the 
west ; hence the Christian's sanctuary should have its 



12 THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

outlook to tlie east, where also in the last day Christ 
will descend from heaven. 

But what necessity for explanation or apology ? 
Where in all nature shall we find a more fitting type 
of the Uncreated Glory than in the sun ? 



LUNAR FABLES AND FANCIES 

The silver-footed queen. 

Homer. 

All night, through archways of the bridged pearl 
And portals of pure silver, walks the moon. 

Tennyson — Sonnet. 

Moon Worship among the Ancients. — The moon, like 
the sun, had her worshipers. Astarte, the beautiful 
but licentious Syrian divinity, called by the Hebrews 
Ashtaroth, or the Queen of Heaven, was a moon 
goddess. In Greece she became Selene, and with the 
Romans, Diana. Following classic mythology, we 
make the moon feminine, but this usage is not by any 
means universal. In the Scandinavian myths the 
moon is a god and the sun a goddess. The same 
inversion of gender is found also among the Arabians, 
the Aztecs and Hindus. Possibly the lugubrious and 
unmistakably masculine countenance which the full 
moon shows, may be to some extent responsible for 
this practice. Yet, curiously enough, the picture seen 
in the lunar spots has not been so generally a human 

13 



14 THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

likeness. The folklore both of the eastern and the 
western world has associated them far more frequently 
with the hare. 

Legend of Buddha. — According to a Hindu legend, 
Buddha, in an early stage of his existence, was a hare 
traveling in company with an ape and a fox. The god 
Indra^ disguised as a beggar, asked them for food, and 
the three went out to seek it. The hare alone returned 
from his quest unsuccessful ; and not wishing to seem 
lacking in hospitality, ordered a fire built, and cast 
himself into it to roast for his guest's supper. In 
reward for this heroic devotion to duty, the god placed 
him in the moon. Other legends locate on the moon 
the palace of the king of the hares ; and some of the 
South African tribes associated the hare and the moon 
in their worship, and explained the markings on its 
face as the result of scratches inflicted by the hare in 
revenge for the moon's ill treatment. 

The Man in the Moon. — The "man in the moon" is 
so plain as to be recognizable at a glance. Various 
stories to account for his presence there have been 
current. One of the most widely prevalent connected 
him with the Hebrew who was stoned for gathering 
sticks on the Sabbath. A variation of this leo-end as 



LUNAE FABLES AND FANCIES 15 

given by many writers is something like this : A man 
traveling on Sunday with a bundle on his back was 
met by a fairy, who asked him why he worked on the 
Sabbath. He replied : " Sunday on earth or Monday in 
heaven, it is all one to me." " Then carry your bundle 
forever," she answered. "As you have no regard for 
Sunday on earth, take your perpetual Monday (Moon- 
day) in heaven and travel with the moon." So there 
he still remains. 

Scandinavian folklore recognizes on the moon two 
children bearing a pail of water suspended on a pole 
from their shoulders. This is probably the original of 
our Jack and Jill, the vanishing of one spot after 
another as the moon wanes, representing the fall first 
of Jack and then of Jill. 

The Lady in the Moon. — The "man in the moon" is 
decidedly homely, not to say ugly ; but a much more 
beautiful as well as more striking likeness to a human 
countenance may be seen by those who know where 
to look for it. Upon the western half of the moon, 
with face slightly upturned towards the east, can be 
traced the profile of a lovely maiden. In modern 
times this has received the name of Selen^, the Greek 
title of the moon goddess. Whether it has ever been 



16 THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

recognized previous to our day seems to be doubtful; 
yet legends of fair women in ■ connection with our 




Actual Contour The Fa«e accentuated 

The Lady in the JIuux 

satellite are to be found in every age. In classic times 
we have the identification of the moon with Diana. 

Queen and huntress, chaste and fair, 

Now the sun is laid to sleep, 
Seated in thy silver chair, 

State in wonted manner keep. 

Bex Jonsox. 

Sometimes it is Diana's chariot, rather than the 
goddess herself, as in her wooing of Endymion told 

by Morris : 

There came a vision of a lovely maid, 
Who seemed to step, as from a golden car 
Out of the low-hung moon. 



LUNAR FABLES AND FANCIES 17 

Then the Incas of Peru had their story of a beauti- 
ful maiden, who in the long-ago fell in love with the 
moon and cast herself into his arms ; while some of 
the Pacific islanders made the moon the rough wooer 
who snatched a fair bride from the earth. The 
Indian legend regarding the moon spots is told by 
Longfellow, where Hiawatha 

Saw the moon rise from the water, 

Eippling, rounding from the water, 

Saw the flecks and shadows on it. 

Whispered, " What is that, Nokomis ? " 

And the good Nokomis answered, 

" Once a warrior very angry. 

Seized his grandmother and threw her 

Up into the sky at midnight ; 

Eight against the moon he threw her ; 

'Tis her body that you see there." 

Many other stories about these markings might be 
collected. All of them, of course, like the pictures one 
sees in the fire, are purely children of the fancy. 

Supposed Resemblance to the Earth. — Vague notions of 
a possible resemblance to the earth seem now and then 
to have been entertained. The Druids, we are told, 
imagined seas upon its surface, and even considered it 



18 THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

to be the residence of happy souls who at death were 
borne thither on a whirlwind. But it was not until 
the invention of the telescope that this idea took defi- 
nite shape. Milton, the contemporary of Galileo, 
immortalized the discovery of his astronomer friend, 
comparing Satan's shield to 

. . . the moon, whose orb 
Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views 
At evening from the top of Eesole, 
Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands, 
Rivers or mountains in her spotty globe. 

To be sure, this likeness to the earth did not prove 
to be so close as the early telescopic observers fondly 
dreamed. Many of their beautiful fancies faded away, 
leaving the moon a lifeless, waterless, and airless world. 
What wonder that philosophers and poets, in despair at 
the uninviting prospect presented by science for their 
contemplation on the hither side of the moon, have 
turned for consolation to the farther side, allowing their 
imaginations to run riot in depicting its loveliness and 
splendor! 

Thus Robert Browning : 

What, there 's nothing in the moon noteworthy ? 
Nay : for if that moon could love a mortal, 



LUNAR FABLES AND FANCIES 19 

Use, to charm him (so to fit a fancy), 

All her magic ('tis the old sweet mythos), 

She would turn a new side to her mortal. 

Side unseen of herdsman, huntsman, steersman, — 

Blank to Zoroaster on his terrace, 

Blind to Galileo on his turret, 

Dumb to Homer, dumb to Keats — him, even ! 

Think, the wonder of the moon-struck mortal. 

When she turns round, comes again in heaven, 

Opens out anew for worse or better ! 

AVhat were seen ? None knows, none ever shall know. 

Only this is sure — the sight were other. 

Not the moon's same side, born late in Florence, 

Dying now impoverished here in London. 

God be thanked, the meanest of his creatures 

Boasts two soul-sides, one to face the world with, 

One to show a woman when he loves her ! 

— One Word More. 

Moon Superstitions. — Modern superstitions concerning 
the moon are quite niimerouS; and much more widely 
credited than would be supposed possible in this 
enlightened age. One of the most common is the 
expectation of good luck if the new moon be first 
seen over the right shoulder. Kustic belles frequently 
attempt in this way to discover their future partners, 



20 THE STAES IN SONG AND LEGEND 

the glance at the moon being accompanied by an 

incantation : 

I prithee, good moon, declare to me 
This night who my husband shall be. 

A dream is expected to follow giving the desired 
information. 

In rural neighborhoods also the belief in the moon's 
influence on vegetation is very strong. The general 
rule seems to be that things which grow in the ground, 
like potatoes, must be planted in the dark of the 
moon, and those that grow above ground in the light 
of the moon. The old superstition about the malign 
influence of the moon on the human body is largely 
dispelled. Though lunacy is, perhaps, not less com- 
mon than formerly, we no longer attribute it to the 
changing aspects of fair Luna. Not so, however, 
with the weather. There is never a storm nor a 
drought, a cold wave or hot wave, but the poor 
moon is held responsible. Every change of the 
weather, expected or unexpected, is readily accounted 
for by the appearance, position, or phase of the 
moon. 

One old writer described the moon as "the great 
depository of misspent time, wasted wealth, broken 



LUNAR FABLES AND FANCIES 21 

VOWS, unanswered prayers, fruitless tears, abortive 
attempts, unfulfilled desires and intentions." If we 
could only add to this list unfounded superstitions, of 
wliat a vast amount of useless rubbish should we clear 
the world ! 



THE STARRY HEAVENS 

Stars with golden feet are wand'ring 

Yonder, and they gently weep 
That they cannot earth awaken 

"Who in night's arms is asleep. 

Heine. 

Number of the Stars. — When we gaze into the star- 
bespangled vault we are apt to experience a certain 
bewilderment. Those glittering gems seem to stand 
" thick as dewdrops on the fields of heaven," and to be 
absolutely numberless. The sands upon the seashore 
and the stars of heaven have ever been symbols of infin- 
itude. Thus God said to Abraham, " I will multiply 
thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which 
is upon the seashore " ; and of David, " As the host of 
heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the 
sea measured ; so I will multiply the seed of David my 
servant." 

That the number of the stars revealed by the tel- 
escope does actually exceed the possibility of reckoning 
is absolutely true ; but when we begin to count those 

22 



THE STARRY HEAVENS 23 

that can be certainly discerned with the naked eye, we 
discover that they are not so innumerable as they seem. 
Seldom can more than two thousand be distinguished at 
any one time ; but this number is not sharply defined, for 
a multitude hover just on the verge of visibility and 
under favorable conditions start, as it were, into being. 

The Constellations. — Although scattered in apparent 
confusion over the sphere, yet the brighter stars form 
many striking configurations, which from the earliest 
ages have been recognized and named. The great 
majority of the constellations date back to prehistoric 
times. Forty-eight of them come down to us from days 
preceding those of Homer and of Hesiod. Not many 
of these groups show any resemblance to the objects for 
which they are named, and it is therefore impossible in 
most cases to discover the relationship supposed to exist, 
or the consideration which influenced the choice of appel- 
lation. Evidently imagination was the most potent 
factor in determining the nomenclature of the sky. 

To some extent we find different systems prevailing 
among different nations ; but it is to Greece that we 
principally owe the figures which are now depicted on 
our celestial globes, and the many interesting myths 
associated with them. Not that all the constellations 



24 THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

primarily originated in that country ; for the Greeks, 
great astronomers though they were, were also great 
travelers, and were ever ready to borrow from other 
peoples and other civilizations. We know that many 
of their wise men visited Egypt, and brought back 
thence much curious information gathered in the silent, 
mysterious temples, or wormed out of the sphinx-like 
priests. Even more of their astronomical knowledge, 
however, was probably obtained from the Chaldeans, 
who were especially proficient in that science. Among 
the Eomans Chaldean and Astrologer were synonymous 
terms. Isaiah also mentions Babylon as the home of 
the astrologers, the star-gazers, and the monthly prog- 
nosticators ; and we must remember that there was then 
no definite distinction between astrology and astronomy. 
In particular, an intimate acquaintance with the con- 
stellations was requisite for the casting of horoscopes. 
It is, therefore, probably true, as Ideler asserted nearly 
a century ago, that the majority of the constellations 
originated on the Euphrates. With regard to the zodiac 
certainly, there is a general agreement of opinion among 
arch^ologists that its twelve divisions or signs, each 
marked by a corresponding star group, have come down 
to us from Accadian or pre-Babylonian peoples. 



THE ST ARE Y HEAVENS 25 

The Zodiac. — This zone or girdle, stretching around 
the celestial sphere, might be called the zoological 
garden of the sky, our title, zodiac, coming from the 
Greek and signifying " a circle of animals." Previous 
to the introduction of Libra, the Scales, which occurred 
at a comparatively late epoch, all the signs, in fact, rep- 
resented living creatures. Notwithstanding this addi- 
tion, the division into twelve parts seems to have been 
very ancient, the Scorpion being originally a double sign 
and the Claws occupying the present position of Libra. 

We may, no doubt, trace this duodecimal division to 
the twelve months which constitute the solar year ; 
each sign would thus measure the progress of the sun 
during one complete revolution of the moon. It were 
rash, perhaps, to ascribe the sacred character of the 
number tweh^e to this source ; yet Josephus associated 
the twelve stones in the breastplate of the high priest 
with the constellations of the zodiac ; and the twelve gates 
of the celestial city of Saint John's apocalyptic vision, 
each several gate of one pearl, not unnaturally suggest 
the twelve starry portals of the sun's annual journey. 
Schiller at any rate has expressed the thought : 

Twelve ! twelve signs hath the zodiac, five and seven ; 
The holy numbers include themselves in twelve. 



26 THE STAES IN SONG AND LEGEND 

For one who desires to familiarize himself with the 
configurations of the stars, it will be well to begin with 
the zodiacal constellations. Since they follow each 
other in a continuous belt around the sky, the recog- 
nition of a few prominent ones assists in locating the 
rest : thus, the Pleiades mark Taurus ; Castor and 
Pollux distinguish Gemini ; the sickle indicates Leo ; 
Virgo may be known by the lone star Spica, Scorpio by 
the fiery Antares, and Sagittarius by the arrowhead. 
The last three, Capricornus, Aquarius, and Pisces, are 
less distinct, but may be traced with a little patience. 
Moreover, if these groups are familiar, we have celestial 
landmarks, so to speak, some of which are always visi- 
ble ; and by their help other constellations, contiguous 
to the north or south, may be found. Assuming that 
the two principal circumpolar constellations, the Great 
Dipper and the celestial '' W," or Cassiopeia's Chair, 
lying on opposite sides of the pole star, are also known, 
the remaining regions of the sky are not so extensive 
but that, with the assistance of a good atlas, they may 
be surveyed and their mystic figures traced without 
serious difficulty. 



ARIES, THE RAM 

Now the zephyrs diminish the cold, and the year being ended, 
Winter Maeotian seems longer than ever before ; 
And the Ram that bore unsafely the burden of Helle, 
Now makes the hom-s of the day equal with those of the night. 

Longfellow — Translation from Ovid. 

Aries is the first sign of the zodiac. Two or three 
thousand years ago, when these constellations were 
originally fashioned, it marked the vernal equinox, the 
passage of the sun through which betokens the opening 
of spring; but owing to the precession or slow west- 
ward movement of the equinoctial points, Aries no 
longer occupies this place of honor but has drifted on 
to the eastward. Spenser in the Faerie Queene very 
correctly sets forth this fact : 

For that same golden fleecy Earn, which bore 
Phrixus and Helle from their stepdame's feares, 
Hath now forgot where he was plast of yore, 
And shouldered hath the Bull, which fayre Eiiropa bore. 

The constellation is not particularly brilliant, yet 
Aratus' description, 

27 



28 THE STAES IN SONG AND LEGEND 

Faint and starless to behold 
As stars by moonlight, 

scarcely does it justice. 

The Phenomena of Aratus. — The poem of Aratus, just 
quoted, is the earliest description of the starry heavens 
now extant. It is entitled The Phenomena, and was 
written in the third century B.C. So popular was 
it with the Greeks and afterwards with the Romans, 
that Landseer tells us " it became the polite amuse- 
ment of the ladies to work the celestial forms in gold 
and silver on the most costly hangings." Even in 
more modern times this popularity does not seem to 
have waned, as shown by the fact that no less than 
one hundred and twenty editions in the various lan- 
guages of Europe have appeared since the invention 
of printing. The chief value of the poem lies in the 
accurate knowledge it affords us of the early arrange- 
ment of the constellations, our present star maps being, 
indeed, to a large extent based upon it. Aratus has 
also for us an added interest as the poet whom Saint 
Paul quotes in his speech on Mars' Hill to the novelty 
loving Athenians, the line, 

Eor we are also his offspring, 
occurring in the opening dedication. 



ARIES, THE RAM 29 

Mythology of Aries. — To return to our constellation, 
it represents in mythology the ram with the golden 
fleece of Argonautic fame, whose story briefly told is 
this. Phrixus and Helle were the children of Athamas, 
a legendary king of Thessaly, who afterward repudiated 
his first wife and married another. To enable the 
children to escape the displeasure of their stepmother, 
Mercury sent a ram, which took them on its back, 
vaulted into the air, and rushed off towards the east. 
In crossing the strait that divides Europe from Asia, 
Helle became frightened, lost her hold, and fell into 
the sea, which thereafter was known as the Hellespont. 
Continuing his flight, the ram bore the boy to Colchis, 
at the eastern end of the Euxine or Black sea. In 
return for his kind reception, Phrixus sacrificed the 
ram and gave its golden fleece to the king of the 
country, who hung it in the sacred grove of Ares 
under the guard of a sleepless dragon. As we shall 
see, several other constellations are associated with the 
further history of this remarkable fleece. 

Hamal. — The chief star of Aries, marking his fore- 
head, was called by the Arabs Hamal, a sheep. Among 
the Greeks in early times this star held the important 
office of sunrise herald at the vernal equinox. 



TAURUS, THE BULL 

Sweet Europa's mantle blew unclasp'd, 

From off her shoulder backward borne : 

From one hand droop'd a crocus ; one hand grasp'd 

The mild bull's golden horn. 

Tennysok — Pcdace of Art. 

Taurus is one of the most notable of all the constel- 
lations, containing within its borders two celebrated 
groups of stars, the Hyades and the Pleiades. The 
Roman year prior to the time of Julius Caesar began 
in March. At that season Taurus is just visible on 
the western horizon, setting after the sun ; hence 
Virgil's well-known description : 

The white bull opens with his golden horns the year. 

In legendary lore it was Europa's bull, Jupiter 
having assumed this disguise to bear the maiden away 
from her companions, with whom she was sporting on 
the shores of her native Phoenicia, to the island of 
Crete. On our star maps, following the ancient 
representation, only the front part of the animal is 
depicted. This, as usually explained, is because he 

30 



TAURUS, THE BULL 31 

is swimming through the sea, and his flanks are 
immersed in the waves. 

The Hyades. — The Hyades, which Aratus accurately 
describes as 

Whitening all the bull's broad forehead, 

form a most conspicuous and beautiful group. They 
were daughters of Atlas, and together with their half- 
sisters, the Pleiades, were called Atlantides. The 
appellation Hyades, supposed to be derived from the 
Greek word for rain, is usually attributed to their 
reputed influence on the weather. In the showery 
springtime they set just after the sun, and in the 
stormy period of late fall just before sunrise. Why 
the stars in these special positions should exercise more 
than ordinary control over terrestrial affairs would be 
difficult to explain ; but the notion was extremely 
prevalent in ancient times that the heliacal rising or 
setting, as it was called, of the heavenly bodies had 
some peculiar influence ; the heat of the dog days, for 
instance, being ascribed to the appearance of Sirius 
above the horizon just before sunrise. Whether or not 
the suggested derivation of the word be correct, however, 
moisture and storm were universally attributed to the 



32 THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

Hyades. The classic writers again and again refer to 
them as the rain stars ; Spenser called them " moist 
daughters," and in Tennyson's Ulysses we read : 

Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades 
Vex'd the dim sea. 

Aldebaran. — Aldebaran, the bright star in the Hyades 
group, signifies "hindmost." The Arabians so named 
it because it follows or drives the Pleiades. Another 
popular title is "the Bull's-eye," from its position 
in the constellation. The slight tinge of red in the 
light of tliis star gives it an added beauty, and makes 
it one of the most conspicuous ornaments of our win- 
ter nights. Mrs. Sigourney in The Star^ thus finely 

portrays it : 

Go forth at night 

And talk with Aldebaran, where he flames 

In the cold forehead of the wintry sky. 

The Pleiades. — The Pleiades lie upon the neck of the 
Bull, where they seem to cluster, as Bayard Taylor has 
it, like golden bees upon its mane, or, as Tennyson 
beautifully describes them, like fireflies in the even- 
ing's dusk : 

Many a night I saw the Pleiads, rising through the mellow shade, 
Glitter like a swarm of fireflies tangled in a silver braid. 



TAURUS, THE BULL 33 

With tlie Greeks these were the sailing stars, indi- 
cating by their heliacal rising the opening of navigation 
in May ; and this has been the common derivation of 
the title Pleiades, from the Greek "to sail," but it 
seems more probable that it comes from another word 
signifying "many." Some of the classic poets made 
them a flock of pigeons flying from the celestial hunter 
Orion, and in popular folklore they have been widely 
known as the "hen and her chickens," Alcyone, the 
brightest star, being the " golden cluck-hen," though 
sometimes this star is a girl who is feeding the brood. 
A favorite eastern simile has been that of a necklace 
of brilliant gems, and it is even possible that this may 
have been the thought in the mind of the sacred writer 
in the Book of Job, for the passage has been translated, 
"Canst thou bind together the brilliant Pleiades?" If, 
on the other hand, we follow Milton, 

the gray 
Dawn and the Pleiades before him danced, 
Shedding sweet influence, 

then it is the gentle but potent power of advancing 

spring which this group by its heliacal rising heralds. 

Not only to civilized peoples have these stars been 

objects of interest; "out of the dim reveries about 



34 THE STARS IN SOXG AND LEGEXD 

tliem of untutored races, issued tlieir association with 
the seven beneficent sky spirits of the Vedas and the 
Zendavesta, and the location among them of the center 
of the universe and the abode of the Deity, of which 
the tradition is still preserved by the Berbers and Dyaks. 
With November, the Pleiad month, many primitive peo- 
ple began their year ; and on the day of the midnight 
culmination of the Pleiades, November 17. no petition 
was presented in vain to the ancient kings of Persia ; 
the same event ga"\-e the signal at Busiris for the com- 
mencement of the feast of Isis. . . . Savage Australian 
tribes to this day dance in honor of the ' Seven stars,' 
because ' they are \ery good to the black fellows.' " ^ 

The Lost Pleiad. — The legend of the lost Pleiad has 
been well-nigh universal. Long ago Aratus wrote, 
" Seven stars they count, but only six appear." "With 
poets it has been a favorite theme. 

And is tliere glory from the heavens departed? 

Oh I void unmarked! — Thy sisters of the sky 

Still hold their place on high, 
Though from its rank thine orb so long hath started, 

Thou, that no more art seen of mortal eye. 

Mrs. Hemaxs — T/k' Lost Pleiad. 

^ Miss Gierke's .'ii/stem of the Stars, pp. 220-221. 



TAURUS, THE BULL 35 

But when we consider that under favorable circum- 
stances as many as a dozen can be seen with the 
unaided vision, while optical assistance increases them 
to five or six hundred, and the photographic plate 
again multiplies this fivefold, we are forced to the 
conclusion that the number is simply a matter of eye 
and telescope. 

As to which of the seven sisters disappeared, mythol- 
ogy is uncertain. According to one story it was 
Electra, who hid her face that she might not see the 
destruction of Troy, founded by her son Dardanus ; 
but another account identifies her with Merope, who, 
having been deceived into marrying a mortal, felt so 
disgraced that she withdrew herself from the company 
of her sisters. 

Alcyone. — Alcyone, the lucida of this group, is asso- 
ciated with the halcyon, the similarity of the words 
lending color to the idea that they had a common 
origin. Thompson, the English ornithologist, hazards 
the conjecture that the connection between them may 
be found in the fact that Alcyone culminates at night- 
fall about the time of the winter solstice, during the 
calm weather accompanying which season the king- 
fisher, our modern representative of the ancient 



36 THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

halcyon, was believed to nest. Milton in his Hymn 
to the Nativity connects this legend with the time of 
universal peace at the Saviour's birth: 

But peaceful was the night 
Wherein the Prince of light 

His reign of peace upon the earth began ; 
The winds with wonder whist 
Smoothly the waters kist, 

Whispering new joys to the mild ocean, 
Who now hath quite forgot to rave, 
WhUe birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave. 

The old myth is something like this. Halcyone, 
the daughter of Eolus the wind-god, was the devoted 
wife of Ceyx, king of Thessaly. Desiring to consult 
the oracle of Apollo, against the protestations of his 
wife, Ceyx embarked upon the winter sea and was 
shipwrecked and drowned. Halcyone, wandering dis- 
consolately upon the shore, sees his body floating on 
the waves, and in her grief and despair rushes into 
the raging waters to cast herself upon the beloved 
form. Then behold, a miracle ! They are both 
changed into halcyon birds and skim across the bil- 
lows, which at once sink to rest, and calm succeeds 
the wild tempest. 



TAUEUS, THE BULL 37 

Alcyone has of late years become more than ever 
an object of popular regard, from the brilliant specu- 
lations of Madler, who surmised that it might be 
the central sun of the whole vast stellar universe. 
But though further investigations fail entirely to cor- 
roborate his views, still the star is one that may 
well enthrall the fancy. Lying sunk in space at a 
depth too great to fathom, and outshining our own 
sun a thousandfold, Archibald Lampman's magnificent 
description is hardly overdrawn : 

. . . the great and burning star, 
Immeasurably old, immeasurably far, 
Surging forth its silver flame 
Through eternity ! 

Nebula of the Pleiades. — The investigations of the 
Pleiades by modern astronomy have led to many sur- 
prises. Most startling of all is the fact that the group 
combines the characteristics of a vast nebula with those 
of a chister, thus indicating that these two classes of 
objects are not in reality as distinct as was formerly 
supposed. The magnificent photographs taken by the 
Henry Brothers at Paris show that the greater part of 
the constellation is enshrouded in nebulous matter. In 
the neighborhood of the principal stars it lies in heavy 



38 THE STAES IN SONG AND LEGEND 

masses, while elsewhere the sky background is scarcely 
stained by its delicate tracery. The condensation is 
greatest around Merope, thus giving plausibility to 
the conjecture that the light of this star may be 
variable. 

This enfolding nebulosity, together with the common 
drift of the majority of the stars, renders it certain 
that the Pleiades constitute a connected system, the 
grandeur of which, however, exceeds our comprehen- 
sion. A ray of light, which would take but a few 
hours to cross the solar system, could not under several 
years fly from boundary to boundary of this miniature 
universe of suns. 



GEMINI, THE TWINS 

Mild Pollux, void of blame, 
And steed-subduing Castor, heirs of fame. 

Shelley — Translation of Homer. 

Castor and Pollux, the twins, were the sons of 
Leda, and hence these stars are sometimes known as 
the Ledsean lights. Thus Owen Meredith in 77ie 
Wanderer : 

The lone Ledeean lights from yon enchanted air 

Look down upon my spirit, like a spirit's eyes that love me ; 

recalling Cowley's earlier lines : 

How oft unwearied have we spent the nights, 
Till the Ledaean stars, so famed for love, 
Wonder'd at us from above. 

Helen, of Trojan fame, was their sister. They 
accompanied the Argonautic expedition ; and when 
on the return voyage the vessel was almost over- 
whelmed in the storm, Orpheus with his lyre invoked 
Apollo, who caused two stars to appear on the heads 
of the twins, and the tempest was allayed. Erom this 

39 



40 THE STAES IN SONG AND LEGEND 

circumstance Castor and Pollux became the tutelary 
deities of the seamen ; and among the Romans it was 
very common to place their effigies upon the prows of 
vessels. It will be remembered that Saint Paul and 
his companions made the latter part of their voyage 
to Rome in a vessel whose sign was Castor and Pollux. 
The lambent flames which sometimes in heavy 
weather play about the mastheads were regarded as 
typifying the twin gods. Thus Horace speaks of them 
as " Helen's brethren, starry lights " ; but a single flame 
was thought to represent Helen herself, and was con- 
sidered a threatening omen. In modern times these 
electrical displays, for such they are, go by the name 
of Saint Helen's or Saint Elmo's lights. The Padrone 
in Longfellow's Golden Legend tells the prince : 

Last night I saw Saint Elmo's stars, 

"With their glittering lanterns all at play 

On the tops of the masts and the tips of the spars, 

And I knew we should have foul weather to-day. 

Castor was a renowned horseman and Pollux a famous 
piigilist. Both were great warriors, and were frequently 
invoked in battle as well as in storm. Macaulay's 
description of how they turned the tide of conflict in 
the battle of Lake Regillus is familiar to all. 



GEMINI, THE TWINS 41 

So spake he, and was buckling 

Tighter black Auster's band. 

When he was aware of a princely pair 

That rode at his right hand. 

So like were they, no mortal 

Might one from other know : 

White as snow their armor was ; 

Their steeds were white as snow. 

Never on earthly anvil 

Did such rare armor gleam ; 

And never did such gallant steeds 

Drink of an earthly stream. 

After the battle they bore the glad tidings to Rome 
and were recognized by the high Pontiff. 

The gods who live forever 
Have fought for Rome to-day ! 
These be the great Twin Brethren 
To whom the Dorians pray. 
Back comes the chief in triumph. 
Who in the hour of fight 
Hath seen the great Twin Brethren 
In harness on his right. 
Safe comes the ship to haven 
Through billows and through gales, 
If once the great Twin Brethren 
Sit shining on the sails. 



42 THE STAES IN SONG AND LEGEND 

Castor, albeit slightly inferior in luster, is much more 
interesting than his twin Ijrother, being one of the 
most magnificent double stars which the telescope has 
revealed. The components, nearly equal in brightness, 
are circling about each other in orbits so extended and 
with motion so stately, that a single revolution will 
occupy nearly a thousand years. 



CANCER, THE CRAB 

I was bprn, sir, when the Crab was ascending, and my affairs go 
backward. — Congreve. 

Cancer is the most inconspicuous of all the zodiacal 
constellations, yet none probably has been the subject 
of more attention. As the sign which marks the 
northern tropic, where the sun stops ascending and 
begins his retrograde movement, it is fittingly sym- 
bolized by the obliquely crawling crab. Here was 
located, according to the Chaldean and Platonic phi- 
losophy, " the gate of men," by which souls were sup- 
posed to descend into human bodies ; Capricorn, the 
corresponding sign marking the southern tropic, being 
"the gate of the gods," through which the souls 
released at death returned to heaven. 

Mythology recounts that Juno sent this crab to annoy 
Hercules by pinching his toes, when he was contending 
with the many-headed hydra of the Lernaean swamp. 
Hercules having easily crushed the creature with a single 
blow, Juno, by way of reward, placed it in the sky. 

43 



44 THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

This constellation contains the celebrated cluster 
Prsesepe, or the Manger, the two stars lying one on 
either side being the asses. Since it is at best but a 
faint object, the slightest condensation of vapor in the 
atmosphere naturally hides it from view. Hence its 
dimness was regarded by the ancients as an infallible 
sign of coming storm. Aratus, who, besides his astro- 
nomical poem, wrote another on weather prognostics, 
gives the following rules : 

A miu'ky manger ■with, both stars 

Shining unaltered, is a sign of rain. 

If ^vhile the northern ass is dimmed 

r>y vaporous shi'oud, he of the south gleam radiant, 

Expect a south wind : the vaporous shroud and radiance 

Exchanging stars, harbinger Boreas. 

Popularly this cluster is often called the beehive. 



LEO, THE LION 

The lion huge, whose tawny hide 
And grinning jaws extended wide, 
He o'er his shoulders threw. 

WooDHULL — Translation from Euripides. 

Leo represents the Nemaean lion, the fight with 
which formed the first of the celebrated labors of 
Hercules. It was also considered an emblem of heat, 
being the fiery trigon of the Arabs ; and throughout 
antiquity it has held a close relationship with the sun. 
To the Egyptians especially was it sacred, because the 
sun's entrance into the sign coincided with the Nile 
rise. The Sphinx, sculptured with the lion's body and 
virgin's head, is thought to have symbolized Leo and 
the neighboring Virgo, through which the sun passed 
during the continuance of the inundation. 

The constellation is marked by the well-known 
sickle. Regulus in the end of the handle has ever 
been the "star royal," its name being the diminutive 
of the Latin rex. Ptolemy seems first to have used this 
title, but far back in ancient Persia our star was the 

45 



46 THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

leader of the four royal guardians of heaven, each 
ruling over a quarter of the sphere. Cor Leonis, the 
lion's heart, was another popular title of the star. 
The impression of greatness and power connected with 
it was universal, and was carried over into astrology, 
glory, riches, and might being the inheritance of all 
born under its potent influence. 

Considerably to the eastward of the sickle is Dene- 
bola, marking the lion's tail. This star forms with 
Arcturus and Spica an equilateral triangle, and by 
taking in Cor Caroli on the north we have the so-called 
diamond of Virgo. The tracing of these large figures 
on the sky is a great help towards locating and remem- 
bering the different constellations. 



VIRGO, THE VIRGIN 

I am the Virgin, and my vestal flame 

Burns less intensely than the Lion's rage ; 

Sheaves are my only garments, and I claim 
A golden harvest as my heritage. 

Longfellow — FoeVs Calendar, August. 

Virgo has been universally the virgin, and generally 
the goddess of harvest holding a wheat-ear in her 
hand. In classic times she was interchangeably either 
Ceres or her daughter Proserpine. In the springtime 
Proserpine, playing among the flowers, is seized by 
Pluto and carried off to the lower regions to be his 
wife. Ceres, her mother, vainly seeks her up and 
down the earth. At length, having learned her sad 
fate from Arethusa, the nymph of the fountain, she 
beseeches Jupiter to intercede, and Proserpine is allowed 
to return at intervals, spending half her time with her 
mother, and the rest with her husband Pluto. There 
can be little doubt that this legend is allegorical, 
Proserpine representing the seed, which is buried in 

47 



48 THE STAES IN SONG AND LEGEND 

the earth, but after a time comes forth to the light of 
day in a glad and bountiful harvest. 

Aratus in his astronomical poem, however, makes 
this constellation Astrsea the goddess of justice and 
purity. During the golden age of innocence and 
happiness she dwelt perpetually with men. When 
the world began to degenerate, and the silver age 
dawned, she took up her abode in heaven, but returned 
at eventide to visit those who yet cared for her. But 
at last came the brazen age with war and violence ; 
and then this fair goddess hid her face from men and 
left the world to famine, pestilence, and misery. 

The bright star Spica indicates the wheat-ear which 
Virgo holds in her left hand. By the Arabs it was 
called the solitary or defenseless one, a title which 
refers, doubtless, to its lone position on the sky, there 
being no other conspicuous star near it. Vindemiatrix, 
lying some distance to the north, though now but a 
third magnitude star, would seem from the great 
attention paid to it to have been brighter in past ages. 
The name means "grape gatherer," and its heliacal 
rising was formerly the herald of the vintage time. 

Virgo is the largest of all th« zodiacal constellations. 
This region of the sky, while comparatively starless, is 



VIEGO, THE VIRGIN 49 

especially remarkable for the extraordinary number of 
nebulae that here congregate. No other equal area 
of the heavens is nearly so lich in these mysterious 
objects. Sir John Herschel first called attention to 
the significant fact that the gaseous nebulse seem to 
crowd towards those portions of the sky most remote 
from the Milky Way. This mass, gathered together 
in Virgo and Coma Berenices, he likens to " a canopy 
which, taking the circle of the Milky Way as a horizon, 
occupies the zenith and descends thence to a consider- 
able distance on all sides." 






rrmmx UinvrasnT 



LIBRA, THE SCALES 

I bear the scales, when hang in equipoise 
The night and day. 

Longfellow — Poet's Calendar, September. 

Libra in classic days marked the autumnal equinox, 
tliougli BOW, owing to precession, Virgo occupies that 
position. In all the round of the zodiac this constella- 
tion alone represents an inanimate object ; and its 
antiquity, though somewhat in dispute, does not seem 
to be very great. Certain it is that the Greeks asso- 
ciated its stars with the claws of the Scorpion which 
follows to the east. Scorpio, indeed, seems to have 
been considered a double sign, thus completing the 
twelve. 

Among the Romans, however, we find the title Libra 
commonly employed. Virgil, in his first Georgia, 
flatters Augustus by representing the Scorpion as con- 
tracting his claws to make room for the soul of the 
emperor to rest after death in his natal sign, the sun 
havmg occupied this position at his birth. The scales 

50 



LIBRA, THE SCALES 51 

might, in this connection, be regarded as the appro- 
priate insignia for the dispenser of justice to the world. 
Milton suggests another origin : 

The Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray, 

Hung forth in heaven his golden scales, yet seen 

Betwixt Astrsea and the Scorpion sign; 

Astraea being, as we have seen, one of the designa- 
tions of Virgo. The constellation is comparatively 
faint, but may be readily located from its position 
with reference to Scorpio. 



SCORPIO, THE SCORPION 

Though on the frigid scorpion I ride, 

The dreamy air is full, and overflows 
With tender memories of the summer-tide 

And mingled voices of the doves and crows. 

Longfellow — PoeVs Calendar, October. 

Scorpio was the mythological monster which caused 
the disastrous runaway of the steeds of Phoebus Apollo. 
Phaethon, it would seem, desiring to prove his sonship, 
demanded of his father that he be allowed to drive for 
one day the chariot of the sun. After vainly expostu- 
lating, Phoebus granted his request and the horses were 
harnessed. Up the steep way they mount, and finding 
inexperienced hands upon the reins, the steeds dash off 
from the traveled road and rush headlong through the 
constellations. But when they come to where the 
Scorpion stretches out its long arms shod with huge 
and threatening claws, and its immense tail ending in 
a horrid sting, then Phaethon, pale with terror, loses 
all control and throws down the reins ; while the 
horses plunge wildly, hurling the chariot over trackless 

52 



SCOEPIO, THE SCOEPION 53 

wastes, now up in high heaven until the gods are 
scorched with the heat, and now down close to the 
world until the clouds go up in vapor and the moun- 
tains begin to smoke. At length Jupiter, aroused to 
action by the imminent peril, launches a thunderbolt 
which hurls the ambitious youth from his chariot and 
plunges him into the great sky-river Eridanus. 

Scorpio cannot well be mistaken because of the fiery 
Antares which marks the creature's heart. Its title 
signifies in the Greek " the rival of Mars," this being, 
in fact, the only star in all the sky that could be 
mistaken for the red god of war. 

Antares is interesting telescopically, not only for its 
red color, but more especially on account of the small 
green companion which lies so close as to be involved 
in the flaming rays of the larger star. Not far to the 
northwest of this fine double is a comet-like cluster, 
which Herschel describes as "the richest and most 
condensed mass of stars in the firmament." Renewed 
interest in it was excited by the blazing out in 1860 of 
a new star right in the center of the group. The 
appearance, to use Miss Gierke's striking simile, was 
that of a triton invading a shoal of minnows. 



SAGITTARIUS, THE ARCHER 

The centaur, Sagittarius, am I, 

Born of Ixion and the cloud's embrace : 

With sounding hoofs across the earth I fly, 
A steed Thessalian with a human face. 

Longfellow — PoeVs Calendar, November. 

Sagittarius is the patron of the hunter and the 
chase. In the time of Eratosthenes it was figured as 
a satyr, but afterwards Avas changed to a centaur, not, 
however, to be confounded with the larger Centaurus 
far to the south. These centaurs, or bull-killers, as 
the word signifies, were an ancient race inhabiting 
Mount Pelion in Thessaly. Homer called them savage 
beasts, but in later times they were represented as half 
man and half horse. The Thessalians being famous 
riders, and hunting the bull on horseback, a national 
sport, we can readily understand how the fable arose. 

Forming the western portion of this constellation 
is the familiar milk dipper. According to Allen it is 
extremely ancient, having been " an object of worship 
in China for a thousand years before our era." 

54 








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CAPRICORNUS, THE GOAT 

Then grievous blasts 
Break southward on the sea, when coincide 
The Goat and sun, and then a heaven-sent cold. 

Akatus. 

Capricorkus marked in classic times the winter 
solstice. It occupied, therefore, the most southern or 
lowest part of the zodiac. Milton's lines allude to this : 

Some say the sun 
Was bid turn reins from the equinoctial road. 

Up to the tropic Crab; thence down amain, 
By Leo and the Virgin and the Scales, 
As deep as Capricorn, to bring in change 
Of seasons to each clime. 

One ancient writer suggests that, as the sun here 
begins his ascent in the heavens, the goat is a fitting 
symbol from its propensity to scale the inaccessible 
mountain sides. As usually depicted, however, Capri- 
cornus is a sea-goat, having the head and body of a 
goat, but the tail of a fish. It is thus represented on 
our modern star maps. 

55 



56 THE STAES IN SONG AND LEGEND 

Naturally we find this constellation associated with 
the god Pan, who was also part goat. The legend goes 
that when the gods were driven from Olympus by the 
giants and took refuge in Egypt, disguising themselves 
variously as animals. Pan took the form of a goat. 
When Typhon, the fire-breathing monster, suddenly 
attacked him, he leaped in a fright into the Nile and 
became amphibious. 

Capricornus contains one of the few notable naked- 
eye doubles. This is the principal star lying at the 
base of the horns. Its duplicity is now obvious to the 
most casual observer, but two thousand years ago it 
would have required a sharp eye to distinguish the 
components. They are separating at the rate of one 
minute of arc in about thirteen hundred years, their 
present distance being six minutes. 



AQUARIUS, THE WATER-BEARER 

The sun his locks beneath Aquarius tempers, 
And now the nights draw near to half the day. 

Longfellow — Translation of Dante. 

Aquarius is the almost universal designation of the 
next zodiacal constellation. Its watery character has 
been attributed to the fact that the sun passes through 
it during the rainy season. Many of the constellations 
in this neighborhood, in fact, are aquatic, there being, 
besides Capricornus and Aquarius, the Dolphin, three 
fishes, and Cetus, the Whale ; so that naturally enough 
we find this part of the sky designated by the Chaldeans 
as the sea. 

The river Eridanus also is sometimes shown as hav- 
ing its source in the Waterman's bucket, — a most 
unaccountable circumstance, unless, like the widow's 
barrel of meal and cruse of oil in the days of Elijah, 
it never runs dry. Manilius did indeed assert as much 
in describing the constellation ; for he says, " And so 
the urn flows on," an expression which became pro- 
verbial for a ceaseless babble of tongues. 

57 



PISCES, THE FISHES 

Sunset and evening star. 

Tessyson — Crossing the Bar. 

The zodiacal constellation Pisces consists of two 
fishes, quite widely separated, but having their tails 
connected by a ribbon. There is, besides, another 
south of Aquarius distinguished as the Southern Fish, 
and marked by the bright star Fomalhaut. 

The two finny inhabitants of the zodiac are compara- 
tively starless, and of little interest aside from their 
mythological connection with Aphrodite or Venus. That 
goddess, frightened by the giant Typhon, threw herseK 
with the infant Cupid into the Euphrates. One account 
says that the fishes bore them away to safety, but the 
Greek legend changed them into fishes which were after- 
ward exalted to the sky. Hence this constellation was 
popularly known as ■' Venus and Cupid." A few words, 
then, concerning the brightest and most beautiful of all 
the starry host may here be appropriately added. 

Venus. — The coy character of the goddess who was 
fabled to have sprung from the sea foam is fittingly 

58 



PISCES, THE riSHES 59 

symbolized by her representative in the sky. Now 
bursting out in a blaze of beauty that dazzles the 
admiring world, now swiftly retreating and vanishing 
in the sunset's glare, then shyly peeping forth in the 
east before the world wakes, she is as fickle and incon- 
stant as the most incorrigible flirt that ever queened it 
over her unfortunate lovers. Yet even this capricious 
beauty owns allegiance to her lord the sun, and held 
by indissoluble bonds, continually follows and attends 
upon his glorious majesty. 

Although the title is sometimes given to other 
planets, Venus is preeminently the evening and the 
morning star. Its identity in the two positions must 
certainly have been known from early ages, yet it was 
frequently designated by different names when respec- 
tively east and west of the sun. Thus the Greeks 
called it Hesperus as evening star and Phosphorus as 
morning star. These names will recall Tennyson's 
lines in his In Memoriam: 

Sad Hesper o'er the buried sun, 
And ready, thou, to die with him; 
Thou watohest all things ever dim 
And dimmer, and a glory done. 



60 THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

Bright Phosphor, fresher for the night, 
By thee the world's great work is heard 
Beginning, and the wakeful bird ; 
Behind thee comes the greater light. 



Sweet Hesper-Phosphor, double name 
For what is one, the first, the last, 
Thou, like my present and my past, 
Thy place is changed, thou art the same. 



URSA MAJOR, THE GREAT BEAR 

One after one the stars have risen and set, 
Sparkling upon the hoar-frost of my chain; 
The Bear that prowled all night about the fold 
Of the North-star hath shrunk into his den, 
Scared by the blithesome footsteps of the Dawn. 

Lowell — Prometheus. 

This constellation, though in no way resembling that 
animal, has in all ages and among nearly all peoples 
been the Bear. Homer speaks of it as keeping a watch 
upon Orion from its arctic den, and references to it 
abound alike in classic and modern literature. 

Mythology. — Mythology recognized in this star group 
the beautiful Callisto, who, having unfortunately excited 
the jealousy of Juno, was changed by the angry goddess 
into a bear. Wandering in this sad plight through the 
woods, she met her own son Areas, and was about to 
embrace him, when he in alarm raised his hunting 
spear to strike her. Jupiter, however, took pity on 
them, and prevented the crime by snatching both up 
to the sky, where they became the Great and the 

61 



62 THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

Little Bears. Juno, still further enraged at the honor 
thus done them, instigated Oceanus and Tethys to 
forbid the creatures' approach to their watery domain. 
In virtue of this prohibition they wander round and 
round the pole but never venture to dip their huge 
bodies beneath the horizon. As Bryant well ex- 
presses it. 

The Bear, that sees star setting after star 
In the' blue brine, descends not to the deep. 

As we approach the equator, of course, this condi- 
tion no longer holds, and the constellations which are 
circumpolar in our latitude begin to rise and set. Thus 
Camoens, the Portuguese poet, wrote: 

We saw the Bears, despite of Juno, lave 
Their tardy bodies in the boreal wave. 

Reference in Job. — That it is this group of stars, and 
not Arcturus, the leading brilliant in Bootes, which 
is referred to in Job's question, " Canst thou guide 
Arcturus with his sons ? " seems tolerably certain. 
Indeed, the passage as translated in the revised version 
reads, " Canst thou guide the Bear with her train ? " 
This figuring of the stars as a she-bear attended by her 
young avoids the sadly unnatural representation of our 



UESA MAJOR, THE GREAT BEAR -63 

modern maps which furnish a comparatively tailless 
animal with a most notable caudal appendage. 

Indian Legend. — Our North American Indians saw 
here also a bear, but the stars of the tail were for them 
the hunter and his dogs. Mr. Allen tells us that " the 
Housatonic Indians, who roamed over that valley from 
Pittsfield through Lenox and Stockbridge to Great Bar- 
rington, had a story that the chase of the stellar bear 
lasted from spring till the autumn, when the animal 
was wounded and its blood plainly seen on the crimson 
foliage of the forest." 

Other Names. — While, as we have seen, the more 
formal title of this constellation has almost universally 
been the Bear, yet various other appellations, based on 
real or fancied resemblances, have also been very widely 
prevalent. Homer, for instance, refers to " the Bear, 
which oft the Wain they call," showing that even -at 
that early period the popular imagination had found in 
its seven stars the likeness to some huge celestial cart 
lumbering nightly about the pole. Among the Eomans 
it was frequently the Plow, usually drawn by three 
oxen represented by the stars in the tail ; but Cicero 
speaks of Septem- or Septentriones, the Seven Plow- 
oxen. We thus have two terms derived from this 



64 THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

constellation denoting the frigid characteristics of the 
northern regions, — arctic, from the Greek word for 
bear ; and septentrion, from the plow-oxen. 

The Plow is still a common title in England, but 
hardly so popular as the older Homeric appellation, the 
Wain. In early English days it seems to have been 
Arthur's Wain ; and Smyth, deriving the name from 
the Welsh Arth, a bear, finds in the circling of 
this constellation about the pole the possible origin 
of King Arthur's famous Eound Table. Afterwards it 
became Charles' Wain, originally perhaps in honor of 
Charlemagne (Charles the Great), though later, of 
course, associated with the English kings of the same 
name. 

Use as a Timepiece. — From the circumstance that to 
northern peoples these stars are visible throughout the 
year, they have naturally served the rustic population 
as timepieces, indicating the progress of the night by 
their slow revolving motion. Shakespeare in King 
Henry IV makes the carrier in the Rochester Inn 
yard exclaim, " Heigh-ho ! An 't be not four by the 
day, I '11 be hanged : Charles' Wain is over the new 
chimney, and yet our horse not packed." Spenser 
in the Faerie Queene has a similar allusion : 



UESA MAJOR, THE GREAT BEAR 65 

By this the northern wagoner had set 

His sevenfold teme behind the steadfast starre; 

and likewise Tennyson in his well-known New Years 
Eve: 

We danced about the may-pole and in the hazel copse, 

Till Charles' Wain came out above the tall white chimney-tops. 

I need hardly refer to the extremely popular modern 
name of this group, the Great Dipper. In springtime 
it runs high up overhead in the evening, and appears 
upside down ; while in the fall and early winter it 
seems to be resting upon the horizon in an upright 
position. Perhapg B. F. Taylor had this in mind when 
he wrote in his Warld on Wheels: 

From that celestial dipper, — or so I thought, — the dews 
were poured out gently upon the summer world. 

The middle star in the handle of this dipper is the 
well-known naked-eye double formed by Mizar and 
Alcor. They are popularly called " the horse and his 
rider," or "Jack on the middle horse," referring to the 
idea of the three horses dragging the wain or plow. A 
similar conceit prevails in Germany, where Alcor repre- 
sents Hans the wagoner, who, as a reward for assisting 
the Saviour when weary, was offered the kingdom of 



66 THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

heaven ; but modestly deeming himself unsuited to 
enjoy such a royal gift, he besought that instead he be 
permitted to drive this celestial team, and may accord- 
ingly be seen mounted upon the highest horse. 

In Italy also Alcor was known as the Little Starry 
Horseman; but the Greeks identified it as the lost 
Pleiad Electra, who had wandered away from her 
companions and been changed into a fox. 



URSA MINOR, THE LITTLE BEAR 

Visit us 

With thy long leveled rule of streaming light, 

And thou shalt be our star of Arcady, 

Or Tyrian Cynosure. 

Milton — Comus. 

Cynosure. — The Little Bear is less ancient in its con- 
stellated form than the Great Bear. It seems to have 
originated with the Phoenicians, who were great sea- 
faring people, and naturally made use of this group, 
which for several millenniums has occiipied the immedi- 
ate region of the celestial pole. It was, however, early 
adopted by the Greeks, by whom it was designated 
Cynosure or Dog's Tail. Great difficulty has been 
experienced in trying to account for this title, since the 
dog is not usually mentioned in connection with the 
legend of Callisto and Areas. Some authorities have 
attempted to trace the word to a much earlier source 
in the Euphrates valley. 

However this may be, the appellation, which in 
modern times is generally restricted to the pole-star 
alone, has always been very popular, and even appeared 

67 



68 THE STAES IX SONG AND LEGEND 

in scientific treatises of two and threes centuries ago. 
It lias also sometimes been called the Little Wain or 
Chariot ; thus Tennyson in In Memoriam says : 

The lesser wain 
Is twisting round the polar star. 

Tramontana, Mountain of the North. — Another name, 
Tramontana or Trans montane, that is, above or beyond 
the mountain, given in medieval times indiscriminately 
to the constellation and its principal star, suggests a 
most curious and persistent legend respecting the 
" mountain of the north." Professor Sayce finds traces 
of this in the early Sumerian days, when " the heaven 
was believed to rest on the peak of ' the mountain of 
the world ' in the far northeast, where the gods had 
their habitations." In classic times the Hyperboreans 
were thought to dwell beyond its lofty peak in a clime 
of perpetual spring, as Moore sings : 

I come from a land in the sun-bright deep, 

Where golden gardens glow, 
"Where the winds of the north, becalmed in sleep, 

Their conch shells never blow. 

The sacred writers were evidently familiar with the 
story of this fabulous mountain. Isaiah writes of it : 



URSA MINOR, THE LITTLE BEAR 69 

" How art thou fallen from heaven, Lucifer ! For 
thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven ; 
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God ; I will 
sit also upon the mount of the congregation in the' sides 
of the north." And the Psalmist likens Mount Zion to 
it : " Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, 
is Mount Zion, in the sides of the north, the city of the 
great King." 

The Hindus called it Mount Meru, "the seat of 
the gods " ; and in Norse mythology we find the same 
"Hill of heaven." Its existence seems to have been 
believed in as late as the seventeenth century, for in 
Chilmead's work we read of "the mountaine Slotus, 
which lies under the pole, and is the highest in 
the world." Poe also in Ulalume fancifully refers 
to "Mount Yaanek, in the realms of the boreal 
pole." 

The Pole-Star. — The pole-star, forming the point 
around which this constellation swings, is naturally 
from its apparent fixity the most familiar and oft- 
mentioned of all the stars. Christina Rossetti sings 
of it: 

One unchangeable upon a throne 

Broods o'er the frozen heart of earth alone. 



70 THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

Shakespeare in Julius Ccesar makes him say : 

But I am constant as the northern star, 
Of whose true-fixed and resting quality- 
There is no fellow in the firinament. 
The skies are painted with unnumbered sparks ; 
They are all fire, and every one doth shine : 
But there 's but one in all doth hold his place. 

Bryant in his fine Hyvm to the North Star thus 
apostrophizes it : 

The sad and solemn night 
Hath yet her multitude of cheerful fires ; 

The glorious host of light 
Walk the dark hemisphere till she retires ; 
All through her silent watches, gliding slow, 
Her constellations come, and climb the heavens, and go. 
And thou dost see them rise, 
Star of the Pole ! And thou dost see them set. 

Alone in thy cold skies. 
Thou keep'st thy old unmoving station yet, 
Nor join'st the dances of that glittering train. 
Nor dipp'st thy virgin orb in the blue western main. 

It has been for many centuries, and will be for as 
many more to come, preeminently the Stella Maris, 
the seaman's star. Dryden wrote of the infancy of 
navigation : 



UESA MINOR, THE LITTLE BEAR 71 

Rude as their ships were navigated then, 
No useful compass or meridian known ; 
Coasting, they kept the land within their ken. 
And knew no north but when the Pole-star shone. 

Moore also in Lalla Rookh sings of Nourmahal : 

Thou loveliest, dearest of them all. 
The one whose smile shone out alone, 
Amidst a world the only one ! 
Whose light, among so many lights. 
Was like that star, on starry nights, 
The seaman singles from the sky 
To steer his bark forever by. 

So it came to be called the lode-star, leading or guid- 
ing the mariner ; and to quote once more Bryant's 
Hymn : 

A beauteous type of that unchanging good. 

That bright eternal beacon, by whose ray 

The voyager of time should shape his heedful way. 



CEPHEUS AND CASSIOPEIA 

Or that starred Ethiop queen that strove 

To set her beauty's praise above 

The sea-nymphs, and their powers offended. 

Milton — II Penseroso. 

Cepheus was king of Ethiopia, and Cassiopeia his 
beautiful queen. But so inordinate was her vanity 
that she dared compare herself with the sea-nymphs, 
who were greatly enraged and sent a frightful monster 
to ravage the coast of the kingdom. On appealing to 
the oracle, the unhappy pair were told that the only 
way to avert the disaster would be to chain their 
daughter Andromeda to a rock and allow the leviathan 
to devour her. How she was rescued by the gallant 
Perseus will appear later. 

Cepheus and his queen are side by side upon the starry 
sphere, opposite the Great Bear. Cepheus is an incon- 
spicuous constellation, but Cassiopeia is marked by the 
well-known celestial W. The rude resemblance to an 
armed chair may also be made out, and this in fact has 
from classic days been the common mode of depicting 

72 



CEPHEUS AND CASSIOPEIA 73 

the group, the queen having been further condemned, 
after the rescue of her daughter, to be bound to this 
chair and swung round and round the pole, in order 
that her lesson in humility might be complete. 

Tycho Brahe's New Star. — It was in Cassiopeia that 
the great new star flarned out in November, 1572, 
speedily outshining Venus and becoming conspicuous 
in full daylight, then gradually fading, till after the 
lapse of sixteen months it totally vanished. The tele- 
scope, however, shows in the same spot a faint reddish 
star, which from its nebulous appearance and unsteady 
light is generally regarded by astronomers as the 
smouldering embers of the once unrivaled orb. This 
brief apparition caused great alarm throughout Europe, 
many considering it a portent of the end of the world. 
Even the great Beza, falling in with the superstition's 
of his age, attempted to prove that it was the same 
star which had conducted the wise men of the East to 
Bethlehem when Christ was born, and that its mission 
now was to proclaim his second coming. 



PERSEUS AND ANDROMEDA 

Perseus, even amid tlie stars, must take 
Andromeda in chains ethereal. 

Mrs. Browning — Paraphrases on Nonnus. 

Perseus, the son of Jupiter and Danae, might be 
called the knight-errant of mythology. His earliest 
exploit was the slaying of the snaky-locked Gorgon, 
Medusa. Panoplied with Pluto's helmet of invisilDility 
and with Minerva's polished shield, and shod with Mer- 
cury's winged shoes, he tracked the monster to her sea- 
girt cave, severed her horrid head, and flew away in 
safety. Coming to the western limit of the world, he 
found old Atlas, who, fearing lest he be robbed of his 
golden apples, refused to receive the youth ; whereupon 
Perseus held up the Gorgon's head before the giant and 
turned him into stone. There, in the gardens of the 
Hesperides, according to fable, he still stands, bearing 
the weight of the heavens upon his shoulders. 

Perseus, flying once more through the air, saw far 
beneath him the lovely Andromeda chained to the 
rocks, and the slimy sea-monster approaching to devour 

74 







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PERSEUS AND ANDROMEDA 75 

her. After a desperate struggle he succeeded in hack- 
ing the dragon in pieces and rescuing the maiden. At 
the wedding feast, which was a natural sequence to 
this knightly episode, Phineus, the former lover of the 
princess, burst in, demanding his promised bride and 
threatening to take her by force. Perseus reminded 
him that he should have claimed her earlier from the 
jaws of the horrid monster, but that now it was too 
late ; for, since he had failed to prove himself a man, 
he should become but the stone image of one. There- 
upon holding up the Gorgon's head he petrified the 
coward and his band of ruffians. Then the marriage 
bells pealed merrily, and conflicts were forgotten in 
happiness and peace. At their death this noble pair 
were transferred to the sky. 

Charles Kingsley's AndroiTieda, after most beautifully 
telling the legend, makes Aphrodite thus address the 
heroine : 

Courage I give thee, tiie heart of a queen and the mind of 

immortals, 
Grod-like to talk with the gods, and to look on their eyes 

unshrinking. 



Bearing a god-like race to thy spouse, till dying I set thee 
High for a star in the heavens, a sign and a hope for the seamen. 



76 THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

Spreading thy long white arms all night in the heights of the 

ether ; 
Hard by thy sire and the hero, thy spouse, while near thee thy 

mother 
Sits in her ivory chair, as she plaits ambrosial tresses ; 
All night long thou wilt shine. 

These two constellatioBS are immediately south of 
Cassiopeia, Perseus being directly in the Milky Way, 
where, according to Aratus, he is stirring up a dust in 
his haste to liberate Andromeda. He still bears in one 
hand the head of Medusa, with its baleful, blinking 
demon-eye, Algol, which about every third day drops 
from the second magnitude to the fourth and recovers 
in a few hours. 

Andromeda contains two very interesting telescopic 
objects. One is Almach, which Herschel pronounced 
the most beautiful double star in the heavens. Its com- 
ponents are deep yellow and sea-green, producing a fine 
contrast of color. The other is the great nebula. This 
is the only true nebula which can be certainly discerned 
without optical aid, being known to the Arabians as 
"the little cloud." Although a magnificent spectacle 
in the telescope, it requires photography to show its 
marvelous extent and involved structure. 



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AURIGA, THE CHARIOTEER 

Star of the winter night, 

Whose chill and threatening light 

O'er the tempestuous main shineth afar I 

Calm days of autumn bright 

Reluctant take their flight, 

When from the misty deep riseth thy car. 

Anon. 

Passing over Draco, coiled about the pole of the 
ecliptic and representing the dragon which guarded the 
golden apples in the gardens of the Hesperides,we come 
to constellations lying somewhat farther south, between 
the circumpolar groups and the zodiac. Southeast of 
Perseus is the widely extended Auriga, or Charioteer, 
though the name ill accords with the time-honored 
pictorial representation of a man carrying in his arms 
the goat Capella and the Kids, or Hsedi. 

This chariot driver has been identified with Erech- 
theus, the son of Vulcan, of whom Swinburne has 
written : 

Thou hast loosened the necks of thine horses, and goaded their 

• flanks with affright, 

77 



78 THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

To the race of a course that we know not, on ways that are hid 

from our sight. 
As a wind through the darkness the wheels of their chariot are 

whirled, 
And the light of its passage is night on the face of the world. 

The bright first magnitude Capella, the lucida of the 
constellation, represents the goat which suckled the 
infant Jupiter. According to one tradition, Amalthea 
herself was the goat, but more commonly she was the 
nymph who fed the young god on the goat's milk. 
Having in his play broken off one of the horns of the 
animal, Jupiter endowed it with the miraculous power 
of being filled with whatever the possessor might wish, 
whence it was called the cornucopia or horn of plenty. 

The three small stars near Capella are the Kids, though 
more properly perhaps only the two southern ones should 
be so denominated. They were in extremely bad repute 
with the ancients, being termed by the classic writers 
" horrid and hurtful," and Callimachus in the third 
century B.C. counseled mariners : 

Tempt not the winds, forewarned of dangers nigh. 
When the Kids glitter in the western sky. 

This connection of individual stars or constellations 
with certain seasons of the year, and therefore with 







%:^::^My.. 



'*3 







AUEIGA, THE CHARIOTEER 79 

the probability of pleasant or tempestuous weather, 
was, of course, at best but local and temporary; for 
the slow precession of the equinoxes, by gradually shift- 
ing the panoramic scenery of the skies, will in the 
course of ages make these same stars rulers over 
different seasons. 



COMA BERENICES (BERENICE'S HAIR) 

The streaming tresses of the Egjrptian queen. 

Bryant — The Constellations. 

Just north of Virgo lies a group of faint stars, so 
crowded together that they present a nebulous appear- 
ance like a wisp of hair, or, as Serviss suggests, like 
" gossamers spangled with dewdrops, which the old 
woman of the nursery rhyme, who went to sweep the 
cob\ve)is out of the sky," had overlooked. 

The origin of this constellation, in its present form 
at least, dates back to the reign of Ptolemy Euergetes 
in the third century B.C. As the king was departing 
on a dangerous expedition against the Assyrians, his 
queen Berenice vowed, should he return in safety, to 
dedicate her lovely amber tresses to the goddess of 
beauty. Accordingly when the king marched home 
victorious, the hair was placed in the temple of Aphro- 
dite, but shortly afterwards was stolen. This grieved 
the royal pair exceedingly, until Conon, the court 
astronomer, announced that Jupiter had taken the 

80 



COMA BERENICES (BEEENICE'S HAIK) 81 

locks and hung them m the sky, pointing to these 
stars which, it would seem, had up to that time been 
unrecorded. 

The similarity of the name with that of the Herodian 
princess Bernice (in the Latin Beronica) has led to the 
association of this star group with the legend of Saint 
Veronica, who, in sympathy for the Saviour's sufferings 
on the way to the cross, lent him her veil to wipe the 
sweat from his brow, and found miraculously impressed 
thereon the true image of our Lord. 

Not far from Berenice's Hair, across the constellation 
Leo, is the spot where the Capuchin De Rheita in the 
seventeenth century fancied he saw, with an improved 
telescope of his own construction, this same veil or 
napkin bearing the likeness of the divine countenance. 
This marvelous apparition is described in all serious- 
ness in his work entitled Oculus Henoch et Mice, but 
as Sir John Herschel appropriately remarked, "Many 
strange things were seen among the stars before the 
use of powerful telescopes became common." 



BOOTES, THE HERDSMAN 

Not every one dotli it become to question 
The far-off, high Arcturus. 

Schiller — Death of Wallenstein. 

Bo5tes is usually translated the Herdsman, though 
the name really signifies Ox Driver, a much more 
appropriate title, since this constellation follows the 
seven plow-oxen of Ursa Major in their daily course 
around the pole. Our modern maps, however, follow 
the suggestion of Hevelius, a Polish astronomer of the 
seventeenth century, who placed the two hounds, Aste- 
rion and Chara, in front of Bootes, and represented him 
as a hunter pursuing the Great Bear. 

The superb lucida of the group, Arcturus, was so 
designated by the Greeks, the name meaning Bear- 
guard. Smyth derives it from the similar Greek word 
for tail, making it signify " tail of the Bear." Although 
this etymology is probably incorrect, yet it is useful to 
remember that Arcturus lies in the prolongation of the 
Bear's tail and may thus be surely and readily identi- 
fied. The biblical references to Arcturus, as already 

82 



BOOTES, THE HERDSMAN 83 

noted, indicate Ursa Major rather than this star, the 
connection between the two names in the Greek lan- 
guage naturally leading to frequent confusion. In 
early days it represented a spear in the hunter's hand, 
and with the Arabs it was the Lance-bearer, as Emer- 
son, translating the Persian poet Hafiz, has it : 

Poises Arcturus aloft morning and evening his spear. 

From the fact that in middle latitudes Arcturus is 
setting in the northwest just as Capella and the Kids 
are rising away in the northeast, the stormy character 
of the latter has been transferred also to this star. 
Demosthenes tells of an insurance policy issued on a 
vessel going to the Crimea and back, the rate being 
twenty-two and one-half per cent ; but if she did not 
return before the heliacal rising of Arcturus in late 
September, the rate was to be thirty per cent. Horace 
also in his well-known ode extols the contented man 
who is disturbed not by the " fierce violence of the 
setting Arcturus or of the rising Kids." 

Cor Caroli. — This is a fine doiible star, which on 
modern maps is located in the heart between the two 
hunting dogs of Bootes. The story goes that Scar- 
borough, the court physician, on the evening before 
the return of Charles II to London, beheld this star 



84 THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

shine out with peculiar luster, and thereupon suggested 
to the astronomers that it be named in honor of the 
king. " The merry monarch," who, we are told, " never 
said a foolish thing, and never did a wise one," was 
certainly hardly worthy of being commemorated in so 
exalted a fashion ; yet to his credit it should be remem- 
bered that he issued the decree for the founding- of the 
royal observatory at Greenwich, an institution whose 
influence in the extension of commerce and civilization 
has been exceedingly beneficent. 



COEONA BOREALIS, THE NORTHERN CROWN 

And still her sign is seen in heaven, 

And, 'midst the glittering symbols of the sky, 

The starry crown of Ariadne glides. 

Apollonicts Rhodius. 

This little constellation lies just east of Bootes, and 
is one of the few wliich really resemble the objects they 
commemorate. It is a beautiful circlet of stars forming 
an admirable wreath or tiara. 

The legend of Ariadne and her crown, which has 
always been a popular one in literature, is interlinked 
with that of Theseus and Bacchus. At the time when 
the young prince Theseus was making a name for him- 
self by his wonderful exploits, the Athenians were in 
deep distress because of the tribute they were forced to 
pay each year to Minos, king of Crete. This tribute 
consisted of seven youths and seven maidens ; and a 
most horrible fate was theirs, for they were imprisoned 
in a labyrinth so artfully constructed that no one could 
possibly escape, and a hideous Minotaur, with bull's 
body and human head, soon caught and devoured them. 

85 



86 THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

Theseus resolved to deliver his countrymen from this 
calamity, and accordingly offered himself as one of the 
victims. On arriving at Crete they were inspected by 
King Minos ; and it happened fortunately that his 
daughter Ariadne was present and fell deeply in love 
with Theseus. She furnished him with a sword and a 
clew of thread, by means of which the hero succeeded 
in slaying the monster and escaping from the laby- 
rinth. Taking Ariadne with him he sailed for Athens, 
but stopped on the way at the island of Naxos, where 
he basely deserted his newly made bride while she 
slept. 

But Venus, taking pity on her, promised that she 
should have an immortal lover instead of the mortal one 
she had lost. Bacchus, just returning from his triumphal 
progress through Asia, landed on the island, and finding 
the fair Ariadne in tears, consoled and wedded her, and 
gave her this glorious crown as a marriage present. At 
her death it was transferred to its place in the sky, the 
gems changing into glittering stars. 

According to some of the classic writers this group 
represents the coiled hair of Ariadne, or even the 
beautiful maid herself, upon whom Bacchus conferred 
immortality. Spenser in the Faerie Queetie follows 



CORONA BOEEALIS, THE NORTHERN CROWN 87 

yet another form of the legend, making the crown a 
gift of Theseus : 

Looke ! how the crowne which Ariadne wore 
Upon her yvory forehead, that same day 
That Theseus her unto his bridale bore, 



Being now placed in the firmament, 

Through the bright heavens doth her beams display, 

And is unto the starres an ornament, 

Which round about her move in order excellent. 



HERCULES 

Great Aleides, stooping "with his toU, 
Kests on his club. -p 

The huge sky-figure Hercules lies next to Bootes on 
the east, the little stellar garland last described just 
finding room between the two giants. Although the 
constellation is extremely ancient, its present name 
seems to have been unknown to the early Greek 
astronomers. Aratus thus describes it : 

Like a toiling man, revolves 
A form. Of it can no one clearly speak, 
Nor to what toil he is attached; but, simply, 
Kneeler they call him. 

As now usually represented, one foot rests on the 
head of Draco ; in his right hand he holds a club, and 
in his left a branch around which serpents are twisting ; 
while over his shoulders is thrown the hide of a lion. 
The latter, of course, recalls his conquest of the 
Nemsean lion, already alluded to. The slaughter of 
the Hydra is symbolized by the serpent's head under 
liis foot ; while the apple bough was no doubt intended 



HEECULES 89 

to represent the golden fruit of the Hesperides, which 
Herciiles was obliged to wrest from the clutches of the 
sleepless dragon that guarded the tree. On some maps 
we find this branch in the giant's left hand replaced 
by Cerberus, the triple-headed guardian of the lower 
regions, one of the last of the celebrated twelve labors 
having been to throttle this horrid creature and bring 
him up to the light of day. 

The Hercules Cluster. — The great cluster, lying on 
the west side of the trapezium which marks the giant's 
body, is one of the most remarkable objects in the 
heavens. Halley wrote of it in 1716 : " This is but a 
little patch, yet it shows itself to the naked eye when 
the sky is serene and the moon absent." The telescope, 
however, resolves it into a glorious company of glowing 
suns. Although its diameter is less than eight minutes 
of arc, and its area therefore not over one-sixteenth 
that of the full moon, there are crowded together 
within its borders, according to a conservative estimate, 
as many as three or four thousand stars. Yet this 
crowding is probably only apparent. No doubt its 
real extent is so tremendous that there would be 
plenty of room for planetary systems to revolve undis- 
turbed about each member of the group. 



OPHIUCHUS, THE SERPENT-BEARER 

Satan stood 

Unterrified, and like a comet burned, 

That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge 

In th' arctic sky, and from its horrid hair 

Shakes pestilence and war. 

Milton — Paradise Lost. 

Lyixg south of Hercules we come upon Ophiuchus, 
the Serpent-bearer. Milton, who is usually correct in 
his astronomical allusions, blundered sadly in the lines 
above quoted ; for Ophiuchus lies upon the celestial 
equator, and can by no stretch of poetic license be 
considered an arctic constellation. It is supposed to 
represent ^Esculapius, the son of Apollo, and proto- 
type of the medical fraternity. So skilled did he 
become in his profession that he was reputed to be 
able even to raise the dead to life. Pluto took offense 
at this, fearing lest his kingdom should become depop- 
ulated ; and at his request Jupiter launched a thunder- 
bolt against the bold physician, and so scattered his 
precocious wisdom that none of his numerous descend- 
ants seems as yet to have succeeded in recovering it. 

90 



OPHIUCHUS, THE SERPENT-BEAREE 91 

Apollo, however, insisted that his son be placed in the 
sky, where his healing arts, if they can do no good, 
can certainly do no harm. The association of the 
serpent with this constellation may perhaps indicate 
the miraculous powers which are usually ascribed in 
the Orient to snake-charmers. 

The foregoing is the generally accepted explanation 
of this figure; but an altogether different interpre- 
tation is sometimes given, by which Ophiuchus is 
identified with Laocoon, the priest of Neptune, who, 
during the siege of Troy, was attacked and strangled 
by sea-serpents for his irreverent treatment of the 
wooden horse. 



LYRA, THE LYRE; DELPHINUS, THE DOLPHIN; 
AQUILA, THE EAGLE 

I saw, with its celestial keys, 
Its chords of air, its frets of fire. 
The Samian's gi'eat ^olian lyre, 
Rising through all its sevenfold bars. 
From earth unto the fix6d stars. 

Longfellow — Occultation of Orion. 

The Lyre of Orpheus. — Few probably have not noticed 
and admired the brilliant star which culminates nearly 
overhead in our summer evenings. This is Vega, the 
Harp-star ; and indeed, with the help of the smaller 
stars close by, the rude resemblance to a lyre or harp 
may easily be traced. According to the common version 
this was the lyre of Orpheus, and his skill upon it was 
such, that when Eurydice shortly after their marriage 
was snatched from him, he succeeded in so charming 
the guardians of the Stygian realms that they allowed 
him to enter. Presenting himself before the deities 
which presided over this kingdom of ghosts, he sang 

Such notes as, warbled to the string. 

Drew iron tears down Pluto's cheek, 

And made him grant what love did seek. — Mii-ton. 





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LYEA, THE LYRE, ETC. "^93 

Consent was given that Eurydice accompany her 
husband back to the upper world ; but the condition 
imposed, that he look not back to see if she were 
following, proved too much for his anxious love, and 
he again lost her. Yet the lyre that could bring tears 
to the eyes of the furies and melt the heart of stern 
Pluto, was thought worthy of a place among the 
stars. 

Legend of Arion and the Dolphin. — By some of the 
poets Lyra has been called the harp of Arion, the 
legend concerning whom connects it with the little 
Dolphin not far ofE to the southeast. Arion was a 
famous musician of the court of Periander, king of 
Corinth. Returning from a musical contest in Sicily, 
where he won a valuable prize, he was seized by the 
sailors who coveted his treasure. As they were about 
to throw him overboard, he requested permission to 
play for the last time upon his harp. The dolphins, 
lured by the sweet strains, surrounded the ship ; and 
when he slipped into the water, one of them took him 
upon its back and bore him safely to land. 

Vega. — The resplendent Vega, or Wega, as some- 
times written, derives its name from the Arabic, and 
signifies " falling eagle." In Bayer's Uranometria, 



94 THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

published early in the seventeenth century, the eagle 
is actually represented standing behind the harp and 
holding the star in its beak. Vega ranks with Capella 
in brightness, being surpassed only by Sirius and 
Canopus. Its sapphire hue justifies the appellation 
" arc-light of the sky." 

The Double-Double. — A little to the northeast of 
Vega is the celebrated quadruple star. An exception- 
ally keen eye can distinguish its duplicity, while the 
telescope shows both components to be further divisible. 
Each pair seems to be revolving in one or two thousand 
years, and their common drift through space renders it 
probable that the two couples form one greater system, 
whose period of revolution must stretch far on towards 
a million years. 

Ring Nebula. — Very interesting too is the ring 
nebula of Lyra, the only object of this character acces- 
sible to ordinary telescopes. It consists of an oval 
ring somewhat over a minute in diameter, " the interior 
of which is filled with a dim nebulous haze, like gauze 
stretched over a hoop." ^ 

Aquila. — Southeast of Lyra is the constellation 
Aquila, figured as a flying eagle, such being the 

1 Miss Gierke's System of the Stars. 



LYE A, THE LYEE, ETC. 95 

meaning of Altair, its chief star. It was known to the 
classic writers as the bird of Jove and bearer of his 
thunder. In its talons it holds the beautiful Gany- 
mede, whom Jupiter, desiring for his cup-bearer, sent 
this eagle to seize and carry up to heaven. Occasion- 
ally the name Antinous is given to this youth, while 
Ganymede is recognized in Aquarius, the zodiacal con- 
stellation. The former interpretation is preferable as 
being that usually adopted in literature. Tennyson in 
his Palace of Art describes the picture representing 
this legend: 

Or else flushed Ganymede, his rosy thigh 

Half bui'ied in the eagle's down, 
Sole as a flying star shot through the sky 

Above the pillared town. 



CYGNUS, THE SWAN 

Down the broad galactic river, 

A^'here tlie star-beams dance and quiver, 

Flies the swan with grace transcendent, 

Bearing on its wings resplendent 

Sacred cross of death and glory, 

Emblem of redemption's story. Anon 

Cycnus. — This beautiful constellation, lying just east 
of Lyra and directly in the Milky Way, represents 
niythologically Cycnus ^ (as properly written), the son 
of Mars and most intimate friend of Phaethon. When 
the latter, after his disastrous drive in the chariot of 
the sun, was hurled into the river Eridanus, Cycnus 
lingered about the spot, and frequently plunged beneath 
the flood, seeking some relic of his lost companion. 
But the gods finally grew angry and changed him into 
a swan ; and therefore it is that this bird " ever sails 
about in the most pensive manner, and frequently 
thrusts its head into the water." Ovid thus describes 
this metamorphosis : 

1 The constellation is written Cygnus, the mythological name Cycnus. 



GYGNUS, THE SWAN 97 

His voice was lessened as lie tried to speak, 
And issued through a long extended neck : 
His hair transforms to down ; his fingers meet 
In skinny films, and shape his oary feet : 
From both his sides the wings and feathers break. 
And from his mouth proceeds a blunted beak : 
All Cycnus now into a swan was turned. 

The Northern Cross. — The principal stars of Cygnus 
form the northern cross, so well known to all star- 
gazers. Exquisitely does Lowell picture its place 
among the constellations that preside over the open- 
ing of the New Year : 

Orion kneeling in his starry niche, 
The Lyre whose strings give music audible 
To holy ears, and countless splendors more, 
Crowned by the blazing Cross high-hung o'er all. 

Albireo and 6i Cygni. — The star Albireo in the Swan's 
head is one of the most lovely objects in the sky, 
its components being golden and azure, and so well 
separated that a very small telescope will reveal them. 
The faint pair lying on the left wing, known as 61 
Cygni, is deserving of notice, not so much from any 
intrinsic interest, as because " these little suns were the 
first of all the starry host to reveal to Bessel the secret 



98 THE STAES IN SONG AND LEGEND 

of their distance." ' Light requires nearly ten years to 
travel thence, so that we do not perceive them as they 
now are, but as they were a decade ago. Yet, as Webb 
finely remarks, " not one in a million of the stars but 
lies at a distance incalculably exceeding that of 61 
Cygni. How vast must be the dimensions of this great 
universe ! "What a temple for the Creator's glory ! " 

1 Webb's Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes. 



PEGASUS, THE WINGED HORSE 

I dreamt that I flew through the vaulted blue, 

Like Pegasus of old, 

That winged steed of heavenly breed, 

Which bore BeUerophon bold. 

Anon. 

Still to the eastward we come to Pegasus marked by 
the well-known square. The northeastern star of this 
square, however, lies in the head of Andromeda, and 
may conveniently serve to locate that constellation. 

All doubtless are familiar with the story of Pegasus, 
so charmingly told in Hawthorne's Wonder Book. 
Although he sprang from the blood of the hateful 
Gorgon, he seems nevertheless to have been an amiable 
steed. Being presented by Minerva to the Muses, he 
took up his abode on Mount Helicon, where with a 
blow of his hoof he opened up that fountain at which 
every poet must drink ere he can soar on Pegasean 
wing. Here it was that BeUerophon caught him with 
Minerva's golden bridle ; but after slaying the Chimgera, 
this hero grew too presumptuous and attempted to fly 



100 THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

up to heaven, Avhereupon Jupiter sent a gadfly which 
stung Pegasus and caused him to throw his rider. 

With Pegasus we have completed our review of the 
principal constellations north of the zodiac. Among 
those that lie south of this circle only a few are of 
sufl&cient interest to claim our attention. The region 
of the sky about the south pole was, of course, practi- 
cally unknown to the classic astronomers, and most of 
its star-figures are of recent date. 



-\. 



ORION 

Begirt with many a blazing star 
Stood the great giant Algebar, 
Orion, hunter of the beast ! 
His sword hung gleaming by his side, 
And on his arm the lion's hide 
Scattered across the midnight air 
The golden radiance of its hair. 

Longfellow — Occultation of Orion. 

Brilliancy of Orion. — The question is often asked 
whether the atmosphere in winter is not clearer than 
in summer, since the heavens never appear so brilliant 
as on a crisp frosty night. The reason of this does not 
lie in the transparency of the air. Partly no doubt it 
is due to its disturbed condition which causes the stars 
to flash and twinkle, but chiefly to the fact that the 
winter constellations outrank in splendor those that 
preside with their milder radiance over the summer 
months. 

Supreme in the glittering skies of our northern 
winter reigns Orion. He is mentioned several times 
in the Bible, the reference in the ninth chapter of Job 

101 



102 THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

to "the Seven stars, Orion and the Pleiades, and the 
chambers of the south," being intended as a compre- 
hensive description of the whole starry heavens, the 
Seven stars, or Great Bear, representing the arctic skies, 
Orion and the Pleiades, the equatorial regions, and the 
chambers of the south, that portion near the south pole 
which to a northern observer is closed or concealed. 

Threatening Character. — Orion's huge size and threat- 
ening posture, combined with the stormy character of 
the time of year when he rises, gave him an extremely 
evil reputation with the classic writers, who hurled 
against him all sorts of ugly invective, — rainy, tem- 
pestuous, destructive to sailors and altogether "horrid"! 
According to Polybius the loss of the Roman fleet in 
the first Punic war was due " to the obstinacy of the 
consuls, who, despite of the pilots, would sail between 
the risings of Orion and Sirius, always a squally time." 
Milton also in Paradise Lost alludes to the boisterous 
character of this constellation : 

When with fierce winds Orion armed 

Hath Yexed the Red sea coast, whose waves o'erthrew 

Busiris and his Memphian chivalry. 

Mythology. -^ Mythologically, he was a hunter or 
warrior-giant, though the legends about him are 



OEION 103 

conflicting. One account made him the lover of Merope, 
daughter of CEnopion, king of Chios. After Orion had 
rendered the king most valuable service by clearing 
his realm of wild beasts, he demanded Merope's hand 
in marriage, but was refused. Thereupon he attempted 
to take her by force. CEnopion, enraged, made him 
drunk, and having put out his eyes, cast him on the 
seashore. Following the sound of the hammer, the 
giant made his way to Vulcan's forge and besought his 
help. Vulcan gave him the services of a cy clops to be 
his guide, and Orion, placing him on his shoulders, 
proceeded to the east, and there meeting the sun-god, 
was restored to sight, as Longfellow relates : 

But he 
Reeled as of yore beside the sea, 
When blinded by QSnopion 
He sought the blacksmith at his forge, 
And climbing up the narrow gorge, 
Fixed his blank eyes upon the sun. 

According to another story he was the companion of 
Diana, who fell in love with him and would have 
married him, had not her brother Apollo put a stop to 
the mad project by causing the Scorpion to sting him. 
At the intercession of the goddess, however, he was 



104 THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

placed in the sky opposite to the Scorpion, so that he 
might escape in the west as that loathsome reptile lifted 
its head above the eastern horizon. Aratus refers to 
this arrangement in his poem : 

When the Scorpion comes 

Orion flies to the utmost end of earth. 

Culminating on the meridian the giant is upright, 
but as he approaches the horizon his position becomes 
more and more inclined. Tennyson, with his custom- 
ary accuracy, writes in Locksley Hall of 

Great Orion sloping slowly to the west. 

In Maud, too, he thus beautifully pictures the western 
sky at the opening of spring : 

It fell at a time of year 
When the face of the night is fair on the dewy downs, 
And the shining daffodil dies, and the Charioteer 
And starry Gemini hang like glorious crowns 
Over Orion's grave low down in the west. 

The Stars of Orion. — Of the brilliants in this constel- 
lation, Betelguese, meaning "armpit," marks the right 
shoulder ; Rigel, sometimes called Algebar, the left 
foot; while Bellatrix, the female warrior or Amazon 
star, lies on the left shoulder. The three stars in the 



r 



ORION 105 

belt constitute the golden yardarm of seamen, and the 
yardstick or ell of tradesmen, besides being popularly 
known as the Magi or three wise men from the Orient, 
and the three Marys. Tennyson in The Princess 
describes them as 

Those tl>ree stars of the airy Giant's zone 
That glitter burnished by the frosty dark. 

The celestial equator now passes just above the 
northern one of the three. In 1807 the University of 
Leipsic resolved that the stars belonging to the belt 
and sword of Orion should in future be called Napoleon. 
As Thomas Hood two centuries earlier had told us that 
" this fellow was placed in heaven to teach men not to 
be too confident in their own strength," there was, 
perhaps, very good ground for the proposed change of 
appellation ; but the new name has never been adopted 
by the map-makers. 

Great Nebula of Orion. — The telescope does not reveal 
in all the heavens a more wonderful object than the 
great nebula lying just below Orion's belt. It is fre- 
quently called the fish-mouth nebula, from the rude 
resemblance to the head of some marine monster. Its 
brilliancy is not uniform, and the glare of the brighter 



106 THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

portions contrasts strongly with, the darker regions, 
giving one a " sensation of looking through into the 
luminous regions of illimitable space." Sir John 
Herschel, viewing it through his twenty-foot reflector, 
compares it to a curdling liquid, or to the breaking up 
of a mackerel sky. Involved in it is the fine multiple 
star, known as the trapezium from the configuration of 
its four principal components. 



CANIS MAJOR AND CANIS MINOR, THE GREAT 
AND LITTLE DOGS 

Th' autumnal star, whose brilliant ray 
Shines eminent amid the depth of night, 
Whom men the dog-star of Orion call. 

LoKD Derby — Translation of Homer'' s Iliad. 

Sirius, the Dog Star. — Homer's oft-mentioned Dog 
was simply the star Sirius, our present constellation 
being the creation of a later date. In another passage 
of the Iliad besides the one above quoted, Sirius is 
alluded to as 

The star of autumn laved by ocean's wave. 

The time of year intended by Homer was no doubt 
the latter part of July or the first of August when 
Sirius rose just before the sun ; but we may still very 
properly call it autumn's star, for late in the fall, when 
the wind has stripped the trees and the hoarfrost 
sparkles on the ground, Sirius, large and brilliant, 
begins to loom in the evening sky. 

No other star visible in our northern latitudes re- 
motely rivals Sirius in splendor. By the Arabs it was 

107 



108 THE STAES IN SONG AND LEGEND 

known as Al Shira, the shining one ; in fact, the word 
Sirius signifies in the Greek "scorching" or "spark- 
ling." We can scarcely wonder that the ancients 
attributed the burning heat of summer to the com- 
mingling of the rays of this star with those of the 
sun, their canicular or dog days being reckoned from 
its heliacal rising. It thus came to pass that, although 
so beautiful, it acquired a very evil reputation, all the 
discomforts and ills of the torrid season being ascribed 
to its influence. Pope's translation of Homer's lines. 

Terrific glory ! for his burning breath 

Taints the red air with fevers, plagues, and death, 

well expresses the popular estimate in classic days of 
the noxious effects of this glowing orb. 

The Nile Star. — In Egypt, hqwever, Sirius bore a very 
different character. Some five thousand years ago, 
before precession had carried it so far to the eastward, 
it rose with the sun at the time of the summer solstice, 
and hence heralded the approach of the Nile inundation. 
It was, therefore, naturally held in great reverence as the 
Nile star, and had many temples dedicated to its worship. 
Sir Edwin Arnold in his Egyptian Princess voices the 
unquestioned belief in the star's potent influence : 



CANIS MAJ^OK ANTD CANIS MINOR 109 

And ever when the Star of Kneph has brought the summer 

round, 
And the Nile rises fast and full along the thirsty ground, 
They bear her from her rock-hewn tomb to where the sun's 

bright light 
May linger on the close-bound eyes were once so glad and 

bright ; 
And strew palm clusters on her breast, while gray-haired 

singers teU 
Of the high Egyptian lady who loved the sun so well. 

Twinkling of Sirius. — Not only is Sirius the most 

luminous of all the fixed stars, it also exhibits in the 

most marked manner the phenomenon of scintillation 

or twinkling. This is due both to its brightness and to 

its low altitude as seen from northern stations. While 

it is in reality an intensely white star, its twinkling 

gives the impression of a many-colored, changeful light, 

as Tennyson most correctly and beautifully describes it 

in The Princess : 

The fiery Sirius alters hue, 

And bickers into red and emerald. 

The scientific explanation of twinkling is found in 
the composite nature of the ray of light which proceeds 
from the star, and which in its passage through the 
atmosphere becomes more or less broken up. 



no THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

The Little Dog, Procyon. — Canis Minor, the other 
hound of Orion, was known to the Greeks as Procyon, 
a term which we now apply only to the principal star. 
It means "precursor of the Dog," that is, of Sirius. 
While it lies somewhat to the east, it is also much 
farther north than the Greater Dog, and hence with 
us rises first. When, however, Sirius comes to the 
western horizon, Procyon is almost directly above it 
towards the zenith. 

The Companions of Sirius and Procyon. — Both Sirius 
and Procyon have in recent years been found to be 
double. The companion in each case, though heavy 
enough to sway the brighter star to a quite perceptible 
degree, is a body of very inferior luster. Thus Sirius 
has only twice the mass of its companion, yet it gives 
ten thousand times as much light. In the Procyon 
system the disparity between mass and luminosity is 
even greater ; while in Algol and other stars of its 
class the satellite seems to be entirely dark. Discov- 
eries like these suggest the possibility that the telescope 
fails to reveal the full extent of the universe, and that 
the conjectures of Laplace and Bessel of the existence 
of countless orbs, grand but invisible, may yet prove 
well founded. 



ARGO NAVIS, THE SHIP ARGO 

Then with a whistling breeze did Juno fill the sail, 
And Argo, self-impelled, shot swift before the gale. 

Elton — Translation of Onomacritus. 

Only a portion of this constellation rises above the 
horizon in middle latitudes, its principal star, Canopus, 
first becoming visible on the southern border of the 
United States. Yet it was one of the original forty- 
eight asterisms, well known in classic times. 

The Legend. — This- ship was built for Jason, the 

leader of the Argonautic expedition which sailed from 

Greece to Colchis in quest of the golden fleece. Pallas 

Athene herself took a hand in its construction and 

placed in the vessel's prow a timber from the speaking 

oak of Dodona, which should serve to guide and warn 

the adventurous chieftains who formed the crew. One 

of the most thrilling adventures on the outward voyage 

was the passing of the Symplegades, or clashing rocks. 

These guarded the entrance to the Euxine sea ; and, 

tossing back and forth, were almost sure to crush any 

boat that attempted to sail between them. By the 

111 



112 THE STAKS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

advice of Phineus the Argonauts first let go a dove, 
vphich skimmed through in safety, losing only some of 
the feathers of her tail. Taking advantage of the 
rebound, they bent to their oars and barely succeeded 
in effecting the passage before the rocks again crashed 
together. The stern of their vessel, indeed, did not 
wholly escape, but vi^as more or less broken ; and so it 
is represented on the maps, though some writers insist 
that it is the bow of the ship that is wanting. This, 
however, is evidently a mistake. On Bayer's map of 
1639, we have a very interesting delineation of the 
passage of the swinging rocks, the Argo being pictured 
as just emerging, with her stern torn ofi: by their deadly 
impact. After the fortunate completion of the voyage 
the vessel was placed in the sky by Athene. If, as 
many hold, this story contains a substratum of truth, and 
actually brings down to us the account, highly colored 
of course, of the first important commercial expedition 
to what was then the far east, we may well look upon 
the celestial Argo with more than ordinary interest. 

Canopus. — Canopus, the lucida of this constellation, 
which lies just below our horizon where the prow of 
the Argo cuts the water, is, after Sirius, the brightest 
star in the heavens. Canopus was the chief pilot of 



AEGO NAVIS, THE SHIP ARGO 113 

the fleet of Menelaus. On the return voyage after the 
Trojan war, they landed in Egypt, where Canopus died 
and was buried. His name was given to the city 
founded upon the site, and to this star which rose just 
above the horizon. This, at least, is the popular deri- 
vation of the name as given by Plutarch. 

Long, long before this visit of the Grecian warriors 
to the shores of Egypt, which thus resulted in naming 
the star, the magnificent orb itself was known and 
worshiped on the banks of the Nile. Lockyer con- 
cludes that several temples in Upper Egypt were not 
unlikely oriented to its setting more than eight thou- 
sand years ago ! That it held an important place in the 
early cult of that country there can be no doubt. The 
reference to it in Moore's Lalla Rookh will be recalled 
in this connection : 

As on some black and troublous night 

The Star of Egypt, whose proud light 

Never hath beamed on those who rest 

In the white islands of the west, 

Burns through the storm, with looks of flame 

That put heaven's cloudier eyes to shame. 

It might also well be designated the Desert Star, 
for not only was it much used by the wild, wandering 



114 THE STAES IX SONG AND LEGEND 

tribes in tracking their way through the pathless 
wastes, and in regulating their calendar, but it 
naturally became an object of worship among them. 
Carlyle in Heroes and Hero- Worship intimates how 
this might be : 

" Canopus, shining down over the desert with its 
blue, diamond brightness (that wild, blue, spirit-like 
brightness, far brighter than we ever witness here), 
would pierce into the heart of the wild Ishmaelitish 
man, whom it was guiding through the solitary wastes 
there. To his wild heart, with all feelings in it, with 
no speech for any feeling, it might seem a little eye, 
that Canopus, glancing out on him from the great, deep 
eternity, revealing the inner splendor to him." 

The Argo Nebula. — This grand object is situated 
between Argo and Centaurus, in one of the most bril- 
liant portions of the Milky Way. " It is not easy," 
says Herschel, " for language to convey a full impres- 
sion of the beauty and sublimity of the spectacle which 
this nebula offers as it enters the field of view of the 
telescope, ushered in as it is by so glorious and innumer- 
able a procession of stars, to which it forms a sort of 
climax." Miss Gierke strikingly characterizes it as "a 
chaotic sea of luminous billows." It is sometimes 



ARGO NAVIS, THE SHIP AEGO 115 

called the keyhole nebula from a peculiar shaped open- 
ing in its brightest part. 

Among the small stars that cluster on its border is 
one which, though now insignificant, has had a most 
surprising history. From the time when Halley first 
observed it in 1677, until the early part of the last 
century, its light varied irregularly, but never exceeded 
that of a second magnitude star. In 1827 it increased 
to the first magnitude, and after fluctuating for several 
years, finally in 1843 burst put with a splendor rival- 
ing that of Sirius. For nearly ten years it maintained 
this high rank; then its light slowly waned till 1886, 
when it had passed beyond the range of unaided vision. 
Its partial recovery at the present time encourages the 
belief that its strange career is not yet ended. 



CRUX, THE SOUTHERN CROSS 

Then did I feel as one who, much perplext, 
Led by strange legends and the light of stars 
Over long regions of the midnight sand 
Beyond the red tract of the pyramids, 
Is suddenly drawn to look upon the sky. 
From sense of unfamiliar light, and sees. 
Revealed against the constellated cope, 
The great cross of the south. 

Owen Meredith — Queen Guenevere. 

Early References. — Although not an ancient constella- 
tion and invisible within the boundaries of the United 
States, yet the Southern Cross is so universally known 
and so remarkable a configuration of stars that it 
deserves mention. The earliest reference to it seems 
to have been in Dante's great poem, where he speaks of 
The rays of the four consecrated stars. 

In the lines, 

! thou septentrional and widowed site, 
Because thou art deprived of seeing these ! 

he seems to refer to the interesting fact that in early 
ages these stars were visible from the greater portion 

116 



CRUX, THE SOUTHERN CROSS 117 

of tlie northern hemisphere, but through the slow pre- 
cessional change gradually shifted southward and sunk 
out of sight. 

The voyages of discovery of the sixteenth century 
brought the constellation into prominence ; and to the 
Spanish conquerors of Mexico and South America it 
became a token of heaven's approbation of their 
endeavors to plant the faith in the wilds of the New 
World. Mrs. Hemans' lines in the Cross of the South 
beautifully illustrate this sentiment : 

But to thee, as thy lode-stars resplendently burn 
In their clear depths of blue, with devotion I turn, 
Bright Cross of the South ! and beholding thee shine, 
Scarce regret the loved land of the olive and vine. 
Thou recallest the ages when first o'er the main 
My fathers unfolded the ensign of Spain, 
And planted their faith in the regions that see 
Its imperishing symbol ever blazoned in thee. 

Upon the first maps of the southern hemisphere 
South America is designated " Terra sancte crucis," the 
land of the holy cross, a circumstance still commemo- 
rated on certain Brazilian postage stamps where this con- 
stellation appears. The same suggestive device may 
be seen on a recent issue of New South Wales. 



118 THE STAES IN SONG AND LEGEND 

Use as a Timepiece. — Like the Great Bear to northern 
peoples, the Cross is the night-clock of those who dwell 
within and beyond the tropics. Its stars are so placed 
that when culminating on the meridian it stands very 
nearly upright. Humboldt in alluding to this says : 
" How often have we heard our guides exclaim in the 
savannahs of Venezuela and in the desert extending 
from Lima to Truxillo, ' Midnight is past, the Cross 
begins to bend ! ' " 

A story of the tropics, wherein this constellation fig- 
ures, is told for us by Whittier in his Cry of a Lost 
Soul. The traveler floating at nightfall through the 
gloomy forests of the Amazon is startled by 

A cry, as of the pained heart of the wood, 
The long, despairing moan of solitude. 

The guide crosses himself, and in a frightened whisper 
explains that it is the cry of a lost soul, of some infidel 
or heretic burning in hell. But the traveler 

Lifts to the starry calm of heaven his eyes, 
And lo ! rebuking all earth's ominous cries, 
The Cross of pardon lights the tropic skies. 



THE GALAXY, OR MILKY WAY 

A broad and ample road, -whose dust is gold 
And pavement stars, as stars to thee appear, 
Seen in the galaxy, that milky way. 

Milton — Paradise Lost. 

The Sky-River. — From time immemorial this circling 
zone of light has been likened to a river, being known 
anciently as Eridanus, the river of heaven, into which 
the burning chariot of the sun was plunged after 
Phaethon's mad drive ; often, too, as the shining stream 
or river of light, recalling Longfellow's lines : 

Torrent of light and river of the air. 

Along whose bed the glimmering stars are seen, 

Like gold and silver sands in some ravine 

Where mountain streams have left their channels bare. 

Among the orientals it was sometimes the silver 
river, " whose fish were frightened by the new moon, 
which they imagined to be a hook." 

This semblance to a celestial stream is rendered even 
more striking where the Galaxy divides into two 
branches between Centaurus and Cygnus. Miss Gierke 

119 



120 THE STARS IN SONG AND LEGEND 

in her System of the Stars says: "Involuntarily the 
image presents itself of a great river, forced by an 
encounter with a powerful obstacle to throw its waters 
into a double channel, lower down merged again into 
one. The intervening long strip of islanded rock and 
gravel might stand for the great rift between the 
branches of the sidereal stratum, which, although to 
the eye, owing to the effect of contrast, darker than 
the general sky, is in reality nowhere quite free from 
nebulous glimmerings. It is encroached upon by 
fringes, effusions, and filaments, spanned by bridges of 
light, and here and there half filled up by long, narrow, 
disconnected masses or pools of nebulae, lying parallel 
to the general flow of the stream." 

The Path of Souls. — Again the Galaxy is a road or 
pathway, our Milky Way being in fact but a transla- 
tion of the classic Via lactea. Almost universally this 
has been the path by which departing souls reach the 
realms of the blessed, as Milton has it. 

The way to God's eternal house. 

So in the medieval ages it was popularly called "the 
way of Rome," because the Roman pontiffs controlled 
and guarded the only avenue of approach to the celestial 



THE GALAXY, OE MILKY WAY 121 

city. The Norsemen knew it as the path to Yalhalla, 
up which went the souls of heroes who fell in battle. 
The belief of our North American Indians is set forth 
in Longfellow's Hiawatha, where 

Many things Nokomis taught him 
Of the stars that shine in heaven. 



Showed the broad white road in heaven, 
Pathway of the ghosts, the shadows, 
Eunning straight across the heavens, 
Crowded with the ghosts, the shadows. 
To the Kingdom of Ponemah, 
To the land of the hereafter ; 

or in the beautiful Indian Fancy of William Hamilton 
Hayne : 

Pure leagues of stars from garish light withdrawn 
Behind celestial lace-work pale as foam, • — 

I think between the midnight and the dawn 

Souls pass through you to their mysterious home. 

The Winter Street. — With the Swedish peasantry it 
is the "Winter Street," probably because, while in 
the spring and summer evenings its pale milky light 
mingles with the haze of the horizon, in winter it 
arches magnificently across the zenith. Miss Edith 



122 THE STAES IN SONG AND LEGEND 

Matilda Thomas in her short poem of this name 
thus describes it : 

Silent with star-dust, yonder it lies — 

The Winter Street, so fair and so white; 

Winding along through the boundless skies, 
Down heavenly vale, up heavenly height. 

And who are they, all unheard and unseen — 

O, who are they, whose blessed feet 
Pass over that highway smooth and sheen ? 

What pilgrims travel the Winter Street ? 

Are they not those whom here we miss 

In the ways and the days that are vacant below ? 

As the dust of that street their footfalls kiss. 
Does it not brighter and brighter grow ? 

Jacob's Road. — In Germany a popular title has been 
Jakobs Strasse, Jacob's Road, a simUe borrowed from 
the ladder of his dream, on which the angels of God 
ascend and descend. The same idea occurs elsewhere, 
for Longfellow tells us. 

The Spaniard sees in thee the pathway where 
His patron saint descended in the sheen 
Of his celestial armor, on serene 
And quiet nights when all the heavens were fair. 



THE GALAXY, OR MILKY WAY 123 

Very beautiful, noble even, are these fancies, which 
find in this luminous track the highway of spirits, 
growing, like the path of the just, ever brighter as it 
rises above the mists and fogs of this world, up into 
the glorious expanses of the ether, till it is lost in the 
boundlessness of the celestial realms. But grander 
still, shall we not say ? is the reality, the true concep- 
tion of this mighty circle of light, which science tells us 
is composed of worlds heaped on worlds, suns towering 
beyond suns, in a profusion that startles the imagina- 
tion and awes the soul. Something of this did Long- 
fellow see in the Galaxy : 

The white drift of worlds o'er chasms of sable, 
The star-dust that is whirled aloft and flies 
From the invisible chariot wheels of God. 



INDEX 



^soulapius, 90 

Albireo, 97 

Alcides, 88 

Alcor, 65 

Alcyone, 35-37 

Aldebaran, 32 

Algebar, 104 

Algol, 76 

Allen, R. H., 54, 63 

Almach, 76 

Altair, 95 

Amalthea, 78 

Amazon star, 104 

Andromeda, 72, 74, 75 

Antares, 53 

Antinous, 95 

Antiquity of constellations, 23 

Aquarius, 57 

Aquila, 94 

Aratus, 28, 31, 34, 44, 48, 55, 88, 104 

Areas, 61 

Arcturus, 62, 82, 83 

Arethusa, 47 

Argonauts, 39, 111, 112 

Argo Navis, 111 

Ariadne, 85, 86 

Aries, 27 

Arion, 93 

Arnold, Sir Edwin, 108 



Arthur's Wain, 64 
Astarte, 13 
Astraea, 48 
Astrology, 24 
Athene, 111, 112 
Atlantides, 31 
Atlas, 31, 74 
Auriga, 77 
Autumn's star, 107 

Baal worship, 7, 8 

Bacchus, 86 

Bellatrix, 104 

Bellerophon, 99 

Beltane, 8 

Berenice's Hair, 80 

Betelguese, 104 

Bootes, 82 

Browning, Elizabeth B., 74 

Browning, Robert, 18, 19 

Bryant, W. C, 62, 70, 71, 80 

Buddha, 14 

Bull, 30 

Callimachus, 78 
Callisto, 61 
Camoens, 62 
Cancer, 43 
Canis Major, 107 



125 



126 



THE STAKS IN SONG AND LEGEND 



Canis Minor, 110 

Canopus, 112-114 

Capella, 77, 78 

Caprioomus, 55 

Carlyle, Thomas, 114 

Cassiopeia, 72 

Castor, 39, 40 

Centaurs, 54 

Cepheus, 72 

Cerberus, 89 

Ceres, 47 

Ceyx, 36 

Cliambers of tlie south, 102 

Charioteer, 77 

Charles' Wain, 64 

Claws of Scorpio, 25, 50 

Gierke, Agnes M., 33, 34, 94, 114, 

120 
Cluster in Hercules, 89 
Colchis, 7, 29 
Coma Berenices, 80 
Congreve, William, 43 
Conon, 80 

Constellations, Origin of, 23, 24 
Cor Caroli, 83 
Cor Leonis, 46 
Cornucopia, 78 
Corona Borealis, 85 
Cowley, Abraham, 39 
Crab, 43 
Crux, 116 
Cycnus, 96 
Cygnus, 96 
Cynosure, 67 

Dante, 57, 116 
Delphinus, 98 
Demosthenes, 83 



Denebola, 46 
De Rheita, 81 
Desert star, 113, 114 
Diana, 13, 16, 103 
Dog star, 108 
Dolphin, 93 
Draco, 77, 88 
Druids, 8, 9, 17 
Dryden, John, 70 

Eagle, 94 

Egyptian temples, 4 
Egypt, Star of, 113 
Electra, 35 
Emerson, R. W., 83 
Endymion, 16 
Erechtheus, 77 
Eridanus, 53, 57, 96, 119 
Euripides, 45 
Europa, 30 
Eurydice, 92, 93 
Evening Star, 59 

Fishes, 58 
Fish-mouth nebula, 105 

Galaxy, 119 

Galileo, 18 

Ganymede, 95 

Gemini, 39 

Goat, 55 

Golden age, 48 

Golden fleece, 29, 111 

Gorgon, 74 

Great Bear, 61 

Great Dipper, 65 

Great Dog, 107 

Greenwich Observatory, 84 



INDEX 



127 



Hsedi, 77 

Hafiz, 83 

Halcyon, 36 

Halcyone, 36 

Halley, Edmund, 89, 115 

Hamal, 29 

Hare, 14 

Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 99 

Hayne, W. H., 121 

Heine, 22 

Helen's lights, 40 

Helicon, Mount, 99 

Helios, 7 

Helle, 29 

Hellespont, 29 

Hemans, Felicia, 9, 34, 117 

Hercules, 43, 45, 88 

Herdsman, 82 

Hersohel, Sir John, 49, 53, 81, 106, 

114 
Hesperides, 74, 89 
Hesperus, 59 
Hevelius, Johannes, 82 
Homer, 13, 39, 61, 63, 107, 108 
Hood, Thomas, 105 
Horace, 40, 83 
Horus, Myth of, 3, 4 
Humboldt, Baron von, 118 
Hyades, 31, 32 
Hydra, 43 
Hyperboreans, 68 

lucas, 10, 17 
Indra, 14 
Isaiah, 24, 68, 69 

Jack and Jill, 15 
Jacob's Road, 122 



Jason, 111 
Job, 33, 62, 101 
Jonson, Ben, 16 
Josephus, 25 
Juno, 43, 61, 62 
Jupiter, 78 

Kids, 77, 78 
Kingfisher, 36 
Kingsley, Charles, 75 
Kneph, Star of, 109 

Lady in the Moon, 15, 16 

Lampman, Archibald, 37 

Lance-bearer, 83 

Landseer, John, 28 

Laocoon, 91 

Ledsean lights, 39 

Leo, 45 

Libra, 50 

Lion, 45 

Little Bear, 67 

Little Dog, 110 

Little "Wain, 68 

Lockyer, Sir J. Norman, 113 

Lode-star, 71 

Lokl, 10 

Longfellow, H. W., 17, 27, 40, 47, 

50, 52, 54, 57, 93, 101, 103, 119, 

121, 122, 123 
Lowell, J. R., 61, 97 
Lyra, 93 

Macaulay, Thomas B., 40 

Manger, 44 

Manilius, 57 

Man in the Moon, 14, 15 

Medusa, 74, 76 



128 



THE STARS EST SONG AND LEGEND 



Meredith, Owen, 39, 116 

Merope, 35, 38, 103 

Milk dipper, 54 

Milky Way, 119 

Milton, Jolin, 18, 33, 36, 51, 55, 67, 

72, 90, 92, 102, 119, 120 
Minerva, 99 
Minos, 85 
Minotaur, 85 
Mizar, 65 
Moon, 13 

Moon superstitions, 19, 20 
Moon worship, 13 
Moore, Thomas, 68, 71, 113 
Morris, Lewis, 10 
Mountain of the north, 68 
Miiller, Max, 2 

Nebulse in Virgo, 49 

Nebula in Andromeda, 76 

Nebula in Argo, 114 

Nebula in Orion, 105 

Nebula in Pleiades, 37, 38 

Nebula in Scorpio, 53 

New star in Cassiopeia, 73 

New star in Scorpio, 53 

Nile inundation, 6, 45 

Nile star, 108 

North American Indians, 17, 63, 

121 
Northern Cross, 97 
Northern Crown, 85 
North Star, 69 

Qinopion, 103 
Onomacritus, 111 
Ophiuchus, 90 
Orientation of cathedrals, 11 



Orientation of temples, 4-6 

Orion, 101 

Orpheus, 39, 92 

Osiris, 3, 4 

Ossian, 1 

Ovid, 27, 96 

Pan, 56 

Paul, Apostle, 28, 40 

Pegasus, 99 

Perseus, 74, 75 

Peru, 10 

Phaethon, 52, 96 

Phoebus Apollo, 7, 52 

Phcenicians, 7, 67 

Phosphorus, 59 

Phrixus, 29 

Pisces, 58 

Pleiad, lost, 34, 35 

Pleiades, 32-34 

Plow, 63 

Plow-oxen. 63 

Pluto, 47, 90, 93 

Poe, E. A, 69 

Pole-star, 69-71 

Pollux, 39, 40 

Polybius, 102 

Pope, Alexander, 88, 108 

Prsesepe, 44 

Procyon, 110 

Proserpine, 47 

Pyramids, 4 

Quadruple star in Lyra, 94 
Queen of Heaven, 13 

Ram, 27 
Regulus, 45 



INDEX 



129 



Rhodius, 85 
Rigel, 104 
Ring nebula, 94 
Rossetti, Christina, 69 

Sagittarius, 54 

Saint Elmo's lights, 40 

Sayce, A. H., 68 

Scales, 50 

Scandinavian sun myths, 9, 10 

Schiller, J. C. F. von, 25, 82 

Scorpio, 52, 103, 104 

Sea Goat, 55 

Seaman's star, 70 

Selen^, 13, 15 

Septentriones, 68 

Serpent-hearer, 90 

Serviss, G. P., 80 

Shakespeare, 64, TO 

Shelley, Percy B., 39 

Sigourney, Lydia, 32 

Sirius, 107-109 

Southern Cross, 116 

Spenser, Edmund, 27, 32, 64, 8( 

Sphinx, 45 

Spica, 48 

Star of Bethlehem, 73 

Star of Egypt, 113 

Stars, Number of, 22, 23 

Stonehenge, 8, 9 

Sun, 1 

Sun worship in Egypt, 3, 4 

Sun worship in Greece, 6, 7 

Sun worship in India, 2 

Sun worship in Peru, 10, 11 

Swan, 96 



Swinburne, A. C, 77 
Symplegades, 111 

Taurus, 30 

Taylor, Bayard, 32 

Taylor, B. F., 65 

Tennyson, Alfred, 13, 30, 32, 58, 59, 

65, 95, 104, 105, 109 
Theseus, 85, 86 
Thomas, Edith M., 122 
Tramontana, 68, 69 
Twinkling, 109 
Typhon, 3, 4, 56 

Ursa Major, 61 
XJrsa Minor, 67 

Valhalla, 10, 121 
Variable star in Argo, 115 
Vedas, 2, 34 
Vega, 92-94 
Venus, 58, 59, 86 
Veronica, 81 
Vindemiatrix, 48 
Virgil, 30, 50 
Virgo, 47 
Vulcan, 103 

Water-bearer, 57 
Weather prognostics, 44 
Whittier, J. G., 118 
Winter constellations, 101 
Winter Street, 121 

Young, Charles D., 1 

Zodiac, 25, 26