S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
But another microscopic eraan epoch of absolute regenerationhas commenced, dating from about twenty years ago. The real improvements effected of late in the instrument have justly raised it into high favour, both with learned inquirers into the mysteries of nature, and with amateurs, who seek no more than the means of interesting information and varied amusement. Glasses have been made truly achromatic; that is, they show objects clearly, without any coloured fringe or burr around them; several clever contrivances for making the most of light have been adopted; and, besides all that, the mechanical working of the instrument has been made so steady, delicate, and true, that a very little practice renders the student competent to make the most of his tools.
The deeper we penetrate inwardly, the more finely we subdivide, the wider we separate atomic particles and dissect them by the scalpel of microscopic vision, the more we want to subdivide and analyze still. We find living creatures existing which bear about the same relation to a flea, in respect to size, as the flea does to the animal whose juices it sucks. The most powerful microscopes, so far from giving a final answer to our curious inquiries, only serve to make us cognizant of organized beings whose anatomy and even whose general aspect we shall never discover till we can bring to bear upon them, in their magnified state, another microscope concentrated within the microscope, by which alone we are enabled to view them at all. In short, as there is clearly no boundary to infinite space, above, below, and around; so, there would appear to be no discoverable limit to the inconceivable multiplicity of details of minuteness. A drop of water is a universe. The weakness of our eyes and the imperfection of our instruments, and not the physical constitution of the drop itself, are the sole reasons, as far as we know at present, why we do not behold infinity within the marvellous drop.