Reference > Quotations > S. Austin Allibone, comp. > Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay
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S. Austin Allibone, comp.  Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.  1880.
 
Stars
 
  The outward stars, with their systems of planets, must necessarily have descended towards the middlemost system of the universe, whither all would be most strongly attracted from all parts of a finite space.
Richard Bentley.    
  1
 
  Magnificence is likewise a source of the sublime. A great profusion of things which are splendid or valuable in themselves, is magnificent. The starry heaven, though it occurs so very frequently to our view, never fails to excite an idea of grandeur. This cannot be owing to the stars themselves, separately considered. The number is certainly the cause. The apparent disorder augments the grandeur, for the appearance of care is highly contrary to our ideas of magnificence. Besides, the stars lie in such apparent confusion as makes it impossible on ordinary occasions to reckon them. This gives them the advantage of a sort of infinity.
Edmund Burke: On the Sublime and Beautiful, 1756.    
  2
 
  Look up, and behold the eternal fields of light that lie round about the throne of God. Had no star ever appeared in the heavens, to man there would have been no heavens, and he would have laid himself down to his last sleep in a spirit of anguish, as upon a gloomy earth vaulted over by a material arch,—solid and impervious.  3
 
  A star is beautiful; it affords pleasure, not from what it is to do, or to give, but simply by being what it is. It befits the heavens; it has congruity with the mighty space in which it dwells. It has repose: no force disturbs its eternal peace. It has freedom: no obstruction lies between it and infinity.  4
 
  When I gazed into these stars, have they not looked down on me as if with pity from their serene spaces, like eyes glistening with heavenly tears over the little lot of man!  5
 
  It is a gentle and affectionate thought, that in immeasurable height above us, at our first birth, the wreath of love was woven with sparkling stars for flowers.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.    
  6
 
  She raised her eyes to the bright stars, looking down so mildly from the wide worlds of air; and, gazing on them, found new stars burst upon her view; and more beyond, and more beyond again, until the whole great expanse sparkled with shining spheres, rising higher and higher in immeasurable space, eternal in their numbers as in their changeless and incorruptible existence. She bent over the calm river, and saw them shining in the same majestic order as when the dove beheld them gleaming through the swollen waters, upon the mountain-tops down far below, and dead mankind a million fathoms deep.  7
 
  It was well said of Plotinus that the stars were significant, but not efficient.  8
 
 
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