Derniers Contes

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 26

moins, autour d'un
centre de gravite commun a tous les globes de la voie lactee, que l'on
supposait pres des Alcyons dans les Pleiades, chacun de ces globes
faisait sa revolution, le notre achevant son circuit dans une periode
de 117,000,000 d'annees! Aujourd'hui, avec nos lumieres actuelles, les
grands perfectionnements de nos telescopes, et le reste, nous eprouvons
naturellement quelque difficulte a saisir sur quel fondement repose une
pareille idee. Le premier qui la propagea fut un certain Mudler[46].
Il fut amene, sans doute, a cette singuliere hypothese par une pure
analogie qui se presenta a lui dans le premier cas observe; mais au
moins aurait-il du poursuivre cette analogie dans ses developpements.
Elle lui suggerait, de fait, un grand orbe central; jusque-la Mudler
etait logique. Cet orbe central, toutefois, devait etre dynamiquement
plus grand que tous les orbes qui l'environnaient pris ensemble. Mudler
pouvait alors se poser cette question:--"Pourquoi ne le voyons-nous
pas?" nous, en particulier, qui occupons la region moyenne du groupe,
l'endroit meme le plus rapproche de cet inconcevable soleil central.
Peut-etre, a ce point de son argumentation, l'astronome s'est-il refugie
dans la supposition que cet orbe pourrait bien n'etre pas lumineux; et
ici l'analogie lui faisait soudainement defaut. Mais meme en admettant
un orbe central non lumineux, comment s'y serait-il pris pour expliquer
cette invisibilite rendue visible par une incalculable multitude de
glorieux soleils rayonnant dans toutes les directions autour de lui?
Sans doute il s'en tenait finalement a admettre un centre de gravite
commun a tous les globes evolutionnants.--Mais ici encore l'analogie
devait lui faire defaut.

Notre systeme, il est vrai, opere sa revolution autour d'un centre
commun de gravite, mais cette revolution n'est que la consequence de sa
relation avec un soleil materiel dont la masse contrebalance et au dela
le reste du systeme. Le cercle mathematique est une courbe composee
d'une infinite de lignes droites; mais cette idee du cercle--idee que,
par rapport a la geometrie terrestre, nous ne considerons que comme une
pure idee mathematique en contradiction avec l'idee pratique--est en
realite la seule conception _pratique_ que nous soyons en droit de
nous faire par rapport a ces cercles gigantesques auxquels nous avons
affaire, au moins en imagination, quand nous supposons notre systeme
avec ses annexes evoluant autour d'un point situe au centre de la voie
lactee. Que les plus vigoureuses des imaginations humaines essaient
seulement de se faire la moindre idee d'un circuit ainsi inexprimable!
Ce serait a peine un paradoxe de dire qu'une lueur d'eclair elle-meme,
parcourant eternellement la circonference de cet inconcevable cercle, la
parcourrait eternellement en ligne droite. Que le trajet de notre soleil
le long de cette circonference--que la

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Text Comparison with Eureka: A Prose Poem

Page 0
EUREKA: A PROSE POEM.
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"Do you know, my dear friend," says the writer, addressing, no doubt, a contemporary--"Do you know that it is scarcely more than eight or nine hundred years ago since the metaphysicians first consented to relieve the people of the singular fancy that there exist _but two practicable roads to Truth_? Believe it if you can! It appears, however, that long, long ago, in the night of Time, there lived a Turkish philosopher called Aries and surnamed Tottle.
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' Here Mr.
Page 18
Man neither employs, nor knows, a force sufficient to bring two atoms into contact.
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Here, then, is an _in_coincidence.
Page 26
We have no right to assume, then, from what we observe in rules that we choose foolishly to name "principles," anything at all in respect to the characteristics of a principle proper.
Page 33
"But they seek a centre," it will be said, "and a centre is a point.
Page 36
But "hypothesis" cannot be wielded _here_ to any good purpose, even by those who succeed in lifting it--little men or great.
Page 49
suns_--that is to say, suns whose existence we determine through the movements of others, but whose luminosity is not sufficient to impress us.
Page 51
Certain spots in the firmament which presented, even to the most powerful of the old telescopes, the appearance of nebulosity, or haze, had been regarded for a long time as confirming the theory of Laplace.
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Now let us conceive such an ellipse.
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our globe.
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The distance of the planet Neptune from the Sun has been stated:--it is 28 hundred millions of miles; the circumference of its orbit, therefore, is about 17 billions.
Page 73
This central orb, however, should, dynamically, be greater than all the orbs, taken together, which surround it.
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Here again then, to suit a purpose, analogy is let fall.
Page 75
On the other, granting such a motion and such a force, we find it no less difficult to reconcile their forms with the rotation of the whole system [meaning cluster] around any single axis, without which internal collision would appear to be inevitable.
Page 78
That so pregnant a suggestion as the one just quoted should have been permitted to remain so long unfruitful, is, nevertheless, a mystery which I find it difficult to fathom.
Page 79
This cause--this sufficient reason for the final ingathering--was declared to exist in an exceedingly rare but still material medium pervading space; which medium, by retarding, in some degree, the progress of the comet, perpetually weakened its tangential force; thus giving a predominance to the centripetal; which, of course, drew the comet nearer and nearer at each revolution, and would eventually precipitate it upon the Sun.
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Guiding our imaginations by that omniprevalent law of laws, the law of periodicity, are we not, indeed, more than justified in entertaining a belief--let us say, rather, in indulging a hope--that the processes we have here ventured to contemplate will be renewed forever, and forever, and forever; a novel Universe swelling into existence, and then subsiding into nothingness, at every throb of the Heart Divine? And now--this Heart Divine--what is it? _It is our own.
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FACTS AND FANCIES.