Two Views of the Celestial Spheres

This engraving by an unknown artist is called Empedocles Breaks through the Crystal Spheres. It first appeared in 1888 in a book by Camille Flammarion with the caption: “A missionary of the Middle Ages tells that he had found the point where the sky and the Earth touch …”

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On February 19, 1473, Nicolaus Copernicus was born, the Polish mathematician and astronomer who formulated a model of the universe with the Sun instead of the Earth at the center. His book, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres), triggered the Copernican Revolution which culminated with Isaac Newton’s laws of motion and universal gravitation.

George Santayana (1863-1952) born as Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás in Madrid, Spain; philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist. A lifelong Spanish citizen, Santayana was raised and educated in the United States. He wrote in English and is generally considered an American man of letters. In 1912, at the age of forty-eight, Santayana left his position at Harvard University and returned to Europe permanently, never to return to the United States. During his 40 years in Europe, he wrote 19 books, including The Sense of Beauty, Reason in Religion, and Interpretations of Poetry and Religion. 

To read George Santayana’s poem, ‘Tis love that moveth the celestial spheres, click:

‘Tis love that moveth the celestial spheres

by George Santayana

‘Tis love that moveth the celestial spheres
In endless yearning for the Changeless One,
And the stars sing together, as they run
To number the innumerable years.
‘Tis love that lifteth through their dewy tears
The roses’ beauty to the heedless sun,
And with no hope, nor any guerdon won,
Love leads me on, nor end of love appears.
For the same breath that did awake the flowers,
Making them happy with a joy unknown,
Kindled my light and fixed my spirit’s goal;
And the same hand that reined the flying hours
And chained the whirling earth to Phoebus’s throne,
In love’s eternal orbit keeps the soul.


‘Tis love that moveth the celestial spheres from The Complete Poems of George Santayana, © 1979, William G. Holzberger (critic/editor) – Bucknell University Press

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Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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