Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/75

This page has been validated.

"Nor shall blank silence whelm the harassed house
Of Cepheus; the high heavens know their name,
For Zeus is in their line at few removes.
Cepheus himself by She-bear Cynosure,
lasid king stands with uplifted arms.
From his belt thou castest not a glance
To see the first spire of the mighty Dragon.

"Eastward from him, heaven-troubled (queen, with scanty stars
But lustrous in the full-mooned night, sits Cassiopeia.
Not numerous nor double-rowed
The gems that deck her form,
But like a key which through an inward-fastened
Folding-door men thrust to knock aside the bolts,
They shine in single, zigzag row.
She, too, o'er narrow shoulders stretching
Uplifted hands, seems wailing for her child.

"For there, a woful statue form, is seen
Andromeda, parted from her mothers side. Long I trow
Thou wilt not seek her in the nightly sky,
So bright her head, so bright
Her shoulders, feet, and girdle.
Yet even there she has her arms extended,
And shackled even in heaven; uplifted,
Outspread eternally are those fair hands.

"Her feet point to her bridegroom
Perseus, on whose shoulder they rest.
He in the north-wind stands gigantic.
His right hand stretched toward the throne
Where sits the mother of his bride. As one bent on some high deed,
Dust-stained he strides over the floor of heaven."

The makers of old star-maps seem to have vied in the effort to represent with effect the figures of Andromeda, Perseus, and Cassiopeia among the stars, and it must be admitted that some of them succeeded in giving no small degree of life and spirit to their sketches.

The starry riches of these constellations are well matched with their high mythological repute. Lying in and near the Milky-Way, they are particularly interesting to the observer with an opera-glass. Besides, they include several of the most celebrated wonders of the firmament.

In consulting our fourth map, the observer is supposed to face the east and northeast. We will begin our survey with Andromeda. The three chief stars of this constellation are of the second magnitude, and lie in a long, bending row, beginning with Alpha (α), or Alpheratz, in the head, which, as we have seen, marks one corner of the great Square of Pegasus. Beta (β), or Mirach, with the smaller stars Mu (μ) and Nu (ν), form the girdle. The third of the chief stars is Gamma (γ), or Almaach, situated in the left foot. The little group