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The Astronomy of Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’

Thomas Nathaniel Orchard was a member of the British Astronomical Association and authored The Astronomy of Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ (1896). “Astronomy is the oldest and most sublime of all the sciences. To a contemplative observer of the heavens, the number and brilliancy of the stars, the lustre of the planets, the silvery aspect of the Moon, with her ever-changing phases, together with the order, the harmony, and unison pervading them all, create in his mind thoughts of wonder and admiration. Occupying the abyss of space indistinguishable from infinity, the starry heavens in grandeur and magnificence surpass the loftiest conceptions of the human mind; for, at a distance beyond the range of ordinary vision, the telescope reveals clusters, systems, galaxies, universes of stars-suns-the innumerable host of heaven, each shining with a splendour comparable with that of our Sun, and, in all likelihood, fulfilling in a similar manner the same beneficent purposes. “