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impressions incline me rather to represent the Earth as a fine noble young woman, full of the pride which is so becoming to her sex, and well able to take her own part, in case that, at any solitary point of the heavens, she should come across one of those vulgar fussy Comets, disposed to be rude and take improper liberties. These Comets, by the way, are public nuisances, very much like the mounted messengers of butchers in great cities, who are always at full gallop, and moving upon such an infinity of angles to human shinbones, that the final purpose of such boys (one of whom lately had the audacity nearly to ride down the Duke of Wellington) seems to be not the translation of mutton, which would certainly find its way into human mouths even if riding boys were not, - but the improved geometry of transcendental curves. They ought to be numbered, ought these boys, and to wear badges — X 10, &c. And exactly the same evil, ask. ing therefore by implication for exactly the same remedy, affects the Comets. A respectable planet is known everywhere, and responsible for any mischief that he does. But if a cry should arise, Stop that wretch, who was rude to the Earth : who is he?' twenty voices will answer, perhaps, “It's Encke's Comet; he is always doing mischief;' well, what can you say ? it may be Encke's, it may be some other man’s Comet; there are so many abroad and on so many roads, that you might as well ask upon a night of fog, such fog as may be opened with an oyster knife, whose cab that was (whose, viz., out of 27,000 in London) that floored you into the kennel.
These are constructive ideas upon the Earth's stage of evolution, which Kant was aware of, and which will always find toleration, even where they do not find patronage. But others there are, a class whom I perfectly abominate, that place our Earth in the category of decaying women, nay of decayed women, going, going, and all but gone. Hair like arctic snows, failure of vital heat, palsy that shakes the head as in the porcelain toys on our mantel-pieces, asthma that shakes the whole fabric — these they absolutely fancy them. selves to see.
They absolutely hear the tellurian lungs wheezing, panting, crying, “Bellows to mend!' periodically as the Earth approaches her aphelion.
But suddenly at this point a demur arises upon the total question. Kant's very problem explodes, bursts, as poison in Venetian wine-glass of old shivered the glass into fragments. For is there, after all, any stationary meaning in the question ? Perhaps in reality the Earth is both young and old. Young? If she is not young at present, perhaps she will be so in future. Old ? if she is not old at this moment, perhaps she has been old, and has a fair chance of becoming so again. In fact, she is a Phenix that is known to have secret processes for rebuilding herself out of her own ashes. Little doubt there is but she has seen many a birthday, many a funeral night, and many a morning of resurrection. Where now the mightiest of oceans rolls in pacific beauty, once were anchored continents and boundless forests. Where the south pole now shuts her frozen gates inhospitably against the intrusions of flesh, once were probably accumulated the ribs of empires; man's imperial forehead, woman's roseate lips, gleamed upon ten thousand hills; and
there were innumerable contributions to antarctic journals almost as good (but not quite) as our own. Even within our domestic limits, even where little England, in her south-eastern quarter now devolves so quietly to the sea her sweet pastoral rivulets, once - came roaring down, in pomp of waters, a regal Ganges,3 that drained some hyperbolical continent, some Quinbus Flestrin of Asiatic proportions, long since gone to the dogs. All things pass away. Generations wax old as does a garment: but eternally
• Come again, ye children of men.' Wildernesses of fruit, and worlds of flowers, are annually gathered in solitary South America to ancestral graves: yet still the Pomona of Earth, yet still the Flora of Earth, does not become superannuated, but blossoms in everlasting youth. Not otherwise by secular periods, known to us geologically as facts, though obscure as durations, Tellus herself, the planet, as a whole, is for ever working by golden balances of change and compensation, of ruin and restoration. She recasts her glorious habitations in decomposing them; she lies down for death, which perhaps a thousand times she has suffered ; she rises for a new birth, which perhaps for the thousandth time has glorified her disc.
Hers is the wedding garment, hers is the shroud, that eternally is being woven in the loom. And God imposes upon her the awful necessity of working for ever at her own grave, yet of listening for ever to his far-off trumpet of palingenesis.
If this account of the matter be just, and were it not treasonable to insinuate the possibility of an error
against so great a swell as Immanuel Kant, one would be inclined to fancy that Mr. Kant had really been dozing a little on this occasion; or, agreeably to his own illustration elsewhere, that he had realized the pleasant picture of one learned doctor trying to milk a he-goat, whilst another doctor, equally learned, holds the milk-pail below. And there is apparently this two-edged embarrassment pressing upon the case
— that, if our dear excellent mother the Earth could be persuaded to tell us her exact age in Julian years, still that would leave us all as much in the dark as ever: since, if the answer were, Why, children, at my next birth-day I shall count a matter of some million centuries,' we should still be at a loss to value her age : would it mean that she was a mere chicken, or that she was getting up in years ?' On the other hand, if (declining to state any odious circumstantialities,) she were to reply, —No matter, children, for my precise years, which are disagreeable remembrances; I confess generally to being a lady of a certain age,' — here, in the inverse order, given the valuation of the age, we should yet be at a loss for the absolute years numerically: would a certain age,' mean that mamma' was a million, be the
or less, or perhaps not much above seventy thousand ?
Every way, you see, reader, there are difficulties. But two things used to strike me, as unaccountably overlooked by Kant; who, to say the trutii, was profound — yet at no time very agile — in the character of his understanding. First, what age now might we take our brother and sister planets to be?
For that determination as to a point in their constitution, will do something to illustrate our own. We are as good as they, I hope, any day : perhaps in a growl, one might modestly insinuate — better. It's not at all likely that there can be any great disproportion of age amongst children of the same household: and therefore, since Kant always countenanced the idea that Jupiter had not quite finished the upholstery of his extensive premises, as a comfortable residence for a man, Jupiter having, in fact, a fine family of mammoths, but no family at all of "humans,' (as brother Jonathan calls them,) Kant was bound, ex analogo, to hold that any little precedency in the trade of living, on the part of our own mother Earth, could not count for much in the long run. At Newmarket, or Doncaster, the start is seldom mathematically true: trifling advantages will survive all human trials after abstract equity; and the logic of this case argues, that any few thousands of years by which Tellus may have got ahead of Jupiter, such as the having finished her Roman Empire, finished her Crusades, and finished her French Revolution, virtually amounts to little or nothing; indicates no higher proportion to the total scale upon which she has to run, than the few tickings of a watch by which one horse at the start for the Leger is in advance of another. When checked in our chronology by each other, it transpires that, in effect, we are but executing the nice manœuvre of a start; and that the small matter of six thousand years, by which we may have advanced our own position beyond some of our planetary rivals, is but the outstretched neck of an