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The New Zealand Evangelist

The Death of Copernicus


The Death of Copernicus.

“Aware of the opposition it would meet with, it was not till 1540, that Copernicus consented to the appearance of his work completed ten years before, on ‘The Revolution of the Heavenly Bodies.’ It was committed to the hands of Rheticus; Andrew Osiander, of Nuremberg, superintended the printing, and Cardinal Schomberg bore the expense. But the illustrious author did not live to read his work in print. A copy was handed to him as he lay a paralytic upon his bed, He saw it; he touched it; and in a few hours afterwards expired.”—Milner's Gallery of Nature.

He lay upon the bed of death, a calm and holy man,
Who undismayed had meekly borne the world's—the
Church's ban;
His communings were not of earth, his thoughts had
soared on high,
And from the starry regions quaffed draughts of un-
mingled joy.
Nor could dim Superstition's mists, nor Error's
clouded night,
Or any earthly darkness quench the soul that lived
in light.

page 156

Unselfish in his happiness, he longed to spread
The streams of Empyrean bliss which his own heart
had found.
But clinging with tenacious grasp to errors learned
in youth,
Man turned, as from a poison'd spring, from the
pure fount of truth;
And he who in the sun-rays basked, and drank the
light of heaven,
Was, from the converse of the world, as he were
plague-struck, driven.

He heeded not, for printing now its quenchless aid
could give,
To spread abroad those truths sublime that must
for ever live.
Wet from the press, as there he lay, those wondrous
sheets were brought,
Which mark'd him as the favoured child of bold and
daring thought
Enough! he had not lived in vain; with fond and
noble pride,
And gazing upon future years, he touched the book,
and died!