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Rainbow barbaric fancy sees the ladders and bridges whereby the departed pass from earth to heaven. So we find in the lower and higher culture alike the beautiful conceptions of the chemin des âmes, the Red Man's road of the dead to their home in the sun; the ancient Roman path of, or to, the gods; the road of the birds, in Lithuanian myth, because the winged spirits flit thither to the free and happy land. In prosaic contrast to all this, it is curious to find among the people living in England the Milky Way described as Watling Street! That famous road, which ran from Tichborough through Canterbury and London to Chester, now gives its name to a narrow, bustling city street. But who the Waetlings were and why their name was transferred from Britain to the sky, we do not know, although the fact is plainly enough set down in old writers, foremost among whom is Chaucer. In his “ House of Fame” (II, 427) he says:
“Now,' quod he tho, 'cast up thyn ye;
and Growth of Myth,” published in Knowledge.
I HAD a dream, which was not all a dream.
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Hissing, but stingless—they were slain for food :
The populous and the powerful was a lump,
DEATH OF WORLDS
I AM often asked, when I have shown how (so far as science can judge) all the orbs in space seem to tend towards death, whether there may not be some way in which this seeming tendency may be counterbalanced by some restorative forces. When one has to reply that science does not at present recognize any such forces, that the theories devised by Mattieu, Williams, Siemens, and others to that end are not only not supported by scientific evidence, but directly opposed to it, the idea seems commonly entertained that science rejects the belief in any restriction of the energies which seem passing continually away from suns and planets. Yet, in reality, such a reply means nothing of the sort. On the contrary, it is as certain that science has shown nothing against the existence of any restorative forces, as it is
that science has as yet shown nothing in favor of such a process. Science simply knows nothing either one side or the other. And I think if men rightly understood the limitations of scientific research, they would see no
son to wonder that science should be thus unable to reply to a question so exceedingly difficult. Our knowledge has grown more and more, and is ever growing more and more, till it seems as though it would eventually extend over all time and all space; yet it is in reality, and ever must be, extremely limited compared with what actually is. In regard to the question of the seeming wasting away, slowly, yet surely, of the life of every sun and every planet, we are much in the position of creatures whose whole lives, lasting but a few days, perhaps, would be, if placed beside a running river. They should learn, if they had the power of reasoning, that the waters of the river were passing continually away in one direction; and they would be apt to infer that unless the store of water were infinite, the supply must at length be exhausted. If we imagine them combining together information derived front others of their kind, up stream and down stream within limited distances, and also storing up, for what would seem to them a long period of time, the information gathered by generation after generation, they would learn that the river was broader lower down and narrower higher up, and that it had remained (on the whole) without appreciable change. They might even, we may imagine, learn how the river was fed by smaller streams, how it flowed into a large river, that into yet larger rivers, and so (possibly they might learn to guess) into a sea of extent, to their minds, practically infinite. Still their science could give no answer to the question