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singularity of my actions ; in busily in- considered superfluously fat." The only quiring into, and weighing and dis- objection to No. 11 seems to have been cussing, various reasons; in the un- her excessive youth; and when this easiness of my mind with respect to my treaty was broken of on that account, choice. I thank God that that did not Kepler turned his back upon all his adhappen which might have happened; visers, and chose for himself one who that this marriage did not take place: had figured as No. 5 in the list, to now for the others.” Of these others, whom he professes to have felt attached one was too old, another in bad health, throughout, but from whom the repreanother too proud of her birth and sentations of his friends had hitherto quarterings; à fourth had learned no- detained him, probably on account of thing but shewy accomplishments, “not her humble station. at all suitable to the sort of life she The following is Kepler's summary of would have to lead with me.” Another her character. “Her name is Susanna, the grew impatient, and married a more daughter of John Reuthinger and Bardecided admirer, whilst he was hesitat- bara, citizens of the town of Eferdingen; ing. “The mischief (says he) in all the father was by trade a cabinet-maker, these attachments was, that whilst I but both her parents are dead. She has was delaying, comparing, and balancing received an education well worth the conflicting reasons, every day saw me largest dowry, by favour of the Lady of inflamed with a new passion." By the Stahrenberg, the strictness of whose time he reached the eighth, he found household is famous throughout the his match in this respect. “Fortune at province. Her person and manners are length has avenged herself on my doubt- suitable to mine; no pride, no extraful inclinations. At first she was quite vagance; she can bear to work; she has complying, and her friends also :/ pre- a tolerable knowledge how to manage a sently, whether she did or did not con- family; middle-aged, and of a disposition sent, not only I, but she herself did not and capability to acquire what she still know. After the lapse of a few days, wants. Her I shall marry by favour of came a renewed promise, which how- the noble baron of Stahrenberg at twelve ever had to be confirmed a third time; o'clock on the 30th of next October, with and four days after that, she again re- all Eferdingen assembled to meet us, and pented her confirmation, and begged to we shall eat the marriage-dinner at be excused from it. Upon this I gave Maurice's at the Golden Lion." her up, and this time all my counsellors Hantsch has made an absurd mistake were of one opinion." This was the with regard to this marriage, in stating longest courtship in the list, having that the bride was only twelve years old. lasted three whole months; and quite Kästner and other biographers have disheartened by its bad success, Kepler's been content to repeat the same assernext attempt was of a more timid com- tion without any comment, notwithplexion. His advances to No. 9, were standing its evident improbability, made by confiding to her the whole The origin of the blunder is to be found story of his recent disappointment, pru- in Kepler's correspondence with Bernegdentiy determining to be guided in his ger, to whom, speaking of his wife, he behaviour, by observing whether the says “She has been educated for twelve treatment he had experienced met with years by the Lady of Stahrenberg." a proper degree of sympathy. Appa- This is by no means a single instance of rently the experiment did not succeed; carelessness in Hantsch ; Kästner has and almost reduced to despair, Kepler pointed out others of greater consequence. betook himself to the advice of a friend, It was owing to this marriage, that who had for some time past complained Kepler took occasion to write his new that she was not consulted in this diffi- method of gauging, for as he tells us in cult negotiation. When she produced his own peculiar style “ last November No. 10, and the first visit was paid, the I brought home a new wife, and as the report upon her was as follows:-“She whole course of Danube
was then has, undoubtedly, a good fortune, is of covered with the produce of the Aus. good family, and of economical habits: trian vineyards, to be sold at a reabut her physiognomy is most horribly sonable rate, I purchased a few casks, ugly; she would be stared at in the thinking it my duty as a good husband streets, not to mention the striking dise' and a father of a family, to see that my proportion in our figures. I am lank, household was well provided with drink." lean, and spare; she is short and thick: When the seller came to ascertain the in a family notorious for fatness she is quantity, Kepler objected to his method
of gauging, for he allowed no difference, would suffer me to perish with hunger." whatever might be the proportion of the Kepler published this Ephemeris anbulging parts. The reflections to which nually till 1620; ten years later he added this incident gave rise, terminated in the those belonging to the years from 1620 publication of the above-mentioned to 1628. treatise, which claims a place among In 1617 Kepler was invited into Italy, the earliest specimens of what is now to succeed Magini as Professor of Ma. called the modern analysis. In it he thematics at Bologna. The offer tempted extended several properties of plane him; but, after mature consideration, he figures to segments of cones and cylin- rejected it, on grounds which he thus ders, from the consideration that “these explained to Roffini :-“ By birth and solids are incorporated circles," and, spirit I am a German, imbued with Gertherefore, that those properties are true man principles, and bound by such fa. of the whole which belong to each com- mily ties, that even if the emperor should ponent part. That the book might end consent, I could not, without the greatest as oddly as it began, Kepler concluded difficulty, remove my dwelling place from it with a parody of Catullus :
Germany into Italy. And although the
glory of holding so distinguished a situa“ Et cum pocula mille mensi erimus Conturbabimus illa, ne sciamus."
tion among the venerable professors of
Bologna stimulates me, and there apHis new residence at Linz was not pears great likelihood of notably inlong undisturbed. He quarrelled there, creasing my fortune, as well from the as he had done in the early part of great concourse to the public lectures, as his life at Gratz, with the Roman Ca- from private tuition; yet, on the other tholic party, and was excommunicated. hand, that period of my life is past which “ Judge,” says he to Peter Hoffman, was once excited by novelty, or which “ how far I can assist you, in a place might promise itself a long enjoyment of where the priest and school-inspector these advantages. Besides, from a boy have combined to brand me with the up to my present years, living a German public stigma of heresy, because in every among Ġermans, I am accustomed 10 a question I take that side which seems to degree of freedom in my speech and me to be consonant with the word of manners, which, if persevered in on my God." The particular dogma which oc- removal to Bologna, seems likely to draw casioned his excommunication, was con- upon me, if not danger, at least notoriety, nected with the doctrine of transubstan- and might expose me to suspicion and tiation. He published his creed in a party malice. "Notwithstanding this ancopy of Latin verses, preserved by his swer, I have yet hopes that your most biographer Hantsch.
honourable invitation will be of service Before this occurrence, Kepler had to me, and may make the imperial treabeen called to the diet at Ratisbon to surer more ready than he has hitherto give his opinion on the propriety of been to fulfil his master's intentions toadopting the Gregorian reformation of wards me. In that case I shall the sooner the calendar, and he published a short be able to publish the Rudolphine Tables essay, pointing out the respective con- and the Ephemerides, of which you had venience of doing so, or of altering the scheme so many years back; and in the old Julian Calendar in some other this manner you and your advisers may manner. Notwithstanding the readi- have no reason to regret this invitation, ness of the diet to avail themselves of though for the present it seems fruithis talents for the settlement of a dif- less." ficult question, the arrears of his salary In 1619, the Emperor Matthias died, were not paid much more regularly than and was succeeded by Ferdinand III., they had been in Rodolph's time, and he who retained Kepler in the post he had was driven to provide himself with money filled under his two predecessors on the by the publication of his almanac, of imperial throne. Kästner, in his “Hiswhich necessity he heavily and justly tory of Mathematics," has corrected a complained. In order to pay the ex- gross error of Hantsch, in asserting that pense of the Ephemeris for these two Kepler prognosticated Matthias's death. years, I have also written a vile prophe. The letter to which Hantsch refers, in sying almanac, which is scarcely more support of his statement, does indeed respectable than begging; unless it be mention the emperor's death, but merely because it saves the emperor's credit, as a notorious event, for the purpose of who abandons me entirely; and with all recalling a date to the memory of his his frequent and recent orders in council, correspondent,
tion of great importance, for on this
account is it that the heptagon, and other Kepler publishes his Harmonics
figures of this kind, have not been emAccount of his Astrologicul Opinions ployed by God in the adornment of the and Discovery of the Law of the Pe- world, as the other intelligible figures riods of the Planetary Revolutions
are employed which have been already Sketch of Newton's proof of Kepler's explained." Kepler then introduces the Laros.
algebraical equation, on the solution of The “Cosmographical Mystery" was which this problem depends, and makes written, as has been already mentioned, a remark which is curious at this period when Kepler was only twenty-six, and of the history of algebra—that the root the wildness of its theories might be con- of an equation which cannot be accusidered as due merely to the vivacity of rately found, may yet be found within a young man; but as if purposely to any deyree of approximation by an exshew that his maturer age did not re- pert calculator. In conclusion he again nounce the creations of his youthful remarks that “the side of the heptagon fancy, he reprinted the “ Mystery" in has no place among scientific existences, 1619, nearly at the same time when he since its formal description is impospublished his celebrated work on Har- sible, and therefore it cannot be known monics; and the extravagance of the by the human mind, since the possibility latter publication does not at all lose in of description precedes the possibility of comparison with its predecessor. It is knowledge; nor is it known even by the dedicated to James I. of England, and simple eternal act of an omniscient divided into five books: “The first, Geo- mind, because its nature belongs to metrical, on the origin and demonstration things which cannot be known. And of the laws of t'ne figures which produce yet this scientific nonentity has some harmonious proportions ;—the second, scientific properties, for if a heptagon Architectonical, on figurate geometry, were described in a circle, the proportion and the congruence of plane and solid of its sides would have analogous proregular figures ;-the third, properly portions." Harmonic, on the derivation of musical The third book is a treatise on music, in proportions from figures, and on the na- the confined and ordinary sense in which ture and distinction of things relating to we now use that word, and apparently a song, in opposition to the old theories ; - sober and rational one, at least as nearly the fourth, Metaphysical, Psychological, so as Kepler could be trusted to write on and Astrological, on the mental essence a subject so dangerous to his discretion. of harmonies, and of their kinds in the All the extravagance of the work seems world, especially on the harmony of rays reserved for the fourth book, the title of emanating on the earth from the hea- which already conveys some notion of venly bodies, and on their effect in na- the nature of its contents. In this book ture, and on the sublunary and human he has collected the substance of the soul;---the fifth, Astronomical and Me- astrological opinions scattered through taphysical, on the very exquisite harmo- his other works. We shall content our. nies of the celestial motions, and the selves with merely citing his own words, origin of the excentricities in harmonious without any attempt to explain the difproportions."
ference between the astrology which he The two first books are almost strictly, believed, and that which he conas Kepler styles them, geometrical, temptuously rejected. The distinctive relating in great measure to the inscrip- line seems very finely drawn, and as both tion of regular polygons in a circle. one and the other are now discarded by The following passage is curious, pre- all who enjoy the full use of their reasenting an analogous idea to that con- soning powers, it is not of much consetained in one of the extracts already quence that it should be accurately given from the Commentaries on Mars. traced. * The heptagon, and all other polygons It is to be observed, that he does not and stars beyond it, which have a prime in this treatise modify or recant anything number of sides, and all other figures of his earlier opinions, but refers to the derived from them, cannot be inscribed favourable judgment of his contemgeometrically in a circle; although their porary philosophers as a reason for sides have a necessary magnitude, it is embodying them in a regular form. equally a matter of necessity that we “ Since many very celebrated professors remain ignorant of it. This is a ques. of philosophy and medicine are of opinion
that I have created a new and most true emotion of the bowels of the earth, bear philosophy, this tender plant, like all like witness to the same feelings, espenovelties, ought to be carefully nursed cially at those times when the rays of and cherished, so that it may strike root the planets form harmonious configurain the minds of philosophers, and not be tions on the earth."—"I have been conchoked by the excessive humours of vain firmed in this theory by that which sophistications, or washed away by the might have deterred others; I mean, by torrents of vulgar prejudices, or frozen observing that the emotions do not agree by the chill of public neglect; and if I nicely with the instants of the configusucceed in guarding it from these rations; but the earth sometimes apdangers, I have no fear that it will be pears lazy and obstinate, and at another crushed by the storms of calumny, or time (after important and long-continued parched by the sun of sterling criticism." configurations) she becomes exas
One thing is very remarkable in Kep- perated, and gives way to her passion, ler's creed, that he whose candour is so even without the continuation of aspects. indisputable in every other part of his For in fact the earth is not an animal conduct, professed to have been forced like a dog, ready at every nod; but more to adopt his astrological opinions from like a bull, or an elephant, slow to bedirect and positive observation.—" It is come angry, and so much the more now more than twenty years since I furious when incensed." began to maintain opinions like these on This singular doctrine must not be the predominant nature of the elements, mistaken for one of Kepler's favourite which, adopting the common name, I allegories; he actually and literally call sublunary. I have been driven to professed to believe that the earth this not by studying or admiring Plato, was an enormous living animal; and but singly and solely by observing he has enumerated, with a particulaseasons, and noting the aspects by which rity of details into which we forbear they are produced. I have seen the to follow him, the analogies he restate of the atmosphere almost uniformly cognized between its habits and those disturbed as often as the planets are in of men and other animals. A few conjunction, or in the other configura- samples of these may speak for the tions so celebrated among astrologers. rest. If any one who has climbed the I have noticed its tranquil state, either peaks of the highest mountains throw a when there are none or few such aspects, stone down their very deep clefts, a or when they are transitory and of short sound is heard from them; or if he duration. I have not formed an opinion throw it into one of the mountain lakes, on this matter without good grounds, which beyond doubt are bottomless, a like the common herd of prophesiers, storm will immediately arise, just as who describe the operations of the stars when you thrust a straw into the ear or as if they were a sort of deities, the lords nose of a ticklish animal, it shakes its of heaven and earth, and producing head, or runs shuddering away: What everything at their pleasure. They never so like breathing, especially of those fish trouble themselves to consider what who draw water into their mouths and means the stars have of working any spout it out again through their gills, as effects among us on the earth, whilst that wonderful tide! For although it they remain in the sky, and send down is so regulated according to the course nothing to us which is obvious to the of the moon, that, in the preface to my senses except rays of light. This is the • Commentaries on Mars, I have menprincipal source of the filthy astrolo- tioned it as probable that the waters are gical superstitions of that vulgar and attracted by the moon as iron is by the childish race of dreamers, the prognos- loadstone; yet, if any one uphold that ticators."
the earth regulates its breathing accordThe real manner in which the con- ing to the motion of the sun and moon, figurations of the stars operate, accord- as animals have daily and nightly altering to Kepler, is as follows:-" Like one nations of sleep and waking, I shall not who listens to a sweet melodious song, think his philosophy unworthy of being and by the gladness of his countenance, listened to; especially if any flexible by his voice, and by the beating of his parts should be discovered in the depths hand or foot attuned to the music, gives of the earth to supply the functions of token that he perceives and approves lungs or gills." the harmony: just so does sublunary From the next extract, we must leave nature, with the notable and evident the reader to learn as well as he may,
how much Kepler did, and how much he throw dust in the eyes of the people, did not believe on the subject of genethliac and those whom Picus calls the pleastrology.-" Hence it is that human beian theologians: among the true spirits, at the time of celestial aspects, lovers of wisdom, I easily clear 'myself are particularly urged to complete the of this imputation, by the advantage of matters which they have in hand. What my reader; for there is no one whose the goad is to the ox, what the spur or nativity or whose internal disposition the rowel is to the horse, to the soldier and temper I can learn so well as I the bell and trumpet, an animated know my own.
Well then, Jupiter speech to an audience, to a crowd of nearest the nonagesimal had passed by rustics a performance on the fife and four degrees the trine of Saturn; the bagpipes, that to all, and especially in Sun and Venus, in conjunction, were the aggregate, is a heavenly configu- moving from the latter towards the ration of suitable planets; so that every former, nearly in sextiles with both : single one is excited in his thoughts and they were also removing from quadraactions, and all become more ready to tures with Mars, to which Mercury was unite and associate their efforts. For closely approaching : the moon drew near instance, in war you may see that the trine of the same planet, close to the tumults, battles, fights, invasions, as- Bull's Eye, even in latitude. The 25th saults, attacks, and panic fears, gene- degree of Gemini was rising, and the rally happen at the time of the aspects 22d of Aquarius culminating. That of Mars and Mercury, Mars and Ju. there was this triple configuration on piter, Mars and the Sun, Mars and that day-namely, the sextile of Saturn Saturn, &c. In epidemic diseases, a and the Sun, the sextile of Mars and greater number of persons are attacked Jupiter, the quadrature of Mercury and at the times of the powerful aspects, Mars, is proved by the change of weathey suffer more severely, or even die, ther; for, after a frost of some days, owing to the failure of nature in her that very day became warmer, there strife with the disease, which strife (and was a thaw and a fall of rain.*" not the death) is occasioned by the “I do not wish this single instance to aspect. It is not the sky which does all be taken as a defence and proof of all these things immediately, but the faculty the aphorisms of astrologers, nor do of the vital soul, associating its operation attribute to the heavens the government with the celestial harmonies, is the prin- of human affairs : what a vast interval cipal agent in this so-called influence of still separates these philosophical obserthe heavens. Indeed this word influ- vations from that folly or madness as it ence has so fascinated some philosophers should rather be called. For, following that they prefer raving with the sense- up this example, I knew a ladyr, born less vulgar, to learning the truth with under nearly the same aspects, whose me. This essential property is the prin- disposition, indeed, was exceedingly cipal foundation of that admirable ge- restless, but who not only makes no nethliac art. For when anything begins progress in literature (that is not strange to have its being when that is working in a woman), but troubles her whole faharmonies, the sensible harmony of the mily, and is the cause to herself of derays of the planets has peculiar influence plorable misery. What, in my case, on it. This then is the cause why those assisted the aspects was—firstly, the who are born under a season of many fancy of my mother when pregnant aspects among the planets, generally with me, a great admirer of her motherturn out busy and industrious, whether in-law, my grandmother, who had some they accustom themselves from child- knowledge of medicine, my grandfather's hood to amass wealth, or are born or profession; a second cause is, that I chosen to direct public affairs, or finally, have given their attention to study. If any one think that I might be taken as
* This mode of verifying configurations, though
something of the boldest, was by no means un. an instance of this last class, I do not
On a former occasion Kepler, wishing to grudge him the knowledge of my na
cast the nativity of his friend Zehentmaier, and
being unable to procure more accurate informativity. I am not checked by the reproach of boastfulness, notwithstanding the afternoon of the 21st of October, 175), supthose who, by speech or conduct, con
plied the deficiency by a record of levers and acci.
dents at known periods of his life, from which he demn as folly all kinds of writing on deduced a more exact horoscope. this subject; the idiots, the half-learned,
tion than that he was born about three o'clock in
+ Kepler probably meant his own mother, whose the inventors of titles and trappings, to
horoscope be in many places declared to be nearly
the same as his own.