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him, as it were, a new right to descry unknown worlds in the obscurity of space, yet the eyes which were allowed to witness such wonders, were themselves doomed to be closed in darkness.

Such were the lights and shadows in which history delineates

" The starry Galileo with his woen," But, however powerful be their contrasts, they are not unusual in their proportions. The balance which has been struck between his days of good and evil, is that which regulates the lot of man, whether we study it in the despotic away of the autocrat, in the peaceful enquiries of the philosopher, or in the humbler toils of ordinary life.

Galileo Galilei was born at Pisa, on the 15th of February, 1964, and was the eldest of a family of three song and three daughters. Under the name of Bonajuti, his noble ancestors had filled high oflices at Florence ; but about the middle of the 14th century they seem to have abandoned this surname for that of Galileo. Vinconzo Galilei, our author's father, was himself a philosopher of no mean powers; and though his talents neem to have been applied only in the composition of treatines on the theory and practice of music, yet he appears to have anticipated even his son in a just estimate of the philosophy of the age, and in a distinct perception of the true method of investigating truth. +

The early years of Galileo were, like those of almost all great experimental philosophers, spent in the construction of instruments and pieces of machinery, which were calculated chiefly to amuse himself and his schoolfellows. This occupation of his hands, however, did not interfere with his regular studies; and though, from the straitened circumstances of his father, he was oducated under considerable disadvantages, yet he acquired the elements of classical literature, and was initiated into all the learning of the times. Music, drawing, and paint ing were the occupations of his leisure hours; and such was his proficiency in these arts, that he was reckoned a skilful performer on several musical instruments, especially the lute; and his knowledge of pictures was held in great esteem by some of the best artists of his day.

* Childe Harold, canto iv, stanza liv, 4 Life of Galileo, Library of Ubond Knowledgo, p, 1.

Galileo seems to have been desirous of following the profession of a painter : but his father had dbserved decided indications of early genius ; and, though by no means able to afford it, he resolved to send him to the university to pursue the study of medicine. He accordingly enrolled himself as a scholar in arts at the university of Pisa, on the 5th of November, 1581, and pursued his medical studies under the celebrated botanist Andrew Cæsalpinus, who filled the chair of medicine from 1567 to 1592.

In order to study the principles of music and drawing, Galileo found it necessary to acquire some knowledge of geometry. His father seems to have foreseen the consequences of following this new pursuit, and though he did not prohibit him from reading Euclid under Ostilio Ricci, one of the professors at Pisa, yet he watched his progress with the utmost jealousy, and had résolved that it should not interfere with his medical studies. The demonstrations, however, of the Greek mathematician had too many charms for the ardent mind of Galileo. His whole attention was engrossed with the new truths which burst upon his understanding ; and after many fruitless attempts to check his ardour and direct his thoughts to professional objects, his father was obliged to surrender his parental control, and allow the fullest scope to the genius of his son.

From the elementary works of geometry, Galileo passed to the writings of Archimedes; and while he was studying the hydrostatical treatise * of the Syracusan philosopher, he wrote his essay on the hydrostatical balancet, in which he describes the construction of the instrument, and the method by which Archi. medes detected the fraud committed by the jeweller

* De Insidentibus in Fluido. † Opere di Galileo, Milano, 1810, vol. iv. p. 213—957.

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