- There are countless suns and countless earths all rotating round their suns in exactly the same way as the seven planets of our system. We see only the suns because they are the largest bodies and are luminous, but their planets remain invisible to us because they are smaller and non-luminous. The countless worlds in the universe are no worse and no less inhabited than our earth. For it is utterly unreasonable to suppose that those teeming worlds which are as magnificent as our own, perhaps more so, and which enjoy the fructifying rays of a sun just as we do, should be uninhabited and should not bear similar or even more perfect inhabitants than our earth. The unnumbered worlds in the universe are all similar in form and rank and subject to the same forces and the same laws. Impart to us the knowledge of the universality of terrestrial laws throughout all worlds and of the similarity of all substances in the cosmos! Destroy the theories that the earth is the centre of the universe! Crush the supernatural powers said to animate the world, along with the so-called crystalline spheres! Open the door through which we can look out into the limitless, unified firmament composed of similar elements and show us that the other worlds float in an ethereal ocean like our own! Make it plain to us that the motions of all the worlds proceed from inner forces and teach us in the light of such attitudes to go forward with surer tread in the investigation and discovery of nature! Take comfort, the time will come when all men will see as I do.
- As quoted in The Discovery of Nature (1965), by Albert W. Bettex.
He was a man of grave and cultivated mind, of rapid and mature intelligence; inferior to no preceding astronomer, unless in order of succession and time ; a man, who in natural ability was far superior to Ptolemy, Hipparchus, Eudoxus, and all those others who followed in their footsteps. What he was, he became through having liberated himself from certain false axioms of the common and vulgar philosophy — I will not say blindness. Nevertheless, he did not depart far from them ; because, studying mathematics rather than Nature, he failed to penetrate and dig deep enough altogether to cut away the roots of incongruous and vain principles, and thus, removing perfectly all opposing difficulties, free himself and others from so many empty investigations into things obvious and unchangeable. In spite of all this, who can sufficiently praise the magnanimity of this German, who, having little regard to the foolish multitude, stood firm against the torrent of contrary opinion, and, although well-nigh unarmed with living arguments, resuming those rusty and neglected fragments which antiquity had transmitted to him, polished, repaired, and put them together with reasonings more mathematical than philosophical ; and so rendered that cause formerly contemned and contemptible, honourable, estimable, more probable than its rival, and certainly convenient and expeditious for purposes of theory and calculation? Thus this Teuton, although with means insufficient to vanquish, overthrow, and suppress falsehood, as well as resist it, nevertheless resolutely determined in his own mind, and openly confessed this final and necessary conclusion : that it is more possible that this globe should move with regard to the universe, than that the innumerable multitude of bodies, many of which are known to be greater and more magnificent than our earth, should be compelled, in spite of Nature and reason, which, by means of motions evident to the senses, proclaim the contrary, to acknowledge this globe as the centre and base of their revolutions and influences. Who then will be so churlish and discourteous towards the efforts of this man, as to cover with oblivion all he has done, by being ordained of the Gods as an Aurora — which was to precede the rising of this Sun of the true, ancient philosophy, buried during so many centuries in the tenebrous caverns of blind, malignant, froward, envious ignorance; and, taking note only of what he failed to accomplish, rank him amongst the number of the herded multitude, which discourses, guides itself, precipitates to destruction, according to the oral sense of a brutal and ignoble belief, rather than amongst those who, by the use of right reason, have been able to rise up, and resume the true course under the faithful guidance of the eye of divine intelligence.
Cause, Principle, and Unity (1584)
- De la Causa, Principio e Uno (1584) [Various translations]
- Cause, Principle, and One eternal
From whom being, life, and movement are suspended,
And which extends itself in length, breadth, and depth,
To whatever is in Heaven, on Earth, and Hell;
With sense, with reason, with mind, I discern,
That there is no act, measure, nor calculation, which can comprehend That force, that vastness and that number,
Which exceeds whatever is inferior, middle, and highest;
Blind error, avaricious time, adverse fortune,
Deaf envy, vile madness, jealous iniquity,
Crude heart, perverse spirit, insane audacity,
Will not be sufficient to obscure the air for me,
Will not place the veil before my eyes,
Will never bring it about that I shall not
Contemplate my beautiful Sun.