John Milton on eclipses

ancient eclipseFrom tales of legend and mythology, solar eclipses have always had ominous meanings. Even English poet John Milton, when he wrote Paradise Lost, had this to day about solar eclipses:

He may have been writing in reference to Charlemagne’s son, Emperor Louis. The European leader was so “perplexed” by the five minutes of total darkness he witness, likely during the elipse of May 5, 840AD, that he died shortly after, some say of fright.

As when the Sun, new risen,
Looks through the horizontal misty air,
Shorn of his beams, or from behind the Moon,
In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds
On half the nations and with fear of change
Perplexes monarchs

Today, we don’t just know the science behind a solar eclipse. In fact, we’re trying constantly to stop the Sun!


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