Gateway to the Classics: This Wonderful World by Agnes Giberne
This Wonderful World by  Agnes Giberne

Front Matter

Foreword to New Edition

M ANY years ago a small volume under this title was published by the S.P.C.K. When a letter came, asking me to revise it for re-issue in an illustrated form, I speedily found that to "revise" meant to "re-write." And re-written it has been during the past few months, with abundant omissions and still more abundant additions. Except possibly here or there in the first few pages, I doubt if a single sentence has kept its old form unaltered. And though in the main I have roughly followed the outlines of my former plan, it has been largely reconstructed, and very many of the chapters are entirely new.

I have to express my grateful thanks to Mr. W. H. Wesley, Assistant Secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society; Mr. E. Walter Maunder, F.R.A.S.; Professor H. H. Turner, F.R.S., Director of the University Observatory of Oxford; Professor E. B. Frost, Director of Yerkes Observatory, Wisconsin; Mr. Harlow Shapley, of Mount Wilson Observatory, California, and others, for most kind help given in the work of re-writing, by their ready response to inquiries on my part about difficult questions and new developments.

My thanks also are due to several poets of the present day, whose names will be found here and there, as well as to their publishers, for leave kindly granted for the use of their poems both in this and in a companion-volume on the subject of Plant-life, which is to appear a little later. So while the latter will be about flowers on our Earth, this one is about more flaming blossoms in the Garden of the Skies. As wrote Erasmus Wilson, long ago—

"Flowers of the sky; ye too to age must yield,

Frail as your silken sisters of the field."

In both books I have given quotations, not only from modern poets, but from many of bygone generations. It is always interesting to note the manner in which great scientific truths are received by widely-differing minds, gifted with poetic insight. Perhaps not least so with writers of a past age, when that which was known, alike of life on our small world and of conditions in the great Universe, could hardly be compared with what is known to us now.


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