Summary and Analysis of <i>Nature</i>
sepulchres Vaults for burial.
hieroglyphic A picture or symbol representing a sound or a word; widely used by the ancient Egyptians.
maugre In spite of.
slough The skin of a snake, especially the outer layer that is periodically cast off.
connate Tnborn; innate.
Eolus In Greek mythology, the god of the winds; in Homer's Odyssey, Eolus tries to aid Odysseus by giving him a bag in which unfavorable winds are confined.
Napoleon 1 (1769-1821) Emperor of France from 1804 to 1814, Napoleon I is remembered as one of the greatest military strategists of all time.
plastic Able to be molded to any shape; creative.
craft Guile; deception.
Assyria An ancient Near Eastern kingdom; emblematic of an early period of splendor.
Paphos An ancient city in Cyprus, where Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sensual love, was worshipped.
Homer The eighth-century B.C. reputed author of the earliest surviving epic poems in the European tradition, the Iliad and the Odyssey.
calices Outer leaves at the base of flowers.
pontederia The Latin name for the pickerel-weed family.
pickerel-weed North American aquatic plants with arrow-shaped leaves and spikes of violet-blue flowers.
an ancient historian Emerson is referring to Gaius Sallustius Crispus, or Sallust (86-34 B.C.), a Roman historian.
Gibbon, Edward (1737-94) Considered to be one of the greatest English historians, Gibbon authored the six-volume History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
Leonidas, King of Sparta Leonidas succeeded his half-brother, Cleomenes I, as one of the two kings of Sparta, a city-state of ancient Greece. In 480 B.C., during the Persian Wars, he led a Greek army of about one thousand men to hold the pass of Thermopylae against the Persian army of Xerxes 1; all of the troops, including Leonidas, were killed.
Thermopylae A mountain pass in Greece, where the Spartans, under the leadership of Leonidas, were defeated by Xerxes and the Persians.
Winkelreid, Arnold von (d. 1386) A legendary Swiss hero.
Vane, Sir Henry (1613-62) Vane, a Puritan statesman and colonial governor of Massachusetts (1636-37), opposed the restoration of Charles II and was executed for treason.
Charles ll (1630-85) King of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1660 — 85), he reigned at the beginning of the Restoration.
Russell, Lord John (1792-1878) A British statesman, he served as prime minister (1846-52 and 1865-66) and worked for broader voting rights and religious toleration.
Pindar (c. 518-438 B.C.) A Greek lyrical poet remembered for his heroic themes.
Socrates (d. 399 B.C.) A Greek philosopher, he initiated a question-and answer method of teaching — called the Socratic method — as a means of achieving self-knowledge; opponents of Socrates' method felt that he was undermining the authority of the state by teaching youths to question received knowledge. He was brought to trial, convicted of corrupting youth, and condemned to die; he carried out the sentence by drinking poison.
Phocion (402-318 B.C.) Phocion was a pupil of Plato and later ruled Athens from 322 to 318 B.C., when he was deposed and executed by Athenians hoping to restore democracy.
ancillary Subordinate; a servant.
lpiunell'uno Italian, meaning "The many in one."
alembic A distilling machine.
firmament The expanse of the heavens; viewed poetically as a solid arch or vault.
Linnaeus, Carolus (1707-78) A Swedish botanist, he founded the modern classification system for plants and animals known as binomial nomenclature.
Buffon, Comte Georges Louis Leclerc de (1707-88) A French naturalist, he is noted for his 44-volume Histoire naturelle (finished in 1804), a comprehensive formulation of the biological sciences.
Paul (c. first century) Termed the Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul was a Hebrew who had Roman citizenship; while on the road to Damascus, he saw a vision of Christ and was converted to Christianity. His writings in the New Testament articulate the foundations for most Christian beliefs.
pathos The quality of arousing feelings of pity, sympathy, tenderness, or sorrow.
radical Here, meaning root, or most elemental.
piquancy Pleasantly sharp.
peppercorn Here, meaning petty.
Brahmins Members of the cultural and social elite in India.
Pythagoras (sixth century B.C.) Greek philosopher; considered to be the first true mathematician.
Plato (c. 427-347 B.C.) A Greek philosopher, he formulated the philosophy of idealism, which holds that the concepts or ideas of things are more perfect — and, therefore, more real — than the material things themselves.
Bacon, Francis (1561-1626) An English essayist, statesman, and philosopher, he proposed a theory of scientific knowledge based on observation and experiment, which came to be known as the inductive method.
Leibnitz, Gottfried Wilhelm von (1646-1716) A German philosopher and mathematician, he is noted for his theory that we live in the best of all possible worlds.
Swedenborg, Emanuel (1688-1772) A Swedish scientist, mystic, and philosopher, he insisted that the scriptures are the immediate word of God; his teachings became the nucleus of the Church of the New Jerusalem.
Sphinx A creature of Egyptian mythology that was often the subject of Egyptian art and sculpture; the sphinx has a human's head and an animal's body.
scorice The refuse left after melting metal.
antediluvian Occurring before the biblical flood.
Hercules The Roman name for the Greek mythological hero Heracles, who was famous for his bravery and strength; his many incredible feats are customarily divided into the famous twelve labors.
David (d. 962 B.C.) The second king of Judah and Israel, David is the reputed author of many of the Psalms; the most famous stories about David concern his success as a young shepherd boy over the great Philistine warrior Goliath, and his love for the king's son, Jonathan, who loved David with a love that "was wonderful, surpassing the love of women" (I Samuel 17:48; 11 Samuel 1:26-27).
Isaiah A Hebrew prophet of the eighth century B.C.
pith And marrow here, signifying the essential, or central, part.
Xenophanes (c. 560-478 B.C.) A Greek philosopher, he taught the unity of existence, that "All is one."
Proteus In Greek mythology, he was a sea god and the keeper of Poseidon's seals; Proteus had the ability to assume various shapes.
de Stael Madame (1766-1817) The French author of De l'Allemagne (1810), in which she compared French literature and society unfavorably with German literature and society.
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von (1749-1832) The German writer who profoundly influenced literary romanticism; he is noted for his two-part dramatic poem Faust, published in 1808 and 1832.
Vitruvius First-century B.C. Roman architect.
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor (1772-1834) A British poet and critic, his works include "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (1798).
Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) Italian sculptor, painter, and architect; among his accomplishments are the paintings on the Sistine Chapel's ceiling (1508 — 12) and the marble sculpture David (1501).
Haydn, Franz Joseph (1732-1809) Austrian composer.
Omne verum vero consonat Latin, meaning "Every truth agrees with every other truth."
Ens "Being" in the most general sense of the term.
Idealism The philosophical assumption that material objects do not exist independently of humans' perceptions of them.
apocalypse A prophetic revelation.
azote A former name for nitrogen.
camera obscura A darkened box with a lens, through which objects are projected on a surface in their natural colors; the ancestor of the camera.
The Tempest A romantic drama written in 1611 by William Shakespeare; it recounts the story of a magician, Prospero, and others who are shipwrecked on an island.
Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) A Greek philosopher and pupil of Plato, Aristotle advocated moderate behavior and the use of logic as the proper tool of investigation.
Antigone In Greek legend, she was the daughter of Oedipus and performed funeral rites over her brother's body in defiance of Creon, her uncle, who became Thebes' king after the fall of Oedipus.
Sophocles (d. 406 B.C.) A Greek dramatist whose plays include Antigone and Oedipus Rex.
Euler, Leonhard (1707-83) A Swiss mathematician, he is noted for developing integral calculus.
Turgot, Anne Robert Jacques (1727-81) French economic theorist; his reforms of the French financial systems were blocked by the forces of privilege in the clergy and the nobility.
Olympus Home of the mythical Greek gods.
Berkeley, George (1685-1753) Berkeley was a leading advocate of empiricism and idealism in British philosophy; as an idealist, he argued that all the sensible qualities of an object — for example, taste, color, and odor — depend on the mind of the viewer.
Viasa A legendary Hindu credited with authoring a substantial part of the Sanskrit scriptures of the four Vedas and the Upanishads.
heosophists Broadly applied to theologians who claim direct knowledge of God by mystical insights.
Manichean An adherent of a third-century religious system that asserted that the body was produced by evil, but that the soul streamed from goodness.
Plotinus (205-270) An Egyptian-born Roman philosopher, he gave a mystical and symbolic interpretation of the doctrines of Plato.
consanguinity A close affinity, or connection.
Empirical Science experimental, based on systematized observation.
savant Here, a scholar.
York Minster A cathedral in York, England.
St. Peter's The most famous building in Vatican City, Rome; the Vatican Basilica of St. Peter, built by Constantine I to honor the apostle Paul, martyred three hundred years earlier.
Herbert, George (1593-1633) An English metaphysical poet, he wrote The Temple (1633), a famous posthumous collection of religious poems.
a certain poet Meaning Amos Bronson Alcott (1799-1888), an American educator and philosopher; Alcott was Emerson's neighbor and an admirer of Emerson's essay on nature.
Nebuchadnezzar (d. 562 B.C.) The king of Babylonia who destroyed Jerusalem in 586 B.C.
Hohenlohe Emerson makes reference to Leopold Franz Emmerich, prince of Hohenlohe (1794-1849), a reputed miracle healer.
Shakers A religious organization originating in England in 1747; early members believed in miracle cures and exhibited hysterical manifestations of being possessed.
Animal Magnetism The term given to hypnosis by the pioneer experimenter Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815), an Austrian physician.
closet Originally, any small room, such as a study, where an individual could withdraw in privacy.
Caesar, Gaius Julius (100-44 B.C.) A Roman general, statesman, and emperor, he was given a mandate by the people to rule as dictator for life; he was stabbed to death by a group of republicans led by Brutus and Cassius.