Upon a stratum, not of this world, stood the world-born shapes of the sons of Science, upon an embryo world, upon a crude, wan, attenuated mass of matter, one of the Nebulae, which the suns of the myriad systems throw off as they roll round the Creator’s throne*, to become themselves new worlds of symmetry and glory,—planets and suns that forever and forever shall in their turn multiply their shining race, and be the fathers of suns and planets yet to come.
("Astronomy instructs us that, in the original condition of the solar system, the sun was the nucleus of a nebulosity or luminous mass which revolved on its axis, and extended far beyond the orbits of all the planets,—the planets as yet having no existence. Its temperature gradually diminished, and, becoming contracted by cooling, the rotation increased in rapidity, and zones of nebulosity were successively thrown off, in consequence of the centrifugal force overpowering the central attraction. The condensation of these separate masses constituted the planets and satellites. But this view of the conversion of gaseous matter into planetary bodies is not limited to our own system; it extends to the formation of the innumerable suns and worlds which are distributed throughout the universe. The sublime discoveries of modern astronomers have shown that every part of the realms of space abounds in large expansions of attenuated matter termed nebulae, which are irregularly reflective of light, of various figures, and in different states of condensation, from that of a diffused, luminous mass to suns and planets like our own.”—From Mantell’s eloquent and delightful work, entitled “The Wonders of Geology,” volume i. page 22.)
There, in that enormous solitude of an infant world, which thousands and thousands of years can alone ripen into form, the spirit of Viola beheld the shape of Zanoni, or rather the likeness, the simulacrun, the LEMUR of his shape, not its human and corporeal substance,—as if, like hers, the Intelligence was parted from the Clay,—and as the sun, while it revolves and glows, had cast off into remotest space that nebular image of itself, so the thing of earth, in the action of its more luminous and enduring being, had thrown its likeness into that new-born stranger of the heavens. There stood the phantom,—a phantom Mejnour, by its side. In the gigantic chaos around raved and struggled the kindling elements; water and fire, darkness and light, at war,—vapour and cloud hardening into mountains, and the Breath of Life moving like a steadfast splendour over all.