Far From the Madding Crowd
The sky was clear - remarkably clear - and the twinkling of all the stars seemed to be but
throbs of one body, timed by a common pulse. The North Star was directly in the wind's eye,
and since evening the Bear had swung round it outwardly to the east, till he was now at a
right angle with the meridian. A difference of colour in the stars - oftener read of
than seen in England - was really perceptible here. The kingly brilliancy of Sirius
pierced the eye with a steely glitter, the star called Capella was yellow, Aldebaran and
Betelgueux shone with a fiery red.
To persons standing alone on a hill during a clear midnight such as this, the roll of the world eastward is almost a palpable movement. The sensation may be caused by the panoramic glide of the stars past earthly objects, which is perceptible in a few minutes of stillness, or by the better outlook upon space that a hill affords, or by the wind, or by solitude; but whatever be its origin, the impression of riding along is vivid and abiding. The poetry of motion is a phrase much in use, and to enjoy the epic form of that gratification it is necessary to stand on a hill at a small hour of the night, and, having first expanded with a sense of difference from the mass of civilised mankind, who are dreamwrapt and disregardful of all such proceedings at this time, long and quietly watch your stately progress through the stars. After such a nocturnal reconnoitre it is hard to get back to earth, and to believe that the consciousness of such a majestic speeding is derived from a tiny human frame.