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From all this it is clear that the theory that the movement of the stars produces a harmony, i.e. that the sounds they make are concordant, in spite of the grace and originality with which it has been stated, is nevertheless untrue. Some thinkers suppose that the motion of bodies of that size must produce a noise, since on our earth the motion of bodies far inferior in size and in speed of movement has that effect. Also, when the sun and the moon, they say, and all the stars, so great in number and in size, are moving with so rapid a motion, how should they not produce a sound immensely great? Starting from this argument and from the observation that their speeds, as measured by their distances, are in the same ratios as musical concordances, they assert that the sound given forth by the circular movement of the stars is a harmony. Since, however, it appears unaccountable that we should not hear this music, they explain this by saying that the sound is in our ears from the very moment of birth and is thus indistinguishable from its contrary silence, since sound and silence are discriminated by mutual contrast. What happens to men, then, is just what happens to coppersmiths, who are so accustomed to the noise of the smithy that it makes no difference to them. But, as we said before, melodious and poetical as the theory is, it cannot be a true account of the facts. There is not only the absurdity of our hearing nothing, the ground of which they try to remove, but also the fact that no effect other than sensitive is produced upon us. Excessive noises, we know, shatter the solid bodies even of inanimate things: the noise of thunder, for instance, splits rocks and the strongest of bodies. But if the moving bodies are so great, and the sound which penetrates to us is proportionate to their size, that sound must needs reach us in an intensity many times that of thunder, and the force of its action must be immense. Indeed the reason why we do not hear, and show in our bodies none of the effects of violent force, is easily given: it is that there is no noise. But not only is the explanation evident; it is also a corroboration of the truth of the views we have advanced. For the very difficulty which made the Pythagoreans say that the motion of the stars produces a concord corroborates our view. Bodies which are themselves in motion, produce noise and friction: but those which are attached or fixed to a moving body, as the parts to a ship, can no more create noise, than a ship on a river moving with the stream. Yet by the same argument one might say it was absurd that on a large vessel the motion of mast and poop should not make a great noise, and the like might be said of the movement of the vessel itself. But sound is caused when a moving body is enclosed in an unmoved body, and cannot be caused by one enclosed in, and continuous with, a moving body which creates no friction. We may say, then, in this matter that if the heavenly bodies moved in a generally diffused mass of air or fire, as every one supposes, their motion would necessarily cause a noise of tremendous strength and such a noise would necessarily reach and shatter us. Since, therefore, this effect is evidently not produced, it follows that none of them can move with the motion either of animate nature or of constraint. It is as though nature had foreseen the result, that if their movement were other than it is, nothing on this earth could maintain its character.

That the stars are spherical and are not self-moved, has now been explained.

Next: Chapter 10