THE PHILOSOPHERS of the last age found out a new universe; and a circumstance which made its discovery more difficult was that no one had so much as suspected its existence. The most sage and judicious were of opinion that it was a frantic rashness to dare so much as to imagine that it was possible to guess the laws by which the celestial bodies move and the manner how light acts. Galileo, by his astronomical discoveries, Kepler, by his calculation, Descartes (at least, in his dioptrics), and Sir Isaac Newton, in all his works, severally saw the mechanism of the springs of the world...The circulation of the blood in animals, and of the sap in vegetables, have changed the face of Nature with regard to us.....We've been living in that world for a long time, so it's boring to us, but it wasn't to Voltaire. I sometimes wonder if we're not in a similar position -- still in the infancy of our human story, still with a lot of things left to discover.
Calling in sick
I have whatever bug is going around my house, therefore I can't follow whatever Voltaire is getting at in his writing on Newton. I do want to call attention to his excitement in one passage: