Page:The fairy tales of science.djvu/253

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The Invisible World.


 "Nor is the stream
Of purest crystal, nor the lucid air,
Though one transparent vacancy it seems,
Void of their unseen people."—Thomson


The revelations of the telescope are not more astounding than those of the microscope. The human eye can only range over a finite portion of the universe, but aided by these magic instruments its sphere of research is greatly augmented. The one familiarizes the mind with the rolling orbs of the infinitely distant world, while the other enables us to examine the marvellous inhabitants of that which is infinitely minute.

Single microscopes,[1] in the form of glass globes containing water, were used by the ancients, and in course of time these crystal bubbles gave place to hemispheres of glass, and these in their turn to lenses. The compound microscope, consisting of

  1. The term microscope is derived from two Greek words, the first signifying a small object, and the latter to see or examine.