"E'en Light itself, which every thing displays, / Shone undiscover'd, till [Newton's] brighter mind / Untwisted all the shining robe of day."
— Thomson, James (1700-1748)
From whence it first in wavy circles breaks,
Till the touch'd organ takes the message in.
Nor could the darting beam of speed immense
Escape his swift pursuit, and measuring eye.
E'en Light itself, which every thing displays,
Shone undiscover'd, till his brighter mind
Untwisted all the shining robe of day;
And, from the whitening undistinguish'd blaze,
Collecting every ray into his kind,
To the charm'd eye educed the gorgeous train
Of parent colours. First the flaming Red
Sprung vivid forth; the tawny Orange next;
And next delicious yellow; by whose side
Fell the kind beams of all-refreshing Green.
Then the pure Blue, that swells autumnal skies,
Ethereal play'd; and then, of sadder hue,
Emerged the deepen'd Indico, as when
The heavy-skirted evening droops with frost.
While the last gleamings of refracted light
Dyed in the fainting violet away.
These, when the clouds distil the rosy shower,
Shine out distinct adown the watery bow;
While o'er our heads the dewy vision bends
Delightful, melting on the fields beneath.
Myriads of mingling dyes from these result,
And myriads still remain; infinite source
Of beauty, ever blushing, ever new.
(ll. 91-118, p. 10)
RPO takes its text of the poem from a 3rd edition dated 1727. See Thomson, James. A Poem Sacred to the Memory of Sir Isaac Newton. London: J. Millan, 1727. 3rd edn. <http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poem/2208.html>.