When Thomas Babington Macaulay wrote of the heroes who stopped the attack upon Rome; he wrote:-
Then out spoke brave Horatius, the Captain of the Gate:
“To every man upon this earth, death cometh soon or late;
And how can man die better than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his Gods.
When the American John Gillespie Magee, Jr joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, he joined because he wanted to fly and fight against the Nazis in England. He got his wish, and after flight training, he flew Spitfires for 412 Squadron, R.C.A.F. He died three days after the United States entered the War. But some three months before his death, he wrote his parents, attempting to describe a test flight up to 30,000 feet, in the words:-
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
Fast forward to todays’ 24/7 news cycles, to the ever-expanding Internet, satellites and wrist-watches with the computing power equal to the Apollo Moon capsules, and then concentrate on the images captured by the Hubble Telescope. Somehow, when we read:-
Yet the discovery also relied on supermassive zoom lenses that are built into the structure of the universe. Clusters of galaxies can act as “gravitational lenses” that magnify and brighten background sources of light, including stars and galaxies such as MACS0647-JD.
We have to accept that, somewhere, we have lost the poetry which might have described the illumination of the beginning of Time.