At Hven with Tycho Brahe

[Duracotus studies with the students of the astronomer Tycho Brahe at the Uraniborg observatory on the island of Hven]

Literis traditis Braheus valde exhilaratus coepit ex me multa quaerere ^22, quae ego linguae imperitus non intellexi, paucis verbis exceptis ^23. Itaque negotiura suis dedit studiosis, quos magno numero alebat ^24, uti mecum crebro loquerentur, factumque liberalitate Brahei ^25, et paucarum septimanarum exercitio, ut mediocriter Danice loquerer. Nec minus ego promtus in narrando, quam illi erant in quaerendo. Multa quippe insueta mirabar, multa mirantibus ex mea patria nova recensebam.

When I delivered the letters Brahe began to ask me many excited questions. But I knew few words of his language and could not understand him. So Brahe instructed his students, whom he supported in great numbers, to speak with me again and again, and through Brahe’s generosity, with few weeks of practice I began to speak in Danish fairly well. I was no less willing to talk than they were to question me: for I wondered about many unfamiliar things, while I told them new things about my country.

Denique reversus navis magister meque repetens repulsam tulit, valde
me gaudente ^26.

In time the ship’s captain returned to Hven. But Brahe refused him to let him take me back, which made me more than happy.

Mirum in modum mihi arridebant astronomica exercitia, quippe studiosi
et Braheus mirabilibus machinis totis noctibus intendebant Lunae sideribusque ^27, quae me res admonebat matris, quippe et ipsa assidue cum Luna solita erat colloqui ^28. Hac igitur occasione ego patria semibarbarus, conditione egentissimus, in divinissimae scientiae cognitionem veni; quae mihi ad majora viam paravit.

I took a wonderful delight in the practice of astronomy. Brahe and his students watched the moon and constellations all night with marvelous instruments. These activities reminded me of my mother – in fact she had a constant habit of talking to the moon. In this way, although I came from a half-barbaric country and a poor home, I gained knowledge of the most sacred science which has set me on the road to greater things.

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