The Letter Of Peregrinus

When without aid of hinges, links or springs

A pendant chain we hold of steely rings

Dropt from the stone—the stone the binding source—•

Ring cleaves to ring and owns magnetic force :

Those held above, the ones below maintain,

Circle 'neath circle downward draws in vain

Whilst free in air disports the oscillating chain.

The poet Claudian (365-408 A. D.) wrote a short idyll on the attractive virtue of the lode-stone and its symbolism ; St. Augustine (354-430)5 in his work De Civitate Dei, records the fact that a lodestone, held under a silver plate, draws after it a scrap of iron lying on the plate. Abbot Neckam, the Augustinian (1157-1217), distinguishes between the properties of the two ends of the lodestone, and gives in his De Uteri-silibus, what is perhaps the earliest reference to the mariner's compass that we have. Albertus Magnus, the Dominican (1193-1280), in his treatise, De Mineralibus, enumerates different kinds of natural magnets and states some of the properties commonly attributed to them; the min-strel, Guyot de Provins, in a famous satirical poem, written about 1208, refers to the directive qual-

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