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Of Peacocks, Ducks, and other Feathers of changeable colours

Of Peacoks, Ducks, and other Feathers of changeable colours.png Of the Eyes and Head of a Grey drone-FlyThumbnailsscheme-20Of the Eyes and Head of a Grey drone-FlyThumbnailsscheme-20

The parts of the Feathers of this glorious Bird appear, through the Microscope, no less gaudy then do the whole Feathers; for, as to the naked eye 'tis evident that the stem or quill of each Feather in the tail sends out multitudes of Lateral branches, such as AB in the Schem. 22.
Fig. 3.third Figure of the 22. Scheme represents a small part of about 1/32 part of an Inch long, and each of the lateral branches emit multitudes of little sprigs, threads or hairs on either side of them, such as CD, CD, CD, so each of those threads in the Microscope appears a large long body, consisting of a multitude of bright reflecting parts, whose Figure 'tis no easie matter to determine, as he that examines it shall find; for every new position of it to the light makes it perfectly seem of another form and shape, and nothing what it appear'd a little before; nay, it appear'd very differing ofttimes from so seemingly inconsiderable a circumstance, that the interposing of ones hand between the light and it, makes a very great change, and the opening or shutting a Casement and the like, very much diversifies the appearance. And though, by examining the form of it very many ways, which would be tedious here to enumerate, I suppose I have discover'd the true Figure of it, yet oftentimes, upon looking on it in another posture, I have almost thought my former observations deficient, though indeed, upon further examination, I have found even those also to confirm them.

by Robert Hooke
Published 1665
Available from gutenberg.org