THE DELIGHTS OF MATHEMATICS - James Joseph Sylvester Poems

 
 

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THE DELIGHTS OF MATHEMATICS

It seems a hundred years or more
    Since I, with note-book, ink and pen,
In cap and gown, first trod the floor
    Which I have often trod since then;
Yet well do I remember when
    With fifty other fond fanatics,
I sought delights beyond my ken,
    The deep delights of Mathematics.

I knew that two and two made four,
    I felt that five times two were ten,
But, as for all profounder lore,
    The robin redbreast or the wren,
The sparrow, whether cock or hen,
    Knew quite as much about Quadratics,
Was less confused by x and n,
    The deep delights of Mathematics.

The Asses' Bridge I passed not o'er,
    I floundered in the noisome fen
Which lies behind it and before;
    I wandered in the gloomy glen
Where Surds and Factors have their den.
    But when I saw the pit of Statics,
I said Good-bye, Farewell, Amen!
    The deep delighst of Mathematics.

O Bejants! blessed, beardless men,
    Who strive with Euclid in your attics,
For worlds I would not taste again
    The deep delights of Mathematics.