THE M.A. DEGREE - James Joseph Sylvester Poems


Poems » james joseph sylvester » the m.a. degree


It was a phantom of delight
When first it gleamed upon my sight,
A scholarly distinction, sent
To be a student's ornament.
The hood was rich beyond compare,
The gown was a unique affair.
By this, by that my mind was drawn
Then, in my academic dawn;
A dancing shape, an image gay
Before me then was my M.A.
I saw it upon nearer view,
A glory, yet a bother too,
For I perceived that I should be
Involved in much Philosophy
(A branch in which I could but meet
Works that were neither light nor sweet);
In Mathematics, not too good
For human nature's daily food
And Classics, rendered in the styles
Of Kelly, Bohn, and Dr. Giles.
And now I own, with some small spleen,
A most confounded ass I've been;
The glory seems an empty breath,
And I am nearly bored to death
With Reason, Consciousness, and Will,
And other things beyond my skill,
Discussed in books all darkly planned
And more in number than the sand.
Yet that M.A. still haunts my sight,
With something of its former light.