# The Delights of Mathematics

Original Text:

R. F. Murray,

*The Scarlet Gown: Being Verses by a St. Andrews Man*, 2nd edn., intro. by Andrew Lang (Glasgow: James MacLehose, 1909): 75-76. LE M9837sc Robarts Library1It seems a hundred years or more

2 Since I, with note-book, ink and pen,

3In cap and gown, first trod the floor

4 Which I have often trod since then;

5Yet well do I remember when

6 With fifty other fond fanatics,

7I sought delights beyond my ken,

8 The deep delights of Mathematics.

9I knew that two and two made four,

10 I felt that five times two were ten,

11But, as for all profounder lore,

12 The robin redbreast or the wren,

13The sparrow, whether cock or hen,

15Was less confused by

*x*and*n*,16 The deep delights of Mathematics.

18 I floundered in the noisome fen

19Which lies behind it and before;

20 I wandered in the gloomy glen

23I said Good-bye, Farewell, Amen!

24 The deep delighst of Mathematics.

26 Who strive with Euclid in your attics,

27For worlds I would not taste again

28 The deep delights of Mathematics.

### Notes

14] Quadratics: quadratic equations, a field in algebra. Back to Line

17] The Asses' Bridge: "

*Pons Asinorum*: a humorous name now given to the fifth proposition of the first book of Euclid's Elements" (OED, "ass"). Back to Line21] Surds: "irrational" numbers, quantities that cannot be expressed in finite terms.

Factors: for example, numbers that divide into another number. Back to Line

Factors: for example, numbers that divide into another number. Back to Line

22] Statics: a branch of physics that deals with "the action of forces in producing equilibrium or relative rest" (OED). Back to Line

25] Bejants: first-year undergraduates at St. Andrews' University. Back to Line

Publication Start Year:

1891

RPO poem Editors:

Ian Lancashire

RPO Edition:

2001

Rhyme: