# Poetry of Physics

It seems that James Clerk Maxwell wasn’t the only Victorian era scientist-poet — a thermodynamics theorist William J.M. Rankine wrote a poem called “Mathematician in love” back in1865.

**Mathematician in Love**

**A mathematician fell madly in love**

**With a lady, young, handsome, and charming:**

**By angles and ratios harmonic he strove**

**Her curves and proportions all faultless to prove.**

**As he scrawled hieroglyphics alarming.**

**He measured with care, from the ends of a base,**

**The arcs which her features subtended:**

**Then he framed transcendental equations, to trace**

**The flowing outlines of her figure and face,**

**And thought the result very splendid.**

**He studied (since music has charms for the fair)**

**The theory of fiddles and whistles,-**

**Then composed, by acoustic equations, an air,**

**Which, when ’twas performed, made the lady’s long hair**

**Stand on end, like a porcupine’s bristles.**

**The lady loved dancing:-he therefore applied,**

**To the polka and waltz, an equation;**

**But when to rotate on his axis he tried,**

**His centre of gravity swayed to one side,**

**And he fell, by the earth’s gravitation.**

**No doubts of the fate of his suit made him pause,**

**For he proved, to his own satisfaction,**

**That the fair one returned his affection;-“because,**

**“As every one knows, by mechanical laws,**

**“Re-action is equal to action.”**

**“Let x denote beauty,-y, manners well-bred,-**

**“z, Fortune,-(this last is essential),-**

**“Let L stand for love”-our philosopher said,-**

**“Then L is a function of x, y, and z,**

**“Of the kind which is known as potential.”**

**“Now integrate L with respect to d t,**

**“(t Standing for time and persuasion);**

**“Then, between proper limits, ’tis easy to see,**

**“The definite integral Marriage must be:-**

**“(A very concise demonstration).”**

**Said he-“If the wandering course of the moon**

**“By Algebra can be predicted,**

**“The female affections must yield to it soon”-**

**-But the lady ran off with a dashing dragoon,**

**And left him amazed and afflicted.**

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