6/27/13

True Sympathy or Prevention of Cruelty to Teachers

I was kind to all my masters
And I never worked them hard
To goad them to exactitude
Or speaking by the card.


If one of them should have the air
Of talking through his hat
And call a curve isosceles
I let it go at that.


The point was without magnitude;
I knew without regret
Our minds were moving parallel
Because they never met.


Because I could not bear to make
An Algebraist cry
I gazed with interest at X
And never thought of Why.


That he should think I thought he thought
That X was ABC
Was far, far happier for him
And possibly for me.


While other teachers raved and died
In reason’s wild career,
Men who had driven themselves mad
By making themselves clear,


My teachers laugh and sing and dance,
Aged, but still alive;
Because I often let them say
That two and two are five.


Angles obtuse appeared acute,
Angles acute were quite
Obtuse; but I was more obtuse:
Their angles were all right.


I wore my Soul’s Awakening smile
I felt it was my duty:
Lo! Logic works by Barbara
And life is ruled by Beauty.


And Mathematics merged and met
Its Higher Unity.
Where Five and Two and Twelve and Four
They all were One to me.

~G.K. Chesterton




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