Ogden Nash

The Purist

I give you now Professor Twist,
A conscientious scientist,
Trustees exclaimed, “He never bungles!”
And sent him off to distant jungles.
Camped on a tropic riverside,
One day he missed his loving bride.
She had, the guide informed him later,
Been eaten by an alligator.
Professor Twist could not but smile.
“You mean,” he said, “a crocodile.”

Ben Jonson

The Noble Nature It is not growing like a tree In bulk, doth make man better be; Or standing long an oak, three hundred year, To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere: A lily of a day Is fairer far in May, Although it fall and die that night — It was the plant and flower of Light. In small proportions we just beauties see; And in short measures life may perfect be.

G H Hardy

Archimedes will be remembered when Aeschylus is forgotten, because languages die and mathematical ideas do not. “Immortality” may be a silly word, but probably a mathematician has the best chance of whatever it may mean.

R S Thomas

The first king was on horseback The second was a pillion rider. The third came by plane. Where was the god-child? He was in the manger With the beasts, all looking The other way where the fourth Was a slow dawning because Wisdom must come on foot.

Clifton Fadiman

To divide one’s life by years is of course to tumble into a trap set by our own arithmetic. The calendar consents to carry on its dull wall-existence by the arbitrary timetables we have drawn up in consultation with those permanent commuters, Earth and Sun. But we, unlike trees, need grow no annual rings.