WATCHERS OF THE MOON:
Poetry and Mathematical Physics in the Long Nineteenth Century
Author Index: A
TECHNICAL NOTE: The great majority of the links below are to
scanned antique books at the Internet Archive, most of them
anthologies. Poems frequently run for several pages; when coming
to the apparent end of a poem, turn the page to make sure!
Comic poem from the dawn of the age of biochemistry. Signed "H.W."
The Antiseptic Pledge
An Appeal for Air
Modern readers, unlike Nineteenth Century ones, would probably find this
poem funnier if it weren't written in rustic dialect.
An arithmetic joke. Would be funnier if it scanned.
The Chemist to His Love
A Darwinian Ballad
The Little Star
"Scintillate, scintillate, globule orific."
The March of Science, in Which are Noticed the
Principal Discoveries and Improvements of Modern Times. (1846)
Charles Mead, an American school-teacher and extreme
The Music of the Spheres: Typical example
of pro-science Romantic verse, from
Charles Dickens's magazine All The Year
Round [1868 August 22].
With bold bacilli in a kiss
Oh, the flying machine someday will fly
Oh, gas may escape
A sort of Omar Khayyam in the Industrial Age limerick.
A genius who once did aspire
The inventor he chortled with glee
An inventor set sail from Rangoon
- Burgess, Clinton Brooks:
Mrs. Isoceles Tri
A jolly young chemistry tough
Microscopic lens doth show
- Burgess, Clinton Brooks:
Rev. Rectangular Square
Said the aëronaut in his balloon
There once were some learned M.D.'s
There was an old man who said, Do
There was an old man who said, "Gee!"
There was a young lady named Bright The link is to
an article at the Quote
Investigator website, which concludes that this limerick,
published anonymously in 1923
under the title Relativity, was
probably written by Canadian botanist A. H. Reginald Buller.
A weak but ingenious young guy
"Typographically rhymed" poems like this were apparently
considered hilarious in the early 1900s, and produced en masse.
Telegraphers' Poems: The telegraph network was
the Nineteenth Century internet. Telegraph operators, called
"plugs", were young,
highly intelligent, generally lower-class, always ambitious. As they
drifted from station to station
along the lines in search of work, they developed an
irreverent "hacker" subculture, complete with its own
(usually humourous or sentimental, sometimes racy, and often containing
ethnic stereotypes, particularly of the Irish).
Zoölogist (or at least cryptozoölogist) versus Shelob,
like a Ryder
Haggard story in high-quality blank verse.
Science and the Soul
Despite the regretably didactic title, a
very interesting dream-poem about neuroscience,
evolution, and other topics, not
really anti-science but clearly sympathetic to the claim that science will
never fathom life.
To Annie Ellsworth who sent the first public message on
The Carnival of Oshkosh Parody of a Shakespearian tragedy.
Downey's Lament Song of an Irish technician.
Misplaced Affection About the (nowadays) well-known
problems which may arise in online relationships.
Out of Adjustment A brief romantic encounter between operators takes an
unfortunate turn, but all's well that ends well:
"You adjusted my relay, assuaging my tears // And I
in return have reciprocated."
En Rapport Male and female operators flirting from different continents.
The Song of the Plug Operators introduce the human factor that
frustrates the system designers: "Breaking on duplex and single strings too; //
On all kinds considered a 'bug'."
The Song of the Wire transmitting good and bad tidings alike.
By Telegraph Another meditation on the system's indifference to the
joyous or tragic nature of the information transmitted.
The Telegrapher's Song "Every point within the world // Right at our elbow lies."
The Telephone The next wave of technology, described in mock-Irish dialect.
Which might have inhabitants: "Heed they at all, for their
part, our little
The Microbe's Serenade Uses the jargon of biology for humourous effect,
but without much evidence of understanding the science.
In Harmony with Nature
Who would want to be?
... has not yet found a man worthy of her.
Dover Beach: Perhaps the most famous of all Victorian
(performed by Hernan Berisso et al.)
THE NET ADVANCE OF PHYSICS
Nineteenth Century Poetry