James Clerk Maxwell

(13 June 1831 – 5 November 1879 / Edinburgh, Scotland)

Reply To The Above, By F.W.F. - Poem by James Clerk Maxwell

"Te quoque vatem dicunt pastores."—VIRGIL.

O Maxwell, if by reason’s strength
And studying of Babbage,
You have transformed yourself at length
Into a mental cabbage;
And if I've proved myself a lark
At morn and blushing even,
By soaring like a music-spark
Thro’ sapphire fields of Heaven,

Our diverse fates are now reversed
By strange metempsychosis,
Into a cabbage I have burst
And scorn poetic posies;
But you a lark with twinkling wings
O’er violet-banks are soaring;
Your voice the dewy rose-cloud rings
While Statics me are boring.

Yet cabbage as I will—on earth
My roots I cannot anchor,
For at my mathematic birth
Was also born a canker!
It soon will gnaw my roots away-—
But when I weigh a chœnix
I’ll freely soar to realms of day
An emerald cabbage-Phœnix.

Then talk not of the Poll to me,
I hate, detest, and scorn it;
I am as earnest as a bee,
But savage as a hornet.
And if they pluck me I will drown
Each pedant in a sonnet,
And of their pluckings make a crown
With golden plumes upon it.

So if my cabbage growth be slow
I'll try to be a carrot,
Or still remain a lark—but know
I'll not be Poll, or Parrot.
Then if I fall beneath the mark,
I’ll shout with accent savage,
"It is a lark to be a lark,
’Tis green to be a cabbage"

Comments about Reply To The Above, By F.W.F. by James Clerk Maxwell

There is no comment submitted by members..

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: sonnet, birth, hate, strength, music, rose, green, heaven

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

[Hata Bildir]