poet James Clerk Maxwell

James Clerk Maxwell

Answer To Tait

The mounted disk of ebonite
Has whirled before, nor whirled in vain;
Rowland of Troy, that doughty knight,
Convection currents did obtain
In such a disk, of power to wheedle,
From its loved North the subtle needle.

’Twas when Sir Rowland, as a stage
From Troy to Baltimore, took rest
In Berlin, there old Archimage,
Armed him to follow up this quest;
Right glad to find himself possessor
Of the irrepressible Professor.

But wouldst thou twirl that disk once more,
Then follow in Childe Rowland’s train,
To where in busy Baltimore
He brews the bantlings of his brain;
As he may do who still prefers
One Rowland to two Olivers.

But Rowland,—no, nor Oliver,-—
Could get electromotive force,
Which fact and reason both aver,
Has change of some kind as its source,
Out of a disk in swift rotation
Without the least acceleration.

But with your splendid roundabout
Of mighty power, new-hung and greasy,
With galvanometer so stout,
A new research would be as easy;
A test which might perchance disclose,
Which way the electric current flows.

Take then a coil of copper pure,
And fix it on your whirling table;
Place the electrodes firm and sure
As near the axis as you’re able,
And soon you’ll learn the way to work it,
With galvanometer in circuit.

Not while the coil in spinning sleeps,
On her smooth axle swift and steady;
But when against the stops she sweeps,
To watch the light-spot then be ready,
That you may learn from its deflexion
The electric current’s true direction.

It may be that it does not move,
Or moves but for some other reason;
Then let it be your boast to prove
(Though some may think it out of season,
And worthy of a fossil Druid),
That there is no Electric Fluid.

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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Comments about Answer To Tait by James Clerk Maxwell

  • Khairul AhsanKhairul Ahsan (9/12/2020 11:57:00 PM)

    No, this poem is not for me. I do not have the brain to understand this poem, without research!

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  • Mahtab BangaleeMahtab Bangalee (9/12/2020 11:08:00 PM)

    It may be that it does not move,
    Or moves but for some other reason;
    Then let it be your boast to prove...great ….long narrative poem; wisely written; actually everything of this universe is not out system thought it's natural; this universe has specific motion, notion, and function; through a purely mathematical theory it's going on; sometimes someone finds out the theory sometimes none finds out the reason; there is the fact of a question but no answer

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  • Edward Kofi LouisEdward Kofi Louis (9/12/2020 2:10:00 PM)

    Acceleration! ! !
    Swift rotation!
    Season and reason.


    Thanks for sharing this poem with us.

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  • Dr Tony BrahminDr Tony Brahmin (9/12/2019 8:04:00 AM)

    with your splendid roundabout
    Of mighty power, new-hung and greasy,
    With galvanometer so stout,
    A new research would be as easy; very good poem.. tony

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  • Aniruddha PathakAniruddha Pathak (9/12/2019 2:03:00 AM)

    Answer To Tait,
    Brilliant narration in well constructed sestets,

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  • Uche NwanzeUche Nwanze (9/12/2019 1:53:00 AM)

    Touch of brilliance, touch of class, a masterpiece.

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    0 person did not like.

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