Bee

Sunday, January 20, 2008

THE ASTRONOMER’S DRINKING SONG

Whoe'er would search the starry sky, Its secrets to divine, sir,

Should take his glass--I mean, should try A glass or two of wine, sir!

True virtue lies in golden mean, And man must wet his clay, sir;

Join these two maxims, and 'tis seen He should drink his bottle a day, sir!**
Old Archimedes, reverend sage! By trump of fame renowned, sir,
Deep problems solved in every page, And the sphere’s curved surface found, sir
Himself he would have far outshone, And borne a wider sway, sir,
Had he our modern secret known, And drank a bottle a day, sir!
When Ptolemy, now long ago, Believed the Earth stood still, sir,
He never would have blundered so, Had he but drunk his fill, sir:
He'd then have felt it circulate, And would have learnt to say, sir,
The true way to investigate Is to drink your bottle a day, sir!
Copernicus, that learned wight, The glory of his nation,
With draughts of wine refreshed his sight, And saw the Earth's rotation;
Each planet then its orb described, The Moon got under way, sir;
These truths from nature he imbibed For he drank his bottle a day, sir!
The noble Tycho placed the stars, Each in its due location;
He lost his nose by spite of Mars, But that was no privation:
Had he but lost his mouth, I grant He would have felt dismay, sir,
Bless you! he knew what he should want To drink his bottle a day, sir!
Cold water makes no lucky hits; On mysteries the head runs:
Small drink let Kepler time his wits On the regular polyhedrons:
He took to wine, and it changed the chime, His genius swept away, sir,
Through area varying as the time At the rate of a bottle a day, sir!
Poor Galileo, forced to rat Before the Inquisition,
E pur si muove was the pat He gave them in addition:
He meant, whate'er you think you prove, The Earth must go its way, sirs;
Spite of your teeth I'll make it move, For I'll drink my bottle a day, sirs!
56Page 57

Great Newton, who was never beat Whatever fools may think, sir;
Though sometimes he forgot to eat, He never forgot to drink, sir:
Descartes took nought but lemonade, To conquer him was play, sir;
The first advance that Newton made Was to drink his bottle a day, sir!
D'Alembert, Euler, and Clairaut, Though they increased our store, sir,
Much further had been seen to go Had they tippled a little more, sir!
Lagrange gets mellow with Laplace, And both are wont to say, sir,
The philosophe who's not an ass Will drink his bottle a day, sir!
"Astronomers! what can avail Those who calumniate us;
Experiment can never fail With such an apparatus;
Let him who'd have his merits known Remember what I say, sir;
Fair science shines on him alone Who drinks his bottle a day, sir!
"How light we reck of those who mock By this we'll make to appear, sir,
We'll dine by the sidereal clock For one more bottle a year, sir:
But choose which pendulum you will, You'll never make your way, sir,
Unless you drink--and drink your fill,- -At least a bottle a day, sir!"

(Author Unknown)



Discussion:
* “I am upset by the continuing college fraternity mentality of the physics community as
represented by devoting half a page to an astronomer's drinking song ... Drinking is a wide-
spread problem on college campuses… and in professional communities… “
Margaret Geller, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Too low they build, who build beneath the stars.
- Edward Young
Many a night I saw the Pleiades, rising thro' the mellow shade,
Glitter like a swarm of fire-flies tangled in a silver braid.
- Alfred Lord Tennyson
You will expand your consciousness to encompass the Music Of The Spheres,
only to realize it consists entirely of circus marches.
- anonymous
Far away, hidden from the eyes of daylight, there are watchers in the skies
- Euripedes, the Bacchae
Someday I would like to stand on the moon, look down through a quarter of a million miles of
space and say, "There certainly is a beautiful earth out tonight."
- Lt. Col. William H. Rankin
You know how Einstein got bad grades as a kid? Well, mine are even worse!
– Calvin, from Bill Watterson’s “Calvin & Hobbes”