Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington--poetic tribute http://philosophyofscienceportal.blogspot.com
The Einstein and the Eddington
by Dr. W. H. Williams
The sun was setting on the links,
The moon looked down serene,
The caddies all had gone to bed,
But still there could be seen
Two players lingering by the trap
That guards the thirteenth green.
The Einstein and the Eddington
Were counting up their score;
The Einstein's card showed ninety-eight
And Eddington's was more.
And both lay bunkered in the trap
And both stood there and swore.
I hate to see, the Einstein said;
Such quantities of sand;
Just why they placed a bunker here
I cannot understand.
If one could smooth this landscape out,
I think it would be grand.
If seven maids with seven mops
Poems – The Einstein and the Eddington
Would sweep the fairway clean
I'm sure that I could make this hole
In less than seventeen.
I doubt it, said the Eddington,
Your slice is pretty mean.
Then all the little golf balls came
To see what they were at,
And some of them were tall and thin
And some were short and fat,
A few of them were round and smooth,
But most of them were flat.
The time has come, said Eddington,
To talk of many things:
Of cubes and clocks and meter-sticks
And why a pendulum swings.
And how far space is out of plumb,
And whether time has wings.
I learned at school the apple's fall
To gravity was due,
But now you tell me that the cause
Is merely G_mu-nu,
I cannot bring myself to think
That this is really true.
You say that gravitation's force
Is clearly not a pull.
That space is mostly emptiness,
While time is nearly full;
And though I hate to doubt your word,
It sounds like a bit of bull.
And space, it has dimensions four,
Instead of only three.
The square of the hypotenuse
Ain't what it used to be.
It grieves me sore, the things you've done
To plane geometry.
You hold that time is badly warped,
That even light is bent:
I think I get the idea there,
If this is what you meant:
The mail the postman brings today,
Tomorrow will be sent.
If I should go Timbuctoo
With twice the speed of light,
And leave this afternoon at four,
I'd get back home last night.
You've got it now, the Einstein said,
That is precisely right.
But if the planet Mercury
In going round the sun,
Never returns to where it was
Until its course is run,
The things we started out to do
Were better not begun.
And if before the past is through,
The future intervenes;
Then what's the use of anything;
Of cabbages or queens?
Pray tell me what's the bally use
Of Presidents and Deans.
The shortest line, Einstein replied,
Is not the one that's straight;
It curves around upon itself,
Much like a figure eight,
And if you go too rapidly
You will arrive too late.
But Easter day is Christmas time
And far away is near,
And two and two is more than four
And over there is here.
You may be right, said Eddington,
It seems a trifle queer.
But thank you very, very much,
For troubling to explain;
I hope you will forgive my tears,
My head begins to pain;
I feel the symptoms coming on
Of softening of the brain.
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