Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol 1, No. 1. March 9, 1938
Cautionary Tale — For Crown-Up Children — No., 1—Percival Mathematical Prodigy
For Crown-Up Children
No., 1—Percival Mathematical [unclear: Prodigy].
Oh, let unbidden tear drops fall!
I sing of little Percival.
An Infant of a mighty brain
Too complicated to explain!
When little Percival was born.
He looked around with utter scorn.
And murmured: "If Infinity
Were multiplied by minus three.
Would you get nought, or slightly more?"
The Doctor fainted on the floor,
And, hurling Percy on the bed,
The Nurse precipitately fled.
When Percival was nearly three,
They sent him up to Varsity.
And students loved to look at Perce,
In little panties, with his Nurse.
Discussing Z, and Y, and X.
With old Professors of his sex.
The freshers often watched with glee
The infant perched on Brookie's knee.
Explaining to him carefully
The gist of Relativity!
And sweet freshettes would blush to see
His nappies in the Library.
Where Percival would think his thoughts.
Raised up on piles of Law Reports.
The table round him often strewed
With safety pins and baby food!
And students used to talk of "That
Absurd, precocious little brat,"
Expressing a [unclear: desire to smack]
The lower portion of his [unclear: back]
They save him a Professor-ship:
But one day his class there rose
A student, spectacles on nose.
Who said: "I've often tried—have you:—
To find the root of minus two?"
Professor Perce gaped vacantly.
"We will resume at half past three."
He lisped, and sought to find a clue
To solve the root of minus two.
He pored at night on musty tomes.
And visited Professors' homes
To see if any or them knew
What was the root of minus two!
Then in despair—what do you think?
—Professor Percy look to drink.
And hiccoughed, steeped in beery brew.
"Hie: What'sh the root or minush two"
When on his death-bed, students came.
Who knew his transitory fame.
To see if the Professor knew
What was the root of minus two.
"Is there a root." they cried, and faint
Was his reply—"Alas! there ain't!"
They raised a tombstone o'er hit head;
Which, speaking of the infant said:
"This baby died from the effects
Of too much X and XXX."