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The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, October 1909

The Sorrows of "Worker."

page 23

The Sorrows of "Worker."

On being faced with an examination in "Elementary Mathematics."

The words 'The Sorrows of "Worker."' in semi-gothic script

To try or not try, or beg the question?
Ah, is it nobler in the mind to struggle
With sine sans cosines of outrageous fancy,
Or to take arms against a sleeping Senate
And sternaly strive to wake them? Oh to sleep
At last, and by a sleep to say we end
Infinite heartache, geometric shocks,
All ills the surd is heir to. Nay for them
Nodding at last over an ill-done sum,
Our fatal fancy hurries us to dream
Of undiscovered countries, at whose bourn
Meet parallels, and end infinities;
Where twenty-three dimensions complicate
And bid us wake t' endure the ills we have
As long as may be. Who is there can bear
The toilsome angles varying endlessly
That make geometry of so long life?
And who would waste his priceless hours of youth
To fell at last th' examiner's contempt,
The pang of wasted leisure, and the spurn
That sad incompetence must ever gain,
When that same Senate might quietus make
With a bare pen-stroke? Ah for still to fail
Time and again, makes cowards of us all,
And years thus wasted in the quest of pelf
Will leave us soon, as Shakspere somewhere mentions,
Sans brains, sans bread, butter, and sans hope.


Note:—We understand that "sand soap" is gritty substance developed in place of brains by would-be mathematicians after the third failure.—[Ed. Spike].