Twice one is two,

Twice two is four,

But twice two is ninety-six if you know the way to score.

Half of two is one,

Half of four is two,

But half of four is forty per cent. if your name is Montagu:

For everything else is on the square

If done by the best quadratics;

And nothing is low in High Finance

Or the Higher Mathematics.

A straight line is straight

And a square mile is flat:

But you learn in trigonometrics a trick worth two of that.

Two straight lines

Can't enclose a Space,

But they can enclose a Corner to support the Chosen Race:

For you never know what Dynamics do

With the lower truths of Statics;

And half of two is a touring car

In the Higher Mathematics.

There is a place apart

Beyond the solar ray,

Where parallel straight lines can meet in an unofficial way.

There is a room that holds

The examiner or his clerks,

Where you can square the circle or the man that gives the marks.

Where you hide in the cellar and then look down

On the poets that live in the attics;

For the whole of the house is upside down

In the Higher Mathematics.

Because I could not make

an algebraist cry

I gazed with interest at X

and never thought of Why