This morning I’m about to get on the T and go to Cambridge City Hall for a significant personal event. I’d like to celebrate the occasion with a few lines of verse by the great mathematician (and lesser poet) James Joseph Sylvester. (A tip of the top hat to Jerry Alexanderson for bringing Sylvester’s versifying to my attention.)

Fairest, O ! of lily-kind,
Perfect pearl and priceless find !
Pure as poet’s milk-white hind,
Spirit ! from all dross refined,
Hearts to ravish Heav’n-designed ;
Fresh as rills that sparkling wind
On their way the sea to find,
[O'er smooth pebble-bed patíned.]
Dew-drop ! on which sun hath shined,
Shedding glamour undefined,
And a light that doth remind
of the cloudless heav’n behind.
Whose light laugh, like bells sweet-chimed,
[Or hushed trill of bow refined
Touched with fingers taper-tined,]
Piercing feeling’s inmost rind,
Tone-spray tossing on the wind
Leaves no smart unmedicined.

  With fond folly all untined,
  To each duteous law resigned ;
    (Round her finger she can wind
    All to obey her disinclined :
    Who so wilful or so blind
    To say nay to Rosalind !)

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8 Responses to Rosalind

  1. Greg Wilson says:

    Congratulations, and many happies to you both.

  2. We feel delighted that you tied the knot. All the best on your wedding.

    Stephan and Doro

  3. Seb says:


    Maria, Sebas and Bianca

  4. Barry Cipra says:

    Read what you will of love’s sweet haze,
    A more apt couple ne’er did phrase
    The courtly vow that ends one phase
    And starts a string of happy days.

  5. Paul Zorn says:


    I sent you an ordinary, tedious e-mail earlier, but …

    My note was of a mundane kind
    Compared to peerless Rosalind.
    And we’re just fine, if you’re inclined,
    To postpone e-mail’s daily grind,
    While infinitely more refined
    And merry matters fill your mind.

    For letters soon enough you’ll find
    the time. For now: Get wined and dined.



  6. Sarah H. says:

    Congrats to both! I expect details later, though am keeping my mouth shut for now!

  7. brian says:

    Thanks to all for the kind words.

    Joy to learn, long ere Sylvester,
    the mathopoetic muse doth still… pester? fester?

    Anyway, thanks again.

  8. Jim Ward says:

    May you spend many happy years together!