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Kepler's Apostrophe

James Joseph Sylvester 1814 (London) – 1897 (London)



Yes! on the annals of my race,
In characters of flame,
Which time shall dim not nor deface,
I'll stamp, my deathless name.

The fire which on my vitals preys,
And inly smouldering lies,
Shall flash out to a meteor's blaze
And stream along the skies.

Clafed as the angry ocean's swell
My soul within me boils,
Like a chained monarch in his cell,
Or lion in the toils.

To wealth, to pride, to lofty state,
No more I'll bend the knee,
But Fortune's minions, meanly great,
Shall stoop their necks to me.

The God which formed me for command,
And gave me strength to rise,
Shall plant His sceptre in my hand,
His lightning in my eyes;

Shall with the thorny crown of fame
My aching temples bind,
And hail me by a mighty name
A monarch of the mind.

Me, heaven's bright galaxy shall greet
Theirs by primordial choice,
And earth the eternal tones repeat
Of my prophetic voice.

Stung in her turn, the heartless fair
Who proudly eyes me now,
Shall weep to see some other share
The godhead of my brow;

Shall weep to see some lovelier star
Snatched to my soul's embrace,
Ascend with me Fame's fiery car
And claim celestial place.

Tune oh! my soul thy loftiest strain,
Exult in song and glee,
For worn has snapped each earthlier chain
And set the immortal free.

Minds destined to a glorious shape
Must first affliction feel;
Wine oozes from the trodden grape,
Iron's blistered into steel;

So gushes from affection bruised
Ambition's purple tide,
And steadfast faith unkindly used
Hardens to stubborn pride.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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James Joseph Sylvester

James Joseph Sylvester FRS HFRSE was an English mathematician. He made fundamental contributions to matrix theory, invariant theory, number theory, partition theory, and combinatorics. He played a leadership role in American mathematics in the later half of the 19th century as a professor at the Johns Hopkins University and as founder of the American Journal of Mathematics. At his death, he was a professor at Oxford. more…

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