What sums we ciphered! For it pleased the fates
To bind us close to slate pencils and slates,
Adams' Arithmetic before our eyes.
(He made it after he left Paradise.
We cannot fancy that in scenes Elysian
Adam and Eve knew ever Long Division.)
Oft-times we stood in rows with aspect solemn,
Convulsive adding up some figured column.
Sad grew one heart I knew, and ever sadder,
To find on every side a swifter adder.
And when sometimes a sultry south wind blew,
Our Baker found too hot his oven grew,
Sent out his living things by two and two,
As Noah from his ark was glad to do.
There sat the boys and ciphered in the shade,
And the soft air about their temples played.
Busy and happy ones; all smoothly went,
While with their tasks legitimate content,
But from the narrow way the least deflection
Is pretty sure of no remote detection.
The square is drawn; its characters you know,
Nine minor squares to fill with X or 0,
And he says, “Tit, tat, too,” who gets a row.
“Tit, tat,” says James, and marks it down, but hark
“Too,” shouts the master, and he makes his mark.
And looking backward, was it yesterday,
Or was it rather scores of years away,
When, standing up the vowel sounds to say,
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