Ode on the 450th Anniversary Celebration at Eton
Think of a number: double it
(If that does not surpass thy wit);
Subtract a dozen: add a score:
Divide by twenty: multiply
By twice the cube of x+y,
And half again as many more:
Then take the twenty-seventh root
And logarithmic sine to boot,
And if the answer does not show
Just nine times fifty, make it so.
There's something more than half divine
In fifty multiplied by nine:
And never integer has been
So grand as thirty times fifteen:
The total I could doubtless praise
In many other striking ways:
But this at least is very plain,—
The same will never come again.
Then make an exhibition please
And summon guests from far and wide:
And marry mystic melodies
To odes instinct with proper pride.
Invoke the Founder's mighty name,
And boast of Gray's and Shelley's fame:
For this is very sure: that we
Who missed the latest jubilee
Shall not improbably be vexed
By missing equally the next.
Then let us resolutely strive
This mighty fact to keep alive
That 5 times 9 is 45;
And furthermore the truth to fix
(In their behoof whose course will ran
In June of 1981)
That 54 is 9 times 6.