The Devil Among The Scholars

Someone sent this my way today, and I love the reference – perhaps I ought to simply start calling myself poly, since it seems I embrace everything the prefix can address.

Off I fly, careering far
In chase of Pollys, prettier far
Than any of their namesakes are,–
The Polymaths and Polyhistors,
Polyglots and all their sisters.

But, despite the laugh I got from Thomas Moore singing the praises of polymaths, I got an even bigger laugh from the next lines:

So have I known a hopeful youth
Sit down in quest of lore and truth,
With tomes sufficient to confound him,
Like Tohu Bohu, heapt around him,–
Mamurra[1] stuck to Theophrastus,
And Galen tumbling o’er Bombastus.[2]
When lo! while all that’s learned and wise
Absorbs the boy, he lifts his eyes,
And through the window of his study
Beholds some damsel fair and ruddy,
With eyes, as brightly turned upon him as
The angel’s[3] were on Hieronymus.
Quick fly the folios, widely scattered,
Old Homer’s laureled brow is battered,
And Sappho, headlong sent, flies just in
The reverend eye of St. Augustin.
Raptured he quits each dozing sage,
Oh woman, for thy lovelier page:
Sweet book!–unlike the books of art,–
Whose errors are thy fairest part;
In whom the dear errata column
Is the best page in all the volume!

For the first time ever, I’m dating a student while not a student myself, so I can actually watch the battle between the brains!

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