Principia Poetica

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Under a tree Isaac Newton sat when an apple clopped his head

and gave him the idea of gravity, or at least so people have said.

 

The apple falls and the moon does too, but only the apple hits the ground.

Is that because, unlike the apple, the moon goes round and round?

 

On top of the highest mountain, he said, let us put a cannon in place

and fire off a series of cannonballs into airless empty space.

 

Each shot faster than the previous one must farther go to fall

upon the ground, until comes one that doesn't hit the ground at all.

 

Let us assemble axioms so that we may reason with utmost economy

and discern the nature of the mathematical laws that govern the science of Astronomy.

 

The fundamental axioms, the laws of motion, the Creator did decree

shall reflect the Deity's own triune nature and come in a set of three.

 

The Author of All hath decreed a law to keep every body in its course:

unless otherwise pushed, it moveth in a right line under inertia's own force.

 

Perhaps Newton's second law of motion seemeth passing strange;

force, he said, equaleth the rate at which quantity of motion doth change.

 

For every body upon which we inflict an action another must be subjected

to a reaction of equal magnitude and oppositely directed.

 

With these axioms and the rule of induction

plus his own invention, the calculus of the fluxion

 

he gave himself the power to analyze

the knowledge from those who watch the skies.

 

He took the geometry of the ancient Greeks and made a change sublime;

he introduced the infinitesimal limit and added the element of time.

 

And drawing upon his algebraic wisdom and from that subtle notion,

he created the mathematics he needed to describe bodies in changing motion

 

And with his new dynamic geometry

he extended the reach of natural philosophy.

 

And from the distance to period relation

he deduced the universal law of gravitation.

 

If natural motion lieth on a right line, then this doctrine we must enter

that a body moving on a circle must accelerate toward the circle's center.

 

As the apple falleth from the tree, the moon in its relation

with Earth must also fall under universal gravitation.

 

Thus the law of gravity we describe, he then proudly declared,

as the ratio of the masses multiplied together and of distance of the inverse squared.

 

But to discern the cause of gravity he would not even try.

When asked what causes gravity he had this ready reply:

 

"Beyond this simple description no knowledge will I claim.

Of the ultimate cause of gravity no hypotheses will I frame."



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