Norman Rowland Gale

1862-1942 / England

The Decimal Point

When first sent to School (now the Station was Rugby)
I fancied my masters and took to the boys;
I thought to myself--here 'tis plain I shall snug be
Revolving at last in an orbit of joys:
The Alphabet Grecian I quickly could stammer,
Nor ran any risk of a jaw out of joint;
I waddled sedately through Fatherland Grammar,
But own I was floored by the Decimal Point!

Le Roi de Montagnes was my Gallic translation,
And soon I was praised by my master, who said:--
"I certainly deem that, with good education,
A Scholarship laurel should circle your head!"
I revelled in idioms; I thrilled at the phrases;
I knew how to render "avaunt" and "aroint,"
But own that I shed many tears on the daisies
Of Rugby when stumped by the Decimal Point!

I mastered the building proceedings of Balbus,
And rarely omitted a requisite cum;
I never remarked that an equa was albus,
And deftly supplied the subjunctive with quum!
No canis to me was a dog in the manger--
A classic by Fate I was clearly anoint!
I own, though, I ran into desperate danger
When fogged and be-fooled by the Decimal Point!
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