Wordsworth Revisited: Geometry Is the Mother of Invention

Wordsworth had an interest, one might almost say (given the frequency with which reference to it occurs in The Prelude), an obsession with Geometry.  In a certain way, this makes a sort of sense.  Mathematics and mysticism are not all that far apart--an interest in one is often accompanied by an interest in the other. (I take as the most famous example Blaise Pascal--but even from the very beginning--think of the legends of the Pythagorian Cult--the two have been in close proximity.)

from The Prelude Book VI
William Wordsworth

Yet may we not entirely overlook
The pleasure gathered from the rudiments
Of geometric science. Though advanced
In these inquiries, with regret I speak,
No farther than the threshold, there I found
Both elevation and composed delight:
With Indian awe and wonder, ignorance pleased
With its own struggles, did I meditate
On the relation those abstractions bear
To Nature's laws, and by what process led,
Those immaterial agents bowed their heads
Duly to serve the mind of earth-born man;
From star to star, from kindred sphere to sphere,
From system on to system without end.


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