Mad mathesis alone was inconfined.
“From harmony, from heavenly harmony,
This universal frame began”, so sang
A prince of poets in an earlier day.
In ours, although it makes no sense to me,
Cosmologists now favour one Big Bang,
But who exploded what they cannot say.
What was it doing, that primeval stuff,
Before it went off pop? And why just then?
Who gave the word and what switched on the power?
Did God by accident just let it off,
Or did he plan it, counting down from ten?
Dryden, thou shouldst be living at this hour!
Yours was a rational theory, Glorious John;
Ours is more typical of this violent age
Whose music is discord and the battering drum.
Things end as they begin: they may go on
Till doomsday, since big bangs are all the rage,
And blast our universe to kingdom-come.
I still think harmony the likelier theme
And hope as has so often been the case,
That, when tomorrow’s cosmic model appears,
It makes ours look a noisy schoolboy’s dream,
Expels mad mathesis from time and space
And brings us back the music of the spheres.