Euclid Alone Has Looked on Beauty Bare

Euclid Alone Has Looked on Beauty Bare

Euclid Alone Has Looked on Beauty Bare

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892–1950) was one of America’s most talented 20th century poets, whose brilliance as a sonneteer has secured her place in numerous collections of children’s poetry.

Yet, Millay’s repertoire includes playwriting, short stories, an operatic libretto, essays, and scores of lyric verses that will surely guarantee her contribution to American letters for generations to come.

Euclid alone has looked on Beauty bare.
Let all who prate of Beauty hold their peace,
And lay them prone upon the earth and cease
To ponder on themselves, the while they stare
At nothing, intricately drawn nowhere
In shapes of shifting lineage; let geese
Gabble and hiss, but heroes seek release
From dusty bondage into luminous air.
O blinding hour, O holy, terrible day,
When first the shaft into his vision shone
Of light anatomized! Euclid alone
Has looked on Beauty bare. Fortunate they
Who, though once only and then but far away,
Have heard her massive sandal set on stone.


A B C is letters. One Two Three is numbers—mathematica. What marks verse off from prose is that it talks letters in numbers. Numbers is a nickname for poetry. Poetry plays rhythms of dramatic speech on the grid of meter. A good map carries its own scale of miles.

— Robert Frost, “Poetry and School” (1951)

The Director’s Take

In the modern era, mathematics has arisen to become the international lingua franca of science, enabling empirical researchers and scientists to symbolically represent all types of patterns.

Seeing Math

Proof

Euclid Alone Has Looked on Beauty Bare

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892–1950) was one of America’s most talented 20th century poets, whose brilliance as a sonneteer has secured her place in numerous collections of children’s poetry.

Teaching Mathematics for Understanding – Guaranteed!

Democratizing Mathematics

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VIRTUE is the flagship publication of the Institute for Classical Education. It disseminates stories, ideas, research and experiences in classical education to readers across the nation, helping them to pursue the classical ideals of truth, goodness, and beauty.

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