When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer

    WHEN I heard the learn’d astronomer; 
    When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns 
              before me; 
    When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, 
              divide, and measure them; 
    When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he 
              lectured with much applause in the lecture-room, 
    How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick; 
    Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself, 
    In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time, 
    Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
Walt Whitman (1819-1892)