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Plato, Lucretius, Descartes, Pascal, Haller, Voltaire, and of J. J. Rousseau, effectually settle it; 
and should the discussion be ever renewed, Ampère’s letter, several lines of which I have just 
quoted, could be cited with advantage, and his name added to the distinguished list. 
You may think, perhaps, gentlemen, and not without reason, that I have lingered too long over the 
poetical works of Ampère. I would like to remind you of the four lines, not more, addressed to the 
celebrated Ninon de Lenclos by the great geometer Huygens, and so uncharitably revived by literary 
writers. The law of retaliation authorizes me to contrast, with this unlucky quatrain, the 
scientific errors of different poets. Boileau might figure in our polemics, if we thought it 
advisable, as but a sorry votary of the learned Urania, proved by these two lines from his Satire on 

Que l’astrolabe en main, une autre aille chercher, 
Si le soleil est fixe ou tourne sur SON AXE —

“Let another try to discover, with the astrolabe in hand, whether the sun is fixed or whether it 
turns on its axis.”  
The worthy Abbé Delille did not prove himself more orthodox, when he attributes, in a passage in 
his inaugural, the more brilliant coloring, rapid growth, and greater fragrance of the tropical 
productions to the fact that the Sun warms them from a nearer point. 
This remarkable instance of scientific knowledge is worthy of being ranked with that conveyed in 
the line of a man, who surely had never doubled Cape Horn, nor even read Cook’s voyages; a line 
which should have suggested to the writer to knock from beneath him the Parnassian ladder  — 
From the frozen to the burning pole!
But it seems to me, gentlemen, that within these walls instead of looking for poets who are not 
savants, it would be better to cite savants who have been something of poets. 

Lalande and Delambre were delighted with the analytical work of the young professor of Bourg on the 
calculation of probabilities; they summoned him to Paris, and gave him the position of tutor in the 
Polytechnic School, where he acquitted himself with great credit, but not without encountering many 
trials, results of the retired life he had previously led. Badly advised by friends ignorant of the 
customs of the place, Ampère made his appearance before his classes, in a school almost military, 
dressed in a fashionable black coat, miserably made by one of the most unskillful tailors of the 
capital; and for several weeks, this unlucky garment was a source of such distraction to more than a 
hundred young men that they were unable to attend to the treasures of science falling from the lips 
of the savant. 
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