Anonymously written. Found in Memorabilia Mathematica or the Philomath's Quotation-Book, Robert Edouard Moritz, 1914, pp. 320-322. Republished as On Mathematics and Mathematicians, Dover 19.
A moving form or rigid mass,
Under whate'er conditions
Along successive screws must pass
Between each two positions,
It turns around and slides along:
This is the burden of my song.
The pitch of screw, if multiplied
By angle or rotation,
Will give the distance it must glide
In motion of translation.
Inf'nite pitch means pure translation,
And zero pitch means pure rotation.
Two motions on two given screws,
With amplitudes at pleasure,
Into a third screw-motion fuse,
Whose amplitude we measure
By parallelogram construction
(A very obvious deduction).
Its axis cuts the nodal line
Which to both screws is normal,
And generates a form divine,
Whose name, in language formal
Is "surface-ruled of third degree."
Cylindroid is the name for me.
Rotation round a given line
Is like a force along.
If to say couple you decline,
You're clearly in the wrong;
'tis obvious, upon reflection
A line is not a mere direction.
So couples with translations too
In all respects agree;
And thus there centres in the screw
A wondrous harmony
Of Kinematics, and of Statics,
The sweetest thing in mathematics.
The forces on one given screw,
With motion on a second,
In ge-ne-ral some work will do,
Whose magnitude is reckoned
By angle, force, and what we call
The coefficient virtual.
Rotation now to force convert,
And force into rotation;
Unchanged the work (we can assert)
In spite of transformation.
And if two screws no work can claim,
Reciprocal will be their name.
Five numbers will a screw define,
A screwing motion six;
For four will give the axial line,
One more the pitch will fix;
And hence we always can contrive
One screw reciprocal to five.
Screws-two, three four or five, combined
(No question here of six),
Yield other screws which are confined
Within one screw complex.
Thus we obtain the clearest notion
Of freedom and constraint of motion.
In complex III, three several screws
At every point you find,
Or if you one direction choose,
One screw is to your mind;
And complexes of order III
Their own reciprocals may be.
In IV, wherever you arrive,
You find of screws a cone,
On every line of complex V.
There is precisely one;
At each point of this complex rich,
A plane of screws have given pitch.
But time would fail me to discourse
Of Order and Degree;
Of Impulse, Energy and Force,
All these and more, for motions small,
Have been discussed by Dr. Ball.