Investigator Bob Waters writes:
Mention of Tycho’s nose in volume 10, number 4 of the Annals of Improbable Research inspires me to share this poem, which I presented to the Des Moines Astronomical Society, of which I was a member, at the dedication of our new Porta-Potty at Ashton-Wildwood Observatory:
THE BALLAD OF TYCHO BRAHE
Oh, come! Let us sing of a stargazer bold,
Whose knowledge was vast, and whose nose was of gold.
His eyes searched the heavens, their wonders to seek:
His learning was strong- but his bladder was weak.
The Emperor asked him to dinner one day.
Alas! If poor Tycho had just stayed away-
Or, going, had gone to relieve himself first,
Before so completely relieving his thirst!
The courses were served with much grace and dispatch,
And many a goblet went down Tycho’s hatch.
The vintage was only the finest, no doubt,
But soon, nature’s call did not call him, but shout!
He earnestly, desperately needed to pee,
But leaving would constitute lese majesty!
Oh, fie! What to do Tycho just couldn’t think.
Perhaps it would come to him after a drink!
But sometimes politeness has too high a price;
Surviving your dinner can also be nice!
While Tycho at table with monarchs abode,
His uncourtly bladder presumed to explode.
And thus ends our tale of this sage of the sky,
For thus our astronomer-hero did die.
The moral: Though brightly the night’s stars may twinkle,
The best of astronomers sometimes must tinkle.