The Calculus Priority Dispute

By Eric L. McDowell

Ike was born on Christmas Day in 1642,
In England’s bonnie Lincolnshire is where that child grew.
At 18 he went off to be at Cambridge University;
His passion there for Mathematics grew –
In years before the Calculus Priority Dispute.

Now, Will was born in Germany when Ike was only three;
By 16 he had earned a university degree.
In Law he earned an LL.D., then worked awhile in Alchemy;
But math was not a path that he pursued –
In years before the Calculus Priority Dispute.

Cambridge halls were closed by plague in 1665;
So Ike returned to Lincolnshire with fresh and fertile mind.
For two years he worked avidly on Calculus and gravity
But of his thoughts he published just a few –
A fault that spawned the Calculus Priority Dispute.

Issac shared his opus with his Cambridge teacher-friend
Who sent it to another to show what his pupil penned.
When Willie met this second guy, Ike’s manuscript did he espy;
The notes he took would tarnish his repute –
And further fuel the Calculus Priority Dispute.

The learned British army pledged allegiance to their man
While Willie earned support from other nations in the land.
And mud was slung by either side, defending Ike or Willie’s pride
As Europe’s academic battle brewed –
The continental Calculus Priority Dispute.

Responding to suggestions that Will’s honour was corrupt
He asked the Royal Society to clear the matter up.
That jury was presided by none other than that Newton guy;
The def’rence of the group was absolute –
Which added to the Calculus Priority Dispute.

Now, Willie spent his final years just trying to clear his name;
Emotionally damaged from this vengeful, bitter game.
I don’t know if he laughed or cried when Isaac heard his “buddy” died,
But certainly it gave him an acute –
… advantage in the Calculus Priority Dispute.

The scoreboard on this battlefield with centuries traversed
Says Will worked independently but Isaac got there first;
Though Willie clearly takes the prize for symbolism he devised.
When all the points are tallied, most conclude:
Two winners in the Calculus Priority Dispute.