Had I but world enough, and time, 

Learning each residue by name, O’ ye MHC, wouldn’t be crime. 

I would stare at thee, and think which way 

To learn structure and function over long labouring day. 


Thou atop all nucleated cells' surface 

Shouldst antigenic peptides display; as T lymphocytes appraise, 

And sound alarm at non-self recognition. I would 

Uncover peptide sequences each MHC bound, 

‘cause thine variation—that all caste, creed and race use,

The design of universal vaccine refuse. 


Yet my obsession with the MHC would grow 

Vaster than empires, steady and slow;  

Many hundred years shall pass to praise  

Thine ethereal beauty, as I upon thy cleft gaze;  

Several thousand to adore beta-2 microglobulin and the rest, 

But thirty thousand to each A-to-F pocket.

An age at least to every part, 

And the last age shalt unveil thine every secret. 


But at my back I always hear 

Time's winged chariot hurrying near: 

And yonder all before us lie  

Deserts of vast eternity.   


Thus, though we cannot make our sun stand still,

Collectively let's learn to put p/MHC in a pill.  


An adaptation of Andrew Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress" ca. 1650s