I have been trying, without success, to find a vaguely-remembered quotation: the quadratic equation (or perhaps the quadratic formula), given in (Latin?) prose, along lines like “Consider that quantity, which, when multiplied by itself and under multiplication by the first constant, …”

The purpose is just to contrast with the clarity and compactness of modern algebraic notation — so it doesn’t need to be the quadratic equation or formula, and it doesn’t need to be in Latin; any similar historical quotation to illustrate the point would do.

(Two relevant meta threads: Are history of maths questions acceptable?, and Area 51 proposal: history of science and maths. Also, this question as a sample question on that area 51 proposal.)