# Simplify characteristic equation

I have a rather unwieldy symbolic expression of the form `f(x) = 0`

, where the left hand side is a (low-degree) polynomial in `x`

. I need to extract the constant term and the coefficients of a few powers of `x`

in `f(x)`

. If I try to `simplify`

either `f(x)`

itself or each coefficient, Sage runs out of memory (even after increasing the Maxima heap size) or doesn't ever seem to terminate. Is there something I can do that takes advantage of the special form of the equation to simplify the coefficients?