THE PARADOX OF BOOKS.
I'm strange contradictions; I'm new and I'm old,
I'm often in tatters, and oft decked with gold.
Though I never could read, yet lettered I'm found;
Though blind, I enlighten; though loose, I am bound.
I'm always in black, and I'm always in white;
I am grave and I'm gay, I am heavy and light.
In form too I differ,-I'm thick and I'm thin;
I've no flesh and no bone, yet I'm covered with skin;
I've more points than the compass, more stops than the flute;
I sing without voice, without speaking confute;
I'm English, I'm German, I'm French, and I'm Dutch;
Some love me too fondly, some slight me too much;
I often die soon, though I sometimes live ages,
And no monarch alive has so many pages.
I love my books as drinkers love their wine;
The more I drink, the more they seem divine;
With joy elate my soul in love runs o'er,
And each fresh draught is sweeter than before:
Books bring me friends where'er on earth I be,
Solace of solitude, bonds of society.
I love my books! they are companions dear,
Sterling in worth, in friendship most sincere;
Here talk I with the wise in ages gone,
And.with the nobly gifted in our own:
If love, joy, laughter, sorrow please my mind,
Love, joy, grief, laughter in my books I find.
All round the room my silent servants wait,
My friends in every season, bright and dim
Angels and seraphim
Come down and murmur to me, sweet and low,
And spirits of the skies all come and go
Early and late;
From the old world's divine and distant date,
From the sublimer few,
Down to the poet who but yester-eve
Sang sweet and made us grieve,
All come, assembling here in order due.
And here I dwell with Poesy, my mate,
With Erato and all her vernal sighs,
Great Clio with her victories elate,
Or pale Urania's deep and starry eyes.
Oh friends, whom chance or change can never harm,
Whom Death the tyrant cannot doom to die,
Within whose folding soft eternal charm
I love to lie,
And meditate upon your verse that flows,
And fertilizes wheresoe'er it goes.
BRYAN WALLER PROCTER.
A Song, tor the Lover of Curious and Rare Books.
Come, boys, fill your glasses, and fill to the brim,
Here's the essence of humor, the soul, too, of whim!
Attend and receive (and sure 'tis no vapour)
A "hap' worth of wit on a pennywortb. of paper."
Those joys which the Bibliomania affords
Are felt and acknowledged by Dukes and by Lords!
And the finest estate would be offer'd in vain
For an exemplar bound by the famed Roger Paynel
To a proverb goes madness with love hand in hand,
But our senses we yield to a double command;
The dear frenzy in both is first rous'd by fair looks,--
Here's our sweethearts, my boys! not forgetting our books!
Thus our time may we pass with rare books and rare friends,
Growing wiser and better, till life itself ends:
And may those who delight not in black-letter lore,
By some obsolete act be sent from our shore!