Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Bibliomaniac's Prayer

The Bibliomaniac's Prayer
Eugene Field (1850-1895)

Keep me, I pray, in wisdom's way
That I may truths eternal seek;
I need protecting care to-day,--
My purse is light, my flesh is weak.

So banish from my erring heart
All baleful appetites and hints
Of Satan's fascinating art,
Of first editions, and of prints.

Direct me in some godly walk
Which leads away from bookish strife,
That I with pious deed and talk
May extra-illustrate my life.

But if, O Lord, it pleaseth Thee
To keep me in temptation's way,
I humbly ask that I may be
Most notably beset to-day;

Let my temptation be a book,
Which I shall purchase, hold, and keep,
Whereon when other men shall look,
They 'll wail to know I got it cheap.

Oh, let it such a volume be
As in rare copperplates abounds,
Large paper, clean, and fair to see,
Uncut, unique, unknown to Lowndes.

Note - William Thomas Lowndes (d. 1843), famous English bibliographer.

Online text copyright © 2009, Ian Lancashire (the Department of English) and the University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: The Poems of Eugene Field, Complete Edition (Toronto: McClelland and Goodchild, 1910): 22-23. ROBA PS 1665 A2 1910.
From Eugene Field, A Little Book of Western Verse (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1896).
First publication date: 1896


Some of Eugene's Fields other poems including Wynken, Blynken and Nod

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