Monday, October 5, 2009


What wild desires, what restless torments seize
The hapless man, who feels the book-disease,
If niggard Fortune cramp his gen'rous mind,
And Prudence quench the Spark by heaven assign'd!
With wistful glance his aching eyes behold
The Princeps-copy, clad in blue and gold,
Where the tall Book-case, with partition thin,
Displays, yet guards the tempting charms within . . .
For you the Monk illum'd his pictur'd page,
For you the press defies the Spoils of age;
Faustus for you infernal tortures bore,
For you Erasmus starv'd on Adria's shore. . . .
Ev'n I, debarr'd of ease, and studious hours,
Confess, mid anxious toil, its lurking powers.
How pure the joy, when first my hands unfold
The small, rare volume, black with tarnish'd gold!
The Eyes skims restless, like the roving bee,
O'er flowers of wit, or song, or repartee,
While sweet as Springs, new-bubbling from the stone,
Glides through the breast some pleasing theme unknown.

--From Dr John Ferriar's Bibliomania