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Title: The Book Lovers' Anthology
Author: Various
Language: English
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  'Here I have but gathered a nosegay of strange floures, and
  have put nothing of mine into it but the thred to binde them.'

 MONTAIGNE (Florio's translation)






One of the most delightful of the _Last Essays of Elia_ is entitled
'Detached Thoughts on Books and Reading', a title which would serve very
well to indicate the contents of this anthology. In bringing together
into one volume the tributes and opinions of a galaxy of writers, my
object has been the glorification of books as books, a book being
regarded as a real and separate entity, and often as an end in itself.
There is a wide circle to whom this collection should appeal, in
addition to bibliomaniacs or mere collectors of first or rare editions
to whom the contents are often anathema, for the love of books is not
confined to scholars or great readers. This love is incommunicable: it
comes, but happily seldom goes, as the wind which bloweth where it
listeth; it is perfectly sincere, and knows nothing of conventions and
sham admirations.

No greater lover of books has ever lived than that Englishman who was
born at Bury St. Edmunds seven hundred and thirty years ago--Richard de
Bury, Bishop of Durham, author of _Philobiblon_, and, as Lord Campbell
said, undoubtedly the founder of the order of book-lovers in England.
Centuries passed, and then the more modern worship of books was promoted
by one of even higher station than this lord chancellor and lord high
treasurer of England--by King James, whom sycophants and cynics called
the British Solomon. The sixteenth century saw also the births of
Bacon, Burton, and Florio, the inspired translator of Montaigne, and Ben
Jonson, who all deserved well of the order. Milton, with prose and
poetry, handed down the sacred fire in the seventeenth century, and his

    soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart.

Dr. Johnson, nearly a hundred years later, filled a niche of his own,
irreverent though he was to books except for their message. The latter
half of the eighteenth century is especially memorable, for it
synchronized with the early years of Southey, Lamb, and Leigh Hunt, the
very temples of the spirit which I have sought to enshrine in these
pages, and of Hazlitt, and of two who should be dear to librarians,
Crabbe and John Foster. I should like to claim an honoured place in the
nineteenth century for Bulwer Lytton, who, although he understood 'the
merits of a spotless shirt', understood books also and appreciated them
thoroughly; and for the Brownings, especially the author of _Aurora
Leigh_. Emerson is conspicuous, not only as a book-lover, but also as a
professor of books, and as a missionary in the sense that Carlyle and
Ruskin preached the gospel of books. Many others deserve honourable
mention, but I must pass on to some of those who adorn the present day.
It would have been very pleasant to have seen Lord Morley, Mr. Frederic
Harrison, Mr. Austin Dobson, Mr. Edmund Gosse, Mr. Andrew Lang, and Mr.
Augustine Birrell appearing in this cloud of witness, but happily they
are alive to testify to the faith that is in them, and for that reason
are beyond the scope of an anthology confined to authors who are dead.

It may be pointed out that there has been an increasing tendency to
write not so much about books as about the authors of books; but to have
included literary criticism, except incidentally, would have increased
this volume to prodigious size. While I have been obliged for the same
reason to ignore, as a rule, individual volumes, an exception has been
made of the Bible, which is itself a library, and this is justified by
the fact that many pages are devoted to libraries. Scores of poems have
been prefixed to volumes or addressed in apology to possible readers,
but these, and colophons, interesting though they may be, do not fit in
with my scheme. However tempting it seemed to give versions of Catullus,
Horace, or Martial, translations from ancient classic writers have been
excluded; but room has been found for classic writers of comparatively
modern times, for it would have been ridiculous to have passed over, for
example, Montaigne, whose immortal essays have been handed down in the
splendid English dress of John Florio's design. For the rest, the
contents of this volume, in which more than 200 authors bear their
varying testimony, must speak for themselves.

The passages will be found grouped more or less according to subjects,
though the dividing lines are fine, and chronological order within the
limits of the groups has been a secondary consideration. After forewords
by Lamb, the anthology deals with books as companions, the love of and
delight in books, the immortality of books and the immortality which
they convey, the multiplicity of books and the distraction of choice;
ancient and modern books and their respective claims; books that are or
may be thought injurious; novels and romances; bookmaking of various
kinds--plagiarism, books about books, anthologies, abridgements,
dedications, presentation copies, bibliographies, translations, and
quotations; books and preachers, and books as 'the true university of
these days'; critics and criticism; rules for reading,
commonplace-books, abstracts, epitomes, and marginalia; casual and
superficial reading, talking from books, brains turned by books,
over-reading; books and life; books as an enemy to health and as
pharmaceutical preparations for mental indisposition; reading in bed, at
meal-times, and out-of-doors, and the call of the book of nature; the
horn-book and other books for children; advice on youthful reading, and
the early preferences of some notable book-lovers; love and literature,
and the conflict between matrimony and the library; women and books and
libraries; the human species of book-worms, bibliomaniacs, and pedants;
the proper handling of books; bindings, book illustrations, &c.; book
pests--worms and moths; 'finds' at second-hand bookshops and what Leigh
Hunt calls 'bookstall urbanity'; booksellers and publishers; mammon and
books; book borrowers and book borrowing; bookish similes; books for
magic; the Bible; literary geography; libraries--as studies and keys to
character, private libraries real and imaginary, public libraries--from
the provincial reference library to the British Museum, reflections in
libraries, Crabbe's masterpiece, the libraries of Oxford and Cambridge
with fitting tributes to Bodley; and, finally, a memorable tribute to
books and the priceless treasury that a library affords. The source of
the quotations is generally given; and the index of authors quoted or
referred to, together with a full list of contents, and, it is hoped,
the notes, should serve the convenience of the reader.

Many years ago Mr. Alexander Ireland gave me a copy of _The Book-Lover's
Enchiridion_, and my debt to that 'treasury of thoughts on the Solace
and Companionship of Books' is great. Mr. Ireland's object was 'to
present, in chronological order, a selection of the best thoughts of the
greatest and wisest minds on the subject of Books--their solace and
companionship--their efficacy as silent teachers and guides--and the
comfort, as of a living presence, which they afford amidst the changes
of fortune and the accidents of life.' In this volume I have taken the
subject and myself less seriously than would have been possible to Mr.
Ireland. The 'thoughts' which I have collected are more 'detached', and
they cover a wider field. I am under much obligation also to the
_Ballads of Books_, which Mr. Brander Matthews compiled nearly a quarter
of a century ago and Mr. Andrew Lang recast, and to Mr. W. Roberts's
_Book-Verse_. Mainly, however, I have relied upon my own personal
reading--'blessing,' as Lamb said, 'my stars for a taste so catholic, so
unexcluding'--and upon research, in which I have had invaluable
assistance from friends and colleagues. I am fortunately able to include
many copyright pieces, and I have to thank the following for the
necessary permission:--

Messrs. G. Bell & Sons, Ltd., for B. W. Procter's autobiographical
fragment, 'My Books'; Messrs. Chapman & Hall, for what I have taken from
a contribution to the _Fortnightly Review_ by Mark Pattison, and for the
passage from Carlyle's _Historical Sketches_; Messrs. Chatto & Windus,
for the poems by Laman Blanchard, also for the passage from R.
Jefferies' _Life of the Fields_; and Messrs. Macmillan & Co., for the
excerpt from the same author's _The Dewy Morn_; Messrs. Constable &
Co., and the executors of the late George Gissing, for the passages from
_The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft_; Mr. A. C. Fifield, for Samuel
Butler's whimsical irreverence quoted from _Quis Desiderio_; Mr. Edward
Garnett, for Richard Garnett's poem; the Houghton Mifflin Co., for
Whittier's 'The Library'; Messrs. Longmans, Green & Co., for R. L.
Stevenson's 'Picture Books in Winter' (and Messrs. Charles Scribner's
Sons in respect of copyright in America); Mr. Elkin Mathews, for Lionel
Johnson's poem; Messrs. G. Routledge & Sons, Ltd., for Longfellow's 'My
Books', and 'Bayard Taylor' (and the Houghton Mifflin Co. in respect of
copyright in America); Messrs. Smith, Elder & Co., for J. A. Symonds's
poem from _Lyrics of Life_; and Dr. A. Stoddart Walker, for permission
to quote from J. S. Blackie's _Self-Culture_.

In _Guesses at Truth_ the brothers Hare wrote: 'They who cannot weave a
uniform net, may at least produce a piece of patchwork, which may be
useful, and not without a charm of its own.' It is my modest ambition
that book-lovers shall find this volume useful and not without charm.

    R. M. LEONARD.


 ADDISON, JOSEPH (1672-1719).
   The Legacies of Genius                                           14
   The Authors' Advantage                                           60
   The evil that Men do                                             80
   A great Book is a great evil                                    119
   Chance Readings                                                 145
   A Lady's Library                                                209
   Books for a Lady's Library                                      211

 ALCOTT, AMOS BRONSON (1799-1888).
   The Fellowship of Books                                           6

 ALCUIN or EALWHINE (735-804).
   An Episcopal Library                                            311

 ARBLAY, FRANCES, MADAME D' (1752-1840).
   Royal Patronage of Books                                        253

 ARMSTRONG, JOHN (1709-79).
   Read without Prejudice                                          127

 ARNOLD, MATTHEW (1822-88).
   The Grand Mine of Diction                                       297

 ASCHAM, ROGER (1515-68).
   Books that do Hurt                                               77
   Epitomes                                                        138

   Whether 'tis lawful to read Romances                             85


 AUSTEN, JANE (1775-1817).
   Only a Novel                                                     87

   Enduring Monuments                                               46
   Old Authors to Read                                              65
   Dedications                                                      97
   'Books will speak plain'                                        113
   Studies                                                         124
   Commonplace Books                                               141
   Over-reading                                                    157
   A great Necromancer                                             287
   The Shrines of the Ancient Saints                               325

 BAILEY, PHILIP JAMES (1816-1902).
   'Worthy Books'                                                    5

   A most Horrible Infamy                                          325

 BARCLAY, ALEXANDER (1475?-1552).
   Envoy to Fools                                                  218

 BARNES, WILLIAM (1801-86).
   Learning                                                        173

 BARROW, ISAAC (1630-77).
   He that loveth a Book will never want                             3

 BARTON, BERNARD (1784-1849).
   Composed in the Rev. J. Mitford's Library                       324

 BAXTER, RICHARD (1615-91).
   Romances are Pernicious                                          84
   Books preferred to Preachers                                    108

 BAYLY, THOMAS HAYNES (1797-1839).
   A Novel of High Life                                             88


 BEECHER, HENRY WARD (1813-1887).
   The Bodleian: a Dead Sea of Books                               364

 BERESFORD, JAMES (1764-1840).
   Bibliosophia                                                    225
   Eye-worship                                                     242

   Overrating the Value of Books                                   162

   The Double Lesson                                               192
   The Art of Book-keeping                                         280

 BLOUNT, CHARLES (1654-93).
   The Imprimatur                                                  119

 BOSWELL, JAMES (1740-95). _See also_ JOHNSON.
   Shakespeare in Heaven                                            48
   Reading according to Inclination                                128
   Johnson's Cursory Reading                                       148
   Talking from Books                                              153
   The Dog and the Bone                                            170
   Books you may hold in your hand                                 247

 BRANT, SEBASTIAN (1458-1521).
   The Chief Fool                                                  216

 BROWNE, SIR THOMAS (1605-82).
   Superfluous Books                                                58

 BROWNE, SIR WILLIAM (1692-1774).
   Oxford and Cambridge: an Epigram                                113

   'Books are men of higher stature'                                39
   Reading as Intellectual Indolence                               159
   The Poets                                                       205
   The World of Books                                              206
   A Forced Sale                                                   259
   The Library in the Garret                                       318

 BROWNING, ROBERT (1812-89).
   Sibrandus Schafnaburgensis                                      236
   The Find                                                        257

   The greatest Clerks be not always the wisest Men                149



 BUNYAN, JOHN (1628-88).
   The Scriptures: what are they?                                  292


 BURNS, ROBERT (1759-96).
   The Bookworms                                                   249
   The big Ha'-Bible                                               298

 BURTON, JOHN HILL (1809-81).
   A Sense of Humour                                                18
   A Course of Reading                                             134
   Definitions                                                     235

 BURTON, ROBERT (1577-1640).
   An extraordinary Delight to study                                26
   'Though they write _contemptu gloriae_'                          51
   Every Man his Due                                                89
   Read the Scriptures                                             290
   To be chained with good Authors                                 356

   The Desirable Tabernacle                                         13
   Books as Memorials                                               43
   Woman and Books                                                 203
   Of Handling Books                                               239
   Deductions from Scripture                                       240
   Mammon and Books                                                273

 BUTLER, JOSEPH (1692-1752).
   The Habit of Casual Reading                                     147

 BUTLER, SAMUEL (1612-80).
   Superficial Readers                                             151

 BUTLER, SAMUEL (1835-1902).
   Books in a New Light                                            330

   A Lasting Link of Ages                                           52
   ''Tis pleasant, sure'                                            95
   Love and the Library                                            198
   To Mr. Murray                                                   268

   Of Reading                                                      135

 CAMPION, THOMAS (1567?-1620).
   The Writer to his Book                                          261

 CARLYLE, THOMAS (1795-1881).
   The Miraculous Art of Writing                                    42
   The Virtue of a True Book                                        52
   The Real Working Effective Church                               109
   The True University of These Days                               112
   A Very Priceless Thing                                          295

   'There is no Book so bad'                                       117
   The Burning of Don Quixote's Books                              155


   Books the True Levellers                                         19
   The Diffusion of Books and its Effect upon Culture               60
   Folly generated by Books                                        156

 CHAUCER, GEOFFREY (1340 ?-1400).
   To Drive the Night Away                                         169
   Farewell to Books in Springtime                                 172
   The Oxford Scholar and his Books                                216


 CHURCHYARD, THOMAS (1520 ?-1604).
   Books is Nurse to Truth                                          33

 COBBETT, WILLIAM (1762-1835).
   The Danger of Poets and Romances                                 86
   A Birth of Intellect                                            184

 COLERIDGE, HARTLEY (1796-1849).
   Suitable Bindings                                               246

   Books as Fruitful Trees                                         129
   Reading to kill Time                                            153
   The Pilgrim's Progress                                          293

 COLLIER, JEREMY (1650-1726).
   Of the Entertainment of Books                                    34

 COLTON, CHARLES CALEB (1780 ?-1832).
   'We should choose our Books'                                      6
   'There are many Books written'                                  120
   Readers and Writers                                             123
   Title-readers                                                   154
   Books and Men                                                   159

 COOK, ELIZA (1818-89).
   Old Story Books                                                 177


 COWLEY, ABRAHAM (1618-67).
   'May I a small house'                                            12
   Material for Poesy                                              295
   Pindaric Ode                                                    360

 COWPER, WILLIAM (1731-1800).
   Books bad and good                                               81
   Swallowing the Husks                                            158
   'Twere well with most, if Books'                                208
   An Ode to Mr. John Rouse (translated from Milton)               357

 CRABBE, GEORGE (1754-1832).
   The Prouder Pleasures of the Mind                                26
   The Old Bachelor's Books                                         21
   The Peasant's Library                                           317
   The Library                                                     337

 CRASHAW, RICHARD (1613 ?-49).
   Upon the Book of St. Teresa                                     106
   On a Prayer-Book sent to Mrs. M. R.                             200
   On George Herbert's _The Temple_, sent to a Gentlewoman         201


 DANIEL, SAMUEL (1562-1619).
   Immortality in Books                                             46
   O Blessed Letters                                                51
   To the Countess of Bedford                                      195

 DANTE ALIGHIERI (1265-1321).
   Love's Purveyor                                                 192

   Hidden Treasure                                                  92

 DAVIES, SIR JOHN (1569-1626).
   What profits it                                                 163

 DAVY, SIR HUMPHRY (1778-1829).
   Permanence for Thought                                           41

 DAWSON, GEORGE (1821-76).
   The Consulting-room of a Wise Man                               309
   The Reference Library                                           327

 DENHAM, SIR JOHN (1615-69).
   For wisdom, piety, delight, or use                               33

 DE QUINCEY, THOMAS (1785-1859).
   Instruction or Amusement                                         36
   The Distraction of Choice                                        61

   An Unworthy Professor                                           227
   A Bibliomaniac                                                  228
   Book Illustrations and Nightmare                                247

 DICKENS, CHARLES (1812-70).
   Early Reading                                                   188
   What a Heart-breaking Shop                                      272

 DIGBY, SIR KENELM (1603-65).
   Reading in Bed                                                  169

   'Choose an author as you choose a friend'                         7

   'Lady Constance guanoed her mind'                                88
   Biography preferred to History                                   99
   'The author who speaks about his own Books'                     154

 D'ISRAELI, ISAAC (1766-1848).
   Golden volumes! richest treasures                               226
   A Malady of weak Minds                                          227
   Accidents to Books                                              275

 DODD, WILLIAM (1729-77).
   In Prison                                                        15

 DONNE, JOHN (1573-1631).
   Valediction to his Book                                         190
   The Library and the Grave                                       305

   The Cure for Bookworms                                          253

 DRAYTON, MICHAEL (1563-1631).
   Immortality in Song                                              56
   Translations from the Classics                                  100

 DRUMMOND, WILLIAM (1585-1649).
   The Strange Quality of Books                                     47
   The Book of Nature                                              283
   Of Libraries: The Bodleian                                      355

 DRYDEN, JOHN (1631-1700).
   A Learned Plagiary                                               91
   Under Mr. Milton's Picture                                      106


 DYER, GEORGE (1755-1841).
   'Libraries are the wardrobes of literature'                     306


   'His Invention is no more'                                       94
   A Critic                                                        114
   A Pretender to Learning                                         150
   An Antiquary                                                    219

 'ELIOT, GEORGE' (1819-80).
   The Vocation                                                    260
   'Wise books, For half the truths they hold'                     287
   Of _The Imitation of Christ_                                    299

   A Company of the Wisest and the Wittiest                          6
   The Theory of Books                                              21
   The Book the Highest Delight                                     28
   The pleasure derived from Books                                  29
   Our Debt to a Book                                               29
   A Sort of Third Estate                                           74
   On Reading Translations                                          99
   Merit in Quotation                                              103
   The Need of a Guide to Books                                    111
   The Final Verdict upon Books                                    116
   'Talent alone cannot make a writer'                             116
   Reading between Lines                                           122
   Rules for Reading                                               132
   A Diet of Books                                                 133

 ERASMUS, DESIDERIUS (1466 ?-1536).
   The Royal Road                                                  123

   The English of the Bible                                        297
   A College Library                                               365

 FERRIAR, JOHN (1761-1815).
   The Bibliomania                                                 220

 FIELDING, HENRY (1707-54).
   The filial piety of Books                                       118

 FLETCHER, JOHN (1579-1625).
   The Library a Glorious Court                                    305

 FLETCHER, PHINEAS (1582-1650).
   Upon my Brother's Book                                          106

 FOSTER, JOHN (1770-1843).
   The Influence of Books                                           38
   Reflections in a Library                                        332

 FULLER, THOMAS (1608-61).
   The Multiplicity of Books                                        57
   Printers gain by bad Books                                       79
   'A commonplace Book contains many notions'                      142

 GARNETT, RICHARD (1835-1906).
   Our master, Meleager                                             95

   Books for the Salon                                             304

 GAY, JOHN (1685-1732).
   The Elephant and the Bookseller                                 264
   On a Miscellany of Poems                                        265

 GIBBON, EDWARD (1737-94).
   Abstracts of Books                                              138
   Early Reading                                                   183
   Women's Want                                                    210

   The True Poem on the Library                                    335

 GISSING, GEORGE (1857-1903).
   The Mood for Books                                               40
   The Scent of Books                                              310

 GLANVILL, JOSEPH (1636-80).
   'That silly vanity of impertinent citations'                    102
   The Mote and the Beam                                           118

 GODWIN, WILLIAM (1756-1836).
   The Depositary of everything honourable                          15
   Bad Books and debauched Minds                                    83

   Sweet Unreproaching Companions                                    4
   The Reading of New Books                                         67
   Literary Hypocrisy                                              115
   'I love everything that is old'                                 269

 GREENE, ROBERT (1558-92).
   Books for Magic                                                 288

 HALE, SIR MATTHEW (1609-76).
   No Book like the Bible                                          293

 HALES, JOHN (1584-1656).
   The Method of reading profane History                           136

 HALL, JOHN (1627-56).
   Men in their Nightgowns                                          98
   When to Read                                                    164

   How to spend our Days                                           125
   Reading and Meal Times                                          170
   On the Sight of a Great Library                                 331

   Underscoring                                                    140

 HARE, AUGUSTUS WILLIAM (1792-1834), and JULIUS CHARLES HARE (1795-1855).
   In the Seat of the Scorner                                      115
   Books of One Thought                                            121
   Purple Patches                                                  122
   Books that provoke Thought                                      131
   Desultory Reading                                               148
   Brains squashed by Books                                        156

 HARINGTON, SIR JOHN (1561-1612).
   Against writers that carp                                       114

 HAZLITT, WILLIAM (1778-1830).
   The only Things that last for ever                               49
   On Reading Old Books                                             69
   On Reading New Books                                             71
   The best Books the commonest                                    182
   The visionary Gleam                                             189
   The enviable Bookworm                                           228
   Ears nailed to Books                                            229

 HELPS, SIR ARTHUR (1813-75).
   Biography                                                        99
   Thoughts in a Library                                           334

   To a Family Bible                                               294

 HERBERT, GEORGE (1593-1633).
   The Parson's Accessory Knowledge                                140

 HERRICK, ROBERT (1591-1674).
   To His Book                                                      45
     'Thou art a plant.'
     'Make haste away.'
     'If hap it must.'
     'The bound, almost.'
     'Go thou forth.'
   His Prayer for Absolution                                        77
   Virginibus Puerisque                                             84
   Lines have their linings, and Books their buckram               242

   A Taste to be Prayed For                                         27
   Novels as Engines of Civilization                                87

 HOBBES, THOMAS (1588-1679).
   'If I had read as much as other men'                            158

   Old and New Books                                                74
   Presentation Copies                                              98
   'The foolishest Book'                                           118
   The Literary Harem                                              233
   Purchasing an Act of Piety                                      258
   The Study                                                       307
   The Library as a Key to Character                               309
   'Every library should try to be complete'                       318

 HOOD, THOMAS (1799-1845).
   Rich Fare                                                        29

 HOWELL, JAMES (1594?-1666).
   The Choice of Books                                             125
   Marriage and Books                                              198
   The Value of Book Borrowing                                     275

   On Parting with my Books                                          9
   Love that is large                                               16
   Authors as Lovers of Books                                       20
   The Authors' Metamorphosis                                       50
   A Library of One                                                 62
   A Literatura Hilaris                                            167
   Early Reading                                                   187
   Kissing a Folio                                                 233
   Delight in Book-Prints                                          248
   The Second-hand Catalogue                                       256
   Borrowing and Lending                                           278
   Wedded to Books                                                 278
   The Book of Books                                               294
   Literary Geography                                              300
     Scotland                                                      300
     England                                                       301
     Ireland                                                       302
   The Library as Study                                            305
   Charles Lamb's Library                                          323

 IRVING, WASHINGTON (1783-1859).
   True Friends that Cheer                                           9

 JAGO, RICHARD (1715-81).
   To a Lady furnishing her Library                                212

   When Translations are to be preferred                           101
   In the British Museum Library                                   328

   'A blessed companion is a Book'                                  12

 JOHNSON, LIONEL (1869-1902).
   Oxford Nights                                                   366

 JOHNSON, SAMUEL (1709-84). _See also_ BOSWELL.
   Why Books are Read                                               37
   An ignorant Age hath many Books                                  60
   The Moons of Literature                                          67
   Books of Morality                                               108
   The Secret Influence of Books                                   109
   Dead Counsellors are safest                                     109
   Reading According to Inclination                                128
   Marginal Notes and Commonplace Books                            143
   Getting a Boy forward                                           181
   At Large in the Library                                         181
   Early Reading                                                   183

 JONSON, BEN (1573 ?-1637).
   To Sir Henry Goodyer                                             10
   To my Book                                                       76
   Book-makers and Plagiarists                                      91
   To George Chapman                                               101
   What Shakespeare hath left us                                   103
   On the Portrait of Shakespeare                                  105
   The first Authors for Youth                                     180
   To my Bookseller                                                261

 KEATS, JOHN (1795-1821).
   On First Looking into Chapman's Homer                           100

 KING, WILLIAM (1663-1712).
   A Moth                                                          252
   A Modern Library                                                311

   Useful and Mighty Things                                         25
   Liberty and Bad Books                                            83

 LAMB, CHARLES (1775-1834).
   Grace before Books                                                1
   A Catholic Taste in Books                                        17
   A Whimsical Surprise                                             84
   Books with One Idea in Them                                     121
   When and Where to Read                                          130
   Proof of good Matter                                            170
   Out-of-doors Reading                                            171
   Discrimination in Bindings                                      244
   The Treasure                                                    254
   The Readers at the Bookstall                                    255
   To the Editor of _The Everyday Book_                            269
   The Poor Student                                                274
   Borrowers of Books                                              276
   The Bodleians of Oxford                                         364

   To Wordsworth                                                    21
   'Well I remember how you smiled'                                 57
   The Dead alone Canonized                                         66
   The Classics                                                     67
   To Leigh Hunt                                                    95
   Small Authors Dangerous                                         131
   Old-Fashioned Verse                                             186
   Sent with Poems                                                 202
   Safe and untouched                                              312

 LAW, WILLIAM (1686-1761).
   Classicus                                                        66
   Poetry and Piety                                                209

 LEIGHTON, ROBERT (1822-69).
   The Libraries of Heaven                                          49

   In Paternoster Row                                              263

 LOCKE, JOHN (1632-1704).
   Chewing the Cud                                                 126
   A new Method of a Commonplace Book                              141

   The Bible and Burns                                             298

   My Books                                                         10
   'The sweet serenity'                                             20
   Bayard Taylor                                                   234
   The Wind over the Chimney                                       286

   Remunerative Reading                                             39

   Security in Old Books                                            75
   Literature for Desolate Islands                                 303

 LYLY, JOHN (1554 ?-1606).
   Fashion in Books                                                 43
   'Far more seemly were it'                                       304

   The Souls of Books                                               22
   The Classics always Modern                                       68
   The Bee and the Butterfly                                       143
   The Pharmacy of Books                                           165
   The Library an Heraclea                                         329

 M., J. (fl. 1627).
   On the Library at Cambridge                                     368

   Action and Reaction                                              53
   The Value of Modern Books                                        73
   Original Editions                                                96
   The Critics' Influence on the Public                            117
   Classical Education for Women                                   207
   'I would rather be a poor man'                                  232

 MACCREERY, JOHN (1768-1832).
   Bookbindings                                                    243

 MAGINN, WILLIAM (1793-1842).
   The Booksellers' Banquet                                        271

 MALLET, DAVID (1705 ?-65).
   The Reading Coxcomb                                             152

   The Ultimate Test of Books                                       53
   The Message of Books                                            161

 MILTON, JOHN (1608-74).
   Books are not dead things                                        47
   'To the pure all things are pure'                                83
   Plagiarie                                                        90
   Shakespeare's livelong Monument                                 105
   'Deep-versed in Books and shallow in himself'                   157
   Tetrachordon                                                    256
   An Ode to Mr. John Rouse (translated by Cowper)                 357

   That invention of the enemy--an Abridgement                      96

   A cheap and lasting Pleasure                                    204

   John Florio's Translation--
     The Commodity Reaped of Books                                  32
     Coats for Mackerel                                             44
     Transplantation                                                90
     Inductive Criticism                                           122
     'There's more ado to interpret interpretation'                122
     Bescribbling with Notes                                       139
     Skipping Wit                                                  144
     Books an Enemy to Health                                      163
     Early Reading                                                 182
     Letter-Ferrets                                                218
     The Author's Library                                          319

 MOORE, THOMAS (1779-1852).
   'My only Books'                                                 196
   A Counter Attraction                                            199

 MORE, HANNAH (1745-1833).
   A Daughter's Favourite Novels                                    86
   Literary Cookery                                                 92

 MORE, SIR THOMAS (1478-1535).
   Of a New-married Student                                        198

 NORRIS, JOHN (1657-1711).
   'Reading without thinking'                                      142

   To my Books                                                       8

 NORTON, JOHN BRUCE (1815-83).
   Merton Library                                                  365

 OLDHAM, JOHN (1653-83).
   To Cosmelia                                                     199


 OVERBURY, SIR THOMAS (1581-1613).
   Man's Prerogative                                                13

 PARNELL, THOMAS (1679-1718).
   The Bookworm                                                    250

 PARROT, HENRY (fl. 1600-26).
   Ad Bibliopolam                                                  262

 PATTISON, MARK (1813-84).
   The Manufactory of Books                                         92

 PAYN, JAMES (1830-98).
   The Blessed Chloroform of the Mind                              168

 PEACHAM, HENRY (1576 ?-1643 ?).
   A Bookish Ambition                                              149
   Care as to Bindings                                             241

 PEACOCK, THOMAS LOVE (1785-1866).
   The Outside of a Book                                           247

   Why Books were Invented                                          37

   The Delightful Society of Books                                   1

 POPE, ALEXANDER (1688-1744).
   Style v. Sense                                                  114
   Where Fools Rush In                                             115
   Homer and Virgil                                                127
   Lintott's New Miscellany                                        267
   Cibber's Library                                                313

   To Helen: written in Keble's _Christian Year_                   201

 PRIDEAUX, PETER (1578-1650).
   On the Death of Sir Thomas Bodley                               356

   A Student                                                       238

   My Books                                                          8

 QUARLES, FRANCIS (1572-1644).
   On Buying the Bible                                             291

 RABELAIS, FRANÇOIS (1483-1553).
   By Divine Inspiration                                            41
   Writing at Meal Times                                           171

 RICHARDSON, SAMUEL (1689-1761).
   Advice to Mothers                                               181

   Books instead of Stimulants                                     165


   To my Books on Parting with Them                                  9


 RUSKIN, JOHN (1819-1900).
   Books of the Hour and of all Time                                54
   Taste in Literature and Art                                     117
   Reading and Illiteracy                                          159
   Girls' Reading                                                  208
   The Most Valuable Book                                          254
   National Expenditure on Books                                   274
   Libraries for Every City                                        326


 SAXE, JOHN GODFREY (1816-87).
   The Library                                                     354

 SCOTT, SIR WALTER (1771-1832).
   Appetite and Satiety                                            147
   The Ghost of Betty Barnes                                       203
   The Antiquary's Treasures                                       231
   The Bannatyne Club                                              270
   Dominie Sampson in the Library                                  315

 SELDEN, JOHN (1584-1654).
   'It is good to have translations'                               100
   Quotation                                                       102
   Censorship                                                      119

   'Who will believe my verse'                                      55
   'Study is like the heaven's glorious sun'                       159
   'How well he's read'                                            162
   Books and Eyesight                                              164
   Reading for Love's Sake                                         189
   The Book of the Brain                                           191
   Books as Spokesmen                                              194
   Women's eyes                                                    196
   'Marriage! my years are young'                                  198
   'The state, whereon I studied'                                  215
   Dainties that are Bred of a Book                                219
   'Is not the leaf turned down'                                   240
   Gold Clasps and a Golden Story                                  242
   Nobler than Contents                                            242
   'Hark you, sir; I'll have them very fairly bound'               243
   'In Nature's infinite Book'                                     283
   The Secret of Strength                                          288
   Red Letters and Conjuring                                       289
   'Come, and take choice'                                         306
   'Of his gentleness, Knowing I loved my Books'                   310
   'Me, poor man,--my library'                                     316

   The Sufficiency of Homer                                        127



   'Steal! to be sure they will'                                    91
   Lydia Languish and the Circulating Library                      213
   A neat Rivulet of Text                                          249

 SHERIDAN, THOMAS (1687-1738).
   Our Best Acquaintance                                            11

 SHIRLEY, JAMES (1596-1666).
   Sweet and Happy Hours                                            26
   A Book of Flesh and Blood                                       196

 SKELTON, JOHN (1460 ?-1529).
   An Edition de luxe                                              241

 SMITH, ALEXANDER (1830-67).
   The True Elysian Fields                                          11
   Power and Gladness                                               32

 SMITH, SYDNEY (1771-1845).
   A Short Cut to Fame                                             154
   'No furniture so charming as Books'                             264

 SOUTH, ROBERT (1634-1716).
   'He who has published an injurious Book'                         80
   A little Book the most excellent                                120
   'Much reading is like much eating'                              158

 SOUTHEY, ROBERT (1774-1843).
   My days among the Dead are passed                                 4
   A Heavenly Delight                                                5
   The Best of all Possible Company                                  5
   More than Meat, Drink, and Clothing                              28
   A Library of Twelve                                              62
   Reading several Books at a time                                 130
   Homo Unius Libri                                                292
   A Colloquy in a Library                                         320

 SPENSER, EDMUND (1552 ?-99).
   One day I wrote her name                                         56
   To his Book: of his Lady                                        195

   A Consolation for the Deaf                                        4
   Books and the World                                             180
   The last Editions the best                                      235
   'Tis folly to be wise                                           246
   Genteel Ornaments                                               273

 STEELE, SIR RICHARD (1672-1729).
   Exercise for the Mind                                            37

 STEPHEN, SIR JAMES (1789-1859).
   Poets as Commentators                                           136

 STERNE, LAURENCE (1713-1768).
   The Company of Mutes                                              3
   Mr. Shandy's Library                                            314

   Picture-Books in Winter                                         174


 SWIFT, JONATHAN (1667-1745).
   The Battle of the Books                                          63
   Recipe for an Anthology                                          94
   Cupid and the Book of Poems                                     194
   A Standard for Language                                         296
   'I have sometimes heard'                                        303

 SYLVESTER, JOSUAH (1563-1618).
   Surcloying the Stomach                                          156

   [Greek: hupothêkê eis emauton]('Back to thy books!')            197

 TAYLOR, JOHN (1580-1653).
   Books and Thieves                                                77
   To the Good or Bad Reader                                       150
   Fast and Loose                                                  289
   On _Coryat's Crudities_                                         302

   The Multiplication of Originals                                  59
   Ancient and Modern Books                                         63
   Books as Signposts                                              110

   Poets and their Bibliographies                                   98
   Merlin's Book                                                   289

   Novels are Sweets                                                89
   'There are no race of people who talk about Books'              153
   A Kindly Tie                                                    187

 THOMSON, JAMES (1700-48).
   The Mighty Dead                                                 161

 THOMSON, RICHARD (1794-1865).
   The Book of Life                                                284

 TICKLE, THOMAS (1686-1740).
   The Hornbook                                                    175

 TOOKE, JOHN HORNE (1736-1812).
   Read Few Books well                                             129

 TRAPP, JOSEPH (1679-1747).
   Oxford and Cambridge: an Epigram                                113

   Books and Life                                                  160

   Books and Friends                                                12

   On Certain Books                                                 82

 VAUGHAN, HENRY (1622-95).
   To his Books                                                     13
   The Book                                                        284
   To the Holy Bible                                               290
   On Sir Thomas Bodley's Library                                  362

 VERE, SIR AUBREY DE (1788-1846).
   Sacred and Profane Writers                                      296


   Multiplication is Vexation                                       59
   The Seat of Authority                                           107

 WALLER, SIR WILLIAM (1597 ?-1668).
   The Contentment I have in my Books                                2
   Riding Post                                                     146
   Full Libraries and Empty Heads                                  149

   Lounging Books                                                  169
   Literary Upholsterers                                           264

   A Preference for Great Models                                    72

 WATTS, ISAAC (1674-1748).
   Books to be Marked                                              139

 WESLEY, JOHN (1703-91).
   'I read only the Bible'                                         291
   A Man of one Book                                               292

   The Soul's Viaticum                                             368

   A Magnate in the Realm of Books                                   7
   The Library                                                     326

   'Books bear him up awhile'                                       39

 WILSON, JOHN (d. 1889).
   O for a Booke                                                   171

 WITHER, GEORGE (1588-1667).
   Mountebank Authors                                               78
   'Good God! how many dungboats'                                   94
   In bondage to the Bookseller                                    262

   Books a substantial World                                        21
   The Tables Turned                                               172
   Early Reading                                                   184

 YOUNG, EDWARD (1683-1765).
   How Volumes Swell                                                93
   An ignorant Book-collector                                      219

 NOTES                                                             369




I own that I am disposed to say grace upon twenty other occasions in the
course of the day besides my dinner. I want a form for setting out upon
a pleasant walk, for a moonlight ramble, for a friendly meeting, or a
solved problem. Why have we none for books, those spiritual repasts--a
grace before Milton--a grace before Shakespeare--a devotional exercise
proper to be said before reading the _Fairy Queen_?--but, the received
ritual having prescribed these forms to the solitary ceremony of
manducation, I shall confine my observations to the experience which I
have had of the grace, properly so called; commending my new scheme for
extension to a niche in the grand philosophical, poetical, and perchance
in part heretical liturgy, now compiling by my friend Homo Humanus, for
the use of a certain snug congregation of Utopian Rabelaesian
Christians, no matter where assembled.--C. LAMB. _Grace before Meat._


These friends of mine regard the pleasures of the world as the supreme
good; they do not comprehend that it is possible to renounce these
pleasures. They are ignorant of my resources. I have friends whose
society is delightful to me; they are persons of all countries and of
all ages; distinguished in war, in council, and in letters; easy to live
with, always at my command. They come at my call, and return when I
desire them: they are never out of humour, and they answer all my
questions with readiness. Some present in review before me the events of
past ages; others reveal to me the secrets of Nature: these teach me
how to live, and those how to die: these dispel my melancholy by their
mirth, and amuse me by their sallies of wit: and some there are who
prepare my soul to suffer everything, to desire nothing, and to become
thoroughly acquainted with itself. In a word, they open a door to all
the arts and sciences. As a reward for such great services, they require
only a corner of my little house, where they may be safely sheltered
from the depredations of their enemies. In fine, I carry them with me
into the fields, the silence of which suits them better than the
business and tumults of cities.--PETRARCH. _Life_ by S. Dodson.


Here is the best solitary company in the world: and in this particular
chiefly excelling any other, that in my study I am sure to converse with
none but wise men; but abroad it is impossible for me to avoid the
society of fools. What an advantage have I by this good fellowship that,
besides the help which I receive from hence, in reference to my life
after this life, I can enjoy the life of so many ages before I
lived!--that I can be acquainted with the passages of three or four
thousand years ago, as if they were the weekly occurrences! Here,
without travelling so far as Endor, I can call up the ablest spirits of
those times; the learnedest philosophers, the wisest counsellors, the
greatest generals, and make them serviceable to me. I can make bold with
the best jewels they have in their treasury, with the same freedom that
the Israelites borrowed of the Egyptians, and, without suspicion of
felony, make use of them as mine own. I can here, without trespassing,
go into their vineyards, and not only eat my fill of their grapes for my
pleasure, but put up as much as I will in my vessel, and store it up for
my profit and advantage.

How doth this prospect at once set off the goodness of God to me, and
discover mine own weakness? His goodness in providing these helps for
the improvement of mine understanding; and my weakness in needing them.
What a pitiful, simple creature am I, that cannot live to any purpose,
without the help of so many other men's brains! Lord, let this be the
first lesson that I learn from these silent counsellors, to know my own
ignorance: other knowledge puffeth up, this edifieth.--SIR W. WALLER.
_Divine Meditations._


The calling of a scholar ... fitteth a man for all conditions and
fortunes; so that he can enjoy prosperity with moderation, and sustain
adversity with comfort: he that loveth a book will never want a faithful
friend, a wholesome counsellor, a cheerful companion, an effectual
comforter.... The reading of books, what is it but conversing with the
wisest men of all ages and all countries, who thereby communicate to us
their most deliberate thoughts, choicest notions, and best inventions,
couched in good expression, and digested in exact method? The perusal of
history, how pleasant illumination of mind, how useful direction of
life, how spritely incentives to virtue doth it afford! How doth it
supply the room of experience, and furnish us with prudence at the
expense of others, informing us about the ways of action, and the
consequences thereof by examples, without our own danger or trouble!--I.
BARROW. _Of Industry in our Particular Calling as Scholars._


I often derive a peculiar satisfaction in conversing with the ancient
and modern dead,--who yet live and speak excellently in their works.--My
neighbours think me _often alone_,--and yet at such times I am in
company with more than five hundred mutes--each of whom, at my pleasure,
communicates his ideas to me by dumb signs--quite as intelligibly as any
person living can do by uttering of words.--They always keep the
distance from me which I direct,--and, with a motion of my hand, I can
bring them as near to me as I please.--I lay hands on fifty of them
sometimes in an evening, and handle them as I like;--they never complain
of ill-usage,--and, when dismissed from my presence--though ever so
abruptly--take no offence. Such convenience is not to be enjoyed--nor
such liberty to be taken--with the living.--L. STERNE. _Letters._


I read with more pleasure than ever; perhaps, because it is the only
pleasure I have left. For, since I am struck out of living company by my
deafness, I have recourse to the dead, whom alone I can hear; and I have
assigned them their stated hours of audience. Solid _folios_ are the
people of business, with whom I converse in the morning. _Quartos_ are
the easier mixed company, with whom I sit after dinner; and I pass my
evenings in the light, and often frivolous, _chit-chat_ of small
_octavos_ and _duodecimos_.--LORD CHESTERFIELD.


I armed her [Olivia] against the censure of the world, showed her that
books were sweet unreproaching companions to the miserable, and that if
they could not bring us to enjoy life, they would at least teach us to
endure it.--O. GOLDSMITH. _The Vicar of Wakefield._


    My days among the Dead are passed;
      Around me I behold,
    Where'er these casual eyes are cast,
      The mighty minds of old;
    My never-failing friends are they,
    With whom I converse day by day.

    With them I take delight in weal,
      And seek relief in woe;
    And while I understand and feel
      How much to them I owe,
    My cheeks have often been bedewed
    With tears of thoughtful gratitude.

    My thoughts are with the Dead; with them
      I live in long-past years,
    Their virtues love, their faults condemn,
      Partake their hopes and fears,
    And from their lessons seek and find
    Instruction with an humble mind.

    My hopes are with the Dead; anon
      My place with them will be.
    And I with them shall travel on
      Through all Futurity;
    Yet leaving here a name, I trust,
    That will not perish in the dust.

                                     R. SOUTHEY.


Talk of the happiness of getting a great prize in the lottery! What is
that to the opening a box of books! The joy upon lifting up the cover
must be something like what we shall feel when Peter the Porter opens
the door upstairs, and says, Please to walk in, sir. That I shall never
be paid for my labour according to the current value of time and labour,
is tolerably certain; but if any one should offer me £10,000 to forgo
that labour, I should bid him and his money go to the devil, for twice
the sum could not purchase me half the enjoyment. It will be a great
delight to me in the next world, to take a fly and visit these old
worthies, who are my only society here, and to tell them what excellent
company I found them here at the lakes of Cumberland, two centuries
after they had been dead and turned to dust. In plain truth, I exist
more among the dead than the living, and think more about them, and,
perhaps, feel more about them.--R. SOUTHEY (Letter to S. T. Coleridge).


Coleridge is gone to Devonshire, and I was going to say I am alone, but
that the sight of Shakespeare, and Spenser, and Milton, and the Bible,
on my table, and Castanheda, and Barros, and Osorio at my elbow, tell me
I am in the best of all possible company.--R. SOUTHEY (Letter to G. C.

                              Worthy books
    Are not companions--they are solitudes;
    We lose ourselves in them and all our cares.

                                P. J. BAILEY. _Festus._


What were days without such fellowship? We were alone in the world
without it. Nor does our faith falter though the secret we search for
and do not find in them will not commit itself to literature, still we
take up the new issue with the old expectation, and again and again, as
we try our friends after many failures at conversation, believing this
visit will be the favoured hour and all will be told us....

One must be rich in thought and character to owe nothing to books,
though preparation is necessary to profitable reading; and the less
reading is better than more;--book-struck men are of all readers least
wise, however knowing or learned.--A. B. ALCOTT. _Tablets._


There are books which are of that importance in a man's private
experience, as to verify for him the fables of Cornelius Agrippa, of
Michael Scott, or of the old Orpheus of Thrace,--books which take rank
in our life with parents and lovers and passionate experiences, so
medicinal, so stringent, so revolutionary, so authoritative,--books
which are the work and the proof of faculties so comprehensive, so
nearly equal to the world which they paint, that, though one shuts them
with meaner ones, he feels his exclusion from them to accuse his way of

Consider what you have in the smallest chosen library. A company of the
wisest and wittiest men that could be picked out of all civil countries,
in a thousand years, have set in best order the results of their
learning and wisdom. The men themselves were hid and inaccessible,
solitary, impatient of interruption, fenced by etiquette; but the
thought which they did not uncover to their bosom friend is here written
out in transparent words to us, the strangers of another age.--R. W.
EMERSON. _Books._

We should choose our books as we would our companions, for their
sterling and intrinsic merit.--C. C. COLTON. _Lacon._


      One, with his beard scarce silvered, bore
        A ready credence in his looks,
      A lettered magnate, lording o'er
        An ever-widening realm of books.
      In him brain-currents, near and far,
      Converged as in a Leyden jar;
    The old, dead authors thronged him round about,
    And Elzevir's grey ghosts from leathern graves looked out.

      He knew each living pundit well,
        Could weigh the gifts of him or her,
      And well the market value tell
        Of poet and philosopher.
      But if he lost, the scenes behind,
      Somewhat of reverence vague and blind,
    Finding the actors human at the best,
    No readier lips than his the good he saw confessed.

      His boyhood fancies not outgrown,
        He loved himself the singer's art;
      Tenderly, gently, by his own
        He knew and judged an author's heart.
      No Rhadamanthine brow of doom
      Bowed the dazed pedant from his room;
    And bards, whose name is legion, if denied,
    Bore off alike intact their verses and their pride.

      Pleasant it was to roam about
        The lettered world as he had done,
      And see the lords of song without
        Their singing robes and garlands on.
      With Wordsworth paddle Rydal mere,
      Taste rugged Elliott's home-brewed beer,
    And with the ears of Rogers, at fourscore,
    Hear Garrick's buskined tread and Walpole's wit once more.

               J. G. WHITTIER. _The Tent on the Beach._

    CHOOSE an author as you choose a friend.--W. DILLON,
           EARL OF ROSCOMMON. _Essay on Translated Verse._


    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 and 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 whereso'er it goes....

           B. W. PROCTER. _An Autobiographical Fragment._


    Silent companions of the lonely hour,
      Friends who can never alter or forsake,
    Who for inconstant roving have no power,
      And all neglect, perforce, must calmly take,--
    Let me return to _you_, this turmoil ending,
      Which worldly cares have in my spirit wrought,
    And, o'er your old familiar pages bending,
      Refresh my mind with many a tranquil thought;
    Till, haply meeting there, from time to time,
      Fancies, the audible echo of my own,
    'Twill be like hearing in a foreign clime
      My native language spoke in friendly tone,
    And with a sort of welcome I shall dwell
      On these, my unripe musings, told so well.

                         THE HON. CAROLINE NORTON.


    Ye dear companions of my silent hours,
    Whose pages oft before my eyes would strew
    So many sweet and variegated flowers--
    Dear Books, awhile, perhaps for ay, adieu!
    The dark cloud of misfortune o'er me lours:
    No more by winter's fire--in summer's bowers,
    My toil-worn mind shall be refreshed by you:
    We part! sad thought! and while the damp devours
    Your leaves, and the worm slowly eats them through,
    Dull Poverty and its attendant ills,
    Wasting of health, vain toil, corroding care,
    And the world's cold neglect, which surest kills,
    Must be my bitter doom; yet I shall bear
    Unmurmuring, for my good perchance these evils are.

                         J. H. LEIGH HUNT.


    As one who, destined from his friends to part,
    Regrets his loss, yet hopes again erewhile,
    To share their converse and enjoy their smile,
    And tempers as he may affliction's dart,--
    Thus, loved associates! chiefs of elder Art!
    Teachers of wisdom! who could once beguile
    My tedious hours, and lighten every toil,
    I now resign you; nor with fainting heart;
    For pass a few short years, or days, or hours,
    And happier seasons may their dawn unfold,
    And all your sacred fellowship restore;
    When, freed from earth, unlimited its powers,
    Mind shall with mind direct communion hold,
    And kindred spirits meet to part no more.--W. ROSCOE.


It is a beautiful incident in the story of Mr. Roscoe's misfortunes, and
one which cannot fail to interest the studious mind, that the parting
with his books seems to have touched upon his tenderest feelings, and to
have been the only circumstance that could provoke the notice of his
Muse. The scholar only knows how dear these silent, yet eloquent,
companions of pure thoughts and innocent hours become in the season of
adversity. When all that is worldly turns to dross around us, these only
retain their steady value. When friends grow cold, and the converse of
intimates languishes into vapid civility and commonplace, these only
continue the unaltered countenance of happier days, and cheer us with
that true friendship which never deceived hope nor deserted sorrow.--W.
IRVING. _The Sketch Book._


    Sadly as some old mediaeval knight
      Gazed at the arms he could no longer wield,
      The sword two-handed and the shining shield
      Suspended in the hall, and full in sight,
    While secret longings for the lost delight
      Of tourney or adventure in the field
      Came over him, and tears but half concealed
      Trembled and fell upon his beard of white,
    So I behold these books upon their shelf,
      My ornaments and arms of other days;
      Not wholly useless, though no longer used,
    For they remind me of my other self,
      Younger and stronger, and the pleasant ways,
      In which I walked, now clouded and confused.

                           H. W. LONGFELLOW.


    When I would know thee, Goodyer, my thought looks
    Upon thy well-made choice of friends, and books;
    Then do I love thee, and behold thy ends
    In making thy friends books, and thy books friends:
    Now must I give thy life and deed the voice
    Attending such a study, such a choice;
    Where, though it be love that to thy praise doth move,
    It was a knowledge that begat that love.

                                BEN JONSON.


    While you converse with lords and dukes,
    I have their betters here--my books;
    Fixed in an elbow chair at ease
    I choose my companions as I please.
    I'd rather have one single shelf
    Than all my friends, except yourself;
    For after all that can be said
    Our best acquaintance are the dead.

                     T. SHERIDAN.


In my garden I spend my days; in my library I spend my nights. My
interests are divided between my geraniums and my books. With the flower
I am in the present; with the book I am in the past. I go into my
library, and all history unrolls before me. I breathe morning air of the
world while the scent of Eden's roses yet lingered in it, while it
vibrated only to the world's first brood of nightingales, and to the
laugh of Eve. I see the pyramids building; I hear the shoutings of the
armies of Alexander; I feel the ground shake beneath the march of
Cambyses. I sit as in a theatre,--the stage is time, the play is the
play of the world. What a spectacle it is! What kingly pomp, what
processions file past, what cities burn to heaven, what crowds of
captives are dragged at the chariot-wheels of conquerors! I hiss or cry
'Bravo' when the great actors come on shaking the stage. I am a Roman
Emperor when I look at a Roman coin. I lift Homer, and I shout with
Achilles in the trenches. The silence of the unpeopled Syrian plains,
the out-comings and in-goings of the patriarchs, Abraham and Ishmael,
Isaac in the fields at eventide, Rebekah at the well, Jacob's guile,
Esau's face reddened by desert sun-heat, Joseph's splendid funeral
procession--all these things I find within the boards of my Old
Testament. What a silence in those old books as of a half-peopled
world--what bleating of flocks--what green pastoral rest--what
indubitable human existence! Across brawling centuries of blood and war,
I hear the bleating of Abraham's flocks, the tinkling of the bells of
Rebekah's camels. O men and women, so far separated, yet so near, so
strange, yet so well-known, by what miraculous power do I know ye all!
Books are the true Elysian fields where the spirits of the dead
converse, and into these fields a mortal may venture unappalled. What
king's court can boast such company? What school of philosophy such
wisdom? The wit of the ancient world is glancing and flashing there.
There is Pan's pipe, there are the songs of Apollo. Seated in my library
at night, and looking on the silent faces of my books, I am occasionally
visited by a strange sense of the supernatural. They are not collections
of printed pages, they are ghosts. I take one down and it speaks with me
in a tongue not now heard on earth, and of men and things of which it
alone possesses knowledge. I call myself a solitary, but sometimes I
think I misapply the term. No man sees more company than I do. I travel
with mightier cohorts around me than ever did Timour or Genghis Khan on
their fiery marches. I am a sovereign in my library, but it is the dead,
not the living, that attend my levees.--A. SMITH. _Dreamthorp._


    One drachma for a good book, and a thousand talents for a true
    So standeth the market, where scarce is ever costly:
    Yea, were the diamonds of Golconda common as shingles on the shore,
    A ripe apple would ransom kings before a shining stone:
    And so, were a wholesome book as rare as an honest friend,
    To choose the book be mine: the friend let another take.

                          M. F. TUPPER. _Proverbial Philosophy._

A blessed companion is a book,--a book that, fitly chosen, is a
life-long friend.--D. JERROLD. _Books._

    May I a small house and large garden have!
    And a few friends, and many books, both true.

                     A. COWLEY. _The Wish._


O celestial gift of divine liberality, descending from the Father of
light to raise up the rational soul even to heaven!... Undoubtedly,
indeed, thou hast placed thy desirable tabernacle in books, where the
Most High, the Light of light, the Book of Life, hath established thee.
Here then all who ask receive, all who seek find thee, to those who
knock thou openest quickly. In books cherubim expand their wings, that
the soul of the student may ascend and look around from pole to pole,
from the rising to the setting sun, from the north and from the sea. In
them the most high incomprehensible God Himself is contained and

Let us consider how great a commodity of doctrine exists in books, how
easily, how secretly, how safely they expose the nakedness of human
ignorance without putting it to shame. These are the masters who
instruct us without rods and ferules, without hard words and anger,
without clothes or money. If you approach them, they are not asleep; if
investigating you interrogate them, they conceal nothing; if you mistake
them, they never grumble; if you are ignorant, they cannot laugh at
you.--R. DE BURY. _Philobiblon._


    Books are a part of man's prerogative,
      In formal ink they thoughts and voices hold,
    That we to them our solitude may give,
      And make time present travel that of old.
    Our life fame pieceth longer at the end,
    And books it farther backward do extend.

                       SIR T. OVERBURY. _The Wife._


    Bright books: the perspectives to our weak sights,
    The clear projections of discerning lights,
    Burning and shining thoughts, man's posthume day,
    The track of fled souls and their Milky Way,
    The dead alive and busy, the still voice
    Of enlarged spirits, kind Heaven's white decoys!
    Who lives with you, lives like those knowing flowers,
    Which in commerce with light spend all their hours;
    Which shut to clouds, and shadows nicely shun,
    But with glad haste unveil to kiss the Sun.
    Beneath you, all is dark, and a dead night,
    Which whoso lives in, wants both health and sight.
      By sucking you the wise, like bees, do grow
    Healing and rich, though this they do most slow,
    Because most choicely; for as great a store
    Have we of books as bees of herbs, or more;
    And the great task to try, then know, the good,
    To discern weeds, and judge of wholesome food,
    Is a rare scant performance: for man dies
    Oft ere 'tis done, while the bee feeds and flies.
    But you were all choice flowers; all set and dressed
    By old sage florists, who well knew the best;
    And I amidst you all am turned a weed!
    Not wanting knowledge, but for want of heed.
    Then thank thyself, wild fool, that wouldst not be
    Content to know--what was too much for thee.

                         H. VAUGHAN.


                        Quod nec Iovis ira, nec ignis,
    Nec poterit ferrum, nec edax abolere vetustas.--OVID.

Aristotle tells us, that the world is a copy or transcript of those
ideas which are in the mind of the first Being, and that those ideas
which are in the mind of man are a transcript of the world. To this we
may add, that words are the transcript of those ideas which are in the
mind of man, and that writing or printing is the transcript of words. As
the Supreme Being has expressed, and as it were printed, his ideas in
the creation, men express their ideas in books, which, by this great
invention of these latter ages, may last as long as the sun and moon,
and perish only in the general wreck of nature. Thus Cowley, in his poem
on the Resurrection, mentioning the destruction of the universe, has
these admirable lines:

    Now all the wide extended sky,
    And all the harmonious worlds on high
    And Virgil's sacred work shall die.

There is no other method of fixing those thoughts which arise and
disappear in the mind of man, and transmitting them to the last periods
of time; no other method of giving a permanency to our ideas, and
preserving the knowledge of any particular person, when his body is
mixed with the common mass of matter, and his soul retired into the
world of spirits. Books are the legacies that a great genius leaves to
mankind, which are delivered down from generation to generation, as
presents to the posterity of those who are yet unborn.--J. ADDISON.
_Spectator_, 166.


    O happy be the day which gave that mind
    Learning's first tincture--blest thy fostering care,
    Thou most beloved of parents, worthiest sire!
    Which, taste-inspiring, made the lettered page
    My favourite companion: most esteemed,
    And most improving! Almost from the day
    Of earliest childhood to the present hour
    Of gloomy, black misfortune, books, dear books,
    Have been, and are, my comforts. Morn and night,
    Adversity, prosperity, at home,
    Abroad, health, sickness,--good or ill report,
    The same firm friends; the same refreshment rich
    And source of consolation. Nay, e'en here
    Their magic power they lose not; still the same,
    Of matchless influence in this prison-house,
    Unutterably horrid; in an hour
    Of woe, beyond all fancy's fictions drear.

                      W. DODD. _Thoughts in Prison._


Books are the depositary of everything that is most honourable to man.
Literature, taken in all its bearings, forms the grand line of
demarcation between the human and the animal kingdoms. He that loves
reading has everything within his reach. He has but to desire; and he
may possess himself of every species of wisdom to judge and power to

Books gratify and excite our curiosity in innumerable ways. They force
us to reflect. They hurry us from point to point. They present direct
ideas of various kinds, and they suggest indirect ones. In a
well-written book we are presented with the maturest reflections, or the
happiest flights, of a mind of uncommon excellence. It is impossible
that we can be much accustomed to such companions, without attaining
some resemblance of them. When I read Thomson, I become Thomson; when I
read Milton, I become Milton. I find myself a sort of intellectual
chameleon, assuming the colour of the substances on which I rest. He
that revels in a well-chosen library has innumerable dishes, and all of
admirable flavour. His taste is rendered so acute, as easily to
distinguish the nicest shades of difference. His mind becomes ductile,
susceptible to every impression, and gaining new refinement from them
all. His varieties of thinking baffle calculation, and his powers,
whether of reason or fancy, become eminently vigorous.--W. GODWIN. _The
Inquirer: Of an Early Taste for Reading._


There is a period of modern times, at which the love of books appears to
have been of a more decided nature than at either of these--I mean the
age just before and after the Reformation, or rather all that period
when book-writing was confined to the learned languages. Erasmus is the
god of it. Bacon, a mighty book-man, saw, among his other sights, the
great advantage of loosening the vernacular tongue, and wrote both Latin
and English. I allow this is the greatest closeted age of books; of old
scholars sitting in dusty studies; of heaps of 'illustrious obscure',
rendering themselves more illustrious and more obscure by retreating
from the 'thorny queaches' of Dutch and German names into the 'vacant
interlunar caves' of appellations latinized or translated. I think I see
all their volumes now, filling the shelves of a dozen German convents.
The authors are bearded men, sitting in old wood-cuts, in caps and
gowns, and their books are dedicated to princes and statesmen, as
illustrious as themselves. My old friend Wierus, who wrote a thick book,
_De Praestigiis Daemonum_, was one of them, and had a fancy worthy of
his sedentary stomach. I will confess, once for all, that I have a
liking for them all. It is my link with the bibliomaniacs, whom I admit
into our relationship, because my love is large and my family pride
nothing. But still I take my idea of books read with a gusto, of
companions for bed and board, from the two ages beforementioned. The
other is of too book-worm a description. There must be both a judgement
and a fervour; a discrimination and a boyish eagerness; and (with all
due humility) something of a point of contact between authors worth
reading and the reader. How can I take Juvenal into the fields, or
Valcarenghius _De Aortae Aneurismate_ to bed with me? How could I expect
to walk before the face of nature with the one; to tire my elbow
properly with the other, before I put out my candle and turn round
deliciously on the right side? Or how could I stick up _Coke upon
Littleton_ against something on the dinner-table, and be divided between
a fresh paragraph and a mouthful of salad?--J. H. LEIGH HUNT. _My


To mind the inside of a book is to entertain one's self with the forced
product of another man's brain. Now I think a man of quality and
breeding may be much amused with the natural sprouts of his own.

    _Lord Foppington in 'The Relapse'._

An ingenious acquaintance of my own was so much struck with this bright
sally of his Lordship, that he has left off reading altogether, to the
great improvement of his originality. At the hazard of losing some
credit on this head, I must confess that I dedicate no inconsiderable
portion of my time to other people's thoughts. I dream away my life in
others' speculations. I love to lose myself in other men's minds. When I
am not walking, I am reading; I cannot sit and think. Books think for

I have no repugnances. Shaftesbury is not too genteel for me, nor
Jonathan Wild too low. I can read any thing which I call a _book_. There
are things in that shape which I cannot allow for such.

In this catalogue of _books which are no books_--_biblia a-biblia_--I
reckon Court Calendars, Directories, Pocket Books, Draught Boards bound
and lettered at the back, Scientific Treatises, Almanacks, Statutes at
Large; the works of Hume, Gibbon, Robertson, Beattie, Soame Jenyns, and,
generally, all those volumes which 'no gentleman's library should be
without'; the Histories of Flavius Josephus (that learned Jew), and
Paley's _Moral Philosophy_. With these exceptions, I can read almost any
thing. I bless my stars for a taste so catholic, so unexcluding.

I confess that it moves my spleen to see these _things in books'
clothing_ perched upon shelves, like false saints, usurpers of true
shrines, intruders into the sanctuary, thrusting out the legitimate
occupants. To reach down a well-bound semblance of a volume, and hope it
is some kind-hearted play-book, then, opening what 'seem its leaves', to
come bolt upon a withering Population Essay. To expect a Steele, or a
Farquhar, and find--Adam Smith. To view a well-arranged assortment of
blockheaded Encyclopaedias (Anglicanas or Metropolitanas) set out in an
array of Russia, or Morocco, when a tithe of that good leather would
comfortably re-clothe my shivering folios; would renovate Paracelsus
himself, and enable old Raymund Lully to look like himself again in the
world. I never see these impostors but I long to strip them, to warm my
ragged veterans in their spoils.--C. LAMB. _Detached Thoughts on Books
and Reading._


I am not prepared to back Charles Lamb's Index Expurgatorius. It is
difficult, almost impossible, to find the book from which something
either valuable or amusing may not be found, if the proper alembic be
applied. I know books that are curious, and really amusing, from their
excessive badness. If you want to find precisely how a thing ought not
to be said, you take one of them down and make it perform the service of
the intoxicated Spartan slave. There are some volumes in which, at a
chance opening, you are certain to find a mere platitude delivered in
the most superb and amazing climax of big words, and others in which
you have a like happy facility in finding every proposition stated with
its stern forward, as sailors say, or in some other grotesque
mismanagement of composition. There are no better farces on or off the
stage than when two or three congenial spirits ransack books of this
kind, and compete with each other in taking fun out of them.--J. H.
BURTON. _The Book-Hunter._


It is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior
minds, and these invaluable means of communication are in the reach of
all. In the best books great men talk to us, give us their most precious
thoughts, and pour their souls into ours. God be thanked for books! They
are the voices of the distant and the dead, and make us heirs of the
spiritual life of past ages. Books are the true levellers. They give to
all, who will faithfully use them, the society, the spiritual presence,
of the best and greatest of our race. No matter how poor I am. No matter
though the prosperous of my own time will not enter my obscure dwelling.
If the Sacred Writers will enter and take up their abode under my roof,
if Milton will cross my threshold to sing to me of Paradise, and
Shakespeare to open to me the worlds of imagination and the workings of
the human heart, and Franklin to enrich me with his practical wisdom, I
shall not pine for want of intellectual companionship, and I may become
a cultivated man, though excluded from what is called the best society
in the place where I live.

To make this means of culture effectual a man must select good books,
such as have been written by right-minded and strong-minded men, real
thinkers, who instead of diluting by repetition what others say, have
something to say for themselves, and write to give relief to full,
earnest souls; and these works must not be skimmed over for amusement,
but read with fixed attention and a reverential love of truth. In
selecting books we may be aided much by those who have studied more than
ourselves. But, after all, it is best to be determined in this
particular a good deal by our own tastes.--W. E. CHANNING.


I love an author the more for having been himself a lover of books....
We conceive of Plato as a lover of books; of Aristotle certainly; of
Plutarch, Pliny, Horace, Julian, and Marcus Aurelius. Virgil, too, must
have been one; and, after a fashion, Martial. May I confess that the
passage which I recollect with the greatest pleasure in Cicero, is where
he says that books delight us at home, _and are no impediment abroad_;
travel with us, ruralize with us. His period is rounded off to some
purpose: '_Delectant domi, non impediunt foris; peregrinantur,
rusticantur._' I am so much of this opinion, that I do not care to be
anywhere without having a book or books at hand, and like Dr. Orkborne,
in the novel of _Camilla_, stuff the coach or post-chaise with them
whenever I travel. As books, however, become ancient, the love of them
becomes more unequivocal and conspicuous. The ancients had little of
what we call learning. They made it. They were also no very eminent
buyers of books--they made books for posterity. It is true, that it is
not at all necessary to love many books, in order to love them much. The
scholar, in Chaucer, who would rather have

                    At his beddes head
    A twenty bokes, clothed, in black and red,
    Of Aristotle and his philosophy,
    Than robès rich, or fiddle, or psaltry--

doubtless beat all our modern collectors in his passion for reading....
Dante puts Homer, the great ancient, in his Elysium, upon trust; but a
few years afterwards, _Homer_, the book, made its appearance in Italy,
and Petrarch, in a transport, put it upon his bookshelves, where he
adored it, like 'the unknown God'. Petrarch ought to be the god of the
Bibliomaniacs, for he was a collector and a man of genius, which is an
union that does not often happen. He copied out, with his own precious
hand, the manuscripts he rescued from time, and then produced others for
time to reverence. With his head upon a book he died.--J. H. LEIGH HUNT.
_My Books._

The sweet serenity of books.--H. W. LONGFELLOW.


Books are the best type of the influence of the past.... The theory of
books is noble. The scholar of the first age received into him the world
around; brooded thereon; gave it the new arrangement of his own mind,
and uttered it again. It came into him, life; it went out from him,
truth. It came to him, short-lived actions; it went out from him,
immortal thoughts. It came to him, business; it went from him, poetry.
It was dead fact; now, it is quick thought. It can stand, and it can go.
It now endures, it now flies, it now inspires. Precisely in proportion
to the depth of mind from which it issued, so high does it soar, so long
does it sing.--R. W. EMERSON. _The American Scholar._


    Dreams, books, are each a world; and books, we know,
    Are a substantial world, both pure and good:
    Round these, with tendrils strong as flesh and blood,
    Our pastime and our happiness will grow.
    There find I personal themes, a plenteous store,
    Matter wherein right voluble I am,
    To which I listen with a ready ear;
    Two shall be named, pre-eminently dear,--
    The gentle Lady married to the Moor;
    And heavenly Una with her milk-white Lamb....
    Blessings be with them--and eternal praise,
    Who gave us nobler loves, and nobler cares--
    The Poets, who on earth have made us heirs
    Of truth and pure delight by heavenly lays!
    Oh! might my name be numbered among theirs,
    Then gladly would I end my mortal days.

                     W. WORDSWORTH. _Personal Talk._


    We both have run o'er half the space
    Listed for mortal's earthly race;
    We both have crossed life's fervid line,
    And other stars before us shine:
    May they be bright and prosperous
    As those that have been stars for us!
    Our course by Milton's light was sped,
    And Shakespeare shining overhead:
    Chatting on deck was Dryden too,
    The Bacon of the rhyming crew;
    None ever crossed our mystic sea
    More richly stored with thought than he;
    Though never tender nor sublime,
    He wrestles with and conquers Time.
    To learn my lore on Chaucer's knee,
    I left much prouder company;
    Thee gentle Spenser fondly led,
    But me he mostly sent to bed.

                        W. S. LANDOR. _Miscellaneous Poems._



    Sit here and muse!--it is an antique room--
    High-roofed, with casements, through whose purple pane
    Unwilling Daylight steals amidst the gloom,
    Shy as a fearful stranger.
                                There THEY reign
    (In loftier pomp than waking life had known),
    The Kings of Thought!--not crowned until the grave
    When Agamemnon sinks into the tomb,
    The beggar Homer mounts the Monarch's throne!
    Ye ever-living and imperial Souls,
    Who rule us from the page in which ye breathe,
    All that divide us from the clod ye gave!--
    Law--Order--Love--Intelligence--the Sense
    Of Beauty--Music and the Minstrel's wreath!--
    What were our wanderings if without your goals?
    As air and light, the glory ye dispense
    Becomes our being--who of us can tell
    What he had been, had Cadmus never taught
    The art that fixes into form the thought--
    Had Plato never spoken from his cell,
    Or his high harp blind Homer never strung?
    Kinder all earth hath grown since genial Shakespeare sung!


    Hark! while we muse, without the walls is heard
    The various murmur of the labouring crowd,
    How still, within those archive-cells interred,
    The Calm Ones reign!--and yet they rouse the loud
    Passions and tumults of the circling world!
    From them, how many a youthful Tully caught
    The zest and ardour of the eager Bar;
    From them, how many a young Ambition sought
    Gay meteors glancing o'er the sands afar--
    By them each restless wing has been unfurled,
    And their ghosts urge each rival's rushing car!
    They made yon Preacher zealous for the truth;
    They made yon Poet wistful for the star;
    Gave Age its pastime--fired the cheek of Youth--
    The unseen sires of all our beings are,--


    And now so still! This, Cicero, is thy heart;
    I hear it beating through each purple line.
    This is thyself, Anacreon--yet, thou art
    Wreathed, as in Athens, with the Cnidian vine.
    I ope thy pages, Milton, and, behold,
    Thy spirit meets me in the haunted ground!--
    Sublime and eloquent, as while, of old,
    'It flamed and sparkled in its crystal bound;'
    These _are_ yourselves--your life of life! The Wise
    (Minstrel or Sage) _out_ of their books are clay;
    But _in_ their books, as from their graves, they rise,
    Angels--that, side by side, upon our way,
    Walk with and warn us!
                          Hark! the World so loud,
    And they, the Movers of the World, so still.

    What gives this beauty to the grave? the shroud
    Scarce wraps the Poet, than at once there cease
    Envy and Hate! 'Nine cities claim him dead,
    Through which the living Homer begged his bread!'
    And what the charm that can such health distil
    From withered leaves--oft poisons in their bloom?
    We call some books immoral! _Do they live?_
    If so, believe me, TIME hath made them pure.
    In Books, the veriest wicked rest in peace--
    God wills that nothing evil shall endure;
    The grosser parts fly off and leave the whole,
    As the dust leaves the disembodied soul!
    Come from thy niche, Lucretius! Thou didst give
    Man the black creed of Nothing in the tomb!
    Well, when we read thee, does the dogma taint?
    No; with a listless eye we pass it o'er,
    And linger only on the hues that paint
    The Poet's spirit lovelier than his lore.
    None learn from thee to cavil with their God;
    None commune with thy genius to depart
    Without a loftier instinct of the heart.
    Thou mak'st no Atheist--thou but mak'st the mind
    Richer in gifts which Atheists best confute--
    FANCY AND THOUGHT! 'Tis these that from the sod
    Lift us! The life which soars above the brute
    Ever and mightiest, breathes from a great Poet's lute!
    Lo! that grim Merriment of Hatred;--born
    Of him,--the Master-Mocker of mankind,
    Beside the grin of whose malignant spleen
    Voltaire's gay sarcasm seems a smile serene,--
    Do we not place it in our children's hands,
    Leading young Hope through Lemuel's fabled lands?--
    God's and man's libel in that foul Yahoo!--
    Well, and what mischief can the libel do?
    O impotence of Genius to belie
    Its glorious task--its mission from the sky!
    Swift wrote this book to wreak a ribald scorn
    On aught the Man should love or Priest should mourn--
    And lo! the book, from all its ends beguiled,
    A harmless wonder to some happy child!


    All books grow homilies by time; they are
    Temples, at once, and Landmarks. In them, we
    Who _but_ for them, upon that inch of ground
    We call 'THE PRESENT', from the cell could see.
    No daylight trembling on the dungeon bar,
    Turn, as we list, the globe's great axle round!
    And feel the Near less household than the Far!
    Traverse all space, and number every star.
    There is no Past, so long as Books shall live!
    A disinterred Pompeii wakes again
    For him who seeks you well; lost cities give
    Up their untarnished wonders, and the reign
    Of Jove revives and Saturn:--at our will
    Rise dome and tower on Delphi's sacred hill;
    Bloom Cimon's trees in Academe;--along
    Leucadia's headland, sighs the Lesbian's song;
    With Egypt's Queen once more we sail the Nile,
    And learn how worlds are bartered for a smile:--
    Rise up, ye walls, with gardens blooming o'er,
    Ope but that page--lo, Babylon once more!


    Ye make the Past our heritage and home:
    And is this all? No; by each prophet sage--
    No; by the herald souls that Greece and Rome
    Sent forth, like hymns, to greet the Morning Star
    That rose on Bethlehem--by thy golden page,
    Melodious Plato--by thy solemn dreams,
    World-wearied Tully!--and, above ye all,
    By THIS, the Everlasting Monument
    Of God to mortals, on whose front the beams
    Flash glory-breathing day--our lights ye are
    To the dark Bourne beyond; in you are sent
    The types of Truths whose life is The TO-COME;
    In you soars up the Adam from the fall;
    In you the FUTURE as the PAST is given--
    Even in our death ye bid us hail our birth;--
    Unfold these pages, and behold the Heaven,
    Without one gravestone left upon the Earth.

                   E. G. E. L. BULWER-LYTTON, LORD LYTTON.


Except a living man, there is nothing more wonderful than a book!--a
message to us from the dead--from human souls whom we never saw, who
lived, perhaps, thousands of miles away; and yet these, on those little
sheets of paper, speak to us, amuse us, vivify us, teach us, comfort
us, open their hearts to us as brothers.... I say we ought to reverence
books, to look at them as useful and mighty things. If they are good and
true, whether they are about religion or politics, farming, trade, or
medicine, they are the message of Christ, the maker of all things, the
teacher of all truth, which He has put into the heart of some man to
speak, that he may tell us what is good for our spirits, for our bodies,
and for our country.--C. KINGSLEY. _Village Sermons: On Books._


To most kind of men it is an extraordinary delight to study. For what a
world of books offers itself, in all subjects, arts, and sciences, to
the sweet content and capacity of the reader!... What vast tomes are
extant in law, physic, and divinity, for profit, pleasure, practice,
speculation, in verse or prose, &c.! their names alone are the subject
of whole volumes; we have thousands of authors of all sorts, many great
libraries full well furnished, like so many dishes of meat, served out
for several palates; and he is a very block that is affected with none
of them.--R. BURTON. _The Anatomy of Melancholy._


    BORNWELL. Learning is an addition beyond
            Nobility of birth; honour of blood
            Without the ornament of knowledge is
            A glorious ignorance.

    FREDERICK. I never knew more sweet and happy hours
            Than I employed upon my books.

                        J. SHIRLEY. _The Lady of Pleasure._


    Books cannot always please, however good;
    Minds are not ever craving for their food;
    But sleep will soon the weary soul prepare
    For cares to-morrow that were this day's care:
    For forms, for feasts, that sundry times have past,
    And formal feasts that will for ever last.
      'But then from study will no comforts rise?'--
    Yes! such as studious minds alone can prize;
    Comforts, yea!--joys ineffable they find,
    Who seek the prouder pleasures of the mind:
    The soul, collected in those happy hours,
    Then makes her efforts, then enjoys her powers;
    And in those seasons feels herself repaid,
    For labours past and honours long delay'd.
      No! 'tis not worldly gain, although by chance
    The sons of learning may to wealth advance;
    Nor station high, though in some favouring hour
    The sons of learning may arrive at power;
    Nor is it glory, though the public voice
    Of honest praise will make the heart rejoice:
    But 'tis the mind's own feelings give the joy,
    Pleasures she gathers in her own employ--
    Pleasures that gain or praise cannot bestow,
    Yet can dilate and raise them when they flow.

                   G. CRABBE. _The Borough._


If I were to pray for a taste which should stand me in stead under every
variety of circumstances, and be a source of happiness and cheerfulness
to me through life, and a shield against its ills, however things might
go amiss, and the world frown upon me, it would be a taste for reading.
I speak of it of course only as a worldly advantage, and not in the
slightest degree as superseding or derogating from the higher office and
surer and stronger panoply of religious principles--but as a taste, an
instrument and a mode of pleasurable gratification. Give a man this
taste, and the means of gratifying it, and you can hardly fail of making
a happy man, unless, indeed, you put into his hands a most perverse
selection of books. You place him in contact with the best society in
every period of history--with the wisest, the wittiest--with the
tenderest, the bravest, and the purest characters who have adorned
humanity. You make him a denizen of all nations--a contemporary of all
ages. The world has been created for him.--SIR J. HERSCHEL. _Address to
the Subscribers to the Windsor Public Library._


I should like you to see the additional book-room that we have fitted
up, and in which I am now writing.... It would please you to see such a
display of literary wealth, which is at once the pride of my eye, and
the joy of my heart, and the food of my mind; indeed, more than
metaphorically, meat, drink, and clothing for me and mine. I verily
believe that no one in my station was ever so rich before, and I am very
sure that no one in any station had ever a more thorough enjoyment of
riches of any kind, or in any way. It is more delightful for me to live
with books than with men, even with all the relish that I have for such
society as is worth having.--R. SOUTHEY (Letter to G. C. Bedford).


In the highest civilization the book is still the highest delight. He
who has once known its satisfactions is provided with a resource against
calamity. Like Plato's disciple who has perceived a truth, 'he is
preserved from harm until another period.' In every man's memory, with
the hours when life culminated, are usually associated certain books
which met his views. Of a large and powerful class we might ask with
confidence, What is the event they most desire? What gift? What but the
book that shall come, which they have sought through all libraries,
through all languages, that shall be to their mature eyes what many a
tinsel-covered toy pamphlet was to their childhood, and shall speak to
the imagination? Our high respect for a well-read man is praise enough
of literature. If we encountered a man of rare intellect, we should ask
him what books he read. We expect a great man to be a good reader; or in
proportion to the spontaneous power should be the assimilating power.
And though such are a most difficult and exacting class, they are not
less eager. 'He that borrows the aid of an equal understanding,' said
Burke, 'doubles his own; he that uses that of a superior elevates his
own to the stature of that he contemplates.'

We prize books, and they prize them most who are themselves wise. Our
debt to tradition through reading and conversation is so massive, our
protest or private addition so rare and insignificant,--and this
commonly on the ground of other reading or hearing,--that, in a large
sense, one would say there is no pure originality. All minds quote.--R.
W. EMERSON. _Quotation and Originality._


It is remarkable, the character of the pleasure we derive from the best
books. They impress us with the conviction that one nature wrote, and
the same reads. We read the verses of one of the great English poets, of
Chaucer, of Marvell, of Dryden, with the most modern joy,--with a
pleasure, I mean, which is in great part caused by the abstraction of
all _time_ from their verses. There is some awe mixed with the joy of
our surprise, when this poet, who lived in some past world, two or three
hundred years ago, says that which lies close to my own soul, that which
I also had wellnigh thought and said.--R. W. EMERSON. _The American


Let us not forget the genial miraculous force we have known to proceed
from a book. We go musing into the vault of day and night; no
constellation shines, no muse descends, the stars are white points, the
roses brick-coloured dust, the frogs pipe, mice peep, and wagons creak
along the road. We return to the house and take up Plutarch or
Augustine, and read a few sentences or pages, and lo! the air swims with
life; the front of heaven is full of fiery shapes; secrets of
magnanimity and grandeur invite us on every hand; life is made up of
them. Such is our debt to a book.--R. W. EMERSON. _Thoughts on Modern


A natural turn for reading and intellectual pursuits probably preserved
me from the moral shipwreck, so apt to befall those who are deprived in
early life of the paternal pilotage. At the very least, my books kept me
aloof from the ring, the dog-pit, the tavern, and the saloon, with their
degrading orgies. For the closet associate of Pope and Addison--the mind
accustomed to the noble, though silent, discourse of Shakespeare and
Milton--will hardly seek, or put up with, low company and slang. The
reading animal will not be content with the brutish wallowings that
satisfy the unlearned pigs of the world.

Later experience enables me to depose to the comfort and blessing that
literature can prove in seasons of sickness and sorrow--how powerfully
intellectual pursuits can help in keeping the head from crazing, and the
heart from breaking,--nay, not to be too grave, how generous mental food
can even atone for a meagre diet--rich fare on the paper for short
commons on the cloth.

Poisoned by the malaria of the Dutch marshes, my stomach, for many
months, resolutely set itself against fish, flesh, or fowl; my appetite
had no more edge than the German knife placed before me. But, luckily,
the mental palate and digestion were still sensible and vigorous; and
whilst I passed untasted every dish at the Rhenish _table d'hôte_, I
could yet enjoy my _Peregrine Pickle_, and the feast after the manner of
the ancients. There was no yearning towards calf's head _à la tortue_,
or sheep's heart; but I could still relish Head _à la Brunnen_ and the
_Heart of Midlothian_.

Still more recently, it was my misfortune, with a tolerable appetite, to
be condemned to lenten fare, like Sancho Panza, by my physician--to a
diet, in fact, lower than any prescribed by the poor-law commissioners;
all animal food, from a bullock to a rabbit, being strictly interdicted;
as well as all fluids stronger than that which lays dust, washes
pinafores, and waters polyanthus. But 'the feast of reason and the flow
of soul' were still mine. Denied beef, I had _Bul_wer and
_Cow_per,--forbidden mutton, there was _Lamb_,--and in lieu of pork, the
great _Bacon_ or _Hogg_.

Then, as to beverage, it was hard, doubtless, for a Christian to set his
face like a Turk against the juice of the grape. But, eschewing wine, I
had still my _Butler_; and in the absence of liquor, all the _choice
spirits_ from Tom Browne to Tom Moore.

Thus, though confined, physically, to the drink that drowns kittens, I
quaffed mentally, not merely the best of our own home-made, but the
rich, racy, sparkling growths of France and Italy, of Germany and
Spain--the champagne of Molière, and the Monte Pulciano of Boccaccio,
the hock of Schiller, and the sherry of Cervantes. Depressed bodily by
the fluid that damps everything, I got intellectually elevated with
Milton, a little merry with Swift, or rather jolly with Rabelais, whose
Pantagruel, by the way, is quite equal to the best gruel with rum in it.

So far can literature palliate or compensate for gastronomical
privations. But there are other evils, great and small, in this world,
which try the stomach less than the head, the heart, and the
temper--bowls that will not roll right--well-laid schemes that will
'gang aglee'--and ill winds that blow with the pertinacity of the
monsoon. Of these, Providence has allotted me a full share; but still,
paradoxical as it may sound, my _burden_ has been greatly lightened by a
_load of books_. The manner of this will be best understood by a feline
illustration. Everybody has heard of the two Kilkenny cats, who devoured
each other; but it is not so generally known that they left behind them
an orphan kitten, which, true to the breed, began to eat itself up, till
it was diverted from the operation by a mouse. Now, the human mind,
under vexation, is like that kitten, for it is apt to _prey upon
itself_, unless drawn off by a new object; and none better for the
purpose than a book; for example, one of Defoe's; for who, in reading
his thrilling _History of the Great Plague_, would not be reconciled to
a few little ones?

Many, many a dreary, weary hour have I got over--many a gloomy misgiving
postponed--many a mental or bodily annoyance forgotten, by help of the
tragedies and comedies of our dramatists and novelists! Many a trouble
has been soothed by the still small voice of the moral philosopher--many
a dragon-like care charmed to sleep by the sweet song of the poet, for
all which I cry incessantly, not aloud, but in my heart, Thanks and
honour to the glorious masters of the pen, and the great inventors of
the press! Such has been my own experience of the blessing and comfort
of literature and intellectual pursuits; and of the same mind,
doubtless, was Sir Humphry Davy, who went for 'consolations in
_Travel_', not to the inn or the posting house, but to his library and
his books.--T. HOOD (Letter to the Manchester Athenaeum, 1843).


    Books written when the soul is at spring-tide,
    When it is laden like a groaning sky
    Before a thunder-storm, are power and gladness,
    And majesty and beauty. They seize the reader
    As tempests seize a ship, and bear him on
    With a wild joy. Some books are drenchèd sands,
    On which a great soul's wealth lies all in heaps,
    Like a wrecked argosy. What power in books!
    They mingle gloom and splendour, as I've oft,
    In thunderous sunsets, seen the thunder-piles
    Seamed with dull fire and fiercest glory-rents.
    They awe me to my knees, as if I stood
    In presence of a king. They give me tears;
    Such glorious tears as Eve's fair daughters shed,
    When first they clasped a Son of God, all bright
    With burning plumes and splendours of the sky,
    In zoning heaven of their milky arms.
    How few read books aright! Most souls are shut
    By sense from grandeur, as a man who snores
    Night-capped and wrapt in blankets to the nose
    Is shut out from the night, which, like a sea,
    Breaketh for ever on a strand of stars.

                     A. SMITH. _A Life-Drama._


The commerce of books comforts me in age and solaceth me in
solitariness. It easeth me of the burthen of a wearisome sloth: and at
all times rids me of tedious companies: it abateth the edge of fretting
sorrow, on condition it be not extreme and over-insolent. To divert me
from any importunate imagination or insinuating conceit, there is no
better way than to have recourse unto books; with ease they allure me to
them, and with facility they remove them all. And though they perceive I
neither frequent nor seek them, but wanting other more essential,
lively, and more natural commodities, they never mutiny or murmur at me;
but still entertain me with one and self-same visage....

The sick man is not to be moaned that hath his health in his sleeve. In
the experience and use of this sentence, which is most true, consisteth
all the commodity I reap of books. In effect I make no other use of them
than those who know them not. I enjoy them, as a miser doth his gold; to
know that I may enjoy them when I list, my mind is settled and satisfied
with the right of possession. I never travel without books, nor in peace
nor in war: yet do I pass many days and months without using them. It
shall be anon, say I, or to-morrow, or when I please; in the meanwhile
the time runs away, and passeth without hurting me. For it is wonderful
what repose I take, and how I continue in this consideration, that they
are at my elbow to delight me when time shall serve; and in
acknowledging what assistance they give unto my life. This is the best
munition I have found in this human peregrination, and I extremely
bewail those men of understanding that want the same. I accept with
better will all other kinds of amusements, how slight soever, forsomuch
as this cannot fail me.--MONTAIGNE.


    Condemn the days of elders great or small,
    And then blur out the course of present time;
    Cast one age down, and so do overthrow all,
    And burn the books of printed prose or rhyme:
    Who shall believe he rules, or she doth reign,
    In time to come, if writers loose their pain?
    The pen records time past and present both:
    Skill brings forth books, and books is nurse to truth.

                 T. CHURCHYARD. _Worthiness of Wales._


    In vain that husbandman his seed doth sow,
    If he his crop not in due season mow.
    A general sets his army in array
    In vain, unless he fight, and win the day.
    'Tis virtuous action that must praise bring forth,
    Without which slow advice is little worth.
    Yet they who give good counsel, praise deserve,
    Though in the active part they cannot serve:
    In action, learnéd counsellors their age,
    Profession, or disease, forbids to engage.
    Nor to philosophers is praise denied,
    Whose wise instructions after-ages guide;
    Yet vainly most their age in study spend;
    No end of writing books, and to no end:
    Beating their brains for strange and hidden things,
    Whose knowledge nor delight nor profit brings:
    Themselves with doubt both day and night perplex,
    No gentle reader please, or teach, but vex.
    Books should to one of these four ends conduce
    For wisdom, piety, delight, or use.
    What need we gaze upon the spangled sky
    Or into matter's hidden causes pry?...
    If we were wise these things we should not mind
    But more delight in easy matters find....
    Learn to live well that thou mayst die so too,
    To live and die is all we have to do.

                    SIR J. DENHAM. _Translation of Mancini._


The diversions of reading, though they are not always of the strongest
kind, yet they generally leave a better effect than the grosser
satisfactions of sense: for, if they are well chosen, they neither dull
the appetite nor strain the capacity. On the contrary, they refresh the
inclinations, and strengthen the power, and improve under experiment:
and, which is best of all, they entertain and perfect at the same time;
and convey wisdom and knowledge through pleasure. By reading a man does
as it were antedate his life, and makes himself contemporary with the
ages past. And this way of running up beyond one's nativity is much
better than Plato's pre-existence; because here a man knows something of
the state and is the wiser for it; which he is not in the other.

In conversing with books we may choose our company, and disengage
without ceremony or exception. Here we are free from the formalities of
custom and respect: we need not undergo the penance of a dull story from
a fop of figure; but may shake off the haughty, the impertinent, and the
vain, at pleasure. Besides, authors, like women, commonly dress when
they make a visit. Respect to themselves makes them polish their
thoughts, and exert the force of their understanding more than they
would or can do in ordinary conversation: so that the reader has as it
were the spirit and essence in a narrow compass; which was drawn off
from a much larger proportion of time, labour, and expense. Like an
heir, he is born rather than made rich; and comes into a stock of sense,
with little or no trouble of his own. 'Tis true, a fortune in knowledge
which descends in this manner, as well as an inherited estate, is too
often neglected and squandered away; because we do not consider the
difficulty in raising it.

Books are a guide in youth, and an entertainment for age. They support
us under solitude, and keep us from being a burthen to ourselves. They
help us to forget the crossness of men and things; compose our cares and
our passions; and lay our disappointments asleep. When we are weary of
the living, we may repair to the dead, who have nothing of peevishness,
pride, or design in their conversation. However, to be constantly in the
wheel has neither pleasure nor improvement in it. A man may as well
expect to grow stronger by always eating, as wiser by always reading.
Too much overcharges Nature, and turns more into disease than
nourishment. 'Tis thought and digestion which makes books serviceable,
and gives health and vigour to the mind. Neither ought we to be too
implicit or resigning to authorities, but to examine before we assent,
and preserve our reason in its just liberties. To walk always upon
crutches is the way to lose the use of our limbs. Such an absolute
submission keeps us in a perpetual minority, breaks the spirits of the
understanding, and lays us open to imposture.

But books well managed afford direction and discovery. They strengthen
the organ and enlarge the prospect, and give a more universal insight
into things than can be learned from unlettered observation. He who
depends only upon his own experience has but a few materials to work
upon. He is confined to narrow limits both of place and time: and is not
fit to draw a large model and to pronounce upon business which is
complicated and unusual. There seems to be much the same difference
between a man of mere practice and another of learning as there is
between an empiric and a physician. The first may have a good recipe,
or two; and if diseases and patients were very scarce, and all alike, he
might do tolerably well. But if you inquire concerning the causes of
distempers, the constitution of human bodies, the danger of symptoms,
and the methods of cure, upon which the success of medicine depends, he
knows little of the matter. On the other side, to take measures wholly
from books, without looking into men and business, is like travelling in
a map, where, though countries and cities are well enough distinguished,
yet villages and private seats are either overlooked, or too generally
marked for a stranger to find. And therefore he that would be a master
must draw by the life, as well as copy from originals, and join theory
and experience together.

    J. COLLIER. _Essays upon several Moral Subjects._


Books, we are told, propose to _instruct_ or to _amuse_. Indeed!
However, not to spend any words upon it, I suppose you will admit that
this wretched antithesis will be of no service to us.... For this
miserable alternative being once admitted, observe what follows. In
which class of books does the _Paradise Lost_ stand? Among those which
instruct or those which amuse? Now, if a man answers, among those which
instruct,--he lies: for there is no instruction in it, nor could be in
any great poem, according to the meaning which the word must bear in
this distinction, unless it is meant that it should involve its own
antithesis. But if he says, 'No--amongst those which amuse,'--then what
a beast must he be to degrade, and in this way, what has done the most
of any human work to raise and dignify human nature. But the truth is,
you see, that the idiot does not wish to degrade it; on the contrary, he
would willingly tell a lie in its favour, if that would be admitted; but
such is the miserable state of slavery to which he has reduced himself
by his own puny distinction; for, as soon as he hops out of one of his
little cells he is under a necessity of hopping into the other. The true
antithesis to knowledge in this case is not _pleasure_, but power. All,
that is literature, seeks to communicate power; all, that is not
literature, to communicate knowledge.--T. DE QUINCEY. _Letters to a
Young Man._


From my own Apartment, March 16, 1709

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. As by the one
health is preserved, strengthened, and invigorated; by the other, virtue
(which is the health of the mind) is kept alive, cherished, and
confirmed. But as exercise becomes tedious and painful when we make use
of it only as the means of health, so reading is apt to grow uneasy and
burdensome when we apply ourselves to it only for our improvement in
virtue. For this reason the virtue which we gather from a fable or an
allegory is like health we get by hunting; as we are engaged in an
agreeable pursuit that draws us on with pleasure, and makes us
insensible of the fatigues that accompany it.--SIR R. STEELE. _Tatler_,


Books were invented to take off the odium of immediate superiority and
soften the rigour of duties prescribed by the teachers and censors of
human kind--setting at least those who are acknowledged wiser than
ourselves at a distance. When we recollect, however, that for this very
reason they are seldom consulted and little obeyed, how much cause shall
his contemporaries have to rejoice that their living Johnson forced them
to feel the reproofs due to vice and folly--while Seneca and Tillotson
were no longer able to make impression except on our shelves.--T. PERCY.


It is difficult to enumerate the several motives which procure to books
the honour of perusal: spite, vanity, and curiosity, hope and fear, love
and hatred, every passion which incites to any other action, serves at
one time or another to stimulate a reader.

Some are found to take a celebrated volume into their hands, because
they hope to distinguish their penetration by finding faults that have
escaped the public; others eagerly buy it in the first bloom of
reputation, that they may join the chorus of praise, and not lag, as
Falstaff terms it, in 'the rearward of the fashion'.

Some read for style, and some for argument: one has little care about
the sentiment, he observes only how it is expressed; another regards not
the conclusion, but is diligent to mark how it is inferred; they read
for other purposes than the attainment of practical knowledge, and are
no more likely to grow wise by an examination of a treatise of moral
prudence than an architect to inflame his devotion by considering
attentively the proportions of a temple.

Some read that they may embellish their conversation, or shine in
dispute; some that they may not be detected in ignorance, or want the
reputation of literary accomplishments: but the most general and
prevalent reason of study is the impossibility of finding another
amusement equally cheap or constant, equally independent of the hour or
the weather. He that wants money to follow the chase of pleasure through
her yearly circuit, and is left at home when the gay world rolls to Bath
or Tunbridge; he whose gout compels him to hear from his chamber the
rattle of chariots transporting happier beings to plays and assemblies,
will be forced to seek in books a refuge from himself.--S. JOHNSON.
_Adventurer_, 137.


Every person of tolerable education has been considerably influenced by
the books he has read, and remembers with a kind of gratitude several of
those that made without injury the earliest and the strongest
impression. It is pleasing at a more advanced period to look again into
the early favourites, though the mature person may wonder how some of
them had once power to absorb his passions, make him retire into a
lonely wood in order to read unmolested, repel the approaches of sleep,
or, when it came, infect it with visions. A capital part of the proposed
task would be to recollect the books that have been read with the
greatest interest, the periods when they were read, the partiality which
any of them inspired to a particular mode of life, to a study, to a
system of opinions, or to a class of human characters; to note the
counteraction of later ones (where we have been sensible of it) to the
effect produced by the former; and then to endeavour to estimate the
whole and ultimate influence.

Considering the multitude of facts, sentiments, and characters, which
have been contemplated by a person who has read much, the effect, one
would think, must have been very great. Still, however, it is probable
that a very small number of books will have the pre-eminence in our
mental history. Perhaps your memory will promptly recur to six or ten
that have contributed more to your present habits of feeling and thought
than all the rest together.--J. FOSTER. _On a Man's Writing Memoirs of


Cultivate above all things a taste for reading. There is no pleasure so
cheap, so innocent, and so remunerative as the real, hearty pleasure and
taste for reading. It does not come to every one naturally. Some people
take to it naturally, and others do not; but I advise you to cultivate
it, and endeavour to promote it in your minds. In order to do that you
should read what amuses you and pleases you. You should not begin with
difficult works, because, if you do, you will find the pursuit dry and
tiresome. I would even say to you, read novels, read frivolous books,
read anything that will amuse you and give you a taste for reading. On
this point all persons could put themselves on an equality. Some persons
would say they would rather spend their time in society; but it must be
remembered that if they had cultivated a taste for reading beforehand
they would be in a position to choose their society, whereas, if they
had not, the probabilities were that they would have to mix with people
inferior to themselves.--R. LOWE, LORD SHERBROOKE. _Speech to the
Students of the Croydon Science and Art Schools_, 1869.

    Books bear him up awhile, and make him try
    To swim with bladders of philosophy.

               J. WILMOT, EARL OF ROCHESTER.
                            _A Satire against Mankind._

                        Books are men of higher stature,
    And the only men that speak aloud for future times to hear.

              E. B. BROWNING. _Lady Geraldine's Courtship._


How the mood for a book sometimes rushes upon one, either one knows not
why, or in consequence, perhaps, of some most trifling suggestion.
Yesterday I was walking at dusk. I came to an old farmhouse; at the
garden gate a vehicle stood waiting, and I saw it was our doctor's gig.
Having passed, I turned to look back. There was a faint afterglow in the
sky beyond the chimneys; a light twinkled at one of the upper windows. I
said to myself, '_Tristram Shandy_,' and hurried home to plunge into a
book which I have not opened for I dare say twenty years.

Not long ago, I awoke one morning and suddenly thought of the
Correspondence between Goethe and Schiller; and so impatient did I
become to open the book that I got up an hour earlier than usual. A book
worth rising for; much better worth than old Burton, who pulled Johnson
out of bed. A book which helps one to forget the idle or venomous
chatter going on everywhere about us, and bids us cherish hope for a
world 'which has such people in't'.

These volumes I had at hand; I could reach them down from my shelves at
the moment when I hungered for them. But it often happens that the book
which comes into my mind could only be procured with trouble and delay;
I breathe regretfully and put aside the thought. Ah! the books that one
will never read again. They gave delight, perchance something more; they
left a perfume in the memory; but life has passed them by for ever. I
have but to muse, and one after another they rise before me. Books
gentle and quieting; books noble and inspiring; books that well merit to
be pored over, not once but many a time. Yet never again shall I hold
them in my hand; the years fly too quickly, and are too few. Perhaps
when I lie waiting for the end, some of these lost books will come into
my wandering thoughts, and I shall remember them as friends to whom I
owed a kindness--friends passed upon the way. What regret in that last
farewell!--G. GISSING. _The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft._


Now it is, that the minds of men are qualified with all manner of
discipline, and the old sciences revived, which for many ages were
extinct. Now it is, that the learned languages are to their pristine
purity restored, viz. Greek, without which a man may be ashamed to
account himself a scholar, Hebrew, Arabic, Chaldean, and Latin. Printing
likewise is now in use, so elegant and so correct, that better cannot be
imagined, although it was found out but in my time by a divine
inspiration, as, by a diabolical suggestion on the other side, was the
invention of ordnance. All the world is full of knowing men, of most
learned schoolmasters, and vast libraries; and it appears to me as a
truth, that neither in Plato's time, nor Cicero's, nor Papinian's, there
was ever such conveniency for studying, as we see at this day there is.
Nor must any adventure henceforward to come in public, or present
himself in company, that hath not been pretty well polished in the shop
of Minerva. I see robbers, hangmen, freebooters, tapsters, ostlers, and
such like, of the very rubbish of the people, more learned now than the
doctors and preachers were in my time. What shall I say? The very women
and children have aspired to this praise and celestial manna of good
learning.--RABELAIS. _The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel._


I saw a man, who bore in his hands the same instruments as our modern
smith's, presenting a vase, which appeared to be made of iron, amidst
the acclamations of an assembled multitude engaged in triumphal
procession before the altars dignified by the name of Apollo at Delphi;
and I saw in the same place men who carried rolls of papyrus in their
hands and wrote upon them with reeds containing ink made from the soot
of wood mixed with a solution of glue. 'See,' the genius said, 'an
immense change produced in the condition of society by the two arts of
which you here see the origin; the one, that of rendering iron
malleable, which is owing to a single individual, an obscure Greek; the
other, that of making thought permanent in written characters, an art
which has gradually arisen from the hieroglyphics which you may observe
on yonder pyramids.'--SIR H. DAVY. _Consolations in Travel._


Certainly the Art of Writing is the most miraculous of all things man
has devised. Odin's _Runes_ were the first form of the work of a Hero;
_Books_, written words, are still miraculous _Runes_, the latest form!
In Books lies the _soul_ of the whole Past Time; the articulate audible
voice of the Past, when the body and material substance of it has
altogether vanished like a dream. Mighty fleets and armies, harbours and
arsenals, vast cities, high-domed, many-engined,--they are precious,
great: but what do they become? Agamemnon, the many Agamemnons,
Pericleses, and their Greece; all is gone now to some ruined fragments,
dumb mournful wrecks and blocks: but the Books of Greece! There Greece,
to every thinker, still very literally lives; can be called-up again
into life. No magic Rune is stranger than a Book. All that Mankind has
done, thought, gained, or been: it is lying as in magic preservation in
the pages of Books. They are the chosen possession of men. Do not Books
still accomplish _miracles_, as _Runes_ were fabled to do? They persuade
men. Not the wretchedest circulating-library novel, which foolish girls
thumb and con in remote villages, but will help to regulate the actual
practical weddings and households of those foolish girls. So 'Celia'
felt, so 'Clifford' acted: the foolish Theorem of Life, stamped into
those young brains, comes out as a solid Practice one day. Consider
whether any _Rune_ in the wildest imagination of mythologist ever did
such wonders as, on the actual firm Earth, some Books have done! What
built St. Paul's Cathedral? Look at the heart of the matter, it was that
divine Hebrew BOOK--the word partly of the man Moses, an outlaw tending
his Midianitish herds, four thousand years ago, in the wildernesses of
Sinai! It is the strangest of things, yet nothing is truer. With the art
of Writing, of which Printing is a simple, an inevitable, and
comparatively insignificant corollary, the true reign of miracles for
mankind commenced. It related, with a wondrous new contiguity and
perpetual closeness, the Past and Distant with the Present in time and
place; all times and all places with this our actual Here and Now. All
things were altered for men; all modes of important work of men.--T.
CARLYLE. _Heroes and Hero-Worship._


In books we find the dead as it were living; in books we foresee things
to come; in books warlike affairs are methodized; the rights of peace
proceed from books. All things are corrupted and decayed with time.
Saturn never ceases to devour those whom he generates; insomuch that the
glory of the world would be lost in oblivion if God had not provided
mortals with a remedy in books. Alexander the ruler of the world; Julius
the invader of the world and of the city, the just who in unity of
person assumed the empire in arms and arts; the faithful Fabricius, the
rigid Cato, would at this day have been without a memorial if the aid of
books had failed them. Towers are razed to the earth, cities overthrown,
triumphal arches mouldered to dust; nor can the King or Pope be found
upon whom the privilege of a lasting name can be conferred more easily
than by books. A book made, renders succession to the author: for as
long as the book exists, the author remaining [Greek: athanatos]
immortal, cannot perish.--R. DE BURY. _Philobiblon._


We commonly see the book that at Christmas lieth bound on the
stationer's stall, at Easter to be broken in the Haberdasher's shop,
which sith it is the order of proceeding, I am content this winter to
have my doings read for a toy, that in summer they may be ready for
trash. It is not strange when as the greatest wonder lasteth but nine
days, that a new work should not endure but three months. Gentlemen use
books, as gentlewomen handle their flowers, who in the morning stick
them in their heads, and at night straw them at their heels. Cherries be
fulsome when they be through ripe, because they be plenty, and books be
stale when they be printed, in that they be common. In my mind Printers
and Tailors are bound chiefly to pray for gentlemen, the one hath so
many fantasies to print, the other such divers fashions to make, that
the pressing iron of the one is never out of the fire, nor the printing
press of the other any time lieth still. But a fashion is but a day's
wearing, and a book but an hour's reading, which seeing it is so, I am
of a shoemaker's mind, who careth not so the shoe hold the plucking on,
nor I, so my labours last the running over. He that cometh in print
because he would be known, is like the fool that cometh into the market
because he would be seen.--J. LYLY. _Euphues._


I erect not here a statue to be set up in the market-place of a town, or
in a church, or in any other public place:

    Non equidem hoc studeo, pullatis ut mihi nugis
    Pagina turgescat. (Pers. _Sat._ v. 19.)

    I study not my written leaves should grow
    Big-swoln with bubbled toys, which vain breaths blow.

    Secrete loquimur. (Pers. _Sat._ v. 21.)

    We speak alone,
    Or one to one.

It is for the corner of a library, or to amuse a neighbour, a kinsman,
or a friend of mine withal, who by this image may happily take pleasure
to renew acquaintance and to reconverse with me.... Notwithstanding if
my posterity be of another mind, I shall have wherewith to be avenged,
for they cannot make so little accompt of me, as then I shall do of
them. All the commerce I have in this with the world is that I borrow
the instruments of their writing, as more speedy and more easy; in
requital whereof I may peradventure hinder the melting of some piece of
butter in the market or a grocer from selling an ounce of pepper.

    Ne toga cordylis et paenula desit olivis (Martial).

    Lest fish-fry should a fit gown want,
    Lest cloaks should be for Olives scant.

    Et laxas scombris saepe dabo tunicas (Catullus).

    To long-tailed mackerels often I
    Will side-wide (paper) coats apply.

And if it happen no man read me, have I lost my time to have entertained
myself so many idle hours about so pleasing and profitable thoughts?...
I have no more made my book than my book hath made me. A book
consubstantial to his author: of a peculiar and fit occupation. A member
of my life. Not of an occupation and end strange and foreign, as all
other books.... What if I lend mine ears somewhat more attentively unto
books, sith I but watch if I can filch something from them wherewith to
enamel and uphold mine? I never study to make a book, yet have I
somewhat studied, because I had already made it (if to nibble or pinch,
by the head or feet, now one author and then another, be in any sort to
study), but nothing at all to form my opinions.--MONTAIGNE.


    Thou art a plant sprung up to wither never,
    But, like a laurel, to grow green for ever.

    Make haste away, and let one be
    A friendly patron unto thee;
    Lest rapt from hence, I see thee lie
    Torn for the use of pasterie;
    Or see thy injured leaves serve well
    To make loose gowns for mackerel;
    Or see the grocers, in a trice,
    Make hoods of thee to serve out spice.

    If hap it must that I must see thee lie
    Absyrtus-like, all torn confusedly;
    With solemn tears, and with much grief of heart,
    I'll recollect thee, weeping, part by part;
    And having washed thee, close thee in a chest
    With spice; that done, I'll leave thee to thy rest.

    The bound, almost, now of my book I see;
    But yet no end of those therein or me;
    Here we begin new life; while thousands quite
    Are lost, and theirs, in everlasting night.

    Go thou forth, my book, though late
    Yet be timely fortunate.
    It may chance good luck may send
    Thee a kinsman or a friend
    That may harbour thee, when I
    With my fates neglected lie.
    If thou know'st not where to dwell,
    See, the fire's by. Farewell.

                 R. HERRICK. _Hesperides._


    Since honour from the honourer proceeds,
    How well do they deserve, that memorize
    And leave in books for all posterities
    The names of worthies and their virtuous deeds;
    When all their glory else, like water-weeds
    Without their element, presèntly dies,
    And all their greatness quite forgotten lies,
    And when and how they flourished no man heeds!
    How poor remembrances are statues, tombs,
    And other monuments that men erect
    To princes, which remain in closèd rooms,
    Where but a few behold them, in respect
    Of books, that to the universal eye
    Show how they lived; the other where they lie!

                            S. DANIEL.


We see then how far the monuments of wit and learning are more durable
than the monuments of power or of the hands. For have not the verses of
Homer continued twenty-five hundred years, or more, without the loss of
a syllable or letter; during which time infinite palaces, temples,
castles, cities, have been decayed and demolished? It is not possible to
have the true pictures or statues of Cyrus, Alexander, Caesar, no, nor
of the kings or great personages of much later years; for the originals
cannot last, and the copies cannot but leese of the life and truth. But
the images of men's wits and knowledges remain in books, exempted from
the wrong of time and capable of perpetual renovation. Neither are they
fitly to be called images, because they generate still, and cast their
seeds in the minds of others, provoking and causing infinite actions and
opinions in succeeding ages. So that if the invention of the ship was
thought so noble, which carrieth riches and commodities from place to
place, and consociateth the most remote regions in participation of
their fruits, how much more are letters to be magnified, which as ships
pass through the vast seas of time, and make ages so distant to
participate of the wisdom, illuminations, and inventions, the one of the
other?--F. BACON, LORD VERULAM. _Of the Advancement of Learning._


Books have that strange quality, that being of the frailest and
tenderest matter, they outlast brass, iron and marble; and though their
habitations and walls, by uncivil hands, be many times overthrown; and
they themselves, by foreign force, be turned prisoners, yet do they
often, as their authors, keep their giver's names; seeming rather to
change places and masters than to suffer a full ruin and total wreck.
So, many of the books of Constantinople changed Greece for France and
Italy; and in our time, that famous Library in the Palatinate changed
Heidelberg for the Vatican. And this I think no small duty, nor meaner
gift and retribution, which I render back again to my benefactor's
honest fame, being a greater matter than riches; riches being momentany
and evanishing, scarce possessed by the third heir; fame immortal, and
almost everlasting; by fame riches is often acquired, seldom fame by
riches; except when it is their good hap to fall in the possession of
some generous-minded man. And though a philosopher said of famous men,
disdainfully, that they died two deaths, one in their bodies, another,
long after, in their names, he must confess, that where other men live
but one life, famous men live two.--W. DRUMMOND. _Bibliotheca
Edinburgena Lectori._


I deny not but that it is of greatest concernment in the Church and
Commonwealth to have a vigilant eye how books demean themselves, as well
as men; and thereafter to confine, imprison, and do sharpest justice on
them as malefactors. For books are not absolutely dead things, but do
contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose
progeny they are; nay, they do preserve, as in a vial, the purest
efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them. I know
they are as lively and as vigorously productive as those fabulous
dragon's teeth; and, being sown up and down, may chance to spring up
armed men. And yet, on the other hand, unless wariness be used, as good
almost kill a man as kill a good book. Who kills a man kills a
reasonable creature, God's image; but he who destroys a good book, kills
reason itself; kills the image of God, as it were, in the eye. Many a
man lives a burden to the earth; but a good book is the precious
life-blood of a master-spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a
life beyond life. 'Tis true no age can restore a life, whereof, perhaps,
there is no great loss; and revolutions of ages do not oft recover the
loss of a rejected truth, for the want of which whole nations fare the
worse. We should be wary, therefore, what persecution we raise against
the living labours of public men, how we spill that seasoned life of man
preserved and stored up in books; since we see a kind of homicide may be
thus committed, sometimes a martyrdom, and if it extend to the whole
impression, a kind of massacre, whereof the execution ends not in the
slaying of an elemental life, but strikes at that ethereal and fifth
essence--the breath of reason itself; slays an immortality rather than a
life.--J. MILTON. _Areopagitica._


BOSWELL. 'There is a strange unwillingness to part with life,
independent of serious fears as to futurity. A reverend friend of ours
(naming him) tells me, that he feels an uneasiness at the thoughts of
leaving his house, his study, his books.'

JOHNSON. 'This is foolish in ---- [Percy?]. A man need not be uneasy on
these grounds; for, as he will retain his consciousness, he may say with
the philosopher, _Omnia mea mecum porto_.'

BOSWELL. 'True, Sir: we may carry our books in our heads; but still
there is something painful in the thought of leaving for ever what has
given us pleasure. I remember, many years ago, when my imagination was
warm, and I happened to be in a melancholy mood, it distressed me to
think of going into a state of being in which Shakespeare's poetry did
not exist. A lady whom I then much admired, a very amiable woman,
humoured my fancy, and relieved me by saying, "The first thing you will
meet in the other world will be an elegant copy of Shakespeare's works
presented to you."'

Dr. Johnson smiled benignantly at this, and did not appear to disapprove
of the notion.--J. BOSWELL. _Life of Johnson._


    I cannot think the glorious world of mind,
      Embalmed in books, which I can only see
    In patches, though I read my moments blind,
      Is to be lost to me.

    I have a thought that, as we live elsewhere,
      So will these dear creations of the brain;
    That what I lose unread, I'll find, and there
      Take up my joy again.

    O then the bliss of blisses, to be freed
      From all the wants by which the world is driven;
    With liberty and endless time to read
      The libraries of Heaven!

                               R. LEIGHTON.


Actions pass away and are forgotten, or are only discernible in their
effects; conquerors, statesmen, and kings live but by their names
stamped on the page of history. Hume says rightly that more people think
about Virgil and Homer (and that continually) than ever trouble their
heads about Caesar or Alexander. In fact, poets are a longer-lived race
than heroes: they breathe more of the air of immortality. They survive
more entire in their thoughts and acts. We have all that Virgil or Homer
did, as much as if we had lived at the same time with them: we can hold
their works in our hands, or lay them on our pillows, or put them to our
lips. Scarcely a trace of what the others did is left upon the earth, so
as to be visible to common eyes. The one, the dead authors, are living
men, still breathing and moving in their writings. The others, the
conquerors of the world, are but the ashes in an urn. The sympathy (so
to speak) between thought and thought is more intimate and vital than
that between thought and action. Thought is linked to thought as flame
kindles into flame: the tribute of admiration to the manes of departed
heroism is like burning incense in a marble monument. Words, ideas,
feelings, with the progress of time harden into substances: things,
bodies, actions, moulder away, or melt into a sound, into thin
air!--Yet though the schoolmen in the Middle Ages disputed more about
the texts of Aristotle than the battle of Arbela, perhaps Alexander's
Generals in his lifetime admired his pupil as much and liked him better.
For not only a man's actions are effaced and vanish with him; his
virtues and generous qualities die with him also: his intellect only is
immortal and bequeathed unimpaired to posterity. Words are the only
things that last for ever.--W. HAZLITT. _Table Talk._


How pleasant it is to reflect, that all these lovers of books have
themselves become books! What better metamorphosis could Pythagoras have
desired! How Ovid and Horace exulted in anticipating theirs! And how the
world have justified their exultation! They had a right to triumph over
brass and marble. It is the only visible change which changes no
further; which generates and yet is not destroyed. Consider: mines
themselves are exhausted; cities perish; kingdoms are swept away, and
man weeps with indignation to think that his own body is not immortal.

    Muoiono le città, muoiono i regni,
    E l'uom d'esser mortal par che si sdegni.

Yet this little body of thought, that lies before me in the shape of a
book, has existed thousands of years, nor since the invention of the
press can anything short of an universal convulsion of nature abolish
it. To a shape like this, so small yet so comprehensive, so slight yet
so lasting, so insignificant yet so venerable, turns the mighty activity
of Homer, and, so turning, is enabled to live and warm us for ever. To a
shape like this turns the placid sage of Academus: to a shape like this
the grandeur of Milton, the exuberance of Spenser, the pungent elegance
of Pope, and the volatility of Prior. In one small room, like the
compressed spirits of Milton, can be gathered together

    The assembled souls of all that men held wise.

May I hope to become the meanest of these existences? This is a question
which every author who is a lover of books asks himself some time in
his life; and which must be pardoned, because it cannot be helped. I
know not. I cannot exclaim with the poet,

    Oh that my name were numbered among theirs,
    Then gladly would I end my mortal days.

For my mortal days, few and feeble as the rest of them may be, are of
consequence to others. But I should like to remain visible in this
shape. The little of myself that pleases myself I could wish to be
accounted worth pleasing others. I should like to survive so, were it
only for the sake of those who love me in private, knowing as I do what
a treasure is the possession of a friend's mind, when he is no more. At
all events, nothing while I live and think can deprive me of my value
for such treasures. I can help the appreciation of them while I last,
and love them till I die; and perhaps, if fortune turns her face once
more in kindness upon me before I go, I may chance, some quiet day, to
lay my overbeating temples on a book, and so have the death I most
envy.--J. H. LEIGH HUNT. _My Books._


    O blessed letters! that combine in one
    All ages past, and make one live with all,
    By you we do confer with who are gone,
    And the dead-living unto council call;
    By you the unborn shall have communion
    Of what we feel and what doth us befall.

           *       *       *       *       *

              What good is like to this,
    To do worthy the writing, and to write
    Worthy the reading, and the world's delight?

                    S. DANIEL. _Musophilus._

Though they [philosophers] write _contemptu gloriae_, yet, as Hieron
observes, they will put their names to their books.--R. BURTON.


    But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
      Falling, like dew, upon a thought, produces
    That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think;
      'Tis strange, the shortest letter which man uses
    Instead of speech, may form a lasting link
      Of ages; to what straits old Time reduces
    Frail man, when paper--even a rag like this,
    Survives himself, his tomb, and all that's his!

    And when his bones are dust, his grave a blank,
      His station, generation, even his nation,
    Become a thing, or nothing, save to rank
      In chronological commemoration,
    Some dull MS. oblivion long has sank,
      Or graven stone found in a barrack's station
    In digging the foundation of a closet,
    May turn his name up, as a rare deposit.

    And glory long has made the sages smile;
      'Tis something, nothing, words, illusion, wind--
    Depending more upon the historian's style
      Than on the name a person leaves behind:
    Troy owes to Homer what whist owes to Hoyle:
      The present century was growing blind
    To the great Marlborough's skill in giving knocks,
    Until his late Life by Archdeacon Coxe.

                    G. GORDON, LORD BYRON. _Don Juan._


Visible and tangible products of the Past, again, I reckon-up to the
extent of three: Cities, with their Cabinets and Arsenals; then tilled
Fields, to either or to both of which divisions Roads with their Bridges
may belong; and thirdly--Books. In which third, truly, the last
invented, lies a worth far surpassing that of the two others. Wondrous
indeed is the virtue of a true Book! Not like a dead city of stones,
yearly crumbling, yearly needing repair; more like a tilled field, but
then a spiritual field: like a spiritual tree, let me rather say, it
stands from year to year, and from age to age (we have Books that
already number some hundred-and-fifty human ages); and yearly comes its
new produce of leaves (Commentaries, Deductions, Philosophical,
Political Systems; or were it only Sermons, Pamphlets, Journalistic
Essays), every one of which is talismanic and thaumaturgic, for it can
persuade men. O thou who art able to write a Book, which once in the two
centuries or oftener there is a man gifted to do, envy not him whom they
name City-builder, and inexpressibly pity him whom they name Conqueror
or City-burner! Thou too art a Conqueror and Victor; but of the true
sort, namely over the Devil: thou too hast built what will outlast all
marble and metal, and be a wonder-bringing City of the Mind, a Temple
and Seminary and Prophetic Mount, whereto all kindreds of the Earth will
pilgrim.--T. CARLYLE. _Sartor Resartus._


Some of the well-puffed fashionable novels of eighteen hundred and
twenty-nine hold the pastry of eighteen hundred and thirty; and others,
which are now extolled in language almost too high-flown for the merits
of _Don Quixote_, will, we have no doubt, line the trunks of eighteen
hundred and thirty-one.--LORD MACAULAY. _Mr. Robert Montgomery's Poems._


Some of the Histories that our age has produced are books in the truest
sense of the word. They illustrate great periods in our own annals, and
in the annals of other countries. They show what a divine discipline has
been at work to form men; they teach us that there is such a discipline
at work to form us into men. That is the test to which I have urged that
all books must at last be brought; if they do not bear it, their doom is
fixed. They may be light or heavy, the penny sheet or the vast folio;
they may speak of things seen or unseen; of Science or Art; of what has
been or what is to be; they may amuse us or weary us, flatter us or
scorn us; if they do not assist to make us better and more substantial
men, they are only providing fuel for a fire larger, and more utterly
destructive, than that which consumed the Library of the Ptolemies.--F.
D. MAURICE. _On Books._


All books are divisible into two classes, the books of the hour, and the
books of all time. Mark this distinction--it is not one of quality only.
It is not merely the bad book that does not last, and the good one that
does. It is a distinction of species. There are good books for the hour,
and good ones for all time; bad books for the hour, and bad ones for all
time. I must define the two kinds before I go farther.

The good book of the hour, then,--I do not speak of the bad ones--is
simply the useful or pleasant talk of some person whom you cannot
otherwise converse with, printed for you. Very useful often, telling you
what you need to know; very pleasant often, as a sensible friend's
present talk would be. These bright accounts of travels; good-humoured
and witty discussions of question; lively or pathetic story-telling in
the form of novel; firm fact-telling, by the real agents concerned in
the events of passing history;--all these books of the hour, multiplying
among us as education becomes more general, are a peculiar
characteristic and possession of the present age: we ought to be
entirely thankful for them, and entirely ashamed of ourselves if we make
no good use of them. But we make the worst possible use, if we allow
them to usurp the place of true books: for, strictly speaking, they are
not books at all, but merely letters or newspapers in good print.... A
book is written, not to multiply the voice merely, not to carry it
merely, but to preserve it. The author has something to say which he
perceives to be true and useful, or helpfully beautiful. So far as he
knows, no one has yet said it; so far as he knows, no one else can say
it. He is bound to say it, clearly and melodiously if he may; clearly,
at all events. In the sum of his life he finds this to be the thing, or
group of things, manifest to him;--this the piece of true knowledge, or
sight, which his share of sunshine and earth has permitted him to seize.
He would fain set it down for ever; engrave it on rock, if he could;
saying, 'This is the best of me; for the rest, I ate, and drank, and
slept, loved, and hated, like another; my life was as the vapour, and is
not; but this I saw and knew: this, if anything of mine, is worth your
memory.' That is his 'writing'; it is, in his small human way, and with
whatever degree of true inspiration is in him, his inscription, or
scripture. That is a 'Book'....

Now books of this kind have been written in all ages by their greatest
men:--by great leaders, great statesmen, and great thinkers. These are
all at your choice; and life is short. You have heard as much before;
yet have you measured and mapped out this short life and its
possibilities? Do you know, if you read this, that you cannot read
that--that what you lose to-day you cannot gain to-morrow? Will you go
and gossip with your housemaid, or your stable-boy, when you may talk
with queens and kings; or flatter yourselves that it is with any worthy
consciousness of your own claims to respect that you jostle with the
common crowd for _entrée_ here, and audience there, when all the while
this eternal court is open to you, with its society wide as the world,
multitudinous as its days, the chosen, and the mighty, of every place
and time? Into that you may enter always; in that you may take
fellowship and rank according to your wish; from that, once entered into
it, you can never be outcast but by your own fault; by your aristocracy
of companionship there, your own inherent aristocracy will be assuredly
tested, and the motives with which you strive to take high place in the
society of the living, measured, as to all the truth and sincerity that
are in them, by the place you desire to take in this company of the
Dead.--J. RUSKIN. _Sesame and Lilies._


    Who will believe my verse in time to come,
    If it were filled with your most high deserts?
    Though yet, heaven knows, it is but as a tomb
    Which hides your life and shows not half your parts.
    If I could write the beauty of your eyes
    And in fresh numbers number all your graces,
    The age to come would say, 'This poet lies;
    Such heavenly touches ne'er touched earthly faces.'
    So should my papers, yellowed with their age,
    Be scorned, like old men of less truth than tongue,
    And your true rights be termed a poet's rage
    And stretchèd metre of an antique song:
      But were some child of yours alive that time,
      You should live twice,--in it and in my rhyme.

                              W. SHAKESPEARE.


    How many paltry, foolish, painted things,
    That now in coaches trouble every street,
    Shall be forgotten, whom no poet sings,
    Ere they be well wrapped in their winding-sheet!
    Where I to thee eternity shall give,
    When nothing else remaineth of these days,
    And queens hereafter shall be glad to live
    Upon the alms of thy superfluous praise;
    Virgins and matrons reading these my rhymes,
    Shall be so much delighted with thy story,
    That they shall grieve they lived not in these times,
    To have seen thee, their sex's only glory:
        So shalt thou fly above the vulgar throng,
        Still to survive in my immortal song.

                           M. DRAYTON.


    One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
    But came the waves and washèd it away:
    Again I wrote it with a second hand,
    But came the tide and made my pains his prey.
    'Vain man,' said she, 'that dost in vain essay
    A mortal thing so to immortalize;
    For I myself shall like to this decay,
    And eke my name be wipèd out likewise.'
    'Not so,' quoth I; 'let baser things devise
    To die in dust, but you shall live by fame;
    My verse your virtues rare shall eternize,
    And in the heavens write your glorious name:
      Where, whenas Death shall all the world subdue,
      Our love shall live, and later life renew.'

                                E. SPENSER.


    Well I remember how you smiled
      To see me write your name upon
    The soft sea-sand--'O! _what a child!_
      _You think you're writing upon stone!_'

    I have since written what no tide
      Shall ever wash away, what men
    Unborn shall read o'er ocean wide
      And find Ianthe's name again.

                     W. S. LANDOR.


Solomon saith truly, Of making many books there is no end, so insatiable
is the thirst of men therein; as also endless is the desire of many in
buying and reading them. But we come to our rules.

1. _It is a vanity to persuade the world one hath much learning, by
getting a great library._ As soon shall I believe every one is valiant
that hath a well-furnished armoury. I guess good housekeeping by the
smoking, not the number of the tunnels, as knowing that many of them,
built merely for uniformity, are without chimneys, and more without
fires. Once a dunce void of learning but full of books flouted a
libraryless scholar with these words: _Salve doctor sine libris._ But
the next day the scholar coming into this jeerer's study, crowded with
books; _Salvete libri_, saith he, _sine doctore_.

2. _Few books, well selected, are best._ Yet, as a certain fool bought
all the pictures that came out, because he might have his choice, such
is the vain humour of many men in gathering of books: yet when they have
done all, they miss their end, it being in the editions of authors as in
the fashions of clothes, when a man thinks he hath gotten the latest and
newest, presently another newer comes out.

3. _Some books are only cursorily to be tasted of._ Namely, first,
voluminous books, the task of a man's life to read them over; secondly,
auxiliary books, only to be repaired to on occasions; thirdly, such as
are mere pieces of formality, so that if you look on them, you look
through them; and he that peeps through the casement of the index sees
as much as if he were in the house. But the laziness of those cannot be
excused who perfunctorily pass over authors of consequence, and only
trade in their tables and contents. These, like city-cheaters, having
gotten the names of all country gentlemen, make silly people believe
they have long lived in those places where they never were, and flourish
with skill in those authors they never seriously studied.

4. _The genius of the author is commonly discovered in the dedicatory
epistle._ Many place the purest grain in the mouth of the sack for
chapmen to handle or buy: and from the dedication one may probably guess
at the work, saving some rare and peculiar exceptions. Thus, when once a
gentleman admired how so pithy, learned, and witty a dedication was
matched to a flat, dull, foolish book; _In truth_, said another, _they
may be well matched together, for I profess they are nothing akin_.

5. _Proportion an hour's meditation to an hour's reading of a staple
author._ This makes a man master of his learning, and dispirits the book
into the scholar. The king of Sweden never filed his men above six deep
in one company, because he would not have them lie in useless clusters
in his army, but so that every particular soldier might be drawn out
into service. Books that stand thin on the shelves, yet so as the owner
of them can bring forth every one of them into use, are better than far
greater libraries....

But what do I, speaking against multiplicity of books in this age, who
trespass in this nature myself? What was a learned man's compliment, may
serve for my confession and conclusion: _Multi mei similes hoc morbo
laborant, ut cum scribere nesciant tamen a scribendo temperare non
possint_.--T. FULLER. _The Holy State and the Profane State._


I have heard some with deep sighs lament the lost lines of Cicero;
others with as many groans deplore the combustion of the library of
Alexandria. For my own part, I think there be too many in the world, and
could with patience behold the urn and ashes of the Vatican, could I,
with a few others, recover the perished leaves of Solomon. I would not
omit a copy of _Enoch's Pillars_, had they many nearer authors than
Josephus, or did not relish somewhat of the fable. Some men have
written more than others have spoken. Pineda quotes more authors in one
work than are necessary in a whole world. Of those three great
inventions in Germany, there are two which are not without their
incommodities, and 'tis disputable whether they exceed not their use and
commodities. 'Tis not a melancholy _Utinam_ of mine own, but the desires
of better heads that there were a general synod; not to unite the
incompatible differences of religion, but for the benefit of learning,
to reduce it as it lay at first, in a few and solid authors; and to
condemn to the fire those swarms and millions of rhapsodies, begotten
only to distract and abuse the weaker judgements of scholars, and to
maintain the trade and mystery of typographers.--SIR T. BROWNE. _Religio


The reason that books are multiplied, in spite of the general law that
beings shall not be multiplied without necessity, is, that books are
made from books. A new history of France or Spain is manufactured from
several volumes already printed, without adding anything new. All
dictionaries are made from dictionaries; almost all new geographical
books are made from other books of geography; St. Thomas's dream has
brought forth two thousand large volumes of divinity; and the same race
of little worms that have devoured the parent are now gnawing the
children.--VOLTAIRE. _Philosophical Dictionary: Books._


The invention of printing has not, perhaps, multiplied books, but only
the copies of them; and if we believe there were six hundred thousand in
the library of Ptolemy, we shall hardly pretend to equal it by any of
ours, nor, perhaps, by all put together; I mean so many originals that
have lived any time, and thereby given testimony to their having been
thought worth preserving. For the scribblers are infinite, that like
mushrooms or flies are born and die in small circles of time; whereas
books, like proverbs, receive their chief value from the stamp and
esteem of ages through which they have passed.--SIR W. TEMPLE. _Ancient
and Modern Learning._


The circumstance which gives authors an advantage ... is this, that they
can multiply their originals; or rather can make copies of their works,
to what number they please, which shall be as valuable as the originals
themselves. This gives a great author something like a prospect of
eternity, but at the same time deprives him of those other advantages
which artists meet with. The artist finds greater returns in profit, as
the author in fame. What an inestimable price would a Virgil or a Homer,
a Cicero or an Aristotle bear, were their works like a statue, a
building, or a picture, to be confined only in one place, and made the
property of a single person!--J. ADDISON. _Spectator_, 166.


It is observed that _a corrupt society has many laws_; I know not
whether it is not equally true, that _an ignorant age has many books_.
When the treasures of ancient knowledge lie unexamined, and original
authors are neglected and forgotten, compilers and plagiaries are
encouraged who give us again what we had before, and grow great by
setting before us what our own sloth had hidden from our view.--S.
JOHNSON. _Idler_, 85.


Nothing can supply the place of books. They are cheering or soothing
companions in solitude, illness, affliction. The wealth of both
continents would not compensate for the good they impart. Let every man,
if possible, gather some good books under his roof, and obtain access
for himself and family to some social library. Almost any luxury should
be sacrificed to this.

One of the very interesting features of our times is the multiplication
of books, and their distribution through all conditions of society. At a
small expense a man can now possess himself of the most precious
treasures of English literature. Books, once confined to a few by their
costliness, are now accessible to the multitude; and in this way a
change of habits is going on in society, highly favourable to the
culture of the people. Instead of depending on casual rumour and loose
conversation for most of their knowledge and objects of thought; instead
of forming their judgements in crowds, and receiving their chief
excitement from the voice of neighbours; men are now learning to study
and reflect alone, to follow out subjects continuously, to determine for
themselves what shall engage their minds, and to call to their aid the
knowledge, original views, and reasonings of men of all countries and
ages; and the results must be, a deliberateness and independence of
judgement, and a thoroughness and extent of information, unknown in
former times. The diffusion of these silent teachers, books, through the
whole community, is to work greater effects than artillery, machinery,
and legislation. Its peaceful agency is to supersede stormy revolutions.
The culture, which is to spread, whilst an unspeakable good to the
individual, is also to become the stability of nations.--W. E. CHANNING.


Under our present enormous accumulation of books, I do affirm, that a
miserable distraction of choice (which is the germ of such a madness)
must be very generally incident to the times; that the symptoms of it
are, in fact, very prevalent; and that one of the chief symptoms is an
enormous 'gluttonism' for books, and for adding language to language;
and in this way it is that literature becomes much more a source of
torment than of pleasure. Nay, I will go further, and will say that of
many, who escape this disease, some owe their privilege simply to the
narrowness of their minds and the contracted range of their sympathies
with literature--which enlarged, they would soon lose it! others, again,
owe it to their situation; as, for instance, in a country town, where,
books being few, a man can use up all his materials, his appetite is
unpalled--and he is grateful for the loan of a MS., &c.: but bring him
up to London--show him the wagon-loads of unused stores--which he is at
liberty to work up--tell him that these even are but a trifle, perhaps,
to what he may find in the libraries of Paris, Dresden, Milan, &c.--of
religious houses--of English noblemen, &c.; and this same man, who came
up to London blithe and happy, will leave it pale and sad. You have
ruined his peace of mind: a subject which he fancied himself capable of
exhausting, he finds to be a labour for centuries: he has no longer the
healthy pleasure of feeling himself master of his materials; he is
degraded into their slave.--T. DE QUINCEY. _Letters to a Young Man._


    Were I to name, out of the times gone by,
    The poets dearest to me, I should say,
    Pulci for spirits, and a fine, free way;
    Chaucer for manners, and close, silent eye;
    Milton for classic taste, and harp strung high;
    Spenser for luxury, and sweet, sylvan play;
    Horace for chatting with, from day to day;
    Shakespeare for all, but most, society.

    But which take with me, could I take but one?
    Shakespeare,--as long as I was unoppressed
    With the world's weight, making sad thoughts intenser;
    But did I wish, out of the common sun
    To lay a wounded heart in leafy rest,
    And dream of things far off and healing,--Spenser.

                               J. H. LEIGH HUNT.


You may get the whole of Sir Thomas Browne's works more easily than the
_Hydrotaphia_ in a single form.... If I were confined to a score of
English books, this I think would be one of them; nay, probably, it
would be one if the selection were cut down to twelve. My library, if
reduced to those bounds, would consist of Shakespeare, Chaucer, Spenser,
and Milton; Lord Clarendon; Jackson, Jeremy Taylor, and South; Isaac
Walton, Sidney's _Arcadia_, Fuller's _Church History_, and Sir Thomas
Browne; and what a wealthy and well-stored mind would that man have,
what an inexhaustible reservoir, what a Bank of England to draw upon for
profitable thoughts and delightful associations, who should have fed
upon them.--R. SOUTHEY (Letter to G. C. Bedford).


Whoever converses much among the old books will be something hard to
please among the new; yet these must have their part, too, in the
leisure of an idle man, and have, many of them, their beauties as well
as their defaults. Those of story, or relations of matter of fact, have
a value from their substance as much as from their form, and the variety
of events is seldom without entertainment or instruction, how
indifferently soever the tale is told. Other sorts of writings have
little of esteem but what they receive from the wit, learning, or genius
of the authors, and are seldom met with of any excellency, because they
do but trace over the paths that have been beaten by the ancients, or
comment, critic, and flourish upon them, and are at best but copies
after those originals, unless upon subjects never touched by them, such
as are all that relate to the different constitutions of religions,
laws, or governments in several countries, with all matters of
controversy that arise upon them.--SIR W. TEMPLE. _Ancient and Modern


Immediately the two main bodies withdrew, under their several ensigns,
to the farther parts of the library, and there entered into cabals and
consults upon the present emergency. The Moderns were in very warm
debates upon the choice of their leaders; and nothing less than the fear
impending from their enemies could have kept them from mutinies upon
this occasion. The difference was greatest among the horse, where every
private trooper pretended to the chief command, from Tasso and Milton to
Dryden and Wither. The light-horse were commanded by Cowley and
Despreaux. There came the bowmen under their valiant leaders, Descartes,
Gassendi, and Hobbes; whose strength was such that they could shoot
their arrows beyond the atmosphere, never to fall down again, but turn,
like that of Evander, into meteors; or, like the cannon-ball, into
stars. Paracelsus brought a squadron of stinkpot-flingers from the snowy
mountains of Rhaetia. There came a vast body of dragoons, of different
nations, under the leading of Harvey, their great aga: part armed with
scythes, the weapons of death; part with lances and long knives, all
steeped in poison; part shot bullets of a most malignant nature, and
used white powder, which infallibly killed without report. There came
several bodies of heavy-armed foot, all mercenaries, under the ensigns
of Guiccardini, Davila, Polydore, Virgil, Buchanan, Mariana, Camden, and
others. The engineers were commanded by Regiomontanus and Wilkins. The
rest was a confused multitude, led by Scotus, Aquinas, and Bellarmine;
of mighty bulk and stature, but without either arms, courage, or
discipline. In the last place came infinite swarms of calones, a
disorderly rout led by L'Estrange; rogues and ragamuffins, that follow
the camp for nothing but the plunder, all without coats to cover them.

The Army of the Ancients was much fewer in number; Homer led the horse,
and Pindar the light-horse; Euclid was chief engineer; Plato and
Aristotle commanded the bowmen; Herodotus and Livy the foot;
Hippocrates, the dragoons; the allies, led by Vossius and Temple,
brought up the rear.

All things violently tending to a decisive battle, Fame, who much
frequented, and had a large apartment assigned her in the regal library,
fled up straight to Jupiter, to whom she delivered a faithful account of
all that passed between the two parties below; for among the Gods she
always tells truth. Jove, in great concern, convokes a council in the
Milky Way. The senate assembled, he declares the occasion of convening
them; a bloody battle just impendent between two mighty armies of
ancient and modern creatures, called books, wherein the celestial
interest was but too deeply concerned. Momus, the patron of the Moderns,
made an excellent speech in their favour, which was answered by Pallas,
the protectress of the Ancients. The assembly was divided in their
affections; when Jupiter commanded the Book of Fate to be laid before
him. Immediately were brought by Mercury three large volumes in folio,
containing memoirs of all things past, present, and to come. The clasps
were of silver double gilt, the covers of celestial turkey leather, and
the paper such as here on earth might almost pass for vellum. Jupiter,
having silently read the decree, would communicate the import to none,
but presently shut up the book....

Meanwhile Momus, fearing the worst, and calling to mind an ancient
prophecy which bore no very good face to his children the Moderns, bent
his flight to the region of a malignant deity called Criticism. She
dwelt on the top of a snowy mountain in Nova Zembla; there Momus found
her extended in her den, upon the spoils of numberless volumes, half
devoured. At her right hand sat Ignorance, her father and husband, blind
with age; at her left, Pride, her mother, dressing her up in the scraps
of paper herself had torn. There was Opinion, her sister, light of foot,
hoodwinked, and headstrong, yet giddy and perpetually turning. About her
played her children, Noise and Impudence, Dullness and Vanity,
Positiveness, Pedantry, and Ill-manners.... 'Goddess,' said Momus, 'can
you sit idly here while our devout worshippers, the Moderns, are this
minute entering into a cruel battle, and perhaps now lying under the
swords of their enemies? Who then hereafter will ever sacrifice or build
altars to our divinities? Haste, therefore, to the British Isle, and, if
possible, prevent their destruction; while I make factions among the
gods, and gain them over to our party.' ...

The goddess and her train, having mounted the chariot, which was drawn
by tame geese, flew over infinite regions, shedding her influence in due
places, till at length she arrived at her beloved island of Britain; but
in hovering over its metropolis, what blessings did she not let fall
upon her seminaries of Gresham and Covent Garden! And now she reached
the fatal plain of St. James's library, at what time the two armies were
upon the point to engage; where, entering with all her caravan unseen,
and landing upon a case of shelves, now desert, but once inhabited by a
colony of virtuosos, she stayed awhile to observe the posture of both
armies.--J. SWIFT. _The Battle of the Books._


Alonso of Aragon was wont to say, in commendation of Age, that Age
appeared to be best in four things; Old wood best to burn, old wine to
drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.--F. BACON, LORD
VERULAM. _Apophthegmes._


Classicus is a man of learning, and well versed in all the best authors
of antiquity. He has read them so much that he has entered into their
spirit, and can very ingeniously imitate the manner of any of them. All
their thoughts are his thoughts, and he can express himself in their
language. He is so great a friend to this improvement of the mind that
if he lights on a young scholar he never fails to advise him concerning
his studies.

Classicus tells his young man he must not think that he has done enough
when he has only learnt languages; but that he must be daily conversant
with the best authors, read them again and again, catch their spirit by
living with them, and that there is no other way of becoming like them,
or of making himself a man of taste and judgement.

How wise might Classicus have been and how much good might he have done
in the world, if he had but thought as justly of devotion as he does of
learning!... The two testaments would not have had so much as a place
amongst his books, but that they are both to be had in Greek.

Classicus thinks that he sufficiently shows his regard for the holy
scriptures when he tells you that he has no other book of piety besides
them.--W. LAW. _A serious Call to a devout and holy Life._


    That critic must indeed be bold
    Who pits new authors against old.
    Only the ancient coin is prized,
    The dead alone are canonized:
    What was even Shakespeare until then?
    A poet scarce compared with Ben:
    And Milton in the streets no taller
    Than sparkling easy-ambling Waller.
    Waller now walks with rhyming crowds,
    While Milton sits above the clouds,
    Above the stars, his fixed abode,
    And points to men their way to God.

                      W. S. LANDOR.


    Will nothing but from Greece or Rome
    Please me? is nothing good at home?
    Yes; better; but I look in vain
    For a Molière or La Fontaine.
    Swift in his humour was as strong,
    But there was gall upon his tongue.
    Bitters and acids may excite,
    Yet satisfy not appetite.

                      W. S. LANDOR.


SIR, ... we must read what the world reads at the moment. It has been
maintained that this superfoetation, this teeming of the press in modern
times, is prejudicial to good literature, because it obliges us to read
so much of what is of inferior value, in order to be in the fashion; so
that better works are neglected for want of time, because a man will
have more gratification of his vanity in conversation, from having read
modern books than from having read the best books of antiquity. But it
must be considered, that we have now more knowledge generally diffused;
all our ladies read now, which is a great extension. Modern writers are
the moons of literature; they shine with reflected light, with light
borrowed from the ancients. Greece appears to me to be the fountain of
knowledge; Rome of elegance.--S. JOHNSON. (Boswell's _Life_.)


     From Lien Chi Altangi to Fum Hoam, First President of the
     Ceremonial Academy at Pekin, in China

There are numbers in this city who live by writing new books; and yet
there are thousands of volumes in every large library unread and
forgotten. This, upon my arrival, was one of those contradictions which
I was unable to account for. Is it possible, said I, that there should
be any demand for new books before those already published are read? Can
there be so many employed in producing a commodity with which the market
is overstocked; and with goods also better than any of modern

What at first view appeared an inconsistency is a proof at once of this
people's wisdom and refinement. Even allowing the works of their
ancestors better written than theirs, yet those of the moderns acquire a
real value, by being marked with the impression of the times. Antiquity
has been in the possession of others; the present is our own: let us
first therefore learn to know what belongs to ourselves, and then, if we
have leisure, cast our reflections back to the reign of Shonsu, who
governed twenty thousand years before the creation of the moon.

The volumes of antiquity, like medals, may very well serve to amuse the
curious; but the works of the moderns, like the current coin of a
kingdom, are much better for immediate use; the former are often prized
above their intrinsic value, and kept with care, the latter seldom pass
for more than they are worth, and are often subject to the merciless
hands of sweating critics and clipping compilers: the works of antiquity
were ever praised, those of the moderns read; the treasures of our
ancestors have our esteem, and we boast the passion; those of
contemporary genius engage our heart, although we blush to own it. The
visits we pay the former resemble those we pay the great; the ceremony
is troublesome, and yet such as we would not choose to forgo; our
acquaintance with modern books is like sitting with a friend; our pride
is not flattered in the interview, but it gives more internal

In England, where there are as many new books published as in all the
rest of Europe together, a spirit of freedom and reason reigns among the
people; they have been often known to act like fools, they are generally
found to think like men.--O. GOLDSMITH. _Letters from a Citizen of the


In science read, by preference, the newest works; in literature, the
oldest. The classic literature is always modern. New books revive and
re-decorate old ideas; old books suggest and invigorate new ideas.--E.


I hate to read new books. There are twenty or thirty volumes that I have
read over and over again, and these are the only ones that I have any
desire ever to read at all. It was a long time before I could bring
myself to sit down to the _Tales of My Landlord_, but now that author's
works have made a considerable addition to my scanty library.... Women
judge of books as they do of fashions or complexions, which are admired
only 'in their newest gloss'. That is not my way. I am not one of those
who trouble the circulating libraries much, or pester the booksellers
for mail-coach copies of standard periodical publications. I cannot say
that I am greatly addicted to black-letter, but I profess myself well
versed in the marble bindings of Andrew Millar, in the middle of the
last century; nor does my taste revolt at Thurloe's _State Papers_, in
russia leather; or an ample impression of Sir William Temple's _Essays_,
with a portrait after Sir Godfrey Kneller in front. I do not think
altogether the worse of a book for having survived the author a
generation or two. I have more confidence in the dead than the
living.... When I take up a work that I have read before (the oftener
the better), I know what I have to expect. The satisfaction is not
lessened by being anticipated. When the entertainment is altogether new,
I sit down to it as I should to a strange dish--turn and pick out a bit
here and there, and am in doubt what to think of the composition. There
is a want of confidence and security to second appetite. New-fangled
books are also like made-dishes in this respect, that they are generally
little else than hashes and _rifaccimentos_ of what has been served up
entire and in a more natural state at other times. Besides, in thus
turning to a well-known author, there is not only an assurance that my
time will not be thrown away, or my palate nauseated with the most
insipid or vilest trash, but I shake hands with, and look an old, tried,
and valued friend in the face, compare notes, and chat the hours away.
It is true, we form dear friendships with such ideal guests--dearer,
alas! and more lasting, than those with our most intimate acquaintance.
In reading a book which is an old favourite with me (say the first novel
I ever read) I not only have the pleasure of imagination and of a
critical relish of the work, but the pleasures of memory added to it.
It recalls the same feelings and associations which I had in first
reading it, and which I can never have again in any other way. Standard
productions of this kind are links in the chain of our conscious being.
They bind together the different scattered divisions of our personal
identity. They are landmarks and guides in our journey through life.
They are pegs and loops on which we can hang up, or from which we can
take down, at pleasure, the wardrobe of a moral imagination, the relics
of our best affections, the tokens and records of our happiest hours.
They are 'for thoughts and for remembrance'! They are like Fortunatus's
Wishing Cap--they give us the best riches--those of Fancy; and transport
us, not over half the globe, but (which is better) over half our lives,
at a word's notice!

My father Shandy solaced himself with Bruscambille. Give me for this
purpose a volume of _Peregrine Pickle_ or _Tom Jones_. Open either of
them anywhere--at the memoirs of Lady Vane, or the adventures at the
masquerade with Lady Bellaston, or the disputes between Thwackum and
Square, or the escape of Molly Seagrim, or the incident of Sophia and
her muff, or the edifying prolixity of her aunt's lecture--and there I
find the same delightful, busy, bustling scene as ever, and feel myself
the same as when I was first introduced into the midst of it. Nay,
sometimes the sight of an odd volume of these good old English authors
on a stall, or the name lettered on the back among others on the shelves
of a library, answers the purpose, revives the whole train of ideas, and
sets 'the puppets dallying'. Twenty years are struck off the list, and I
am a child again. A sage philosopher, who was not a very wise man, said,
that he should like very well to be young again, if he could take his
experience along with him. This ingenious person did not seem to be
aware, by the gravity of his remark, that the great advantage of being
young is to be without this weight of experience, which he would fain
place upon the shoulders of youth, and which never comes too late with
years. Oh! what a privilege to be able to let this hump, like
Christian's burthen, drop from off one's back, and transport oneself, by
the help of a little musty duodecimo, to the time when 'ignorance was
bliss', and when we first got a peep at the raree-show of the world,
through the glass of fiction--gazing at mankind, as we do at wild beasts
in a menagerie, through the bars of their cages--or at curiosities in a
museum, that we must not touch! For myself, not only are the old ideas
of the contents of the work brought back to my mind in all their
vividness, but the old associations of the faces and persons of those I
then knew, as they were in their lifetime--the place where I sat to read
the volume, the day when I got it, the feeling of the air, the fields,
the sky--return, and all my early impressions with them. This is better
to me--those places, those times, those persons, and those feelings that
come across me as I retrace the story and devour the page, are to me
better far than the wet sheets of the last new novel.--W. HAZLITT. _The
Plain Speaker._


I cannot understand the rage manifested by the greater part of the world
for reading new books. If the public had read all those that have gone
before, I can conceive how they should not wish to read the same work
twice over; but when I consider the countless volumes that lie unopened,
unregarded, unread, and unthought of, I cannot enter into the pathetic
complaints that I hear made that Sir Walter writes no more--that the
press is idle--that Lord Byron is dead. If I have not read a book
before, it is, to all intents and purposes, new to me, whether it was
printed yesterday or three hundred years ago. If it be urged that it has
no modern, passing incidents, and is out of date and old-fashioned, then
it is so much the newer; it is farther removed from other works that I
have lately read, from the familiar routine of ordinary life, and makes
so much more addition to my knowledge. But many people would as soon
think of putting on old armour as of taking up a book not published
within the last month, or year at the utmost. There is a fashion in
reading as well as in dress, which lasts only for the season. One would
imagine that books were, like women, the worse for being old; that they
have a pleasure in being read for the first time; that they open their
leaves more cordially; that the spirit of enjoyment wears out with the
spirit of novelty; and that, after a certain age, it is high time to put
them on the shelf. This conceit seems to be followed up in practice....
The knowledge which so many other persons have of its contents deadens
our curiosity and interest altogether. We set aside the subject as one
on which others have made up their minds for us (as if we really could
have ideas in their heads), and are quite on the alert for the next new
work, teeming hot from the press, which we shall be the first to read,
criticize, and pass an opinion on. Oh, delightful! To cut open the
leaves, to inhale the fragrance of the scarcely dry paper, to examine
the type to see who is the printer (which is some clue to the value that
is set upon the work), to launch out into regions of thought and
invention never trod till now, and to explore characters that never met
a human eye before--this is a luxury worth sacrificing a dinner-party,
or a few hours of a spare morning to. Who, indeed, when the work is
critical and full of expectation, would venture to dine out, or to face
a coterie of blue-stockings in the evening, without having gone through
this ordeal, or at least without hastily turning over a few of the first
pages, while dressing, to be able to say that the beginning does not
promise much, or to tell the name of the heroine?

A new work is something in our power: we mount the bench, and sit in
judgement on it; we can damn or recommend it to others at pleasure, can
decry or extol it to the skies, and can give an answer to those who have
not yet read it, and expect an account of it; and thus show our
shrewdness and the independence of our taste before the world have had
time to form an opinion. If we cannot write ourselves, we become, by
busying ourselves about it, a kind of _accessories after the fact_.--W.
HAZLITT. _Sketches and Essays._


By the by, I observe a point in which your taste and mine differ from
each other materially. It is about new publications. I read them
unwillingly. You abstain from them with difficulty, and as a matter of
duty and self-denial. Their novelty has very little attraction for me;
and in literature I am fond of confining myself to the best company,
which consists chiefly of my old acquaintance, with whom I am desirous
of becoming more intimate; and I suspect that nine times out of ten it
is more profitable, if not more agreeable, to read an old book over
again, than to read a new one for the first time. If I hear of a new
poem, for instance, I ask myself first, whether it is superior to Homer,
Shakespeare, Ariosto, Virgil, or Racine; and, in the next place, whether
I already have all these authors completely at my fingers' ends. And
when both questions have been answered in the negative, I infer that it
is better (and, to me, it is certainly pleasanter) to give such time as
I have to bestow on the reading of poetry to Homer, Ariosto and Co., and
so of other things.

Is it not better to try, at least, to elevate and adorn one's mind, by
the constant study and contemplation of the great models, than merely to
know of one's own knowledge that such a book an't worth reading?--J. W.
WARD, EARL OF DUDLEY (Letter to the Bishop of Llandaff).


The great productions of Athenian and Roman genius are indeed still what
they were. But though their positive value is unchanged, their relative
value, when compared with the whole mass of mental wealth possessed by
mankind, has been constantly falling. They were the intellectual all of
our ancestors. They are but a part of our treasures. Over what tragedy
could Lady Jane Grey have wept, over what comedy could she have smiled,
if the ancient dramatists had not been in her library? A modern reader
can make shift without _Oedipus_ and _Medea_, while he possesses
_Othello_ and _Hamlet_. If he knows nothing of _Pyrgopolynices_ and
_Thraso_, he is familiar with _Bobadil_, and _Bessus_, and _Pistol_, and
_Parolles_. If he cannot enjoy the delicious irony of Plato, he may find
some compensation in that of Pascal. If he is shut out from
_Nephelococcygia_, he may take refuge in _Lilliput_.... We believe that
the books which have been written in the languages of Western Europe,
during the last two hundred and fifty years--translations from the
ancient languages of course included,--are of greater value than all the
books which at the beginning of that period were extant in the
world.--LORD MACAULAY. _Lord Bacon._


Each age, it is found, must write its own books; or, rather, each
generation for the next succeeding. The books of an older period will
not fit this. Yet hence arises a grave mischief. The sacredness which
attaches to the act of creation--the act of thought--is transferred to
the record. The poet chanting, was felt to be a divine man: henceforth
the chant is divine also. The writer was a just and wise spirit:
henceforward it is settled, the book is perfect; as love of the hero
corrupts into worship of his statue. Instantly, the book becomes
noxious: the guide is a tyrant. The sluggish and perverted mind of the
multitude, slow to open to the incursions of Reason, having once so
opened, having once received this book, stands upon it, and makes an
outcry if it is disparaged. Colleges are built on it. Books are written
on it by thinkers, not by Man Thinking; by men of talent, that is, who
start wrong, who set out from accepted dogmas, not from their own sight
of principles. Meek young men grow up in libraries, believing it their
duty to accept the views which Cicero, which Locke, which Bacon, have
given, forgetful that Cicero, Locke, and Bacon were only young men in
libraries when they wrote these books.

Hence, instead of Man Thinking, we have the book-worm. Hence, the
book-learned class, who value books as such; not as related to nature
and the human constitution, but as making a sort of Third Estate with
the world and the soul. Hence, the restorers of readings, the
emendators, the bibliomaniacs of all degrees.

Books are the best of things, well used; abused, among the worst.--R. W.
EMERSON. _The American Scholar._


Old books, as you well know, are books of the world's youth, and new
books are fruits of its age. How many of all these ancient folios round
me are like so many old cupels? The gold has passed out of these long
ago, but their pores are full of the dross with which it was
mingled.--O. W. HOLMES. _The Professor at the Breakfast-Table._


What a sense of security in an old book which Time has criticized for
us! What a precious feeling of seclusion in having a double wall of
centuries between us and the heats and clamours of contemporary
literature! How limpid seems the thought, how pure the old wine of
scholarship that has been settling for so many generations in those
silent crypts and Falernian _amphorae_ of the Past! No other writers
speak to us with the authority of those whose ordinary speech was that
of our translation of the Scriptures; to no modern is that frank
unconsciousness possible which was natural to a period when reviews were
not; and no later style breathes that country charm characteristic of
days ere the metropolis drew all literary activity to itself, and the
trampling feet of the multitude had banished the lark and the daisy from
the fresh privacies of language. Truly, as compared with the present,
these old voices seem to come from the morning fields and not the paved
thoroughfares of thought....

There are volumes which have the old age of Plato, rich with gathering
experience, meditation, and wisdom, which seem to have sucked colour and
ripeness from the genial autumns of all the select intelligences that
have steeped them in the sunshine of their love and appreciation;--these
quaint freaks of russet tell of Montaigne; these stripes of crimson
fire, of Shakespeare; this sober gold, of Sir Thomas Browne; this
purpling bloom, of Lamb;--in such fruits we taste the legendary gardens
of Alcinoüs and the orchards of Atlas; and there are volumes again which
can claim only the inglorious senility of Old Parr or older Jenkins,
which have outlived their half-dozen of kings to be the prize of showmen
and treasuries of the born-to-be-forgotten trifles of a hundred years

There is to us a sacredness in a volume, however dull; we live over
again the author's lonely labours and tremulous hopes; we see him, on
his first appearance after parturition, 'as well as could be expected,'
a nervous sympathy yet surviving between the late-severed umbilical cord
and the wondrous offspring, doubtfully entering the Mermaid, or the
Devil Tavern, or the Coffee-house of Will or Button, blushing under the
eye of Ben or Dryden or Addison, as if they must needs know him for the
author of the _Modest Enquiry into the Present State of Dramatique
Poetry_, or of the _Unities briefly considered by Philomusus_, of which
they have never heard and never will so much as hear the names; we see
the country-gentlemen (sole cause of its surviving to our day) who buy
it as a book no gentleman's library can be complete without; we see the
spendthrift heir, whose horses and hounds and Pharaonic troops of
friends, drowned in a Red Sea of claret, bring it to the hammer, the
tall octavo in tree-calf following the ancestral oaks of the park. Such
a volume is sacred to us. But it must be the original foundling of the
book-stall, the engraved blazon of some extinct baronetcy within its
cover, its leaves enshrining memorial-flowers of some passion smothered
while the Stuarts were not yet unkinged, suggestive of the trail of
laced ruffles, burnt here and there with ashes from the pipe of some
dozing poet, its binding worn and weather-stained, that has felt the
inquisitive finger, perhaps, of Malone, or thrilled to the touch of
Lamb, doubtful between desire and the odd sixpence. When it comes to a
question of reprinting we are more choice. The new duodecimo is bald and
bare, indeed, compared with its battered prototype that could draw us
with a single hair of association.--J. R. LOWELL. _Library of Old


    It will be looked for, book, when some but see
      Thy title, Epigrams, and named of me,
    Thou shouldst be bold, licentious, full of gall,
      Wormwood and sulphur, sharp, and toothed withal,
    Become a petulant thing, hurl ink and wit
      As madmen stones; not caring whom they hit.
    Deceive their malice, who could wish it so;
      And by thy wiser temper let men know
    Thou art not covetous of least self-fame,
      Made from the hazard of another's shame:
    Much less with lewd, profane, and beastly phrase,
      To catch the world's loose laughter, or vain gaze.
    He that departs with his own honesty
      For vulgar praise, doth it too dearly buy.

                                    BEN JONSON.


    For those my unbaptizèd rhymes,
    Writ in my wild unhallowed times;
    For every sentence, clause, and word,
    That's not inlaid with thee, my Lord,
    Forgive me, God, and blot each line
    Out of my book that is not thine.
    But if, 'mongst all, thou findst here one
    Worthy thy benediction;
    That one of all the rest shall be
    The glory of my work and me.

                       R. HERRICK. _Noble Numbers._


In our forefathers' time, when papistry, as a standing pool, covered and
overflowed all England, few books were read in our tongue, saving
certain books of chivalry, as they said for pastime and pleasure; which,
as some say, were made in monasteries by idle monks or wanton canons. As
one for example, 'Morte Arthur', the whole pleasure of which book
standeth in two special points, in open manslaughter and bold bawdry....
This is good stuff for wise men to laugh at, or honest men to take
pleasure at: yet I know, when God's Bible was banished the court, and
'Morte Arthur' received into the prince's chamber.

What toys the daily reading of such a book may work in the will of a
young gentleman, or a young maid, that liveth wealthily or idly, wise
men can judge, and honest men do pity. And yet ten 'Morte Arthurs' do
not the tenth part so much harm, as one of these books made in Italy and
translated in England.... Suffer these books to be read, and they shall
soon displace all books of godly learning.--R. ASCHAM. _The


    A good book steals the mind from vain pretences,
    From wicked cogitations and offences;
    It makes us know the world's deceiving pleasures,
    And set our hearts on never-ending treasures.
    So when thieves steal our cattle, coin, or ware,
    It makes us see how mutable they are:
    Puts us in mind that we should put our trust
    Where felon cannot steal or canker rust.
    Bad books through eyes and ears do break and enter,
    And take possession of the heart's frail centre,
    Infecting all the little kingdom man
    With all the poisonous mischief that they can,
    Till they have robbed and ransacked him of all
    Those things which men may justly goodness call;
    Rob him of virtue and of heavenly grace,
    And leave him beggared in a wretched state.
    So of our earthly goods, thieves steal the best,
    And richest jewels, and leave us the rest.
    Men know not thieves from true men by their looks,
    Nor by their outsides no man can know books.
    Both are to be suspected, all can tell,
    And wise men, ere they trust, will try them well:
    Some books not worth the reading for their fruits,
    Some thieves not worth the hanging, for their suits.
    And as with industry, and art, and skill
    One thief doth daily rob another still,
    So one book from another, in this age,
    Steals many a line, a sentence, or a page.
    And as the veriest thief may have some friend
    So the worst books some knave will still defend.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Still books and thieves in one conceit do join,
    For, if you mark them, they are all for coin.

                   J. TAYLOR. _An Arrant Thief._


They [the Stationers] have so pestered their printing-houses and shops
with fruitless volumes that the ancient and renowned authors are almost
buried among them as forgotten; and that they have so much work to
prefer their termly pamphlets, which they provide to take up the
people's money and time, that there is neither of them left to bestow on
a profitable book: so they who desire knowledge are still kept ignorant;
their ignorance increaseth their affection to vain toys; their
affection makes the stationer to increase his provision of such stuff,
and at last you shall see nothing to be sold amongst us but Curranto's
_Bevis of Southampton_ or such trumpery. The Arts are already almost
lost among the writings of mountebank authors. For if any one among us
would study Physic, the Mathematics, Poetry, or any of the liberal
sciences, they have in their warehouses so many volumes of quack-salving
receipts; of false propositions; and of inartificial rhymings (of which
last sort they have some of mine there, God forgive me!) that unless we
be directed by some artist, we shall spend half our age before we can
find those authors which are worth our readings. For what need the
stationer be at the charge of printing the labours of him that is master
of his art, and will require that respect which his pain deserveth,
seeing he can hire for a matter of forty shillings some needy ignoramus
to scribble upon the same subject, and by a large promising title, make
it as vendible for an impression or two, as though it had the
quintessence of all art?--G. WITHER. _The Scholler's Purgatory._


_Learning hath gained most by those books by which the printers have
lost._ Arius Montanus, in printing the Hebrew Bible, commonly called the
Bible of the king of Spain, much wasted himself, and was accused in the
court of Rome for his good deed, and being cited thither, _Pro tantorum
laborum praemio vix veniam impetravit_. Likewise Christopher Plantin, by
printing of his curious interlineary Bible in Antwerp, through the
unseasonable exactions of the king's officers, sunk and almost ruined
his estate. And our worthy English knight, who set forth the
golden-mouthed father in a silver print, was a loser by it.

_Whereas foolish pamphlets prove most beneficial to the printers._ When
a French printer complained that he was utterly undone by printing a
solid serious book of Rabelais concerning physic, Rabelais, to make him
recompense, made that his jesting scurrilous work, which repaired the
printer's loss with advantage. Such books the world swarms too much
with. When one had set out a witless pamphlet, writing _finis_ at the
end thereof, another wittily wrote beneath it:

    ----_Nay there thou liest, my friend,
    In writing foolish books there is no end._

And surely such scurrilous scandalous papers do more than conceivable
mischief. First, their lusciousness puts many palates out of taste, that
they can never after relish any solid and wholesome writers; secondly,
they cast dirt on the faces of many innocent persons, which dried on by
continuance of time can never after be washed off; thirdly, the
pamphlets of this age may pass for records with the next, because
publicly uncontrolled, and what we laugh at, our children may believe:
fourthly, grant the things true they jeer at, yet this music is unlawful
in any Christian church, to play upon the sins and miseries of others,
the fitter object of the elegies than the satires of all truly
religious.--T. FULLER. _The Holy State and the Profane State._


If writings are thus durable, and may pass from age to age throughout
the whole course of time, how careful should an author be of committing
anything to print that may corrupt posterity, or poison the minds of men
with vice and error! Writers of great talents, who employ their parts in
propagating immorality, and seasoning vicious sentiments with wit and
humour, are to be looked upon as the pests of society and the enemies of
mankind: they leave books behind them, as it is said of those who die in
distempers which breed an ill will towards their own species, to scatter
infection and destroy their posterity. They act the counterparts of a
Confucius or a Socrates; and seem to have been sent into the world to
deprave human nature, and sink it into the condition of brutality.--J.
ADDISON. _Spectator_, 166.

He who has published an injurious book, sins, as it were, in his very
grave; corrupts others while he is rotting himself.--R. SOUTH.


    A mind unnerved, or indisposed to bear
    The weight of subjects worthiest of her care,
    Whatever hopes a change of scene inspires,
    Must change her nature, or in vain retires.
    An idler is a watch that wants both hands,
    As useless if it goes as when it stands,
    Books therefore, not the scandal of the shelves,
    In which lewd sensualists print out themselves;
    Nor those in which the stage gives vice a blow,
    With what success let modern manners show;
    Nor his who, for the bane of thousands born,
    Built God a church, and laughed His word to scorn,
    Skilful alike to seem devout and just,
    And stab religion with a sly side-thrust;
    Nor those of learned philologists, who chase
    A panting syllable through time and space,
    Start it at home, and hunt it in the dark,
    To Gaul, to Greece, and into Noah's ark;
    But such as learning without false pretence,
    The friend of truth, the associate of sound sense,
    And such as, in the zeal of good design,
    Strong judgement labouring in the scripture mine,
    All such as manly and great souls produce,
    Worthy to live, and of eternal use:
    Behold in these what leisure hours demand,
    Amusement and true knowledge hand in hand.
    Luxury gives the mind a childish cast,
    And while she polishes, perverts the taste;
    Habits of close attention, thinking heads,
    Become more rare as dissipation spreads,
    Till authors hear at length, one gen'ral cry,
    Tickle and entertain us, or we die.
    The loud demand, from year to year the same,
    Beggars invention and makes fancy lame,
    Till farce itself, most mournfully jejune,
    Calls for the kind assistance of a tune;
    And novels (witness every month's review)
    Belie their name and offer nothing new.
    The mind, relaxing into needful sport,
    Should turn to writers of an abler sort,
    Whose wit well managed, and whose classic style,
    Give truth a lustre, and make wisdom smile.
    Friends (for I cannot stint, as some have done,
    Too rigid in my view, that name to one;
    Though one, I grant it, in the generous breast,
    Will stand advanced a step above the rest:
    Flowers by that name promiscuously we call,
    But one, the rose, the regent of them all)--
    Friends, not adopted with a school-boy's haste,
    But chosen with a nice discerning taste,
    Well-born, well-disciplined, who, placed apart
    From vulgar minds, have honour much at heart,
    And, though the world may think the ingredients odd,
    The love of virtue, and the fear of God!
    Such friends prevent what else would soon succeed,
    A temper rustic as the life we lead,
    And keep the polish of the manners clean,
    As their's who bustle in the busiest scene;
    For solitude, however some may rave,
    Seeming a sanctuary, proves a grave,
    A sepulchre in which the living lie,
    Where all good qualities grow sick and die.

                        W. COWPER, _Retirement_.


    Faith and fixed hope these pages may peruse,
    And still be faith and hope; but, O ye winds!
    Blow them far off from all unstable minds,
    And foolish grasping hands of youth! Ye dews
    Of heaven! be pleased to rot them where they fall,
    Lest loitering boys their fancies should abuse,
    And they get harm by chance, that cannot choose;
    So be they stained and sodden, each and all!
    And if, perforce, on dry and gusty days,
    Upon the breeze some truant leaf should rise,
    Brittle with many weathers, to the skies,
    Or flit and dodge about the public ways--
    Man's choral shout, or organ's peal of praise
    Shall shake it into dust, like older lies.

                        C. TENNYSON TURNER.


'To the pure all things are pure'; not only meats and drinks, but all
kind of knowledge, whether of good or evil; the knowledge cannot defile,
nor consequently the books, if the will and conscience be not defiled.
For books are as meats and viands are, some of good, some of evil
substance; and yet God, in that unapocryphal vision, said without
exception, 'Rise, Peter, kill and eat'; leaving the choice to each man's
discretion. Wholesome meats to a vitiated stomach differ little or
nothing from unwholesome; and best books to a naughty mind are not
unapplicable to occasions of evil. Bad meats will scarce breed good
nourishment in the healthiest concoction; but herein the difference is
of bad books, that they to a discreet and judicious reader serve in many
respects to discover, to confute, to forewarn, and to illustrate.... If
it be true that a wise man, like a good refiner, can gather gold out of
the drossiest volume, and that a fool will be a fool with the best book,
yea, or without book, there is no reason that we should deprive a wise
man of any advantage to his wisdom, while we seek to restrain from a
fool that which being restrained will be no hindrance to his folly.--J.
MILTON. _Areopagitica._


The men who died to buy us liberty knew that it was better to let in a
thousand bad books than shut out one good one. We cannot, then, silence
evil books, but we can turn away our eyes from them; we can take care
that what we read, and what we let others read, should be good and
wholesome.--C. KINGSLEY. _Village Sermons: On Books._


Books will perhaps be found, in a less degree than is commonly imagined,
the corrupters of the morals of mankind. They form an effective
subsidiary to events and the contagion of vicious society: but, taken by
themselves, they rarely produce vice and profligacy where virtue existed
before. Everything depends upon the spirit in which they are read. He
that would extract poison from them, must for the most part come to
them with a mind already debauched. The power of books in generating
virtue is probably much greater than in generating vice.--W. GODWIN.
_The Inquirer: Of Choice in Reading._


    To read my book, the virgin shy
    May blush, while Brutus standeth by:
    But when he's gone, read through what's writ,
    And never stain a cheek for it.

                   R. HERRICK. _Hesperides._


I should not care to be caught in the serious avenues of some cathedral
alone, and reading _Candide_.

I do not remember a more whimsical surprise than having been once
detected--by a familiar damsel--reclined at my ease upon the grass, on
Primrose Hill (her Cythera), reading--_Pamela_. There was nothing in the
book to make a man seriously ashamed at the exposure; but as she seated
herself down by me, and seemed determined to read in company, I could
have wished it had been--any other book. We read on very sociably for a
few pages; and, not finding the author much to her taste, she got up,
and--went away. Gentle casuist, I leave it to thee to conjecture,
whether the blush (for there was one between us) was the property of the
nymph or the swain in this dilemma. From me you shall never get the
secret.--C. LAMB. _Detached Thoughts on Books and Reading._


Make careful choice of the books which you read. Let the Holy Scriptures
ever have the pre-eminence, and next them, the solid, lively, heavenly
treatises which best expound and apply the Scriptures: and next those,
the credible histories, especially of the Church, and tractates upon
inferior sciences and arts: but take heed of the poison of the writings
of false teachers, which would corrupt your understandings: and of vain
romances, play-books, and false stories, which may bewitch your
fantasies and corrupt your hearts.

To a very judicious able reader, who is fit to censure all he reads,
there is no great danger in the reading of the Books of any seducers: it
doth but show him how little and thin a cloak is used to cover a bad
cause. But alas, young soldiers, not used to such wars, are startled at
a very sophism, or at a terrible threatening of damnation to dissenters
(which every censorious sect can use) or at every confident triumphant
boast, or at everything that hath a fair pretence of truth or
godliness.... Meddle not therefore with poison, till you better know how
to use it, and may do it with less danger; as long as you have no need.

As for play-books, and romances, and idle tales, I have already showed,
in my _Book of Self-denial_, how pernicious they are, especially to
youth, and to frothy, empty, idle wits, that know not _what a man is_,
nor what he hath to do in the world. They are powerful baits of the
Devil, to keep more necessary things out of their minds, and better
books out of their hands, and to poison the mind so much the more
dangerously, as they are read with more delight and pleasure.--R.
BAXTER. _Christian Directory._


Though we think then that the reading these Books may be lawful, and
have some Convenience too, as to forming the Minds of Persons of
Quality; yet we think 'em not all convenient for the Vulgar, because
they give 'em extravagant Ideas of Practice, and before they have
Judgement to bias their Fancies, and generally make 'em think themselves
some King or Queen or other:--One Fool must be Mazares, t'other Artamen;
and so for the Women, no less than Queens or Empresses will serve 'em,
the Inconveniences of which are afterwards oftentimes sooner observed
than remedied. Add to this, the softening of the Mind by Love, which are
the greatest subject of these sort of Books, and the fooling away so
many Hours and Days and Years, which might be much better employed, and
which must be repented of: And upon the whole, we think Young People
would do better, either not to read 'em at all, or to use 'em more
sparingly than they generally do, when once they set about 'em.--From
the _Athenian Mercury_ (1691-7).


It is impossible for me, by any words that I can use, to express, to the
extent of my thoughts, the danger of suffering young people to form
their opinions from the writings of poets and romances. Nine times out
of ten, the morality they teach is bad, and must have a bad tendency.
Their wit is employed to _ridicule virtue_, as you will almost always
find, if you examine the matter to the bottom. The world owes a very
large part of its sufferings to tyrants; but what tyrant was there
amongst the ancients, whom the poets did not place _amongst the gods_?
Can you open an English poet without, in some part or other of his
works, finding the grossest flatteries of royal and noble persons? How
are young people not to think that the praises bestowed on these persons
are just? Dryden, Parnell, Gay, Thomson, in short, what poet have we
had, or have we, Pope only excepted, who was not, or is not, a
pensioner, or a sinecure placeman, or the wretched dependant of some
part of the Aristocracy? Of the extent of the power of writers in
producing mischief to a nation, we have two most striking instances in
the cases of Dr. Johnson and Burke.... It is, therefore, the duty of
every father, when he puts a book into the hands of his son or daughter,
to give the reader a true account of _who_ and _what_ the writer of the
book was, or is.--W. COBBETT. _Advice to Young Men and (incidentally) to
Young Women in the Middle and Higher Ranks of Life._


I could make neither head nor tail of it; it was neither fish, flesh,
nor good red herring: it was all about my Lord, and Sir Harry, and the
Captain.... The people talk such wild gibberish as no folks in their
sober senses ever did talk; and the things that happen to them are not
like the things that ever happen to me or any of my acquaintance. They
are at home one minute, and beyond the sea the next; beggars to-day,
and lords to-morrow; waiting-maids in the morning, and duchesses at
night.... One would think every man in these books had the bank of
England in his escritoire.... In these books (except here and there one,
whom they make worse than Satan himself), every man and woman's child of
them, are all wise, and witty, and generous, and rich, and handsome, and
genteel, and all to the last degree. Nobody is middling, or good in one
thing and bad in another, like my live acquaintance; but it is all up to
the skies, or down to the dirt. I had rather read _Tom Hickathrift_, or
_Jack the Giant Killer_, a thousand times.--HANNAH MORE. _The Two
Wealthy Farmers._


'What are you reading, Miss----?' 'Oh! it's only a novel!' replies the
young lady; while she lays down her book with affected indifference, or
momentary shame. 'It is only _Cecilia_, or _Camilla_, or _Belinda_'; or,
in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are
displayed; in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the
happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit or
humour, are conveyed to the world in the best chosen language.--JANE
AUSTEN. _Northanger Abbey._


The listlessness and want of sympathy with which most of the works
written expressly for circulation among the labouring classes are read
by them, if read at all, arises mainly from this--that the story told,
or the lively or friendly style assumed, is _manifestly_ and _palpably_
only a cloak for the instruction intended to be conveyed--a sort of
gilding of what they cannot well help fancying must be a pill, when they
see so much and such obvious pains taken to wrap it up.... You will find
that in the higher and better class of works of fiction and imagination
duly circulated, you possess all that you require to strike your
grappling-iron into their souls, and chain them, willing followers, to
the car of civilization.... The novel, in its best form, I regard as one
of the most powerful engines of civilization ever invented.--SIR J.
HERSCHEL. _Address to the Subscribers to the Windsor Public Library._


    Lord Harry has written a novel,
      A story of elegant life;
    No stuff about love in a hovel,
      No sketch of a commoner's wife:
    No trash, such as pathos and passion,
      Fine feelings, expression, and wit;
    But all about people of fashion,
      Come look at his caps--how they fit!

    O Radcliffe! thou once wert the charmer
      Of girls who sat reading all night;
    Thy heroes were striplings in armour,
      Thy heroines damsels in white.
    But past are thy terrible touches,
      Our lips in derision we curl,
    Unless we are told how a Duchess
      Conversed with her cousin the Earl.

    We now have each dialogue quite full
      Of titles--'I give you my word,
    My lady, you're looking delightful';
      'O dear, do you think so, my lord!'
    'You've heard of the marquis's marriage,
      The bride with her jewels new set,
    Four horses, new travelling carriage,
      And _déjeuner à la fourchette_?'

    _Haut Ton_ finds her privacy broken,
      We trace all her ins and her outs;
    The very small talk that is spoken
      By very great people at routs.
    At Tenby Miss Jinks asks the loan of
      The book from the innkeeper's wife,
    And reads till she dreams she is one of
      The leaders of elegant life.

                        T. H. BAYLY.

LADY CONSTANCE ... guanoed her mind by reading French novels.--B.


Novels are sweets. All people with healthy literary appetites love
them--almost all women;--a vast number of clever, hard-headed men. Why,
one of the most learned physicians in England said to me only yesterday,
'I have just read _So-and-So_ for the second time' (naming one of
Jones's exquisite fictions). Judges, bishops, chancellors,
mathematicians, are notorious novel-readers; as well as young boys and
sweet girls, and their kind, tender mothers.--W. M. THACKERAY.
_Roundabout Papers: On a Lazy Idle Boy._


As a good housewife out of divers fleeces weaves one piece of cloth, a
bee gathers wax and honey out of many flowers, and makes a new bundle of

    _Floriferis ut apes in saltibus omnia libant_,

I have laboriously collected this cento out of various authors, and that
_sine injuria_: I have wronged no authors, but given every man his own;
which Hierom so much commends in Nepotian; he stole not whole verses,
pages, tracts, as some do nowadays, concealing their authors' names; but
still said this was Cyprian's, that Lactantius, that Hilarius, so said
Minutius Felix, so Victorinus, thus far Arnobius: I cite and quote mine
authors (which, howsoever some illiterate scribblers account pedantical,
as a cloak of ignorance, and opposite to their affected fine style, I
must and will use) _sumpsi, non surripui_; and what Varro, lib. 6 de re
rust., speaks of bees, _minime maleficae, nullius opus vellicantes
faciunt deterius_, I can say of myself. Whom have I injured? The matter
is theirs most part and yet mine: _apparet unde sumptum sit_ (which
Seneca approves); _aliud tamen, quam unde sumptum sit, apparet_; which
nature doth with the aliment of our bodies, incorporate, digest,
assimilate, I do _concoquere quod hausi_, dispose of what I take: I make
them pay tribute, to set out this my Macaronican: the method only is
mine own. I must usurp that of _Wecker e Ter. nihil dictum quod non
dictum prius: methodus sola artificem ostendit_: we can say nothing but
what hath been said, the composition and method is ours only, and shows
a scholar. Oribasius, Aëtius, Avicenna, have all out of Galen, but to
their own method, _diverso stylo, non diversa fide_. Our poets steal
from Homer; he spews, saith Aelian, they lick it up. Divines use
Austin's words _verbatim_ still, and our story-dressers do as much; he
that comes last is commonly best,

                  --donec quid grandius aetas
                  Postera, sorsque ferat melior.

                  R. BURTON. _The Anatomy of Melancholy._


He [King Charles I, in his _Eikon Basilike_] borrows David's Psalmes, as
he charges the Assembly of Divines in his twentieth Discourse, _To have
set forth old Catechisms and confessions of faith new drest_. Had he
borrowed David's heart, it had been much the holier theft. For such kind
of borrowing as this, if it be not bettered by the borrower, among good
Authors is accounted Plagiarie. However, this was more tolerable than
Pamela's prayer, stolen out of Sir Philip.--J. MILTON. _Eikonoklastes._


I number not my borrowings, but I weigh them. And if I would have made
their number to prevail, I would have had twice as many. They are all,
or almost all, of so famous and ancient names, that methinks they
sufficiently name themselves without me. If in reasons, comparisons, and
arguments, I transplant any into my soil, or confound them with mine
own, I purposely conceal the author, thereby to bridle the rashness of
these hasty censures that are so headlong cast upon all manner of
compositions, namely, young writings of men yet living.... I will have
them to give Plutarch a bob upon mine own lips, and vex themselves in
wronging Seneca in me.--MONTAIGNE.


Some that turn over all books, and are equally searching in all papers;
that write out of what they presently find or meet, without choice; by
which means it happens that what they have discredited and impugned in
one work, they have before or after extolled the same in another. Such
are all the Essayists, even their master Montaigne. These in all they
write confess still what books they have read last, and therein their
own folly so much that they bring it to the stake raw and undigested;
not that the place did need it neither, but that they thought themselves
furnished and would vent it.

Some again, who, after they have got authority, or, which is less,
opinion, by their writings, to have read much, dare presently to feign
whole books and authors, and lie safely. For what never was will not
easily be found, not by the most curious.

And some, by a cunning protestation against all reading, and false
venditation of their own naturals, think to divert the sagacity of their
readers from themselves, and cool the scent of their fox-like thefts,
when yet they are so rank as a man may find whole pages together usurped
from one author.--BEN JONSON. _Timber._


The greatest man of the last age, Ben Jonson, was willing to give place
to the classics in all things: he was not only a professed imitator of
Horace, but a learned plagiary of all the others; you track him
everywhere in their snow. If Horace, Lucan, Petronius Arbiter, Seneca,
and Juvenal had their own from him, there are few serious thoughts which
are new in him.... But he has done his robberies so openly, that one may
see he fears not to be taxed by any law. He invades authors like a
monarch; and what would be theft in other poets, is only victory in
him.--J. DRYDEN. _Essay of Dramatic Poesy._

Steal! to be sure they will, and, egad! serve your best thoughts as
gipsies do stolen children--disfigure them to make them pass for their
own.--R. B. SHERIDAN. _The Critic._


Writers ... are apter to be beholding to books than to men, not only as
the first are more in their possession, being more constant companions
than dearest friends, but because they commonly make such use of
treasure found in books as of other treasure belonging to the dead and
hidden under ground; for they dispose of both with great secrecy,
defacing the shape or images of the one as much as of the other, through
fear of having the original of their stealth or abundance discovered.
And the next cause why writers are more in libraries than in company is
that books are easily opened, and learned men are usually shut up by a
froward or envious humour of retention, or else unfold themselves so as
we may read more of their weakness and vanity than wisdom, imitating the
holiday-custom in great cities, where the shops of chandlery and slight
wares are familiarly open, but those of solid and staple merchandise are
proudly locked up.--SIR W. DAVENANT. _Gondibert._


We have been reading a treatise on the morality of Shakespeare; it is a
happy and easy way of filling a book, that the present race of authors
have arrived at--that of criticizing the works of some eminent poet:
with monstrous extracts and short remarks. It is a species of cookery I
begin to grow tired of; they cut up their authors into chops, and by
adding a little crumbled bread of their own, and tossing it up a little,
they present it as a fresh dish; you are to dine upon the poet;--the
critic supplies the garnish; yet has the credit, as well as profit, of
the whole entertainment.--HANNAH MORE. _Memoirs._


To a veteran like myself, who have watched the books of forty seasons,
there is nothing so old as a new book. An astonishing sameness and want
of individuality pervades modern books. The ideas they contain do not
seem to have passed through the mind of the writer. They have not even
that originality--the only originality which John Mill in his modesty
would claim for himself--'which every thoughtful mind gives to its own
mode of conceiving and expressing truths which are common
property'--(_Autobiography_). When you are in London step into the
reading-room of the British Museum. There is the great manufactory out
of which we turn the books of the season. It was so before there was any
British Museum. It was so in Chaucer's time--

    For out of the old fields, as men saith,
    Cometh all this new corn from year to year,
    And out of old books in good faith
    Cometh all this new science that men lere.

It continued to be so in Cervantes' day. 'There are,' says he in _Don
Quixote_, 'men who will make you books and turn them loose in the world
with as much dispatch as they would do a dish of fritters.'

It is not, then, any wonder that De Quincy should account it 'one of the
misfortunes of life that one must read thousands of books only to
discover that one need not have read them'.... And I cannot doubt that
Bishop Butler had observed the same phenomenon when he wrote, in 1729:
'The great number of books of amusement which daily come in one's way,
have in part occasioned this idle way of considering things. By this
means time, even in solitude, is happily got rid of without the pain of
attention; neither is any part of it more put to the account of
idleness, one can scarce forbear saying is spent with less thought, than
great part of that which is spent in reading.'--MARK PATTISON.
_Fortnightly Review: Books and Critics._


                    The muse shall tell
    How science dwindles, and how volumes swell;
      How commentators each dark passage shun,
    And hold their farthing candles to the sun;
      How tortured texts to speak our sense are made,
    And every vice is to the scripture laid.

                    E. YOUNG. _Love of Fame._


Our modern wits are not to reckon upon the infinity of matter for a
constant supply. What remains, therefore, but that our last recourse
must be had to large indexes and little compendiums? Quotations must be
plentifully gathered, and booked in alphabet; to this end, though
authors need to be little consulted, yet critics, and commentators, and
lexicons carefully must. But, above all, those judicious collectors of
bright parts, and flowers, and _observandas_, are to be nicely dwelt on;
by some called the sieves and coulters of learning, though it is left
undetermined whether they dealt in pearls or meal, and consequently,
whether we are more to value that which passed through, or what stayed
behind. By these methods, in a few weeks, there starts up many a writer
capable of managing the profoundest and most universal subjects. For
what though his head be empty, provided his commonplace book be full?
And if you will bate him but the circumstances of method, and style, and
grammar, and invention; allow him but the common privileges of
transcribing from others, and digressing from himself, as often as he
shall see occasion; he will desire no more ingredients towards fitting
up a treatise that shall make a very comely figure on a bookseller's
shelf; there to be preserved neat and clean for a long eternity, adorned
with the heraldry of its title fairly inscribed on a label; never to be
thumbed or greased by students, nor bound to everlasting chains of
darkness in a library.--J. SWIFT. _A Tale of a Tub._

His Invention is no more than the finding out of his papers, and his few
gleanings there, and his disposition of them is just as the
book-binder's, a setting or glueing of them together.--J. EARLE.

Good God! how many dungboats full of fruitless works do they yearly
foist on his Majesty's subjects; how many hundred reams of foolish,
profane, and senseless ballads do they quarterly disperse abroad.--G.
WITHER (1632).


    Leigh Hunt! thou stingy man, Leigh Hunt!
    May Charon swamp thee in his punt,
    For having, in thy list, forgotten
    So many poets scarce half rotten,
    Who did expect of thee at least
    A few cheese-parings from thy _Feast_.
    Hast thou no pity on the men
    Who suck (as babes their tongues) the pen,
    Until it leaves no traces where
    It lighted, and seems dipped in air?
    At last be generous, Hunt! and prithee
    Refresh (and gratis too) in Lethe
    Yonder sick Muse, surcharged with poppies
    And heavier presentation-copies.
    She _must_ grow livelier, and the river
    More potent in effect than ever.

                         W. S. LANDOR.


    Our master, Meleager, he who framed
      The first Anthology and daintiest,
    Mated each minstrel with a flower, and named
      For each the blossom that beseemed him best.
    'Twas then as now; garlands were somewhat rare,
      Candidates many: one in doleful strain
    Lamented thus, 'This is a sad affair;
      How shall I face my publisher again?
    Lacking some emblem suitable for me,
      My book's undone; I shall not sell a copy.'
    'Take courage, son,' quoth Phoebus, 'there must be
      Somewhere or other certainly a poppy.'

                              R. GARNETT.

    'Tis pleasant, sure, to see one's name in print;
    A book's a book, although there's nothing in't.

                            LORD BYRON.


All my life long I have delighted in voluminous works; in other words, I
have delighted in that sort of detail which permits so intimate a
familiarity with the subjects of which it treats.... Even in this world
of Beauties, and of Extracts, I do not believe myself quite alone in my
love of the elaborate and the minute; and yet I doubt if many people
contemplate very long very big books with the sense of coming enjoyment
which such a prospect gives me; and few shrink, as I do, with aversion
and horror from that invention of the enemy--an Abridgement. I never
shall forget the shock I experienced in seeing Bruce, that opprobrium of
an unbelieving age, that great and graphic traveller, whose eight or
nine goodly volumes took such possession of me, that I named a whole
colony of Bantams after his Abyssinian princes and princesses, calling a
little golden strutter of a cock after that arch-tyrant the Ras Michael;
and a speckled hen, the beauty of the poultry-yard, Ozoro Ester, in
honour of the Ras's favourite wife--I never felt greater disgust than at
seeing this magnificent work cut down to a thick, dumpy volume, seven
inches by five; except, perhaps, when I happened to light upon another
pet book--Drinkwater's _Siege of Gibraltar_, where I had first learned
to tremble at the grim realities of war, had watched day by day the
firing of the red-hot balls, had groped my way through the galleries,
and taken refuge in the casemates,--degraded from the fair proportions
of a goodly quarto into the thin and meagre pamphlet of a lending
library, losing a portion of its lifelike truth with every page that was
cut away.--M. R. MITFORD. _Recollections of a Literary Life._


We love, we own, to read the great productions of the human mind as they
were written. We have this feeling even about scientific treatises;
though we know that the sciences are always in a state of progression,
and that the alterations made by a modern editor in an old book on any
branch of natural or political philosophy are likely to be improvements.
Some errors have been detected by writers of this generation in the
speculations of Adam Smith. A short cut has been made to much knowledge
at which Sir Isaac Newton arrived through arduous and circuitous paths.
Yet we still look with peculiar veneration on the _Wealth of Nations_
and on the _Principia_, and should regret to see either of those great
works garbled even by the ablest hands. But in works which owe much of
their interest to the character and situation of the writers the case is
infinitely stronger. What man of taste and feeling can endure
_rifacimenti_, harmonies, abridgements, expurgated editions? Who ever
reads a stage-copy of a play when he can procure the original? Who ever
cut open Mrs. Siddons's _Milton_? Who ever got through ten pages of Mr.
Gilpin's translation of John Bunyan's _Pilgrim_ into modern English? Who
would lose, in the confusion of a _Diatessaron_, the peculiar charm
which belongs to the narrative of the disciple whom Jesus loved? The
feeling of a reader who has become intimate with any great original work
is that which Adam expressed towards his bride:

    'Should God create another Eve, and I
    Another rib afford, yet loss of thee
    Would never from my heart.'

No substitute, however exquisitely formed, will fill the void left by
the original. The second beauty may be equal or superior to the first;
but still it is not she.--LORD MACAULAY. _Boswell's Life of Johnson._


Above all the rest, the gross and palpable flattery whereunto many not
unlearned have abased and abused their wits and pens, turning (as Du
Bartas saith) Hecuba into Helena, and Faustina into Lucretia, hath most
diminished the price and estimation of learning. Neither is the modern
dedication of books and writings, as to patrons, to be commended: for
that books (such as are worthy the name of books) ought to have no
patrons but truth and reason.--F. BACON, LORD VERULAM. _Of the
Advancement of Learning._


I want to read you some new passages from an interleaved copy of my
book. You haven't read the printed part yet. I gave you a copy of it,
but nobody reads a book that is given to him. Of course not. Nobody but
a fool expects him to. He reads a little in it here and there, perhaps,
and he cuts all the leaves if he cares enough about the writer, who will
be sure to call on him some day, and if he is left alone in his library
for five minutes will have hunted every corner of it until he has found
the book he sent,--if it is to be found at all, which doesn't always
happen, if there's a penal colony anywhere in a garret or closet for
typographical offenders and vagrants.--O. W. HOLMES. _The Poet at the


    Old poets fostered under friendlier skies,
      Old Virgil who would write ten lines, they say,
      At dawn, and lavish all the golden day
    To make them wealthier in his readers' eyes;
    And you, old popular Horace, you the wise
      Adviser of the nine-years-pondered lay,
      And you, that wear a wreath of sweeter bay,
    Catullus, whose dead songster never dies;
    If glancing downward on the kindly sphere
      That once had rolled you round and round the Sun,
      You see your Art still shrined in human shelves,
    You should be jubilant that you flourished here
      Before the Love of Letters, overdone,
    Had swampt the sacred poets with themselves.

                        ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON.


Writing of Lives is very profitable, both to the memory of the party,
and to posterity. They do better lance into secret humours, and present
men in their nightgowns, when they are truly themselves. A general may
be more perfectly discovered on his pallet, than when he appears in the
head of an army.--JOHN HALL. _Horae Vacivae._


Oh, that mine enemy had written a book!--and that it were my life;
unless indeed it provoked my friend to write another.

It has always appeared to me a strong argument for the non-existence of
spirits that these friendly microscopic biographers are not haunted by
the ghosts of the unfortunate men whom they persist in holding up to
public contempt.--SIR A. HELPS. _Thoughts in the Cloister._


Read French authors. Read Rochefoucauld. The French writers are the
finest in the world, for they clear our heads of all ridiculous

Read no history, nothing but biography, for that is life without
theory.--B. DISRAELI, EARL OF BEACONSFIELD. _Contarini Fleming._


The respectable and sometimes excellent translations of Bohn's Library
have done for literature what railroads have done for internal
intercourse. I do not hesitate to read all the books I have named, and
all good books, in translations. What is really best in any book is
translatable,--any real insight or broad human sentiment. Nay, I observe
that, in our Bible, and other books of lofty moral tone, it seems easy
and inevitable to render the rhythm and music of the original into
phrases of equal melody. The Italians have a fling at translators,--_i
traditori traduttori_; but I thank them. I rarely read any Latin, Greek,
German, Italian, sometimes not a French book in the original, which I
can procure in a good version. I like to be beholden to the great
metropolitan English speech, the sea which receives tributaries from
every region under heaven. I should as soon think of swimming across the
Charles River when I wish to go to Boston, as of reading all my books in
originals, when I have them rendered for me in my mother-tongue.--R. W.
EMERSON. _Books._


    Much have I travelled in the realms of gold,
    And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
    Round many western islands have I been
    Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
    Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
    That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne;
    Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
    Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
    Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
    When a new planet swims into his ken;
    Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
    He stared at the Pacific--and all his men
    Looked at each other with a wild surmise--
    Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

                               J. KEATS.


    Others again here livèd in my days
    That have of us deservèd no less praise
    For their translations than the daintiest wit
    That on Parnassus thinks he highest doth sit.
    And for a chair may 'mongst the Muses call
    As the most curious maker of them all:
    As reverent Chapman, who hath brought to us
    Musaeus, Homer, and Herodotus
    Out of the Greek, and by his skill hath reared
    Them to that height and to our tongue endeared
    That, were those poets at this day alive
    To see their books thus with us to survive,
    They would think, having neglected them so long,
    They had been written in the English tongue.

               M. DRAYTON. _To Henry Reynolds._

It is good to have translations, because they serve as a comment, so far
as the judgement of one man goes.--J. SELDEN.


    Whose work could this be, Chapman, to refine
    Old Hesiod's ore, and give it thus! but thine,
    Who hadst before wrought in rich Homer's mine.

    What treasure hast thou brought us! and what store
    Still, still, dost thou arrive with at our shore,
    To make thy honour and our wealth the more!

    If all the vulgar tongues that speak this day
    Were asked of thy discoveries, they must say,
    To the Greek coast thine only knew the way.

    Such passage hast thou found, such returns made,
    As now of all men, it is called thy trade,
    And who make thither else, rob or invade.

                           BEN JONSON.


The reason the classics are not read is because there still lingers a
tradition, handed down from the eighteenth century, that it is useless
to read them unless in the original. A tone of sarcastic contempt is
maintained towards the person who shall presume to peruse Xenophon not
in the original Greek, or Virgil not in the original Latin.

In the view of these critics it is the Greek, it is the Latin, that is
valuable, not the contents of the volume. Shakespeare, however, the
greatest genius of England, thought otherwise. It is known that his
ideas of Grecian and Roman history were derived from somewhat rude
translations, yet it is acknowledged that the spirit of the ancient
warriors and of the ancient luxury lives in his _Antony and Cleopatra_,
and nowhere in all the ancient writers is there a poem breathing the
idea of Aphrodite like his _Venus and Adonis_. The example of so great a
genius may shield us in an effort to free the modern mind from this
eighteenth-century incubus.

The truth is, the classics are much better understood in a good
translation than in the original. To obtain a sufficient knowledge of
Greek, for instance, to accurately translate is almost the work of a
lifetime. Concentration upon this one pursuit gradually contracts the
general perceptions, and it has often happened that an excellent scholar
has been deficient in common knowledge, as shown by the singular
character of his own notes. But his work of translation in itself is
another matter.

It is a treasure; from it poets derive their illustrations; dramatists
their plots; painters their pictures. A young mind full of intelligence,
coming to such a translation, enters at once into the spirit of the
ancient writer. A good translation is thus better than the original.--R.
JEFFERIES. _The Dewy Morn._


'Twas this vain idolizing of authors which gave birth to that silly
vanity of impertinent citations, and inducing authority in things
neither requiring nor deserving it. That saying was much more
observable, _That men have beards and women none_, because quoted from
Beza; and that other, _Pax res bona est_, because brought in with a
'said St. Austin'. But these ridiculous fooleries, to your more generous
discerners, signify nothing but the pedantry of the affected sciolist.
'Tis an inglorious acquist to have our heads or volumes laden as were
Cardinal Campeius his mules, with old and useless baggage.--J. GLANVILL.
_The Vanity of Dogmatizing._


In quoting of books, quote such authors as are usually read; others you
may read for your own satisfaction, but not name them.

Quoting of authors is most for matter of fact; and then I write them as
I would produce a witness; sometimes for a free expression, and then I
give the author his due, and gain myself praise by reading him.

To quote a modern Dutchman where I may use a classic author, is as if I
were to justify my reputation, and I neglect all persons of note and
quality that know me, and bring the testimonial of the scullion in the
kitchen.--J. SELDEN. _Table Talk._


Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first quoter of it....
We are as much informed of a writer's genius by what he selects as by
what he originates. We read the quotation with his eyes, and find a new
and fervent sense; as a passage from one of the poets, well recited,
borrows new interest from the rendering. As the journals say, 'the
italics are ours.' The profit of books is according to the sensibility
of the reader. The profoundest thought or passion sleeps as in a mine,
until an equal mind and heart finds and publishes it. The passages of
Shakespeare that we most prize were never quoted until within this
century; and Milton's prose, and Burke, even, have their best fame
within it. Every one, too, remembers his friends by their favourite
poetry or other reading.

Observe, also, that a writer appears to more advantage in the pages of
another book than in his own. In his own, he waits as a candidate for
your approbation; in another's he is a lawgiver.--R. W. EMERSON.
_Quotation and Originality._


                      Soul of the age!
    The applause, delight, the wonder of our stage,
    My Shakespeare, rise! I will not lodge thee by
    Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lie
    A little further, to make thee a room:
    Thou art a monument without a tomb,
    And art alive still, while thy book doth live,
    And we have wits to read, and praise to give.

    That I not mix thee so my brain excuses;
    I mean, with great but disproportioned Muses.
    For, if I thought my judgement were of years,
    I should commit thee, surely, with thy peers.
    And tell how far thou didst our Lyly outshine
    Or sporting Kyd, or Marlowe's mighty line.

    And though thou hadst small Latin and less Greek,
    From thence, to honour thee, I will not seek
    For names; but call forth thundering Aeschylus,
    Euripides, and Sophocles to us,
    Paccuvius, Accius, him of Cordova dead,
    To life again, to hear thy buskin tread
    And shake a stage; or when thy sock was on,
    Leave thee alone, for the comparison
    Of all that insolent Greece or haughty Rome
    Sent forth; or since did from their ashes come.

    Triumph, my Britain! Thou hast one to show
    To whom all scenes of Europe homage owe.
    He was not of an age, but for all time!
    And all the Muses still were in their prime,
    When, like Apollo, he came forth to warm
    Our ears, or, like a Mercury, to charm.
    Nature herself was proud of his designs,
    And joyed to wear the dressing of his lines,
    Which were so richly spun, and woven so fit
    As, since, she will vouchsafe no other wit.
    The merry Greek, tart Aristophanes,
    Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now not please;
    But antiquated and deserted lie,
    As they were not of Nature's family.

    Yet must I not give Nature all! Thy art,
    My gentle Shakespeare, must enjoy a part.
    For though the Poet's matter Nature be
    His art doth give the fashion. And that he
    Who casts to write a living line, must sweat
    (Such as thine are), and strike the second heat
    Upon the Muses' anvil, turn the same
    (And himself with it), that he thinks to frame;
    Or for the laurel he may gain a scorn!
    For a good Poet's made as well as born;
    And such wert thou! Look how the father's face
    Lives in his issue; even so, the race
    Of Shakespeare's mind and manners brightly shines
    In his well-turnèd and true-filèd lines;
    In each of which he seems to shake a lance
    As brandished at the eyes of Ignorance.
    Sweet Swan of Avon! what a sight it were
    To see thee in our water yet appear,
    And make those flights upon the banks of Thames
    That so did take Eliza, and our James!

                         BEN JONSON.


      This figure that thou here seest put,
    It was for gentle Shakespeare cut,
    Wherein the graver had a strife
    With Nature, to outdo the life.
      Oh, could he but have drawn his wit
    As well in brass, as he has hit
    His face, the print would then surpass
    All that was ever writ in brass.
      But, since he cannot, reader, look
    Not on his picture, but his book.

                       BEN JONSON.


    What needs my Shakespeare for his honoured bones,
    The labour of an age in pilèd stones,
    Or that his hallowed relics should be hid
    Under a star-ypointing pyramid?
    Dear son of Memory, great heir of Fame,
    What need'st thou such weak witness of thy name?
    Thou in our wonder and astonishment
    Hast built thyself a livelong monument.
    For whilst to the shame of slow-endeavouring art,
    Thy easy numbers flow, and that each heart
    Hath from the leaves of thy unvalued book,
    Those Delphic lines with deep impression took,
    Then thou our fancy of itself bereaving,
    Dost make us marble with too much conceiving;
    And so sepulchred in such pomp dost lie,
    That kings for such a tomb would wish to die.

                               J. MILTON.


    Three Poets, in three distant ages born,
    Greece, Italy, and England did adorn.
    The first in loftiness of thought surpassed,
    The next in majesty, in both the last:
    The force of Nature could no farther go;
    To make a third she joined the former two.

                          J. DRYDEN.


    This lamp filled up, and fired by that blest spirit,
    Spent his last oil in this pure heavenly flame;
    Laying the grounds, walls, roof of faith: this frame
    With life he ends; and now doth there inherit
    What here he built, crowned with his laurel merit:
      Whose palms and triumphs once he loudly rang,
      There now enjoys what here he sweetly sang.

    This is his monument, on which he drew
    His spirit's image, that can never die;
    But breathes in these live words, and speaks to the eye;
    In these his winding-sheets he dead doth shew
    To buried souls the way to live anew,
      And in his grave more powerfully now preacheth.
      Who will not learn, when that a dead man teacheth?

                                P. FLETCHER.


    Live in these conquering leaves: live all the same;
    And walk through all tongues one triumphant flame;
    Live here, great heart; and love, and die, and kill;
    And bleed, and wound, and yield, and conquer still.
    Let this immortal life where'er it comes
    Walk in a crowd of loves and martyrdoms.
    Let mystic deaths wait on't; and wise souls be
    The love-slain witnesses of this life of thee.
    O sweet incendiary! show here thy art,
    Upon this carcass of a hard cold heart;
    Let all thy scatter'd shafts of light, that play
    Among the leaves of thy large books of day,
    Combined against this breast at once break in,
    And take away from me myself and sin;
    This gracious robbery shall thy bounty be
    And my best fortunes such fair spoils of me.
    O thou undaunted daughter of desires!
    By all thy dower of lights and fires;
    By all the eagle in thee, all the dove;
    By all thy lives and deaths of love;
    By thy large draughts of intellectual day,
    And by thy thirsts of love more large than they;
    By all thy brim-filled bowls of fierce desire,
    By thy last morning's draught of liquid fire;
    By the full kingdom of that final kiss
    That seized thy parting soul, and sealed thee His;
    By all the Heaven thou hast in Him
    (Fair sister of the seraphim!);
    By all of Him we have in thee;
    Leave nothing of myself in me.
    Let me so read thy life, that I
    Unto all life of mine may die!

                            R. CRASHAW.


You despise books; you, whose lives are absorbed in the vanities of
ambition, the pursuit of pleasure, or in indolence; but remember that
all the known world, excepting only savage nations, is governed by
books. All Africa, to the limits of Ethiopia and Nigritia, obeys the
book of the Koran, after bowing to the book of the Gospel. China is
ruled by the moral book of Confucius, and a great part of India by the
Vedah. Persia was governed for ages by the books of one of the

In a law-suit or criminal process, your property, your honour, perhaps
your life, depends on the interpretation of a book which you never
read.... You are acquainted with neither Hippocrates nor Boerhaave nor
Sydenham; but you place your body in the hands of those who can read
them.--VOLTAIRE. _Philosophical Dictionary_: Books.


The writings of divines are nothing else but a preaching the Gospel to
the eye, as the voice preacheth it to the ear. Vocal preaching hath the
pre-eminence in moving the affections, and becometh diversified
according to the state of the congregations which attend it: this way
the milk cometh warmest from the breast. But books have the advantage in
many other respects: you may read an able preacher when you have but a
mean one to hear. Every congregation cannot hear the most judicious or
powerful preachers: but every single person may read the books of the
most powerful and judicious; preachers may be silenced or banished, when
books may be at hand: books may be kept at a smaller charge than
preachers: we may choose books which treat of that very subject which we
desire to hear of; but we cannot choose what subject the preacher shall
treat of. Books we may have at hand every day and hour: when we can have
sermons but seldom, and at set times. If sermons be forgotten, they are
gone. But a book we may read over and over till we remember it; and if
we forget it, may again peruse it at our pleasure, or at our leisure. So
that good books are a very great mercy to the world.--R. BAXTER.
_Christian Directory._


Books of morality are daily written, yet its influence is still little
in the world; so the ground is annually ploughed, and yet multitudes are
in want of bread. But, surely, neither the labours of the moralist nor
of the husbandman are vain: let them for a while neglect their tasks and
their usefulness will be known; the wickedness that is now frequent
would become universal, the bread that is now scarce would wholly
fail.--S. JOHNSON. _Adventurer_, 137.


Books have always a secret influence on the understanding: we cannot at
pleasure obliterate ideas; he that reads books of science, though
without any fixed desire of improvement, will grow more knowing; he that
entertains himself with moral or religious treatises will imperceptibly
advance in goodness; the ideas which are often offered to the mind will
at last find a lucky moment when it is disposed to receive them.--S.
JOHNSON. _Adventurer_, 137.


It was the maxim, I think, of Alphonsus of Aragon that _dead counsellors
are safest_. The grave puts an end to flattery and artifice, and the
information that we receive from books is pure from interest, fear, or
ambition. Dead counsellors are likewise most instructive, because they
are heard with patience and with reverence. We are not unwilling to
believe that man wiser than ourselves from whose abilities we may
receive advantage without any danger of rivalry or opposition, and who
affords us the light of his experience without hurting our eyes by
flashes of insolence.--S. JOHNSON. _Rambler_, 87.


But to the Church itself, as I hinted already, all is changed, in its
preaching, in its working, by the introduction of Books. The Church is
the working recognized Union of our Priests or Prophets, of those who by
wise teaching guide the souls of men. While there was no Writing, even
while there was no Easy-writing, or _Printing_, the preaching of the
voice was the natural sole method of performing this. But now with
Books!--He that can write a true Book, to persuade England, is not he
the Bishop and Archbishop, the Primate of England and of all England? I
many a time say, the writers of Newspapers, Pamphlets, Poems, Books,
these _are_ the real working effective Church of a modern country. Nay,
not only our preaching, but even our worship, is not it too accomplished
by means of Printed Books?... Fragments of a real 'Church Liturgy' and
'Body of Homilies', strangely disguised from the common eye, are to be
found weltering in that huge froth-ocean of Printed Speech we loosely
call Literature! Books are our Church too.

On all sides, are we not driven to the conclusion that, of the things
which man can do or make here below, by far the most momentous,
wonderful and worthy are the things we call Books! Those poor bits of
rag-paper with black ink on them;--from the Daily Newspaper to the
sacred Hebrew BOOK, what have they not done, what are they not
doing!--For indeed, whatever be the outward form of the things (bits of
paper, as we say, and black ink), is it not verily, at bottom, the
highest act of man's faculty that produces a Book? It is the _Thought_
of man; the true thaumaturgic virtue; by which man works all things
whatsoever. All that he does, and brings to pass, is the vesture of a
Thought. This London City, with all its houses, palaces, steam-engines,
cathedrals, and huge immeasurable traffic and tumult, what is it but a
Thought, but millions of Thoughts made into One;--a huge immeasurable
Spirit of a THOUGHT, embodied in brick, iron, smoke, dust, Palaces,
Parliaments, Hackney Coaches, Katherine Docks, and the rest of it! Not a
brick was made but some man had to _think_ of the making of that
brick.--The thing we called 'bits of paper with traces of black ink', is
the _purest_ embodiment a Thought of man can have. No wonder it is, in
all ways, the activest and noblest.--T. CARLYLE. _Heroes and


The modern scholars have their usual recourse to the Universities of
their countries; some few, it may be, to those of their neighbours; and
this in quest of books rather than men for their guides, though these
are living and those in comparison but dead instructors, which, like a
hand with an inscription, can point out the straight way upon the road,
but can neither tell you the next turnings, resolve your doubts, or
answer your questions, like a guide that has traced it over, and perhaps
knows it as well as his chamber. And who are these dead guides we seek
in our journey? They are at best but some few authors that remain among
us of a great many that wrote in Greek and Latin from the age of
Hippocrates to that of Marcus Antoninus, which reaches not much above
six hundred years.--SIR W. TEMPLE. _Ancient and Modern Learning._


The colleges, whilst they provide us with libraries, furnish no
professor of books; and, I think, no chair is so much wanted. In a
library we are surrounded by many hundreds of dear friends, but they are
imprisoned by an enchanter in these paper and leathern boxes; and,
though they know us, and have been waiting two, ten, or twenty centuries
for us,--some of them,--and are eager to give us a sign, and unbosom
themselves, it is the law of their limbo that they must not speak until
spoken to; and as the enchanter has dressed them, like battalions of
infantry, in coat and jacket of one cut, by the thousand and ten
thousand, your chance of hitting on the right one is to be computed by
the arithmetical rule of Permutation and Combination,--not a choice out
of three caskets, but out of half a million caskets all alike. But it
happens in our experience, that in this lottery there are at least fifty
or a hundred blanks to a prize. It seems, then, as if some charitable
soul, after losing a great deal of time among the false books, and
alighting upon a few true ones which made him happy and wise, would do a
right act in naming those which have been bridges or ships to carry him
safely over dark morasses and barren oceans, into the heart of sacred
cities, into palaces and temples. This would be best done by those great
masters of books who from time to time appear,--the Fabricii, the
Seldens, Magliabecchis, Scaligers, Mirandolas, Bayles, Johnsons, whose
eyes sweep the whole horizon of learning. But private readers, reading
purely for love of the book, would serve us by leaving each the shortest
note of what he found.--R. W. EMERSON. _Books._


To look at Teaching, for instance. Universities are a notable,
respectable product of the modern ages. Their existence too is modified,
to the very basis of it, by the existence of Books. Universities arose
while there were yet no Books procurable; while a man, for a single
Book, had to give an estate of land. That, in those circumstances, when
a man had some knowledge to communicate, he should do it by gathering
the learners round him, face to face, was a necessity for him. If you
wanted to know what Abelard knew, you must go and listen to Abelard.
Thousands, as many as thirty thousand, went to hear Abelard and that
metaphysical theology of his. And now for any other teacher who had also
something of his own to teach, there was a great convenience opened: so
many thousands eager to learn were already assembled yonder; of all
places the best place for him was that. For any third teacher it was
better still; and grew ever the better, the more teachers there came. It
only needed now that the King took notice of this new phenomenon;
combined or agglomerated the various schools into one school; gave it
edifices, privileges, encouragements, and named it _Universitas_, or
School of all Sciences: the University of Paris, in its essential
characters, was there. The model of all subsequent Universities; which
down even to these days, for six centuries now, have gone on to found
themselves. Such, I conceive, was the origin of Universities. It is
clear, however, that with this simple circumstance, facility of getting
Books, the whole conditions of the business from top to bottom were
changed. Once invent Printing, you metamorphosed all Universities, or
superseded them! The Teacher needed not now to gather men personally
round him, that he might _speak_ to them what he knew: print it in a
Book, and all learners far and wide, for a trifle, had it each at his
own fireside, much more effectually to learn it!--Doubtless there is
still peculiar virtue in Speech; even writers of Books may still, in
some circumstances, find it convenient to speak also,--witness our
present meeting here! There is, one would say, and must ever remain
while man has a tongue, a distinct province for Speech as well as for
Writing and Printing. In regard to all things this must remain; to
Universities among others. But the limits of the two have nowhere yet
been pointed out, ascertained; much less put in practice: the University
which would completely take-in that great new fact, of the existence of
Printed Books, and stand on a clear footing for the Nineteenth Century
as the Paris one did for the Thirteenth, has not yet come into
existence. If we think of it, all that a University, or final highest
School, can do for us, is still but what the first School began
doing--teach us to _read_. We learn to _read_, in various languages, in
various sciences; we learn the alphabet and letters of all manner of
Books. But the place where we are to get knowledge, even theoretic
knowledge, is the Books themselves! It depends on what we read, after
all manner of Professors have done their best for us. The true
University of these days is a Collection of Books.--T. CARLYLE. _Heroes
and Hero-Worship._


    The King observing with judicious eyes
    The state of both his Universities,
    To one he sent a regiment: for why?
    That learned body wanted loyalty.
    To the other he sent books, as well discerning
    How much that loyal body wanted learning.

                        J. TRAPP.


    The King to Oxford sent his troop of horse,
    For Tories own no argument but force;
    With equal care to Cambridge books he sent,
    For Whigs allow no force but argument.

                        SIR W. BROWNE.

Books will speak plain, when counsellors blanch.--F. BACON, LORD
VERULAM. _Of Counsell._


    The readers and the hearers like my books,
    And yet some writers cannot them digest;
    But what care I? for when I make a feast,
    I would my guests should praise it, not the cooks.

                          SIR J. HARINGTON.


is one that has spelt over a great many of books, and his observation is
the orthography. He is the surgeon of old authors, and heals the wounds
of dust and ignorance. He converses much in fragments and _Desunt
multa_'s, and if he piece it up with two lines, he is more proud of that
book than the author. He runs over all sciences to peruse their
syntaxes, and thinks all learning comprised in writing Latin. He tastes
styles, as some discreeter palaters do wine; and tells you which is
genuine, which sophisticate and bastard. His own phrase is a miscellany
of old words, deceased long before the Caesars, and entombed by Varro,
and the modernest man he follows is Plautus. He writes _Omneis_ at
length, and _quicquid_, and his gerund is most inconformable. He is a
troublesome vexer of the dead, which after so long sparing must rise up
to the judgement of his castigations. He is one that makes all books
sell dearer, whilst he swells them into folios with his comments.--J.
EARLE. _Microcosmographie_.


    Others for language all their care express,
    And value books, as women men, for dress:
    Their praise is still,--the style is excellent:
    The sense, they humbly take upon content.
    Words are like leaves; and where they most abound,
    Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.

                         A. POPE. _Essay on Criticism_.


    The bookful blockhead, ignorantly read,
    With loads of learned lumber in his head,
    With his own tongue still edifies his ears,
    And always listening to himself appears.
    All books he reads, and all he reads assails,
    From Dryden's _Fables_ down to D'Urfey's _Tales_.
    With him, most authors steal their works, or buy;
    Garth did not write his own _Dispensary_.
    Name a new play, and he's the poet's friend,
    Nay, showed his faults--but when would poets mend?
    No place so sacred from such fops is barred,
    Nor is Paul's church more safe than Paul's churchyard.
    Nay, fly to altars; there they'll talk you dead:
    For fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

                    A. POPE. _Essay on Criticism._


There are some subjects of which almost all the world perceive the
futility; yet all combine in imposing upon each other as worthy of
praise. But chiefly this imposition obtains in literature, where men
publicly contemn what they relish with rapture in private, and approve
abroad what has given them disgust at home.--O. GOLDSMITH. _Letters from
a Citizen of the World._


They who are in the habit of passing sentence upon books,--and what
ignoramus in our days does not deem himself fully qualified for sitting
in the seat of the scorner?--are apt to think that they have condemned a
work irretrievably, when they have pronounced it to be unintelligible.
Unintelligible to whom? To themselves, the self-constituted judges. So
that their sentence presumes their competency to pronounce it: and this,
to every one save themselves, may be exceedingly questionable.

It is true, the very purpose for which a writer publishes his thoughts,
is, that his readers should share them with him. Hence the primary
requisite of a style is its intelligibleness: that is to say, it must
be capable of being understood. But intelligibleness is a relative
quality, varying with the capacity of the reader. The easiest book in a
language is inaccessible to those who have never set foot within the
pale of that language. The simplest elementary treatise in any science
is obscure and perplexing, until we become familiar with the terminology
of that science. Thus every writer is entitled to demand a certain
amount of knowledge in those for whom he writes, and a certain degree of
dexterity in using the implements of thought....

When a man says he sees nothing in a book, he very often means that he
does not see himself in it: which, if it is not a comedy or a satire, is
likely enough.--A. W. and J. C. HARE. _Guesses at Truth._


They who make up the final verdict upon every book are not the partial
and noisy readers of the hour when it appears; but a court as of angels,
a public not to be bribed, not to be entreated, and not to be overawed,
decides upon every man's title to fame. Only those books come down which
deserve to last. Gilt edges, vellum, and morocco, and presentation
copies to all the libraries, will not preserve a book in circulation
beyond its intrinsic date. It must go with all Walpole's Noble and Royal
Authors to its fate. Blackmore, Kotzebue, or Pollock may endure for a
night, but Moses and Homer stand for ever. There are not in the world at
any one time more than a dozen persons who read and understand Plato:
never enough to pay for an edition of his works; yet to every generation
these come duly down, for the sake of those few persons, as if God
brought them in his hand. 'No book,' said Bentley, 'was ever written
down by any but itself.' The permanence of all books is fixed by no
effort friendly or hostile, but by their own specific gravity, or the
intrinsic importance of their contents to the constant mind of man.--R.
W. EMERSON. _Spiritual Laws._

Talent alone cannot make a writer. There must be a man behind the
book.--R. W. EMERSON. _Goethe._


The opinion of the great body of the reading public is very materially
influenced even by the unsupported assertions of those who assume a
right to criticize. Nor is the public altogether to blame on this
account. Most even of those who have really a great enjoyment in reading
are in the same state, with respect to a book, in which a man who has
never given particular attention to the art of painting is with respect
to a picture. Every man who has the least sensibility or imagination
derives a certain pleasure from pictures. Yet a man of the highest and
finest intellect might, unless he had formed his taste by contemplating
the best pictures, be easily persuaded by a knot of connoisseurs that
the worst daub in Somerset House was a miracle of art.

Just such is the manner in which nine readers out of ten judge of a
book. They are ashamed to dislike what men who speak as having authority
declare to be good.--LORD MACAULAY. _Mr. Robert Montgomery's Poems._


I know many persons who have the purest taste in literature, and yet
false taste in art, and it is a phenomenon which puzzles me not a
little; but I have never known any one with false taste in books, and
true taste in pictures. It is also of the greatest importance to you,
not only for art's sake, but for all kinds of sake, in these days of
book deluge, to keep out of the salt swamps of literature, and live on a
little rocky island of your own, with a spring and a lake in it, pure
and good. I cannot, of course, suggest the choice of your library to
you: every several mind needs different books; but there are some books
which we all need, and assuredly, if you read Homer, Plato, Aeschylus,
Herodotus, Dante, Shakespeare, and Spenser, as much as you ought, you
will not require wide enlargement of shelves to right and left of them
for purposes of perpetual study.--J. RUSKIN. _The Elements of Drawing._

'There is no book so bad,' said the bachelor, 'but something good may be
found in it.'--CERVANTES.


Nor is there any paternal fondness which seems to savour less of
absolute instinct, and which may be so well reconciled to worldly
wisdom, as this of authors for their books. These children may most
truly be called the riches of their father, and many of them have with
true filial piety fed their parent in his old age; so that not only the
affection but the interest of the author may be highly injured by those
slanderers whose poisonous breath brings his book to an untimely end.

Lastly, the slanderer of a book is, in truth, the slanderer of the
author ... neither can any one give the names of sad stuff, horrid
nonsense, &c., to a book, without calling the author a blockhead; which,
though in a moral sense it is a preferable appellation to that of
villain, is, perhaps, rather more injurious to his worldly interest.--H.
FIELDING. _Tom Jones._


To complain in print of the multitude of books seems to me a
self-accusing vanity, whilst the querulous reprehenders add to the cause
of complaint and transgress themselves in that which they seem to wish
amended. 'Tis true, the births of the press are numerous, nor is there
less variety in the humours and fancies of perusers, and while the
number of the one exceeds not the diversity of the other some will not
think that too much which others judge superfluous. The genius of one
approves what another disregardeth. And were nothing to pass the press
but what were suited to the universal gusto, farewell, typography!... I
seek no applause from the disgrace of others, nor will I, huckster-like,
discredit any man's ware to recommend mine own. I am not angry that
there are so many books already (bating only the anomalies of impiety
and irreligion), nor will I plead the necessity of publishing mine from
feigned importunities.--J. GLANVILL. _The Vanity of Dogmatizing._

The foolishest book is a kind of leaky boat on the sea of wisdom; some
of the wisdom will get in, anyhow.--O. W. HOLMES. _The Poet at the


Popish books teach and inform; what we know, we know much out of them.
The fathers, church story, school-men, all may pass for popish books;
and if you take away them, what learning will you leave? Besides, who
must be judge? The customer or the waiter? If he disallows a book it
must not be brought into the kingdom; then Lord have mercy upon all
scholars! These puritan preachers, if they have anything good, they have
it out of popish books, though they will not acknowledge it, for fear of
displeasing the people. He is a poor divine that cannot sever the good
from the bad.--J. SELDEN. _Table Talk_.


Learning hath of late years met with an obstruction in many places which
suppresses it from flourishing or increasing, in spite of all its other
helps, and that is the inquisition upon the press, which prohibits any
book from coming forth without an imprimatur; an old relic of popery,
only necessary for the concealing of such defects of government which of
right ought to be discovered and amended.--C. BLOUNT. _A Just
Vindication of Learning_, 1693.


[Greek: Méga biblíon méga kakón]

A man who publishes his works in a volume has an infinite advantage over
one who communicates his writings to the world in loose tracts and
single pieces. We do not expect to meet with anything in a bulky volume
till after some heavy preamble, and several words of course, to prepare
the reader for what follows: nay, authors have established it as a kind
of rule, that a man ought to be dull sometimes, as the most severe
reader makes allowances for many rests and nodding-places in a
voluminous writer. This gave occasion to the famous Greek proverb which
I have chosen for my motto, _That a great book is a great evil_....

An essay writer must practise in the chemical method and give the virtue
of a full draught in a few drops. Were all books reduced thus to their
quintessence, many a bulky author would make his appearance in a
penny-paper: there would be scarce such a thing in nature as a folio:
the works of an age would be contained on a few shelves, not to mention
millions of volumes that would be utterly annihilated....

When knowledge, instead of being bound up in books, and kept in
libraries and retirements, is thus obtruded upon the public; when it is
canvassed in every assembly, and exposed upon every table; I cannot
forbear reflecting upon that passage in the Proverbs, 'Wisdom crieth
without, she uttereth her voice in the streets.'--J. ADDISON.
_Spectator_, 124.


For books we shall generally find that the most excellent in any art or
science have been still the smallest and most compendious; and this not
without ground, for it is an argument that the author was a master of
what he wrote, and had a clear notion and a full comprehension of the
subject before him. For the reason of things lies in a little compass,
if the mind could at any time be so happy as to light upon it. Most of
the writings and discourses in the world are but illustration and
rhetoric, which signifies as much as nothing to a mind eager in pursuit
after the causes and philosophical truth of things.... The truth is,
there could be no such thing as art or science, could not the mind of
man gather the general natures of things out of the heap of numberless
particulars, and then bind them up into such short aphorisms or
propositions, that so they may be made portable to the memory, and
thereby become ready and at hand for the judgement to apply and make use
of as there shall be occasion.--R. SOUTH. _Sermon against long extempore

There are many books written by many men, from which two truths only are
discoverable by the readers; namely, that the writers thereof wanted two
things,--principle and preferment.--C. C. COLTON. _Lacon._


An amusing catalogue might be made of books which contain but one good
passage. They would be a sort of single-speech Hamiltons; if Balaam's
palfrey might not be thought a more apt counterpart to them. Killigrew's
play of the Parson's Wedding, which in length of massy dullness exceeds
many books, is remarkable for one little spark of liveliness. The
languishing fine lady of the piece exclaims most characteristically,
upon coming in tired with walking: 'I am glad I am come home, for I'm
e'en as weary with this walking. For God's sake, whereabouts does the
pleasure of walking lie? I swear I have often sought it till I was
weary, and yet I could ne'er find it.'--Charron on Wisdom, a cumbrous
piece of formality, which Pope's eulogium lately betrayed me into the
perusal of, has one splendid passage, page 138, (I think) English
translation. It contrasts the open honours with which we invest the
sword, as the means of putting man out of the world, with the concealing
and retiring circumstances that accompany his introduction into it. It
is a piece of gorgeous and happy eloquence.--What could Pope mean by
that line,--'sage Montaigne, or more sage Charron?' Montaigne is an
immense treasure-house of observation, anticipating all the discoveries
of succeeding essayists. You cannot dip in him without being struck with
the aphorism, that there is nothing new under the sun. All the writers
on common life since him have done nothing but echo him. You cannot open
him without detecting a _Spectator_ or starting a _Rambler_; besides
that his own character pervades the whole, and binds it sweetly
together. Charron is a mere piece of formality, scholastic dry bones,
without sinew or living flesh.--C. LAMB. _Table Talk._


Few books have more than one thought: the generality indeed have not
quite so many. The more ingenious authors of the former seem to think
that, if they once get their candle lighted, it will burn on for ever.
Yet even a candle gives a sorry, melancholy light unless it has a
brother beside it, to shine on it and keep it cheerful. For lights and
thoughts are social and sportive: they delight in playing with and into
each other. One can hardly conceive a duller state of existence than
sitting at whist with three dummies: and yet many of our prime
philosophers have seldom done anything else.--A. W. and J. C. HARE.
_Guesses at Truth._


A heedy reader shall often discover in other men's compositions
perfections far differing from the author's meaning, and such as haply
he never dreamed of, and illustrateth them with richer senses and more
excellent constructions.--MONTAIGNE.


In hours of high mental activity we sometimes do the book too much
honour, reading out of it better things than the author wrote,--reading,
as we say, between the lines. You have had the like experience in
conversation: the wit was in what you heard, not in what the speakers
said. Our best thought came from others. We heard in their words a
deeper sense than the speakers put into them, and could express
ourselves in other people's phrases to finer purpose than they knew.--R.
W. EMERSON. _Quotation and Originality._


There are some fine passages, I am told, in that book.

Are there? Then beware of them. Fine passages are mostly _culs de sac_.
For in books also does one see

    Rich windows that exclude the light
    And passages that lead to nothing.

         A. W. and J. C. HARE. _Guesses at Truth._

There's more ado to interpret interpretations than to interpret things,
and more books upon books than upon any other subject. We do but
inter-glose ourselves. All swarmeth with commentaries; of authors there
is great penury.--MONTAIGNE.


ERASMUS. I am told there is a certain compendious art, that will help a
man to accomplish himself with all the liberal sciences by a very little

DESIDERIUS. What is that you talk of? Did you ever see the book?

ERASMUS. I did see it, and that was all, having nobody to instruct me in
the use of it.

DESIDERIUS. What was the subject of the book?

ERASMUS. It treated of various forms of dragons, lions, leopards; and
various circles, and words written in them, some in Greek, some in
Latin, and some in Hebrew and other barbarous languages.

DESIDERIUS. Pray, in how many days' time did the title-page promise you
the knowledge of the arts and sciences?

ERASMUS. In fourteen.

DESIDERIUS. In truth, a very noble promise. But did you ever know
anybody that has become learned by that notable art?


DESIDERIUS. No, nor nobody ever did, or ever will, till we can see an
alchemist grow rich.

ERASMUS. Why, is there no such art then? I wish with all my heart there

DESIDERIUS. Perhaps you do, because you would not be at the pains which
are required to become learned.

ERASMUS. You are right.

DESIDERIUS. It seemed meet to the Divine Being that the common riches,
gold, jewels, silver, palaces, and kingdoms should be bestowed on the
slothful and undeserving; but the true riches, and such as are properly
our own, must be gotten by labour.

    ERASMUS. _Colloquies: The Notable Art._


Many books require no thought from those who read them, and for a very
simple reason;--they made no such demand on those who wrote them. Those
works therefore are the most valuable, that set our thinking faculties
in the fullest operation.--C. C. COLTON. _Lacon._


Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief
use for delight, is in privateness and retiring; for ornament, is in
discourse; and for ability, is in the judgement and disposition of
business; for expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars,
one by one; but the general counsels, and the plots and marshalling of
affairs come best from those that are learned. To spend too much time in
studies, is sloth; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation; to
make judgement wholly by their rules, is the humour of a scholar: they
perfect nature, and are perfected by experience: for natural abilities
are like natural plants, that need pruning by study; and studies
themselves do give forth directions too much at large, except they be
bounded in by experience. Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire
them, and wise men use them; for they teach not their own use; but that
is a wisdom without them and above them, won by observation. Read not to
contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find
talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be
tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested:
that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but
not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and
attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of
them by others; but that would be only in the less important arguments,
and the meaner sort of books; else distilled books are, like common
distilled waters, flashy things. Reading maketh a full man; conference a
ready man; and writing an exact man; and, therefore, if a man write
little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had
need have a present wit; and if he read little, he had need have much
cunning, to seem to know that he doth not. Histories make men wise;
poets, witty; the mathematics, subtile; natural philosophy, deep; moral,
grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend: _Abeunt studia in mores_;
nay, there is no stand or impediment in the wit, but may be wrought out
by fit studies: like as diseases of the body may have appropriate
exercises; bowling is good for the stone and reins, shooting for the
lungs and breast, gentle walking for the stomach, riding for the head
and the like; so if a man's wit be wandering, let him study the
mathematics; for in demonstrations, if his wit be called away never so
little, he must begin again; if his wit be not apt to distinguish or
find difference, let him study the schoolmen, for they are _Cymini
sectores_. If he be not apt to beat over matters, and to call up one
thing to prove and illustrate another, let him study the lawyers' cases:
so every defect of the mind may have a special receipt.--F. BACON, LORD
VERULAM. _Essays._


After some while meditation, I walk up to my masters and companions, my
books: and, sitting down amongst them, with the best contentment, I dare
not reach forth my hand to salute any of them till I have first looked
up to heaven, and craved favour of Him to whom all my studies are duly
referred, without whom I can neither profit nor labour. After this, out
of no over-great variety, I call forth those which may best fit my
occasions; wherein I am not too scrupulous of age: sometimes I put
myself to school, to one of those ancients, whom the Church hath
honoured with the name of Fathers, whose volumes I confess not to open
without a secret reverence of their holiness and gravity: sometimes to
those latter doctors, which want nothing but age to make them classical:
always to God's Book. That day is lost whereof some hours are not
improved in those divine monuments: others I turn over out of choice;
these out of duty.--JOSEPH HALL. (Letter to Lord Denny.)


In study there must be an expulsive virtue to shun all that is
erroneous; and there is no science but is full of such stuff, which by
direction of tutor and choice of good books must be excerned. Do not
confound yourself with multiplicity of authors; two is enough upon any
science, provided they be plenary and orthodox; _Philosophy_ should be
your substantial food, _Poetry_ your banqueting stuff; _Philosophy_ hath
more of reality in it than any Knowledge, the _Philosopher_ can fathom
the deep, measure mountains, reach the stars with a staff, and bless
heaven with a girdle.

But among these Studies you must not forget the _unicum necessarium_; on
Sundays and Holidays let _Divinity_ be the sole object of your
speculation, in comparison whereof all other knowledge is but
cobweb-learning.--J. HOWELL. _Familiar Letters._


Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is
thinking makes what we read ours. We are of the ruminating kind, and it
is not enough to cram ourselves with a great load of collections; unless
we chew them over again they will not give us strength and
nourishment.... The memory may be stored, but the judgement is little
better, and the stock of knowledge not increased, by being able to
repeat what others have said or produce the arguments we have found in
them. Such a knowledge as this is but knowledge by hearsay, and the
ostentation of it is at best but talking by rote, and very often upon
weak and wrong principles. For all that is to be found in books is not
built upon true foundations, nor always rightly deduced from the
principles it is pretended to be built on.... The mind is backward in
itself to be at the pains to trace every argument to its original, and
to see upon what basis it stands, and how firmly; but yet it is this
that gives so much the advantage to one man more than another in
reading. The mind should, by severe rules, be tied down to this at first
uneasy task; use and exercise will give it facility. So that those who
are accustomed to it, readily, as it were with one cast of the eye, take
a view of the argument, and presently, in most cases, see where it
bottoms. Those who have got this faculty, one may say, have got the true
key of books, and the clue to lead them through the mizmaze of variety
of opinions and authors to truth and certainty. This young beginners
should be entered in, and showed the use of, that they might profit by
their reading.... This way of thinking on and profiting by what we read
will be a clog and rub to any one only in the beginning; when custom and
exercise has made it familiar, it will be dispatched in most occasions,
without resting or interruption in the course of our reading.--J. LOCKE.
_Conduct of the Understanding._


    Read Homer once, and you can read no more;
    For all books else appear so mean, so poor,
    Verse will seem prose, but still persist to read,
    And Homer will be all the books you need.

                                  _Essay on Poetry._


    Be Homer's works your study and delight,
    Read them by day, and meditate by night;
    Thence form your judgement, thence your maxims bring,
    And trace the Muses upward to their spring.
    Still with itself compared, his text peruse;
    And let your comment be the Mantuan Muse.
      When first young Maro in his boundless mind
    A work to outlast immortal Rome designed,
    Perhaps he seemed above the critic's law,
    And but from Nature's fountains scorned to draw:
    But when to examine every part he came,
    Nature and Homer were, he found, the same.
    Convinced, amazed, he checks the bold design;
    And rules as strict his laboured work confine,
    As if the Stagirite o'erlooked each line.
    Learn hence for ancient rules a just esteem:
    To copy nature is to copy them.

                     A. POPE. _Essay on Criticism._


    Read boldly, and unprejudiced peruse
    Each favourite modern, e'en each ancient Muse.
    With all the comic salt and tragic rage,
    The great stupendous genius of our stage,
    Boast of our island, pride of humankind,
    Had faults to which the boxes are not blind;
    His frailties are to every gossip known,
    Yet Milton's pedantries not shock the town.
    Ne'er be the dupe of names, however high,
    For some outlive good parts, some misapply.
    Each elegant _Spectator_ you admire,
    But must you therefore swear by Cato's fire?
    Masks for the court, and oft a clumsy jest
    Disgraced the Muse that wrought the _Alchemist_.
    'But to the ancients'--Faith! I am not clear,
    For all the smooth round type of Elzevir,
    That every work which lasts in prose or song
    Two thousand years deserves to last so long:
    For--not to mention some eternal blades
    Known only now in academic shades,
    (Those sacred groves where raptured spirits stray,
    And in word-hunting waste the livelong day)
    Ancients whom none but curious critics scan,--
    Do read Messala's praises if you can.
    Ah! who but feels the sweet contagious smart
    While soft Tibullus pours his tender heart?
    With him the Loves and Muses melt in tears,
    But not a word of some hexameters!
    'You grow so squeamish and so devilish dry
    You'll call Lucretius vapid next.' Not I:
    Some find him tedious, others think him lame,
    But if he lags his subject is to blame.
    Rough weary roads through barren wilds he tried,
    Yet still he marches with true Roman pride;
    Sometimes a meteor, gorgeous, rapid, bright,
    He streams athwart the philosophic night.
    Find you in Horace no insipid odes?--
    He dared to tell us Homer sometimes nods;
    And but for such a critic's hardy skill
    Homer might slumber unsuspected still.

                     J. ARMSTRONG. _Taste._


He [Dr. Johnson] said, that for general improvement, a man should read
whatever his immediate inclination prompts him to; though, to be sure,
if a man has a science to learn, he must regularly and resolutely
advance. He added, 'what we read with inclination makes a much stronger
impression. If we read without inclination, half the mind is employed in
fixing the attention; so there is but one half to be employed on what
we read.' He told us, he read Fielding's _Amelia_ through without
stopping. He said, 'If a man begins to read in the middle of a book, and
feels an inclination to go on, let him not quit it, to go to the
beginning. He may perhaps not feel again the inclination.'

Dr. Johnson advised me to-day, to have as many books about me as I
could; that I might read upon any subject upon which I had a desire for
instruction at the time. 'What you read _then_ (said he) you will
remember; but if you have not a book immediately ready, and the subject
moulds in your mind, it is a chance if you again have a desire to study
it.' He added, 'If a man never has an eager desire for instruction, he
should prescribe a task for himself. But it is better when a man reads
from immediate inclination.'

Another admonition of his was, never to go out without some little book
or other in the pocket. 'Much time,' added he, 'is lost by waiting, by
travelling, &c., and this may be prevented, by making use of every
possible opportunity for improvement.'--J. BOSWELL. _Life of Johnson._


Read few books well. We forget names and dates; and reproach our memory.
They are of little consequence. We feel our limbs enlarge and
strengthen; yet cannot tell the dinner or the dish that caused the
alteration. Our minds improve though we cannot name the author and have
forgotten the particulars.

Read all books through; and bad books most carefully, lest you should
lose one good thought, being determined never to look into them again. A
man may read a great deal too much.--J. HORNE TOOKE. _Recollections of
S. Rogers._


Under a strong persuasion that little of real value is derived by
persons in general from a wide and various reading; but still more
deeply convinced as to the actual mischief of unconnected and
promiscuous reading, and that it is sure, in a greater or less degree,
to enervate even where it does not likewise inflate; I hope to satisfy
many an ingenious mind, seriously interested in its own development and
cultivation, how moderate a number of volumes, if only they be
judiciously chosen, will suffice for the attainment of every wise and
desirable purpose; that is, in addition to those which he studies for
specific and professional purposes. It is saying less than the truth to
affirm that an excellent book (and the remark holds almost equally good
of a Raphael as of a Milton) is like a well-chosen and well-tended
fruit-tree. Its fruits are not of one season only. With the due and
natural intervals, we may recur to it year after year, and it will
supply the same nourishment and the same gratification, if only we
ourselves return to it with the same healthful appetite.--S. T.
COLERIDGE. _Prospectus to a Course of Lectures._


The advice I would give to any one who is disposed really to read for
the sake of knowledge is, that he should have two or three books in
course of reading at the same time. He will read a great deal more in
that time and with much greater profit. All travels are worth reading,
as subsidiary to reading, and in fact essential parts of it: old or new,
it matters not--something is to be learnt from all. And the custom of
making brief notes of reference to everything of interest or importance
would be exceedingly useful.--R. SOUTHEY (Letter to Henry Taylor).


Much depends upon _when_ and _where_ you read a book. In the five or six
impatient minutes, before the dinner is quite ready, who would think of
taking up the _Fairy Queen_ for a stop-gap, or a volume of Bishop
Andrewes' sermons?

Milton almost requires a solemn service of music to be played before you
enter upon him. But he brings his music, to which, who listens, had need
bring docile thoughts, and purged ears.

Winter evenings--the world shut out--with less of ceremony the gentle
Shakespeare enters. At such a season, the _Tempest_, or his own
_Winter's Tale_.--

These two poets you cannot avoid reading aloud--to yourself, or (as it
chances) to some single person listening. More than one--and it
degenerates into an audience.

Books of quick interest, that hurry on for incidents, are for the eye to
glide over only. It will not do to read them out. I could never listen
to even the better kind of modern novels without extreme irksomeness.

A newspaper, read out, is intolerable.--C. LAMB. _Detached Thoughts on
Books and Reading._


It is dangerous to have any intercourse or dealing with small authors.
They are as troublesome to handle, as easy to discompose, as difficult
to pacify, and leave as unpleasant marks on you, as small children.
Cultivate on the other hand the society and friendship of the higher;
first that you may learn to reverence them, which of itself is both a
pleasure and a virtue, and then that on proper occasions you may defend
them against the malevolent, which is a duty. And this duty cannot be
well and satisfactorily performed with an imperfect knowledge, or with
an inadequate esteem.--W. S. LANDOR. _Imaginary Conversations: Barrow
and Newton._


It is wholesome and bracing for the mind, to have its faculties kept on
the stretch. It is like the effect of a walk in Switzerland upon the
body. Reading an Essay of Bacon's, for instance, or a chapter of
Aristotle or of Butler, if it be well and thoughtfully read, is much
like climbing up a hill, and may do one the same sort of good.... For my
own part, I have ever gained the most profit and the most pleasure also,
from the books which have made me think the most: and, when the
difficulties have once been overcome, these are the books which have
struck the deepest root, not only in my memory and understanding, but
likewise in my affections. For this point too should be taken into
account. We are wont to think slightly of that, which it costs us a
slight effort to win. When a maiden is too forward, her admirer deems
it time to draw back. Whereas whatever has associated itself with the
arousal and activity of our better nature, with the important and
memorable epochs in our lives, whether moral or intellectual, is,--to
cull a sprig from the beautiful passage in which Wordsworth describes
the growth of Michael's love for his native hills--

                    Our living being, even more
    Than our own blood,--and could it less?--retains
    Strong hold on our affections, is to us
    A pleasurable feeling of blind love,
    The pleasure which there is in life itself.

If you would fertilize the mind, the plough must be driven over and
through it. The gliding of wheels is easier and rapider, but only makes
it harder and more barren. Above all, in the present age of light
reading, that is, of reading hastily, thoughtlessly, indiscriminately,
unfruitfully, when most books are forgotten as soon as they are
finished, and very many sooner, it is well if something heavier is cast
now and then into the midst of the literary public. This may scare and
repel the weak: it will rouse and attract the stronger, and increase
their strength by making them exert it. In the sweat of the brow is the
mind as well as the body to eat its bread.--A. W. and J. C. HARE.
_Guesses at Truth._


The best rule of reading will be a method from nature, and not a
mechanical one of hours and pages. It holds each student to a pursuit of
his native aim, instead of a desultory miscellany. Let him read what is
proper to him, and not waste his memory on a crowd of mediocrities. As
whole nations have derived their culture from a single book,--as the
Bible has been the literature as well as the religion of large portions
of Europe,--as Hafiz was the eminent genius of the Persians, Confucius
of the Chinese, Cervantes of the Spaniards; so, perhaps, the human mind
would be a gainer, if all the secondary writers were lost--say, in
England, all but Shakespeare, Milton, and Bacon--through the profounder
study so drawn to those wonderful minds. With this pilot of his own
genius, let the student read one, or let him read many, he will read

The three practical rules, then, which I have to offer, are,--1. Never
read any book that is not a year old. 2. Never read any but famed books.
3. Never read any but what you like; or, in Shakespeare's phrase,

    No profit goes where is no pleasure ta'en:
    In brief, sir, study what you most affect.

Montaigne says, 'Books are a languid pleasure;' but I find certain books
vital and spermatic, not leaving the reader what he was: he shuts the
book a richer man. I would never willingly read any others than
such.--R. W. EMERSON. _Books._


I would not be hurried by any love of system, by any exaggeration of
instincts, to underrate the Book. We all know, that, as the human body
can be nourished on any food, though it were boiled grass and the broth
of shoes, so the human mind can be fed by any knowledge. And great and
heroic men have existed, who had almost no other information than by the
printed page. I only would say, that it needs a strong head to bear that
diet. One must be an inventor to read well. As the proverb says, 'He
that would bring home the wealth of the Indies must carry out the wealth
of the Indies.' There is, then, creative reading as well as creative
writing. When the mind is braced by labour and invention, the page of
whatever book we read becomes luminous with manifold allusion. Every
sentence is doubly significant, and the sense of our author is as broad
as the world. We then see, what is always true, that, as the seer's hour
of vision is short and rare among heavy days and months, so is its
record, perchance, the least part of his volume. The discerning will
read, in his Plato or Shakespeare, only that least part,--only the
authentic utterances of the oracle; all the rest he rejects, were it
never so many times Plato's and Shakespeare's.--R. W. EMERSON. _The
American Scholar._


Let us turn our attention to the intellectual advantages accompanying
the pursuit, since the proper function of books is in the general case
associated with intellectual culture and occupation. It would seem that,
according to a received prejudice or opinion, there is one exception to
this general connexion, in the case of the possessors of libraries, who
are under a vehement suspicion of not reading their books. Well, perhaps
it is true in the sense in which those who utter the taunt understand
the reading of a book. That one should possess no books beyond his power
of perusal--that he should buy no faster than as he can read straight
through what he has already bought--is a supposition alike preposterous
and unreasonable. 'Surely you have far more books than you can read,' is
sometimes the inane remark of the barbarian who gets his books, volume
by volume, from some circulating library or reading club, and reads them
all through, one after the other, with a dreary dutifulness, that he may
be sure that he has got the value of his money.

It is true that there are some books--as Homer, Virgil, Horace, Milton,
Shakespeare, and Scott--which every man should read who has the
opportunity--should read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest.... But is
one next to read through the sixty and odd folio volumes of the
Bollandist _Lives of the Saints_, and the new edition of the Byzantine
historians, and the State Trials, and the _Encyclopaedia Britannica_,
and Moreri, and the Statutes at large, and the _Gentleman's Magazine_
from the beginning, each separately, and in succession? Such a course of
reading would certainly do a good deal towards weakening the mind, if it
did not create absolute insanity.

But in all these just named, even in the Statutes at large, and in
thousands upon thousands of other books, there is precious honey to be
gathered by the literary busy bee, who passes on from flower to flower.
In fact, 'a course of reading,' as it is sometimes called, is a course
of regimen for dwarfing the mind, like the drugs which dog-breeders give
to King Charles spaniels to keep them small. Within the span of life
allotted to man there is but a certain number of books that it is
practicable to read through, and it is not possible to make a selection
that will not, in a manner, wall in the mind from a free expansion over
the republic of letters. The being chained, as it were, to one intellect
in the perusal straight on of any large book, is a sort of mental
slavery superinducing imbecility. Even Gibbon's _Decline and Fall_,
luminous and comprehensive as its philosophy is, and rapid and brilliant
the narrative, will become deleterious mental food if consumed straight
through without variety. It will be well to relieve it occasionally with
a little Boston's _Fourfold State_, or Hervey's _Meditations_, or
Sturm's _Reflections for Every Day in the Year_, or _Don Juan_, or
Ward's _History of Stoke-Upon-Trent_.--J. H. BURTON. _The Book-Hunter._


    Read not Milton, for he is dry; nor Shakespeare, for he
      wrote of common life:
    Nor Scott, for his romances, though fascinating, are yet
    Nor Thackeray, for he is a Hogarth, a photographer who
      flattereth not:
    Nor Kingsley, for he shall teach thee that thou shouldest
      not dream, but do.
    Read incessantly thy Burke; that Burke who, nobler than
      he of old,
    Treateth of the Peer and Peeress, the truly Sublime and
    Likewise study the 'creations' of 'the Prince of modern
    Sigh over Leonard the Martyr, and smile on Pelham the
    Learn how 'love is the dram-drinking of existence';
    And how we 'invoke, in the Gadara of our still closets,
    The beautiful ghost of the Ideal, with the simple wand of
      the pen.'
    Listen how Maltravers and the orphan 'forgot all but
    And how Devereux's family chaplain 'made and unmade
    How Eugene Aram, though a thief, a liar, a murderer,
    Yet, being intellectual, was amongst the noblest of mankind.
    So shalt thou live in a world peopled with heroes and
    And if thou canst not realize the Ideal, thou shalt at least
      idealize the Real.

                C. S. CALVERLEY. _Proverbial Philosophy._


I hold that no man can have any just conception of the history of
England who has not often read, and meditated, and learnt to love the
great poets of England. The greatest of them, such as Chaucer,
Shakespeare, Massinger, George Herbert, Milton, Cowley, Dryden, Pope,
and Burns, often throw more rich and brilliant colours, and sometimes
even more clear and steady lights, on the times and doings of our
forefathers, than are to be gathered out of all the chroniclers
together, from the Venerable Bede to the philosophical Hume. They are at
least the greatest and best commentators on those chroniclers.--SIR
JAMES STEPHEN. _Desultory and Systematic Reading._


In perusal of history, first, provide you some writers in chronology and
cosmography. For if you be ignorant of the times and places when and
where the things you read were done, it cannot choose but breed
confusion in your reading, and make you many times grossly to slip and
mistake in your discourse. When, therefore, you set to your book, have
by you Helvicus, his _Chronology_, and a map of the country in which you
are conversant; and repair unto them to acquaint you with time and
place, when and where you are. If you be versing the ancient histories,
then provide you Ptolemy's maps, or Ortelius, his _Conatus Geographici_:
if the latter, then some of the modern cards....

Before you come to read the acts of any people, as those that intend to
go to bowls will first see and view the ground upon which they are to
play, so it shall not be amiss for you first to take a general view of
that ground, which you mean more particularly to traverse, by reading
some short epitome.... This will give you a general taste of your
business, and add light unto particular authors....

From the order of reading and the matters in reading to be observed, we
come to the method of observation. What order we are for our best use to
keep in entering our notes into our paper-books.

The custom which hath most prevailed hitherto was commonplacing, a thing
at the first original very plain and simple; but by after-times much
increased, some augmenting the number of the heads, others inventing
quainter forms of disposing them: till at length commonplace books
became like unto the Roman Breviary or Missal. It was a great part of
clerkship to know how to use them. The vastness of the volumes, the
multitude of heads, the intricacy of disposition, the pains of
committing the heads to memory, and last, of the labour of so often
turning the books to enter the observations in their due places, are
things so expensive of time and industry, that although at length the
work comes to perfection, yet it is but like the silver mines in Wales,
the profit will hardly quit the pains. I have often doubted with myself
whether or no there were any necessity of being so exactly methodical.
First, because there hath not yet been found a method of that latitude,
but little reading would furnish you with some things, which would fall
without the compass of it. Secondly, because men of confused, dark and
cloudy understandings, no beam or light of order and method can ever
rectify; whereas men of clear understanding, though but in a mediocrity,
if they read good books carefully, and note diligently, it is impossible
but they should find incredible profit, though their notes lie never so
confusedly. The strength of our natural memory, especially if we help
it, by revising our own notes; the nature of things themselves, many
times ordering themselves, and _tantum non_, telling us how to range
them; a mediocrity of care to see that matters lie not too chaos-like,
will with very small damage save us this great labour of being
over-superstitiously methodical. And what though peradventure something
be lost, _Exilis domus est_, &c. It is a sign of great poverty of
scholarship, where everything that is lost is missed; whereas rich and
well-accomplished learning is able to lose many things with little or no
inconvenience.--J. HALES. _Golden Remains._


Epitome is good privately for himself that doth work it, but ill
commonly for all other that use other men's labour therein: a silly poor
kind of study, not unlike to the doing of those poor folk, which neither
till nor sow nor reap themselves, but glean by stealth upon other men's
grounds. Such have empty barns for dear years.... Epitome hurteth most
of all in divinity itself. Indeed books of commonplaces be very
necessary to induce a man into an orderly general knowledge, how to
refer orderly all that he readeth, _ad certa rerum capita_, and not
wander in study.... But to dwell in epitomes, and books of commonplaces,
and not to bind himself daily by orderly study, to read with all
diligence, principally the holiest Scripture, and withal the best
doctors, and so to learn to make true difference betwixt the authority
of the one and the counsel of the other, maketh so many seeming and
sunburnt ministers as we have; whose learning is gotten in a summer
heat, and washed away with a Christmas snow again.--R. ASCHAM. _The


My abstracts of each book were made in the French language: my
observations often branched into particular essays; and I can still
read, without contempt, a dissertation of eight folio pages on eight
lines (287-94) of the fourth _Georgic_ of Virgil....

This various reading, which I now conducted with discretion, was
digested, according to the precept and model of Mr. Locke, into a large
commonplace book; a practice, however, which I do not strenuously
recommend. The action of the pen will doubtless imprint an idea on the
mind as well as on the paper: but I much question whether the benefits
of this laborious method are adequate to the waste of time; and I must
agree with Dr. Johnson (_Idler_, No. 74), 'that what is twice read is
commonly better remembered than what is transcribed'....

I will embrace this occasion of recommending to the young student a
practice which about this time [1759] I myself adopted. After glancing
my eye over the design and order of a new book, I suspended the perusal
till I had finished the task of self-examination, till I had revolved,
in a solitary walk, all that I knew, or believed, or had thought on the
subject of the whole work, or of some particular chapter: I was then
qualified to discern how much the author added to my original stock; and
if I was sometimes satisfied by the agreement, I was sometimes armed by
the opposition of our ideas.--E. GIBBON. _Autobiography._


Somewhat to aid the weakness of my memory and to assist her great
defects; for it hath often been my chance to light upon books which I
supposed to be new and never to have read, which I had, not
understanding, diligently read and run over many years before, and all
bescribbled with my notes: I have a while since accustomed myself to
note at the end of my book (I mean such as I purpose to read but once)
the time I made an end to read it, and to set down what censure or
judgement I gave of it; that so it may at least at another time
represent unto my mind the air and general idea I had conceived of the
author in reading him.--MONTAIGNE.


If the books which you read are your own, mark with a pen or pencil the
most considerable things in them which you desire to remember. Then you
may read that book the second time over with half the trouble, by your
eye running over the paragraphs which your pencil has noted. It is but a
very weak objection against this practice to say, 'I shall spoil my
book;' for I persuade myself that you did not buy it as a bookseller, to
sell it again for gain, but as a scholar, to improve your mind by it;
and if the mind be improved, your advantage is abundant, though your
book yields less money to your executors.--I. WATTS. _Logic._


'On a subsequent evening, when I called by invitation to consult some
other volumes, the conversation turned on the practice of underscoring
books of study. Sir William spoke highly of the practice, as attended
with many advantages, especially in the saving of time and labour.
Intelligent underlining gave a kind of abstract of an important work,
and by the use of different coloured inks to mark a difference of
contents, and discriminate the doctrinal from the historical or
illustrative elements of an argument or exposition, the abstract became
an analysis very serviceable for ready reference. He mentioned that this
principle had been carried to a ludicrous extreme in the publication of
a coloured New Testament by an Anglicized German, Wirgmann by name....
In this book, entitled _Divarication of the New Testament into Doctrine
and History_, the pages were all coloured, most of them parti-coloured,
the doctrine being throughout visually separated from the history by
this device; the doctrine being, if I remember rightly, blue, and the
history red. The author expressed his belief that all the sects of
Christendom had arisen from a confusion of these elements, and that his
grand discovery in the "Divarication" would annihilate sects, establish
pure Christianity as a sacred science, and become hereafter a Euclid in
Theology.'--SIR WILLIAM HAMILTON. _Life_ by J. Veitch.


The Country Parson hath read the Fathers also, and the Schoolmen, and
the later writers, or a good proportion of all, out of all which he hath
compiled a book, and Body of Divinity, which is the storehouse of his
sermons, and which he preacheth all his life; but diversely clothed,
illustrated, and enlarged. For though the world is full of such
composures, yet every man's own is fittest, readiest, and most savoury
to him. Besides, this being to be done in his younger and preparatory
times, it is an honest joy ever after to look upon his well-spent
hours.--G. HERBERT. _A Priest to the Temple._


For the disposition and collocation of that knowledge which we preserve
in writing, it consisteth in a good digest of commonplaces, wherein I am
not ignorant of the prejudice imputed to the rise of commonplace books,
as causing a retardation of reading, and some sloth or relaxation of
memory. But because it is but a counterfeit thing in knowledges to be
forward and pregnant, except a man be deep and full, I hold the entry of
commonplaces to be a matter of great use and essence in studying, as
that which assureth copy of invention, and contracteth judgement to a
strength. But this is true, that of the methods of commonplaces that I
have seen, there is none of any sufficient worth: all of them carrying
merely the face of a school, and not of a world; and referring to vulgar
matters and pedantical divisions, without all life or respect to
action.--F. BACON, LORD VERULAM. _Of the Advancement of Learning._


I take a paper book of what size I please. I divide the two first pages
that face one another by parallel lines into five-and-twenty equal
parts, every fifth line black, the other red. I then cut them
perpendicularly by other lines that I draw from the top to the bottom of
the page. I put about the middle of each five spaces one of the twenty
letters I design to make use of, and, a little forward in each space,
the five vowels, one below another, in their natural order. This is the
index to the whole volume, how big soever it may be.

The index being made after this manner, I leave a margin in all the
other pages of the book, of about the largeness of an inch, in a volume
in folio, or a little larger; and, in a less volume, smaller in

If I would put anything in my Commonplace Book, I find out a head to
which I may refer it. Each head ought to be some important and essential
word to the matter in hand, and in that word regard is to be had to the
first letter, and the vowel that follows it; for upon these two letters
depends all the use of the index.

I omit three letters of the alphabet as of no use to me, viz. K, Y, W,
which are supplied by C, I, U, that are equivalent to them. I put the
letter Q that is always followed with an u in the fifth space of Z. By
throwing Q last in my index, I preserve the regularity of my index, and
diminish not in the least its extent; for it seldom happens that there
is any head begins with Zu. I have found none in the five-and-twenty
years I have used this method.... When I meet with anything that I think
fit to put into my commonplace book, I first find a proper head.
Suppose, for example, that the head be EPISTOLA, I look into the index
for the first letter and the following vowel, which in this instance are
E i; if in the space marked E i there is any number that directs me to
the page designed for words that begin with an E, and whose first vowel
after the initial letter is I, I must then write under the word
Epistola, in that page, what I have to remark. I write the head in large
letters and begin a little way out into the margin, and I continue on
the line, in writing what I have to say. I observe constantly this rule
that only the head appears in the margin, and that it be continued on,
without ever doubling the line in the margin, by which means the heads
will be obvious at first sight....

If the head is a monosyllable and begins with a vowel, that vowel is at
the same time both the first letter of the word and the characteristic
vowel. Therefore I write the word Ars in A a and Os in O o....

As to the language in which one ought to express the heads I esteem the
Latin tongue most commodious, provided the nominative case be always
kept to.... But it is not of much consequence what language is made use
of, provided there be no mixture in the heads of different
languages.--W. LOCKE (Letter to Mr. Toignard).

A commonplace book contains many notions in garrison, whence the owner
may draw out an army into the field on competent warning.--T. FULLER.
_The Holy and the Profane State._

Reading without thinking may indeed make a rich commonplace, but 'twill
never make a clear head.--J. NORRIS. _On the Advantages of Thinking._


It is the practice of many readers to note, in the margin of their
books, the most important passages, the strongest arguments, or the
brightest sentiments. Thus they load their minds with superfluous
attention, repress the vehemence of curiosity by useless deliberation,
and by frequent interruption break the current of narration or the chain
of reason, and at last close the volume, and forget the passages and
marks together.

Others I have found unalterably persuaded that nothing is certainly
remembered but what is transcribed; and they have therefore passed weeks
and months in transferring large quotations to a commonplace book. Yet,
why any part of a book, which can be consulted at pleasure, should be
copied, I was never able to discover. The hand has no closer
correspondence with the memory than the eye. The act of writing itself
distracts the thoughts, and what is read twice is commonly better
remembered than what is transcribed. This method therefore consumes time
without assisting memory.

The true art of memory is the art of attention. No man will read with
much advantage, who is not able, at pleasure, to evacuate his mind, or
who brings not to his author an intellect defecated and pure, neither
turbid with care, nor agitated by pleasure. If the repositories of
thought are already full, what can they receive? If the mind is employed
on the past or the future, the book will be held before the eyes in
vain. What is read with delight is commonly retained, because pleasure
always secures attention: but the books which are consulted by
occasional necessity, and perused with impatience, seldom leave any
traces on the mind.--S. JOHNSON. _Idler_, 74.


More is got from one book on which the thought settles for a definite
end in knowledge, than from libraries skimmed over by a wandering eye. A
cottage flower gives honey to the bee, a king's garden none to the
butterfly.--E. G. E. L. BULWER-LYTTON, LORD LYTTON. _Caxtoniana._


I do not search and toss over books, but for an honester recreation to
please, and pastime to delight myself: or if I study, I only endeavour
to find out the knowledge that teacheth or handleth the knowledge of
myself, and which may instruct me how to die well and how to live well.

    Has meus ad metas sudet oportet equus (Propertius).

         My horse must sweating run,
         That this goal may be won.

If in reading I fortune to meet with any difficult points, I fret not
myself about them, but after I have given them a charge or two, I leave
them as I found them. Should I earnestly plod upon them, I should lose
both time and myself, for I have a skipping wit. What I see not at the
first view, I shall less see it if I opinionate myself upon it. I do
nothing without blitheness; and an over-obstinate continuation and
plodding contention doth dazzle, dull, and weary the same: my sight is
thereby confounded and diminished.... If one book seem tedious unto me I
take another, which I follow not with any earnestness, except it be at
such hours as I am idle, or that I am weary with doing nothing. I am not
greatly affected to new books, because ancient authors are, in my
judgement, more full and pithy: nor am I much addicted to Greek books,
forasmuch as my understanding cannot well rid his work with a childish
and apprentice intelligence. Amongst modern books merely pleasant, I
esteem Boccaccio his _Decameron_, Rabelais, and the Kisses of John the
Second (if they may be placed under this title), worth the pains-taking
to read them. As for _Amadis_ and such like trash of writings, they had
never the credit so much as to allure my youth to delight in them. This
I will say more, either boldly or rashly, that this old and heavy-paced
mind of mine will no more be pleased with Aristotle, or tickled with
good Ovid: his facility and quaint inventions which heretofore have so
ravished me, they can nowadays scarcely entertain me.... It is neither
grammatical subtilties nor logical quiddities, nor the witty contexture
of choice words or arguments and syllogisms that will serve my turn....
I would not have a man go about and labour by circumlocutions to induce
and win me to attention, and that (as our heralds or criers do) they
shall ring out their words: Now hear me, now listen, or ho-yes. The
Romans in their religion were wont to say 'Hoc age'; which in ours we
say 'Sursum corda'. These are so many lost words for me. I come ready
prepared from my house. I need no allurement nor sauce, my stomach is
good enough to digest raw meat.--MONTAIGNE.


    Interdum speciosa locis morataque recte
    Fabula nullius veneris, sine pondere et arte,
    Valdius oblectat populum meliusque moratur
    Quam versus inopes rerum nugaeque canorae.--HOR.

It is the custom of the Mahometans, if they see any printed or written
paper upon the ground, to take it up and lay it aside carefully, as not
knowing but it may contain some piece of their Alcoran. I must confess I
have so much of the Mussulman in me, that I cannot forbear looking into
every printed paper which comes in my way, under whatsoever despicable
circumstances it may appear; for as no mortal author, in the ordinary
fate and vicissitude of things, knows to what use his works may some
time or other be applied, a man may often meet with very celebrated
names in a paper of tobacco. I have lighted my pipe more than once with
the writings of a prelate; and know a friend of mine, who, for these
several years, has converted the essays of a man of quality into a kind
of fringe for his candlesticks. I remember in particular, after having
read over a poem of an eminent author on a victory, I met with several
fragments of it upon the next rejoicing day, which had been employed in
squibs and crackers, and by that means celebrated its subject in a
double capacity. I once met with a page of Mr. Baxter under a Christmas
pie. Whether or no the pastry-cook had made use of it through chance or
waggery, for the defence of that superstitious _viande_, I know not; but
upon the perusal of it, I conceived so good an idea of the author's
piety, that I bought the whole book. I have often profited by these
accidental readings, and have sometimes found very curious pieces, that
are either out of print, or not to be met with in the shops of our
London booksellers. For this reason, when my friends take a survey of my
library, they are very much surprised to find, upon the shelf of folios,
two long band-boxes standing upright among my books, till I let them see
that they are both of them lined with deep erudition and abstruse
literature.--J. ADDISON. _Spectator_, 85.


In opposition to these extremes, I meet with another sort of people,
that delight themselves in reading, but it is in such a desultory way,
running from one book to another, as birds skip from one bough to
another, without design, that it is no marvel if they get nothing but
their labour for their pains, when they seek nothing but change and
diversion: they that ride post can observe but little.

It is in reading, as it is in making many books; there may be a pleasing
distraction in it, but little or no profit. I would therefore do in this
as merchants used to do in their trading; who, in a coasting way, put in
at several ports and take in what commodities they afford, but settle
their factories in those places only which are of special note: I would,
by the by, allow myself a traffic with sundry authors, as I happen to
light upon them, for my recreation; and I would make the best advantage
that I could of them; but I would fix my study upon those only that are
of most importance to fit me for action, which is the true end of all
learning, and for the service of God, which is the true end of all
action. Lord, teach me so to study other men's works as not to neglect
mine own; and so to study Thy word, which is Thy work, that it may be 'a
lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path'--my candle to work by. Take
me off from the curiosity of knowing only to know; from the vanity of
knowing only to be known; and from the folly of pretending to know more
than I do know; and let it be my wisdom to study to know Thee, who art
life eternal. Write Thy law in my heart, and I shall be the best book
here.--SIR W. WALLER. _Divine Meditations._


The library at Waverley-Honour, a large Gothic room, with double arches
and a gallery, contained such a miscellaneous and extensive collection
of volumes as had been assembled together, during the course of two
hundred years, by a family which had been always wealthy, and inclined,
of course, as a mark of splendour, to furnish their shelves with the
current literature of the day, without much scrutiny, or nicety of
discrimination. Throughout this ample realm Edward was permitted to roam
at large.... With a desire of amusement, therefore, which better
discipline might soon have converted into a thirst for knowledge, young
Waverley drove through the sea of books, like a vessel without a pilot
or a rudder. Nothing perhaps increases by indulgence more than a
desultory habit of reading, especially under such opportunities of
gratifying it. I believe one reason why such numerous instances of
erudition occur among the lower ranks is, that, with the same powers of
mind, the poor student is limited to a narrow circle for indulging his
passion for books, and must necessarily make himself master of the few
he possesses ere he can acquire more. Edward, on the contrary, like the
epicure who only deigned to take a single morsel from the sunny side of
a peach, read no volume a moment after it ceased to excite his curiosity
or interest; and it necessarily happened, that the habit of seeking only
this sort of gratification rendered it daily more difficult of
attainment, till the passion for reading, like other strong appetites,
produced by indulgence a sort of satiety.--SIR W. SCOTT. _Waverley._


Not to mention the multitudes who read merely for the sake of talking,
or to qualify themselves for the world, or some such kind of reasons;
there are, even of the few who read for their own entertainment, and
have a real curiosity to see what is said, several, which is prodigious,
who have no sort of curiosity to see what is true....

For the sake of this whole class of readers, for they are of different
capacities, different kinds, and get into this way from different
occasions, I have often wished that it had been the custom to lay before
people nothing in matters of argument but premises, and leave them to
draw conclusions themselves; which, though it could not be done in all
cases, might in many.

The great number of books and papers of amusement, which, of one kind or
another, daily come in one's way, have in part occasioned, and most
perfectly fall in with and humour, this idle way of reading and
considering things. By this means, time even in solitude is happily got
rid of, without the pain of attention; neither is any part of it more
put to the account of idleness, one can scarce forbear saying, is spent
with less thought, than great part of that which is spent in
reading.--J. BUTLER. Preface to _Sermons_.


Mr. Elphinston talked of a new book that was much admired, and asked Dr.
Johnson if he had read it. Johnson: 'I have looked into it.' 'What (said
Elphinston), have you not read it through?' Johnson, offended at being
thus pressed, and so obliged to own his cursory mode of reading,
answered tartly, 'No, Sir, do _you_ read books _through_?'--J. BOSWELL.
_Life of Johnson._


Desultory reading is indeed very mischievous, by fostering habits of
loose, discontinuous thought, by turning the memory into a common sewer
for rubbish of all sorts to float through, and by relaxing the power of
attention, which of all our faculties most needs care, and is most
improved by it. But a well-regulated course of study will no more weaken
the mind, than hard exercise will weaken the body: nor will a strong
understanding be weighed down by its knowledge, any more than an oak is
by its leaves, or than Samson was by his locks. He whose sinews are
drained by his hair, must already be a weakling.--A. W. and J. C. HARE.
_Guesses at Truth._


As in the choice and reading of good books principally consists the
enabling and advancement of a man's knowledge and learning; yet if it be
not mixed with the conversation of discreet, able, and understanding
men, they can make little use of their reading, either for themselves,
or the commonwealth where they live. There is not a more common proverb
than this, _That the Greatest Clerks be not always the wisest men_, and
reason for it, being a very uneven rule to square all actions, and
consultations, only by book precedents. Time hath so many changes, and
alterations, and such variety of occasions and opportunities,
intervening, and mingled, that it is impossible to go new ways in the
old paths; so that though reading do furnish and direct a man's
judgement, yet it doth not wholly govern it. Therefore the necessity of
knowing the present time, and men, wherein we live, is so great, that it
is the principal guide of our actions, and reading but
supplemental.--GREY BRYDGES, LORD CHANDOS. _Horae Subsecivae._


Affect not, as some do, that bookish ambition, to be stored with books
and have well-furnished libraries, yet keep their heads empty of
knowledge: to desire to have many books, and never to use them, is like
a child that will have a candle burning by him, all the while he is
sleeping.--H. PEACHAM. _The Compleat Gentleman._


We have a generation of people in the world, that are so far from
putting themselves upon the hazard of knowing too much, that they affect
a kind of Socratical knowledge (though it be the clear contrary way), a
knowledge of knowing nothing; they hate learning, and wisdom, and
understanding with that perfect hatred, that if one could fancy such
things to be in paradise, one would think (if I may speak it, as I mean
it without profaneness) that the Devil could not tempt them to come near
the tree of knowledge; I cannot say these are in a state of innocency,
but I am sure they are in a state of simplicity. But among those few
persons (especially those of quality) that pretend to look after books,
how many are there that affect rather to look upon them, than in them?
Some covet to have libraries in their houses, as ladies desire to have
cupboards of plate in their chambers, only for show; as if they were
only to furnish their rooms, and not their minds; if the only having of
store of books were sufficient to improve a man, the stationers would
have the advantage of all others; but certainly books were made for use,
and not for ostentation; in vain do they boast of full libraries that
are contented to live with empty heads.--SIR W. WALLER. _Divine


    Read well, and then these following lines are mine,
    But read them like a botcher, they are thine.
    Such virtue from some readers doth proceed,
    They make the verse the better which they read:
    They know their idioms, accents, emphases,
    Commas, stops, colons, and parentheses,
    Full points, and periods, brief apostrophes,
    Good knowing readers understand all these:
    But such as dares my book to take in hand,
    Who scarce can read or spell or understand;
    Yet, like Sir reverence Geese, they will be gagling,
    And tear my lines to tatters with their hagling;
    Such I request, if bachelors they be,
    To leave my book, and learn their A.B.C.:
    If married men they be, let them take pain
    To exercise their horn-books once again.

     J. TAYLOR. _Epigrams, Written on purpose to be read: with a
     Proviso, that they may be understood by the Reader._


... is oftener in his study than at his book.... His table is spread
wide with some classic folio, which is as constant to it as the carpet,
and hath lain open in the same page this half year.... He walks much
alone in the posture of meditation, and has a book still before his face
in the fields. His pocket is seldom without a Greek Testament, or Hebrew
Bible, which he opens only in the church, and this when some stander-by
looks over.... He is a great nomenclator of authors, whom he has read in
general in the catalogue, and in particular in the title, and goes
seldom so far as the dedication.--J. EARLE. _Microcosmographie._


    Man has a natural desire to know,
    But the one half is for interest, the other show:
    As scriveners take more pains to learn the slight
    Of making knots than all the hands they write:
    So all his study is not to extend
    The bounds of knowledge, but some vainer end;
    To appear and pass for learnèd, though his claim
    Will hardly reach beyond the empty name:
    For most of those that drudge and labour hard,
    Furnish their understandings by the yard,
    As a French library by the whole is,
    So much an ell for quartos and for folios;
    To which they are the indexes themselves,
    And understand no further than the shelves;
    But smatter with their tables and editions,
    And place them in their classical partitions;
    When all a student knows of what he reads
    Is not in 's own but under general heads
    Of commonplaces not in his own power,
    But, like a Dutchman's money, i' th' cantore;
    Where all he can make of it, at the best,
    Is hardly three per cent. for interest;
    And whether he will ever get it out
    Into his own possession is a doubt:
    Affects all books of past and modern ages,
    But reads no further than the title-pages,
    Only to con the author's names by rote,
    Or, at the best, those of the books they quote
    Enough to challenge intimate acquaintance
    With all the learnèd Moderns and the Ancients.
    As Roman noblemen were wont to greet,
    And compliment the rabble in the street,
    Had nomenclators in their trains, to claim
    Acquaintance with the meanest by his name,
    And by so mean contemptible a bribe
    Trepanned the suffrages of every tribe;
    So learned men, by authors' names unknown,
    Have gained no small improvement to their own,
    And he's esteemed the learnedest of all others
    That has the largest catalogue of authors.

              S. BUTLER. _Satire upon the imperfection
              and abuse of human learning._


    Among the numerous fools, by Fate designed
    Oft to disturb, and oft divert, mankind,
    The reading coxcomb is of special note,
    By rule a poet, and a judge by rote:
    Grave son of idle Industry and Pride,
    Whom learning but perverts, and books misguide.

    In error obstinate, in wrangling loud,
    For trifles eager, positive, and proud,
    Forth steps at last the self-applauding wight,
    Of points and letters, chaff and straws, to write:
    Sagely resolved to swell each bulky piece
    With venerable toys from Rome and Greece;
    How oft, in Homer, Paris curled his hair;
    If Aristotle's cap were round or square;
    If in the cave, where Dido first was sped,
    To Tyre she turned her heels, to Troy her head.
    Hence Plato quoted or the Stagyrite,
    To prove that flame ascends and snow is white:
    Hence much hard study, without sense or breeding,
    And all the grave impertinence of reading.
    If Shakespeare says, the noon-day sun is bright,
    His scholiast will remark, it then was light;
    Turn Caxton, Wynkyn, each old Goth and Hun,
    To rectify the reading of a pun.
    Thus, nicely trifling, accurately dull,
    How one may toil, and toil--to be a fool!--D. MALLET.


As to the devotees of the circulating libraries, I dare not compliment
their _pass-time_, or rather _kill-time_, with the name of _reading_.
Call it rather a sort of beggarly daydreaming, during which the mind of
the dreamer furnishes for itself nothing but laziness and a little
mawkish sensibility; while the whole _material_ and imagery of the doze
is supplied _ab extra_ by a sort of mental _camera obscura_ manufactured
at the printing office, which _pro tempore_ fixes, reflects and
transmits the moving phantasms of one man's delirium, so as to people
the barrenness of an hundred other brains afflicted with the same trance
or suspension of all common sense and all definite purpose. We should
therefore transfer this species of _amusement_ (if indeed those can be
said to retire _a musis_, who were never in their company, or relaxation
be attributable to those whose bows are never bent) from the genus
_reading_ to the comprehensive class characterized by the power of
reconciling the two contrary yet co-existing propensities of human
nature, namely, indulgence of sloth and hatred of vacancy. In addition
to novels and tales of chivalry in prose or rhyme (by which last I mean
neither rhythm nor metre) this genus comprises as its species gaming,
swinging, or swaying on a chair or gate; spitting over a bridge;
smoking; snuff-taking; _tête à tête_ quarrels after dinner between
husband and wife; conning word by word all the advertisements of the
daily advertizers in a public-house on a rainy day, &c., &c., &c.--S. T.
COLERIDGE. _Biographia Literaria._


Dr. Johnson this day, when we were by ourselves [on the journey to the
Hebrides] observed, how common it was for people to talk from books; to
retail the sentiments of others, and not their own; in short, to
converse without any originality of thinking. He was pleased to say,
'You and I do not talk from books.'--J. BOSWELL. _Life of Johnson._

There are no race of people who talk about books, or perhaps, who read
books, so little as literary men.--W. M. THACKERAY.


There is a sort of vanity some men have, of talking of and reading
obscure and half-forgotten authors, because it passes as a matter of
course, that he who quotes authors which are so little read, must be
completely and thoroughly acquainted with those authors which are in
every man's mouth. For instance, it is very common to quote Shakespeare;
but it makes a sort of stare to quote Massinger. I have very little
credit for being well acquainted with Virgil; but if I quote Silius
Italicus, I may stand some chance of being reckoned a great scholar. In
short, whoever wishes to strike out of the great road, and to make a
short cut to fame, let him neglect Homer, and Virgil, and Horace, and
Ariosto and Milton, and, instead of these, read and talk of
Frascatorius, Sannazarius, Lorenzini, Pastorini, and the thirty-six
primary sonneteers of Bettinelli;--let him neglect everything which the
suffrage of ages has made venerable and grand, and dig out of their
graves a set of decayed scribblers, whom the silent verdict of the
public has fairly condemned to everlasting oblivion. If he complain of
the injustice with which they have been treated, and call for a new
trial with loud and importunate clamour, though I am afraid he will not
make much progress in the estimation of men of sense, he will be sure to
make some noise in the crowd, and to be dubbed a man of very curious and
extraordinary erudition.--S. SMITH. _Moral Philosophy, Lecture IX. On
the Conduct of the Understanding._


Some read to think,--these are rare; some to write,--these are common;
and some read to talk,--and these form the great majority. The first
page of an author not unfrequently suffices for all the purposes of this
latter class: of whom it has been said, that they treat books as some do
lords; they inform themselves of their _titles_, and then boast of an
intimate acquaintance.--C. C. COLTON. _Lacon._

The author who speaks about his own books is almost as bad as a mother
who talks about her own children.--B. DISRAELI, LORD BEACONSFIELD.


The priest and the barber of the place, who were Don Quixote's great
friends, happened to be there [at Don Quixote's house]; and the
housekeeper was saying to them aloud: What is your opinion, Señor
Licentiate Pero Perez (for that was the priest's name) of my master's
misfortune? for neither he, nor his horse, nor the target, nor the
lance, nor the armour have been seen these six days past. Woe is me! I
am verily persuaded, and it is as certainly true as I was born to die,
that these cursed books of knight-errantry which he keeps, and is so
often reading, have turned his brain; and now I think of it, I have
often heard him say, talking to himself, that he would turn
knight-errant, and go about the world in quest of adventures. The devil
and Barabbas take all such books, that have thus spoiled the finest
understanding in all La Mancha. The niece joined with her, and said
moreover: Know, master Nicholas (for that was the barber's name), that
it has often happened, that my honoured uncle has continued poring on
these confounded books of disadventures two whole days and nights....
But I take the blame of all this to myself, that I did not advertise
you, gentlemen, of my dear uncle's extravagances, before they were come
to the height that they now are, that you might have prevented them by
burning all those cursed books, of which he has so great a store, and
which as justly deserve to be committed to the flames, as if they were

Whilst Don Quixote still slept on, the priest asked the niece for the
keys of the chamber where the books were, those authors of the mischief;
and she delivered them with a very good will. They all went in, and the
housekeeper with them. They found above a hundred volumes in folio, very
well bound, besides a great many small ones. And no sooner did the
housekeeper see them, than she ran out of the room in great haste, and
immediately returned with a pot of holy water and a bunch of hyssop, and
said: Señor Licentiate, take this and sprinkle the room, lest some
enchanter, of the many these books abound with, should enchant us in
revenge for what we intend to do, in banishing them out of the world.
The priest smiled at the housekeeper's simplicity, and ordered the
barber to reach him the books one by one, that they might see what they
treated of; for, perhaps, they might find some that might not deserve to
be chastised by fire. No, said the niece, there is no reason why any of
them should be spared.... The housekeeper said the same; so eagerly did
they both thirst for the death of those innocents. But the priest would
not agree to that, without first reading the titles at least....

That night the housekeeper set fire to, and burnt all the books that
were in the yard [whither they had been cast], and in the house too; and
some must have perished, that deserved to be treasured up in perpetual
archives.--CERVANTES. _Don Quixote._


There have indeed been minds overlaid by much reading, men who have
piled such a load of books on their heads, their brains have seemed to
be squashed by them.--A. W. and J. C. HARE. _Guesses at Truth._


Books are chiefly useful as they help us to interpret what we see and
experience. When they absorb men, as they sometimes do, and turn them
from observation of nature and life, they generate a learned folly, for
which the plain sense of the labourer could not be exchanged but at
great loss. It deserves attention that the greatest men have been formed
without the studies which at present are thought by many most needful to
improvement. Homer, Plato, Demosthenes, never heard the name of
chemistry, and knew less of the solar system than a boy in our common
schools. Not that these sciences are unimportant; but the lesson is,
that human improvement never wants the means, where the purpose of it is
deep and earnest in the soul.--W. E. CHANNING. _Self-Culture._


    Who readeth much, and never meditates,
    Is like a greedy eater of much food,
    Who so surcloys his stomach with his cates,
    That commonly they do him little good.

                    J. SYLVESTER. _Tetrasticha._


As for the disgraces which learning receiveth from politics, they be of
this nature; that learning doth soften men's minds, and makes them more
unapt for the honour and exercise of arms; that it doth mar and pervert
men's dispositions for matter of government and policy, in making them
too curious and irresolute by variety of reading, or too peremptory or
positive by strictness of rules and axioms, or too immoderate and
overweening by reason of the greatness of examples, or too incompatible
and differing from the times by reason of the dissimilitude of examples;
or at least, that it doth divert men's travails from action and
business, and bringeth them to a love of leisure and privateness; and
that it doth bring into states a relaxation of discipline, whilst every
man is more ready to argue than to obey and execute....

If any man be laborious in reading and study and yet idle in business
and action, it groweth from some weakness of body or softness of spirit;
such as Seneca speaketh of: _Quidam tam sunt umbratiles, ut putent in
turbido esse quicquid in luce est_; and not of learning: well may it be
that such a point of a man's nature may make him give himself to
learning, but it is not learning that breedeth any such point in his
nature.--F. BACON, LORD VERULAM. _Of the Advancement of Learning._


                              Many books,
    Wise men have said, are wearisome; who reads
    Incessantly, and to his reading brings not
    A spirit and judgement, equal or superior,
    (And what he brings, what needs he elsewhere seek?)
    Uncertain and unsettled still remains,
    Deep-versed in books, and shallow in himself;
    Crude or intoxicate, collecting toys
    And trifles for choice matters, worth a sponge;
    As children gathering pebbles on the shore.

                     J. MILTON. _Paradise Regained._


                              The heart
    May give an useful lesson to the head,
    And learning wiser grow without his books.
    Knowledge and wisdom, far from being one,
    Have oft-times no connexion. Knowledge dwells
    In heads replete with thoughts of other men;
    Wisdom in minds attentive to their own.
    Knowledge, a rude unprofitable mass,
    The mere materials with which Wisdom builds,
    Till smoothed and squared and fitted to its place,
    Does but encumber whom it seems to enrich.
    Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much;
    Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.
      Books are not seldom talismans and spells,
    By which the magic art of shrewder wits
    Holds an unthinking multitude enthralled.
    Some to the fascination of a name
    Surrender judgement, hood-winked. Some the style
    Infatuates, and through labyrinths and wilds
    Of error leads them by a tune entranced.
    While sloth seduces more, too weak to bear
    The insupportable fatigue of thought,
    And swallowing, therefore, without pause or choice,
    The total grist unsifted, husks and all.
    But trees, and rivulets whose rapid course
    Defies the check of winter, haunts of deer,
    And sheep-walks populous with bleating lambs,
    And lanes in which the primrose ere her time
    Peeps through the moss that clothes the hawthorn root,
    Deceive no student. Wisdom there, and truth,
    Not shy, as in the world, and to be won
    By slow solicitation, seize at once
    The roving thought, and fix it on themselves.

                    W. COWPER. _The Winter Walk at Noon._

Much reading is like much eating, wholly useless without digestion.--R.

If I had read as much as other men, I should have been as ignorant as
they.--T. HOBBES.


You might read all the books in the British Museum (if you could live
long enough) and remain an utterly 'illiterate', uneducated person; but
... if you read ten pages of a good book, letter by letter,--that is to
say, with real accuracy,--you are for evermore in some measure an
educated person.--J. RUSKIN. _Sesame and Lilies._


Do I boast of my omnivorousness of reading, even apart from romances?
Certainly no!--never, except in joke. It's against my theories and
ratiocinations, which take upon themselves to assert that we all
generally err by _reading too much_, or out of proportion to what we
_think_. I should be wiser, I am persuaded, if I had not read half as
much--should have had stronger and better exercised faculties. The fact
is, that the _ne plus ultra_ of intellectual indolence is this reading
of books. It comes next to what the Americans call 'whittling'.--E. B.
BROWNING (Letter to R. H. Horne).


He that sets out on the journey of life, with a profound knowledge of
books, but a shallow knowledge of men, with much sense of others, but
little of his own, will find himself as completely at a loss on
occasions of common and of constant recurrence, as a Dutchman without
his pipe, a Frenchman without his mistress, an Italian without his
fiddle, or an Englishman without his umbrella.--C. C. COLTON. _Lacon._

    Study is like the heaven's glorious sun,
      That will not be deep-searched with saucy looks;
    Small have continual plodders ever won,
      Save base authority from others' books.

                     W. SHAKESPEARE. _Love's Labour's Lost._


    Who, loving leisure and his studious ease,
    And books, and what of noblest lore they bring,
    Will not confess that sometimes, called aside
    To humbler work and less delightful tasks,
    He has been tempted to exclaim in heart--
    'How pleasant were it might we only dwell,
    And ever hold sweet converse undisturbed
    Thus with the choicest spirits of the world
    In council, and in letters, and in arms.
    Easy to live with, always at command,
    They come at bidding, at our word depart,
    Friends whose society not ever cloys.
    Glorious it were by intercourse with these
    To learn whatever men have thought or done,
    And travel the great orb of knowledge round.
    But oh! how most unwelcome the constraint,
    How harsh the summons bidding us to pause,
    And for a season turn from our high toils,
    From that serener atmosphere come down,
    And grow perforce acquainted with the woe,
    The strife, the discord of the actual world,
    And all the ignoble work beneath the sun.'

           *       *       *       *       *

    But other feelings occupied my heart,
    And other words found utterance from my lips,
    When that day's work was finished, and my feet
    Again turned homeward--alteration strange
    Of feeling, with a better, humbler mind.
    For I was thankful now ...
                              ... that thus I was
    Compelled, as by a gentle violence
    Not in the pages of dead books alone,
    Nor merely in the fair page nature shows,
    But in the living page of human life
    To look and learn--not merely left to spin
    Fine webs and woofs around me like the worm,
    Till in mine own coil I had hid myself
    And quite shut out the light of common day,
    And common air by which men breathe and live.

           *       *       *       *       *

    It was brought home unto my heart of hearts
    There was no doom more pitiable than his,
    Who at safe distance hears life's stormy waves,
    Which break for ever on a rugged shore,
    In which are shipwrecked mariners, for their lives
    Contending some, some momently sucked up,
    But as a gentle murmur afar off
    To soothe his sleep, and lull him in his dreams:
    Who, while he boasts he has been building up
    A palace for himself, in sooth has reared
    What shall be first his prison, then his tomb.

                R. C. TRENCH. _Anti-Gnosticus._


                  Studious let me sit,
    And hold high converse with the mighty dead--
    Sages of ancient time, as gods revered,
    As gods beneficent, who blessed mankind
    With arts and arms, and humanized a world.
    Roused at the inspiring thought, I throw aside
    The long-lived volume.

                    J. THOMSON. _The Seasons._


If books are only dead things, if they do not speak to one, or answer
one when one speaks to them, if they have nothing to do with the common
things that we are busy with--with the sky over our head, and the ground
under our feet--I think that they had better stay on the shelves....
What I regret is that many of us spend much of our time in reading
books, and in talking of books--that we like nothing worse than the
reputation of being indifferent to them, and nothing better than the
reputation of knowing a great deal about them; and yet that, after all,
we do not know them in the same way as we know our fellow-creatures, not
even in the way we know any dumb animal that we walk with or play with.
This is a great misfortune, in my opinion, and one which I am afraid is
increasing as what we call 'the taste for literature' increases. It is
very pleasant to think in what distant parts of the earth it [the
English language] is spoken, and that in all those parts these books
which are friends of ours are acknowledged as friends. And there is a
living and productive power in them. They have produced an American
literature, which is coming back to instruct us. They will produce by
and by an Australian literature, which will be worth all the gold that
is sent to us from the diggings.--F. D. MAURICE. _The Friendship of


In modern times instruction is communicated chiefly by means of Books.
Books are no doubt very useful helps to knowledge, and in some measure
also, to the practice of useful arts and accomplishments, but they are
not, in any case, the primary and natural sources of culture, and, in my
opinion, their virtue is not a little apt to be overrated, even in those
branches of acquirement where they seem most indispensable. They are not
creative powers in any sense; they are merely helps, instruments, tools;
and even as tools they are only artificial tools, superadded to those
with which the wise prevision of Nature has equipped us, like telescopes
and microscopes, whose assistance in many researches reveals unimagined
wonders, but the use of which should never tempt us to undervalue or to
neglect the exercise of our own eyes. The original and proper sources of
knowledge are not books, but life, experience, personal thinking,
feeling, and acting. When a man starts with these, books can fill up
many gaps, correct much that is inaccurate, and extend much that is
inadequate; but, without living experience to work on, books are like
rain and sunshine fallen on unbroken soil.--J. S. BLACKIE. _On

How well he's read, to reason against reading!

    W. SHAKESPEARE. _Love's Labour's Lost._


This plodding occupation of books is as painful as any other, and as
great an enemy unto health, which ought principally to be considered.
And a man should not suffer himself to be inveigled by the pleasure he
takes in them.... Books are delightful; but if by continual frequenting
them, we in the end lose both health and cheerfulness (our best parts)
let us leave them. I am one of those who think their fruit can no way
countervail this loss.... As for me, I love no books but such as are
pleasant and easy, and which tickle me, or such as comfort or counsel
me, to direct my life and death....

If any say to me, It is a kind of vilifying the Muses to use them only
for sport and recreation, he wots not as I do, what worth, pleasure,
sport, and pastime is of: I had well nigh termed all other ends
ridiculous. I live from hand to mouth, and, with reverence be it spoken,
I live but to myself: there end all my designs. Being young I studied
for ostentation; then a little to enable myself and become wiser; now
for delight and recreation, never for gain.... Books have and contain
divers pleasing qualities to those that can duly choose them. But no
good without pains; no roses without prickles. It is a pleasure not
absolutely pure and neat; no more than all others; it hath his
inconveniences attending on it, and sometimes weighty ones: the mind is
therein exercised, but the body (the care whereof I have not yet
forgotten) remaineth there--whilst without action, and is wasted, and
ensorrowed. I know no excess more hurtful for me, nor more to be avoided
by me, in this declining age.--MONTAIGNE.


    And yet, alas! when all our lamps are burned,
      Our bodies wasted, and our spirits spent,
    When we have all the learnèd volumes turned,
      Which yield men's wits both help and ornament,
    What can we know or what can we discern?

                  SIR J. DAVIES. _On the Immortality of the Soul._


    Why, all delights are vain; but that most vain
    Which, with pain purchased doth inherit pain:
    As, painfully to pore upon a book,
      To seek the light of truth; while truth the while
    Doth falsely blind the eyesight of his look:
      Light seeking light doth light of light beguile:
    So, ere you find where light in darkness lies,
    Your light grows dark by losing of your eyes.

                   W. SHAKESPEARE. _Love's Labour's Lost._


'Tis an honest injury to nature to steal from her some hours of repose;
unsufferable to the soul to let the golden hours of the morning pass
without advantage, seeing she is then more capable of culture, and seems
to be renewed as well as the day. It were an excellent posture to paint
Caesar in, as he swum with a book in the one hand, and a sword in the
other; since he made his tent an academy, and was at leisure to read the
physiognomy of the heavens in military tumults. This shows he knew how
to prize time, and hated idleness as much as a superior; and indeed, to
speak to Christians, we ought to look how we spend our hours here,
knowing they are but the preludium of that which shall be no time but

Judgement is long ere it be settled, experience being the best nurse of
it, and we see seldom learning and wisdom concur, because the former is
got _sub umbra_, but business doth winnow observations, and the better
acquaintance with breathing volumes of men; it teacheth us both better
to read them and to apply what we have read....

Health ought to be nicely respected by a student. For the labours of the
mind are as far beyond them of the body, as the diseases of the one are
above the other; and how can a spirit actuate when she is caged in a
lump of fainting flesh? Unseasonable times of study are very obnoxious,
as after meals, when Nature is wholly retired to concoction; or at night
times, when she begins to droop for want of rest, hence so many rheums,
defluxions, catarrhs, &c., that I have heard it spoken of one of the
greatest ambulatory pieces of learning at this day, that he would redeem
(if possible) his health with the loss of half his learning.--JOHN HALL.
_Horae Vacivae._


I know what it is to have had to toil when the brain was throbbing, the
mind incapable of originating a thought, and the body worn and sore with
exhaustion; and I know what it is in such an hour, instead of having
recourse to those gross stimulants to which all worn men, both of the
higher and lower classes, are tempted, to take down my Sophocles or my
Plato (for Plato was a poet), my Goethe, or my Dante, Shakespeare,
Shelley, Wordsworth, or Tennyson; and I know what it is to feel the jar
of nerve gradually cease, and the darkness in which all life had robed
itself to the imagination become light, discord pass into harmony, and
physical exhaustion rise by degrees into a consciousness of power.--F.
W. ROBERTSON. _Lectures and Addresses._


Books, taken indiscriminately, are no cure to the diseases and
afflictions of the mind. There is a world of science necessary in the
taking them. I have known some people in great sorrow fly to a novel or
the last light book in fashion. One might as well take a rose-draught
for the plague! Light reading does not do when the heart is really
heavy. I am told that Goethe, when he lost his son, took to study a
science that was new to him. Ah! Goethe was a physician who knew what he
was about. In a great grief like this you cannot tickle and divert the
mind; you must wrench it away, abstract, absorb--bury it in an abyss,
hurry it into a labyrinth. Therefore, for the irremediable sorrows of
middle life and old age, I recommended a strict chronic course of
science and hard reasoning--counter-irritation. Bring the brain to act
upon the heart! If science is too much against the grain (for we have
not all got mathematical heads), something in the reach of the humblest
understanding, but sufficiently searching to the highest--new
language--Greek, Arabic, Scandinavian, Chinese, or Welsh! For the loss
of fortune the dose should be applied less directly to the
understanding--I would administer something elegant and cordial. For as
the heart is crushed and lacerated by a loss in the affections, so it is
rather the head that aches and suffers by the loss of money. Here we
find the higher class of poets a very valuable remedy. For observe that
poets of the grander and more comprehensive kind of genius have in them
two separate men quite distinct from each other--the imaginative man,
and the practical, circumstantial man; and it is the happy mixture of
these that suits diseases of the mind, half imaginative and half
practical.... For hypochondria and satiety what is better than a brisk
alterative course of travels--especially early, out-of-the-way,
marvellous, legendary travels! How they freshen up the spirits! How they
take you out of the humdrum yawning state you are in.... Then, for that
vice of the mind which I call sectarianism--not in the religious sense
of the word, but little, narrow prejudices, that make you hate your
next-door neighbour, because he has his eggs roasted when you have yours
boiled; and gossiping and prying into people's affairs, and backbiting,
and thinking heaven and earth are coming together, if some broom touch a
cobweb that you have let grow over the window-sill of your brains--what
like a large and generous, mildly aperient course of history! How it
clears away all the fumes of the head!--better than the hellebore with
which the old leeches of the Middle Ages purged the cerebellum. There,
amidst all that great whirl and _sturmbad_ (storm-bath), as the Germans
say, of kingdoms and empires, and races and ages, how your mind enlarges
beyond that little feverish animosity to John Styles: or that
unfortunate prepossession of yours, that all the world is interested in
your grievances against Tom Stokes and his wife!

I can only touch, you see, on a few ingredients in this magnificent
pharmacy--its resources are boundless, but require the nicest
discretion. I remember to have cured a disconsolate widower, who
obstinately refused every other medicament, by a strict course of
geology.... I made no less notable a cure of a young scholar at
Cambridge, who was meant for the Church, when he suddenly caught a cold
fit of freethinking, with great shiverings, from wading out of his depth
in Spinoza.... His theological constitution, since then, has become so
robust that he has eaten up two livings and a deanery! In fact, I have a
plan for a library that, instead of heading its compartments,
'Philology, Natural Science, Poetry,' &c., one shall head them according
to the diseases for which they are severally good, bodily and mental--up
from a dire calamity, or the pangs of the gout, down to a fit of the
spleen or a slight catarrh; for which last your light reading comes in
with a whey-posset and barley-water. But when some one sorrow, that is
yet reparable, gets hold of your mind like a monomania--when you think,
because heaven has denied you this or that, on which you had set your
heart, that all your life must be a blank--oh! then diet yourself well
on biography--the biography of good and great men.... I have said
nothing of the Book of Books, for that is the _lignum vitae_, the
cardinal medicine for all. These are but the subsidiaries.--E. G. E. L.


Cast your eyes down any list of English writers ... and almost the only
names that strike you as belonging to personally cheerful men are
Beaumont and Fletcher, Suckling, Fielding, Farquhar, Steele, O'Keefe,
Andrew Marvell, and Sterne.... I am only speaking of the rarity of a
certain kind of sunshine in our literature, and expressing a little
rainy-day wish that we had a little more of it. It ought to be
collected. There should be a joyous set of elegant extracts--a
_Literatura Hilaris_ or _Gaudens_,--in a score of volumes, that we could
have at hand, like a cellaret of good wine, against April or November
weather. Fielding should be the port, and Farquhar the champagne, and
Sterne the malmsey; and whenever the possessor cast an eye on his stock
he should know that he had a choice draught for himself after a
disappointment, or for a friend after dinner,--some cordial extract of
Parson Adams, or Plume, or Uncle Toby, generous as heart could desire,
and as wholesome for it as laughter for the lungs.--J. H. LEIGH HUNT.
_Cheerful Poets._


A congenial book can be taken up by any lover of books, with the
certainty of its transporting the reader within a few minutes to a
region immeasurably removed from that which he desires to quit. The
shape or pattern of the magic carpet whereon he flies through space and
time, is of no consequence. The son of science is rapt by a problem; the
philosopher by an abstruse speculation; the antiquary is carried
centuries back into the chivalric past; the lover of poetry is borne
upon glittering wings into the future. The charm works well for all.
Books are the blessed chloroform of the mind.... It is not a very high
claim that is here set forth on behalf of Literature--that of Pass-time,
and yet what a blessed boon even that is! Conceive the hours of
_inertia_ (a thing different from idleness) that it has mercifully
consumed for us! hours wherein nothing could be done, nothing, perhaps,
be _thought_, of our own selves, by reason of some impending calamity.
Wisely does the dentist furnish his hateful antechamber with books of
all sorts. Who could abide for an hour in such an apartment with nothing
to occupy his thoughts save the expectation of that wrench to come!...
Indeed, it must be confessed that where Books fail as an anodyne, is
rather in cases of physical than of mental pain. Through the long
watches of the night, and by the bedside of some slowly dying dear one,
it is easier to obtain forgetfulness--the only kind of rest that it may
be safe or possible to take--by means of reading, than to do so when one
is troubled with mere toothache. Nor does this arise from
selfishness--since we would endure twenty toothaches, if they might give
ease to the sufferer--but because the sharpness of the pang prevents our
applying our mind to anything else; while the deep dull sorrow of the
soul permits an intervening thought, and over it slides another, and
then another, until a layer of such is formed, and the mind of the
reader gets wholly free, for a brief but blessed time, partitioned off,
as it were, from his real trouble.--J. PAYN. _Chambers's Journal_,


I sometimes wish for a catalogue of lounging books--books that one takes
up in the gout, low spirits, _ennui_, or when in waiting for company.
Some novels, gay poetry, odd whimsical authors, as Rabelais, &c. A
catalogue raisonné of such might be itself a good lounging book.--H.


    So whan I saw I might not slepe,
    Til now late, this other night,
    Upon my bedde I sat upright,
    And bad oon reche me a book,
    A romaunce, and he hit me took
    To rede and dryve the night away;
    For me thoghte it better play
    Than playen either at chesse or tables.

                  G. CHAUCER. _The Book of the Duchesse._


Since I cannot in the way of gratefulness express unto your lordship, as
I would, those hearty sentiments I have of your goodness to me; I will
at the last endeavour, in the way of duty and observance, to let you see
how the little needle of my soul is throughly touched at the great
loadstone of yours, and followeth suddenly and strongly, which way
soever you beckon it. In this occasion, the magnetic motion was
impatient to have the book in my hands that your lordship gave so
advantageous a character of; whereupon I sent presently (as late as it
was) to Paul's church-yard for this favourite of yours, _Religio
Medici_: which after awhile found me in a condition fit to receive a
blessing by a visit from any of such masterpieces, as you look upon with
gracious eyes; for I was newly gotten into my bed. This good-natured
creature I could easily persuade to be my bedfellow, and to wake with me
as long as I had any edge to entertain myself with the delights I sucked
from so noble a conversation. And truly, my lord, I closed not my eyes
till I had enriched myself with, or at least exactly surveyed all the
treasures that are lapped up in the folds of those few sheets. To return
only a general commendation of this curious piece, or at large to admire
the author's spirit and smartness, were too perfunctory an account, and
too slight a one, to so discerning and steady an eye as yours, after so
particular and encharged a summons to read heedfully this discourse. I
will therefore presume to blot a sheet or two of paper with my
reflections upon sundry passages.--SIR K. DIGBY (Letter to Edward, Earl
of Dorset).


Before my meals,... and after, I let myself loose from all my thoughts;
and now would forget that I ever studied. A full mind takes away the
body's appetite, no less than a full body makes a dull and unwieldy
mind.--JOSEPH HALL (Letter to Lord Denny).


At Mr. Dilly's to-day [April 15, 1778] ... before dinner Dr. Johnson
seized upon Mr. Charles Sheridan's _Account of the late Revolution in
Sweden_, and seemed to read it ravenously, as if he devoured it, which
was to all appearance his method of studying. 'He knows how to read
better than any one (said Mrs. Knowles); he gets at the substance of a
book directly; he tears out the heart of it.' He kept it wrapt up in the
tablecloth in his lap during the time of dinner, from an avidity to have
one entertainment in readiness when he should have finished another;
resembling (if I may use so coarse a simile) a dog who holds a bone in
his paws in reserve, while he eats something else which has been thrown
to him.--J. BOSWELL. _Life of Johnson._


If you find the Miltons in certain parts dirtied and soiled with a crumb
of right Gloucester, blacked in the candle (my usual supper), or
peradventure a stray ash of tobacco wafted into the crevices, look to
that passage more especially: depend upon it, it contains good
matter.--C. LAMB (Letter to S. T. Coleridge).


... Albeit, when I did dictate [these Chronicles], I thought thereof no
more than you, who possibly were drinking the whilst, as I was. For in
the composing of this lordly book I never lost nor bestowed any more,
nor any other time, than what was appointed to serve me for taking of my
bodily refection, that is, whilst I was eating and drinking. And,
indeed, that is the fittest and most proper hour, wherein to write these
high matters and deep sentences: as Homer knew very well, the paragon of
all philologues, and Ennius, the father of the Latin poets, as Horace
calls him, although a certain sneaking jobbernol alleged that his verses
smelled more of the wine than oil.--F. RABELAIS. _The Life of Gargantua
and Pantagruel. Author's Prologue._


I am not much a friend to out-of-doors reading. I cannot settle my
spirits to it. I knew a Unitarian minister, who was generally to be seen
upon Snow-hill (as yet Skinner's-street _was not_), between the hours of
ten and eleven in the morning, studying a volume of Lardner. I own this
to have been a strain of abstraction beyond my reach. I used to admire
how he sidled along, keeping clear of secular contacts. An illiterate
encounter with a porter's knot, or a bread basket, would have quickly
put to flight all the theology I am master of, and have left me worse
than indifferent to the five points.--C. LAMB. _Detached Thoughts on
Books and Reading._


    O for a Booke and a shadie nooke,
      Eyther in-a-doore or out,
    With the greene leaves whisp'ring overhede,
      Or the Streete cryes all about,
    Where I may Reade all at my ease,
      Both of the Newe and Olde,
    For a jollie goode Booke whereon to looke,
      Is better to me than golde.

                           J. WILSON.


    Than mote we to bokes that we finde,
    Through which that olde thinges been in minde,
    And to the doctrine of these olde wyse,
    Yeven credence, in every skilful wyse,
    And trowen on these olde aproved stories
    Of holinesse, of regnes, of victories,
    Of love, of hate, of other sundry thinges,
    Of whiche I may not maken rehersinges.
    And if that olde bokes were a-weye,
    Y-loren were of remembraunce the keye.
    Wel oghte us than on olde bokes leve,
    Ther-as ther is non other assay by preve.
      And, as for me, though that my wit be lyte,
    On bokes for to rede I me delyte,
    And in myn herte have hem in reverence;
    And to hem yeve swich lust and swich credence,
    That ther is wel unethe game noon
    That from my bokes make me to goon,
    But hit be other up-on the haly-day,
    Or elles in the joly tyme of May;
    Whan that I here the smale foules singe,
    And that the floures ginne for to springe,
    Farwel my studie, as lasting that sesoun!

                    G. CHAUCER. _The Legend of Good Women._


    Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
    Or surely you'll grow double:
    Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
    Why all this toil and trouble?

    The sun, above the mountain's head,
    A freshening lustre mellow
    Through all the long green fields has spread,
    His first sweet evening yellow.

    Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife:
    Come, hear the woodland linnet,
    How sweet his music! on my life,
    There's more of wisdom in it.

    And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
    He, too, is no mean preacher:
    Come forth into the light of things,
    Let Nature be your Teacher.

    She has a world of ready wealth,
    Our minds and hearts to bless--
    Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
    Truth breathed by cheerfulness.

    One impulse from a vernal wood
    May teach you more of man,
    Of moral evil and of good,
    Than all the sages can.

    Sweet is the love which Nature brings;
    Our meddling intellect
    Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:--
    We murder to dissect.

    Enough of Science and of Art;
    Close up those barren leaves;
    Come forth, and bring with you a heart
    That watches and receives.

                      W. WORDSWORTH.


    Take me to some still abode,
      Underneath some woody hill;
    By some timber-skirted road,
      By some willow-shaded rill;

    Where along the rocky brook
      Flying echoes sweetly sound,
    And the hoarsely-croaking rook
      Builds upon the trees around.

    Take me to some lofty room
      Lighted from the western sky,
    Where no glare dispels the gloom
      Till the golden eve is nigh,

    Where the works of searching thought,
      Chosen books, may still impart
    What the wise of old have taught,
      What has tried the meek of heart.

    Books in long-dead tongues, that stirred
      Living hearts in other climes;
    Telling to my eyes, unheard,
      Glorious deeds of olden times.

    Books that purify the thought,
      Spirits of the learned dead,
    Teachers of the little taught,
      Comforters when friends are fled.

                      W. BARNES.


    Summer fading, winter comes--
    Frosty mornings, tingling thumbs,
    Window robins, winter rooks,
    And the picture story-books.

    Water now is turned to stone
    Nurse and I can walk upon;
    Still we find the flowing brooks
    In the picture story-books.

    All the pretty things put by,
    Wait upon the children's eye,
    Sheep and shepherds, trees and crooks,
    In the picture story-books.

    We may see how all things are,
    Seas and cities, near and far,
    And the flying fairies' looks
    In the picture story-books.

    How am I to sing your praise,
    Happy chimney-corner days,
    Sitting safe in nursery nooks,
    Reading picture story-books?

                 R. L. STEVENSON. _A Child's Garden of Verses._


    Hail! ancient Book, most venerable code!
    Learning's first cradle, and its last abode!
    The huge unnumbered volumes which we see,
    By lazy plagiaries are stolen from thee.
    Yet future times, to thy sufficient store,
    Shall ne'er presume to add one letter more.

      Thee will I sing, in comely wainscoat bound,
    And golden verge enclosing thee around;
    The faithful horn before, from age to age,
    Preserving thy invaluable page;
    Behind, thy patron saint in armour shines,
    With sword and lance, to guard thy sacred lines:
    Beneath his courser's feet the dragon lies
    Transfixed; his blood thy scarlet cover dyes;
    The instructive handle's at the bottom fixed,
    Lest wrangling critics should pervert the text.

      Or if to ginger-bread thou shalt descend,
    And liquorish learning to thy babes extend;
    Or sugared plane, o'erspread with beaten gold,
    Does the sweet treasure of thy letters hold;
    Thou still shalt be my song--Apollo's choir
    I scorn to invoke; Cadmus my verse inspire:
    'Twas Cadmus who the first materials brought
    Of all the learning which has since been taught,
    Soon made complete! for mortals ne'er shall know
    More than contained of old the Christ-cross row;
    What masters dictate, or what doctors preach,
    Wise matrons hence e'en to our children teach:
    But as the name of every plant and flower
    (So common that each peasant knows its power)
    Physicians in mysterious cant express,
    To amuse the patient, and enhance their fees;
    So from the letters of our native tongue,
    Put in Greek scrawls, a mystery too is sprung,
    Schools are erected, puzzling grammars made,
    And artful men strike out a gainful trade;
    Strange characters adorn the learned gate,
    And heedless youth catch at the shining bait;
    The pregnant boys the noisy charms declare,
    And Tau's and Delta's, make their mothers stare;
    The uncommon sounds amaze the vulgar ear,
    And what's uncommon never costs too dear.
    Yet in all tongues the Horn-book is the same,
    Taught by the Grecian master, or the English dame.

      But how shall I thy endless virtues tell,
    In which thou durst all other books excel?
    No greasy thumbs thy spotless leaf can soil,
    Nor crooked dog-ears thy smooth corners spoil;
    In idle pages no errata stand,
    To tell the blunders of the printer's hand:
    No fulsome dedication here is writ,
    Nor flattering verse, to praise the author's wit:
    The margin with no tedious notes is vexed,
    Nor various readings to confound the text:
    All parties in thy literal sense agree,
    Thou perfect centre of concordancy!
    Search we the records of an ancient date,
    Or read what modern histories relate,
    They all proclaim what wonders have been done
    By the plain letters taken as they run:
    'Too high the floods of passion used to roll,
    And rend the Roman youth's impatient soul;
    His hasty anger furnished scenes of blood,
    And frequent deaths of worthy men ensued:
    In vain were all the weaker methods tried,
    None could suffice to stem the furious tide,
    Thy sacred line he did but once repeat,
    And laid the storm, and cooled the raging heat.'

      Thy heavenly notes, like angels' music, cheer
    Departing souls, and soothe the dying ear.
    An aged peasant, on his latest bed,
    Wished for a friend some godly book to read:
    The pious grandson thy known handle takes,
    And (eyes lift up) this savoury lecture makes:
    'Great A,' he gravely read: the important sound
    The empty walls and hollow roof rebound:
    The expiring ancient reared his drooping head,
    And thanked his stars that Hodge had learned to read.
    'Great B,' the younker bawls; O heavenly breath!
    What ghostly comforts in the hour of death!
    What hopes I feel! 'Great C,' pronounced the boy;
    The grandsire dies with ecstasy of joy.

      Yet in some lands such ignorance abounds,
    Whole parishes scarce know thy useful sounds.
    Of Essex hundreds Fame gives this report,
    But Fame, I ween, says many things in sport.
    Scarce lives the man to whom thou'rt quite unknown,
    Though few the extent of thy vast Empire own.
    Whatever wonders magic spells can do
    On earth, in air, in sea, in shades below;
    What words profound and dark wise Mahomet spoke,
    When his old cow an angel's figure took;
    What strong enchantments sage Canidia knew,
    Or Horace sung, fierce monsters to subdue,
    O mighty Book, are all contained in you!
    All human arts, and every science meet,
    Within the limits of thy single sheet:
    From thy vast root all learning's branches grow,
    And all her streams from thy deep fountain flow.
    And, lo! while thus thy wonders I indite,
    Inspired I feel the power of which I write;
    The gentler gout his former rage forgets,
    Less frequent now, and less severe the fits:
    Loose grow the chains which bound my useless feet;
    Stiffness and pain from every joint retreat;
    Surprising strength comes every moment on,
    I stand, I step, I walk, and now I run.
    Here let me cease, my hobbling numbers stop,
    And at thy handle hang my crutches up.

                        T. TICKLE.


    Old Story Books! Old Story Books! we owe ye much, old friends,
    Bright-coloured threads in Memory's warp, of which Death holds the
    Who can forget ye? who can spurn the ministers of joy
    That waited on the lisping girl and petticoated boy?
    I know that ye could win my heart when every bribe or threat
    Failed to allay my stamping rage, or break my sullen pet:
    A 'promised story' was enough, and I turned, with eager smile,
    To learn about the naughty 'pig that would not mount the stile'.

    There was a spot in days of yore whereon I used to stand,
    With mighty question in my head and penny in my hand;
    Where motley sweets and crinkled cakes made up a goodly show,
    And 'story books' upon a string appeared in brilliant row.
    What should I have? the peppermint was incense in my nose,
    But I had heard of 'hero Jack', who slew his giant foes:
    My lonely coin was balanced long, before the tempting stall,
    'Twixt book and bull's eye--but, forsooth! 'Jack' got it after all.

    Talk of your 'vellum, gold embossed', 'morocco', 'roan', and 'calf',
    The blue and yellow wraps of old were prettier by half;
    And as to pictures--well we know that never one was made
    Like that where 'Bluebeard' swings aloft his wife-destroying blade.
    'Hume's England'--pshaw! what history of battles, states, and men,
    Can vie with Memoirs 'all about sweet little Jenny Wren'?
    And what are all the wonders that e'er struck a nation dumb,
    To those recorded as performed by 'Master Thomas Thumb'?

    Miss 'Riding Hood', poor luckless child! my heart grew big with dread
    When the grim 'wolf', in 'grandmamma's' best bonnet, showed his head;
    I shuddered when, in innocence, she meekly peeped beneath,
    And made remarks about 'great eyes', and wondered at 'great teeth'.
    And then the 'House that Jack built', and the 'Beanstalk' Jack cut
    And 'Jack's eleven brothers', on their travels of renown;
    And 'Jack', whose cracked and plastered head ensured him lyric fame,
    These, these, methinks, make 'vulgar Jack' a rather classic name.

    Fair 'Valentine', I loved him well; but, better still the bear
    That hugged his brother in her arms with tenderness and care.
    I lingered spellbound o'er the page, though eventide wore late,
    And left my supper all untouched to fathom 'Orson's' fate.
    Then 'Robin with his merry men', a noble band were they,
    We'll never see the like again, go hunting where we may.
    In Lincoln garb, with bow and barb, rapt Fancy bore me on,
    Through Sherwood's dewy forest paths, close after 'Little John'.

    Miss 'Cinderella' and her 'shoe' kept long their reigning powers,
    Till harder words and longer themes beguiled my flying hours;
    And 'Sinbad', wondrous sailor he, allured me on his track,
    And set me shouting when he flung the old man from his back.
    And oh! that tale--the matchless tale that made me dream at night--
    Of 'Crusoe's' shaggy robe of fur, and 'Friday's' death-spurred flight;
    Nay, still I read it, and again, in sleeping visions, see
    The savage dancers on the sand--the raft upon the sea.

    Old Story Books! Old Story Books! I doubt if 'Reason's Feast'
    Provides a dish that pleases more than 'Beauty and the Beast';
    I doubt if all the ledger-leaves that bear a sterling sum,
    Yield happiness like those that told of 'Master Horner's plum'.
    Old Story Books! Old Story Books! I never pass ye by
    Without a sort of furtive glance--right loving, though 'tis sly;
    And fair suspicion may arise--that yet my spirit grieves
    For dear 'Old Mother Hubbard's Dog' and 'Ali Baba's Thieves'.

                                  ELIZA COOK.


And as it is fit to read the best authors to youth first, so let them be
of the openest and clearest: as Livy before Sallust, Sidney before
Donne; and beware of letting them taste Gower or Chaucer at first, lest
falling too much in love with antiquity, and not apprehending the
weight, they grow rough and barren in language only. When their
judgements are firm and out of danger, let them read both the old and
the new; but no less take heed that their new flowers and sweetness do
not as much corrupt as the others' dryness and squalor, if they choose
not carefully. Spenser, in affecting the ancients, writ no language: yet
I would have him read for his matter, but as Virgil read Ennius. The
reading of Homer and Virgil is counselled by Quintilian as the best way
of informing youth and confirming man. For, besides that the mind is
raised with the height and sublimity of such a verse, it takes spirit
from the greatness of the matter, and is tincted with the best things.
Tragic and lyric poetry is good too; and comic with the best, if the
manners of the reader be once in safety.--BEN JONSON. _Timber._


A man who, without a good fund of knowledge and parts, adopts a Court
life, makes the most ridiculous figure imaginable. He is a machine,
little superior to the Court clock; and, as this points out the hours,
he points out the frivolous employment of them. He is, at most, a
comment upon the clock; and, according to the hours that it strikes,
tells you, now it is levee, now dinner, now supper time, &c. The end
which I propose by your education is, to unite in you all the knowledge
of a scholar, with the manners of a courtier, and to join, what is
seldom joined in any of my countrymen, Books and the World. They are
commonly twenty years old before they have spoken to anybody above their
Schoolmaster and the Fellows of their college. If they happen to have
learning, it is only Greek and Latin; but not one word of Modern History
or Modern Languages. Thus prepared, they go abroad, as they call it;
but, in truth, they stay at home all that while; for being very
awkward, confoundedly ashamed, and not speaking the languages, they go
into no foreign company, at least none good; but dine and sup with one
another only, at the tavern.--LORD CHESTERFIELD. _Letters to his Son._


Mr. B---- has just put into my hands Mr. Locke's _Treatise on
Education_, and he commands me to give him my thoughts upon it in
writing. He has a very high regard for this author, and tells me that my
tenderness for Billy will make me think some of the first advice given
in it a little harsh, perhaps; but, although he has not read it through,
only having dipped into it here and there, he believes, from the name of
the author, I cannot have a better directory; and my opinion of it,
after I have well considered it, will inform him, he says, of my own
capacity and prudence, and how far he may rely upon both in the point of
a first education.--S. RICHARDSON. _Pamela._


I am always for getting a boy forward in his learning; for that is a
sure good. I would let him at first read _any_ English book which
happens to engage his attention; because you have done a great deal when
you have brought him to have entertainment from a book. He'll get better
books afterwards.--S. JOHNSON. (Boswell's _Life_.)


I would put a child into a library (where no unfit books are) and let
him read at his choice. A child should not be discouraged from reading
anything that he takes a liking to, from a notion that it is above his
reach. If that be the case, the child will soon find it out and desist;
if not, he of course gains the instruction; which is so much the more
likely to come, from the inclination with which he takes up the
study.--S. JOHNSON. (Boswell's _Life_.)


Books are but one inlet of knowledge; and the powers of the mind, like
those of the body, should be left open to all impressions. I applied too
close to my studies, soon after I was of your age, and hurt myself
irreparably by it. Whatever may be the value of learning, health and
good spirits are of more.... By conversing with the _mighty dead_, we
imbibe sentiment with knowledge. We become strongly attached to those
who can no longer either hurt or serve us, except through the influence
which they exert over the mind. We feel the presence of that power which
gives immortality to human thoughts and actions, and catch the flame of
enthusiasm from all ages and nations.... As to the books you will have
to read by choice or for amusement, the best are the commonest. The
names of many of them are already familiar to you. Read them as you grow
up with all the satisfaction in your power, and make much of them. It
is, perhaps, the greatest pleasure you will have in life; the one you
will think of longest, and repent of least. If my life had been more
full of calamity than it has been (much more than I hope yours will be),
I would live it over again, my poor little boy, to have read the books I
did in my youth.--W. HAZLITT. _On the Conduct of Life; or Advice to a


The first taste or feeling I had of books, was of the pleasure I took in
reading the fables of Ovid's _Metamorphoses_; for, being but seven or
eight years old, I would steal and sequester myself from all other
delights, only to read them: Forsomuch as the tongue wherein they were
written was to me natural; and it was the easiest book I knew, and by
reason of the matter therein contained most agreeing with my young age.
For of King Arthur, of Lancelot du Lake, of Amadis, of Huon of Bordeaux,
and such idle time-consuming and wit-besotting trash of books wherein
youth doth commonly amuse itself, I was not so much as acquainted with
their names, and to this day know not their bodies, nor what they
contain, so exact was my discipline. Whereby I became more careless to
study my other prescript lessons. And well did it fall out for my
purpose that I had to deal with a very discreet master, who out of his
judgement could with such dexterity wink at and second my
untowardliness, and such other faults that were in me. For by that means
I read over Virgil's _Aeneas_, Terence, Plautus, and other Italian
comedies, allured thereunto by the pleasantness of their several
subjects: Had he been so foolishly-severe, or so severely froward as to
cross this course of mine, I think, verily, I had never brought anything
from the college but the hate and contempt of books, as doth the
greatest part of our nobility. Such was his discretion, and so warily
did he behave himself, that he saw and would not see: he would foster
and increase my longing: suffering me but by stealth and by snatches to
glut myself with those books, holding ever a gentle hand over me,
concerning other regular studies.--MONTAIGNE.


Sir, in my early years I read very hard. It is a sad reflection, but a
true one, that I knew almost as much at eighteen as I do now [then aged
fifty-four]. My judgement, to be sure, was not so good; but I had all
the facts. I remember very well, when I was at Oxford, an old gentleman
said to me, 'Young man, ply your book diligently now and acquire a stock
of knowledge; for when years come upon you, you will find that poring
upon books will be but an irksome task.'--S. JOHNSON. (Boswell's


The perusal of the Roman classics was at once my exercise and reward.
Dr. Middleton's _History_, which I then appreciated above its true
value, naturally directed me to the writings of Cicero. The most perfect
editions, that of Olivet, which may adorn the shelves of the rich, that
of Ernesti, which should lie on the table of the learned, were not
within my reach. For the familiar epistles I used the text and English
commentary of Bishop Ross; but my general edition was that of
Verburgius, published at Amsterdam in two large volumes in folio, with
an indifferent choice of various notes.... Cicero in Latin, and
Xenophon in Greek, are indeed the two ancients whom I would first
propose to a liberal scholar....

In the infancy of my reason I turned over, as an idle amusement, the
most serious and important treatise: in its maturity, the most trifling
performance could exercise my taste or judgement; and more than once I
have been led by a novel into a deep and instructive train of
thinking.--E. GIBBON. _Autobiography._


When only eleven years old, with three pence in my pocket--my whole
fortune--I perceived, at Richmond, in a bookseller's window, a little
book, marked 'Price Three pence'--Swift's _Tale of a Tub_. Its odd title
excited my curiosity; I bought it in place of my supper. So impatient
was I to examine it, that I got over into a field at the upper corner of
Kew Gardens, and sat down to read, on the shady side of a haystack. The
book was so different from anything I had read before--it was something
so new to my mind, that, though I could not at all understand some parts
of it, still it delighted me beyond measure, and produced, what I have
always considered, a sort of birth of intellect. I read on till it was
dark, without any thought of supper or bed. When I could see no longer,
I put it into my pocket, and fell asleep beside the stack, till the
birds awaked me in the morning; and then I started off, still reading my
little book. I could relish nothing beside; I carried it about with me
wherever I went, till, when about twenty years old, I lost it in a box
that fell overboard in the Bay of Fundy.--W. COBBETT.


    A precious treasure had I long possessed,
    A little yellow, canvas-covered book,
    A slender abstract of the Arabian Tales;
    And, from companions in a new abode,
    When first I learnt, that this dear prize of mine
    Was but a block hewn from a mighty quarry--
    That there were four large volumes, laden all
    With kindred matter, 'twas to me, in truth,
    A promise scarcely earthly. Instantly,
    With one not richer than myself, I made
    A covenant that each should lay aside
    The moneys he possessed, and hoard up more,
    Till our joint savings had amassed enough
    To make this book our own. Through several months,
    In spite of all temptations, we preserved
    Religiously that vow; but firmness failed,
    Nor were we ever masters of our wish.

      And when thereafter to my father's house
    The holidays returned me, there to find
    That golden store of books which I had left,
    What joy was mine! How often in the course
    Of those glad respites, though a soft west wind
    Ruffled the waters to the angler's wish,
    For a whole day together, have I lain
    Down by thy side, O Derwent! murmuring stream,
    On the hot stones, and in the glaring sun,
    And there have read, devouring as I read,
    Defrauding the day's glory, desperate!
    Till with a sudden bound of smart reproach,
    Such as an idler deals with in his shame,
    I to the sport betook myself again.

      A gracious spirit o'er this earth presides,
    And o'er the heart of man: invisibly
    It comes, to works of unreproved delight,
    And tendency benign, directing those
    Who care not, know not, think not what they do.
    The tales that charm away the wakeful night
    In Araby, romances; legends penned
    For solace by dim light of monkish lamps;
    Fictions, for ladies of their love, devised
    By youthful squires; adventures endless, spun
    By the dismantled warrior in old age,
    Out of the bowels of those very schemes
    In which his youth did first extravagate;
    These spread like day, and something in the shape
    Of these will live till man shall be no more.

    Dumb yearnings, hidden appetites, are ours,
    And _they must_ have their food. Our childhood sits,
    Our simple childhood, sits upon a throne
    That hath more power than all the elements.
    I guess not what this tells of Being past,
    Nor what it augurs of the life to come;
    But so it is, and, in that dubious hour,
    That twilight when we first begin to see
    This dawning earth, to recognise, expect,
    And, in the long probation that ensues,
    The time of trial, ere we learn to live
    In reconcilement with our stinted powers;
    To endure this state of meagre vassalage,
    Unwilling to forgo, confess, submit,
    Uneasy and unsettled, yoke-fellows
    To custom, mettlesome, and not yet tamed
    And humbled down;--oh! then we feel, we feel,
    We know where we have friends. Ye dreamers, then,
    Forgers of daring tales! we bless you then,
    Impostors, drivellers, dotards, as the ape
    Philosophy will call you: _then_ we feel
    With what, and how great might ye are in league,
    Who make our wish, our power, our thought a deed,
    An empire, a possession,--ye whom time
    And seasons serve; all Faculties to whom
    Earth crouches, the elements are potter's clay,
    Space like a heaven filled up with northern lights,
    Here, nowhere, there, and everywhere at once.

                     W. WORDSWORTH. _The Prelude._


    In verse alone I ran not wild
    When I was hardly more than child,
    Contented with the native lay
    Of Pope or Prior, Swift or Gay,
    Or Goldsmith, or that graver bard
    Who led me to the lone churchyard.
      Then listened I to Spenser's strain,
    Till Chaucer's Canterbury train
    Came trooping past, and carried me
    In more congenial company.
    Soon my soul was hurried o'er
    This bright scene: the 'solemn roar'
    Of organ, under Milton's hand,
    Struck me mute: he bade me stand
    Where none other ambled near....
    I obeyed, with love and fear.

                       W. S. LANDOR.


Cowley says that even when he was 'a very young boy at school, instead
of his running about on holidays, and playing with his fellows, he was
wont to steal from them and walk into the fields, either alone with a
book, or with some one companion, if he could find one of the same
temper'. When I was at school, I had no fields to run into, or I should
certainly have gone there; and I must own to having played a great deal;
but then I drew my sports as much as possible out of books, playing at
Trojan wars, chivalrous encounters with coal-staves, and even at
religious mysteries. When I was not at these games I was either reading
in a corner, or walking round the cloisters with a book under one arm
and my friend linked with the other, or with my thoughts. It has since
been my fate to realize all the romantic notions I had of a friend at
that time.--J. H. LEIGH HUNT. _My Books._


Then, above all, we had Walter Scott, the kindly, the generous, the
pure--the companion of what countless delightful hours; the purveyor of
how much happiness; the friend whom we recall as the constant benefactor
of our youth! How well I remember the type and the brownish paper of the
old duodecimo _Tales of My Landlord_!... Oh! for a half-holiday, and a
quiet corner, and one of those books again! Those books, and perhaps
those eyes with which we read them; and, it may be, the brains behind
the eyes! It may be the tart was good; but how fresh the appetite
was!... The boy critic loves the story; grown up, he loves the author
who wrote the story. Hence the kindly tie is established between writer
and reader, and lasts pretty nearly for life.--W. M. THACKERAY.
_Roundabout Papers._


My father had left a small collection of books in a little room
upstairs, to which I had access (for it adjoined my own), and which
nobody else in our house ever troubled. From that blessed little room,
Roderick Random, Peregrine Pickle, Humphrey Clinker, Tom Jones, the
Vicar of Wakefield, Don Quixote, Gil Blas, and Robinson Crusoe, came
out, a glorious host, to keep me company. They kept alive my fancy, and
my hope of something beyond that place and time,--they, and the Arabian
Nights, and the Tales of the Genii--and did me no harm; for whatever
harm was in some of them was not there for me; _I_ knew nothing of it.
It is astonishing to me now, how I found time, in the midst of my
porings and blunderings over heavier themes, to read those books as I
did. It is curious to me how I could ever have consoled myself under my
small troubles (which were great troubles to me), by impersonating my
favourite characters in them--as I did--and by putting Mr. and Miss
Murdstone into all the bad ones--which I did too. I have been Tom Jones
(a child's Tom Jones, a harmless creature) for a week together. I have
sustained my own idea of Roderick Random for a month at a stretch, I
verily believe. I had a greedy relish for a few volumes of Voyages and
Travels--I forget what, now--that were on those shelves; and for days
and days I can remember to have gone about my region of our house, armed
with the centrepiece out of an old set of boot-trees--the perfect
realization of Captain Somebody, of the Royal British Navy, in danger of
being beset by savages, and resolved to sell his life at a great price.
The Captain never lost dignity, from having his ears boxed with the
Latin grammar. I did; but the Captain was a Captain and a hero, in
despite of all the grammars of all the languages in the world, dead or

This was my only and my constant comfort. When I think of it, the
picture always rises in my mind, of a summer evening, the boys at play
in the churchyard, and I sitting on my bed, reading as if for life.
Every barn in the neighbourhood, every stone in the church, and every
foot of the churchyard, had some association of its own, in my mind,
connected with these books, and stood for some locality made famous in
them.--C. DICKENS. _David Copperfield._


Books have in a great measure lost their power over me; nor can I revive
the same interest in them as formerly. I perceive when a thing is good,
rather than feel it. It is true,

    'Marcian Colonna' is a dainty book;

and the reading of Mr. Keats's _Eve of St. Agnes_ lately made me regret
that I was not young again. The beautiful and tender images there
conjured up, 'come like shadows--so depart.' The 'tiger-moth's wings',
which he has spread over his rich poetic blazonry, just flit across my
fancy; the gorgeous twilight window which he has painted over again in
his verse, to me 'blushes' almost in vain 'with blood of queens and
kings'. I know how I should have felt at one time in reading such
passages; and that is all. The sharp luscious flavour, the fine _aroma_
is fled, and nothing but the stalk, the bran, the husk of literature is
left.--W. HAZLITT. _On Reading Old Books._


    If thou survive my well-contented day,
    When that churl Death my bones with dust shall cover,
    And shalt by fortune once more re-survey
    These poor rude lines of thy deceasèd lover,
    Compare them with the bettering of the time,
    And though they be outstripped by every pen,
    Reserve them for my love, not for their rime,
    Exceeded by the height of happier men.
    O! then vouchsafe me but this loving thought:
    'Had my friend's Muse grown with this growing age,
    A dearer birth than this his love had brought,
    To march in ranks of better equipage:
      But since he died, and poets better prove,
      Theirs for their style I'll read, his for his love.'

                         W. SHAKESPEARE. _Sonnet XXXII._


    I'll tell thee now (dear love) what thou shalt do
        To anger destiny, as she doth us;
        How I shall stay, though she eloign me thus,
    And how posterity shall know it too;
            How thine may out-endure
            Sibyl's glory, and obscure
            Her who from Pindar could allure,
    And her, through whose help Lucan is not lame,
    And her, whose book (they say) Homer did find, and name.

    Study our manuscripts, those myriads
        Of letters, which have passed 'twixt thee and me;
        Thence write our annals, and in them will be
    To all whom love's subliming fire invades
            Rule and example found;
            There the faith of any ground
            No schismatic will dare to wound,
    That sees how Love this grace to us affords,
    To make, to keep, to use, to be these his records.

    This book, as long-lived as the elements,
        Or as the world's form, this all-gravèd tome
        In cypher writ, or new-made idiom;
    We for Love's clergy only are instruments;
            When this book is made thus,
            Should again the ravenous
            Vandals and the Goths invade us,
    Learning were safe; in this our universe,
    Schools might learn sciences, spheres music, angels verse.

    Here Love's divines--since all divinity
        Is love or wonder--may find all they seek,
        Whether abstract spiritual love they like,
    Their souls exhaled with what they do not see;
            Or, loth so to amuse
            Faith's infirmity, they choose
            Something which they may see and use;
    For, though mind be the heaven, where love doth sit,
    Beauty a convenient type may be to figure it.

    Here more than in their books may lawyers find,
        Both by what titles mistresses are ours,
        And how prerogative these states devours,
    Transferred from Love himself to womankind;
            Who, though from heart and eyes,
            They exact great subsidies,
            Forsake him who on them relies;
    And for the cause, honour or conscience give;
    Chimeras vain as they or their prerogative.

    Here statesmen--or of them, they which can read--
        May of their occupation find the grounds;
        Love, and their art, alike it deadly wounds,
    If to consider what 'tis, one proceed.
            In both they do excel,
            Who the present govern well,
            Whose weakness none doth, or dares, tell;
    In this thy book, such will there something see,
    As in the Bible some can find out alchemy.

    Thus vent thy thoughts; abroad I'll study thee,
        As he removes far off, that great heights takes;
        How great love is, presence best trial makes,
    But absence tries how long this love will be;
            To take a latitude
            Sun, or stars, are fitliest viewed
            At their brightest, but to conclude
    Of longitudes, what other way have we,
    But to mark when and where the dark eclipses be?

                               J. DONNE.


    ... From the table of my memory
    I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
    All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past,
    That youth and observation copied there;
    And thy commandment all alone shall live
    Within the book and volume of my brain.

                     W. SHAKESPEARE. _Hamlet._


    No greater grief than to remember days
    Of joy, when misery is at hand. That kens
    Thy learned instructor. Yet so eagerly
    If thou art bent to know the primal root,
    From whence our love gat being, I will do
    As one, who weeps and tells his tale. One day,
    For our delight we read of Lancelot,
    How him love thralled. Alone we were, and no
    Suspicion near us. Oft-times by that reading
    Our eyes were drawn together, and the hue
    Fled from our altered cheek. But at one point
    Alone we fell. When of that smile we read,
    The wishèd smile so rapturously kissed
    By one so deep in love, then he, who ne'er
    From me shall separate, at once my lips
    All trembling kissed. The book and writer both
    Were love's purveyors. In its leaves that day
    We read no more.

                        DANTE. _Inferno._


    Maiden of Padua, on thy lap
      Thus lightly let the volume lie;
    And as within some pictured map
      Fair isles and waters we descry,
    Trace out, with white and gliding finger,
      Along the truth-illumined page,
    Its golden lines and words that linger
      In memory's cell, from youth to age.

    The young Preceptor at thy side
      Had pupil ne'er before so fair;
    And though that scholar be thy guide,
      He sits that fellow-learner there.
    As every page unfolds its meaning,
      As every rustling leaf turns o'er,
    He finds, whilst o'er thy studies leaning,
      Beauty where all was dull before.

    Familiar is the book to him,
      A record of heroic deed;
    Yet deems he now his eyes were dim,
      And thine have taught them first to read.
    Now fades in him the scholar's glory;
      For he would give the fame he sought,
    With thee to read the simplest story,
      And learn what sages never taught.

    The precious wealth of countless books,
      Lies stowed within his grasping mind;
    Yet should he not peruse thy looks,
      He now were more than Ignorance blind.
    From many a language, old, enchanting,
      Rare truths to nations he enrolls;
    But one old language yet was wanting,
      The one you teach him--tis the soul's.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Full long this lesson, Pupil fair!
      All pupils else hath he forsook;
    He draws still nearer to thy chair,
      And bends yet closer o'er the book.
    As time flies on, now fast, now fleeter,
      More slowly is the page turned o'er;
    The lesson seems to both the sweeter,
      And more enchanting grows the lore.

    The book now yields a tenderer theme;
      The Master loses all his art,
    The Pupil droops as in a dream,
      And both are reading with one heart.
    His eyes upraised a moment glisten
      With hope, and joy, and fear profound;
    While thine, oh, Maiden! do they _listen_?
      They seem to _hear_ his sigh's faint sound.

    But hark! what sound indeed breaks through
      The silence of that life-long hour!
    Melodious tinklings, such as sue
      For favour near a lady's bower.
    Ah! Maid of Padua, music swelling
      In tribute to thy radiant charms,
    Now greets thee in thy father's dwelling,
      To woo thee from a father's arms.

    The suitor comes with song and lute,
      Youth, riches, pleasures, round him wait;
    Go bid him, Paduan Maid, be mute,
      Thy lot is cast, he comes too late!
    One lesson given, and one received,
      The Book prevails, the Lute's denied;
    With love thy inmost heart has heaved,
      And thou shalt be a student's bride.

                         S. LAMAN BLANCHARD.


    Cadenus many things had writ:
    Vanessa much esteemed his wit,
    And called for his Poetic Works:
    Meantime the boy in secret lurks;
    And, while the book was in her hand,
    The urchin from his private stand
    Took aim, and shot with all his strength
    A dart of such prodigious length,
    It pierced the feeble volume through,
    And deep transfixed her bosom too.
    Some lines, more moving than the rest,
    Stuck to the point that pierced her breast,
    And, borne directly to her heart,
    With pains unknown increased her smart.

                         J. SWIFT. _Cadenus and Vanessa._


    O! LET my books be then the eloquence
    And dumb presagers of my speaking breast.

                   W. SHAKESPEARE. _Sonnet XXIII._


    Happy, ye leaves, when as those lily hands,
    Which hold my life in their dead doing might,
    Shall handle you, and hold in love's soft bands,
    Like captives trembling at the victor's sight.
    And happy lines on which, with starry light,
    Those lamping eyes will deign sometimes to look,
    And read the sorrows of my dying spright,
    Written with tears in heart's close bleeding book.
    And happy rhymes bathed in the sacred brook
    Of Helicon, whence she derivèd is,
    When ye behold that Angel's blessèd look,
    My soul's long-lackèd food, my heaven's bliss.
        Leaves, lines, and rhymes, seek her to please alone,
        Whom if ye please, I care for other none.

                        E. SPENSER. _Amoretti._


    And this fair course of knowledge whereunto
      Your studies, learned Lady, are addressed,
      Is the only certain way that you can go
    Unto true glory, to true happiness:
      All passages on earth besides, are so
      Incumbered with such vain disturbances;
    As still we lose our rest in seeking it,
      Being but deluded with appearances;
      And no key had you else that was so fit
    To unlock that prison of your sex, as this;
      To let you out of weakness, and admit
      Your powers into the freedom of that bliss
    That sets you there where you may oversee
      This rolling world, and view it as it is;
      And apprehend how the outsides do agree
    With the inward being of the things we deem
      And hold in our ill-cast accounts, to be
      Of highest value and of best esteem;
    Since all the good we have rests in the mind,
      By whose proportions only we redeem
      Our thoughts from out confusion, and do find
    The measure of our selves, and of our powers.

           *       *       *       *       *

    And though books, madam, cannot make this mind,
      Which we must bring apt to be set aright;
    Yet do they rectify it in that kind,
      And touch it so, as that it turns that way
      Where judgement lies: and though we cannot find
    The certain place of truth, yet do they stay
      And entertain us near about the same;
      And give the soul the best delight that may
    Encheer it most, and most our spirits inflame
      To thoughts of glory, and to worthy ends.

                             S. DANIEL.


    There's a lady for my humour!
    A pretty book of flesh and blood, and well
    Bound up, in a fair letter, too. Would I
    Had her, with all the Errata.

    First I would marry her, that's a verb material,
    Then I would print her with an _index
    Expurgatorius_; a table drawn
    Of her court heresies; and when she's read,
    _Cum privilegio_, who dares call her wanton?

                          J. SHIRLEY. _The Cardinal._


    From women's eyes this doctrine I derive:
    They sparkle still the right Promethean fire;
    They are the books, the arts, the academes,
    That show, contain, and nourish all the world.

                    W. SHAKESPEARE. _Love's Labour's Lost._

        My only books
        Were woman's looks,--
    And folly's all they've taught me.

                      T. MOORE.


    Back to thy books! The swift hours spent in vain
          Are flown and gone:
    Thou hast no charm to lure them, or regain
          What loss hath won.

    Up from thy sleep! The dream of idle love,
          So frail and fair,
    Hath vanished, and its golden wings above
          Melt in mid air.

    Stand not, nor gaze astonied at the skies,
          Serenely cold:
    They have no answer for thine eager eyes;
          Thy tale is told.

    Fool, in all folly cradled, swathed from sense,
          To trust a toy;
    To purchase from pronounced indifference
          A shallow joy;

    To leave thy studious native heights untrod
          For that low soil,
    Where momentary blossoms deck the sod;
          To pant and toil

    In hungry chasings of the painted fly,
          That fluttered past--
    Back to thy summits, where what cannot die
          Survives the blast!

    There, throned in solitary calm, forget
          Who wrung thy heart:
    Long hours and days of silent years may yet
          Restore a part

    Of that large heritage and realm sublime,
          Which, love-elate,
    Thou fain would'st barter for the fields that time
          Makes desolate.

                           J. A. SYMONDS.


    A student, at his book so placed
      That wealth he might have won,
    From book to wife did flit in haste,
      From wealth to woe to run.
    Now, who hath played a feater cast,
      Since juggling first begun?
    In _knitting_ of himself so _fast_,
      Himself he hath _undone_.

                       SIR T. MORE (?)


I understand with a deep sense of sorrow of the indisposition of your
Son: I fear he hath too much _mind_ for his _body_, and that
superabounds with fancy, which brings him to these fits of distemper,
proceeding from the black humour of melancholy: moreover, I have
observed that he is too much given to his study and self-society,
'specially to converse with dead men, I mean Books: you know anything in
excess is naught. Now, sir, were I worthy to give you advice, I could
wish he were well married, and it may wean him from that bookish and
thoughtful humour.--J. HOWELL. _Familiar Letters._


    Marriage, uncle! alas! my years are young,
    And fitter is my study and my books
    Than wanton dalliance with a paramour.

            W. SHAKESPEARE. _First Part of King Henry the Sixth._


I do not know that I am happiest when alone; but this I am sure of, that
I am never long even in the society of her I love without a yearning for
the company of my lamp and my utterly confused and tumbled-over
library.--G. GORDON, LORD BYRON.


    So have I known a hopeful youth
    Sit down in quest of lore and truth,
    With tomes sufficient to confound him,
    Like Tohu Bohu, heaped around him,--
    Mamurra stuck to Theophrastus,
    And Galen tumbling o'er Bombastus.
    When lo! while all that's learned and wise
    Absorbs the boy, he lifts his eyes,
    And through the window of his study
    Beholds some damsel fair and ruddy,
    With eyes, as brightly turned upon him as
    The angel's were on Hieronymus.
    Quick fly the folios, widely scattered,
    Old Homer's laurelled brow is battered,
    And Sappho, headlong sent, flies just in
    The reverend eye of St. Augustin.
    Raptured he quits each dozing sage,
    Oh woman, for thy lovelier page:
    Sweet book!--unlike the books of art,--
    Whose errors are thy fairest part:
    In whom the dear errata column
    Is the best page in all the volume!

              T. MOORE. _The Devil among the Scholars._


Some Verses, written in September, 1676, on presenting a Book.

    Go, humble gift, go to that matchless saint,
    Of whom thou only wast a copy meant:
    And all, that's read in thee, more richly find
    Comprised in the fair volume of her mind;
    That living system, where are fully writ
    All those high morals, which in books we meet:
    Easy, as in soft air, there writ they are,
    Yet firm, as if in brass they graven were.

                        J. OLDHAM.


    Lo, here a little volume, but great book!
    A nest of new-born sweets,
    Whose native fires disdaining
    To be thus folded, and complaining
    Of these ignoble sheets,
    Affect more comely bands,
    Fair one, from thy kind hands,
    And confidently look
    To find the rest
    Of a rich binding in your breast!

    It is in one choice handful, heaven; and all
    Heaven's royal host; encamped thus small
    To prove that true, schools use to tell,
    A thousand angels in one point can dwell.

    It is love's great artillery,
    Which here contracts itself, and comes to lie
    Close couched in your white bosom; and from thence,
    As from a snowy fortress of defence,
    Against your ghostly foes to take your part,
    And fortify the hold of your chaste heart.

    It is an armoury of light;
    Let constant use but keep it bright,
          You'll find it yields
    To holy hands and humble hearts
          More swords and shields
    Than sin hath snares, or hell hath darts.
          Only be sure
          The hands be pure
    That hold these weapons, and the eyes
    Those of turtles, chaste and true,
          Wakeful, and wise;
    Here is a friend shall fight for you;
    Hold but this book before your heart,
    Let prayer alone to play his part.

                        R. CRASHAW.


    Know you, fair, on what you look?
    Divinest love lies in this book:
    Expecting fire from your fair eyes,
    To kindle this his sacrifice.
    When your hands untie these strings,
    Think, you've an angel by the wings;
    One that gladly would be nigh,
    To wait upon each morning sigh;
    To flutter in the balmy air
    Of your well-perfumed prayer;

    These white plumes of his he'll lend you,
    Which every day to heaven will send you:
    To take acquaintance of each sphere,
    And all your smooth-faced kindred there.
    And though Herbert's name do owe
    These devotions, fairest, know
    While I thus lay them on the shrine
    Of your white hand, they are mine.

                          R. CRASHAW.


Written in the first leaf of Keble's _Christian Year_, a birthday

    My Helen, for its golden fraught
    Of prayer and praise, of dream and thought,
    Where Poesy finds fitting voice
    For all who hope, fear, grieve, rejoice,
    Long have I loved, and studied long,
    The pious minstrel's varied song.

    Whence is the volume dearer now?
    There gleams a smile upon your brow,
    Wherein, methinks, I read how well
    You guess the reason, ere I tell,
    Which makes to me the single rhymes
    More prized, more conned, a hundred times.

    Ere vanished quite the dread and doubt
    Affection ne'er was born without,
    Found we not here a magic key
    Opening thy secret soul to me?
    Found we not here a mystic sign
    Interpreting thy heart to mine?

    What sympathies up-springing fast
    Through all the future, all the past,
    In tenderest links began to bind
    Spirit to spirit, mind to mind,
    As we, together wandering o'er
    The little volume's precious store,

    Mused, with alternate smile and tear,
    On the high themes awakened here
    Of fervent hope, of calm belief,
    Of cheering joy, of chastening grief,
    The trials borne, the sins forgiven,
    The task on earth, the meed in heaven.

    My Own! oh surely from above
    Was shed that confidence of love,
    Which in such happy moments nurst
    When soul with soul had converse first,
    Now through the snares and storms of life
    Blesses the husband and the wife!

                      W. M. PRAED.


    Little volume, warm with wishes,
      Fear not brows that never frown!
    After Byron's peppery dishes
      Matho's mild skim-milk goes down.

    Change she wants not, self-concentered,
      She whom Attic graces please,
    She whose Genius never entered
      Literature's gin-palaces.

                       W. S. LANDOR.


Hear them [books] speak for themselves.... 'We are expelled with heart
and hand from the domiciles of the clergy, apportioned to us by
hereditary right, in some interior chamber of which we had our peaceful
cells: but, to their shame, in these nefarious times we are altogether
banished to suffer opprobrium out of doors; our places, moreover, are
occupied by hounds and hawks, and sometimes by a biped beast; woman to
wit,--whose cohabitation was formerly shunned by the clergy, from whom
we have ever taught our pupils to fly, more than from the asp and the
basilisk; wherefore this beast, ever jealous of our studies, and at all
times implacable, spying us at last in a corner, protected only by the
web of some long-deceased spider, drawing her forehead into wrinkles,
laughs us to scorn, abuses us in virulent speeches, points us out as the
only superfluous furniture lodged in the whole house; complains that we
are useless for any purpose of domestic economy whatever, and recommends
our being bartered away forthwith for costly head-dresses, cambric,
silk, twice-dipped purple garments, woollen, linen, and furs.'--R. DE
BURY. _Philobiblon._


I beheld a female form, with mob-cap, bib, and apron, sleeves tucked up
to the elbow, a dredging-box in the one hand, and in the other a
sauce-ladle. I concluded, of course, that it was my friend's cook-maid
walking in her sleep; and as I knew he had a value for Sally, who could
toss a pancake with any girl in the country, I got up to conduct her
safely to the door. But as I approached her, she said,--'Hold, sir! I am
not what you take me for;'--words which seemed so apposite to the
circumstances that I should not have much minded them, had it not been
for the peculiarly hollow sound in which they were uttered. 'Know,
then,' she said, in the same unearthly accents, 'that I am the spirit of
Betty Barnes.'--'Who hanged herself for love of the stage-coachman,'
thought I; 'this is a very proper spot of work!'--'Of that unhappy
Elizabeth or Betty Barnes, long cook-maid to Mr. Warburton, the painful
collector, but ah! the too careless custodier, of the largest collection
of ancient plays ever known--of most of which the titles only are left
to gladden the Prolegomena of the Variorum Shakespeare. Yes, stranger,
it was these ill-fated hands that consigned to grease and conflagration
the scores of small quartos, which, did they now exist, would drive the
whole Roxburghe Club out of their senses--it was these unhappy pickers
and stealers that singed fat fowls and wiped dirty trenchers with the
lost works of Beaumont and Fletcher, Massinger, Jonson, Webster--what
shall I say?--even of Shakespeare himself!'--SIR W. SCOTT. _Introductory
Epistle to The Fortunes of Nigel._


I yet retain, and carefully cherish, my love of reading. If relays of
eyes were to be hired like post-horses, I would never admit any but
silent companions: they afford a constant variety of entertainment,
which is almost the only one pleasing in the enjoyment, and inoffensive
in the consequence.... Every woman endeavours to breed her daughter a
fine lady, qualifying her for a station in which she never will appear:
and at the same time incapacitating her for that retirement to which she
is destined. Learning, if she has a real taste for it, will not only
make her contented, but happy in it. No entertainment is so cheap as
reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. She will not want new fashions,
nor regret the loss of expensive diversions, or variety of company, if
she can be amused with an author in her closet.... Daughter! daughter!
don't call names; you are always abusing my pleasures, which is what no
mortal will bear. Trash, lumber, sad stuff, are the titles you give to
my favourite amusement. If I called a white staff a stick of wood, a
gold key gilded brass, and the ensigns of illustrious orders coloured
strings, this may be philosophically true, but would be very ill
received. We have all our playthings; happy are they that can be
contented with those they can obtain: those hours are spent in the
wisest manner that can easiest shade the ills of life, and are least
productive of ill consequences. I think my time better employed in
reading the adventures of imaginary people, than the Duchess of
Marlborough's, who passed the latter years of her life in paddling with
her will, and contriving schemes of plaguing some, and extracting praise
from others to no purpose; eternally disappointed and eternally
fretting. The active scenes are over at my age. I indulge, with all the
art I can, my taste for reading. If I would confine it to valuable
books, they are almost as rare as valuable men. I must be content with
what I can find. As I approach a second childhood, I endeavour to enter
into the pleasures of it. Your youngest son is, perhaps, at this very
moment riding on a poker with great delight, not at all regretting that
it is not a gold one, and much less wishing it an Arabian horse, which
he would not know how to manage; I am reading an idle tale, not
expecting wit or truth in it, and am very glad it is not metaphysics to
puzzle my judgement, or history to mislead my opinion: he fortifies his
health by exercise; I calm my cares by oblivion. The methods may appear
low to busy people; but if he improves his strength, and I forget my
infirmities, we both attain very desirable ends.--LADY MARY WORTLEY
MONTAGU. _Letters._


    There, obedient to her praying, did I read aloud the poems
    Made to Tuscan flutes, or instruments more various of our own;
    Read the pastoral parts of Spenser--or the subtle interflowings
    Found in Petrarch's sonnets--here's the book--the leaf is folded

    Or at times a modern volume,--Wordsworth's solemn-thoughted idyl,
    Howitt's ballad-verse, or Tennyson's enchanted reverie,--
    Or from Browning some 'Pomegranate', which, if cut deep down the
    Shows a heart within blood-tinctured, of a veined humanity.

                     E. B. BROWNING. _Lady Geraldine's Courtship._


      I sate on in my chamber green,
    And lived my life, and thought my thoughts, and prayed
    My prayers without the vicar; read my books,
    Without considering whether they were fit
    To do me good. Mark, there. We get no good
    By being ungenerous, even to a book,
    And calculating profits,--so much help
    By so much reading. It is rather when
    We gloriously forget ourselves and plunge
    Soul-forward, headlong, into a book's profound,
    Impassioned for its beauty and salt of truth--
    'Tis then we get the right good from a book.

    I read much. What my father taught before
    From many a volume, Love re-emphasized
    Upon the self-same pages: Theophrast
    Grew tender with the memory of his eyes,
    And Aelian made mine wet. The trick of Greek
    And Latin, he had taught me, as he would
    Have taught me wrestling or the game of fives
    If such he had known,--most like a shipwrecked man
    Who heaps his single platter with goats' cheese
    And scarlet berries; or like any man
    Who loves but one, and so gives all at once,
    Because he has it, rather than because
    He counts it worthy. Thus, my father gave;
    And thus, as did the women formerly
    By young Achilles, when they pinned the veil
    Across the boy's audacious front, and swept
    With tuneful laughs the silver-fretted rocks,
    He wrapt his little daughter in his large
    Man's doublet, careless did it fit or no....

    I read books bad and good--some bad and good
    At once (good aims not always make good books:
    Well-tempered spades turn up ill-smelling soils
    In digging vineyards even); books that prove
    God's being so definitely, that man's doubt
    Grows self-defined the other side the line,
    Made atheist by suggestion; moral books,
    Exasperating to licence; genial books,
    Discounting from the human dignity;
    And merry books, which set you weeping when
    The sun shines,--aye, and melancholy books,
    Which make you laugh that any one should weep
    In this disjointed life for one wrong more.

    The world of books is still the world, I write,
    And both worlds have God's providence, thank God,
    To keep and hearten.

                 E. B. BROWNING. _Aurora Leigh._


We have often heard men who wish, as almost all men of sense wish, that
women should be highly educated, speak with rapture of the English
ladies of the sixteenth century, and lament that they can find no modern
damsel resembling those fair pupils of Ascham and Aylmer who compared,
over their embroidery, the styles of Isocrates and Lysias, and who,
while the horns were sounding and the dogs in full cry, sat in the
lonely oriel, with eyes riveted to that immortal page which tells how
meekly and bravely the first great martyr of intellectual liberty took
the cup from his weeping gaoler. But surely these complaints have very
little foundation. We would by no means disparage the ladies of the
sixteenth century or their pursuits. But we conceive that those who
extol them at the expense of the women of our time forget one very
obvious and very important circumstance. In the time of Henry the Eighth
and Edward the Sixth, a person who did not read Greek and Latin could
read nothing, or next to nothing. The Italian was the only modern
language which possessed anything that could be called a literature. All
the valuable books then extant in all the vernacular dialects of Europe
would hardly have filled a single shelf. England did not yet possess
Shakespeare's plays and the _Faery Queene_, nor France Montaigne's
_Essays_, nor Spain _Don Quixote_. In looking round a well-furnished
library, how many English or French books can we find which were extant
when Lady Jane Grey and Queen Elizabeth received their education?
Chaucer, Gower, Froissart, Comines, Rabelais, nearly complete the list.
It was therefore absolutely necessary that a woman should be uneducated
or classically educated.--LORD MACAULAY. _Lord Bacon._


Whether novels, or poetry, or history be read, they should be chosen,
not for what is _out_ of them, but for what is _in_ them. The chance and
scattered evil that may here and there haunt, or hide itself in, a
powerful book, never does any harm to a noble girl; but the emptiness of
an author oppresses her, and his amiable folly degrades her. And if she
can have access to a good library of old and classical books, there need
be no choosing at all. Keep the modern magazine and novel out of your
girl's way: turn her loose into the old library every wet day, and let
her alone. She will find what is good for her; you cannot: for there is
just this difference between the making of a girl's character and a
boy's--you may chisel a boy into shape, as you would a rock, or hammer
him into it, if he be of a better kind, as you would a piece of bronze.
But you cannot hammer a girl into anything. She grows as a flower
does,--she will wither without sun; she will decay in her sheath, as the
narcissus does, if you do not give her air enough; she may fall, and
defile her head in dust, if you leave her without help at some moments
of her life; but you cannot fetter her; she must take her own fair form
and way, if she take any, and in mind as in body, must have always

    Her household motions light and free
    And steps of virgin liberty.

Let her loose in the library, I say, as you do a fawn in a field. It
knows the bad weeds twenty times better than you; and the good ones too,
and will eat some bitter and prickly ones, good for it, which you had
not the slightest thought were good.--J. RUSKIN. _Sesame and Lilies._

    'Twere well with most, if books, that could engage
    Their childhood, pleased them at a riper age.

                      W. COWPER. _Tirocinium._


Flavia buys all books of wit and humour, and has made an expensive
collection of all our English poets. For, she says, one cannot have a
true taste of any of them without being very conversant with them all.

She will sometimes read a book of piety, if it is a short one, if it is
much commended for style and language, and she can tell where to borrow
it.--W. LAW. _A serious Call to a devout and holy Life._


            Non illa colo calathisve Minervae
    Foemineas assueta manus.--VIRG.

Some months ago, my friend Sir Roger, being in the country, enclosed a
letter to me, directed to a certain lady whom I shall here call by the
name of Leonora, and as it contained matters of consequence, desired me
to deliver it to her with my own hand. Accordingly I waited upon her
ladyship pretty early in the morning, and was desired by her woman to
walk into her lady's library, till such time as she was in readiness to
receive me. The very sound of a lady's library gave me a great curiosity
to see it; and, as it was some time before the lady came to me, I had an
opportunity of turning over a great many of her books, which were ranged
together in a very beautiful order. At the end of the folios (which were
finely bound and gilt) were great jars of china placed one above another
in a very noble piece of architecture. The quartos were separated from
the octavos by a pile of smaller vessels, which rose in a delightful
pyramid. The octavos were bounded by tea-dishes of all shapes, colours,
and sizes, which were so disposed on a wooden frame, that they looked
like one continued pillar indented with the finest strokes of sculpture,
and stained with the greatest variety of dyes. That part of the library
which was designed for the reception of plays and pamphlets, and other
loose papers, was enclosed in a kind of square, consisting of one of the
prettiest grotesque works that I ever saw, and made up of scaramouches,
lions, monkeys, mandarins, trees, shells, and a thousand other odd
figures in china ware. In the midst of the room was a little japan
table, with a quire of gilt paper upon it, and upon the paper a silver
snuff-box made in the shape of a little book. I found there were several
other counterfeit books upon the upper shelves, which were carved in
wood, and served only to fill up the number, like faggots in the muster
of a regiment. I was wonderfully pleased with such a mixed kind of
furniture as seemed very suitable both to the lady and the scholar, and
did not know at first whether I should fancy myself in a grotto or in a

Upon my looking into the books I found there were some few which the
lady had bought for her own use, but that most of them had been got
together, either because she had heard them praised, or because she had
seen the authors of them. Among several that I examined, I very well
remember these that follow:

     Ogilby's _Virgil_. Dryden's _Juvenal_. _Cassandra._ _Cleopatra._
     _Astraea._ Sir Isaac Newton's works. _The Grand Cyrus_, with a pin
     stuck in one of the middle leaves. Pembroke's _Arcadia_. Locke of
     _Human Understanding_; with a paper of patches in it. A
     spelling-book. A dictionary for the explanation of hard words.
     Sherlock upon Death. _The Fifteen Comforts of Matrimony._ Sir
     William Temple's Essays. Father Malebranche's _Search after Truth_,
     translated into English. A book of Novels. _The Academy of
     Compliments._ Culpepper's _Midwifery_. _The Ladies' Calling._ Tales
     in Verse by Dr. D'Urfey: bound in red leather, gilt on the back,
     and doubled down in several places. All the Classic authors, in
     wood. A set of Elzevirs by the same hand. _Clelia_: which opened of
     itself in the place that describes two lovers in a bower. Baker's
     _Chronicle_. _Advice to a Daughter._ _The New Atlantis_, with a key
     to it. Mr. Steele's _Christian Hero_. A Prayer-book: with a bottle
     of Hungary water by the side of it. Dr. Sacheverell's Speech.
     Fielding's Trial. Seneca's _Morals_. Taylor's _Holy Living and
     Dying_. La Ferte's _Instructions for Country-dances_.

I was taking a catalogue in my pocket-book of these and several other
authors, when Leonora entered.--J. ADDISON. _Spectator_, 37.


Except some professed scholars, I have often observed that women in
general read much more than men; but, for want of a plan, a method, a
fixed object, their reading is of little benefit to themselves, or
others.--E. GIBBON. _Autobiography._


      Convivae prope dissentire videntur,
    Poscentes vario multum diversa palato.
    Quid dem? quid non dem?


Since I have called out for help in my catalogue of a lady's library, I
have received many letters upon that head, some of which I shall give an
account of. In the first class I shall take notice of those which come
to me from eminent booksellers, who every one of them mention with
respect the authors they have printed, and consequently have an eye to
their own advantage more than to that of the ladies. One tells me, that
he thinks it absolutely necessary for women to have true notions of
right and equity, and that therefore they cannot peruse a better book
than Dalton's _Country Justice_: another thinks they cannot be without
_The Compleat Jockey_. A third, observing the curiosity and desire of
prying into secrets, which he tells me is natural to the fair sex, is of
opinion this female inclination, if well directed, might turn very much
to their advantage, and therefore recommends to me _Mr. Mede upon the
Revelations_. A fourth lays it down as an unquestioned truth, that a
lady cannot be thoroughly accomplished who has not read the _Secret
Treaties and Negotiations of Marshal d'Estrades_. Mr. Jacob Tonson,
junior, is of opinion, that _Bayle's Dictionary_ might be of very great
use to the ladies, in order to make them general scholars. Another,
whose name I have forgotten, thinks it highly proper that every woman
with child should read Mr. Wall's _History of Infant Baptism_: as
another is very importunate with me to recommend to all my female
readers _The Finishing Stroke: Being a Vindication of the Patriarchal
Scheme_, &c.

In the second class I shall mention books which are recommended by
husbands, if I may believe the writers of them. Whether or no they are
real husbands or personated ones I cannot tell, but the books they
recommend are as follow. _A Paraphrase on the History of Susanna._
_Rules to keep Lent._ _The Christian's Overthrow prevented._ _A
Dissuasive from the Playhouse._ _The Virtues of Camphire, with
Directions to make Camphire Tea._ _The pleasures of a Country Life._
_The Government of the Tongue._ A letter dated from Cheapside desires me
that I would advise all young wives to make themselves mistresses of
Wingate's _Arithmetic_, and concludes with a postscript, that he hopes I
will not forget _The Countess of Kent's Receipts_.

I may reckon the ladies themselves as a third class among these my
correspondents and privy-councillors. In a letter from one of them, I am
advised to place _Pharamond_ at the head of my catalogue, and, if I
think proper, to give the second place to _Cassandra_. Coquetilla begs
me not to think of nailing women upon their knees with manuals of
devotion, nor of scorching their faces with books of housewifery.
Florella desires to know if there are any books written against prudes,
and entreats me, if there are, to give them a place in my library. Plays
of all sorts have their several advocates: _All for Love_ is mentioned
in above fifteen letters; _Sophonisba_, or _Hannibal's Overthrow_, in a
dozen; _The Innocent Adultery_ is likewise highly approved of;
_Mithridates, King of Pontus_ has many friends; _Alexander the Great_
and _Aurengzebe_ have the same number of voices; but _Theodosius_, or
_The Force of Love_, carries it from all the rest.--J. ADDISON.
_Spectator_, 92.


    When just proportion in each part,
    And colours mixed with nicest art,
    Conspire to show the grace and mien
    Of Chloe or the Cyprian queen:
    With elegance throughout refined,
    That speaks the passions of the mind,
    The glowing canvas will proclaim
    A Raphael's or a Titian's name.
      So when through every learnèd page
    Each distant clime, each distant age
    Display a rich variety
    Of wisdom in epitome;
    Such elegance and taste will tell
    The hand that could select so well.
    But when we all their beauties view,
    United and improved by you,
    We needs must own an emblem faint
    To express those charms no art can paint.
    Books must, with such correctness writ,
    Refine another's taste and wit;
    'Tis to your merit only due
    That theirs can be refined by you.

                        R. JAGO.


LUCY. Indeed, ma'am, I traversed half the town in search of it: I don't
believe there's a circulating library in Bath I ha'n't been at.

LYDIA LANGUISH. And could not you get _The Reward of Constancy_?

LUCY. No, indeed, ma'am.

LYDIA. Nor _The Fatal Connexion_?

LUCY. No, indeed, ma'am.

LYDIA. Nor _The Mistakes of the Heart_?

LUCY. Ma'am, as ill luck would have it, Mr. Bull said Miss Sukey Saunter
had just fetched it away.

LYDIA. Heigh-ho!--Did you inquire for _The Delicate Distress_?

LUCY.----Or, _The Memoirs of Lady Woodford_? Yes, indeed, ma'am. I
asked everywhere for it; and I might have brought it from Mr.
Frederick's, but Lady Slattern Lounger, who had just sent it home, had
so soiled and dog's-eared it, it wa'n't fit for a Christian to read.

LYDIA. Heigh-ho!--Yes, I always know when Lady Slattern has been before
me. She has a most observing thumb; and I believe cherishes her nails
for the convenience of making marginal notes.--Well, child, what _have_
you brought me?

LUCY. Oh! here, ma'am.

    [Taking books from under her cloak, and from her pockets.]

This is _The Gordian Knot_, and this _Peregrine Pickle_. Here are _The
Tears of Sensibility_, and _Humphrey Clinker_. This is _The Memoirs of a
Lady of Quality, written by herself_, and here the second volume of
_The Sentimental Journey_.

LYDIA. Heigh-ho!--What are those books by the glass?

LUCY. The great one is only _The Whole Duty of Man_, where I press a few
blonds, ma'am.

       *       *       *       *       *

... O Lud! ma'am, they are both coming upstairs....

LYDIA. Here, my dear Lucy, hide these books. Quick, quick. Fling
_Peregrine Pickle_ under the toilet--throw _Roderick Random_ into the
closet--put _The Innocent Adultery_ into _The Whole Duty of Man_--thrust
_Lord Aimworth_ under the sofa--cram _Ovid_ behind the
bolster--there--put _The Man of Feeling_ into your pocket--so, so, now
lay _Mrs. Chapone_ in sight, and leave _Fordyce's Sermons_ open on the

LUCY. Oh, burn it, ma'am, the hairdresser has torn away as far as
_Proper Pride_.

LYDIA. Never mind--open at _Sobriety_. Fling me _Lord Chesterfield's
Letters_.--Now for 'em.

       [Mrs. Malaprop and Sir Anthony Absolute enter and after Lydia has
    been ordered to her room--]

MRS. MALAPROP. There's a little intricate hussy for you!

SIR ANTHONY. It is not to be wondered at, ma'am--all this is the natural
consequence of teaching girls to read. Had I a thousand daughters, by
Heaven! I'd as soon have them taught the black art as their alphabet!

MRS. MALAPROP. Nay, nay, Sir Anthony, you are an absolute misanthropy.

SIR ANTHONY. In my way hither, Mrs. Malaprop, I observed your niece's
maid coming forth from a circulating library! She had a book in each
hand--they were half-bound volumes, with marble covers! From that moment
I guessed how full of duty I should see her mistress!

MRS. MALAPROP. Those are vile places, indeed!

SIR ANTHONY. Madam, a circulating library in a town is as an evergreen
tree of diabolical knowledge! It blossoms through the year! And depend
on it, Mrs. Malaprop, that they who are so fond of handling the leaves,
will long for the fruit at last.--R. B. SHERIDAN. _The Rivals._


      My books were changed; I now preferred the truth
    To the light reading of unsettled youth;
    Novels grew tedious, but by choice or chance,
    I still had interest in the wild romance:
    There is an age, we know, when tales of love
    Form the sweet pabulum our hearts approve;
    Then as we read we feel, and are indeed,
    We judge, the heroic men of whom we read;
    But in our after life these fancies fail,
    We cannot be the heroes of the tale;
    The parts that Cliffords, Mordaunts, Bevilles play
    We cannot,--cannot be so smart and gay.
    But all the mighty deeds and matchless powers
    Of errant knights we never fancied ours,
    And thus the prowess of each gifted knight
    Must at all times create the same delight;
    Lovelace a forward youth might hope to seem,
    But Lancelot never,--that he could not dream;
    Nothing reminds us in the magic page
    Of old romance, of our declining age:
    If once our fancy mighty dragons slew,
    This is no more than fancy now can do;
    But when the heroes of a novel come,
    Conquered and conquering, to a drawing-room,
    We no more feel the vanity that sees
    Within ourselves what we admire in these,
    And so we leave the modern tale, to fly
    From realm to realm with Tristram or Sir Guy.
      Not quite a Quixote, I could not suppose
    That queens would call me to subdue their foes;
    But, by a voluntary weakness swayed,
    When fancy called, I willingly obeyed.

                G. CRABBE. _Tales of the Hall._

                The state, whereon I studied,
    Is like a good thing, being often read,
    Grown feared and tedious.

             W. SHAKESPEARE. _Measure for Measure._


    A clerk ther was of Oxenford also
    That un-to logik hadde long y-go.
    As lene was his hors as is a rake,
    And he was nat right fat, I undertake;
    But loked holwe, and ther-to soberly.
    Ful thredbar was his overest courtepy;
    For he had geten him yet no benefyce,
    Ne was so worldly for to have offyce.
    For him was lever have at his beddes heed
    Twenty bokes, clad in blak or reed,
    Of Aristotle and his philosophye,
    Than robes riche, or fithele, or gay sautrye.
    But al be that he was a philosophre,
    Yet hadde he but litel gold in cofre;
    But al that he mighte of his freendes hente,
    On bokes and on lerninge he it spente,
    And bisily gan for the soules preye
    Of hem that yaf him wher-with to scoleye.
    Of studie took he most cure and most hede.
    Noght o word spak he more than was nede,
    And that was seyd in forme and reverence,
    And short and quik, and ful of hy sentence.
    Souninge in moral vertu was his speche,
    And gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly teche.

                G. CHAUCER. _The Canterbury Tales._


    I am the first fool of all the whole navy,
    To keep the poop, the helm and eke the sail.
    For this is my mind, this one pleasure have I:
    Of books to have great plenty and aparayle.
    I take no wisdom by them, nor yet avail
    Nor them preceive not: and then I them despise.
    Thus am I a fool and all that sew that guise.

    That in this ship the chief place I govern,
    By this wide sea with fools wandering,
    The cause is plain and easy to discern;
    Still am I busy books assembling,
    For to have plenty it is a pleasant thing,
    In my conceit, and to have them ay in hand,
    But what they mean do I not understand.

    But yet I have them in great reverence
    And honour, saving them from filth and ordure,
    By often brushing and much diligence,
    Full goodly bound in pleasant coverture
    Of damask, satin, or else of velvet pure:
    I keep them sure, fearing lest they should be lost,
    For in them is the cunning wherein I me boast.

    But if it fortune that any learned men
    Within my house fall to disputation,
    I draw the curtain to show my books then,
    That they of my cunning should make probation
    I care not to fall in altercation:
    And while they commune, my books I turn and wind
    For all is in them, and nothing in my mind.

    Tholomeus the rich caused, long agone,
    Over all the world good books to be sought;
    Done was his commandment anon.
    These books he had and in his study brought
    Which passed all earthly treasure as he thought,
    But nevertheless he did him not apply
    Unto their doctrine, but lived unhappily.

    Lo in likewise of books I have store,
    But few I read, and fewer understand;
    I follow not their doctrine, nor their lore,
    It is enough to bear a book in hand;
    It were too much to be in such a band,
    For to be bound to look within the book;
    I am content on the fair covering to look.

    Why should I study to hurt my wit thereby,
    Or trouble my mind with study excessive?
    Sith many are which study right busily
    And yet thereby shall they never thrive:
    The fruit of wisdom can they not contrive.
    And many to study so much are inclined
    That utterly they fall out of their mind.

    Each is not lettered that now is made a lord,
    Nor each a clerk that hath a benefice;
    They are not all lawyers that pleas do record,
    All that are promoted are not fully wise;
    On such chance now fortune throws her dice,
    That though one know but the Irish game
    Yet would he have a gentleman's name.

    So in likewise, I am in such case,
    Though I naught can, I would be called wise;
    Also I may set another in my place
    Which may for me my books exercise;
    Or else I shall ensue the common guise,
    And say _concedo_ to every argument,
    Lest by much speech my Latin should be spent.

          S. BRANT. _Shyp of Folys of the Worlde_, 1509.



    Say worthy doctors and clerks curious:
    What moveth you of books to have such number,
    Since divers doctrines through ways contrarious
    Doth man's mind dsitract and sore encumber;
    Alas, blind men awake, out of your slumber,
    And if ye will needs your books mutliply
    With diligence endeavour you some to occupy.

                              A. BARCLAY.


Dionysius scoffeth at those grammarians who ploddingly labour to know
the miseries of Ulysses, and are ignorant of their own.... Except our
mind be the better, unless our judgement be the sounder, I had rather my
scholar had employed his time in playing at tennis; I am sure his body
would be the nimbler. See but one of these our university men or bookish
scholars return from school, after he hath there spent ten or twelve
years under a pedant's charge: who is so inapt for any matter? who so
unfit for any company? who so to seek if he come into the world? all
the advantage you discover in him is that his Latin and Greek have made
him more sottish, more stupid, and more presumptuous, than before he
went from home.... My vulgar Perigordian speech doth very pleasantly
term such self-conceited wizards, letter-ferrets, as if they would say
letter-stricken men, to whom (as the common saying is) letters have
given a blow with a mallet.--MONTAIGNE.


Sir, he hath not fed of the dainties that are bred of a book; he hath
not eat paper, as it were; he hath not drunk ink: his intellect is not
replenished; he is only an animal, only sensible in the duller
parts.--W. SHAKESPEARE. _Love's Labour's Lost._


He loves no library, but where there are more spiders' volumes than
authors', and looks with great admiration on the antique work of
cobwebs. Printed books he contemns, as a novelty of this latter age; but
a manuscript he pores on everlastingly, especially if the cover be all
moth-eaten, and the dust make a parenthesis between every syllable. He
would give all the books in his study (which are rarities all) for one
of the old Roman binding, or six lines of Tully in his own hand.--J.
EARLE. _Microcosmographie._


    With what, O Codrus! is thy fancy smit?
    The flower of learning, and the bloom of wit.
    Thy gaudy shelves with crimson bindings glow,
    And Epictetus is a perfect beau.
    How fit for thee bound up in crimson too,
    Gilt, and, like them, devoted to the view!
    Thy books are furniture. Methinks 'tis hard
    That Science should be purchased by the yard,
    And T----n, turned upholsterer, send home
    The gilded leather to fit up thy room.
      If not to some peculiar end assigned,
    Study's the specious trifling of the mind;
    Or is at best a secondary aim,
    A chase for sport alone, not game:
    If so, sure they who the mere volume prize,
    But love the thicket where the quarry lies.
      On buying books Lorenzo long was bent;
    But found at length that it reduced his rent.
    His farms were flown; when lo! a sale comes on,
    A choice collection! What is to be done?
    He sells his last; for he the whole will buy;
    Sells even his house, nay wants whereon to lie:
    So high the generous ardour of the man
    For Romans, Greeks, and Orientals ran.
    When terms were drawn, and brought him by the clerk,
    Lorenzo signed the bargain--with his mark.
    Unlearned men of books assume the care,
    As eunuchs are the guardians of the fair.
      Not in his authors' liveries alone
    Is Codrus' erudite ambition shown.
    Editions various, at high prices bought,
    Inform the world what Codrus would be thought;
    And, to his cost, another must succeed,
    To pay a sage, who says that he can read,
    Who titles knows, and Indexes has seen;
    But leaves to ---- what lies between,
    Of pompous books who shuns the proud expense,
    And humbly is contented with the sense.

                     E. YOUNG. _The Love of Fame._


    What wild desires, what restless torments seize
    The hapless man, who feels the book-disease,
    If niggard Fortune cramp his generous mind,
    And Prudence quench the spark by heaven assigned!
    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:
    So great Facardin viewed, as sages tell,
    Fair Crystalline immured in lucid cell.
    Not thus the few, by happier fortune graced,
    And blessed, like you, with talents, wealth, and taste,
    Who gather nobly, with judicious hand,
    The Muse's treasures from each lettered strand.
    For you the Monk illumed his pictured page,
    For you the press defies the spoils of age;
    Faustus for you infernal tortures bore,
    For you Erasmus starved on Adria's shore.
    The Folio-Aldus loads your happy shelves,
    And dapper Elzevirs, like fairy elves,
    Show their light forms amidst the well-gilt Twelves,
    In slender type the Giolitos shine,
    And bold Bodoni stamps his Roman line.
    For you the Louvre opes its regal doors,
    And either Didot lends his brilliant stores:
    With faultless types, and costly sculptures bright,
    Ibarra's Quixote charms your ravished sight:
    Laborde in splendid tablets shall explain
    Thy beauties, glorious though unhappy Spain!
    O hallowed name, the theme of future years,
    Embalmed in Patriot-blood, and England's tears,
    Be thine fresh honours from the tuneful tongue,
    By Isis' stream which mourning Zion sung!
    But devious oft from every classic Muse,
    The keen Collector meaner paths will choose:
    And first the margin's breadth his soul employs,
    Pure, snowy, broad, the type of nobler joys.
    In vain might Homer roll the tide of song,
    Or Horace smile, or Tully charm the throng;
    If crossed by Pallas' ire, the trenchant blade
    Or too oblique, or near, the edge invade,
    The Bibliomane exclaims, with haggard eye,
    'No margin!' turns in haste, and scorns to buy.
    He turns where Pybus rears his Atlas-head,
    Or Madoc's mass conceals its veins of lead.
    The glossy lines in polished order stand,
    While the vast margin spreads on either hand,
    Like Russian wastes, that edge the frozen deep,
    Chill with pale glare, and lull to mortal sleep.
    Or English books, neglected and forgot,
    Excite his wish in many a dusty lot:
    Whatever trash _Midwinter_ gave to-day,
    Or _Harper's_ rhyming sons, in paper gray,
    At every auction, bent on fresh supplies,
    He cons his Catalogue with anxious eyes:
    Where'er the slim italics mark the page,
    _Curious and rare_ his ardent mind engage.
    Unlike the swans, in Tuscan song displayed,
    He hovers eager o'er oblivion's shade.
    To snatch obscurest names from endless night,
    And give Cokain or Fletcher back to light.
    In red morocco dressed he loves to boast
    The bloody murder, or the yelling ghost;
    Or dismal ballads, sung to crowds of old,
    Now cheaply bought for thrice their weight in gold.
    Yet to the unhonoured dead be Satire just;
    Some flowers 'smell sweet and blossom in their dust'.
    'Tis thus even Shirley boasts a golden line,
    And Lovelace strikes, by fits, a note divine.
    The unequal gleams like midnight-lightnings play,
    And deepened gloom succeeds, in place of day.

    But human bliss still meets some envious storm;
    He droops to view his Paynter's mangled form:
    Presumptuous grief, while pensive Taste repines
    O'er the frail relics of her Attic shrines!
    O for that power, for which magicians vie,
    To look through earth, and secret hoards descry!
    I'd spurn such gems as Marinel beheld,
    And all the wealth Aladdin's cavern held,
    Might I divine in what mysterious gloom
    The rolls of sacred bards have found their tomb:
    Beneath what mouldering tower, or waste champaign,
    Is hid Menander, sweetest of the train:
    Where rests Antimachus' forgotten lyre,
    Where gentle Sappho's still seductive fire;
    Or he, whom chief the laughing Muses own,
    Yet skilled with softest accents to bemoan
    Sweet Philomel in strains so like her own.
    The menial train has proved the scourge of wit,
    Even Omar burnt less Science than the spit.
    Earthquakes and wars remit their deadly rage,
    But every feast demands some fated page.
    Ye Towers of Julius, ye alone remain
    Of all the piles that saw our nation's stain,
    When Harry's sway oppressed the groaning realm,
    And Lust and Rapine seized the wavering helm.
    Then ruffian-hands defaced the sacred fanes,
    Their saintly statues and their storied panes;
    Then from the chest, with ancient art embossed,
    The penman's pious scrolls were rudely tossed;
    Then richest manuscripts, profusely spread,
    The brawny churls' devouring oven fed:
    And thence collectors date the heavenly ire
    That wrapt Augusta's domes in sheets of fire.

    Taste, though misled, may yet some purpose gain,
    But Fashion guides a book-compelling train.
    Once, far apart from Learning's moping crew,
    The travelled beau displayed his red-heeled shoe,
    Till Orford rose, and told of rhyming peers,
    Repeating _noble_ words to polished ears;
    Taught the gay crowd to prize a fluttering name,
    In trifling toiled, nor 'blushed to find it fame'.
    The lettered fop now takes a larger scope,
    With classic furniture, designed by Hope,
    (Hope whom upholsterers eye with mute despair,
    The doughty pedant of an elbow-chair;)
    Now warmed by Orford, and by Granger schooled
    In Paper-books, superbly gilt and tooled,
    He pastes, from injured volumes snipped away,
    His _English Heads_, in chronicled array.
    Torn from their destined page (unworthy meed
    Of knightly counsel, and heroic deed)
    Not Faithorne's stroke, nor Field's own types can save
    The gallant Veres, and one-eyed Ogle brave.
    Indignant readers seek the image fled,
    And curse the busy fool, who _wants a head_.

    Proudly he shows, with many a smile elate
    The scrambling subjects of the _private plate_;
    While Time their actions and their names bereaves,
    They grin for ever in the guarded leaves.
    Like poets, born, in vain collectors strive
    To cross their Fate, and learn the art to thrive.
    Like Cacus, bent to tame their struggling will,
    The Tyrant-passion drags them backward still:
    Even I, debarred 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 tarnished gold!
    The eye 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.
    Now dipped in Rossi's terse and classic style,
    His harmless tales awake a transient smile.
    Now Bouchet's motley stores my thoughts arrest,
    With wondrous reading, and with learnèd jest.
    Bouchet whose tomes a grateful line demand,
    The valued gift of Stanley's liberal hand.
    Now sadly pleased, through faded Rome I stray,
    And mix regrets with gentle Du Bellay;
    Or turn, with keen delight, the curious page,
    Where hardly Pasquin braves the Pontiff's rage.

    But D----n's strains should tell the sad reverse,
    When Business calls, inveterate foe to verse!
    Tell how 'the Demon claps his iron hands',
    'Waves his lank locks, and scours along the lands.'
    Through wintry blasts, or summer's fire I go,
    To scenes of danger, and to sights of woe.
    Even when to Margate every Cockney roves,
    And brainsick-poets long for sheltering groves,
    Whose lofty shades exclude the noontide glow,
    While Zephyrs breathe, and waters trill below,
    The rigid Fate averts, by tasks like these,
    From heavenly musings, and from lettered ease.
    Such wholesome checks the better genius sends,
    From dire rehearsals to protect our friends:
    Else when the social rites our joys renew,
    The stuffed portfolio would alarm your view,
    Whence volleying rhymes your patience would o'ercome,
    And, spite of kindness, drive you early home.
    So when the traveller's hasty footsteps glide
    Near smoking lava on Vesuvio's side,
    Hoarse-muttering thunders from the depths proceed,
    And spouting fires incite his eager speed.
    Appalled he flies, while rattling showers invade,
    Invoking every saint for instant aid:
    Breathless, amazed, he seeks the distant shore,
    And vows to tempt the dangerous gulf no more.

                   J. FERRIAR. _The Bibliomania._


I will begin, by designating the high and dignified passion in question
by its true name--BIBLIOSOPHIA,--which I would define--_an appetite for_
COLLECTING _Books_--carefully distinguished from, wholly unconnected
with, nay, absolutely repugnant to, all idea of READING them.

Observe, then, with merited admiration, the several points of
superiority, which distinguish the _Collector_, when brought into fair
and close comparison with the _Student_. As

First; the said _Collector_ proceeds straight forward to his object, and
(with one only exception which will hereafter be shown) under the most
rational hopes of accomplishing it. There is but a certain, and limited,
number of books to which he and his inquisitive fraternity have agreed
to consecrate the epithet 'curious'; and all of these--with the
requisite allowance of cash, cunning, luck, patience, and time--he is
within the 'potentiality' of drawing, sooner or later, within his
clutches:--whereas the _Student_, granting him the wealth of a brewer,
the cunning of a horse-dealer, the luck of a fool, the patience of Jerry
Sneak, and the longevity of the Wandering Jew, can never hope even to
_taste_ an hundredth part of the volumes which he meditates to devour.

In the next place, the treasures of the _Collector_, when once he has
submitted to the pleasing toil of procuring them, are his own;--his own,
I mean, in the single sense in which he is desirous so to call them; for
he leaves them in the safe custody of his shelves, until the arrival of
that proud moment, when he shall be dared by an envious rival, to prove
that the title-page of some forgotten (and thence remembered) volume, is
perfect--or properly imperfect; or that it enjoys the reputation of
having been printed, long before the Art had approached towards any
tolerable degree of improvement; or, that it possesses some one, or
more, of those curious advantages, upon which a fitter occasion for
expatiating will present itself by and by:--and now, how stands the
point of _possession_, with the _Student_?--unprosperously indeed!--for
besides that, as already observed, he can never possibly possess, in
_his_ sense of that expression, more than a wretched modicum of his
coveted treasures, he is doomed to a very precarious property even in
those which he may have actually hoarded; inasmuch as they are entrusted
to the care of that most treacherous of all librarians,
_Memory_,--which, at all times, and of necessity, treats the Student's
collections, as the professed Collector, occasionally, and by choice
only, is tempted to treat _his_,--by casting out a great part of them
for want of room.... 'Let us now be told no more,' of the superiority of
the _Student_ over the _Collector_.--J. BERESFORD. _Bibliosophia._


    Golden volumes! richest treasures!
    Objects of delicious pleasures!
    You my eyes rejoicing please,
    You my hands in rapture seize!
    Brilliant wits and moving sages,
    Lights who beamed through many ages,
    Left to your conscious leaves their story,
    And dared to trust you with their glory;
    And now their hope of fame achieved,
    Dear volumes!--you have not deceived!

This passion for the acquisition and enjoyment of _books_ has been the
occasion of their lovers embellishing their outsides with costly
ornaments: a rage which ostentation may have abused; but when these
volumes belong to the real man of letters, the most fanciful bindings
are often the emblems of his taste and feelings. The great Thuanus was
eager to procure the finest copies for his library, and his volumes are
still eagerly purchased, bearing his autograph on the last page. A
celebrated amateur was Grollier, whose library was opulent in these
luxuries; the Muses themselves could not more ingeniously have
ornamented their favourite works. I have seen several in the libraries
of our own curious collectors. He embellished their outside with taste
and ingenuity. They are gilded and stamped with peculiar neatness, the
compartments on the binding are drawn, and painted, with different
inventions of subjects, analogous to the works themselves; and they are
further adorned by that amiable inscription, _Jo. Grollierii et
amicorum_!--purporting that these literary treasures were collected for
himself and for his friends.--I. D'ISRAELI. _Curiosities of Literature:


The Bibliomania, or the collecting an enormous heap of books without
intelligent curiosity, has, since libraries have existed, infected weak
minds, who imagine that they themselves acquire knowledge when they keep
it on their shelves. Their motley libraries have been called the
_madhouses of the human mind_; and again, the _tomb of books_, when the
possessor will not communicate them, and coffins them up in the cases of
his library--and as it was facetiously observed, these collections are
not without a _Lock on the Human Understanding_.--I. D'ISRAELI.
_Curiosities of Literature: The Bibliomania._


'I will frankly confess,' rejoined Lysander, 'that I am an arrant
bibliomaniac--that I love books dearly--that the very sight, touch, and
mere perusal----'

'Hold, my friend,' again exclaimed Philemon; 'you have renounced your
profession--you talk of _reading_ books--do bibliomaniacs ever _read_
books?'--T. F. DIBDIN. _Bibliomania._


You observe, my friends, said I, softly, yonder active and keen-visaged
gentleman? 'Tis Lepidus. Like Magliabechi, content with frugal fare and
frugal clothing and preferring the riches of a library to those of
house-furniture, he is insatiable in his bibliomaniacal appetites. 'Long
experience has made him sage:' and it is not therefore without just
reason that his opinions are courted and considered as almost oracular.
You will find that he will take his old station, commanding the right or
left wing of the auctioneer; and that he will enliven, by the gaiety and
shrewdness of his remarks, the circle that more immediately surrounds
him. Some there are who will not bid till Lepidus bids; and who
surrender all discretion and opinion of their own to his universal
book-knowledge. The consequence is that Lepidus can, with difficulty,
make purchases for his own library, and a thousand dexterous and happy
manoeuvres are of necessity obliged to be practised by him, whenever a
rare or curious book turns up.... Justly respectable as are his
scholarship and good sense, he is not what you may call a _fashionable_
collector; for old chronicles and romances are most rigidly discarded
from his library. Talk to him of Hoffman, Schoettgenius, Rosenmuller,
and Michaelis, and he will listen courteously to your conversation; but
when you expatiate, however learnedly and rapturously, upon Froissart
and Prince Arthur, he will tell you that he has a heart of stone upon
the subject; and that even a clean uncut copy of an original impression
of each, by Verard or by Caxton, would not bring a single tear of
sympathetic transport to his eyes.--T. F. DIBDIN. _Bibliomania._


The character of a scholar not unfrequently dwindles down into the
shadow of a shade, till nothing is left of it but the mere bookworm.
There is often something amiable as well as enviable in this last
character. I know one such instance, at least. The person I mean has an
admiration for learning, if he is only dazzled by its light. He lives
among old authors, if he does not enter much into their spirit. He
handles the covers, and turns over the page, and is familiar with the
names and dates. He is busy and self-involved. He hangs like a film and
cobweb upon letters, or is like the dust upon the outside of knowledge,
which should not be rudely brushed aside. He follows learning as its
shadow; but as such, he is respectable. He browses on the husk and
leaves of books, as the young fawn browses on the bark and leaves of
trees. Such a one lives all his life in a dream of learning, and has
never once had his sleep broken by a real sense of things. He believes
implicitly in genius, truth, virtue, liberty, because he finds the names
of these things in books. He thinks that love and friendship are the
finest things imaginable, both in practice and theory. The legend of
good women is to him no fiction. When he steals from the twilight of his
cell, the scene breaks upon him like an illuminated missal, and all the
people he sees are but so many figures in a _camera obscura_. He reads
the world, like a favourite volume, only to find beauties in it, or like
an edition of some old work which he is preparing for the press, only to
make emendations in it, and correct the errors that have inadvertently
slipt in. He and his dog Tray are much the same honest, simple-hearted,
faithful, affectionate creatures--if Tray could but read! His mind
cannot take the impression of vice: but the gentleness of his nature
turns gall to milk. He would not hurt a fly. He draws the picture of
mankind from the guileless simplicity of his own heart: and when he
dies, his spirit will take its smiling leave, without having ever had an
ill thought of others, or the consciousness of one in itself.--W.
HAZLITT. _On the Conversation of Authors._


A mere scholar, who knows nothing but books, must be ignorant even of
them. 'Books do not teach the use of books.' How should he know anything
of a work who knows nothing of the subject of it? The learned pedant is
conversant with books only as they are made of other books, and those
again of others, without end. He parrots those who have parroted others.
He can translate the same word into ten different languages, but he
knows nothing of the _thing_ which it means in any one of them. He
stuffs his head with authorities built on authorities, with quotations
quoted from quotations, while he locks up his senses, his understanding,
and his heart. He is unacquainted with the maxims and manners of the
world; he is to seek in the characters of individuals. He sees no beauty
in the face of nature or of art. To him 'the mighty world of eye and
ear' is hid; and 'knowledge', except at one entrance, 'quite shut out.'
His pride takes part with his ignorance; and his self-importance rises
with the number of things of which he does not know the value, and which
he therefore despises as unworthy of his notice. He knows nothing of
pictures,--'of the colouring of Titian, the grace of Raphael, the purity
of Domenichino, the _corregioscity_ of Correggio, the learning of
Poussin, the airs of Guido, the taste of the Caracci, or the grand
contour of Michael Angelo',--of all those glories of the Italian and
miracles of the Flemish school, which have filled the eyes of mankind
with delight, and to the study and imitation of which thousands have in
vain devoted their lives. These are to him as if they had never been, a
mere dead letter, a byword; and no wonder, for he neither sees nor
understands their prototypes in nature. A print of Rubens'
Watering-place, or Claude's Enchanted Castle may be hanging on the walls
of his room for months without his once perceiving them; and if you
point them out to him he will turn away from them. The language of
nature, or of art (which is another nature), is one that he does not
understand. He repeats indeed the names of Apelles and Phidias, because
they are to be found in classic authors, and boasts of their works as
prodigies, because they no longer exist; or when he sees the finest
remains of Grecian art actually before him in the Elgin Marbles, takes
no other interest in them than as they lead to a learned dispute, and
(which is the same thing) a quarrel about the meaning of a Greek
particle. He is equally ignorant of music; he 'knows no touch of it,'
from the strains of the all-accomplished Mozart to the shepherd's pipe
upon the mountain. His ears are nailed to his books; and deadened with
the sound of the Greek and Latin tongues, and the din and smithery of
school-learning.--W. HAZLITT. _On the Ignorance of the Learned._


The collection was indeed a curious one, and might well be envied by an
amateur. Yet it was not collected at the enormous prices of modern
times, which are sufficient to have appalled the most determined as well
as earliest bibliomaniac upon record, whom we take to have been none
else than the renowned Don Quixote de la Mancha, as, among other slight
indications of an infirm understanding, he is stated, by his veracious
historian, Cid Hamet Benengeli, to have exchanged fields and farms for
folios and quartos of chivalry.... Mr. Oldbuck did not follow these
collectors in such excess of expenditure; but, taking a pleasure in the
personal labour of forming his library, saved his purse at the expense
of his time and toil.... 'Davy Wilson,' he said, 'commonly called Snuffy
Davy, from his inveterate addiction to black rappee, was the very prince
of scouts for searching blind alleys, cellars, and stalls, for rare
volumes. He had the scent of a slow-hound, sir, and the snap of a
bull-dog. He would detect you an old black-letter ballad among the
leaves of a law-paper, and find an _editio princeps_ under the mask of a
school Corderius.' ... 'Even I, sir,' he went on, 'though far inferior
in industry and discernment and presence of mind to that great man, can
show you a few--a very few things, which I have collected, not by force
of money, as any wealthy man might,--although, as my friend Lucian says,
he might chance to throw away his coin only to illustrate his
ignorance,--but gained in a manner that shows I know something of the
matter. See this bundle of ballads, not one of them later than 1700, and
some of them a hundred years older. I wheedled an old woman out of
these, who loved them better than her psalm-book. Tobacco, sir, snuff,
and the _Complete Syren_, were the equivalent! For that mutilated copy
of the _Complaynt of Scotland_, I sat out the drinking of two dozen
bottles of strong ale with the late learned proprietor, who, in
gratitude, bequeathed it to me by his last will. These little Elzevirs
are the memoranda and trophies of many a walk by night and morning
through the Cowgate, the Canongate, the Bow, Saint Mary's
Wynd,--wherever, in fine, there were to be found brokers and traders,
those miscellaneous dealers in things rare and curious. How often have I
stood haggling on a halfpenny, lest, by a too ready acquiescence in the
dealer's first price, he should be led to suspect, the value I set upon
the article!--how have I trembled, lest some passing stranger should
chop in between me and the prize, and regarded each poor student of
divinity that stopped to turn over the books at the stall, as a rival
amateur, or prowling bookseller in disguise!--And then, Mr. Lovel, the
sly satisfaction with which one pays the consideration, and pockets the
article, affecting a cold indifference, while the hand is trembling with
pleasure!--Then to dazzle the eyes of our wealthier and emulous rivals
by showing them such a treasure as this' (displaying a little black
smoked book about the size of a primer); 'to enjoy their surprise and
envy, shrouding meanwhile, under a veil of mysterious consciousness, our
own superior knowledge and dexterity;--these, my young friend, these are
the white moments of life, that repay the toil, and pains, and sedulous
attention, which our profession, above all others, so peculiarly
demands!' ...

Here were editions esteemed as being the first, and there stood those
scarcely less regarded as being the last and best; here was a book
valued because it had the author's final improvements, and there another
which (strange to tell!) was in request because it had them not. One was
precious because it was a folio, another because it was a duodecimo;
some because they were tall, some because they were short; the merit of
this lay in the title-page--of that in the arrangement of the letters in
the word Finis. There was, it seemed, no peculiar distinction, however
trifling or minute, which might not give value to a volume, providing
the indispensable quality of scarcity, or rare occurrence, was attached
to it.--SIR W. SCOTT. _The Antiquary._

I would rather be a poor man in a garret with plenty of books than a
king who did not love reading.--LORD MACAULAY.


Sitting, last winter, among my books, and walled round with all the
comfort and protection which they and my fireside could afford me; to
wit, a table of high-piled books at my back, my writing-desk on one side
of me, some shelves on the other, and the feeling of the warm fire at my
feet; I began to consider how I loved the authors of those books: how I
loved them, too, not only for the imaginative pleasures they afforded
me, but for their making me love the very books themselves, and delight
to be in contact with them. I looked sideways at my Spenser, my
Theocritus, and my _Arabian Nights_; then above them at my Italian
poets; then behind me at my Dryden and Pope, my romances, and my
Boccaccio; then on my left side at my Chaucer, who lay on a
writing-desk; and thought how natural it was in C[harles] L[amb] to give
a kiss to an old folio, as I once saw him do to Chapman's _Homer_.... I
entrench myself in my books equally against sorrow and the weather. If
the wind comes through a passage I look about to see how I can fence it
off by a better disposition of my movables; if a melancholy thought is
importunate, I give another glance at my Spenser. When I speak of being
in contact with my books, I mean it literally. I like to lean my head
against them.--J. H. LEIGH HUNT. _My Books._


I must have my literary _harem_, my _parc aux cerfs_, where my
favourites await my moments of leisure and pleasure,--my scarce and
precious editions, my luxurious typographical masterpieces; my Delilahs,
that take my head in their lap; the pleasant story-tellers and the like;
the books I love because they are fair to look upon, prized by
collectors, endeared by old associations, secret treasures that nobody
else knows anything about; books, in short, that I like for insufficient
reasons it may be, but peremptorily, and mean to like and to love and to
cherish till death us do part.... The bookcase of Delilahs, that you
have paid wicked prices for, that you love without pretending to be
reasonable about it, and would bag in case of fire before all the
rest.--O. W. HOLMES. _The Poet at the Breakfast-Table._


    Dead he lay among his books!
    The peace of God was in his looks.

    As the statues in the gloom
    Watch o'er Maximilian's tomb;

    So those volumes from their shelves
    Watched him, silent as themselves.

    Ah! his hand will never more
    Turn their storied pages o'er:

    Never more his lips repeat
    Songs of theirs, however sweet.

    Let the lifeless body rest!
    He is gone, who was its guest;

    Gone, as travellers haste to leave
    An inn, nor tarry until eve.

    Traveller! in what realms afar,
    In what planet, in what star,

    In what vast, aerial space,
    Shines the light upon thy face?

    In what gardens of delight
    Rest thy weary feet to-night?

    Poet! thou, whose latest verse
    Was a garland on thy hearse;

    Thou hast sung, with organ tone,
    In Deukalion's life, thine own;

    On the ruins of the Past
    Blooms the perfect flower at last.

    Friend! but yesterday the bells
    Rang for thee their loud farewells;

    And to-day they toll for thee,
    Lying dead beyond the sea;

    Lying dead among thy books,
    The peace of God in all thy looks!

                    H. W. LONGFELLOW.


To afford the reader an opportunity of noting at a glance the
appropriate learned terms applicable to the different sets of persons
who meddle with books, I subjoin the following definitions, as rendered
in d'Israeli's _Curiosities_ from the _Chasse aux Bibliographes et
Antiquaires mal advisés_ of Jean-Joseph Rive:

'A bibliognoste, from the Greek, is one knowing in title-pages and
colophons, and in editions; the place and year when printed; the presses
whence issued; and all the minutiae of a book.'

'A bibliographe is a describer of books and other literary

'A bibliomane is an indiscriminate accumulator, who blunders faster than
he buys, cock-brained and purse-heavy.'

'A bibliophile, the lover of books, is the only one in the class who
appears to read them for his own pleasure.'

'A bibliotaphe buries his books, by keeping them under lock, or framing
them in glass cases.'

The accurate Peignot, after accepting of this classification with high
admiration of its simplicity and exhaustiveness, is seized in his
supplementary volume with a misgiving in the matter of the bibliotaphe,
explaining that it ought to be translated as a grave of books, and that
the proper technical expression for the performer referred to by Rive is
bibliotapht. He adds to the nomenclature bibliolyte, as a destroyer of
books; bibliologue, one who discourses about books; bibliotacte, a
classifier of books; and bibliopée 'l'art d'écrire ou de composer des
livres', or, as the unlearned would say, the function of an author.--J.
H. BURTON. _The Book Hunter._


Buy good books, and read them; the best books are the commonest, and the
last editions are always the best, if the editors are not blockheads;
for they may profit of the former. But take care not to understand
editions and title-pages too well. It always smells of pedantry, and not
always of learning.--LORD CHESTERFIELD. _Letters to his Son._


    Plague take all your pedants, say I!
      He who wrote what I hold in my hand,
    Centuries back was so good as to die,
      Leaving this rubbish to cumber the land;
    This, that was a book in its time,
      Printed on paper and bound in leather,
    Last month in the white of a matin-prime
      Just when the birds sang all together.

    Into the garden I brought it to read,
      And under the arbute and laurustine
    Read it, so help me grace in my need,
      From title-page to closing line.
    Chapter on chapter did I count,
      As a curious traveller counts Stonehenge;
    Added up the mortal amount;
      And then proceeded to my revenge.

    Yonder's a plum-tree with a crevice
      An owl would build in, were he but sage;
    For a lap of moss, like a fine pont-levis
      In a castle of the middle age,
    Joins to a lip of gum, pure amber;
      When he'd be private, there might he spend
    Hours alone in his lady's chamber:
      Into this crevice I dropped our friend.

    Splash, went he, as under he ducked,
      --I knew at the bottom rain-drippings stagnate;
    Next a handful of blossoms I plucked
      To bury him with, my bookshelf's magnate;
    Then I went indoors, brought out a loaf,
      Half a cheese, and a bottle of Chablis;
    Lay on the grass and forgot the oaf
      Over a jolly chapter of Rabelais.

    Now, this morning, betwixt the moss
      And gum that locked our friend in limbo,
    A spider had spun his web across,
      And sat in the midst with arms akimbo:
    So, I took pity, for learning's sake,
      And, _de profundis, accentibus laetis,
    Cantate!_ quoth I, as I got a rake,
      And up I fished his delectable treatise.

    Here you have it, dry in the sun,
      With all the binding all of a blister,
    And great blue spots where the ink has run,
      And reddish streaks that wink and glister
    O'er the page so beautifully yellow:
      Oh, well have the droppings played their tricks!
    Did he guess how toadstools grow, this fellow?
      Here's one stuck in his chapter six!

    How did he like it when the live creatures
      Tickled and toused and browsed him all over,
    And worm, slug, eft, with serious features,
      Came in, each one, for his right of trover?
    --When the water-beetle with great blind deaf face
      Made of her eggs the stately deposit,
    And the newt borrowed just so much of the preface
      As tiled in the top of his black wife's closet?

    All that life and fun and romping,
      All that frisking and twisting and coupling,
    While slowly our poor friend's leaves were swamping
      And clasps were cracking and covers suppling!
    As if you had carried sour John Knox
      To the play-house at Paris, Vienna or Munich,
    Fastened him into a front-row box,
      And danced off the ballet with trousers and tunic.

    Come, old martyr! What, torment enough is it?
      Back to my room shall you take your sweet self!
    Good-bye, mother-beetle; husband-eft, _sufficit_!
      See the snug niche I have made on my shelf.
    A.'s book shall prop you up, B.'s shall cover you,
      Here's C. to be grave with, or D. to be gay,
    And with E. on each side, and F. right over you,
      Dry-rot at ease till the Judgement-day!

                    R. BROWNING. _Garden Fancies._


    Over an ancient scroll I bent,
    Steeping my soul in wise content,
    Nor paused a moment, save to chide
    A low voice whispering at my side.

    I wove beneath the stars' pale shine
    A dream, half human, half divine;
    And shook off (not to break the charm)
    A little hand laid on my arm.

    I read until my heart would glow,
    With the great deeds of long ago;
    Nor heard, while with those mighty dead,
    Pass to and fro a faltering tread.

    On the old theme I pondered long--
    The struggle between right and wrong;
    I could not check such visions high,
    To soothe a little quivering sigh.

    I tried to solve the problem--Life;
    Dreaming of that mysterious strife,
    How could I leave such reasonings wise,
    To answer two blue pleading eyes?

    I strove how best to give, and when,
    My blood to save my fellow-men--
    How could I turn aside, to look
    At snowdrops laid upon my book?

    Now Time has fled--the world is strange,
    Something there is of pain and change;
    My books lie closed upon the shelf;
    I miss the old heart in myself.

    I miss the sunbeams in my room--
    It was not always wrapped in gloom:
    I miss my dreams--they fade so fast,
    Or flit unto some trivial past.

    The great stream of the world goes by;
    None care, or heed, or question, why
    I, the lone student, cannot raise
    My voice or hand as in old days.

    No echo seems to wake again
    My heart to anything but pain,
    Save when a dream of twilight brings
    The fluttering of an angel's wings!

                    ADELAIDE ANNE PROCTER.


We not only set before ourselves a service to God in preparing volumes
of new books, but we exercise the duties of a holy piety if we just
handle so as not to injure them, then return them to their proper
places, and commend them to undefiling custody that they may rejoice in
their purity while held in the hand, and repose in security when laid up
in their repositories....

In the first place, then, let there be a mature decorum in opening and
closing of volumes, that they may neither be unclasped with precipitous
haste, nor thrown aside after inspection without being duly closed; for
it is necessary that a book should be much more carefully preserved than
a shoe....

A stiff-necked youth, lounging sluggishly in his study ... distributes
innumerable straws in various places, with the ends in sight, that he
may recall by the mark what his memory cannot retain.... He is not
ashamed to eat fruit and cheese over an open book, and to transfer his
empty cup from side to side upon it: and because he has not his alms-bag
at hand, he leaves the rest of the fragments in his books.... He next
reclines with his elbows on the book, and by a short study invites a
long nap; and by way of repairing the wrinkles, he twists back the
margins of the leaves, to the no small detriment of the volume....

But impudent boys are to be specially restrained from meddling with
books, who, when they are learning to draw the forms of letters, if
copies of the most beautiful books are allowed them, begin to become
incongruous annotators, and wherever they perceive the broadest margin
about the text, they furnish it with a monstrous alphabet, or their
unchastened pen immediately presumes to draw any other frivolous thing
whatever, that occurs to their imagination.... There are also certain
thieves who enormously dismember books by cutting off the side margins
for letter paper, leaving only the letters or text, or the fly-leaves
put in for the preservation of the book, which they take away for
various uses and abuses, which sort of sacrilege ought to be prohibited
under a threat of anathema.

But it is altogether befitting the decency of a scholar that washing
should without fail precede reading, as often as he returns from his
meals to study, before his fingers, besmeared with grease, loosen a
clasp or turn over the leaf of a book.--R. DE BURY. _Philobiblon._


The most meek Moses instructs us about making cases for books in the
neatest manner, wherein they may be safely preserved from all damage.
'Take this book,' says he, 'and put it in the side of the ark of the
covenant of the Lord your God' (Deut. xxxi). O, befitting place,
appropriate library, which was made of imperishable Shittim wood, and
covered all over inside and out with gold! But our Saviour also, by his
own example, precludes all unseemly negligence in the treatment of
books, as may be read in Luke iv. For when he had read over the
scriptural prophecy written about himself in a book debarred to him, he
did not return it to the minister till he had first closed it with his
most holy hands; by which act students are most clearly taught that they
ought not in the smallest degree whatever to be negligent about the
custody of books.--R. DE BURY. _Philobiblon._

                    Is not the leaf turned down
    Where I left reading?

                   W. SHAKESPEARE. _Julius Caesar._


    With that of the book loosened were the clasps--
    The margin was illumined all with golden rails
    And bees, enpictured with grasshops and wasps,
    With butterflies and fresh peacock tails,
    Engloried with flowers and slimy snails;
    Ennyield pictures well touched and quickly;
    It would have made a man whole that had be right sickly
    To behold how it was garnished and bound,
    Encovered over with gold of tissue fine;
    The clasps and bullions were worth a thousand pound;
    With belassis and carbuncles the borders did shine;
    With aurum mosaicum every other line
    Was written.

                JOHN SKELTON. _A Replycacion agaynst
                       certayne yong Scolers, &c._


Have a care of keeping your books handsome, and well bound, not casting
away overmuch in their gilding or stringing for ostentation sake, like
the prayer-books of girls and gallants, which are carried to church but
for their outsides. Yet for your own use spare them not for noting or
interlining (if they be printed), for it is not likely you mean to be a
gainer by them, when you have done with them: neither suffer them
through negligence to mould and be moth-eaten or want their strings and
covers. King Alphonsus, about to lay the foundation of a castle at
Naples, called for Vitruvius his book of architecture; the book was
brought in very bad case, all dusty and without covers; which the king
observing said, 'He that must cover us all, must not go uncovered
himself'; then commanded the book to be fairly bound and brought unto
him. So say I, suffer them not to lie neglected, who must make you
regarded; and go in torn coats, who must apparel your mind with the
ornaments of knowledge, above the robes and riches of the most
magnificent princes.--H. PEACHAM. _The Compleat Gentleman._


    This precious book of love, this unbound lover,
    To beautify him, only lacks a cover:
    The fish lives in the sea, and 'tis much pride
    For fair without the fair within to hide:
    That book in many eyes doth share the glory,
    That in gold clasps locks in the golden story.

               W. SHAKESPEARE. _Romeo and Juliet._


                                  A book? O rare one!
    Be not, as is our fangled world, a garment
    Nobler than that it covers: let thy effects
    So follow, to be most unlike our courtiers,
    As good as promise.

                  W. SHAKESPEARE. _Cymbeline._


    As in our clothes, so likewise he who looks
    Shall find much forcing buckram in our books.

                      R. HERRICK.


While the plodding votary of _meaning_ is anxiously inquiring out the
sense of the oracle, his fellow-worshipper, remembering that our _eyes_
were not given us for nothing, is entranced in admiration of the stately
form or gorgeous vestment of the priest that utters it:--in plainer
terms, he stands exploring, without end, the type, of jetty black and
dazzling cut, that seems to float amidst a satin sea of cream--(it is
impossible to be watching after one's metaphors on such inspiring
occasions)--roves, in gazing ecstasy, from page to page, till here and
there arrested by the choice vignette or richly tinctured plate: at
length, 'lassatus, necdum satiatus' with the beauties of the interior,
he reverently closes the superbly-plated leaves; and, turning to the
sumptuous, silk-lined cover, marvels as he views the verdant, red, or
purple pride of Russia, Turkey, or Morocco, glittering, in every part,
with the mazy flourishes of golden decoration!--'Miror, immo etiam
stupeo!' is the language of his heart--if it cannot be of his
tongue.--J. BERESFORD. _Bibliosophia._


    Embodied thought enjoys a splendid rest
    On guardian shelves, in emblem costume dressed;
    Like gems that sparkle in the parent mine,
    Through crystal mediums the rich coverings shine;
    Morocco flames in scarlet, blue and green,
    Impressed with burnished gold, of dazzling sheen;
    Arms deep embossed the owner's state declare,
    Test of their worth--their age--and his kind care.
    Embalmed in russia stands a valued pile,
    That time impairs not, nor vile worms defile;
    Russia, exhaling from its scented pores
    Its saving power to these thrice-valued stores,
    In order fair arranged in volumes stand,
    Gay with the skill of many a modern hand;
    At the expense of sinew and of bone,
    The fine papyrian leaves are firm as stone:
    Here all is square as by masonic rule,
    And bright the impression of the burnished tool.
    On some the tawny calf a coat bestows,
    Where flowers and fillets beauteous forms compose:
    Others in pride the virgin vellum wear,
    Beaded with gold--as breast of Venus fair;
    On either end the silken head-bands twine,
    Wrought by some maid with skilful fingers fine--
    The yielding back falls loose, the hinges play,
    And the rich page lies open to the day.
    Where science traces the unerring line,
    In brilliant tints the forms of beauty shine;
    These, in our works, as in a casket laid,
    Increase the splendour by their powerful aid.

                              J. MACCREERY.

    Hark you, sir; I'll have them very fairly bound:
    All books of love, see that at any hand.

              W. SHAKESPEARE. _The Taming of the Shrew._


To be strong-backed and neat-bound is the desideratum of a volume.
Magnificence comes after. This, when it can be afforded, is not to be
lavished upon all kinds of books indiscriminately. I would not dress a
set of Magazines, for instance, in full suit. The dishabille, or
half-binding (with Russia backs ever) is _our_ costume. A Shakespeare,
or a Milton (unless the first editions), it were mere foppery to trick
out in gay apparel. The possession of them confers no distinction. The
exterior of them (the things themselves being so common), strange to
say, raises no sweet emotions, no tickling sense of property in the
owner. Thomson's _Seasons_, again, looks best (I maintain it) a little
torn, and dog's-eared. How beautiful to a genuine lover of reading are
the sullied leaves, and worn out appearance, nay, the very odour (beyond
Russia), if we would not forget kind feelings in fastidiousness, of an
old 'Circulating Library' _Tom Jones_, or _Vicar of Wakefield_! How they
speak of the thousand thumbs, that have turned over their pages with
delight!--of the lone sempstress, whom they may have cheered (milliner,
or harder-working mantua-maker) after her long day's needle-toil,
running far into midnight, when she has snatched an hour, ill spared
from sleep, to steep her cares, as in some Lethean cup, in spelling out
their enchanting contents! Who would have them a whit less soiled? What
better condition could we desire to see them in?

In some respects the better a book is, the less it demands from binding.
Fielding, Smollett, Sterne, and all that class of perpetually
self-reproductive volumes--Great Nature's Stereotypes--we see them
individually perish with less regret, because we know the copies of them
to be 'eterne'. But where a book is at once both good and rare--where
the individual is almost the species, and when _that_ perishes,

    We know not where is that Promethean torch
    That can its light relumine--

such a book, for instance, as the _Life of the Duke of Newcastle_, by
his Duchess--no casket is rich enough, no casing sufficiently durable,
to honour and keep safe such a jewel.

Not only rare volumes of this description, which seem hopeless ever to
be reprinted; but old editions of writers, such as Sir Philip Sidney,
Bishop Taylor, Milton in his prose works, Fuller--of whom we _have_
reprints, yet the books themselves, though they go about, and are talked
of here and there, we know, have not endenizened themselves (nor
possibly ever will) in the national heart, so as to become stock
books--it is good to possess these in durable and costly covers. I do
not care for a First Folio of Shakespeare. I rather prefer the common
editions of Rowe and Tonson, without notes, and with _plates_, which,
being so execrably bad, serve as maps, or modest remembrancers to the
text; and without pretending to any supposable emulation with it, are so
much better than the Shakespeare gallery _engravings_, which _did_. I
have a community of feeling with my countrymen about his Plays, and I
like those editions of him best, which have been oftenest tumbled about
and handled.--On the contrary, I cannot read Beaumont and Fletcher but
in Folio. The Octavo editions are painful to look at. I have no sympathy
with them. If they were as much read as the current editions of the
other poet, I should prefer them in that shape to the older one. I do
not know a more heartless sight than the reprint of the _Anatomy of
Melancholy_. What need was there of unearthing the bones of that
fantastic old great man, to expose them in a winding-sheet of the newest
fashion to modern censure? what hapless stationer could dream of Burton
ever becoming popular?--The wretched Malone could not do worse, when he
bribed the sexton of Stratford Church to let him white-wash the painted
effigy of old Shakespeare, which stood there, in rude but lively fashion
depicted, to the very colour of the cheek, the eye, the eyebrow, hair,
the very dress he used to wear--the only authentic testimony we had,
however imperfect, of these curious parts and parcels of him. They
covered him over with a coat of white paint. By----, if I had been a
justice of peace for Warwickshire, I would have clapt both commentator
and sexton fast in the stocks, for a pair of meddling sacrilegious

I think I see them at their work--these sapient trouble-tombs.--C. LAMB.
_Detached Thoughts on Books and Reading._


Books, no less than their authors, are liable to get ragged, and to
experience that neglect and contempt which generally follows the outward
and visible signs of poverty. We do therefore most heartily commend the
man, who bestows on a tattered and shivering volume such decent and
comely apparel as may protect it from the insults of the vulgar, and the
more cutting slights of the fair. But if it be a rare book, 'the lone
survivor of a numerous race,' the one of its family that has escaped the
trunk-makers and pastry-cooks, we would counsel a little extravagance in
arranging it. Let no book perish, unless it be such an one as it is your
duty to throw into the fire. There is no such thing as a worthless book,
though there are some far worse than worthless; no book which is not
worth preserving, if its existence may be tolerated; as there are some
men whom it may be proper to hang, but none who should be suffered to

The binding of a book should always suit its complexion. Pages,
venerably yellow, should not be cased in military morocco, but in sober
brown russia. Glossy hot-pressed paper looks best in vellum. We have
sometimes seen a collection of old whitey-brown black-letter ballads,
&c., so gorgeously tricked out, that they remind us of the pious
liberality of the Catholics, who dress in silk and gold the images of
saints, part of whose saintship consisted in wearing rags and
hair-cloth. The costume of a volume should also be in keeping with its
subject, and with the character of its author. How absurd to see the
works of William Penn in flaming scarlet, and George Fox's Journal in
Bishop's purple! Theology should be solemnly gorgeous. History should be
ornamented after the antique or Gothic fashion. Works of science, as
plain as is consistent with dignity. Poetry, _simplex
munditiis_.--HARTLEY COLERIDGE. _Biographia Borealis: William Roscoe._


Due attention to the inside of books, and due contempt for the outside,
is the proper relation between a man of sense and his books.--LORD
CHESTERFIELD. _Letters to his Son._


As great philosophers hold that the _esse_ of things is _percipi_, so a
gentleman's furniture exists to be looked at. Nevertheless, sir, there
are some things more fit to be looked at than others; for instance,
there is nothing more fit to be looked at than the outside of a book. It
is, as I may say, from repeated experience, a pure and unmixed pleasure
to have a goodly volume lying before you, and to know that you may open
it if you please, and need not open it unless you please. It is a
resource against _ennui_, if _ennui_ should come upon you. To have the
resource and not to feel the _ennui_, to enjoy your bottle in the
present, and your book in the indefinite future, is a delightful
condition of human existence. There is no place, in which a man can move
or sit, in which the outside of a book can be otherwise than an innocent
and becoming spectacle.--T. L. PEACOCK. _Crotchet Castle._


Johnson used to say that no man read long together with a folio on his
table. 'Books,' said he, 'that you may carry to the fire, and hold
readily in your hand, are the most useful after all.'--J. BOSWELL. _Life
of Johnson._


Of the great passion of Henry the Seventh for fine books, even before he
ascended the throne of England, there can be no doubt. I will not,
however, take upon me to say that the slumbers of this monarch were
disturbed in consequence of the extraordinary and frightful passages,
which, accompanied with bizarre cuts, were now introduced into almost
every work, both of ascetic divinity, and also of plain practical
morality. His predecessor, Richard, had in all probability been alarmed
by the images which the reading of these books had created; and I guess
that it was from such frightful objects, rather than from the ghosts of
his murdered brethren, that he was compelled to pass a sleepless night
before the memorable battle of Bosworth Field. If one of those artists
who used to design the horrible pictures which are engraved in many old
didactic volumes of the period, had ventured to take a peep into
Richard's tent, I question whether he would not have seen, lying upon an
oaken table, an early edition of some of those fearful works of which he
had himself aided in the embellishment, and of which Heinecken has given
us such curious facsimiles: and this, in my humble apprehension, is
quite sufficient to account for all the terrible workings in Richard
which Shakespeare has so vividly described.--T. F. DIBDIN.


I yield to none in my love of bookstall urbanity. I have spent as happy
moments over the stalls (until the woman looked out) as any literary
apprentice boy who ought to be moving onwards. But I confess my weakness
in liking to see some of my favourite purchases neatly bound. The books
I like to have about me most are Spenser, Chaucer, the minor poems of
Milton, the _Arabian Nights_, Theocritus, Ariosto, and such old
good-natured speculations as Plutarch's _Morals_. For most of these I
like a plain good old binding, never mind how old, provided it wears
well; but my _Arabian Nights_ may be bound in as fine and flowery a
style as possible, and I should love an engraving to every dozen pages.
Book-prints of all sorts, bad and good, take with me as much as when I
was a child: and I think some books, such as Prior's _Poems_, ought
always to have portraits of the authors. Prior's airy face with his cap
on, is like having his company. From early association, no edition of
Milton pleases me so much, as that in which there are pictures of the
Devil with brute ears, dressed like a Roman General: nor of Bunyan, as
the one containing the print of the Valley of the Shadow of Death, with
the Devil whispering in Christian's ear, or old Pope by the wayside, and

                                Vanity Fair,
    With the Pilgrims suffering there.

I delight in the recollection of the puzzle I used to have with the
frontispiece of the _Tale of a Tub_, of my real horror at the sight of
that crawling old man representing Avarice, at the beginning of
_Enfield's Speaker_, the _Looking Glass_, or some such book; and even of
the careless schoolboy hats, and the prim stomachers and cottage
bonnets, of such golden-age antiquities as the _Village School_. The
oldest and most worn-out woodcut, representing King Pippin, Goody Two
Shoes, or the grim Soldan, sitting with three staring blots for his eyes
and mouth, his sceptre in one hand, and his other five fingers raised
and spread in admiration at the feats of the Gallant London Prentice,
cannot excite in me a feeling of ingratitude.--J. H. LEIGH HUNT. _My


LADY SNEERWELL. I wonder, Sir Benjamin, you never publish anything.

SIR BENJAMIN BACKBITE. To say truth, ma'am, 'tis very vulgar to print;
and as my little productions are mostly satires and lampoons on
particular people, I find they circulate more by giving copies in
confidence to the friends of the parties. However, I have some love
elegies, which, when favoured with this lady's smiles, I mean to give to
the public.

CRABTREE. 'Fore Heaven, ma'am, they'll immortalize you!--you will be
handed down to posterity, like Petrarch's Laura, or Waller's Sacharissa.

SIR BENJAMIN. Yes, madam, I think you will like them, when you shall see
them on a beautiful quarto page, where a neat rivulet of text shall
meander through a meadow of margin.--R. B. SHERIDAN. _The School for


    Through and through the inspired leaves,
      Ye maggots, make your windings;
    But, oh! respect his lordship's taste,
      And spare his golden bindings.

                      R. BURNS.


    Come hither, boy, we'll hunt to-day
    The bookworm, ravening beast of prey,
    Produced by parent Earth, at odds,
    As fame reports it, with the Gods.
    Him frantic hunger wildly drives
    Against a thousand authors' lives:
    Through all the fields of wit he flies;
    Dreadful his head with clustering eyes,
    With horns without, and tusks within,
    And scales to serve him for a skin.
    Observe him nearly, lest he climb
    To wound the bards of ancient time,
    Or down the vale of fancy go
    To tear some modern wretch below.
    On every corner fix thine eye,
    Or ten to one he slips thee by.
    See where his teeth a passage eat:
    We'll rouse him from his deep retreat.
    But who the shelter's forced to give?
    'Tis sacred Virgil, as I live!
    From leaf to leaf, from song to song,
    He draws the tadpole form along,
    He mounts the gilded edge before,
    He's up, he scuds the cover o'er,
    He turns, he doubles, there he passed,
    And here we have him, caught at last.

    Insatiate brute, whose teeth abuse
    The sweetest servants of the Muse--
    Nay, never offer to deny,
    I took thee in the act to fly.
    His roses nipped in every page,
    My poor Anacreon mourns thy rage;
    By thee my Ovid wounded lies;
    By thee my Lesbia's Sparrow dies;
    Thy rabid teeth have half destroyed
    The work of love in Biddy Floyd;
    They rent Belinda's locks away,
    And spoiled the Blouzelind of Gay.
    For all, for every single deed,
    Relentless justice bids thee bleed:
    Then fall a victim to the Nine,
    Myself the priest, my desk the shrine.

    Bring Homer, Virgil, Tasso near,
    To pile a sacred altar here:
    Hold, boy, thy hand outruns thy wit,
    You reached the plays that Dennis writ;
    You reached me Philips' rustic strain;
    Pray take your mortal bards again.

    Come, bind the victim,--there he lies,
    And here between his numerous eyes
    This venerable dust I lay
    From manuscripts just swept away.
    The goblet in my hand I take,
    For the libation's yet to make:
    A health to poets! all their days
    May they have bread, as well as praise;
    Sense may they seek, and less engage
    In papers filled with party rage.
    But if their riches spoil their vein,
    Ye Muses, make them poor again.

    Now bring the weapon, yonder blade
    With which my tuneful pens are made.
    I strike the scales that arm thee round,
    And twice and thrice I print the wound;
    The sacred altar floats with red,
    And now he dies, and now he's dead.

    How like the son of Jove I stand,
    This Hydra stretched beneath the hand!
    Lay bare the monster's entrails here,
    And see what dangers threat the year:
    Ye gods! what sonnets on a wench!
    What lean translations out of French!
    'Tis plain, this lobe is so unsound,
    S-- prints, before the months go round.

    But hold, before I close the scene
    The sacred altar should be clean.
    O had I Shadwell's second bays,
    Or, Tate, thy pert and humble lays!
    (Ye pair, forgive me, when I vow
    I never missed your works till now,)
    I'd tear the leaves to wipe the shrine,
    That only way you please the Nine:
    But since I chance to want these two,
    I'll make the songs of D'Urfey do.

    Rent from the corpse, on yonder pin,
    I hang the scales that braced it in;
    I hang my studious morning gown,
    And write my own inscription down.
    'This trophy from the Python won,
    This robe, in which the deed was done,
    These, Parnell, glorying in the feat,
    Hung on these shelves, the Muses' seat.
    Here Ignorance and Hunger found
    Large realms of wit to ravage round;
    Here Ignorance and Hunger fell,
    Two foes in one I sent to hell.
    Ye poets who my labours see
    Come share the triumph all with me!
    Ye critics, born to vex the Muse,
    Go mourn the grand ally you lose!'

                    T. PARNELL.


    Here he beholds in triumph sit
    The bane of beauty, sense, and wit;
    Demolished distichs round his head,
    Half lines and shattered stanzas spread,
    While the insulting conqueror climbs
    O'er mighty heaps of ruined rhymes,
    And, proudly mounted, views from high,
    Beneath, the harmonious fragments lie;
    Boasting himself from foes secured,
    In stanzas lodged, in verse immured.

                W. KING (?) _Bibliotheca._


    There is a sort of busy worm
    That will the fairest books deform,
      By gnawing holes throughout them;
    Alike through every leaf they go,
    Yet of its merits naught they know,
      Nor care they aught about them.

    Their tasteless tooth will tear and taint
    The poet, patriot, sage, or saint,
      Nor sparing wit nor learning:
    Now, if you'd know the reason why,
    The best of reasons I'll supply--
      'Tis bread to the poor vermin.

    Of pepper, snuff, or 'bacca smoke,
    And russia-calf they make a joke.
      Yet why should sons of science
    These puny, rankling reptiles dread?
    'Tis but to let their books be read,
      And bid the worms defiance.

                     J. F. M. DOVASTON.


Queen Charlotte, when discussing books with Fanny Burney and Mrs.
Delany, during the former's residence at Court at Windsor, praised the
work of a writer who had translated a German book into English, saying
'I wish I knew the translator,' to which Miss Burney replied, 'I wish
the translator knew that!'

'Oh,' said the Queen,--'it is not--I should not like to give my name,
for fear I have judged ill: I picked it up on a stall. Oh, it is amazing
what good books there are on stalls.'

'It is amazing to me,' said Mrs. Delany, 'to hear that.'

'Why, I don't pick them up myself; but I have a servant very clever; and
if they are not to be had at the bookseller's, they are not for me any
more than for another.'--From MADAME D'ARBLAY. _Diary._


Do you remember the brown suit, which you made to hang upon you, till
all your friends cried shame upon you, it grew so thread-bare--and all
because of that folio Beaumont and Fletcher, which you dragged home late
at night from Barker's in Covent-garden? Do you remember how we eyed it
for weeks before we could make up our minds to the purchase, and had not
come to a determination till it was near ten o'clock of the Saturday
night, when you set off from Islington, fearing you should be too
late--and when the old bookseller with some grumbling opened his shop,
and by the twinkling taper (for he was setting bed-wards) lighted out
the relic from his dusty treasures--and when you lugged it home, wishing
it were twice as cumbersome--and when you presented it to me--and when
we were exploring the perfectness of it (_collating_ you called it)--and
while I was repairing some of the loose leaves with paste, which your
impatience would not suffer to be left till daybreak--was there no
pleasure in being a poor man? or can those neat black clothes, which you
wear now, and are so careful to keep brushed, since we have become rich
and finical, give you half the honest vanity, with which you flaunted it
about in that over-worn suit--your old corbeau--for four or five weeks
longer than you should have done, to pacify your conscience for the
mighty sum of fifteen--or sixteen shillings was it?--a great affair we
thought it then--which you had lavished on the old folio. Now you can
afford to buy any book that pleases you, but I do not see that you ever
bring me home any nice old purchases now.--C. LAMB. _Old China._


We ought not to get books too cheaply. No book, I believe, is ever worth
half so much to its reader as one that has been coveted for a year at a
bookstall, and bought out of saved halfpence; and perhaps a day or two's
fasting. That's the way to get at the cream of a book.--J. RUSKIN.
_Political Economy of Art (A Joy for Ever)._


There is a class of street-readers, whom I can never contemplate without
affection--the poor gentry, who, not having wherewithal to buy or hire a
book, filch a little learning at the open stalls--the owner, with his
hard eye, casting envious looks at them all the while, and thinking when
they will have done. Venturing tenderly, page after page, expecting
every moment when he shall interpose his interdict, and yet unable to
deny themselves the gratification, they 'snatch a fearful joy'. Martin
B----, in this way, by daily fragments, got through two volumes of
Clarissa, when the stall-keeper damped his laudable ambition, by asking
him (it was in his younger days) whether he meant to purchase the work.
M. declares that under no circumstances of his life did he ever peruse a
book with half the satisfaction which he took in those uneasy snatches.
A quaint poetess of our day has moralized upon this subject in two very
touching but homely stanzas:

    I saw a boy with eager eye
    Open a book upon a stall,
    And read, as he'd devour it all;
    Which when the stall-man did espy,
    Soon to the boy I heard him call,
    'You, Sir, you never buy a book,
    Therefore in one you shall not look.'
    The boy passed slowly on and with a sigh
    He wished he never had been taught to read,
    Then of the old churl's books he should have had no need.

    Of sufferings the poor have many,
    Which never can the rich annoy:
    I soon perceived another boy,
    Who looked as if he'd not had any
    Food, for that day at least--enjoy
    The sight of cold meat in a tavern larder.
    This boy's case, then thought I, is surely harder,
    Thus hungry, longing, thus without a penny,
    Beholding choice of dainty-dressèd meat:
    No wonder if he wish he ne'er had learned to eat.

                C. LAMB. _Detached Thoughts on Books and Reading._


    A book was writ of late called Tetrachordon;
      And woven close, both matter, form and style;
      The subject new: it walked the town awhile,
      Numbering good intellects; now seldom pored on.
    Cries the stall-reader, bless us! what a word on
      A title-page is this! and some in file
      Stand spelling false, while one might walk to Mile-
      End Green. Why is it harder, Sirs, than Gordon,
    Colkitto, or Macdonnel, or Galasp?
      Those rugged names to our like mouths grow sleek
      That would have made Quintilian stare and gasp.
    Thy age, like ours, O soul of Sir John Cheek,
      Hated not learning worse than toad or asp;
      When thou taught'st Cambridge, and King Edward Greek.

                                J. MILTON.


A Second-hand Bookseller's Catalogue is not a mere catalogue or list of
saleables, as the uninitiated may fancy. Even a common auctioneer's
catalogue of goods and chattels suggests a thousand reflections to a
peruser of any knowledge; judge then what the case must be with a
catalogue of Books; the very titles of which run the rounds of the whole
world, visible and invisible; geographies--biographies--
eternity! We speak on this subject from the most literal experience; for
often and often have we cut open a new catalogue of old books, with all
the fervour and ivory folder of a first love; often read one at tea;
nay, at dinner; and have put crosses against dozens of volumes in the
list, out of the pure imagination of buying them, the possibility being
_out of the question_!--

Nothing delights us more than to overhaul some dingy tome, and read a
chapter gratuitously. Occasionally when we have opened some very
attractive old book, we have stood reading for hours at the stall, lost
in a brown study and worldly forgetfulness, and should probably have
read on to the end of the last chapter, had not the vendor of published
wisdom offered, in a satirically polite way, to bring us out a
chair--'Take a chair, sir; you must be tired.'--J. H. LEIGH HUNT.
_Retrospective Review._


    Do you see this square old yellow Book, I toss
    I' the air, and catch again, and twirl about
    By the crumpled vellum covers,--pure crude fact
    Secreted from man's life when hearts beat hard,
    And brains, high-blooded, ticked two centuries since?
    Examine it yourselves! I found this book,
    Gave a _lira_ for it, eightpence English just,
    (Mark the predestination!) when a Hand,
    Always above my shoulder, pushed me once,
    One day still fierce 'mid many a day struck calm,
    Across a Square in Florence, crammed with booths,
    Buzzing and blaze, noontide and market-time;
    Toward Baccio's marble,--ay, the basement-ledge
    O' the pedestal where sits and menaces
    John of the Black Bands with the upright spear,
    'Twixt palace and church,--Riccardi where they lived,
    His race, and San Lorenzo where they lie.
    This book,--precisely on that palace-step
    Which, meant for lounging knaves o' the Medici,
    Now serves re-venders to display their ware,--
    'Mongst odds and ends of ravage, picture-frames
    White through the worn gilt, mirror-sconces chipped,
    Bronze angel-heads once knobs attached to chests,
    (Handled when ancient dames chose forth brocade)
    Modern chalk drawings, studies from the nude,
    Samples of stone, jet, breccia, porphyry
    Polished and rough, sundry amazing busts
    In baked earth, (broken, Providence be praised!)
    A wreck of tapestry, proudly-purposed web
    When reds and blues were indeed red and blue,
    Now offered as a mat to save bare feet
    (Since carpets constitute a cruel cost)
    Treading the chill scagliola bedward: then
    A pile of brown-etched prints, two _crazie_ each,
    Stopped by a conch a-top from fluttering forth
    --Sowing the Square with works of one and the same
    Master, the imaginative Sienese
    Great in the scenic backgrounds--(name and fame
    None of you know, nor does he fare the worse:)
    From these.... Oh, with a Lionard going cheap
    If it should prove, as promised, that Joconde
    Whereof a copy contents the Louvre!--these
    I picked this book from. Five compeers in flank
    Stood left and right of it as tempting more--
    A dogseared Spicilegium, the fond tale
    O' the Frail One of the Flower, by young Dumas,
    Vulgarized Horace for the use of schools,
    The Life, Death, Miracles of Saint Somebody,
    Saint Somebody Else, his Miracles, Death, and Life,--
    With this, one glance at the lettered back of which,
    And 'Stall!' cried I: a _lira_ made it mine.

    Here it is, this I toss and take again;
    Small-quarto size, part print part manuscript:
    A book in shape but, really, pure crude fact
    Secreted from man's life when hearts beat hard,
    And brains, high-blooded, ticked two centuries since.
    Give it me back! The thing's restorative
    I' the touch and sight.

                   R. BROWNING. _The Ring and the Book._


When Providence throws a good book in my way, I bow to its decree and
purchase it as an act of piety, if it is reasonably or unreasonably
cheap. I _adopt_ a certain number of books every year, out of a love for
the foundlings and stray children of other people's brains that nobody
seems to care for. Look here.

He took down a Greek Lexicon finely bound in calf, and spread it open.

Do you see that Hedericus? I had Greek dictionaries enough and to spare,
but I saw that noble quarto lying in the midst of an ignoble crowd of
cheap books, and marked with a price which I felt to be an insult to
scholarship, to the memory of Homer, sir, and the awful shade of
Aeschylus, I paid the mean price asked for it, and I wanted to double
it, but I suppose it would have been a foolish sacrifice of coin to
sentiment. I love that book for its looks and behaviour. None of your
'half-calf' economies in that volume, sir! And see how it lies open
anywhere! There isn't a book in my library that has such a generous way
of laying its treasures before you. From Alpha to Omega, calm, assured
rest at any page that your choice or accident may light on. No lifting
of a rebellious leaf like an upstart servant that does not know his
place and can never be taught manners, but tranquil, well-bred repose. A
book may be a perfect gentleman in its aspect and demeanour, and this
book would be good company for personages like Roger Ascham and his
pupils the Lady Elizabeth and the Lady Jane Grey.--O. W. HOLMES. _The
Poet at the Breakfast-Table._


    I fear that I must sell this residue
    Of my father's books; although the Elzevirs
    Have fly-leaves over-written by his hand,
    In faded notes as thick and fine and brown
    As cobwebs on a tawny monument
    Of the old Greeks--_conferenda haec cum his_--
    _Corruptè citat_--_lege potiùs_,
    And so on, in the scholar's regal way
    Of giving judgement on the parts of speech,
    As if he sate on all twelve thrones up-piled,
    Arraigning Israel. Ay, but books and notes
    Must go together. And this Proclus too,
    In quaintly dear contracted Grecian types,
    Fantastically crumpled, like his thoughts
    Which would not seem too plain; you go round twice
    For one step forward, then you take it back,
    Because you're somewhat giddy! there's the rule
    For Proclus. Ah, I stained this middle leaf
    With pressing in't my Florence iris-bell,
    Long stalk and all: my father chided me
    For that stain of blue blood,--I recollect
    The peevish turn his voice took,--'Silly girls,
    Who plant their flowers in our philosophy
    To make it fine, and only spoil the book!
    No more of it, Aurora.' Yes--no more!
    Ah, blame of love, that's sweeter than all praise
    Of those who love not! 'tis so lost to me,
    I cannot, in such beggared life, afford
    To lose my Proclus....

    The kissing Judas, Wolff, shall go instead,
    Who builds us such a royal book as this
    To honour a chief-poet, folio-built,
    And writes above, 'The house of Nobody':
    Who floats in cream, as rich as any sucked
    From Juno's breasts, the broad Homeric lines,
    And, while with their spondaic prodigious mouths
    They lap the lucent margins as babe-gods,
    Proclaims them bastards. Wolff's an atheist;
    And if the Iliad fell out, as he says,
    By mere fortuitous concourse of old songs,
    We'll guess as much, too, for the universe.

                    E. B. BROWNING. _Aurora Leigh._


One of the shop-windows he paused before was that of a second-hand
book-shop, where, on a narrow table outside, the literature of the ages
was represented in judicious mixture, from the immortal verse of Homer
to the mortal prose of the railway novel. That the mixture was judicious
was apparent from Deronda's finding in it something that he
wanted--namely, that wonderful bit of autobiography, the life of the
Polish Jew, Salomon Maimon; which, as he could easily slip it into his
pocket, he took from its place, and entered the shop to pay for,
expecting to see behind the counter a grimy personage showing that
nonchalance about sales which seems to belong universally to the
second-hand book-business. In most other trades you find generous men
who are anxious to sell you their wares for your own welfare; but even a
Jew will not urge Simson's Euclid on you with an affectionate assurance
that you will have pleasure in reading it, and that he wishes he had
twenty more of the article, so much is it in request. One is led to fear
that a second-hand bookseller may belong to that unhappy class of men
who have no belief in the good of what they get their living by, yet
keep conscience enough to be morose rather than unctuous in their
vocation.--G. ELIOT. _Daniel Deronda._


    Thou that makst gain thy end, and, wisely well,
      Callst a book good, or bad, as it doth sell,
    Use mine so too: I give thee leave; but crave
      For the luck's sake it thus much favour have
    To lie upon thy stall, till it be sought;
      Not offered, as it made suit to be bought;
    Nor have my title-leaf on posts or walls,
      Or in cleft sticks, advanced to make calls
    For termers, or some clerk-like servingman,
      Who scarce can spell the hard names: whose knight less can.
    If without these vile arts it will not sell,
      Send it to Bucklersbury, there 'twill well.

                    BEN JONSON.


    Whither thus hastes my little book so fast?
    To Paul's Churchyard. What? in those cells to stand,
    With one leaf like a rider's cloak put up
    To catch a termer? or lie musty there
    With rhymes a term set out, or two, before?
    Some will redeem me. Few. Yes, read me too.
    Fewer. Nay, love me. Now thou dot'st, I see.
    Will not our English Athens art defend?
    Perhaps. Will lofty courtly wits not aim
    Still at perfection? If I grant? I fly.
    Whither? To Paul's. Alas, poor book, I rue
    Thy rash self-love; go, spread thy papery wings:
    Thy lightness cannot help or hurt my fame.

                           T. CAMPION.


    Printer or stationer or whate'er thou prove
    Shalt me record to Time's posterity:
    I'll not enjoin thee, but request in love,
    Thou so much deign my Book to dignify,
    As, first, it be not with your ballads mixed
    Next, not at play-houses 'mongst pippins sold:
    Then that on posts by the ears it stand not fixt,
    For every dull mechanic to behold.
    Last, that it come not brought in pedler's packs,
    To common fairs, of country, town, or city:
    Sold at a booth 'mongst pins and almanacks;
    Yet on thy hands to lie, thou'lt say 'twere pity;
      Let it be rather for tobacco rent,
      Or butchers-wives, next Cleansing-week in Lent.

             H. PARROT. _The Mastive, or Young-Whelpe
                                of the Olde-Dogge._


Nevertheless conceive me not, I pray you, that I go about to lay a
general imputation upon all stationers. For to disparage the whole
profession were an act neither becoming an honest man to do, nor a
prudent auditory to suffer. Their mystery, as they not untruly term it,
consists of divers trades incorporated together: as printers,
book-binders, clasp-makers, booksellers, &c. And of all these be some
honest men, who to my knowledge are so grieved, being overborne by the
notorious oppressions and proceedings of the rest, that they have wished
themselves of some other calling. The printers' mystery is ingenious,
painful, and profitable: the book-binders' necessary; the clasp-makers'
useful. And indeed, the retailer of books, commonly called a bookseller,
is a trade, which, being well governed and limited within certain
bounds, might become somewhat serviceable to the rest. But as it is now,
for the most part abused, the bookseller hath not only made the printer,
the binder, and the clasp-maker a slave to him: but hath brought
authors, yea, the whole Commonwealth, and all the liberal sciences into
bondage. For he makes all professors of Art labour for his profit, at
his own price, and utters it to the Commonwealth in such fashion, and at
those rates, which please himself. Insomuch, that I wonder so
insupportable and so impertinent a thing as a mere bookseller,
considering what the profession is become now, was ever permitted to
grow up in the Commonwealth.--G. WITHER. _The Schollers Purgatory._


    Methinks, oh vain, ill-judging book!
    I see thee cast a wistful look,
    Where reputations won and lost are
    In famous row called _Paternoster_.
    Incensed to find your precious olio
    Buried in unexplored port-folio,
    You scorn the prudent lock and key;
    And pant, well-bound and gilt, to see
    Your volume in the window set
    Of Stockdale, Hookham, and Debrett.
    Go then, and pass that dangerous bourne
    Whence never book can back return;
    And when you find--condemned, despised,
    Neglected, blamed, and criticized--
    Abuse from all who read you fall
    (If haply you be read at all),
    Sorely will you for folly sigh at,
    And wish for me, and home, and quiet.

    Assuming now a conjurer's office, I
    Thus on your future fortune prophesy:--
    Soon as your novelty is o'er,
    And you are young and new no more,
    In some dark dirty corner thrown,
    Mouldy with damps, with cobwebs strown,
    Your leaves shall be the bookworm's prey;
    Or sent to chandler's shop away,
    And doomed to suffer public scandal,
    Shall line the trunk, or wrap the candle.

                  M. G. LEWIS. _The Monk._


      The Bookseller, who heard him speak,
    And saw him turn a page of Greek,
    Thought, what a genius have I found!
    Then thus addressed with bow profound:
      'Learned Sir, if you'd employ your pen
    Against the senseless sons of men,
    Or write the history of Siam,
    No man is better pay than I am.
    Or, since you're learned in Greek, let's see
    Something against the Trinity.'
      When, wrinkling with a sneer his trunk,
    'Friend', quoth the Elephant, 'you're drunk:
    E'en keep your money, and be wise;
    Leave man on man to criticize:
    For that you ne'er can want a pen
    Among the senseless sons of men.
    They unprovoked will court the fray;
    Envy's a sharper spur than pay.
    No author ever spared a brother;
    Wits are gamecocks to one another.'

                      J. GAY. _Fables._


Our booksellers here at London disgrace literature by the trash they
bespeak to be written, and at the same time prevent everything else from
being sold. They are little more or less than upholsterers, who sell
_sets_ or _bodies_ of arts and sciences for furniture; and the
purchasers, for I am very sure they are not readers, buy only in that
view. I never thought there was much merit in reading: but yet it is too
good a thing to be put upon no better footing than damask and
mahogany.--H. WALPOLE. EARL OF ORFORD (Letter to Sir David Dalrymple).

No furniture so charming as books, even if you never open them or read a
single word.--S. SMITH. _Memoirs._



_'Ipsa varietate tentamus efficere ut alia aliis, quaedam fortasse
omnibus placeant.'_ _Plin. Epist._

      As when some skilful cook, to please each guest,
    Would in one mixture comprehend a feast,
    With due proportion and judicious care
    He fills his dish with different sorts of fare,
    Fishes and fowls deliciously unite,
    To feast at once the taste, the smell, and sight.
      So, Bernard, must a Miscellany be
    Compounded of all kinds of poetry;
    The Muses' olio, which all tastes may fit,
    And treat each reader with his darling wit.
      Wouldst thou for Miscellanies raise thy fame,
    And bravely rival Jacob's mighty name,
    Let all the Muses in the piece conspire;
    The lyric bard must strike the harmonious lyre;
    Heroic strains must here and there be found;
    And nervous sense be sung in lofty sound;
    Let elegy in moving numbers flow,
    And fill some pages with melodious woe;
    Let not your amorous songs too numerous prove,
    Nor glut thy reader with abundant love;
    Satire must interfere, whose pointed rage
    May lash the madness of a vicious age;
    Satire! the Muse that never fails to hit,
    For if there's scandal, to be sure there's wit.
    Tire not our patience with Pindaric lays,
    Those swell the piece, but very rarely please;
    Let short-breathed epigram its force confine,
    And strike at follies in a single line.
    Translations should throughout the work be sown,
    And Homer's godlike Muse be made our own;
    Horace in useful numbers should be sung,
    And Virgil's thoughts adorn the British tongue.
    Let Ovid tell Corinna's hard disdain,
    And at her door in melting notes complain;
    His tender accents pitying virgins move,
    And charm the listening ear with tales of love
    Let every classic in the volume shine,
    And each contribute to thy great design;
    Through various subjects let the reader range,
    And raise his fancy with a grateful change.
    Variety's the source of joy below,
    From whence still fresh revolving pleasures flow.
    In books and love, the mind one end pursues,
    And only _change_ the expiring flame renews.
      Where Buckingham will condescend to give,
    That honoured piece to distant times must live;
    When noble Sheffield strikes the trembling strings,
    The little Loves rejoice, and clap their wings;
    Anacreon lives, they cry, the harmonious swain
    Retunes the lyre, and tries his wonted strain,
    'Tis he--our lost Anacreon lives again.
    But, when the illustrious poet soars above
    The sportive revels of the God of Love,
    Like Mars's Muse, he takes a loftier flight,
    And towers beyond the wondering Cupid's sight.
      If thou wouldst have thy volume stand the test,
    And of all others be reputed best,
    Let Congreve teach the listening groves to mourn,
    As when he wept o'er fair Pastora's urn.
      Let Prior's Muse with softening accents move,
    Soft as the strains of constant Emma's love:
    Or let his fancy choose some jovial theme,
    As when he told Hans Carvel's jealous dream;
    Prior the admiring reader entertains
    With Chaucer's humour, and with Spenser's strains.
      Waller in Granville lives; when Mira sings,
    With Waller's hand he strikes the sounding strings,
    With sprightly turns his noble genius shines,
    And manly sense adorns his easy lines.
      On Addison's sweet lays attention waits,
    And silence guards the place while he repeats;
    His Muse alike on every subject charms,
    Whether she paints the god of love, or arms:
    In him pathetic Ovid sings again,
    And Homer's _Iliad_ shines in his _Campaign_.
      Whenever Garth shall raise his sprightly song,
    Sense flows in easy numbers from his tongue;
    Great Phoebus in his learned son we see,
    Alike in physic, as in poetry.
      When Pope's harmonious Muse with pleasure roves
    Amidst the plains, the murmuring streams, and groves,
    Attentive Echo, pleased to hear his songs,
    Through the glad shade each warbling note prolongs;
    His various numbers charm our ravished ears,
    His steady judgement far out-shoots his years,
    And early in the youth the god appears.
      From these successful bards collect thy strains;
    And praise with profit shall reward thy pains:
    Then, while calf's-leather-binding bears the sway,
    And sheepskin to its sleeker gloss gives way;
    While neat old Elzevir is reckoned better
    Than Pirate Hill's brown sheets and scurvy letter;
    While print-admirers careful Aldous choose,
    Before John Morphew, or the Weekly News;
    So long shall live thy praise in books of fame,
    And Tonson yield to Lintott's lofty name.

                        J. GAY.


    Some Colinaeus praise, some Bleau,
    Others account them but so so;
    Some Plantin to the rest prefer,
    And some esteem old Elzevir;
    Others with Aldous would besot us;
    I, for my part, admire Lintotus.--
    His character's beyond compare,
    Like his own person, large and fair.
    They print their names in letters small,
    But LINTOTT stands in capital:
    Author and he with equal grace
    Appear, and stare you in the face.
    Stephens prints Heathen Greek, 'tis said,
    Which some can't construe, some can't read;
    But all that comes from Lintott's hand,
    Even Rawlinson might understand.
    Oft in an Aldous, or a Plantin,
    A page is blotted, or leaf wanting:
    Of Lintott's books this can't be said,
    All fair, and not so much as read.
    Their copy cost 'em not a penny
    To Homer, Virgil, or to any;
    They ne'er gave sixpence for two lines
    To them, their heirs, or their assigns:
    But Lintott is at vast expense,
    And pays prodigious dear for--sense.
    Their books are useful but to few,
    A scholar or a wit or two;
    Lintott's for general use are fit.

                        A. POPE.


    Strahan, Tonson, Lintott of the times,
    Patron and publisher of rhymes,
    For thee the bard up Pindus climbs,
                              My Murray.

    To thee, with hope and terror dumb,
    The unpledged MS. authors come;
    Thou printest all--and sellest some--
                              My Murray.

    Upon thy table's baize so green
    The last new _Quarterly_ is seen,--
    But where is thy new Magazine,
                              My Murray?

    Along thy sprucest bookshelves shine
    The works thou deemest most divine--
    The 'Art of Cookery', and mine,
                              My Murray.

    Tours, Travels, Essays, too, I wist,
    And Sermons, to thy mill bring grist;
    And then thou hast the 'Navy List',
                              My Murray.

    And heaven forbid I should conclude
    Without 'the Board of Longitude',
    Although this narrow paper would,
                              My Murray.

                     G. GORDON, LORD BYRON.


    I like you, and your book, ingenuous Hone!
      In whose capacious all-embracing leaves
    The very marrow of tradition's shown;
      And all that history--much that fiction--weaves.

    By every sort of taste your work is graced.
      Vast stores of modern anecdote we find,
    With good old story quaintly interlaced--
      The theme as various as the reader's mind.

    Rome's life-fraught legends you so truly paint--
      Yet kindly,--that the half-turned Catholic
    Scarcely forbears to smile at his own Saint,
      And cannot curse the candid heretic.

    Rags, relics, witches, ghosts, fiends, crowd your page;
      Our father's mummeries we well-pleased behold,
    And, proudly conscious of a purer age,
      Forgive some fopperies in the times of old.

    Verse-honouring Phoebus, Father of bright _Days_,
      Must needs bestow on you both good and many,
    Who, building trophies of his Children's praise,
      Run their rich Zodiac through, not missing any.

    Dan Phoebus loves your book--trust me, friend Hone--
      The title only errs, he bids me say:
    For while such art, wit, reading, there are shown,
      He swears, 'tis not a work of _every day_.

                               C. LAMB.

I love everything that is old: old friends, old times, old manners, old
books, old wines.--O. GOLDSMITH.


    Assist me, ye friends of Old Books and Old Wine,
    To sing in the praises of sage Bannatyne,
    Who left such a treasure of old Scottish lore
    As enables each age to print one volume more.
      One volume more, my friends, one volume more,
      We'll ransack old Banny for one volume more.

    And first, Allan Ramsay was eager to glean
    From Bannatyne's _Hortus_ his bright Evergreen;
    Two light little volumes (intended for four)
    Still leave us the task to print one volume more.
                    One volume more, &c.

    His ways were not ours, for he cared not a pin
    How much he left out, or how much he put in;
    The truth of the reading he thought was a bore,
    So this accurate age calls for one volume more.
                    One volume more, &c.

    Correct and sagacious, then came my Lord Hailes,
    And weighed every letter in critical scales,
    And left out some brief words, which the prudish abhor,
    And castrated Banny in one volume more.
      One volume more, my friends, one volume more;
      We'll restore Banny's manhood in one volume more.

    John Pinkerton next, and I'm truly concerned
    I can't call that worthy so candid as learned;
    He railed at the plaid and blasphemed the claymore,
    And set Scots by the ears in his one volume more.
      One volume more, my friends, one volume more,
      Celt and Goth shall be pleased with one volume more.

    As bitter as gall, and as sharp as a razor,
    And feeding on herbs as a Nebuchadnezzar,
    His diet too acid, his temper too sour,
    Little Ritson came out with his two volumes more.
      But one volume, my friends, one volume more,
      We'll dine on roast-beef and print one volume more.

    The stout Gothic yeditur, next on the roll,
    With his beard like a brush, and as black as a coal;
    And honest Greysteel that was true to the core,
    Lent their hearts and their hands each to one volume more.
                    One volume more, &c.

    Since by these single champions what wonders were done,
    What may not be achieved by our Thirty and One?
    Law, Gospel, and Commerce we count in our corps,
    And the Trade and the Press join for one volume more.
                    One volume more, &c.

    Ancient libels and contraband books, I assure ye,
    We'll print as secure from Exchequer or Jury;
    Then hear your Committee and let them count o'er
    The Chiels they intend in their three volumes more.
                    Three volumes more, &c.

    They'll produce your King Jamie, the Sapient and Sext,
    And the Bob of Dumblane and her Bishops come next;
    One tome miscellaneous they'll add to your store,
    Resolving next year to print four volumes more.
      Four volumes more, my friends, four volumes more;
      Pay down your subscriptions for four volumes more.

                               SIR W. SCOTT.


    Grave vendors of volumes, best friends of the Nine,
      Give ear to my song as to charm you I try;
    Other bards may in vain look for audience like mine,
      For the muses they chant, for the booksellers I.
    Their notes I have drawn, so 'tis nothing but fair
      That my notes should be drawn, if they please, at a beck;
    Undaunted I warble--I truly declare
      My song is most valued when met by a _cheque_.

    The work we've just finished went off very well;
      It was set out with _plates_, such as Finden, or Heath,
    If even their professional feelings rebel,
      Must praise on account (not in spite) of their teeth.
    Though by Fraser cut up, and by Murray reviewed,
      Lovegrove's articles all fit insertion have found.
    We have cleared off our boards, but as business is good,
      We keep wetted for use, and for pleasure unbound.

    But here not for pleasure alone are we stored
      Like holiday tomes in our gilding so bright;
    Some care 'tis our duty and wish to afford
      In the moment of need to a less lucky wight,
    Whose title is lost, and whose covers are torn,
      When the moth has gnawed through, dust or cobwebs surround,
    And to lift on the shelf our poor brother forlorn,
      As a much damaged old folio treasured by Lowndes.

    Though his back stock of life may perchance weigh him down,
      By our aid may the old heavy pressure be moved,
    And new-titled we start him again on the town,
      As a second edition revised and improved.
    And for dealings like this a commission will find,
      And that of a date that the primest is given,
    The commission is--Strive to do good to mankind,
      And the place of its dates is no other than Heaven.

    I won't keep the press waiting--my copy is gone,
      Having finished a lay which Bob Fisher, perhaps,
    May out of the head of old Caxton call one,
      If not of his _Drawing_, yet _Dining-room Scraps_;
    But as we all still think of Tom Talfourd's bill,
      After sixty years' date, I respectfully beg,
    As a knight of the quill, here to offer for _nil_,
      My right in this song as a present to Tegg.

                                    W. MAGINN.


But what were even gold and silver, precious stones and clockwork, to
the bookshops, whence a pleasant smell of paper freshly pressed came
issuing forth, awakening instant recollections of some new grammar had
at school, long time ago, with 'Master Pinch, Grove House Academy',
inscribed in faultless writing on the fly-leaf! That whiff of russia
leather, too, and all those rows on rows of volumes, neatly ranged
within: what happiness did they suggest! And in the window were the
spick-and-span new works from London, with the title-pages, and
sometimes even the first page of the first chapter, laid wide open:
tempting unwary men to begin to read the book, and then, in the
impossibility of turning over, to rush blindly in, and buy it! Here too
were the dainty frontispiece and trim vignette, pointing like handposts
on the outskirts of great cities, to the rich stock of incident beyond;
and store of books, with many a grave portrait and time-honoured name,
whose matter he knew well, and would have given mines to have, in any
form, upon the narrow shelf beside his bed at Mr. Pecksniff's. What a
heart-breaking shop it was!--C. DICKENS. _Martin Chuzzlewit._


If people bought no more books than they intended to read, and no more
swords than they intended to use, the two worst trades in Europe would
be a bookseller's and a sword-cutler's; but luckily for both they are
reckoned genteel ornaments.--LORD CHESTERFIELD.


All who are affected by the love of books hold worldly affairs and money
very cheap, as Jerome writes to Vigilantius (Epist. 54): 'It is not for
the same man to ascertain the value of gold coins and of writings;'
which somebody thus repeated in verse:

    No tinker's hand shall dare a book to stain;
      No miser's heart can wish a book to gain;
    The gold assayer cannot value books;
      On them the epicure disdainful looks.
    One house at once, believe me, cannot hold
      Lovers of books and hoarders up of gold.

No man, therefore, can serve mammon and books.--R. DE BURY.


In the depth of college shades, or in his lonely chamber, the poor
student shrunk from observation. He found shelter among books, which
insult not; and studies, that ask no questions of a youth's finances. He
was lord of his library, and seldom cared for looking out beyond his
domains.--C. LAMB. _Poor Relations._


I say first we have despised literature. What do we, as a nation, care
about books? How much do you think we spend altogether on our libraries,
public or private, as compared with what we spend on our horses? If a
man spends lavishly on his library, you call him mad--a bibliomaniac.
But you never call any one a horse-maniac, though men ruin themselves
every day by their horses, and you do not hear of people ruining
themselves by their books. Or, to go lower still, how much do you think
the contents of the book-shelves of the United Kingdom, public and
private, would fetch, as compared with the contents of its wine-cellars?
What position would its expenditure on literature take, as compared with
its expenditure on luxurious eating? We talk of food for the mind, as of
food for the body: now a good book contains such food inexhaustibly; it
is a provision for life, and for the best part of us; yet how long most
people would look at the best book before they would give the price of a
large turbot for it! Though there have been men who have pinched their
stomachs and bared their backs to buy a book, whose libraries were
cheaper to them, I think, in the end, than most men's dinners are. We
are few of us put to such trial, and more the pity; for, indeed, a
precious thing is all the more precious to us if it has been won by work
or economy; and if public libraries were half as costly as public
dinners, or books cost the tenth part of what bracelets do, even foolish
men and women might sometimes suspect there was good in reading, as well
as in munching and sparkling; whereas the very cheapness of literature
is making even wise people forget that if a book is worth reading, it
is worth buying. No book is worth anything which is not worth _much_;
nor is it serviceable until it has been read, and re-read, and loved,
and loved again; and marked, so that you can refer to the passages you
want in it, as a soldier can seize the weapon he needs in an armoury, or
a housewife bring the spice she needs from her store. Bread of flour is
good; but there is bread, sweet as honey, if we would eat it, in a good
book; and the family must be poor indeed which, once in their lives,
cannot, for such multipliable barley-loaves, pay their baker's bill. We
call ourselves a rich nation, and we are filthy and foolish enough to
thumb each other's books out of circulating libraries!--J. RUSKIN.
_Sesame and Lilies._


I have sent you the Philosophy--books you writ to me for; anything that
you want of this kind for the advancement of your studies, do but write,
and I shall furnish you. When I was a student as you are, my practice
was to borrow rather than buy, some sort of books, and to be always
punctual in restoring them upon the day assigned, and in the interim to
swallow of them as much as made for my turn. This obliged me to read
them through with more haste to keep my word, whereas I had not been so
careful to peruse them had they been my own books, which I knew were
always ready at my dispose.--J. HOWELL. _Familiar Letters._


Fortunate are those who only consider a book for the utility and
pleasure they may derive from its possession. Those students who, though
they know much, still thirst to know more, may require this vast sea of
books; yet in that sea they may suffer many shipwrecks.

Great collections of books are subject to certain accidents besides the
damp, the worms, and the rats; one not less common is that of the
_borrowers_, not to say a word of the _purloiners_!--I. D'ISRAELI.
_Curiosities of Literature._


To one like Elia, whose treasures are rather cased in leather covers
than closed in iron coffers, there is a class of alienators more
formidable than that which I have touched upon; I mean your _borrowers
of books_--those mutilators of collections, spoilers of the symmetry of
shelves, and creators of odd volumes. There is Comberbatch [Coleridge],
matchless in his depredations!

That foul gap in the bottom shelf facing you, like a great eye-tooth
knocked out--(you are now with me in my little back study in Bloomsbury,
reader!)--with the huge Switzer-like tomes on each side (like the
Guildhall giants, in their reformed posture, guardant of nothing), once
held the tallest of my folios, _Opera Bonaventurae_, choice and massy
divinity, to which its two supporters (school divinity also, but of a
lesser calibre,--Bellarmine, and Holy Thomas), showed but as
dwarfs,--itself an Ascapart!--_that_ Comberbatch abstracted upon the
faith of a theory he holds, which is more easy, I confess, for me to
suffer by than to refute, namely, that 'the title to property in a book
(my Bonaventure, for instance), is in exact ratio to the claimant's
powers of understanding and appreciating the same'. Should he go on
acting upon this theory, which of our shelves is safe?

The slight vacuum in the left-hand case--two shelves from the
ceiling--scarcely distinguishable but by the quick eye of a loser--was
whilom the commodious resting-place of Browne on Urn Burial. C. will
hardly allege that he knows more about that treatise than I do, who
introduced it to him, and was indeed the first (of the moderns) to
discover its beauties--but so have I known a foolish lover to praise his
mistress in the presence of a rival more qualified to carry her off than
himself.--Just below, Dodsley's dramas want their fourth volume, where
Vittoria Corombona is! The remainder nine are as distasteful as Priam's
refuse sons, when the Fates _borrowed_ Hector. Here stood the Anatomy of
Melancholy, in sober state.--There loitered the Complete Angler; quiet
as in life, by some stream side.--In yonder nook, John Buncle, a
widower-volume, with 'eyes closed', mourns his ravished mate.

One justice I must do my friend, that if he sometimes, like the sea,
sweeps away a treasure, at another time, sea-like, he throws up as rich
an equivalent to match it. I have a small under-collection of this
nature (my friend's gatherings in his various calls), picked up, he has
forgotten at what odd places, and deposited with as little memory as
mine. I take in these orphans, the twice-deserted. These proselytes of
the gate are welcome as the true Hebrews. There they stand in
conjunction; natives, and naturalised. The latter seem as little
disposed to inquire out their true lineage as I am.--I charge no
warehouse-room for these deodands, nor shall ever put myself to the
ungentlemanly trouble of advertising a sale of them to pay expenses.

To lose a volume to C. carries some sense and meaning in it. You are
sure that he will make one hearty meal on your viands, if he can give no
account of the platter after it. But what moved thee, wayward, spiteful
K., to be so importunate to carry off with thee, in spite of tears and
adjurations to thee to forbear, the Letters of that princely woman, the
thrice noble Margaret Newcastle?--knowing at the time, and knowing that
I knew also, thou most assuredly wouldst never turn over one leaf of the
illustrious folio:--what but the mere spirit of contradiction, and
childish love of getting the better of thy friend?--Then, worst cut of
all! to transport it with thee to the Gallican land--

    Unworthy land to harbour such a sweetness,
    A virtue in which all ennobling thoughts dwelt,
    Pure thoughts, kind thoughts, high thoughts, her sex's wonder!

--hadst thou not thy play-books, and books of jests and fancies, about
thee, to keep thee merry, even as thou keepest all companies with thy
quips and mirthful tales?--Child of the Green-room, it was unkindly done
of thee. Thy wife, too, that part-French, better-part
Englishwoman!--that _she_ could fix upon no other treatise to bear away
in kindly token of remembering us, than the works of Fulke Greville,
Lord Brooke--of which no Frenchman, nor woman of France, Italy, or
England, was ever by nature constituted to comprehend a tittle! _Was
there not Zimmerman on Solitude?_

Reader, if haply thou art blessed with a moderate collection, be shy of
showing it; or if thy heart overfloweth to lend them, lend thy books;
but let it be to such a one as S. T. C.--he will return them (generally
anticipating the time appointed) with usury; enriched with annotations,
tripling their value. I have had experience. Many are these precious
MSS. of his--(in _matter_ oftentimes, and almost in _quantity_ not
unfrequently, vying with the originals)--in no very clerky hand--legible
in my Daniel; in old Burton; in Sir Thomas Browne; and those abstruser
cogitations of the Greville, now, alas! wandering in Pagan lands.--I
counsel thee, shut not thy heart, nor thy library, against S. T. C.--C.
LAMB. _The Two Races of Men._


I own I borrow books with as much facility as I lend. I cannot see a
work that interests me on another person's shelf, without a wish to
carry it off: but, I repeat, that I have been much more sinned against
than sinning in the article of non-return; and am scrupulous in the
article of intention.--J. H. LEIGH HUNT. _My Books._


If people are to be wedded to their books, it is hard that, under our
present moral dispensations, they are not to be allowed the usual
exclusive privileges of marriage. A friend thinks no more of borrowing a
book nowadays, than a Roman did of borrowing a man's wife; and what is
worse, we are so far gone in our immoral notions on this subject, that
we even lend it as easily as Cato did his spouse. Now what a happy thing
ought it not to be to have exclusive possession of a book,--one's
Shakespeare for instance; for the finer the wedded work, the more
anxious of course we should be, that it should give nobody happiness but
ourselves. Think of the pleasure of not only being with it in general,
of having by far the greater part of its company, but of having it
entirely to oneself; of always saying internally, 'It is my property';
of seeing it well-dressed in 'black or red', purely to please one's own
eyes; of wondering how any fellow could be so impudent as to propose
borrowing it for an evening; of being at once proud of his admiration,
and pretty certain that it was in vain; of the excitement nevertheless
of being a little uneasy whenever we saw him approach it too nearly; of
wishing that it could give him a cuff of the cheek with one of its
beautiful boards, for presuming to like its beauties as well as
ourselves; of liking other people's books, but not at all thinking it
proper that they should like ours; of getting perhaps indifferent to it,
and then comforting ourselves with the reflection that others are not
so, though to no purpose; in short, of all the mixed transport and
anxiety to which the exclusiveness of the book-wedded state would be
liable; not to mention the impossibility of other people's having any
literary offspring from our fair unique, and consequently of the danger
of loving any compilations but our own. Really, if we could burn all
other copies of our originals, as the Roman Emperor once thought of
destroying Homer, this system would be worth thinking of. If we had a
good library, we should be in the situation of the Turks with their
seraglios, which are a great improvement upon our petty exclusivenesses.
Nobody could then touch our Shakespeare, our Spenser, our Chaucer, our
Greek and Italian writers. People might say, 'Those are the walls of the
library!' and 'sigh, and look, and sigh again'; but they should never
get in. No Retrospective rake should anticipate our privileges of
quotation. Our Mary Wollstonecrafts and our Madame de Staëls--no one
should know how finely they were lettered,--what soul there was in their
disquisitions. We once had a glimpse of the feelings which people would
have on these occasions. It was in the library of Trinity College,
Cambridge. The keeper of it was from home; and not being able to get a
sight of the manuscript of Milton's _Comus_, we were obliged to content
ourselves with looking through a wire-work, a kind of safe, towards the
shelf on which it reposed. How we winked, and yearned, and imagined we
saw a corner of the all-precious sheets, to no purpose! The feelings
were not very pleasant, it is true; but then as long as they were
confined to others, they would of course only add to our
satisfaction.--J. H. LEIGH HUNT. _Wedded to Books._


    How hard, when those who do not wish
      To lend, that's lose, their books,
    Are snared by anglers--folks that fish
      With literary hooks;

    Who call and take some favourite tome,
      But never read it through;--
    They thus complete their set at home,
      By making one at you.

    Behold the bookshelf of a dunce
      Who borrows--never lends:
    Yon work, in twenty volumes, once
      Belonged to twenty friends.

    New tales and novels you may shut
      From view--'tis all in vain;
    They're gone--and though the leaves are 'cut'
      They never 'come again'.

    For pamphlets lent I look around,
      For tracts my tears are spilt;
    But when they take a book that's bound,
      'Tis surely extra-guilt.

    A circulating library
      Is mine--my birds are flown;
    There's one odd volume left to be
      Like all the rest, a-lone.

    I, of my Spenser quite bereft,
      Last winter sore was shaken;
    Of Lamb I've but a quarter left,
      Nor could I save my Bacon.

    My Hall and Hill were levelled flat,
      But Moore was still the cry;
    And then, although I threw them Sprat,
      They swallowed up my Pye.

    O'er everything, however slight,
      They seized some airy trammel;
    They snatched my Hogg and Fox one night,
      And pocketed my Campbell.

    And then I saw my Crabbe at last,
      Like Hamlet's, backward go;
    And as my tide was ebbing fast,
      Of course I lost my Rowe.

    I wondered into what balloon
      My books their course had bent;
    And yet, with all my marvelling, soon
      I found my Marvell went.

    My Mallet served to knock me down,
      Which makes me thus a talker;
    And once, while I was out of town,
      My Johnson proved a Walker.

    While studying o'er the fire one day
      My Hobbes amidst the smoke,
    They bore my Colman clean away,
      And carried off my Coke.

    They picked my Locke, to me far more
      Than Bramah's patent's worth;
    And now my losses I deplore
      Without a Home on earth.

    If once a book you let them lift,
      Another they conceal;
    For though I caught them stealing Swift,
      As swiftly went my Steele.

    Hope is not now upon my shelf,
      Where late he stood elated;
    But, what is strange, my Pope himself
      Is excommunicated.

    My little Suckling in the grave
      Is sunk, to swell the ravage;
    And what 'twas Crusoe's fate to save
      'Twas mine to lose--a Savage.

    Even Glover's works I cannot put
      My frozen hands upon;
    Though ever since I lost my Foote
      My Bunyan has been gone.

    My Hoyle with Cotton went; oppressed,
      My Taylor too must sail;
    To save my Goldsmith from arrest,
      In vain I offered Bayle.

    I Prior sought, but could not see
      The Hood so late in front;
    And when I turned to hunt for Lee,
      Oh! where was my Leigh Hunt?

    I tried to laugh, old care to tickle,
      Yet could not Tickell touch,
    And then, alas! I missed my Mickle,
      And surely mickle's much.

    'Tis quite enough my griefs to feed,
      My sorrows to excuse,
    To think I cannot read my Reid,
      Nor even use my Hughes.

    To West, to South, I turn my head,
      Exposed alike to odd jeers;
    For since my Roger Ascham's fled,
      I ask 'em for my Rogers.

    They took my Horne--and Horne Tooke, too,
      And thus my treasures flit;
    I feel when I would Hazlitt view,
      The flames that it has lit.

    My word's worth little, Wordsworth gone,
      If I survive its doom;
    How many a bard I doated on
      Was swept off--with my Broome.

    My classics would not quiet lie,
      A thing so fondly hoped;
    Like Dr. Primrose, I may cry,
      'My Livy has eloped!'

    My life is wasting fast away--
      I suffer from these shocks;
    And though I've fixed a lock on Gray,
      There's grey upon my locks.

    I'm far from young--am growing pale--
      I see my Butter fly;
    And when they ask about my _ail_,
      'Tis Burton! I reply.

    They still, have made me slight returns,
      And thus my griefs divide;
    For oh! they've cured me of my Burns,
      And eased my Akenside.

    But all I think I shall not say,
      Nor let my anger burn;
    For as they never found me Gay,
      They have not left me Sterne.

                   S. LAMAN BLANCHARD.


    Of this fair volume which we World do name,
    If we the sheets and leaves could turn with care,
    Of Him who it corrects, and did it frame,
    We clear might read the art and wisdom rare:
    Find out His power which wildest powers doth tame,
    His providence extending everywhere,
    His justice which proud rebels doth not spare,
    In every page, no, period of the same.
    But silly we, like foolish children, rest
    Well pleased with coloured vellum, leaves of gold,
    Fair dangling ribands, leaving what is best,
    On the great Writer's sense ne'er taking hold;
    Or if by chance our minds do muse on aught,
    It is some picture on the margin wrought.

                         W. DRUMMOND.

    In Nature's infinite book of secrecy
    A little I can read.

               W. SHAKESPEARE. _Antony and Cleopatra._


    Eternal God! Maker of all
    That have lived here since the Man's fall!
    The Rock of Ages! in whose shade
    They live unseen when here they fade!

    Thou knew'st this _paper_ when it was
    Mere seed, and after that but grass;
    Before 'twas dressed or spun, and when
    Made linen, who did _wear_ it then,
    What were their lives, their thoughts and deeds,
    Whether good _corn_, or fruitless _weeds_.

    Thou knew'st this _tree_, when a green shade
    Covered it, since a _cover_ made,
    And where it flourished, grew, and spread,
    As if it never should be dead.

    Thou knew'st this harmless _beast_, when he
    Did live and feed by thy decree
    On each green thing; then slept, well fed,
    Clothed with this _skin_, which now lies spread
    A _covering_ o'er this aged book,
    Which makes me wisely weep, and look
    On my own dust; mere dust it is,
    But not so dry and clean as this.
    Thou knew'st and saw'st them all, and though
    Now scattered thus, dost know them so.

    O knowing, glorious Spirit! when
    Thou shalt restore trees, beasts and men,
    When thou shalt make all new again,
    Destroying only death and pain,
    Give him amongst thy works a place
    Who in them loved and sought thy face!

                           H. VAUGHAN.


    That Life is a Comedy oft hath been shown,
    By all who Mortality's changes have known;
    But more like a Volume its actions appear,
    Where each Day is a Page and each Chapter a year.

    'Tis a Manuscript Time shall full surely unfold,
    Though with Black-Letter shaded, or shining with gold;
    The Initial, like youth, glitters bright on its Page,
    But its text is as dark--as the gloom of old Age.
      Then Life's Counsels of Wisdom engrave on thy breast,
      And deep on thine Heart be her lessons impressed.

    Though the Title stands first it can little declare
    The Contents which the Pages ensuing shall bear;
    As little the first day of Life can explain
    The succeeding events which shall glide in its train.
    The Book follows next, and, delighted, we trace
    An Elzevir's beauty, a Gutenberg's grace;
    Thus on pleasure we gaze with as raptured an eye,
    Till, cut off like a Volume imperfect, we die!
      Then Life's Counsels of Wisdom engrave on thy breast,
      And deep on thine Heart be her lessons impressed.

    Yet e'en thus imperfect, complete, or defaced,
    The skill of the Printer is still to be traced;
    And though death bend us early in life to his will,
    The wise hand of our Author is visible still.
    Like the Colophon lines is the Epitaph's lay,
    Which tells of what age and what nation our day,
    And, like the Device of the Printer, we bear
    The form of the Founder, whose Image we wear.
      Then Life's Counsels of Wisdom engrave on thy breast,
      And deep on thine Heart be her lessons impressed.

    The work thus completed its Boards shall enclose,
    Till a Binding more bright and more beauteous it shows;
    And who can deny, when Life's Vision hath passed,
    That the dark Boards of Death shall surround us at last.
    Yet our Volume illumed with fresh splendours shall rise,
    To be gazed at by Angels, and read to the skies,
    Reviewed by its Author, revised by his Pen,
    In a fair new Edition to flourish again.
      Then Life's Counsels of Wisdom engrave on thy breast,
      And deep on thine Heart be her lessons impressed.

                             R. THOMSON.


    See, the fire is sinking low,
    Dusky red the embers glow,
      While above them still I cower,
    While a moment more I linger,
    Though the clock, with lifted finger,
      Points beyond the midnight hour.

    Sings the blackened log a tune
    Learned in some forgotten June
      From a school-boy at his play,
    When they both were young together,
    Heart of youth and summer weather
      Making all their holiday.

    And the night-wind rising, hark!
    How above there in the dark,
      In the midnight and the snow,
    Ever wilder, fiercer, grander.
    Like the trumpets of Iskander,
      All the noisy chimneys blow!

    Every quivering tongue of flame
    Seems to murmur some great name,
      Seems to say to me, 'Aspire!'
    But the night-wind answers, 'Hollow
    Are the visions that you follow,
      Into darkness sinks your fire!'

    Then the flicker of the blaze
    Gleams on volumes of old days,
      Written by masters of the art,
    Loud through whose majestic pages
    Rolls the melody of ages,
      Throb the harp-strings of the heart.

    And again the tongues of flame
    Start exulting and exclaim:
      'These are prophets, bards, and seers;
    In the horoscope of nations,
    Like ascendant constellations,
      They control the coming years.'

    But the night-wind cries: 'Despair!
    Those who walk with feet of air
      Leave no long-enduring marks;
    At God's forges incandescent
    Mighty hammers beat incessant,
      These are but the flying sparks.

    'Dust are all the hands that wrought;
    Books are sepulchres of thought;
      The dead laurels of the dead
    Rustle for a moment only,
    Like the withered leaves in lonely
      Churchyards at some passing tread.'

    Suddenly the flame sinks down;
    Sink the rumours of renown;
      And alone the night-wind drear
    Clamours louder, wilder, vaguer,--
    ''Tis the brand of Meleager
      Dying on the hearth-stone here!'

    And I answer,--'Though it be,
    Why should that discomfort me?
      No endeavour is in vain;
    Its reward is in the doing,
    And the rapture of pursuing
      Is the prize the vanquished gain.'

                     H. W. LONGFELLOW. _Wise Books._

For half the truths they hold are honoured tombs.--G. ELIOT. _The
Spanish Gipsy._


Alonso of Aragon was wont to say of himself that he was a great
Necromancer, for that he used to ask counsel of the dead: meaning
Books.--F. BACON, LORD VERULAM. _Apophthegmes._


    Resolve you, doctors, _Bacon_ can by books
    Make storming _Boreas_ thunder from his cave,
    And dim fair _Luna_ to a dark Eclipse.
    The great arch-ruler, potentate of hell,
    Trembles, when _Bacon_ bids him, or his fiends,
    Bow to the force of his Pentageron.
    What art can work, the frolic friar knows,
    And therefore will I turn my Magic books,
    And strain out Necromancy to the deep.
    I have contrived and framed a head of brass
    (I made _Belcephon_ hammer out the stuff),
    And that by art shall read Philosophy:
    And I will strengthen _England_ by my skill,
    That if ten _Caesars_ lived and reigned in _Rome_,
    With all the legions _Europe_ doth contain,
    They should not touch a grasse of English ground:
    The work that _Ninus_ reared at _Babylon_,
    The brazen walls framed by _Semiramis_,
    Carved out like to the portal of the sun,
    Shall not be such as rings the _English_ strand
    From _Dover_ to the market place of _Rye_.

                  R. GREENE. _The Honourable History of
                            Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay._


                                'Tis a custom with him
    I' the afternoon to sleep: there thou may'st brain him,
    Having first seized his books; or with a log
    Batter his skull, or paunch him with a stake,
    Or cut his wezand with thy knife. Remember
    First to possess his books; for without them
    He's but a sot, as I am, nor hath not
    One spirit to command: they all do hate him
    As rootedly as I. Burn but his books.

                    W. SHAKESPEARE. _The Tempest._


SMITH. The clerk of Chatham: he can write and read and cast accompt.

CADE. O monstrous!

SMITH. We took him setting of boys' copies.

CADE. Here's a villain!

SMITH. Has a book in his pocket with red letters in't.

CADE. Nay, then, he is a conjurer.

    W. SHAKESPEARE. _Second Part of King Henry the Sixth._


    _You_ read the book, my pretty Vivien!
    O aye, it is but twenty pages long,
    But every page having an ample marge,
    And every marge enclosing in the midst
    A square of text that looks a little blot,
    The text no larger than the limbs of fleas;
    And every square of text an awful charm,
    Writ in a language that has long gone by.
    So long, that mountains have arisen since
    With cities on their flanks--_you_ read the book!
    And every margin scribbled, crost, and crammed
    With comment, densest condensation, hard
    To mind and eye; but the long sleepless nights
    Of my long life have made it easy to me.
    And none can read the text, not even I;
    And none can read the comment but myself;
    And in the comment did I find the charm.

             LORD TENNYSON. _Idylls of the King: Vivien._


    Fast bind, fast find: my Bible was well bound;
    A Thief came fast, and loose my Bible found:
    Was't bound and loose at once? how can that be?
    'Twas loose for him, although 'twas bound for me.

                        J. TAYLOR.


Read the Scriptures, which Hyperius holds available of itself; 'the mind
is erected thereby from all worldly cares, and hath much quiet and
tranquillity.' For, as Austin well hath it, 'tis _scientia scientiarum,
omni melle dulcior, omni pane suavior, omni vino hilarior_: 'tis the
best nepenthe, surest cordial, sweetest alterative, presentest diverter:
for neither as Chrysostom well adds, 'those boughs and leaves of trees
which are plashed for cattle to stand under, in the heat of the day, in
summer, so much refresh them with their acceptable shade, as the reading
of the Scripture doth recreate and comfort a distressed soul, in sorrow
and affliction.' Paul bids us 'pray continually'; _quod cibus corpori,
lectio animae facit_, saith Seneca, 'as meat is to the body, such is
reading to the soul.' 'To be at leisure without books is another hell,
and to be buried alive.' Cardan calls a library the physic of the soul;
'Divine authors fortify the mind, make men bold and constant'; and (as
Hyperius adds) 'godly conference will not permit the mind to be tortured
with absurd cogitations.'--R. BURTON. _The Anatomy of Melancholy._


    O Book! Life's guide! how shall we part,
    And thou so long seized of my heart?
    Take this last kiss; and let me weep
    True thanks to thee before I sleep.

    Thou wert the first put in my hand
    When yet I could not understand,
    And daily didst my young eyes lead
    To letters, till I learnt to read.

    But as rash youths, when once grown strong,
    Fly from their nurses to the throng,
    Where they new consorts choose, and stick
    To those till either hurt or sick;
    So with the first light gained from thee
    Ran I in chase of vanity,
    Cried dross for gold, and never thought
    My first cheap book had all I sought.
    Long reigned this vogue; and thou cast by,
    With meek, dumb looks didst woo mine eye,
    And oft left open would'st convey
    A sudden and most searching ray
    Into my soul, with whose quick touch
    Refining still, I struggled much.
    By this mild art of love at length
    Thou overcam'st my sinful strength,
    And having brought me home, didst there
    Show me that pearl I sought elsewhere,--
    Gladness, and peace, and hope, and love,
    The secret favours of the Dove;
    Her quickening kindness, smiles, and kisses,
    Exalted pleasures, crowning blisses,
    Fruition, union, glory, life,
    Thou didst lead to, and still all strife.
    Living, thou wert my soul's sure ease,
    And dying mak'st me go in peace:--
    Thy next effects no tongue can tell;
    Farewell, O Book of God! farewell!

                         H. VAUGHAN.


    'Tis but a folly to rejoice or boast
    How small a price thy well-bought Pen'worth cost:
    Until thy death thou shalt not fully know
    Whether thy purchase be good cheap, or no;
    And at that day, believe 't, it will appear
    If not extremely cheap, extremely dear.

               F. QUARLES. _Divine Fancies._


Read the most useful books, and that regularly, and constantly. Steadily
spend all the morning in this employ, or, at least, five hours in

'But I read only the Bible.' Then you ought to teach others to read only
the Bible, and, by parity of reason, to hear only the Bible. But if so,
you need preach no more. 'Just so,' said George Bell. 'And what is the
fruit? Why, now he neither reads the Bible, nor anything else. This is
rank enthusiasm.' If you need no book but the Bible, you are got above
St. Paul. He wanted others too. 'Bring the books,' says he, 'but
especially the parchments,' those wrote on parchment. 'But I have no
taste for reading.' Contract a taste for it by use, or return to your
trade.--J. WESLEY. _Minutes of Some Late Conversations._


I want to know one thing,--the way to heaven; how to land safe on the
happy shore. God himself has condescended to teach me the way. For this
very end He came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book. O give
me the book! At any price, give me the book of God. I have it: here is
knowledge enough for me. Let me be _homo unius libri_. Here then I am,
far from the busy ways of men. I sit down alone; only God is here. In
His presence I open, I read His book.... And what I thus learn, that I
teach.--J. WESLEY. _Preface to Sermons._


When St. Thomas Aquinas was asked in what manner a man might best become
learned, he answered, 'By reading one book.' The _homo unius libri_ is
indeed proverbially formidable to all conversational figurantes.--R.
SOUTHEY. _The Doctor._


I remember he alleged many a scripture, but those I valued not; the
scriptures, thought I, what are they? A dead letter, a little ink and
paper, of three or four shillings price. Alas! What is the scripture?
Give me a ballad, a news-book, George on horseback, or Bevis of
Southampton; give me some book that teaches curious arts, that tells of
old fables; but for the holy scriptures I cared not.--J. BUNYAN. _Sighs
from Hell._


I know of no book, the Bible excepted, as above all comparison, which I,
according to my judgement and experience, could so safely recommend as
teaching and enforcing the whole saving truth according to the mind that
was in Christ Jesus, as the _Pilgrim's Progress_. It is, in my
conviction, incomparably the best _summa theologiae evangelicae_ ever
produced by a writer not miraculously inspired.

This wonderful work is one of the few books which may be read repeatedly
at different times, and each time with a new and different pleasure. I
read it once as a theologian--and let me assure you that there is great
theological acumen in the work--once with devotional feelings--and once
as a poet. I could not have believed beforehand that Calvinism could be
painted in such exquisitely delightful colours....

The _Pilgrim's Progress_ is composed in the lowest style of English,
without slang or false grammar. If you were to polish it, you would at
once destroy the reality of the vision. For works of imagination should
be written in very plain language; the more imaginative they are the
more necessary it is to be plain.--S. T. COLERIDGE. _Table Talk._


I would have you every morning read a portion of the Holy Scriptures,
till you have read the Bible from the beginning to the end: observe it
well, read it reverently and attentively, set your heart upon it, and
lay it up in your memory and make it the direction of your life: it will
make you a wise and a good man. I have been acquainted somewhat with men
and books, and have had long experience in learning, and in the world:
there is no book like the Bible for excellent learning, wisdom, and use;
and it is want of understanding in them that think or speak
otherwise.--SIR M. HALE. _A Letter to one of his Sons, after his
recovery from the Smallpox._


      What household thoughts around thee, as their shrine,
    Cling reverently!--of anxious looks beguiled,
    My mother's eyes, upon thy page divine,
    Each day were bent--her accents gravely mild,
    Breathed out thy love: whilst I, a dreamy child,
    Wandered on breeze-like fancies oft away,
    To some lone tuft of gleaming spring-flowers wild,
    Some fresh-discovered nook for woodland play,
    Some secret nest: yet would the solemn Word
    At times, with kindlings of young wonder heard,
      Fall on my wakened spirit, there to be
    A seed not lost:--for which, in darker years,
    O Book of Heaven! I pour, with grateful tears,
      Heart blessings on the holy dead and thee!

                         FELICIA D. HEMANS.


No man was a greater lover of books than he [Shelley]. He was rarely to
be seen, unless attending to other people's affairs, without a volume of
some sort, generally of Plato or one of the Greek tragedians. Nor will
those who understand the real spirit of his scepticism, be surprised to
hear that one of his companions was the Bible. He valued it for the
beauty of some of its contents, for the dignity of others, and the
curiosity of all; though the philosophy of Solomon he thought too
_Epicurean_, and the inconsistencies of other parts afflicted him. His
favourite part was the book of Job, which he thought the grandest of
tragedies. He projected founding one of his own upon it; and I will
undertake to say, that Job would have sat in that tragedy with a
patience and profundity of thought worthy of the original. Being asked
on one occasion, what book he would save for himself if he could save no
other? he answered, 'The oldest book, the Bible.'--J. H. LEIGH HUNT. _My


Precious temporal things are growing [in these years of peace];
priceless spiritual things. We know the Shakespeare Dramaturgy; the
Rare-Ben and Elder-Dramatist affair; which has now reached its
culmination. Yes; and precisely when the Wit-combats at the Mermaid are
waning somewhat, and our Shakespeare is about packing up for
Stratford,--there comes out another very priceless thing; a correct
Translation of the Bible; that which we still use. Priceless enough this
latter; of importance unspeakable! Reynolds and Chadderton petitioned
for it, at the Hampton-Court Conference, long since; and now, in 1611,
by labour of Reynolds, Chadderton, Dr. Abbot, and other prodigiously
learned and earnest persons, 'forty-seven in number,' it comes out
beautifully printed; dedicated to the Dread Sovereign; really in part a
benefit of his to us. And so we have it here to read, that Book of
Books: 'barbarous enough to rouse, tender enough to assuage, and
possessing how many other properties,' says Goethe;--possessing this
property, inclusive of all, add we, That it is written under the eye of
the Eternal; that it is of a Sincerity like very Death; the truest
Utterance that ever came by Alphabetic Letters from the Soul of Man.
Through which, as through a window divinely opened, all men could look,
and can still look, beyond the visual Air-firmaments and mysterious
Time-oceans, into the Light-sea of Infinitude, into the stillness of
Eternity; and discern in glimpses, with such emotions and practical
suggestions as there may be, their far-distant, longforgotten Home.--T.
CARLYLE. _Historical Sketches._


What can we imagine more proper for the ornaments of wit and learning in
the story of Deucalion than in that of Noah? Why will not the actions of
Samson afford as plentiful matter as the labours of Hercules? Why is not
Jephthah's daughter as good a woman as Iphigenia? and the friendship of
David and Jonathan more worthy celebration than that of Theseus and
Pirithous? Does not the passage of Moses and the Israelites into the
Holy Land yield incomparably more poetic variety than the voyages of
Ulysses or Aeneas? Are the obsolete, threadbare tales of Thebes and Troy
half so stored with great, heroical, and supernatural actions (since
verse will needs find or make such) as the wars of Joshua, of the
Judges, of David, and divers others?... All the books of the Bible are
either already most admirable and exalted pieces of poesy, or are the
best material in the world for it.--A. COWLEY. _Preface to Davideis._


    Let those who will, hang rapturously o'er
    The flowing eloquence of Plato's page,
    Repeat, with flashing eye, the sounds that pour
    From Homer's verse as with a torrent's rage;
    Let those who list, ask Tully to assuage
    Wild hearts with high-wrought periods, and restore
    The reign of rhetoric; or maxims sage
    Winnow from Seneca's sententious lore.
    Not these, but Judah's hallowed bards, to me
    Are dear: Isaiah's noble energy;
    The temperate grief of Job; the artless strain
    Of Ruth and pastoral Amos; the high songs
    Of David; and the tale of Joseph's wrongs,
    Simply pathetic, eloquently plain.

                       SIR AUBREY DE VERE.


It is your lordship's observation, that if it were not for the Bible and
Common Prayer Book in the vulgar tongue, we should hardly be able to
understand anything that was written among us a hundred years ago; which
is certainly true: for those books, being perpetually read in churches,
have proved a kind of standard for language, especially to the common
people.... As to the greatest parts of our liturgy, compiled long before
the translation of the Bible now in use, and little altered since, these
seem to be in as great strains of true sublime eloquence as are anywhere
to be found in our language.--J. SWIFT. _A proposal for correcting,
improving and ascertaining the English Tongue_ (Letter to the Earl of


... He [the translator of Homer] will find one English book and one
only, where, as in the _Iliad_ itself, perfect plainness of speech is
allied with perfect nobleness; and that book is the Bible. No one could
see this more clearly than Pope saw it: 'This pure and noble
simplicity,' he says, 'is nowhere in such perfection as in the Scripture
and Homer': yet even with Pope a woman is a 'fair', a father is a
'sire', and an old man a 'reverend sage', and so on through all the
phrases of that pseudo-Augustan, and most unbiblical, vocabulary. The
Bible, however, is undoubtedly the grand mine of diction for the
translator of Homer; and, if he knows how to discriminate truly between
what will suit him and what will not, the Bible may afford him also
invaluable lessons of style.--M. ARNOLD. _On Translating Homer._


Who will say that the uncommon beauty and marvellous English of the
Protestant Bible is not one of the great strongholds of heresy in this
country? It lives on in the ear, like a music that never can be
forgotten, like the sound of church bells which the convert hardly knows
how he can forgo. Its felicities seem often to be almost things rather
than mere words. It is part of the national mind, and the anchor of the
national seriousness.... Nay, it is worshipped with a positive idolatry,
in extenuation of whose grotesque fanaticism its intrinsic beauty pleads
availingly with the man of letters and the scholar. The memory of the
dead passes into it. The potent traditions of childhood are stereotyped
in its verses. The power of all the griefs and trials of a man is hidden
beneath its words. It is the representative of his best moments, and all
that there has been about him of soft, and gentle, and pure, and
penitent, and good, speaks to him for ever out of his English Bible. It
is his sacred thing which doubt never dimmed and controversy never
soiled. In the length and breadth of the land there is not a Protestant,
with one spark of religiousness about him, whose spiritual biography is
not his Saxon Bible.--F. W. FABER. _The Interest and Characteristics of
the Lives of the Saints._


Search Scotland over, from the Pentland to the Solway, and there is not
a cottage-hut so poor and wretched as to be without its Bible; and
hardly one that, on the same shelf, and next to it, does not treasure a
Burns. Have the people degenerated since their adoption of this new
manual? Has their attachment to the Book of Books declined? Are their
hearts less firmly bound, than were their fathers', to the old faith and
the old virtues? I believe he that knows the most of the country will be
the readiest to answer all these questions, as every lover of genius and
virtue would desire to hear them answered.... Extraordinary ... has been
the unanimity of his critics. While differing widely in their estimates
of his character and _morale_, they have, without a single exception,
expressed a lofty idea of his powers of mind and of the excellence of
his poetry. Here, as on the subject of Shakespeare, and on scarcely any
other, have Whigs and Tories, Infidels and Christians, bigoted Scotchmen
and bigoted sons of John Bull, the high and the low, the rich and the
poor, the prosaic and the enthusiastic lovers of poetry, the
strait-laced and the morally lax, met and embraced each other.--J. G.
LOCKHART. _Life of Burns._


    The cheerfu' supper done, wi' serious face,
      They round the ingle form a circle wide;
    The sire turns o'er, wi' patriarchal grace,
      The big ha'-bible, ance his father's pride:

           *       *       *       *       *

    The priest-like father reads the sacred page,
      How Abram was the friend of God on high;
    Or Moses bade eternal warfare wage
      With Amalek's ungracious progeny;
      Or how the royal Bard did groaning lie
    Beneath the stroke of Heaven's avenging ire;
      Or Job's pathetic plaint, and wailing cry;
    Or rapt Isaiah's wild, seraphic fire;
    Or other holy seers that tune the sacred lyre.

                  R. BURNS. _The Cotter's Saturday Night._


She read on and on in the old book, devouring eagerly the dialogues with
the invisible Teacher, the pattern of sorrow, the source of all
strength; returning to it after she had been called away, and reading
till the sun went down behind the willows. With all the hurry of an
imagination that could never rest in the present, she sat in the
deepening twilight forming plans of self-humiliation and entire
devotedness; and, in the ardour of first discovery, renunciation seemed
to her the entrance into that satisfaction which she had so long been
craving in vain. She had not perceived--how could she until she had
lived longer?--the inmost truth of the old monk's outpourings, that
renunciation remains sorrow, though a sorrow borne willingly. Maggie was
still panting for happiness, and was in ecstasy because she had found
the key to it. She knew nothing of doctrines and systems--of mysticism
or quietism; but this voice out of the far-off middle ages was the
direct communication of a human soul's belief and experience, and came
to Maggie as an unquestioned message.

I suppose that is the reason why the small old-fashioned book, for which
you need only pay sixpence at a bookstall, works miracles to this day,
turning bitter waters into sweetness; while expensive sermons and
treatises, newly issued, leave all things as they were before. It was
written down by a hand that waited for the heart's prompting; it is the
chronicle of a solitary, hidden anguish, struggle, trust and
triumph--not written on velvet cushions to teach endurance to those who
are treading with bleeding feet on the stones. And so it remains to all
time a lasting record of human needs and human consolations: the voice
of a brother who, ages ago, felt and suffered and renounced--in the
cloister, perhaps, with serge gown and tonsured head, with much chanting
and long fasts, and with a fashion of speech different from ours--but
under the same silent far-off heavens, and with the same passionate
desires, the same strivings, the same failures, the same weariness.--G.
ELIOT. _The Mill on the Floss._



The globe we inhabit is divisible into two worlds; one hardly less
tangible, and far more known than the other,--the common geographical
world, and the world of books; and the latter may be as geographically
set forth. A man of letters, conversant with poetry and romance, might
draw out a very curious map, in which this world of books should be
delineated and filled up, to the delight of all genuine readers, as
truly as that in Guthrie or Pinkerton. To give a specimen, and begin
with Scotland,--Scotland would not be the mere territory it is, with a
scale of so many miles to a degree, and such and such a population. Who
(except a patriot or cosmopolite) cares for the miles or the men, or
knows that they exist, in any degree of consciousness with which he
cares for the never-dying population of books? How many generations of
men have passed away, and will pass, in Ayrshire or Dumfries, and not
all the myriads be as interesting to us as a single Burns? What have we
known of them, or shall ever know, whether lairds, lords, or ladies, in
comparison with the inspired ploughman? But we know of the bards and the
lasses, and the places which he has recorded in song; we know the scene
of 'Tam o' Shanter's' exploit; we know the pastoral landscapes ... and
the scenes immortalized in Walter Scott and the old ballads; and,
therefore, the book-map of Scotland would present us with the most
prominent of these. We should have the Border, with its banditti, towns,
and woods; Tweedside, Melrose, and Roslin, 'Edina,' otherwise called
Edinburgh and Auld Reekie, or the town of Hume, Robertson, and others;
Woodhouselee, and other classical and haunted places; the bower built by
the fair hands of 'Bessie Bell' and 'Mary Gray'; the farm-houses of
Burns's friends; the scenes of his loves and sorrows; the land of 'Old
Mortality', of the 'Gentle Shepherd', and of 'Ossian'. The Highlands,
and the great blue billowy domains of heather, would be distinctly
marked out, in their most poetical regions; and we should have the
tracks of Ben Jonson to Hawthornden, of 'Rob Roy' to his hiding-places,
and of 'Jeanie Deans' towards England. Abbotsford, be sure, would not
be left out; nor the house of the 'Antiquary'--almost as real a man as
his author. Nor is this all: for we should have older Scotland, the
Scotland of James the First, and of 'Peeblis at the Play', and Gawin
Douglas, and Bruce, and Wallace; we should have older Scotland still,
the Scotland of Ariosto, with his tale of 'Ginevra', and the new
'Andromeda', delivered from the sea-monster at the Isle of Ebuda (the
Hebrides); and there would be the residence of the famous 'Launcelot of
the Lake', at Berwick, called the Joyeuse Garde, and other ancient sites
of chivalry and romance; nor should the nightingale be left out in
'Ginevra's' bower, for Ariosto has put it there, and there, accordingly,
it is and has been heard, let ornithology say what it will; for what
ornithologist knows so much of the nightingale as a poet? We would have
an inscription put on the spot--'Here the nightingale sings, contrary to
what has been affirmed by White and others.' This is the Scotland of
books, and a beautiful place it is. I will venture to affirm, Sir, even
to yourself, that it is a more beautiful place than the other Scotland,
always excepting to an exile or a lover.


Book-England, on the map, would shine as the Albion of the old Giants;
as the 'Logres' of the Knights of the Round Table; as the scene of
Amadis of Gaul, with its _island_ of Windsor; as the abode of fairies,
of the Druids, of the divine Countess of Coventry, of Guy, Earl of
Warwick, of 'Alfred' (whose reality was a romance), of the Fair
Rosamond, of the _Arcades_ and _Comus_, of Chaucer and Spenser, of the
poets of the Globe and the Mermaid, the wits of Twickenham and Hampton
Court. Fleet Street would be Johnson's Fleet Street; the Tower would
belong to Julius Caesar; and Blackfriars to Suckling, Vandyke, and the
_Dunciad_. Chronology and the mixture of truth and fiction, that is to
say, of one sort of truth and another, would come to nothing in a work
of this kind; for, as it has been before observed, things are real in
proportion as they are impressive. And who has not as 'gross, open, and
palpable' an idea of 'Falstaff' in Eastcheap, as of 'Captain Grose'
himself, beating up his quarters? A map of fictitious, literary, and
historical London, would, of itself, constitute a great curiosity.


Swift speaks of maps, in which they

    Place elephants for want of towns.

Here would be towns and elephants too, the popular and the prodigious.
How much would not Swift do for Ireland, in this geography of wit and
talent! What a figure would not St. Patrick's Cathedral make! The other
day, mention was made of a 'Dean of St. Patrick's' _now living_; as if
there was, or ever could be, more than one Dean of St. Patrick's! In the
Irish maps we should have the Saint himself driving out all venomous
creatures (what a pity that the most venomous retain a property as
absentees!); and there would be the old Irish kings, and O'Donoghue with
his White Horse, and the lady of the 'gold wand' who made the miraculous
virgin pilgrimage, and all the other marvels of lakes and ladies, and
the Round Towers still remaining to perplex the antiquary, and
Goldsmith's 'Deserted Village', and Goldsmith himself, and the
birthplaces of Steele and Sterne, and the brief hour of poor Lord Edward
Fitzgerald, and Carolan with his harp, and the schools of the poor Latin
boys under the hedges, and Castle Rackrent, and Edgeworth's-town, and
the Giant's Causeway, and Ginleas and other classical poverties, and
Spenser's castle on the river Mulla, with the wood-gods whom his pipe
drew round him.--J. H. LEIGH HUNT. _The World of Books._


    Tom Coryat, I have seen thy Crudities,
    And, methinks, very strangely brewed--it is
    With piece and patch together glued--it is
    And how, like thee, ill-favoured hued--it is
    In many lines I see that lewd--it is
    And therefore fit to be subdued--it is

    Within thy broiling brain-pan stewed--it is
    And 'twixt thy grinding jaws well chewed--it is
    Within thy stomach closely mewed--it is
    And last, in Court and Country spewed--it is
    But now by wisdom's eye that viewed--it is
    They all agree that very rude--it is
    With foolery so full endued--it is

    That wondrously by fools pursued--it is
    As sweet as gall's amaritude--it is
    And seeming full of pulchritude--it is
    But more to write, but to intrude--it is
    And therefore wisdom to conclude--it is.

                J. TAYLOR. _The World's Eighth Wonder._


    I've thought very often 'twould be a good thing
    In all public collections of books, if a wing
    Were set off by itself, like the seas from the dry lands,
    Marked _Literature suited to desolate islands_,
    And filled with such books as could never be read
    Save by readers of proofs, forced to do it for bread,--
    Such books as one's wrecked on in small country taverns,
    Such as hermits might mortify over in caverns,
    Such as Satan, if printing had then been invented,
    As a climax of woe, would to Job have presented,
    Such as Crusoe might dip in, although there are few so
    Outrageously cornered by fate as poor Crusoe;

           *       *       *       *       *

    I propose to shut up every doer of wrong
    With these desperate books, for such term, short or long,
    As by statute in such cases made and provided,
    Shall be by you wise legislators decided.

                  J. R. LOWELL. _A Fable for Critics._

I have sometimes heard of an Iliad in a nutshell; but it has been my
fortune to have much oftener seen a nutshell in an Iliad.--J. SWIFT. _A
Tale of a Tub._


I am sure that if Madame de Sablé lived now, books would be seen in her
salon as part of its natural indispensable furniture; not brought out,
and strewed here and there when 'company was coming', but as habitual
presences in her room, wanting which, she would want a sense of warmth
and comfort and companionship. Putting out books as a sort of
preparation for an evening, as a means for making it pass agreeably, is
running a great risk. In the first place, books are by such people, and
on such occasions, chosen more for their outside than their inside. And
in the next, they are the 'mere material with which wisdom (or wit)
builds'; and if persons don't know how to use the material, they will
suggest nothing. I imagine Madame de Sablé would have the volumes she
herself was reading, or those which, being new, contained any matter of
present interest, left about, as they would naturally be. I could also
fancy that her guests would not feel bound to talk continually, whether
they had anything to say or not, but that there might be pauses of not
unpleasant silence--a quiet darkness out of which they might be certain
that the little stars would glimmer soon. I can believe that in such
pauses of repose, some one might open a book, and catch on a suggestive
sentence, might dash off again into a full flow of conversation. But I
cannot fancy any grand preparations for what was to be said among
people, each of whom brought the best dish in bringing himself; and
whose own store of living, individual thought and feeling, and
mother-wit, would be infinitely better than any cut-and-dry
determination to devote the evening to mutual improvement. If people are
really good and wise, their goodness and their wisdom flow out
unconsciously, and benefit like sunlight. So, books for reference, books
for impromptu suggestion, but never books to serve for texts to a
lecture.--ELIZABETH C. GASKELL. _Company Manners._

Far more seemly were it for thee to have thy study full of books, than
thy purse full of money.--J. LYLY. _Euphues._



Sir,--This letter hath more merits than one of more diligence, for I
wrote it in bed, and with much pain. I have occasion to sit late some
nights in my study (which your books make a pretty library) and now I
find that that room hath a wholesome emblematic use: for having under it
a vault, I make that promise me that I shall die reading; since my book
and a grave are so near.--JOHN DONNE. _Letters to Several Persons of


          That place, that does contain
    My books, the best companions, is to me
    A glorious court, where hourly I converse
    With the old sages and philosophers.
    And sometimes, for variety, I confer
    With kings and emperors, and weigh their counsels;
    Calling their victories, if unjustly got,
    Unto a strict account: and in my fancy,
    Deface their ill-planned statues. Can I then
    Part with such constant pleasures, to embrace
    Uncertain vanities? No: be it your care
    To augment your heap of wealth; it shall be mine
    To increase in knowledge. Lights there for my study!

                 J. FLETCHER. _The Elder Brother._


I like a great library next my study; but for the study itself, give me
a small snug place, almost entirely walled with books. There should be
only one window in it, looking upon trees. Some prefer a place with few,
or no books at all--nothing but a chair or a table, like Epictetus; but
I should say that these were philosophers, not lovers of books, if I did
not recollect that Montaigne was both. He had a study in a round tower,
walled as aforesaid. It is true, one forgets one's books while
writing--at least they say so. For my part, I think I have them in a
sort of sidelong mind's eye; like a second thought, which is none--like
a waterfall, or a whispering wind.

I dislike a grand library to study in. I mean an immense apartment, with
books all in Museum order, especially wire-safed. I say nothing against
the Museum itself, or public libraries. They are capital places to go
to, but not to sit in; and talking of this, I hate to read in public,
and in strange company. The jealous silence; the dissatisfied looks of
the messengers; the inability to help yourself; the not knowing whether
you really ought to trouble the messengers, much less the Gentleman in
black, or brown, who is, perhaps, half a trustee; with a variety of
other jarrings between privacy and publicity, prevent one's settling
heartily to work.... A grand private library, which the master of the
house also makes his study, never looks to me like a real place of
books, much less of authorship. I cannot take kindly to it. It is
certainly not out of envy; for three parts of the books are generally
trash, and I can seldom think of the rest and the proprietor together.
It reminds me of a fine gentleman, of a collector, of a patron, of Gil
Blas and the Marquis of Marialva; of anything but genius and comfort. I
have a particular hatred of a round table (not _the_ Round Table, for
that was a dining one) covered and irradiated with books, and never met
with one in the house of a clever man but once. It is the reverse of
Montaigne's Round Tower. Instead of bringing the books around you, they
all seem turning another way, and eluding your hands.

Conscious of my propriety and comfort in these matters, I take an
interest in the bookcases as well as the books of my friends. I long to
meddle and dispose them after my own notions.--J. H. LEIGH HUNT. _My

Come, and take choice of all my library.

    W. SHAKESPEARE. _Titus Andronicus._

Libraries are the wardrobes of literature, whence men, properly
informed, might bring forth something for ornament, much for curiosity,
and more for use.--G. DYER.


      Here, while the night-wind wreaked its frantic will
    On the loose ocean and the rock-bound hill,
    Rent the cracked topsail from its quivering yard,
    And rived the oak a thousand storms had scarred,
    Fenced by these walls the peaceful taper shone,
    Nor felt a breath to slant its trembling cone.

      Not all unblessed the mild interior scene
    Where the red curtain spread its falling screen;
    O'er some light task the lonely hours were passed,
    And the long evening only flew too fast;
    Or the wide chair its leathern arms would lend
    In genial welcome to some easy friend,
    Stretched on its bosom with relaxing nerves,
    Slow moulding, plastic, to its hollow curves;
    Perchance indulging, if of generous creed,
    In brave Sir Walter's dream-compelling weed.
    Or, happier still, the evening hour would bring
    To the round table its expected ring,
    And while the punch-bowl's sounding depths were stirred,--
    Its silver cherubs, smiling as they heard,--
    Our hearts would open, as at evening's hour
    The close-sealed primrose frees its hidden flower.

      Such the warm life this dim retreat has known,
    Not quite deserted when its guests were flown;
    Nay, filled with friends, an unobtrusive set,
    Guiltless of calls and cards and etiquette,
    Ready to answer, never known to ask,
    Claiming no service, prompt for every task.

      On those dark shelves no housewife hand profanes,
    O'er his mute files the monarch folio reigns;
    A mingled race, the wreck of chance and time,
    That talk all tongues and breathe of every clime,
    Each knows his place, and each may claim his part
    In some quaint corner of his master's heart.
    This old Decretal, won from Kloss's hoards,
    Thick-leaved, brass-cornered, ribbed with oaken boards,
    Stands the grey patriarch of the graver rows,
    Its fourth ripe century narrowing to its close;
    Not daily conned, but glorious still to view,
    With glistening letters wrought in red and blue.
    There towers Stagira's all-embracing sage,
    The Aldine anchor on his opening page;
    There sleep the births of Plato's heavenly mind,
    In yon dark tomb by jealous clasps confined.
    _Olim e libris_ (dare I call it mine?)
    Of Yale's grave Head and Killingworth's divine!
    In those square sheets the songs of Maro fill
    The silvery types of smooth-leaved Baskerville;
    High over all, in close, compact array,
    Their classic wealth the Elzevirs display.

    In lower regions of the sacred space
    Range the dense volumes of a humbler race;
    There grim chirurgeons all their mysteries teach,
    In spectral pictures, or in crabbèd speech;
    Harvey and Haller, fresh from Nature's page,
    Shoulder the dreamers of an earlier age,
    Lully and Geber, and the learnèd crew
    That loved to talk of all they could not do.
    Why count the rest,--those names of later days
    That many love, and all agree to praise,--
    Or point the titles, where a glance may read
    The dangerous lines of party or of creed?
    Too well, perchance, the chosen list would show
    What few may care and none can claim to know.
    Each has his features, whose exterior seal
    A brush may copy, or a sunbeam steal;
    Go to his study,--on the nearest shelf
    Stands the mosaic portrait of himself.

      What though for months the tranquil dust descends,
    Whitening the heads of these mine ancient friends,
    While the damp offspring of the modern press
    Flaunts on my table with its pictured dress;
    Not less I love each dull familiar face,
    Nor less should miss it from the appointed place;
    I snatch the book, along whose burning leaves
    His scarlet web our wild romancer weaves,
    Yet, while proud Hester's fiery pangs I share,
    My old MAGNALIA must be standing _there_!

                        O. W. HOLMES.


The great consulting room of a wise man is a library. When I am in
perplexity about life, I have but to come here, and, without fee or
reward, I commune with the wisest souls that God has blessed the world
with. If I want a discourse on immortality Plato comes to my help. If I
want to know the human heart Shakespeare opens all its chambers.
Whatever be my perplexity or doubt, I know exactly the great man to call
to me, and he comes in the kindest way, he listens to my doubts and
tells me his convictions. So that a library may be regarded as the
solemn chamber in which a man can take counsel with all that have been
wise and great and good and glorious amongst the men that have gone
before him. If we come down for a moment and look at the bare and
immediate utilities of a library we find that here a man gets himself
ready for his calling, arms himself for his profession, finds out the
facts that are to determine his trade, prepares himself for his
examination. The utilities of it are endless and priceless. It is too a
place of pastime; for man has no amusement more innocent, more sweet,
more gracious, more elevating, and more fortifying than he can find in a
library.--GEORGE DAWSON. _Address at the opening of the Birmingham Free
Reference Library_, 1866.


The first thing, naturally, when one enters a scholar's study or
library, is to look at his books. One gets a notion very speedily of his
tastes and the range of his pursuits by a glance round his bookshelves.

Of course, you know there are many fine houses where a library is a part
of the upholstery, so to speak. Books in handsome binding kept locked
under plate-glass in showy dwarf bookcases are as important to stylish
establishments as servants in livery, who sit with folded arms, are to
stylish equipages. I suppose those wonderful statues with the folded
arms do sometimes change their attitude, and I suppose those books with
the gilded backs do sometimes get opened, but it is nobody's business
whether they do or not, and it is best not to ask too many questions.

This sort of thing is common enough, but there is another case that may
prove deceptive if you undertake to judge from appearances. Once in a
while you will come on a house where you will find a family of readers
and almost no library. Some of the most indefatigable devourers of
literature have very few books. They belong to book clubs, they haunt
the public libraries, they borrow of friends, and somehow or other get
hold of everything they want, scoop out all it holds for them, and have
done with it.--O. W. HOLMES. _The Poet at the Breakfast-Table._


I know men who say they had as lief read any book in a library copy as
in one from their own shelf. To me that is unintelligible. For one
thing, I know every book of mine by its _scent_, and I have but to put
my nose between the pages to be reminded of all sorts of things. My
Gibbon, for example, my well-bound eight-volume Milman edition, which I
have read and read and read again for more than thirty years--never do I
open it but the scent of the noble pages restores to me all the exultant
happiness of that moment when I received it as a prize. Or my
Shakespeare, the great Cambridge Shakespeare--it has an odour which
carries me yet further back in life; for these volumes belonged to my
father, and before I was old enough to read them with understanding, it
was often permitted me, as a treat, to take down one of them from the
bookcase, and reverently to turn the leaves. The volumes smell exactly
as they did in that old time, and what a strange tenderness comes upon
me when I hold one of them in hand. For that reason I do not often read
Shakespeare in this edition.--G. GISSING. _The Private Papers of Henry

                              Of his gentleness,
    Knowing I loved my books, he furnished me,
    From mine own library with volumes that
    I prize above my dukedom.

                  W. SHAKESPEARE. _The Tempest._


    Here, duly placed on consecrated ground,
    The studied works of many an age are found,
    The ancient Fathers' reverend remains;
    The Roman Laws, which freed a world from chains;
    Whate'er of law passed from immortal Greece
    To Latin lands, and gained a rich increase;
    All that blessed Israel drank in showers from heaven,
    Or Afric sheds, soft as the dew of even.



    The Doctor with himself decreed
    To nod--or, much the same, to read.
    He always seemed a wondrous lover
    Of painted leaf and Turkey cover,
    While no regard at all was had
    To sots in homely russet clad,
    Concluding he must be within
    A calf, that wore without his skin.

    But, though his thoughts were fixed to read,
    The treatise was not yet decreed:
    Uncertain to devote the day
    To politics or else to play;
    What theme would best his genius suit,
    Grave morals or a dull dispute,
    Where both contending champions boast
    The victory which neither lost;
    As chiefs are oft in story read
    Each to pursue, when neither fled.
      He enters now the shining dome
    Where crowded authors sweat for room;
    So close a man could hardly say
    Which were more fixed, the shelves or they.

           *       *       *       *       *

    To please the eye, the highest space
    A set of wooden volumes grace;
    Pure timber authors that contain
    As much as some that boast a brain;
    That Alma Mater never viewed,
    Without degrees to writers hewed:
    Yet solid thus just emblems show
    Of the dull brotherhood below,
    Smiling their rivals to survey,
    As great and real blocks as they.
    Distinguished then in even rows,
    Here shines the Verse and there the Prose;
    (For, though Britannia fairer looks
    United, 'tis not so with books):
    The champions of each different art
    Had stations all assigned apart,
    Fearing the rival chiefs might be
    For quarrels still, nor dead agree.
    The schoolmen first in long array
    Their bulky lumber round display;
    Seemed to lament their wretched doom,
    And heave for more convenient room;
    While doctrine each of weight contains
    To crack his shelves as well as brains;
    Since all with him were thought to dream,
    That flagged before they filled a ream:
    His authors wisely taught to prize,
    Not for their merit, but their size;
    No surer method ever found
    Than buying writers by the pound;
    For heaven must needs his breast inspire,
    That scribbling filled each month a quire,
    And claimed a station on his shelves,
    Who scorned each sot who fooled in twelves.

                 W. KING. (?) _Bibliotheca._


'In another century it may be impossible to find a collection of the
whole [Greek tragedies] unless some learned and rich man, like Pericles,
or some protecting King, like Hiero, should preserve them in his
library.' 'Prudently have you considered how to preserve all valuable
authors. The cedar doors of a royal library fly open to receive them:
aye, there they will be safe ... and untouched.'--W. S. LANDOR.
_Pericles and Aspasia._


    Next o'er his books his eyes began to roll,
    In pleasing memory of all he stole,
    How here he sipped, how there he plundered snug,
    And sucked all o'er, like an industrious bug.
    Here lay poor Fletcher's half-eat scenes, and here
    The frippery of crucified Moliere;
    There hapless Shakespeare, yet of Tibbald sore,
    Wished he had blotted for himself before.
    The rest on outside merit but presume,
    Or serve (like other fools) to fill a room;
    Such with their shelves as due proportion hold,
    Or their fond parents dressed in red and gold;
    Or where the pictures for the page atone
    And Quarles is saved by beauties not his own.
    Here swells the shelf with Ogilby the great;
    There, stamped with arms, Newcastle shines complete:
    Here all his suffering brotherhood retire,
    And 'scape the martyrdom of jakes and fire:
    A Gothic Library! of Greece and Rome
    Well purged, and worthy Settle, Banks, and Broome.
    But, high above, more solid learning shone,
    The classics of an age that heard of none;
    There Caxton slept, with Wynkyn at his side,
    One clasped in wood, and one in strong cow-hide;
    There saved by spice, like mummies, many a year,
    Dry Bodies of Divinity appear;
    De Lyra there a dreadful front extends,
    And here the groaning shelves Philemon bends.
      Of these twelve volumes, twelve of amplest size,
    Redeemed from tapers and defrauded pies,
    Inspired he seizes; these an altar raise;
    An hecatomb of pure unsullied lays
    That altar crowns; a folio Commonplace
    Founds the whole pile, of all his works the base;
    Quartos, octavos, shape the lessening pyre;
    A twisted birthday ode completes the spire.

                        A. POPE. _The Dunciad._


Few men of great genius had exercised their parts in writing books upon
the subject of great noses: by the trotting of my lean horse, the thing
is incredible! and I am quite lost in my understanding, when I am
considering what a treasure of precious time and talents together has
been wasted upon worse subjects--and how many millions of books in all
languages, and in all possible types and bindings, have been fabricated
upon points not half so much tending to the unity and peace-making of
the world. What was to be had, however, he set the greater store by; and
though my father would ofttimes sport with my uncle Toby's
library--which, by the by, was ridiculous enough--yet at the very same
time he did it, he collected every book and treatise which had been
systematically wrote upon noses, with as much care as my honest uncle
Toby had done those upon military architecture.... My father's
collection was not great, but, to make amends, it was curious; and
consequently he was some time in making it ... he got hold of
Prignitz--purchased Scroderus, Andrea Paraeus, Bouchet's Evening
Conferences, and above all, the great and learned Hafen
Slawkenbergius.... To do justice to Slawkenbergius, he has entered the
list with a stronger lance, and taken a much larger career in it than
any one man who had ever entered it before him--and indeed, in many
respects, deserves to be en-niched as a prototype for all writers, of
voluminous works at least, to model their books by--for he has taken in,
Sir, the whole subject--examined every part of it dialectically----then
brought it into full day; dilucidating it with all the light which
either the collision of his own natural parts could strike--or the
profoundest knowledge of the sciences had empowered him to cast upon
it--collating, collecting, and compiling--begging, borrowing, and
stealing, as he went along, all that had been wrote or wrangled
thereupon in the schools and porticoes of the learned: so that
Slawkenbergius his book may properly be considered, not only as a
model--but as a thorough-stitched digest and regular institute of noses,
comprehending in it all that is or can be needful to be known about

For this cause it is that I forbear to speak of so many (otherwise)
valuable books and treatises of my father's collecting, wrote either,
plump upon noses--or collaterally touching them;----such for instance
as Prignitz, now lying upon the table before me, who with infinite
learning, and from the most candid and scholar-like examination of above
four thousand different skulls, in upwards of twenty charnel-houses in
Silesia, which he had rummaged----has informed us, that the mensuration
and configuration of the osseous or bony parts of human noses, in any
given tract of country, except Crim Tartary, where they are all crushed
down by the thumb, so that no judgement can be formed upon them--are
much nearer alike, than the world imagines.--L. STERNE. _Tristram


Dominie Sampson was occupied, body and soul, in the arrangement of the
late bishop's library, which had been sent from Liverpool by sea, and
conveyed by thirty or forty carts from the seaport at which it was
landed. Sampson's joy at beholding the ponderous contents of these
chests arranged upon the floor of the large apartment, from whence he
was to transfer them to the shelves, baffles all description. He grinned
like an ogre, swung his arms like the sails of a windmill, shouted
'Prodigious' till the roof rung to his raptures. 'He had never,' he
said, 'seen so many books together, except in the College Library;' and
now his dignity and delight in being superintendent of the collection,
raised him, in his own opinion, almost to the rank of the academical
librarian, whom he had always regarded as the greatest and happiest man
on earth. Neither were his transports diminished upon a hasty
examination of the contents of these volumes. Some, indeed, of belles
lettres, poems, plays, or memoirs, he tossed indignantly aside, with the
implied censure of 'psha', or 'frivolous'; but the greater and bulkier
part of the collection bore a very different character. The deceased
prelate, a divine of the old and deeply-learned cast, had loaded his
shelves with volumes which displayed the antique and venerable
attributes so happily described by a modern poet:

    That weight of wood, with leathern coat o'erlaid;
    Those ample clasps, of solid metal made;
    The close-pressed leaves unoped for many an age;
    The dull red edging of the well-filled page;
    On the broad back the stubborn ridges rolled,
    Where yet the title stands in tarnished gold.

Books of theology and controversial divinity, commentaries, and
polyglots, sets of the Fathers, and sermons, which might each furnish
forth ten brief discourses of modern date, books of science, ancient and
modern, classical authors in their best and rarest forms; such formed
the late bishop's venerable library, and over such the eye of Dominie
Sampson gloated with rapture. He entered them in the catalogue in his
best running hand, forming each letter with the accuracy of a lover
writing a valentine, and placed each individually on the destined shelf
with all the reverence which I have seen a lady pay to a jar of old
china. With all this zeal his labours advanced slowly. He often opened a
volume when half-way up the library-steps, fell upon some interesting
passage, and, without shifting his inconvenient posture, continued
immersed in the fascinating perusal until the servant pulled him by the
skirts to assure him that dinner waited. He then repaired to the
parlour, bolted his food down his capacious throat in squares of three
inches, answered aye or no at random to whatever question was asked at
him, and again hurried back to the library as soon as his napkin was
removed, and sometimes with it hanging round his neck like a pinafore--

    How happily the days
    Of Thalaba went by!

             SIR W. SCOTT. _Guy Mannering._

              Me, poor man,--my library
    Was dukedom large enough.

               W. SHAKESPEARE. _The Tempest._


      On shelf of deal beside the cuckoo-clock,
    Of cottage-reading rests the chosen stock;
    Learning we lack, not books, but have a kind
    For all our wants, a meat for every mind:
    The tale for wonder and the joke for whim,
    The half-sung sermon and the half-groaned hymn.
      No need of classing; each within its place,
    The feeling finger in the dark can trace;
    'First from the corner, farthest from the wall,'
    Such all the rules, and they suffice for all.
      There pious works for Sunday's use are found;
    Companions for the Bible newly bound;
    That Bible, bought by sixpence weekly saved,
    Has choicest prints by famous hands engraved;
    Has choicest notes by many a famous head,
    Such as to doubt have rustic readers led;
    Have made them stop to reason _why_? and _how_?
    And, where they once agreed, to cavil now.
    Oh! rather give me commentators plain,
    Who with no deep researches vex the brain;
    Who from the dark and doubtful love to run,
    And hold their glimmering tapers to the sun;
    Who simple truth with nine-fold reason back,
    And guard the point no enemies attack.
      Bunyan's famed Pilgrim rests the shelf upon;
    A genius rare but rude was honest John:
    Not one who, early by the Muse beguiled,
    Drank from her well the waters undefiled;
    Not one who slowly gained the hill sublime,
    Then often sipped and little at a time;
    But one who dabbled in the sacred springs,
    And drank them muddy, mixed with baser things.
      Here to interpret dreams we read the rules,
    Science our own! and never taught in schools;
    In moles and specks we Fortune's gifts discern,
    And Fate's fixed will from Nature's wanderings learn.
      Of Hermit Quarle we read, in island rare,
    Far from mankind and seeming far from care;
    Safe from all want, and sound in every limb;
    Yes! there was he, and there was care with him.
      Unbound and heaped, these valued works beside,
    Lay humbler works, the pedlar's pack supplied;
    Yet these, long since, have all acquired a name;
    The Wandering Jew has found his way to fame;
    And fame, denied to many a laboured song,
    Crowns Thumb the great and Hickerthrift the strong.
      There too is he, by wizard-power upheld,
    Jack, by whose arm the giant-brood were quelled:
    His shoes of swiftness on his feet he placed;
    His coat of darkness on his loins he braced;
    His sword of sharpness in his hand he took,
    And off the heads of doughty giants stroke:
    Their glaring eyes beheld no mortal near;
    No sound of feet alarmed the drowsy ear;
    No English blood their pagan sense could smell,
    But heads dropped headlong, wondering why they fell.
      These are the peasant's joy, when, placed at ease,
    Half his delighted offspring mount his knees.

                 G. CRABBE. _The Parish Register._


                                Books, books, books!
    I had found the secret of a garret-room
    Piled high with cases in my father's name;
    Piled high, packed large,--where, creeping in and out
    Among the giant fossils of my past,
    Like some small nimble mouse between the ribs
    Of a mastodon, I nibbled here and there
    At this or that box, pulling through the gap,
    In heats of terror, haste, victorious joy,
    The first book first. And how I felt it beat
    Under my pillow, in the morning's dark,
    An hour before the sun would let me read!
    My books!

                 E. B. BROWNING. _Aurora Leigh._

Every library should try to be complete on something, if it were only on
the history of pin-heads.--O. W. HOLMES. _The Poet at the


At home I betake me somewhat the oftener to my library, whence all at
once I command and survey all my household. It is seated in the chief
entry of my house, thence I behold under me my garden, my base court, my
yard, and look even into most rooms of my house. There without order,
without method, and by piece-meals I turn over and ransack, now one book
and now another. Sometimes I muse and rave; and walking up and down I
indite and enregister these my humours, these my conceits. It is placed
on the third story of a tower. The lowermost is my chapel; the second a
chamber with other lodgings, where I often lie, because I would be
alone. Above it is a great wardrobe. It was in times past the most
unprofitable place of all my house. There I pass the greatest part of my
life's days, and wear out most hours of the day. I am never there a
nights. Next unto it is a handsome neat cabinet, able and large enough
to receive fire in winter, and very pleasantly windowen. And if I feared
not care more than cost (care which drives and diverts me from all
business), I might easily join a convenient gallery of a hundred paces
long and twelve broad on each side of it, and upon one floor; having
already, for some other purpose, found all the walls raised unto a
convenient height. Each retired place requireth a walk. My thoughts are
prone to sleep if I sit long. My mind goes not alone, as if ledges did
move it. Those that study without books are all in the same case. The
form of it is round, and hath no flat side, but what serveth for my
table and chair: in which bending or circling manner, at one look it
offereth me the full sight of all my books, set round about upon shelves
or desks, five ranks one upon another. It hath three bay-windows, of a
far-extending, rich and unresisted prospect, and is in diameter sixteen
paces void. In winter I am less continually there: for my house (as the
name of it importeth) is perched upon an over-peering hillock; and hath
no part more subject to all weathers than this: which pleaseth me the
more, both because the access unto it is somewhat troublesome and
remote, and for the benefit of the exercise which is to be respected;
and that I may the better seclude myself from company, and keep
encroachers from me: There is my seat, that is my throne. I endeavour to
make my rule therein absolute, and to sequester that only corner from
the community of wife, of children, and of acquaintance. Elsewhere I
have but a verbal authority, of confused essence. Miserable in my mind
is he who in his own home hath nowhere to be to himself; where he may
particularly court, and at his pleasure hide or withdraw


I was in my library, making room upon the shelves for some books which
had just arrived from New England, removing to a less conspicuous
station others which were of less value and in worse dress, when Sir
Thomas entered. You are employed, said he, to your heart's content. Why,
Montesinos, with these books, and the delight you take in their constant
society, what have you to covet or desire?


Nothing, ... except more books.

_Sir Thomas More_

Crescit, indulgens sibi, dirus hydrops.


Nay, nay, my ghostly monitor, this at least is no diseased desire! If I
covet more, it is for the want I feel and the use which I should make of

'Libraries,' says my good old friend George Dyer, a man as learned as he
is benevolent, ... 'libraries are the wardrobes of literature, whence
men, properly informed, might bring forth something for ornament, much
for curiosity, and more for use.' These books of mine, as you well know,
are not drawn up here for display, however much the pride of the eye may
be gratified in beholding them; they are on actual service. Whenever
they may be dispersed, there is not one among them that will ever be
more comfortably lodged, or more highly prized by its possessor; and
generations may pass away before some of them will again find a
reader.... It is well that we do not moralize too much upon such
subjects, ...

    For foresight is a melancholy gift,
    Which bares the bald, and speeds the all-too-swift.

But the dispersion of a library, whether in retrospect or in
anticipation, is always to me a melancholy thing.

_Sir Thomas More_

How many such dispersions must have taken place to have made it possible
that these books should thus be brought together here among the
Cumberland mountains!


Many, indeed; and in many instances most disastrous ones. Not a few of
these volumes have been cast up from the wreck of the family or convent
libraries during the late Revolution. Yonder Acta Sanctorum belonged to
the Capuchines, at Ghent. This book of St. Bridget's Revelations, in
which not only all the initial letters are illuminated, but every
capital throughout the volume was coloured, came from the Carmelite
Nunnery at Bruges. That copy of Alain Chartier, from the Jesuits'
College at Louvain; that _Imago Primi Saeculi Societatis_, from their
college at Ruremond. Here are books from Colbert's library; here others
from the Lamoignon one.... A book is the more valuable to me when I know
to whom it has belonged, and through what 'scenes and changes' it has

_Sir Thomas More_

You would have its history recorded in the fly-leaf, as carefully as the
pedigree of a race-horse is preserved.


I confess that I have much of that feeling in which the superstition
concerning relics has originated; and I am sorry when I see the name of
a former owner obliterated in a book, or the plate of his arms defaced.
Poor memorials though they be, yet they are something saved for awhile
from oblivion; and I should be almost as unwilling to destroy them, as
to efface the _Hic jacet_ of a tombstone. There may be sometimes a
pleasure in recognizing them, sometimes a salutary sadness....

_Sir Thomas More_

How peaceably they stand together,--Papists and Protestants side by


Their very dust reposes not more quietly in the cemetery. Ancient and
Modern, Jew and Gentile, Mahommedan and Crusader, French and English,
Spaniards and Portuguese, Dutch and Brazilians, fighting their old
battles, silently now, upon the same shelf: Fernand Lopez and Pedro de
Ayala; John de Laet and Barlaeus, with the historians of Joam Fernandes
Vieira; Foxe's Martyrs and the Three Conversions of Father Parsons;
Cranmer and Stephen Gardiner; Dominican and Franciscan; Jesuit and
_Philosophe_ (equally misnamed); Churchmen and Sectarians; Roundheads
and Cavaliers!

    Here are God's conduits, grave divines; and here
    Is nature's secretary, the philosopher:
    And wily statesman, which teach how to tie
    The sinews of a city's mystic body;
    Here gathering chroniclers: and by them stand
    Giddy fantastic poets of each land.

Here I possess these gathered treasures of time, the harvest of so many
generations, laid up in my garners: and when I go to the window, there
is the lake, and the circle of the mountains, and the illimitable
sky.... Never can any man's life have been passed more in accord with
his own inclinations, nor more answerably to his own desires. Excepting
that peace which, through God's infinite mercy, is derived from a higher
source, it is to literature, humanly speaking, that I am beholden, not
only for the means of subsistence, but for every blessing which I enjoy;
... health of mind and activity of mind, contentment, cheerfulness,
continual employments, and therewith continual pleasure. _Suavissima
vita indies sentire se fieri meliorem_; and this, as Bacon has said, and
Clarendon repeated, is the benefit that a studious man enjoys in
retirement. To the studies which I have faithfully pursued, I am
indebted for friends with whom, hereafter, it will be deemed an honour
to have lived in friendship; and as for the enemies which they have
procured to me in sufficient numbers, ... happily I am not of the
thin-skinned race, ... they might as well fire small shot at a
rhinoceros, as direct their attacks upon me. _In omnibus requiem
quaesivi_, said Thomas à Kempis, _sed non inveni nisi in angulis et
libellis_. I too have found repose where he did, in books and
retirement, but it was there alone I sought it: to these my nature,
under the direction of a merciful Providence, led me betimes, and the
world can offer nothing which should tempt me from them.--R. SOUTHEY.
_Sir Thomas More: or, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of
Society. Colloquy xiv: 'The Library.'_


His library, though not abounding in Greek or Latin (which are the only
things to help some persons to an idea of literature), is anything but
superficial. The depths of philosophy and poetry are there, the
innermost passages of the human heart. It has some Latin too. It has
also a handsome contempt for appearance. It looks like what it is, a
selection made at precious intervals from the book-stalls; now a Chaucer
at nine and twopence; now a Montaigne or a Sir Thomas Browne at two
shillings; now a Jeremy Taylor; a Spinoza; an old English Dramatist,
Prior, and Sir Philip Sidney; and the books are 'neat as imported'. The
very perusal of the backs is a 'discipline of humanity'. There Mr.
Southey takes his place again with an old Radical friend: there Jeremy
Collier is at peace with Dryden: there the lion, Martin Luther, lies
down with the Quaker lamb, Sewell: there Guzman d'Alfarache thinks
himself fit company for Sir Charles Grandison, and has his claims
admitted. Even the 'high fantastical' Duchess of Newcastle, with her
laurel on her head, is received with grave honours, and not the less for
declining to trouble herself with the constitutions of her maids.--J. H.
LEIGH HUNT. _My Books._


    O! I methinks could dwell content
      A spell-bound captive here;
    And find, in such imprisonment,
      Each fleeting moment dear;--
    Dear, not to outward sense alone,
    But thought's most elevated tone.

    The song of birds, the hum of bees,
      Their sweetest music make;
    The March winds, through the lofty trees,
      Their wilder strains awake;
    Or from the broad magnolia leaves
    A gentler gale its spirit heaves.

    Nor less the eye enraptured roves
      O'er turf of freshest green,
    O'er bursting flowers, and budding groves,
      And sky of changeful mien,
    Where sunny glimpses, bright and blue,
    The fleecy clouds are peeping through.

    Thus soothed, in every passing mood,
      How sweet each gifted page,
    Rich with the mind's ambrosial food,
      The Muse's brighter age!
    How sweet, communion here to hold
    With them, the mighty bards of old.

    With them--whose master spirits yet
      In deathless numbers dwell,
    Whose works defy us to forget
      Their still-surviving spell;--
    That spell, which lingers in a name,
    Whose every echo whispers Fame!

    Could aught enhance such hours of bliss,
      It were in converse known
    With him who boasts a scene like this,
      An Eden of his own;
    Whose taste and talent gave it birth,
    And well can estimate its worth.

                         B. BARTON.


The works or acts of merit towards learning are conversant about three
objects; the places of learning, the books of learning, and the persons
of the learned.... The works touching books are two: first, libraries
which are as the shrines where all the relics of the ancient saints,
full of true virtue, and that without delusion or imposture, are
preserved and reposed; secondly, new editions of authors, with more
correct impressions, more faithful translations, more profitable
glosses, more diligent annotations, and the like.--F. BACON, LORD
VERULAM. _Of the Advancement of Learning._


Never had we been offended for the loss of our libraries, being so many
in number, and in so desolate places for the most part, if the chief
monuments and most notable works of our excellent writers had been
reserved. If there had been in every shire of England but one Solempne
Library, to the preservation of those noble works, and preferment of
good learning in our posterity, it had been yet somewhat. But to destroy
all without consideration is, and will be, unto England for ever, a most
horrible infamy among the grave seniors of other nations. A great number
of them which purchased those superstitious mansions, reserved of those
library-books, some to serve the jakes, some to scour their
candlesticks, and some to rub their boots. Some they sold to the grocers
and soap-sellers; some they sent over sea to the bookbinders, not in
small number, but at times whole ships full, to the wondering of the
foreign nations. Yea, the universities of this realm are not all clear
of this detestable fact. But, cursed is that belly which seeketh to be
fed with such ungodly gains, and shameth his natural country. I know a
merchant-man, which shall at this time be nameless, that bought the
contents of two noble libraries for forty shillings price; a shame it
is to be spoken! This stuff hath he occupied in the stead of gray paper,
by the space of more than ten years, and yet he hath store enough for as
many years to come!--J. BALE. _Preface to the Laboryouse Journey of


I hope it will not be long before royal or national libraries will be
founded in every considerable city, with a royal series of books in
them; the same series in every one of them, chosen books, the best in
every kind, prepared for that national series in the most perfect way
possible; their text printed all on leaves of equal size, broad of
margin, and divided into pleasant volumes, light in the hand, beautiful,
and strong, and thorough as examples of binders' work; and that these
great libraries will be accessible to all clean and orderly persons at
all times of the day and evening; strict law being enforced for this
cleanliness and quietness.--J. RUSKIN. _Sesame and Lilies._


    'Let there be light!' God spake of old,
    And over chaos dark and cold,
    And through the dead and formless frame
    Of nature, life and order came.

    Faint was the light at first that shone
    On giant fern and mastodon,
    On half-formed plant and beast of prey,
    And man as rude and wild as they.

    Age after age, like waves, o'erran
    The earth, uplifting brute and man;
    And mind, at length, in symbols dark
    Its meanings traced on stone and bark.

    On leaf of palm, on sedge-wrought roll,
    On plastic clay and leathern scroll,
    Man wrote his thoughts; the ages passed,
    And lo! the Press was found at last!

    Then dead souls woke; the thoughts of men
    Whose bones were dust revived again;
    The cloister's silence found a tongue,
    Old prophets spake, old poets sung.

    And here, to-day, the dead look down,
    The kings of mind again we crown;
    We hear the voices lost so long,
    The sage's word, the sibyl's song.

    Here Greek and Roman find themselves
    Alive along these crowded shelves;
    And Shakespeare treads again his stage,
    And Chaucer paints anew his age.

    As if some Pantheon's marbles broke
    Their stony trance, and lived and spoke,
    Life thrills along the alcoved hall,
    The lords of thought await our call!

                    J. G. WHITTIER.


One of the great offices of a Reference Library is to keep at the
service of everybody what everybody cannot keep at home for his own
service. It is not convenient to every man to have a very large
telescope; I may wish to study the skeleton of a whale but my house is
not large enough to hold one; I may be curious in microscopes but I may
have no money to buy one of my own. But provide an institution like this
and here is the telescope, here is the microscope, and here the skeleton
of the whale. Here are the great picture, the mighty book, the ponderous
atlas, the great histories of the world. They are here always ready for
the use of every man without his being put to the cost of purchase or
the discomfort of giving them house-room. Here are books that we only
want to consult occasionally and which are very costly. These are the
books proper for a Library like this--mighty cyclopaedias, prodigious
charts, books that only Governments can publish. It is almost the only
place where I would avoid cheapness as a plague and run away from mean
printing and petty pages with disgust.--GEORGE DAWSON. _Address at the
opening of the Birmingham Free Reference Library_, 1866.


The shade deepens as I turn from the portico to the hall and vast domed
house of books. The half-hearted light under the dome is stagnant and
dead. For it is the nature of light to beat and throb; it has a pulse
and undulation like the swing of the sea. Under the trees in the
woodlands it vibrates and lives; on the hills there is a resonance of
light.... It is renewed and fresh every moment, and never twice do you
see the same ray. Stayed and checked by the dome and book-built walls,
the beams lose their elasticity, and the ripple ceases in the motionless
pool. The eyes, responding, forget to turn quickly, and only partially
see. Deeper thought and inspiration quit the heart, for they can only
exist where the light vibrates and communicates its tone to the soul. If
any imagine they shall find thought in many books, certainly they will
be disappointed. Thought dwells by the stream and sea, by the hill and
in the woodland, in the sunlight and free wind, where the wild dove
haunts. Walls and roof shut it off as they shut off the undulation of
light. The very lightning cannot penetrate here. A murkiness marks the
coming of the cloud, and the dome becomes vague, but the fierce flash is
shorn to a pale reflection, and the thunder is no more than the rolling
of a heavier truck loaded with tomes. But in closing out the sky, with
it is cut off all that the sky can tell you with its light, or in its
passion of storm.

Sitting at these long desks and trying to read, I soon find that I have
made a mistake; it is not here I shall find that which I seek. Yet the
magic of books draws me here time after time, to be as often
disappointed. Something in a book tempts the mind as pictures tempt the
eye; the eye grows weary of pictures, but looks again. The mind wearies
of books, yet cannot forget that once when they were first opened in
youth they gave it hope of knowledge. Those first books exhausted, there
is nothing left but words and covers. It seems as if all the books in
the world--really books--can be bought for £10. Man's whole thought is
purchaseable at that small price, for the value of a watch, of a good
dog. For the rest it is repetition and paraphrase.--R. JEFFERIES. _The
Life of the Fields: The Pigeons at the British Museum._


Now behold us, ... settled in all the state and grandeur of our own
house in Russell Street, Bloomsbury: the library of the Museum close at
hand. My father spends his mornings in those _lata silentia_, as Virgil
calls the world beyond the grave. And a world beyond the grave we may
well call that land of the ghosts, a book collection.

'Pisistratus,' said my father, one evening as he arranged his notes
before him, and rubbed his spectacles. 'Pisistratus, a great library is
an _awful_ place! There, are interred all the remains of men since the

'It is a burial-place!' quoth my Uncle Roland, who had that day found us

'It is an Heraclea!' said my father.

'Please, not such hard words,' said the Captain, shaking his head.

'Heraclea was the city of necromancers, in which they raised the dead.
Do I want to speak to Cicero?--I invoke him. Do I want to chat in the
Athenian market-place, and hear news two thousand years old?--I write
down my charm on a slip of paper, and a grave magician calls me up
Aristophanes.... But it is not _that_ which is awful. It is the
presuming to vie with these "spirits elect": to say to them, "Make
way--I too claim place with the chosen. I too would confer with the
living, centuries after the death that consumes my dust."'--E. G. E. L.


I should explain that I cannot write unless I have a sloping desk, and
the reading-room of the British Museum, where alone I can compose
freely, is unprovided with sloping desks. Like every other organism, if
I cannot get exactly what I want, I make shift with the next thing to
it; true, there are no desks in the reading-room, but, as I once heard a
visitor from the country say, 'it contains a large number of very
interesting works.' I know it was not right, and hope the Museum
authorities will not be severe upon me if any one of them reads this
confession; but I wanted a desk, and set myself to consider which of the
many very interesting works which a grateful nation places at the
disposal of its would-be authors was best suited for my purpose.

For mere reading I suppose one book is pretty much as good as another:
but the choice of a desk-book is a more serious matter. It must be
neither too thick nor too thin; it must be large enough to make a
substantial support; it must be strongly bound so as not to yield or
give; it must not be too troublesome to carry backwards and forwards;
and it must live on shelf C, D, or E, so that there need be no stooping
or reaching too high.... For weeks I made experiments upon sundry
poetical and philosophical works, whose names I have forgotten, but
could not succeed in finding my ideal desk, until at length, more by
luck than cunning, I happened to light upon Frost's '_Lives of Eminent
Christians_', which I had no sooner tried than I discovered it to be the
very perfection and _ne plus ultra_ of everything that a book should
be.... On finding myself asked for a contribution to the _Universal
Review_, I went, as I have explained, to the Museum, and presently
repaired to bookcase No. 2008 to get my favourite volume. Alas! it was
in the room no longer. It was not in use, for its place was filled up
already; besides, no one ever used it but myself.... Till I have found a
substitute I can write no more, and I do not know how to find even a
tolerable one. I should try a volume of Migne's _Complete Course of
Patrology_, but I do not like books in more than one volume, for the
volumes vary in thickness, and one never can remember which one took;
the four volumes, however, of Bede in Giles's _Anglican Fathers_ are not
open to this objection, and I have reserved them for favourable
consideration. Mather's _Magnalia_ might do, but the binding does not
please me; Cureton's _Corpus Ignatianum_ might also do if it were not
too thin. I do not like taking Norton's _Genuineness of the Gospels_, as
it is just possible some one may be wanting to know whether the Gospels
are genuine or not, and be unable to find out because I have got Mr.
Norton's book. Baxter's _Church History of England_, Lingard's
_Anglo-Saxon Church_, and Cardwell's _Documentary Annals_, though none
of them as good as Frost, are works of considerable merit; but on the
whole I think Arvine's _Cyclopaedia of Moral and Religious Anecdote_ is
perhaps the one book in the room which comes within measurable distance
of Frost.... Some successor I must find, or I must give up writing
altogether, and this I should be sorry to do.--S. BUTLER. _Essays on
Life, Art, and Science._


What a world of wit is here packed up together! I know not, whether this
sight doth more dismay, or comfort me: it dismays me, to think that here
is so much that I cannot know; it comforts me, to think that this
variety yields so good helps, to know what I should. There is no truer
word than that of Solomon: 'There is no end of making many books.' This
sight verifies it. There is no end: it were pity there should. God hath
given to man a busy soul; the agitation whereof cannot but, through time
and experience, work out many hidden truths: to suppress these, would be
no other than injurious to mankind, whose minds like unto so many
candles should be kindled by each other. The thoughts of our
deliberation are most accurate: these we vent into our papers. What a
happiness is it, that, without all offence of necromancy, I may here
call up any of the ancient worthies of learning, whether human or
divine, and confer with them of all my doubts! that I can, at pleasure,
summon whole synods of reverend fathers and acute doctors from all the
coasts of the earth, to give their well-studied judgements, in all
points of question, which I propose! Neither can I cast my eye casually
upon any of these silent masters, but I must learn somewhat. It is a
wantonness, to complain of choice. No law binds us to read all: but the
more we can take in and digest, the better-liking must the mind needs
be. Blessed be God, that set up so many clear lamps in his Church: now,
none, but the wilfully blind, can plead darkness. And blessed be the
memory of those his faithful servants, that have left their blood, their
spirits, their lives, in these precious papers; and have willingly
wasted themselves into these during monuments, to give light unto
others.--JOSEPH HALL. _Occasional Meditations._


There are more ways to derive instruction from books than the direct and
chief one of applying the attention to what they contain. Things
connected with them, by natural or casual association, will sometimes
suggest themselves to a reflective and imaginative reader, and divert
him into secondary trains of ideas. In these, the mind may, indeed,
float along in perfect indolence and acquire no good; but a serious
disposition might regulate them to a profitable result....

Even in the most cursory notice of them, when the attention is engaged
by no one in particular, ideas may be started of a tendency not wholly
foreign to instruction. A reflective person, in his library, in some
hour of intermittent application, when the mind is surrendered to
vagrant musing, may glance along the ranges of volumes with a slight
recognition of the authors, in long miscellaneous array of ancients and
moderns. And that musing may become shaped into ideas like these:--What
a number of our busy race have deemed themselves capable of informing
and directing the rest of mankind! What a vast amount is collected here
of the results of the most strenuous and protracted exertions of so many
minds! What were in each of these claimants that the world should think
as they did, the most prevailing motives? How many of them sincerely
loved truth, honestly sought it, and faithfully, to the best of their
knowledge, declared it? What might be the circumstances and influences
which determined in the case of that one author, and the next, and the
next again, their own modes of opinion?

And how much have they actually done for truth and righteousness in the
world? Do not the contents of these accumulated volumes constitute a
chaos of all discordant and contradictory principles, theories,
representations of facts, and figurings of imaginations? Could I not
instantly place beside each other the works of two noted authors, who
maintain for truth directly opposite doctrines, or systems of doctrine;
and then add a third book which explodes them both? I can take some one
book in which the prime spirits of the world, through all time, are
brought together, announcing the speculations which they, respectively,
proclaimed to be the essence of all wisdom, protesting, with solemn
censure or sneering contempt, against the dogmas and theories of one
another, and conflicting in a huge Babel of all imaginable opinions and

Thus far the instructive reflections which even the mere exterior of an
accumulation of books may suggest are supposed to occur in the way of
thinking of the _authors_. But the same books may also excite some
interesting ideas through their less obvious but not altogether fanciful
association with the persons who may have been their _readers_ or
_possessors_. The mind of a thoughtful looker over a range of volumes of
many dates, and a considerable portion of them old, will sometimes be
led into a train of conjectural questions:--Who were they that, in
various times and places, have had these in their possession? Perhaps
many hands have turned over the leaves, many eyes have passed along the
lines. With what measure of intelligence, and of approval or dissent,
did those persons respectively follow the train of thoughts? How many of
them were honestly intent on becoming wise by what they read? How many
sincere prayers were addressed by them to the Eternal Wisdom during the
perusal? How many have been determined, in their judgement or their
actions, by these books? What emotions, temptations, or painful
occurrences, may have interrupted the reading of this book, or of
that?--J. FOSTER. _Introductory Essay to Doddridge's Rise and Progress
of Religion in the Soul._


A great library! What a mass of human misery is here commemorated!--how
many buried hopes surround us!

The author of that work was the greatest natural philosopher that ever
enlightened mankind. His biographers are now disputing whether at one
period of his life he was not of unsound mind--but all agree that he was
afterwards able to understand his own writings.

The author of those numerous volumes was logician, metaphysician,
natural historian, philosopher; his sanity was never doubted, and with
his last breath he regretted his birth, mourned over his life, expressed
his fear of death, and called upon the Cause of causes to pity him. His
slightest thoughts continued to domineer over the world for ages, until
they were in some measure silenced by those works which contain the
unfettered meditations of a very great man, who, being more careless
than corrupt in the administration of his high office, has gone down to
posterity, as

    'The wisest, brightest, meanest, of mankind.'

For his wisdom has embalmed his meanness.

Those volumes contain the weighty, if not wise opinions of one who,
amidst penury and wretchedness, first learnt to moralize with companions
as poor and wretched as himself. Even in his latter years, when sought
by a monarch, and listened to with submission by all who approached him,
his life can scarcely be called a happy one; yet he must have enjoyed
some moments of triumph, if not of happiness, in contemplating the
severe but well-merited rebuke which he inflicted upon that courtier,
who could behold his difficulties with all the indifference that belongs
to good breeding, and then thought fit, in the hour of his success, to
encumber him with paltry praises.

Those poems were the burning words of one

    '... Cradled into poetry by wrong,
    Who learnt in suffering what he taught in song.'

The slightest foibles of this unhappy man have been brought into odious
prominence, for he was the favourite author of his age, and therefore
the property of the public.

That boyish book absolved its author from a father's cares; and he was
one to whom those cares would have been dearest joys, who loved to look
upon a poor man's child. Listen to the music of his sadness--

    'I see the deep's untrampled floor
      With green and purple seaweeds strown;
    I see the waves upon the shore,
      Like light dissolv'd in star-showers, thrown:
    I sit upon the sands alone,
      The lightning of the noon-tide ocean
    Is flashing round me, and a tone
      Arises from its measured motion,
    How sweet! did any heart now share in my emotion!'

The sharp arrows of criticism were successfully directed against that
next volume, and are said to have been the means of hurrying its author
to that world of dreams and shadows, for which, in the critic's opinion,
he was so pre-eminently fitted.

    'Where is the youth, for deeds immortal born,
    Who loved to whisper to the embattled corn,
    And clustered woodbines, breathing o'er the stream
    Endymion's beauteous passion for a dream?'

You already smile, my friend; but to know the heights and the depths,
you must turn your attention to those numberless, unread, unheard-of
volumes. Their authors did not suffer from the severity of the critic or
the judge, but were only neglected. If Mephistopheles ever requires rest
and seclusion--But, hark! is there not a laugh? and that grotesque face
in the carved woodwork, how scoffingly it is looking down upon us!--SIR
A. HELPS. _Thoughts in a Cloister._


Let us compare the different ways in which Crabbe and Foster (certainly
a _prose_ poet) deal with a library. Crabbe describes minutely and
successfully the outer features of the volumes, their colours, clasps,
the stubborn ridges of their bindings, the illustrations which adorn
them, so well that you feel yourself among them, and they become
sensible to touch almost as to sight. But there he stops, and sadly
fails, we think, in bringing out the living and moral interest which
gathers around a multitude of books, or even around a single volume.
This Foster has amply done. The speaking silence of a number of books,
where, though it were the wide Bodleian or Vatican, not one whisper
could be heard, and yet where, as in an antechamber, so many great
spirits are waiting to deliver their messages--their churchyard
stillness continuing even when their readers are moving to their pages,
in joy or agony, as to the sound of martial instruments--their awaking,
as from deep slumber, to speak with miraculous organ, like the shell
which has only to be lifted, and 'pleased it remembers its august
abodes, and murmurs as the ocean murmurs there'--their power of drawing
tears, kindling blushes, awakening laughter, calming or quickening the
motions of the life's-blood, lulling to repose, or rousing to
restlessness--the meaning which radiates from their quiet
countenances--the tale of shame or glory which their title-pages
tell--the memories suggested by the character of their authors, and of
the readers who have throughout successive centuries perused them--the
thrilling thoughts excited by the sight of names and notes inscribed on
their margins or blank pages by hands long since mouldered in the dust,
or by those dear to us as our life's-blood, who have been snatched from
our sides--the aspects of gaiety or of gloom connected with the bindings
and the age of volumes--the effects of sunshine playing as if on a
congregation of happy faces, making the duskiest shine and the gloomiest
be glad--or of shadow suffusing a sombre air over all--the joy of the
proprietor of a large library, who feels that Nebuchadnezzar watching
great Babylon, or Napoleon reviewing his legions, will not stand
comparison with himself seated amid the broad maps, and rich prints, and
numerous volumes which his wealth has enabled him to enjoy--all such
hieroglyphics of interest and meaning has Foster included and
interpreted in one gloomy but noble meditation, and his introduction to
Doddridge is the true 'Poem on the Library'.--G. GILFILLAN. _Gallery of
Literary Portraits: George Crabbe._


    When the sad soul, by care and grief oppressed,
    Looks round the world, but looks in vain for rest;
    When every object that appears in view,
    Partakes her gloom and seems dejected too;
    Where shall affliction from itself retire?
    Where fade away and placidly expire?
    Alas! we fly to silent scenes in vain;
    Care blasts the honours of the flowery plain:
    Care veils in clouds the sun's meridian beam,
    Sighs through the grove and murmurs in the stream;
    For when the soul is labouring in despair,
    In vain the body breathes a purer air:
    No storm-tossed sailor sighs for slumbering seas,--
    He dreads the tempest, but invokes the breeze;
    On the smooth mirror of the deep resides
    Reflected woe, and o'er unruffled tides
    The ghost of every former danger glides.
    Thus, in the calms of life, we only see
    A steadier image of our misery;
    But lively gales and gently-clouded skies
    Disperse the sad reflections as they rise;
    And busy thoughts and little cares avail
    To ease the mind, when rest and reason fail.
    When the dull thought, by no designs employed,
    Dwells on the past, or suffered or enjoyed,
    We bleed anew in every former grief,
    And joys departed furnish no relief.

      Not Hope herself, with all her flattering art,
    Can cure this stubborn sickness of the heart:
    The soul disdains each comfort she prepares,
    And anxious searches for congenial cares;
    Those lenient cares, which, with our own combined,
    By mixed sensations ease the afflicted mind,
    And steal our grief away and leave their own behind;
    A lighter grief! which feeling hearts endure
    Without regret, nor e'en demand a cure.

      But what strange art, what magic can dispose
    The troubled mind to change its native woes?
    Or lead us willing from ourselves, to see
    Others more wretched, more undone than we?
    This, books can do;--nor this alone; they give
    New views to life, and teach us how to live;
    They soothe the grieved, the stubborn they chastise,
    Fools they admonish, and confirm the wise:
    Their aid they yield to all: they never shun
    The man of sorrow, nor the wretch undone:
    Unlike the hard, the selfish, and the proud,
    They fly not sullen from the suppliant crowd;
    Nor tell to various people various things,
    But show to subjects, what they show to kings.

      Come, Child of Care! to make thy soul serene,
    Approach the treasures of this tranquil scene;
    Survey the dome, and, as the doors unfold,
    The soul's best cure, in all her cares, behold!
    Where mental wealth the poor in thought may find,
    And mental physic the diseased in mind;
    See here the balms that passion's wounds assuage;
    See coolers here, that damp the fire of rage;
    Here alteratives, by slow degrees control
    The chronic habits of the sickly soul;
    And round the heart and o'er the aching head,
    Mild opiates here their sober influence shed.
    Now bid thy soul man's busy scenes exclude,
    And view composed this silent multitude:--
    Silent they are, but, though deprived of sound,
    Here all the living languages abound;
    Here all that live no more; preserved they lie,
    In tombs that open to the curious eye.

      Blessed be the gracious Power, who taught mankind
    To stamp a lasting image of the mind!--
    Beasts may convey, and tuneful birds may sing,
    Their mutual feelings, in the opening spring;
    But man alone has skill and power to send
    The heart's warm dictates to the distant friend:
    'Tis his alone to please, instruct, advise
    Ages remote, and nations yet to rise.

      In sweet repose, when labour's children sleep,
    When joy forgets to smile and care to weep,
    When passion slumbers in the lover's breast,
    And fear and guilt partake the balm of rest,
    Why then denies the studious man to share
    Man's common good, who feels his common care?

      Because the hope is his, that bids him fly
    Night's soft repose, and sleep's mild power defy;
    That after-ages may repeat his praise,
    And fame's fair meed be his, for length of days.
    Delightful prospect! when we leave behind
    A worthy offspring of the fruitful mind!
    Which, born and nursed through many an anxious day,
    Shall all our labour, all our care repay.

      Yet all are not these births of noble kind,
    Not all the children of a vigorous mind;
    But where the wisest should alone preside,
    The weak would rule us, and the blind would guide;
    Nay, man's best efforts taste of man, and show
    The poor and troubled source from which they flow:
    Where most he triumphs, we his wants perceive,
    And for his weakness in his wisdom grieve.
    But though imperfect all; yet wisdom loves
    This seat serene, and virtue's self approves:--
    Here come the grieved, a change of thought to find;
    The curious here, to feed a craving mind;
    Here the devout their peaceful temple choose;
    And here the poet meets his favouring muse.

      With awe, around these silent walks I tread;
    These are the lasting mansions of the dead:--
    'The dead,' methinks a thousand tongues reply;
    'These are the tombs of such as cannot die!
    Crowned with eternal fame, they sit sublime,
    And laugh at all the little strife of time.'

      Hail, then, immortals! ye who shine above,
    Each, in his sphere, the literary Jove;
    And ye the common people of these skies,
    A humbler crowd of nameless deities;
    Whether 'tis yours to lead the willing mind
    Through history's mazes, and the turnings find;
    Or whether, led by science, ye retire,
    Lost and bewildered in the vast desire;
    Whether the Muse invites you to her bowers,
    And crowns your placid brows with living flowers;
    Or godlike wisdom teaches you to show
    The noblest road to happiness below;
    Or men and manners prompt the easy page
    To mark the flying follies of the age:
    Whatever good ye boast, that good impart;
    Inform the head and rectify the heart.

      Lo! all in silence, all in order stand
    And mighty folios first, a lordly band;
    Then quartos their well-ordered ranks maintain.
    And light octavos fill a spacious plain:
    See yonder, ranged in more frequented rows,
    A humbler band of duodecimos;
    While undistinguished trifles swell the scene,
    The last new play and frittered magazine.
    Thus 'tis in life, where first the proud, the great,
    In leagued assembly keep their cumbrous state;
    Heavy and huge, they fill the world with dread,
    Are much admired, and are but little read:
    The commons next, a middle rank, are found;
    Professions fruitful pour their offspring round:
    Reasoners and wits are next their place allowed,
    And last, of vulgar tribes a countless crowd.

      First, let us view the form, the size, the dress;
    For these the manners, nay the mind express;
    That weight of wood, with leathern coat o'erlaid;
    Those ample clasps, of solid metal made;
    The close-pressed leaves, unclosed for many an age;
    The dull red edging of the well-filled page;
    On the broad back the stubborn ridges rolled,
    Where yet the title stands in tarnished gold;
    These all a sage and laboured work proclaim,
    A painful candidate for lasting fame:
    No idle wit, no trifling verse can lurk
    In the deep bosom of that weighty work;
    No playful thoughts degrade the solemn style,
    Nor one light sentence claims a transient smile.

      Hence, in these times, untouched the pages lie,
    And slumber out their immortality:
    They _had_ their day, when, after all his toil,
    His morning study, and his midnight oil,
    At length an author's ONE great work appeared,
    By patient hope, and length of days, endeared:
    Expecting nations hailed it from the press;
    Poetic friends prefixed each kind address;
    Princes and kings received the ponderous gift,
    And ladies read the work they could not lift.
    Fashion, though Folly's child, and guide of fools,
    Rules e'en the wisest, and in learning rules;
    From crowds and courts to Wisdom's seat she goes,
    And reigns triumphant o'er her mother's foes.

      For lo! these favourites of the ancient mode
    Lie all neglected like the Birth-day Ode;
    Ah! needless now this weight of massy chain;
    Safe in themselves, the once-loved works remain;
    No readers now invade their still retreat,
    None try to steal them from their parent-seat;
    Like ancient beauties, they may now discard
    Chains, bolts, and locks, and lie without a guard.
    Our patient fathers trifling themes laid by,
    And rolled o'er laboured works the attentive eye;
    Page after page, the much-enduring men
    Explored, the deeps and shallows of the pen;
    Till, every former note and comment known,
    They marked the spacious margin with their own:
    Minute corrections proved their studious care,
    The little index, pointing, told us where;
    And many an emendation showed the age
    Looked far beyond the rubric title-page.

      Our nicer palates lighter labours seek,
    Cloyed with a folio-_Number_ once a week;
    Bibles, with cuts and comments, thus go down:
    E'en light Voltaire is _numbered_ through the town:
    Thus physic flies abroad, and thus the law,
    From men of study, and from men of straw;
    Abstracts, abridgements, please the fickle times,
    Pamphlets and plays, and politics and rhymes:
    But though to write be now a task of ease,
    The task is hard by manly arts to please,
    When all our weakness is exposed to view,
    And half our judges are our rivals too.

      Amid these works, on which the eager eye
    Delights to fix, or glides reluctant by,
    When all combined, their decent pomp display,
    Where shall we first our early offering pay?----

      To thee, DIVINITY! to thee, the light
    And guide of mortals, through their mental night;
    By whom we learn our hopes and fears to guide;
    To bear with pain, and to contend with pride;
    When grieved, to pray; when injured, to forgive;
    And with the world in charity to live.

      Not truths like these inspired that numerous race,
    Whose pious labours fill this ample space;
    But questions nice, where doubt on doubt arose,
    Awaked to war the long-contending foes.
    For dubious meanings, learned polemics strove,
    And wars on faith prevented works of love;
    The brands of discord far around were hurled,
    And holy wrath inflamed a sinful world:--
    Dull though impatient, peevish though devout,
    With wit disgusting and despised without;
    Saints in design, in execution men,
    Peace in their looks, and vengeance in their pen.

      Methinks I see, and sicken at the sight,
    Spirits of spleen from yonder pile alight;
    Spirits who prompted every damning page,
    With pontiff pride and still-increasing rage:
    Lo! how they stretch their gloomy wings around,
    And lash with furious strokes the trembling ground!
    They pray, they fight, they murder, and they weep,--
    Wolves in their vengeance, in their manners sheep;
    Too well they act the prophet's fatal part,
    Denouncing evil with a zealous heart;
    And each, like Jonas, is displeased if God
    Repent his anger, or withhold his rod.
    But here the dormant fury rests unsought,
    And Zeal sleeps soundly by the foes she fought;
    Here all the rage of controversy ends,
    And rival zealots rest like bosom-friends:
    An Athanasian here, in deep repose,
    Sleeps with the fiercest of his Arian foes;
    Socinians here with Calvinists abide,
    And thin partitions angry chiefs divide;
    Here wily Jesuits simple Quakers meet,
    And Bellarmine has rest at Luther's feet.
    Great authors, for the church's glory fired,
    Are, for the church's peace, to rest retired;
    And close beside, a mystic, maudlin race,
    Lie, 'Crums of Comfort for the Babes of Grace.'

      Against her foes Religion well defends
    Her sacred truths, but often fears her friends;
    If learned, their pride, if weak, their zeal she dreads,
    And their hearts' weakness, who have soundest heads:
    But most she fears the controversial pen,
    The holy strife of disputatious men;
    Who the blessed Gospel's peaceful page explore,
    Only to fight against its precepts more.

      Near to these seats, behold yon slender frames,
    All closely filled and marked with modern names;
    Where no fair science ever shows her face,
    Few sparks of genius, and no spark of grace;
    There sceptics rest, a still-increasing throng,
    And stretch their widening wings ten thousand strong:
    Some in close fight their dubious claims maintain;
    Some skirmish lightly, fly and fight again;
    Coldly profane, and impiously gay,
    Their end the same, though various in their way.

      When first Religion came to bless the land,
    Her friends were then a firm believing band;
    To doubt was, then, to plunge in guilt extreme,
    And all was gospel that a monk could dream;
    Insulted Reason fled the grovelling soul,
    For fear to guide, and visions to control:
    But now, when Reason has assumed her throne,
    She, in her turn, demands to reign alone;
    Rejecting all that lies beyond her view,
    And, being judge, will be a witness too:
    Insulted Faith then leaves the doubtful mind,
    To seek for truth, without a power to find:
    Ah! when will both in friendly beams unite,
    And pour on erring man resistless light?

      Next to the seats, well stored with works divine,
    An ample space, PHILOSOPHY! is thine;
    Our reason's guide, by whose assisting light
    We trace the moral bounds of wrong and right;
    Our guide through nature, from the sterile clay,
    To the bright orbs of yon celestial way!
    'Tis thine, the great, the golden chain to trace,
    Which runs through all, connecting race with race;
    Save where those puzzling, stubborn links remain,
    Which thy inferior light pursues in vain:--

      How vice and virtue in the soul contend;
    How widely differ, yet how nearly blend!
    What various passions war on either part,
    And now confirm, now melt the yielding heart:
    How Fancy loves around the world to stray,
    While Judgement slowly picks his sober way;
    The stores of memory, and the flights sublime
    Of genius, bound by neither space nor time;--
    All these divine Philosophy explores,
    Till, lost in awe, she wonders and adores.
    From these, descending to the earth, she turns,
    And matter, in its various form, discerns;
    She parts the beamy light with skill profound,
    Metes the thin air, and weighs the flying sound;
    'Tis hers, the lightning from the clouds to call,
    And teach the fiery mischief where to fall.

      Yet more her volumes teach,--on these we look
    As abstracts drawn from Nature's larger book:
    Here, first described, the torpid earth appears,
    And next, the vegetable robe it wears;
    Where flowery tribes, in valleys, fields and groves,
    Nurse the still flame, and feed the silent loves;
    Loves, where no grief, nor joy, nor bliss, nor pain,
    Warm the glad heart or vex the labouring brain;
    But as the green blood moves along the blade,
    The bed of Flora on the branch is made;
    Where, without passion, love instinctive lives,
    And gives new life, unconscious that it gives.
    Advancing still in Nature's maze, we trace,
    In dens and burning plains, her savage race;
    With those tame tribes who on their lord attend,
    And find, in man, a master and a friend:
    Man crowns the scene, a world of wonders new,
    A moral world, that well demands our view.

      This world is here; for, of more lofty kind,
    These neighbouring volumes reason on the mind;
    They paint the state of man ere yet endued
    With knowledge;--man, poor, ignorant, and rude;
    Then, as his state improves, their pages swell,
    And all its cares, and all its comforts, tell:
    Here we behold how inexperience buys,
    At little price, the wisdom of the wise;
    Without the troubles of an active state,
    Without the cares and dangers of the great,
    Without the miseries of the poor, we know
    What wisdom, wealth, and poverty bestow;
    We see how reason calms the raging mind,
    And how contending passions urge mankind:
    Some, won by virtue, glow with sacred fire;
    Some, lured by vice, indulge the low desire;
    Whilst others, won by either, now pursue
    The guilty chase, now keep the good in view;
    For ever wretched, with themselves at strife,
    They lead a puzzled, vexed, uncertain life;
    For transient vice bequeaths a lingering pain
    Which transient virtue seeks to cure in vain.

      Whilst thus engaged, high views enlarge the soul,
    New interests draw, new principles control:
    Nor thus the soul alone resigns her grief,
    But here the tortured body finds relief;
    For see where yonder sage Arachnè shapes
    Her subtile gin, that not a fly escapes!
    There PHYSIC fills the space, and far around,
    Pile above pile, her learned works abound:
    Glorious their aim--to ease the labouring heart;
    To war with death, and stop his flying dart;
    To trace the source whence the fierce contest grew,
    And life's short lease on easier terms renew;
    To calm the frenzy of the burning brain;
    To heal the tortures of imploring pain;
    Or, when more powerful ills all efforts brave,
    To ease the victim no device can save,
    And smooth the stormy passage to the grave.

      But man, who knows no good unmixed and pure,
    Oft finds a poison where he sought a cure;
    For grave deceivers lodge their labours here,
    And cloud the science they pretend to clear:
    Scourges for sin, the solemn tribe are sent;
    Like fire and storms, they call us to repent;
    But storms subside, and fires forget to rage,
    _These_ are eternal scourges of the age:
    'Tis not enough that each terrific hand
    Spreads desolation round a guilty land;
    But, trained to ill, and hardened by its crimes,
    Their pen relentless kills through future times.

      Say ye, who search these records of the dead,
    Who read huge works, to boast what ye have read;
    Can all the real knowledge ye possess,
    Or those (if such there are) who more than guess,
    Atone for each impostor's wild mistakes,
    And mend the blunders pride or folly makes?

      What thought so wild, what airy dream so light,
    That will not prompt a theorist to write?
    What art so prevalent, what proof so strong,
    That will convince him his attempt is wrong?
    One in the solids finds each lurking ill,
    Nor grants the passive fluids power to kill;
    A learned friend some subtler reason brings,
    Absolves the channels, but condemns their springs;
    The subtile nerves, that shun the doctor's eye,
    Escape no more his subtler theory;
    The vital heat, that warms the labouring heart,
    Lends a fair system to these sons of art;
    The vital air, a pure and subtile stream,
    Serves a foundation for an airy scheme,
    Assists the doctor, and supports his dream.
    Some have their favourite ills, and each disease
    Is but a younger branch that kills from these:
    One to the gout contracts all human pain,
    He views it raging in the frantic brain;
    Finds it in fevers all his efforts mar,
    And sees it lurking in the cold catarrh:
    Bilious by some, by others nervous seen,
    Rage the fantastic demons of the spleen;
    And every symptom of the strange disease
    With every system of the sage agrees.

      Ye frigid tribe, on whom I wasted long
    The tedious hours, and ne'er indulged in song;
    Ye first seducers of my easy heart,
    Who promised knowledge ye could not impart;
    Ye dull deluders, truth's destructive foes;
    Ye sons of fiction, clad in stupid prose;
    Ye treacherous leaders, who, yourselves in doubt,
    Light up false fires, and send us far about;--
    Still may yon spider round your pages spin,
    Subtile and slow, her emblematic gin!
    Buried in dust and lost in silence, dwell,
    Most potent, grave, and reverend friends--farewell!

      Near these, and where the setting sun displays,
    Through the dim window, his departing rays,
    And gilds yon columns, there, on either side,
    The huge abridgements of the LAW abide;
    Fruitful as vice the dread correctors stand,
    And spread their guardian terrors round the land;
    Yet, as the best that human care can do,
    Is mixed with error, oft with evil too,
    Skilled in deceit, and practised to evade,
    Knaves stand secure, for whom these laws were made;
    And justice vainly each expedient tries,
    While art eludes it, or while power defies.
    'Ah! happy age,' the youthful poet sings,
    'When the free nations knew not laws nor kings;
    When all were blessed to share a common store,
    And none were proud of wealth, for none were poor;
    No wars nor tumults vexed each still domain,
    No thirst for empire, no desire of gain;
    No proud great man, nor one who would be great,
    Drove modest merit from its proper state;
    Nor into distant climes would avarice roam,
    To fetch delights for luxury at home:
    Bound by no ties which kept the soul in awe,
    They dwelt at liberty, and love was law!'

      'Mistaken youth! each nation first was rude,
    Each man a cheerless son of solitude,
    To whom no joys of social life were known,
    None felt a care that was not all his own;
    Or in some languid clime his abject soul
    Bowed to a little tyrant's stern control;
    A slave, with slaves his monarch's throne he raised,
    And in rude song his ruder idol praised;
    The meaner cares of life were all he knew;
    Bounded his pleasures, and his wishes few:
    But when by slow degrees the Arts arose,
    And Science wakened from her long repose;
    When Commerce, rising from the bed of ease,
    Ran round the land, and pointed to the seas;
    When Emulation, born with jealous eye,
    And Avarice, lent their spurs to industry;
    Then one by one the numerous laws were made
    Those to control, and these to succour trade;
    To curb the insolence of rude command,
    To snatch the victim from the usurer's hand;
    To awe the bold, to yield the wronged redress,
    And feed the poor with Luxury's excess.'

      Like some vast flood, unbounded, fierce, and strong,
    His nature leads ungoverned man along;
    Like mighty bulwarks made to stem that tide,
    The laws are formed and placed on every side:
    Whene'er it breaks the bounds by these decreed,
    New statutes rise, and stronger laws succeed;
    More and more gentle grows the dying stream,
    More and more strong the rising bulwarks seem;
    Till, like a miner working sure and slow,
    Luxury creeps on, and ruins all below;
    The basis sinks, the ample piles decay;
    The stately fabric shakes and falls away;
    Primeval want and ignorance come on,
    But freedom, that exalts the savage state, is gone.

      Next, HISTORY ranks;--there full in front she lies,
    And every nation her dread tale supplies;
    Yet History has her doubts, and every age
    With sceptic queries marks the passing page;
    Records of old nor later date are clear,
    Too distant those, and these are placed too near;
    There time conceals the objects from our view,
    Here our own passions and a writer's too:
    Yet, in these volumes, see how states arose!
    Guarded by virtue from surrounding foes;
    Their virtue lost, and of their triumphs vain,
    Lo! how they sunk to slavery again!
    Satiate with power, of fame and wealth possessed,
    A nation grows too glorious to be blessed;
    Conspicuous made, she stands the mark of all,
    And foes join foes to triumph in her fall.

      Thus speaks the page that paints ambition's race,
    The monarch's pride, his glory, his disgrace;
    The headlong course, that maddening heroes run,
    How soon triumphant, and how soon undone;
    How slaves, turned tyrants, offer crowns to sale,
    And each fallen nation's melancholy tale.

      Lo! where of late the Book of Martyrs stood,
    Old pious tracts, and Bibles bound in wood;
    There, such the taste of our degenerate age,
    Stand the profane delusions of the STAGE:
    Yet virtue owns the TRAGIC MUSE a friend,
    Fable her means, morality her end;
    For this she rules all passions in their turns;
    And now the bosom bleeds, and now it burns,
    Pity with weeping eye surveys her bowl,
    Her anger swells, her terror chills the soul;
    She makes the vile to virtue yield applause,
    And own her sceptre while they break her laws;
    For vice in others is abhorred of all,
    And villains triumph when the worthless fall.

      Not thus her sister COMEDY prevails,
    Who shoots at folly, for her arrow fails;
    Folly, by dulness armed, eludes the wound,
    And harmless sees the feathered shafts rebound;
    Unhurt she stands, applauds the archer's skill,
    Laughs at her malice, and is folly still.
    Yet well the Muse portrays in fancied scenes,
    What pride will stoop to, what profession means;
    How formal fools the farce of state applaud,
    How caution watches at the lips of fraud;
    The wordy variance of domestic life;
    The tyrant husband, the retorting wife;
    The snares for innocence, the lie of trade,
    And the smooth tongue's habitual masquerade.

      With her the virtues too obtain a place,
    Each gentle passion, each becoming grace;
    The social joy in life's securer road,
    Its easy pleasure, its substantial good;
    The happy thought that conscious virtue gives,
    And all that ought to live, and all that lives.

      But who are these? Methinks a noble mien
    And awful grandeur in their form are seen,
    Now in disgrace: what though by time is spread
    Polluting dust o'er every reverend head;
    What though beneath yon gilded tribe they lie,
    And dull observers pass insulting by:
    Forbid it shame, forbid it decent awe,
    What seems so grave, should no attention draw!
    Come, let us then with reverend step advance,
    And greet--the ancient worthies of ROMANCE.

      Hence, ye profane! I feel a former dread,
    A thousand visions float around my head:
    Hark! hollow blasts through empty courts resound,
    And shadowy forms with staring eyes stalk round;
    See! moats and bridges, walls and castles rise,
    Ghosts, fairies, demons, dance before our eyes;
    Lo! magic verse inscribed on golden gate,
    And bloody hand that beckons on to fate:--
    'And who art thou, thou little page, unfold?
    Say, doth thy lord my Claribel withhold?
    Go tell him straight, Sir Knight, thou must resign
    The captive queen;--for Claribel is mine.'
    Away he flies; and now for bloody deeds,
    Black suits of armour, masks, and foaming steeds;
    The giant falls; his recreant throat I seize,
    And from his corslet take the massy keys:--
    Dukes, lords, and knights in long procession move,
    Released from bondage with my virgin love:--
    She comes! she comes! in all the charms of youth,
    Unequalled love and unsuspected truth!

      Ah! happy he who thus, in magic themes,
    O'er worlds bewitched, in early rapture dreams,
    Where wild Enchantment waves her potent wand,
    And Fancy's beauties fill her fairy land;
    Where doubtful objects strange desires excite,
    And Fear and Ignorance afford delight.

      But lost, for ever lost, to me these joys,
    Which Reason scatters, and which Time destroys;
    Too dearly bought: maturer judgement calls
    My busied mind from tales and madrigals;
    My doughty giants all are slain or fled,
    And all my knights, blue, green, and yellow, dead!
    No more the midnight fairy tribe I view,
    All in the merry moonshine tippling dew;
    E'en the last lingering fiction of the brain,
    The church-yard ghost, is now at rest again;
    And all these wayward wanderings of my youth
    Fly Reason's power and shun the light of truth.

      With fiction then does real joy reside,
    And is our reason the delusive guide?
    Is it then right to dream the syrens sing?
    Or mount enraptured on the dragon's wing?
    No, 'tis the infant mind, to care unknown,
    That makes the imagined paradise its own;
    Soon as reflections in the bosom rise,
    Light slumbers vanish from the clouded eyes:
    The tear and smile, that once together rose,
    Are then divorced; the head and heart are foes.
    Enchantment bows to Wisdom's serious plan,
    And Pain and Prudence make and mar the man.

      While thus, of power and fancied empire vain,
    With various thoughts my mind I entertain;
    While books my slaves, with tyrant hand I seize,
    Pleased with the pride that will not let them please;
    Sudden I find terrific thoughts arise,
    And sympathetic sorrow fills my eyes;
    For, lo! while yet my heart admits the wound,
    I see the CRITIC army ranged around.

      Foes to our race! if ever ye have known
    A father's fears for offspring of your own;--
    If ever, smiling o'er a lucky line,
    Ye thought the sudden sentiment divine,
    Then paused and doubted, and then, tired of doubt,
    With rage as sudden dashed the stanza out;--
    If, after fearing much and pausing long,
    Ye ventured on the world your laboured song,
    And from the crusty critics of those days
    Implored the feeble tribute of their praise;
    Remember now the fears that moved you then,
    And, spite of truth, let mercy guide your pen.

      What venturous race are ours! what mighty foes
    Lie waiting all around them to oppose!
    What treacherous friends betray them to the fight!
    What dangers threaten them!--yet still they write:
    A hapless tribe! to every evil born,
    Whom villains hate, and fools affect to scorn:
    Strangers they come, amid a world of woe,
    And taste the largest portion ere they go.

      Pensive I spoke, and cast mine eyes around;
    The roof, methought, returned a solemn sound;
    Each column seemed to shake, and clouds like smoke,
    From dusty piles and ancient volumes broke;
    Gathering above, like mists condensed they seem,
    Exhaled in summer from the rushy stream;
    Like flowing robes they now appear, and twine
    Round the large members of a form divine;
    His silver beard, that swept his aged breast,
    His piercing eye, that inward light expressed,
    Were seen,--but clouds and darkness veiled the rest.
    Fear chilled my heart: to one of mortal race,
    How awful seemed the Genius of the place!
    So in Cimmerian shores, Ulysses saw
    His parent-shade, and shrunk in pious awe;
    Like him I stood, and wrapt in thought profound,
    When from the pitying power broke forth a solemn sound:--

      'Care lives with all; no rules, no precepts save
    The wise from woe, no fortitude the brave;
    Grief is to man as certain as the grave:
    Tempests and storms in life's whole progress rise,
    And hope shines dimly through o'erclouded skies;
    Some drops of comfort on the favoured fall,
    But showers of sorrow are the lot of _all_:
    Partial to talents, then, shall Heaven withdraw
    The afflicting rod, or break the general law?
    Shall he who soars, inspired by loftier views,
    Life's little cares and little pains refuse?
    Shall he not rather feel a double share
    Of mortal woe, when doubly armed to bear?

      'Hard is his fate who builds his peace of mind
    On the precarious mercy of mankind;
    Who hopes for wild and visionary things,
    And mounts o'er unknown seas with venturous wings:
    But as, of various evils that befall
    The human race, some portion goes to all;
    To him perhaps the milder lot's assigned,
    Who feels his consolation in his mind;
    And, locked within his bosom, bears about
    A mental charm for every care without.
    E'en in the pangs of each domestic grief,
    Or health or vigorous hope affords relief;
    And every wound the tortured bosom feels,
    Or virtue bears, or some preserver heals;
    Some generous friend, of ample power possessed;
    Some feeling heart, that bleeds for the distressed;
    Some breast that glows with virtues all divine;
    Some noble RUTLAND, Misery's friend and thine.

      'Nor say, the Muse's song, the Poet's pen,
    Merit the scorn they meet from little men.
    With cautious freedom if the numbers flow,
    Not wildly high, nor pitifully low;
    If vice alone their honest aims oppose,
    Why so ashamed their friends, so loud their foes?
    Happy for men in every age and clime,
    If all the sons of vision dealt in rhyme.
    Go on then, Son of Vision! still pursue
    Thy airy dreams; the world is dreaming too.
    Ambition's lofty views, the pomp of state,
    The pride of wealth, the splendour of the great,
    Stripped of their mask, their cares and troubles known,
    Are visions far less happy than thy own:
    Go on! and, while the sons of care complain,
    Be wisely gay and innocently vain;
    While serious souls are by their fears undone,
    Blow sportive bladders in the beamy sun,
    And call them worlds! and bid the greatest show
    More radiant colours in their worlds below:
    Then, as they break, the slaves of care reprove,
    And tell them, Such are all the toys they love.'

                            G. CRABBE.


    Here, e'en the sturdy democrat may find,
    Nor scorn their rank, the nobles of the mind;
    While kings may learn, nor blush at being shown
    How Learning's patents abrogate their own.
    A goodly company and fair to see;
    Royal plebeians; earls of low degree;
    Beggars whose wealth enriches every clime;
    Princes who scarce can boast a mental dime;
    Crowd here together like the quaint array
    Of jostling neighbours on a market day.
    Homer and Milton,--can we call them blind?--
    Of godlike sight, the vision of the mind;
    Shakespeare, who calmly looked creation through,
    'Exhausted worlds, and then imagined new';
    Plato the sage, so thoughtful and serene,
    He seems a prophet by his heavenly mien;
    Shrewd Socrates, whose philosophic power
    Xantippe proved in many a trying hour;
    And Aristophanes, whose humour run
    In vain endeavour to be-'cloud' the sun;
    Majestic Aeschylus, whose glowing page
    Holds half the grandeur of the Athenian stage;
    Pindar, whose odes, replete with heavenly fire,
    Proclaim the master of the Grecian lyre;
    Anacreon, famed for many a luscious line,
    Devote to Venus and the god of wine.
    I love vast libraries; yet there is a doubt
    If one be better with them or without--
    Unless he use them wisely, and, indeed,
    Knows the high art of what and how to read.
    At Learning's fountain it is sweet to drink,
    But 'tis a nobler privilege to think;
    And oft, from books apart, the thirsting mind
    May make the nectar which it cannot find.
    'Tis well to borrow from the good and great;
    'Tis wise to learn; 'tis godlike to create!

                         J. G. SAXE.


What oweth Oxford, nay this Isle, to the most worthy Bodley, whose
Library, perhaps, containeth more excellent books than the ancients by
all their curious search could find?... To such a worthy work all the
lovers of learning should conspire and contribute; and of small
beginnings who is ignorant what great effects may follow? If, perhaps,
we will consider the beginnings of the greatest libraries of Europe (as
Democritus said of the world, that it was made up of atoms), we shall
find them but small; for how great soever in their present perfection
they are now, these Carthages were once Magalia. Libraries are as
forests, in which not only tall cedars and oaks are to be found, but
bushes too and dwarfish shrubs; and as in apothecaries' shops all sorts
of drugs are permitted to be, so may all sorts of books be in a library.
And as they out of vipers and scorpions, and poisoning vegetables,
extract often wholesome medicaments, for the life of mankind; so out of
whatsoever book, good instructions and examples may be
acquired.--WILLIAM DRUMMOND. _Of Libraries._


    One Homer was enough to blazon forth
      In a full lofty style Ulysses' praise,
    Caesar had Lucan to enrol his worth
    Unto the memory of endless days.
      Of thy deeds, Bodley, from thine own pure spring
      A thousand Homers and sweet Lucans sing.
    One volume was a monument to bound
    The large extent of their deserving pains,
    In learning's commonwealth was never found
    So large a decade to express thy strains,
      Which who desires to character aright,
      Must read more books than they had lines to write.
    Yet give this little river leave to run,
    Into the boundless ocean of thy fame;
    Had they first ended I had not begun,
    Sith each is a Protogenes to frame
      So curiously the picture of thy worth
      That when all's done, art wants to set it forth.

                    PETER PRIDEAUX (Exeter College, 1613).


King James, 1605, when he came to see our University of Oxford, and
amongst other edifices now went to view that famous library, renewed by
Sir Thomas Bodley in imitation of Alexander at his departure, brake out
into that noble speech, 'If I were not a king, I would be a University
man: and if it were so that I must be a prisoner, if I might have my
wish, I would desire to have no other prison than that library, and to
be chained together with so many good authors, _et mortuis magistris_.'
So sweet is the delight of study, the more learning they have (as he
that hath a dropsy, the more he drinks the thirstier he is) the more
they covet to learn, and the last day is _prioris discipulus_; harsh at
first learning is, _radices amarae_, but _fructus dulces_, according to
that of Isocrates, pleasant at last; the longer they live, the more they
are enamoured with the Muses. Heinsius, the keeper of the library at
Leyden, in Holland, was mewed up in it all the year long; and that which
to thy thinking should have bred a loathing, caused in him a greater
liking. 'I no sooner (saith he) come into the library, but I bolt the
door to me, excluding lust, ambition, avarice, and all such vices, whose
nurse is Idleness, the mother of Ignorance, and Melancholy herself, and
in the very lap of eternity, amongst so many divine souls, I take my
seat with so lofty a spirit and sweet content, that I pity all our great
ones, and rich men that know not this happiness.'

I am not ignorant in the meantime (notwithstanding this which I have
said) how barbarously and basely, for the most part, our ruder gentry
esteem of libraries and books, how they neglect and contemn so great a
treasure, so inestimable a benefit, as Aesop's cock did the jewel he
found in the dunghill; and all through error, ignorance, and want of
education.--R. BURTON. _The Anatomy of Melancholy._



On a lost volume of my poems, which he desired me to replace, that he
might add them to my other works deposited in the library.


    My two-fold book! single in show,
          But double in contents,
    Neat, but not curiously adorned,
      Which, in his early youth,
    A poet gave, no lofty one in truth,
    Although an earnest wooer of the Muse--
    Say while in cool Ausonian shades
      Or British wilds he roamed,
    Striking by turns his native lyre,
      By turns the Daunian lute,
      And stepped almost in air,--


    Say, little book, what furtive hand
    Thee from thy fellow-books conveyed,
    What time, at the repeated suit
        Of my most learnèd friend,
    I sent thee forth, an honoured traveller,
    From our great city to the source of Thames,
        Caerulian sire!
    Where rise the fountains, and the raptures ring,
        Of the Aonian choir,
      Durable as yonder spheres,
      And through the endless lapse of years
        Secure to be admired?

                _Strophe II._

      Now what God, or Demigod
    For Britain's ancient Genius moved,
        (If our afflicted land
    Have expiated at length the guilty sloth
      Of her degenerate sons)
      Shall terminate our impious feuds,
    And discipline, with hallowed voice, recall?
      Recall the Muses too,
      Driven from their ancient seats
    In Albion, and well nigh from Albion's shore,
      And with keen Phoebean shafts,
      Piercing the unseemly birds,
        Whose talons menace us,
    Shall drive the Harpy race from Helicon afar?


    But thou, my book, though thou hast strayed,
        Whether by treachery lost
    Or indolent neglect, thy bearer's fault,
        From all thy kindred books,
    To some dark cell or cave forlorn,
      Where thou endurest, perhaps
    The chafing of some hard untutored hand,
        Be comforted--
    For lo! again the splendid hope appears
      That thou mayest yet escape,
    The gulfs of Lethe, and on oary wings
    Mount to the everlasting courts of Jove!

                _Strophe III._

    Since Rouse desires thee, and complains
      That, though by promise his,
      Thou yet appear'st not in thy place
    Among the literary noble stores,
        Given to his care,
    But, absent, leavest his numbers incomplete:
      He, therefore, guardian vigilant
      Of that unperishing wealth,
    Calls thee to the interior shrine, his charge,
    Where he intends a richer treasure far
    Than Iön kept (Iön, Erectheus' son
    Illustrious, of the fair Creüsa born)
    In the resplendent temple of his God,
    Tripods of gold, and Delphic gifts divine.


      Haste, then, to the pleasant groves,
        The Muses' favourite haunt;
    Resume thy station in Apollo's dome,
            Dearer to him
    Than Delos, or the forked Parnassian hill!
            Exulting go,
    Since now a splendid lot is also thine,
    And thou art sought by my propitious friend;
        For there thou shalt be read
        With authors of exalted note,
    The ancient glorious lights of Greece and Rome.


    Ye, then, my works, no longer vain,
        And worthless deemed by me!
    Whate'er this sterile genius has produced
    Expect, at last, the rage of envy spent,
        An unmolested happy home,
    Gift of kind Hermes, and my watchful friend,
        Where never flippant tongue profane
          Shall entrance find,
    And whence the coarse unlettered multitude
          Shall babble far remote.
        Perhaps some future distant age,
    Less tinged with prejudice, and better taught,
            Shall furnish minds of power
            To judge more equally.
        Then, malice silenced in the tomb,
            Cooler heads and sounder hearts,
            Thanks to Rouse, if aught of praise
    I merit, shall with candour weigh the claim.

                 W. COWPER. _Translated from Milton._


    Hail! Learning's Pantheon! Hail, the sacred Ark,
    Where all the world of science does embark!
    Which ever shall withstand, and hast so long withstood,
    Insatiate time's devouring flood!
    Hail, Tree of Knowledge! thy leaves fruit! which well
    Dost in the midst of Paradise arise,
      Oxford, the Muses' Paradise!
    From which may never Sword the blest expel.
    Hail, Bank of all past ages, where they lie
    To enrich with interest posterity!
      Hail, Wit's illustrious Galaxy,
    Where thousand lights into one brightness spread,
    Hail, living University of the Dead!

    Unconfused Babel of all Tongues, which e'er
    The mighty linguist, Fame, or Time, the mighty traveller,
    That could speak or this could hear!
    Majestic Monument and Pyramid,
    Where still the shapes of parted souls abide
    Embalmed in verse! exalted souls, which now,
    Enjoy those Arts they wooed so well below!
    Which now all wonders printed plainly see
      That have been, are, or are to be,
      In the mysterious Library,
    The Beatific Bodley of the Dead!

    Will ye into your sacred throng admit
      The meanest British wit?
    Ye General Council of the Priests of Fame,
    Will ye not murmur and disdain
      That I a place amongst ye claim
      The humblest Deacon of her train?
    Will ye allow me the honourable chain?
      The chain of ornament, which here
      Your noble prisoners proudly wear?
    A chain which will more pleasant seem to me
    Than all my own Pindaric liberty.
    Will ye to bind me with these mighty names submit
      Like an Apocrypha with Holy Writ?
    Whatever happy Book is chainèd here,
    No other place or people needs to fear;
    His chain's a passport to go everywhere.

      As when a seat in Heaven
    Is to an unmalicious sinner given,
      Who casting round his wondering Eye
    Does none but Patriarchs and Apostles there espy,
      Martyrs who did their lives bestow
      And Saints who Martyrs lived below,
    With trembling and amazement he begins
    To recollect his frailties past and sins,
      He doubts almost his station there,
    His soul says to itself, 'How came I here?'
      It fares no otherwise with me
    When I myself with conscious wonder see
    Amidst this purified elected company;
      With hardship they and pain
      Did to their happiness attain.
    No labours I or merits can pretend;
    I think, Predestination only was my friend.

    Ah! if my author had been tied like me,
    To such a place and such a company,
    Instead of several countries, several men,
      And business, which the Muses hate!
    He might have then improved that small estate
    Which Nature sparingly did to him give,
      He might perhaps have thriven then,
    And settled upon me, his child, somewhat to live;
    It had happier been for him, as well as me.
      For when all, alas, is done,
    We Books, I mean you Books, will prove to be
    The best and noblest conversation.
      For though some errors will get in,
      Like tinctures of original sin,
      Yet sure we from our Father's wit
      Draw all the strength and spirits of it,
    Leaving the grosser parts for conversation,
    As the best blood of man's employed on generation.

                           A. COWLEY.


    Boast not, proud Golgotha, that thou canst show
    The ruins of mankind and let us know
    How frail a thing is flesh! though we see there
    But empty skulls, the Rabbins still live here.
    They are not dead, but full of blood again,
    I mean the sense, and every line a vein.
    Triumph not o'er their dust; whoever looks
    In here, shall find their brains all in their books.
      Nor is't old Palestine alone survives,
    Athens lives here, more than in Plutarch's Lives.
    The stones which sometimes danced unto the strain
    Of Orpheus, here do lodge his muse again.
    And you the Roman spirits, Learning has
    Made your lives longer than your empire was.
    Caesar had perished from the world of men,
    Had not his sword been rescued by his pen.
    Rare Seneca! how lasting is thy breath!
    Though Nero did, thou could'st not bleed to death.
    How dull the expert tyrant was, to look
    For that in thee, which livèd in thy book!
    Afflictions turn our blood to ink, and we
    Commence, when writing, our eternity.
    Lucilius here I can behold, and see
    His counsels and his life proceed from thee.
    But what care I to whom thy Letters be?
    I change the name, and thou dost write to me;
    And in this age, as sad almost as thine,
    Thy stately Consolations are mine.
    Poor earth! what though thy viler dust enrolls
    The frail enclosures of these mighty souls?
    Their graves are all upon record; not one
    But is as bright and open as the sun,
    And though some part of them obscurely fell
    And perished in an unknown, private cell,
    Yet in their books they found a glorious way
    To live unto the Resurrection-day!
    Most noble Bodley! we are bound to thee
    For no small part of our eternity.
    Thy treasure was not spent on horse and hound,
    Nor that new mode, which doth old States confound.
    Thy legacies another way did go,
    Nor were they left to those would spend them so.
    Thy safe, discreet expense on us did flow;
    Walsam is in the midst of Oxford now.
    Thou hast made us all thine heirs; whatever we
    Hereafter write, 'tis thy posterity.
    This is thy monument! here thou shalt stand
    Till the times fail in their last grain of sand.
    And wheresoe'er thy silent relics keep,
    This tomb will never let thine honour sleep.
    Still we shall think upon thee; all our fame
    Meets here to speak one letter of thy name.
    Thou canst not die! Here thou art more than safe,
    Where every book is thy large epitaph.

                        H. VAUGHAN.


Above all thy rarities, old Oxenford, what do most arride and solace me,
are thy repositories of mouldering learning, thy shelves--

What a place to be in is an old library! It seems as though all the
souls of all the writers, that have bequeathed their labours to these
Bodleians, were reposing here, as in some dormitory, or middle state. I
do not want to handle, to profane the leaves, their winding-sheets. I
could as soon dislodge a shade. I seem to inhale learning, walking amid
their foliage; and the odour of their old moth-scented coverings is
fragrant as the first bloom of those sciential apples which grew amid
the happy orchard.--C. LAMB. _Oxford in the Vacation._


Few places affected me more than the Libraries, and especially the
Bodleian Library, reputed to have half a million printed books and
manuscripts. I walked solemnly and reverently among the alcoves and
through the halls, as if in the pyramid of embalmed souls. It was their
life, their heart, their mind, that they treasured in these book-urns.
Silent as they are, should all the emotions that went to their creation
have utterance, could the world itself contain the various sound? They
longed for fame? Here it is--to stand silently for ages, moved only to
be dusted and catalogued, valued only as units in the ambitious total,
and gazed at, occasionally, by men as ignorant as I am, of their name,
their place, their language, and their worth. Indeed, unless a man can
link his written thoughts with the everlasting wants of men, so that
they shall draw from them as from wells, there is no more immortality to
the thoughts and feelings of the soul than to the muscles and the bones.
A library is but the soul's burial-ground. It is the land of shadows.

Yet one is impressed with the thought, the labour, and the struggle,
represented in this vast catacomb of books. Who could dream, by the
placid waters that issue from the level mouths of brooks into the lake,
all the plunges, the whirls, the divisions, and foaming rushes that had
brought them down to the tranquil exit? And who can guess through what
channels of disturbance, and experiences of sorrow, the heart passed
that has emptied into this Dead Sea of books?--HENRY WARD BEECHER. _Star


    A churchyard with a cloister running round
    And quaint old effigies in act of prayer,
    And painted banners mouldering strangely there
    Where mitred prelates and grave doctors sleep,
    Memorials of a consecrated ground!
    Such is this antique room, a haunted place
    Where dead men's spirits come, and angels keep
    Long hours of watch with wings in silence furled.
    Early and late have I kept vigil here;
    And I have seen the moonlight shadows trace
    Dim glories on the missal's blue and gold,
    The work of my scholastic sires, that told
    Of quiet ages men call dark and drear,
    For Faith's soft light is darkness to the world.

                               F. W. FABER.


    Quaint gloomy chamber, oldest relic left
    Of monkish quiet, like a ship thy form,
    Stranded keel upward by some sudden storm;
    Now that a safe and polished age hath cleft
    Locks, bars and chains, that saved thy tomes from theft,
    May Time, a surer robber, spare thine age,
    And reverence each huge black-lettered page,
    Of real boards and gilt-stamped leather reft.
    Long may ambitious students here unseal
    The secret mysteries of classic lore;
    Though urged not by that blind and aimless zeal
    With which the Scot within these walls of yore
    Transcribed the Bible without breaking fast,
    Toiled through each word and perished at the last.

                            J. B. NORTON.


    About the august and ancient _Square_,
    Cries the wild wind; and through the air,
    The blue night air, blows keen and chill:
    Else, all the night sleeps, all is still.
    Now, the lone _Square_ is blind with gloom:
    Now, on that clustering chestnut bloom,
    A cloudy moonlight plays, and falls
    In glory upon _Bodley's_ walls:
    Now, wildlier yet, while moonlight pales,
    Storm the tumultuary gales.
    O rare divinity of Night!
    Season of undisturbed delight:
    Glad interspace of day and day!
    Without, a world of winds at play:
    Within, I hear what dead friends say.
    Blow, winds! and round that perfect _Dome_,
    Wail as you will, and sweep, and roam:
    Above _Saint Mary's_ carven home,
    Struggle, and smite to your desire
    The sainted watchers on her spire:
    Or in the distance vex your power
    Upon mine own _New College_ tower:
    You hurt not these! On me and mine,
    Clear candlelights in quiet shine:
    My fire lives yet! nor have I done
    With _Smollett_, nor with _Richardson_:
    With, gentlest of the martyrs! _Lamb_,
    Whose lover I, long lover, am:
    With _Gray_, whose gracious spirit knew
    The sorrows of art's lonely few:
    With _Fielding_, great, and strong, and tall;
    _Sterne_, exquisite, equivocal;
    _Goldsmith_, the dearest of them all:
    While _Addison's_ demure delights
    Turn _Oxford_, into _Attic_, nights.
    Still _Trim_ and _Parson Adams_ keep
    Me better company, than sleep:
    Dark sleep, who loves not me; nor I
    Love well her nightly death to die,
    And in her haunted chapels lie.
    Sleep wins me not: but from his shelf
    Brings me each wit his very self:
    Beside my chair the great ghosts throng,
    Each tells his story, sings his song:
    And in the ruddy fire I trace
    The curves of each _Augustan_ face.
    I sit at _Doctor Primrose'_ board:
    I hear _Beau Tibbs_ discuss a lord.
    Mine, _Matthew Bramble's_ pleasant wrath;
    Mine, all the humours of the _Bath_.
    _Sir Roger_ and the _Man in Black_
    Bring me the _Golden Ages_ back.
    Now white _Clarissa_ meets her fate,
    With virgin will inviolate:
    Now _Lovelace_ wins me with a smile,
    _Lovelace_, adorable and vile.
    I taste, in slow alternate way,
    Letters of _Lamb_, letters of _Gray_:
    Nor lives there, beneath Oxford towers,
    More joy, than in my silent hours.
    Dream, who love dreams! forget all grief:
    Find, in sleep's nothingness, relief:
    Better my dreams! Dear, human books,
    With kindly voices, winning looks!
    Enchaunt me with your spells of art,
    And draw me homeward to your heart:
    Till weariness and things unkind
    Seem but a vain and passing wind:
    Till the grey morning slowly creep
    Upward, and rouse the birds from sleep:
    Till _Oxford_ bells the silence break,
    And find me happier, for your sake.
    Then, with the dawn of common day,
    Rest you! But I, upon my way,
    What the fates bring, will cheerlier do,
    In days not yours, through thoughts of you!

                         L. JOHNSON.


    In that great maze of books I sighed, and said,--
      'It is a grave-yard, and each tome a tomb;
    Shrouded in hempen rags, behold the dead,
      Coffined and ranged in crypts of dismal gloom,--
    Food for the worm and redolent of mould,
    Traced with brief epitaph in tarnished gold.'--
      Ah, golden-lettered hope!--Ah, dolorous doom!
    Yet, mid the common death, when all is cold,
      And mildewed pride in desolation dwells,
    A few great Immortalities of old
      Stand brightly forth;--not tombs but living shrines,
    Where from high saint or martyr virtue wells,
    Which on the living yet works miracles,
      Spreading a relic wealth, richer than golden mines.

                                       J. M.


Books looked on as to their readers or authors do at the very first
mention challenge pre-eminence above the world's admired fine things.
Books are the glass of council to dress ourselves by. They are life's
best business: vocation to these hath more emolument coming in than all
the other busy terms of life. They are fee-less councillors, no delaying
patrons, of easy access, and kind expedition, never sending away empty
any client or petitioner. They are for company the best friends; in
doubts, counsellors; in damp, comforters; Time's perspective; the home
traveller's ship, or horse, the busy man's best recreation; the opiate
of idle weariness; the mind's best ordinary; Nature's garden and
seed-plot of Immortality. Time spent, needlessly, from them is consumed,
but with them twice gained. Time captivated and snatched from thee by
incursions of business, thefts of visitants, or by thy own carelessness
lost, is by these redeemed in life; they are the soul's viaticum; and
against death its cordial. In a true verdict, no such treasure as a
library.--B. WHITELOCKE.


PAGE 1. _Lamb._--The extracts from the works of Charles Lamb are from
the Oxford edition, edited by T. Hutchinson. Not content with 'grace'
before Milton and Shakespeare, Lamb suggests elsewhere (see p. 130)
a solemn service.

P. 1. _Petrarch._--When the love-sick Petrarch retired from Avignon to
Vaucluse, in 1338, his only companions were his books; for his friends
rarely visited him, alleging that his mode of life was unnatural.
Petrarch replied as in the text, which is quoted from Mrs. S. Dodson's
_Life_. On another occasion, however, Petrarch wrote: 'Many have found
the multitude of their books a hindrance to learning, and abundance has
bred want, as sometimes happens. But if the many books are at hand, they
are not to be cast aside, but to be gleaned, and the best used; and care
should be taken that those which might have proved seasonable
auxiliaries do not become hindrances out of season.' See Leigh Hunt's
reference on page 20 to Petrarch as 'the god of the Bibliomaniacs'.

P. 2. _Waller._--Carlyle, aged 22, wrote to Robert Mitchell that,
lacking society, he found 'books are a ready and effectual resource'.
'It is lawful,' he added, 'for the solitary wight to express the love he
feels for those companions so steadfast and unpresuming--that go or come
without reluctance, and that, when his fellow-animals are proud or
stupid or peevish, are ever ready to cheer the languor of his soul, and
gild the barrenness of life with the treasures of bygone times.'

Walter Pater, in _Appreciations: Style_, observes that 'different
classes of persons, at different times, make, of course, very various
demands upon literature. Still, scholars, I suppose, and not only
scholars but all disinterested lovers of books, will always look to it,
as to all other fine art, for a refuge, a sort of cloistral refuge, from
a certain vulgarity in the actual world. A perfect poem like _Lycidas_,
a perfect fiction like _Esmond_, the perfect handling of a theory like
Newman's _Idea of a University_, has for them something of the uses of a
religious "retreat".'

P. 4. _Chesterfield._--Folio, a book whose sheets are folded into two
leaves; quarto, sheets folded into four leaves, abbreviated into 4to;
octavo, sheets folded into eight leaves, 8vo; duodecimo, sheets folded
into twelve leaves, 12mo. The first three words come to us from the
Italian, through the French; the last is from the Latin _duodecim_.

P. 4. _Southey._--

    Better than men and women, friend,
      That are dust, though dear in our joy and pain,
    Are the books their cunning hands have penned,
      For they depart, but the books remain....
    When others fail him, the wise man looks
    To the sure companionship of books.--R. H. STODDARD.

P. 5. _Southey_ ('A heavenly delight').--See p. 320.

P. 5. _Southey_ ('The best of all possible company').--Castanheda died
in 1559, Barros in 1570, Osorio (da Fonseca) in 1580. They were
Portuguese historians.

P. 6. _Emerson._

    There comes Emerson first, whose rich words, every one,
    Are like gold nails in temples to hang trophies on.--J. R. LOWELL.

P. 7. _Whittier._--The poet explains that the 'lettered magnate' was his
friend Fields (James Thomas, 1817-81), who edited the _Atlantic
Monthly_. Among Fields's friends were Leigh Hunt, Barry Cornwall, Miss
Mitford, and Dickens. Longfellow's 'Auf Wiedersehen' was written 'in
memory of J. T. F.', and Whittier himself wrote some elegiac verse after
his death.

It may be noted that Elzevir was the name of a famous family of Dutch
printers, whose books were chiefly issued between 1592 and 1681. Louis
Elzevir (? 1540-1617) was the first to make the name famous.

P. 9. _Roscoe._--The sale of Roscoe's library, necessary on account of
financial failure, took place in August and September 1816. This Roscoe
is the historian of the Medici.

Washington Irving quotes Roscoe's sonnet in his reference to the

P. 10. _Longfellow._--These valedictory lines were written in December
1881. In the following year Longfellow died.

P. 10. _Jonson._--Goodyer or Goodier (spelt Goodyere by Herrick) was the
friend of Donne and of many other literary men, and he wrote verses on
his own account. His father, Sir Henry Goodyer, was the patron of
Michael Drayton.

P. 11. _Sheridan._--Written to Dean Swift, then in London.

P. 12. _Tupper._--'Next to possessing a true, wise, and victorious
friend seated by your fireside, it is blessed to have the spirit of such
a friend embodied--for spirit can assume any embodiment--on your
bookshelves. But in the latter case the friendship is all on one side.
For full friendship your friend must love you, and know that you love

Compare C. S. C.'s parody on page 135; and Goethe's statement that he
only hated parodies 'because they lower the beautiful, noble, and great'.

P. 13. _de Bury._--Richard de Bury was born near Bury St. Edmunds in
1287, his father being Sir Richard Aungervile. He had a distinguished
career at Oxford, and was the tutor of Edward III. Sent as ambassador to
the papal court at Avignon, he formed a friendship with Petrarch (see
pp. 1 and 369). While Bishop of Durham, he was for a short time Lord
Chancellor and also Treasurer of England. He finished the _Philobiblon_
less than three months before he died, in 1345. Thomas Fuller says that
he had more books than all the other English bishops in that age put
together. He had a library at each of his residences, and Mr. E. C.
Thomas tells us, on the authority of William de Chambre, that wherever
he was residing so many books lay about his bedchamber that it was
hardly possible to stand or move without treading upon them. All the
time he could spare from business was devoted either to religious
offices or to books, and daily at table he would have a book read to
him. The _Philobiblon_ was printed first at Cologne in 1473, then ten
years later at Spires, and in 1500 at Paris. The first edition printed
in England appeared in 1598, and it was a product of the Oxford Press.
It was not until 1832 that any English translation was published. This,
although the name was not divulged in the book, was the work of John
Bellingham Inglis. More than half a century passed before another
translation was made--that of Mr. Thomas, who personally examined or
collated twenty-eight MSS. Inglis's translation, according to his
successor, is a work of more spirit than accuracy, but it is the spirit
that quickeneth, and it is the 1832 volume which I have used.

P. 14. _Addison._--Ovid, _Met._ xv. 871:

    --which nor dreads the rage
    Of tempests, fire, or war, or wasting age.--WELSTED.

Fielding says in _Tom Jones_:--'I question not but the ingenious author
of the _Spectator_ was principally induced to prefix Greek and Latin
mottoes to every paper, from the same consideration of guarding against
the pursuit of those scribblers who, having no talents of a writer but
what is taught by the writing-master, are yet not more afraid nor
ashamed to assume the same titles with the greatest genius, than their
good brother in the fable was of braying in the lion's skin. By the
device, therefore, of his motto, it became impracticable for any man to
presume to imitate the _Spectators_, without understanding at least one
sentence in the learned languages.'

'No praise of Addison's style,' Lord Lytton declares, 'can exaggerate
its merits. Its art is perfectly marvellous. No change of time can
render the workmanship obsolete. His manner has that nameless urbanity
in which we recognize the perfection of manner--courteous, but not
courtier-like; so dignified, yet so kindly; so easy, yet so high-bred.
Its form of English is fixed--a safe and eternal model, of which all
imitation pleases--to which all approach is scholarship--like the Latin
of the Augustan age.'

So much for style. For the rest Hazlitt remarks that 'it is the
extremely moral and didactic tone of the _Spectator_ which makes us apt
to think of Addison (according to Mandeville's sarcasm) as "a parson in
a tie-wig"'. How often history repeats itself.

P. 15. _Dodd._--His _Beauties of Shakespeare_, published in 1752, is
still well known. Dodd was hanged for forgery, despite many efforts,
including those of Dr. Johnson, on his behalf.

P. 16. _Hunt._--The periods referred to by Leigh Hunt are 'the dark
ages, as they are called', and 'the gay town days of Charles II, or a
little afterwards'. In the first the essayist imagines 'an age of iron
warfare and energy, with solitary retreats, in which the monk or the
hooded scholar walks forth to meditate, his precious volume under his
arm. In the other, I have a triumphant example of the power of books and
wit to contest the victory with sensual pleasure:--Rochester staggering
home to pen a satire in the style of Monsieur Boileau; Butler, cramming
his jolly duodecimo with all the learning that he laughed at; and a new
race of book poets come up, who, in spite of their periwigs and
petit-maîtres, talk as romantically of "the bays" as if they were
priests of Delphos.'

In Chapman's translation of Homer occur the words: 'The fortresses of
thorniest queaches.' A queach is a thick bushy plot, or a quickset

    You will see Hunt--one of those happy souls
    Which are the salt of the earth, and without whom
    This world would smell like what it is--a tomb.

                 SHELLEY. _Letter to Maria Gisborne._

P. 17. _Lamb._--

              What youth was in thy years,
    What wisdom in thy levity, what truth
    In every utterance of that purest soul!
    Few are the spirits of the glorified

                         W. S. LANDOR.

    Encumbered dearly with old books,
    Thou, by the pleasant chimney nooks,
    Didst laugh, with merry-meaning looks,
        Thy griefs away.--LIONEL JOHNSON.

P. 18. _Burton._--Compare the remark of the 'Hammock School' reviewers
in Mr. G. K. Chesterton's _The Napoleon of Notting Hill_--'Next to
authentic goodness in a book (and that, alas! we never find) we desire a
rich badness.'

P. 19. _Channing._--An address introductory to the Franklin lectures
delivered at Boston, 1838. Channing's influence increased after his
death, which occurred in 1842. In the seventies nearly 50,000 copies of
his _Complete Works_ were circulated in America and Europe.

P. 20. _Hunt._--The novel _Camilla_ is Madame D'Arblay's; the entire
passage relating to the Oxford scholar's books is given on page 216.
Petrarch is quoted on pages 1 and 369.

P. 21. _Landor._--See 'Old-Fashioned Verse' on p. 186.

P. 26. _Burton._--Lord Byron is reported by Moore to have said: 'The
book, in my opinion, most useful to a man who wishes to acquire the
reputation of being well read, with the least trouble, is Burton's
_Anatomy of Melancholy_, the most amusing and instructive medley of
quotations and classical anecdotes I ever perused. But a superficial
reader must take care, or his intricacies will bewilder him. If,
however, he has patience to go through his volumes, he will be more
improved for literary conversation than by the perusal of any twenty
other works with which I am acquainted, at least in the English

Dr. Johnson, while admitting that the _Anatomy_ is a valuable work,
suggests that it is overloaded with quotation. But he adds, 'It is the
only book that ever took me out of bed two hours sooner than I wished to

P. 28. _Southey._--'Southey's appearance is _Epic_; and he is the only
existing entire man of letters. All the others have some pursuit annexed
to their authorship'.--LORD BYRON.

              Ye, loved books, no more
    Shall Southey feed upon your precious lore,
    To works that ne'er shall forfeit their renown,
    Adding immortal labours of his own.--WORDSWORTH.
         (Inscription for a monument in Crosthwaite Church).

P. 32. _Montaigne._--Michel Eyquem, Seigneur de Montaigne, began to
write his essays in his château at Montaigne in Périgord in 1572, at the
age of thirty-nine. The essays were published in 1580, and five editions
had appeared before his death in 1592.

_The Essayes of Michael Lord of Montaigne_ translated by John Florio
were first published in 1603. The translator was born in London about
1553, and he died in 1625. It is this translation from which my excerpts
are given, and it is the only book known to have been in Shakespeare's
library; the volume contains his autograph, and is now in the British

Emerson classes Montaigne in his _Representative Men_ as the Sceptic. He
calls to mind that Gibbon reckoned, in the bigoted times of the period,
but two men of liberality in France--Henry IV and Montaigne--and adds,
'Though a Biblical plainness, coupled with a most uncanonical levity,
may shut his pages to many sensitive readers, yet the offence is
superficial.... I know not anywhere the book that seems less written. It
is the language of conversation transferred to a book.'

P. 33. _Denham._--Dominico Mancini wrote the _Libellus de quattuor
Virtutibus_, published in Paris, 1484.

P. 37. _Johnson._--The excerpts from Johnson and from Boswell's _Life_
are taken, where possible, from Dr. Birkbeck Hill's Oxford edition.

P. 41. _Rabelais._--The translation is that of Peter Anthony Motteux
(1660-1718) and of Sir Thomas Urquhart (1611-1660).

It may be remembered that Pantagruel on his travels found in Paris 'the
library of St. Victor, a very stately and magnificent one, especially in
some books which were there', of which the Repertory or Catalogue is
given. A few of the titles are:--_The Pomegranate of Vice_, _The Henbane
of the Bishops_, _The Crucible of Contemplation_, _The Flimflams of the
Law_, _The Pleasures of the Monachal Life_, _Sixty-nine fat Breviaries_,
and _The Chimney-sweeper of Astrology_. Some of the titles are too
'Rabelaesian', or what some booksellers call 'curious', to print. A
certain number of the books appear to have actually existed outside the
author's imagination.

P. 45. _Herrick._--These are, of course, separate poems, scattered fruit
of the _Hesperides_. See also the note on page 390.

'Absyrtus-like': an allusion, of course, to the story of Medea, who took
her brother Absyrtus with her when she fled with Jason. Being nearly
overtaken by her father, Medea murdered Absyrtus, and strewed the road
with pieces of his body so that the pursuit might be stayed.

P. 46. _Daniel._--This sonnet was prefaced to the second edition of
Florio's _Montaigne_ (1613), and is often ascribed to the translator;
but the weight of criticism credits the authorship to Daniel. Mr.
Locker-Lampson was tempted to write a couple of verses for the fly-leaf
of the Rowfant Montaigne, which not only belonged to Shakespeare, but
was also given by Pope to Gay and enjoyed by Johnson:

    For me the halycon days have passed,
    I'm here and with a dunce at last.

See note on previous page.

P. 47. _Milton._--Milton's prose masterpiece was printed, in a modified
form, by Mirabeau, under the title _Sur la Liberté de la Presse_, imité
de l'Anglais, de Milton.

P. 49. _Leighton._--

    Methinks in that refulgent sphere
      That knows not sun or moon,
    An earth-born saint might long to hear
      One verse of 'Bonnie Doon'.--O. W. HOLMES.

P. 49. _Hazlitt._--'Because they both wrote essays and were fond of the
Elizabethans,' Mr. Augustine Birrell says, 'it became the fashion to
link Hazlitt's name with Lamb's. Hazlitt suffered by the comparison.'

P. 50. _Hunt._--The poet is Wordsworth and the lines 'Oh that my name'
are found in 'Personal Talk'. See page 21.

P. 52. _Carlyle._--In _The Hero as Priest_ Carlyle wrote of Luther's
written works: 'The dialect of these speculations is now grown obsolete
for us; but one still reads them with a singular attraction. And indeed
the mere grammatical diction is still legible enough; Luther's merit in
literary history is of the greatest; his dialect became the language of
all writing. They are not well written, these Four-and-twenty Quartos of
his; written hastily, with quite other than literary objects. But in no
Books have I found a more robust, genuine, I will say noble faculty of a
man than in these. A rugged honesty, homeliness, simplicity; a rugged
sterling sense and strength. He flashes-out illumination from him; his
smiting idiomatic phrases seem to cleave into the very secret of the
matter. Good humour too, nay, tender affection, nobleness, and depth:
this man could have been a Poet too! He had to _work_ an Epic Poem, not
write one.'

    Beneath the rule of men entirely great
    The pen is mightier than the sword. Behold
    The arch-enchanter's wand!--itself a nothing.--
    But taking sorcery from the master-hand
    To paralyse the Caesars, and to strike
    The loud earth breathless!--Take away the sword--
    States can be saved without it!

           LYTTON. _Richelieu_, Act II, sc. ii.

P. 53. _Macaulay._--'Macaulay is like a book in breeches.'--SYDNEY

P. 53. _Maurice._--The first Ptolemy founded the famous Alexandrian
Library which is supposed to have been partly destroyed by Christian
fanatics in 391 A.D., the Arabs in 641 completing the work of

P. 57. _Fuller._--'Fuller's language!' Coleridge writes: 'Grant me
patience, Heaven! A tithe of his beauties would be sold cheap for a
whole library of our classical writers, from Addison to Johnson and
Junius inclusive. And Bishop Nicolson!--a painstaking old charwoman of
the Antiquarian and Rubbish Concern! The venerable rust and dust of the
whole firm are not worth an ounce of Fuller's earth!'

The rest of this essay will be found on page 79. The learned man
referred to in the last paragraph is Erasmus.

P. 58. _Browne._--Pineda in _Monarchica Ecclesiastica_ mentions 1,040
authors. See the note above on Maurice.

P. 60. _Addison._--'The multiplication of readers is the multiplication
of loaves. On the day when Christ created that symbol, he caught a
glimpse of printing. His miracle is this marvel. Behold a book. I will
nourish with it five thousand souls--a million souls--all humanity. In
the action of Christ bringing forth the loaves, there is Gutenberg
bringing forth books. One sower heralds the other.... Gutenberg is for
ever the auxiliary of life; he is the permanent fellow-workman in the
great work of civilization. Nothing is done without him. He has marked
the transition of the man-slave to the free man. Try and deprive
civilization of him, you become Egypt.'--VICTOR HUGO on Shakespeare.

P. 61. _De Quincey._--'The few shelves which would hold all the true
classics extant might receive as many more of the like as there is any
chance that the next two or three centuries could produce, without
burthening the select and leisurely scholar with a sense of how much he
had to read.'--C. PATMORE. _Principle in Art: William Barnes._

P. 63. _Temple._--Sir William Temple's historic dispute with Wotton and
Bentley, in which he had the assistance of Charles Boyle, afterwards
Earl of Orrery, provoked Swift's _Battle of the Books_. Compare
Boileau's _La Lutrin_.

P. 63. _Swift._--'"The Battle of the Books" is the fancy of a lover of
libraries.'--LEIGH HUNT.

The royal library at St. James's alluded to was one of the nine
privileged libraries which received copies of new books under the
Copyright Act of Anne. The privilege passed to the British Museum in
1757, when George II made over the royal collection to the nation.

P. 65. _Bacon._--Sir William Temple in his _Essay on the Ancient and
Modern Learning_ (pp. 59, 63, 110) concludes 'with a Saying of Alphonsus
Sirnamed the Wise, King of Aragon: That among so many things as are by
Men possessed or pursued in the Course of their Lives, all the rest are
Bawbles, Besides Old Wood to Burn, Old Wine to Drink, Old Friends to
Converse with, and Old Books to Read'.

P. 67. _Goldsmith._--Horace Walpole wrote to the Rev. William Cole
(Letter 2337; Oxford edition): 'There is a chapter in Voltaire that
would cure anybody of being a great man even in his own eyes. It is the
chapter in which a Chinese goes into a bookseller's shop, and marvels at
not finding any of his own country's classics.'

P. 69. _Hazlitt._--'William Hazlitt, I believe, has no books, except
mine; but he has Shakespeare and Rousseau by heart.'--LEIGH HUNT.

P. 71. _Hazlitt._--Hazlitt wrote this essay in Florence, on his
honeymoon, and it opens with a quotation from Sterne: 'And what of this
new book, that the whole world make such a rout about?' Lord Byron had
died in the previous year, 1824.

'Laws are not like women, the worse for being old.'--The Duke of
Buckingham's speech in the House of Lords in Charles the Second's time
(Hazlitt's note).

P. 72. _Dudley._--Rogers is reported to have said, 'When a new book
comes out I read an old one.'

P. 73. _Macaulay._--Pyrgopolynices (Plautus: _Miles Gloriosus_); Thraso
(Terence: _Eunuch_); Bobadil (Ben Jonson: _Every Man in his Humour_);
Bessus (Beaumont and Fletcher: _A King and no King_); Pistol (_The Merry
Wives of Windsor_); Parolles (_All's Well that Ends Well_);
Nephelococcygia (Aristophanes: _The Birds_--the cuckoos' town in the
clouds); Lilliput (Swift: _Gulliver's Travels_--the pygmies' country).

P. 77. _Ascham._--Thomas Blundeville wrote some lines in praise of Roger
Ascham's Latin grammar:--

    Of English books as I could find,
    I have perused many a one:
    Yet so well done unto my mind,
    As this is, yet have I found none.

    The words of matter here do rise,
    So fitly and so naturally,
    As heart can wish or wit devise,
    In my conceit and fantasy.

    The words well chosen and well set,
    Do bring such light unto the sense:
    As if I lacked I would not let
    To buy this book for forty pence.

This was published in 1561.

P. 78. _Wither._--Bevis of Hampton, a hero of early mediaeval romance.
The story has been published by the Early English Text Society.

Compare 'The common rabble of scribblers and blur-papers which nowadays
stuff stationers' shops.'--MONTAIGNE.

P. 79. _Fuller._--The other portion of this essay will be found on page
57. Arius Montanus was the court chaplain of Philip II of Spain, and he
personally superintended the printing of the _Biblia Polyglotta_ (8
vols., 1569-73), the most famous of the books printed by Christophe
Plantin. The printing office is one of the sights of Antwerp, whose
council bought the property from Plantin's descendants in 1876 for

Compare also: 'Evil books corrupt at once both our manners and our

P. 80. _Addison._--Addison 'takes off the severity of this speculation'
with an anecdote of an atheistical author who was sick unto death. A
curate, to comfort him, said he did not believe any besides the author's
particular friends or acquaintance had ever been at the pains of reading
his book, or that anybody after his death would ever inquire after it.
'The dying Man had still so much the Frailty of an Author in him, as to
be cut to the Heart with these Consolations; and without answering the
good Man, asked his Friends about him (with a Peevishness that is
natural to a sick Person) where they had picked up such a Blockhead?' It
seems that the author recovered, 'and has since written two or three
other Tracts with the same Spirit, and very luckily for his poor Soul
with the same success.'

P. 83. _Milton._--'For he [Pliny the Elder] read no book which he did
not make extracts from. He used to say that "no book was so bad but some
good might be got out of it."'--PLINY THE YOUNGER.

P. 84. _Baxter._--'Richard, Richard, dost thou think we will let thee
poison the court? Richard, thou art an old knave. Thou hast written
books enough to load a cart, and every book as full of sedition as an
egg is full of meat.'--Judge Jeffreys' address at Baxter's trial.

P. 85. _Athenian Mercury._--An 'answer to correspondents'--the question
'Whether 'tis lawful to read Romances?' being asked in _The Athenian
Mercury_. This, the first popular periodical published in this country,
was started in 1691, and written by John Dunton, R. Sault, and Samuel
(the father of John) Wesley; the last number appeared in 1697, and
Dunton collected into three volumes the most valuable questions and
answers under the title of _The Athenian Oracle_.

Gray's wish was to be always lying on sofas, reading 'eternal new novels
of Crébillon and Marivaux'.

P. 86. _Cobbett._--Cobbett attacks Dr. Johnson, because in a pamphlet he
urged war on the American colonies; Burke, because in another pamphlet
he urged war on revolutionary France. 'The first war lost us America,
the last cost us six hundred millions of money, and has loaded us with
forty millions a year of taxes.'

P. 86. _More._--Tom Hickathrift, who killed a giant at Tylney, Norfolk,
with a cartwheel. He dates from the Conquest, and was made governor of

P. 87. _Austen._--_Cecilia_ and _Camilla_, both by Mme. D'Arblay;
_Belinda_, by Miss Edgeworth.

'She [Diana] says of Romance: "The young who avoid that region escape
the title of Fool at the cost of a celestial crown."'-GEORGE MEREDITH.
_Diana of the Crossways._

P. 87. _Herschel._--'The most influential books, and the truest in their
influence, are works of fiction.'--R. L. STEVENSON.

P. 89. _Burton._--'They lard their lean books with the fat of others'

P. 90. _Milton._--South said that _Eikon Basilike_ was 'composed with
such an unfailing majesty of diction, that it seems to have been written
with a sceptre rather than a pen'.

Milton condemns the king for having 'so little care of truth in his last
words, or honour to himself, or to his friends, or sense of his
afflictions, or of that sad hour which was upon him, as immediately
before his death to pop into the hand of that grave bishop [Juxon] who
attended him, for a special relic of his saintly exercises, a prayer
stolen word for word from the mouth of a heathen woman praying to a
heathen god; and that in no serious book, but the vain amatorious poem
of Sir Philip Sidney's _Arcadia_'.

P. 91. _Dryden._--Hazlitt, who could not 'much relish Ben Jonson',
describes him as 'a great borrower from the works of others, and a
plagiarist even from nature; so little freedom is there in his
imitations of her, and he appears to receive her bounty like an alms'.
J. A. Symonds, stating that Jonson 'held the prose writers and poets of
antiquity in solution in his spacious memory', points out that such
looting on his part of classical treasuries of wit and wisdom was
accounted no robbery in his age.

P. 91. _Sheridan._--Churchill has the same thought in _The Apology_:

    Like gypsies, lest the stolen brat be known,
    Defacing first, then claiming for their own.

P. 93. _Pattison._--Matthew Arnold, in the preface to _Literature and
Dogma_ (1873), points out that 'To read to good purpose we must read a
great deal, and be content not to use a great deal of what we read. We
shall never be content not to use the whole, or nearly the whole, of
what we read, unless we read a great deal.'

P. 96. _Mitford._--'Every abridgement of a good book is a stupid

P. 98. _Tennyson._--J. J. Jusserand, in the first annual Shakespeare
lecture before the British Academy (July 5, 1911), used eloquent
language which might be said to justify bibliographies:--'Books, like
their authors, have their biography. They live their own lives. Some
behave like honourable citizens of the world of thought, do good,
propagate sound views, strengthen heart and courage, assuage, console,
improve those men to whose hearths they have been invited. Others
corrupt or debase, or else turn minds towards empty frivolities. In
proportion to their fame, and to the degree of their perenniality, is
the good or evil that they do from century to century, eternal
benefactors of mankind or deathless malefactors. Posted on the road
followed by humanity, they help or destroy the passers-by; they deserve
gratitude eternal, or levy the toll of some of our life's blood, leaving
us weaker; highwaymen or good Samaritans. Some make themselves heard at
once and continue to be listened to for ever; others fill the ears for
one or two generations, and then begin an endless sleep; or, on the
contrary, long silent or misunderstood, they awake from their torpor,
and astonished mankind discovers with surprise long-concealed treasures
like those trodden upon by the unwary visitor of unexplored ruins.'

P. 99. _Helps._--'My desire is ... that mine adversary had written a
book.'--The Author of Job, ch. 31.

'Curll, Pope's victim and accomplice ... hit on one of those
epoch-making ideas which are so simple when once they are conceived, so
difficult, save for the loftiest genius, in their first conception. It
occurred to him that, in a world governed by the law of mortality, men
might be handsomely entertained on one another's remains. He lost no
time in putting his theory into action. During the years of his activity
he published some forty or fifty separate _Lives_, intimate, anecdotal,
scurrilous sometimes, of famous and notorious persons who had the
ill-fortune to die during his lifetime.... His books commanded a large
sale, and modern biography was established.'--SIR W. RALEIGH. _Six
Essays on Johnson._

It is related in _The Percy Anecdotes_ that 'A gentleman calling on
Archbishop Tillotson observed in his library one shelf of books of
various forms and sizes, all richly bound, finely gilt and lettered. He
inquired what favourite authors these were that had been so remarkably
distinguished by his Grace. "These," said the Archbishop, "are my own
personal friends; and what is more I have made them such (for they were
avowedly my enemies), by the use I have made of those hints which their
malice had suggested to me. From these I have received more profit than
from the advice of my best and most cordial friends; and therefore you
see I have rewarded them accordingly."'

P. 99. _Disraeli._--Compare Emerson: 'There is properly no history, only
biography; and Carlyle: 'History is the essence of innumerable

'Those that write of men's lives,' says Montaigne, 'forasmuch as they
amuse and busy themselves more about counsels than events, more about
that which cometh from within than that which appeareth outward; they
are fittest for me.'

P. 102. _Glanvill._--An original Fellow of the Royal Society, and in
many ways an interesting divine, probably best known in these days
through Matthew Arnold's 'Scholar-Gypsy', whose story is told in _The
Vanity of Dogmatizing_ (1661), from which this quotation and that on
page 118 are made.

P. 103. _Jonson._--The poem 'To the Memory of my Beloved Master William
Shakespeare, and what he hath left us' appeared in 1623.

P. 105. _Jonson._--This was printed in the First Folio of Shakespeare's
works, 1623, on the page opposite the Droeshout portrait.

P. 105. _Milton._--These lines were printed anonymously in the Second
Folio Shakespeare, 1632, and, it is believed, this was Milton's first
appearance as a poet.

P. 106. _Dryden._--This was printed under the engraving in Tonson's
folio edition of _Paradise Lost_ (1688). Mr. F. A. Mumby, in _The
Romance of Bookselling_, recalls that in Moseley's first edition of
Milton's poems there was an atrocious portrait of the poet by William
Marshall. Milton wrote four lines in Greek, which the artist, innocent
of that language, gravely cut into the plate, lines that Dr. Masson has
thus translated:

    That an unskilful hand had carved this print
    You'd say at once, seeing the living face;
    But, finding here no jot of me, my friends,
    Laugh at the botching artist's mis-attempt.

P. 106. _Fletcher._--The subject of this poem was Giles Fletcher, the
author of _Christ's Victory and Triumph_, 'equally beloved of the Muses
and Graces.'

P. 106. _Crashaw._--From _The Flaming Heart_. 'His masterpiece, one of
the most astonishing things in English or any literature, comes without
warning at the end of _The Flaming Heart_. For page after page the poet
has been playing on some trifling conceit ... and then in a moment, in
the twinkling of an eye, without warning of any sort, the metre changes,
the poet's inspiration catches fire, and then rushes up into the heaven
of poetry the marvellous rocket of song: "Live in these conquering
leaves," &c. The contrast is perhaps unique as regards the
colourlessness of the beginning and the splendid colour of the end. But
contrasts like it occur all over Crashaw's work.'--PROFESSOR SAINTSBURY.
_History of Elizabethan Literature._

As an interesting example of Crashaw's conceits it may be noted that,
when alluding to Mary Magdalene, he speaks of her eyes as 'Portable and
compendious oceans.'

P. 107. _Voltaire._--The philosopher also remarks, in the same article,
that 'there is hardly a single philosophical or theological book in
which heresies and impieties may not be found by misinterpreting, or
adding to, or subtracting from, the sense'.

P. 112. _Carlyle._--Abelard, born 1079, died 1142, is less known now as
a famous teacher at the University of Paris than as the lover of

P. 113. _Trapp and Browne._--When George I sent a present of some books,
in November 1715, to the University of Cambridge, he sent at the same
time a troop of horse to Oxford. This inspired Dr. Trapp and provoked
the rejoinder from Sir William Browne.

P. 114. _Earle._--Mr. A. S. West, in his edition of Earle's
_Microcosmographie; or a Piece of the World discovered; in Essayes and
Characters_, says: 'The critic supposed that _omneis_ was the original
form of the accusative plural of _omnis_, and that the forms _omnes_ and
_omnis_ had taken its place. In order to adhere to the older spelling
"he writes _omneis_ at length". _Quicquid_ is cited as an instance of
pedantry because the ordinary man wrote the word as _quidquid_, and
doubtless so pronounced it. The critic's gerund may be described as
"inconformable" because it resists attraction--remains a gerund and does
not become a gerundive. Or Earle may have had in view passages in which
the gerund of transitive verbs with _est_ govern an object.'

P. 115. _Goldsmith._--'When Dr. Johnson is free to confess that he does
not admire Gray's _Elegy_, and Macaulay to avow that he sees little to
praise in Dickens and Wordsworth, why should not humbler folks have the
courage of their opinions?' Such is the question asked by James Payn in
the _Nineteenth Century_ (March 1880), his article being entitled 'Sham
Admiration in Literature'. Mr. Payn noted that 'curiously enough, it is
women who have the most courage in the expression of their literary
opinions', instancing the authoress of _Jane Eyre_, who 'did not derive
much pleasure from the perusal of the works of the other Jane [Austen]',
and Harriet Martineau, who confessed to him that she could see no
beauties in _Tom Jones_.

'There is no ignorance more shameful than to admit as true that which
one does not understand: and there is no advantage so great as that of
being set free from error.'--XENOPHON. _Memorabilia._

P. 118. _Fielding._--'What a master of composition Fielding was! Upon my
word, I think the _Oedipus Tyrannus_, _The Alchemist_, and _Tom Jones_,
the three most perfect plots ever planned.... How charming, how
wholesome, Fielding always is!'--S. T. COLERIDGE. _Table Talk._

P. 123. _Erasmus._--The translation is the work of Nathaniel Bailey,
lexicographer and schoolmaster, who died in 1742. Desiderius and Erasmus
are Latin and Greek for Gerhard 'the beloved', the name of the scholar's

P. 123. _Colton._--Compare R. B. Sheridan's: 'Easy writing's curst hard

P. 124. _Bacon._--Mr. A. S. Gaye, in the new Clarendon Press edition of
the _Essays_, points out that on almost every page the reader will find
quotations from the Bible and from the Greek and Latin classics,
especially Tacitus, Plutarch, Cicero, Virgil, Seneca, and Ovid, besides
frequent allusions to biblical, classical, and mediaeval history. 'It is
also remarkable that the quotations are more often than not inaccurate,
not only in words but in sense.... Bacon furnished in himself an
exception to the rule which he laid down in his Essay "Of Studies"; for
though "reading" made him "a full man", "writing" did not make him "an
exact man".'

P. 128. _Boswell._--One of Mrs. Piozzi's anecdotes of Dr. Johnson is
that he asked 'Was there ever yet anything written by mere man that was
wished longer by its readers excepting _Don Quixote_, _Robinson Crusoe_,
and the _Pilgrim's Progress_?' Johnson declared that the work of
Cervantes was the greatest in the world, 'speaking of it, I mean, as a
book of entertainment.'

P. 132. _Emerson._--Shakespeare's phrase: _Taming of the Shrew_, Act I,
sc. i.

P. 133. _Emerson._--O. W. Holmes applies the proverb to the Bible.
'What you bring away from the Bible depends to some extent on what you
carry to it.'

P. 135. _Calverley._--See Tupper's lines on page 12. The allusions are,
of course, to the creations of Bulwer-Lytton.

P. 138. _Gibbon._--F. W. Robertson's opinion is worth recording: 'It is
very surprising to find how little we retain of a book, how little we
have really made our own, when we come to interrogate ourselves as to
what account we can give of it, however we may seem to have mastered it
by understanding it. Hundreds of books read once have passed as
completely from us as if we had never read them; whereas the discipline
of mind got by writing down, not copying, an abstract of a book which is
worth the trouble, fixes it on the mind for years, and, besides, enables
one to read other books with more attention and more profit.'

P. 140. _Hamilton._--'This assumes that the book to be operated on is
your own, and perhaps is rather too elaborate a counsel of perfection
for most of us.'--LORD MORELY.

P. 145. _Addison._--Hor. _Ars Poet._ 1. 319:--

      When the sentiments and manners please,
    And all the characters are wrought with ease,
    Your tale, though void of beauty, force, and art,
    More strongly shall delight and warm the heart;
    Than where a lifeless pomp of verse appears,
    And with sonorous trifles charms our ears.--FRANCIS.

Butler, writing of 'A small poet' (_Characters_), says: 'There was one
that lined a hat-case with a paper of Benlowe's poetry: Prynne bought it
by chance, and put a new demicastor into it. The first time he wore it
he felt a singing in his head, which within two days turned to a
vertigo.' A 'demicastor' is a hat.

P. 147. _Scott._--Mr. W. J. Courthope, in his Warton Lecture on English
Poetry before the British Academy, read on October 25, 1911, observes
that 'the best illustration of historic change in "romantic" temper is
perhaps to be found in a comparison of Cervantes' account of the
character of Don Quixote [see p. 155] with Walter Scott's representation
of the romanticism of the hero of _Waverley_. Don Quixote's "fancy",
says Cervantes, "grew full of what he used to read about in his books,
enchantments, battles, challenges, wounds, wooings, loves, agonies, and
all sorts of impossible nonsense; and it so possessed his mind that the
whole fabric of invention and fancy he read of was true, that to him no
history in the world had more reality in it." ... "My intention," says
Scott, "is not to follow the steps of the inimitable Cervantes in
describing such total perversion of intellect as misconstrues the
objects actually presented to the senses, but the more common aberration
from sound judgement, which apprehends occurrences indeed in their
reality, but communicates to them a tincture of its own romantic
colouring."' Scott expatiates at length on Waverley's reading in the
third chapter of his novel.

P. 148. _Boswell._--Macaulay writes in his review of Southey's edition
of _The Pilgrim's Progress_: 'Doctor Johnson, all whose studies were
desultory, and who hated, as he said, to read books through, made an
exception in favour of _The Pilgrim's Progress_. That work was one of
the two or three works which he wished longer. It was by no common merit
that the illiterate sectary extracted praise like this from the most
pedantic of critics and the most bigoted of Tories.'

Boswell relates that Dr. Johnson 'had a peculiar facility in seizing at
once what was valuable in any book, without submitting to the labour of
perusing it from beginning to end.'

P. 149. _Chandos._--The authorship of _Horae Subsecivae_ is not
absolutely known, but it is attributed to James I's favourite courtier.
It was published in 1620, the year before Chandos died.

P. 149. _Waller._--'A library well chosen cannot be too extensive, but
some there are who amass a great quantity of books, which they keep for
show, and not for service. Of such persons, Louis XI of France aptly
enough observed, that "they resembled _hunch-backed_ people, who carried
a great burden, which _they never saw_".'--W. KEDDIE. _Cyclopaedia_.

P. 153. _Coleridge._--The most deadly thing that Coleridge wrote was
when he classed the patrons of the circulating libraries as lower in the
scale than that reading public nine-tenths of whose reading is confined
to periodicals and 'Beauties, elegant Extracts and Anas [Anecdotes]'.

P. 153. _Boswell._--Dr. Birkbeck Hill points out that Boswell alludes to
this opinion in one of his letters, modestly adding: 'I am afraid I have
not read books enough to be able to talk from them.' Johnson
particularized Langton as talking from books, 'and Garrick would if he
talked seriously.'

P. 154. _S. Smith._--Bettinelli, a scholar and a Jesuit (1718-1808), who
attacked the reputation of Dante and Petrarch.

Coventry Patmore wrote: 'If you want to shine as a diner-out, the best
way is to know something which others do not know, and not to know many
things which everybody knows. This takes much less reading, and is
doubly effective, inasmuch as it makes you a really good, that is, an
interested listener, as well as a talker.'--(_On Obscure Books._)

P. 154. _Colton._--'Methinks 'tis a pitiful piece of knowledge that can
be learnt from an index and a poor ambition to be rich in the inventory
of another's treasure.'--J. GLANVILL. _The Vanity of Dogmatizing._

P. 155. _Cervantes._--A whole chapter is devoted to the destruction of
Don Quixote's library. (Part i, chap, vi.) The books that, condemned by
the priest, were passed into the housekeeper's hands and thence into
the fire were:--_Adventures of Esplandian_; _Amadis of Greece_; _Don
Olivante de Laura_; _Florismarte of Hyrcania_; _The Knight Platir_; _The
Knight of the Cross_; _Bernardo del Carpio_; _Roncesvalles_; _Palmerin
de Oliva_; _Diana_, called the Second, by Salmantino; _The Shepherd of
Iberia_; _The Nymphs of Henares_; and _The Curse of Jealousy_. The
priest, however, put by for further examination or determined to save:
_Amadis de Gaul_; _The Mirror of Chivalry_, and 'all other books that
shall be found treating of French matters'; _Palmerin of England_; _Don
Belianis_; _Tirante the White_; _Diana_, of Montemayor, and its
continuation by Gil Polo; _Ten Books of the Fortune of Love_; _The
Shepherd of Filida_; _The Treasure of Divers Poems_ (de Padilla); _Book
of Songs_, by Lopez Maldonado; _Galatea_, by Cervantes; _Araucana_;
_Austriada_; _Monserrate_; and the _Tears of Angelica_. The curious
reader will find these volumes traced in the admirable notes in J.
Fitzmaurice-Kelly's edition of _Don Quixote_ in 'The World's Classics'.
Cervantes, Mr. Fitzmaurice-Kelly says, devoured in his wandering youth,
'those folios of chivalrous adventures which he, and he alone, has saved
from the iniquity of oblivion'. The early association of Barabbas and
books will be noticed.

It is the translation by Charles Jervas, first published in 1742, which
is here employed.

_The Renowned Romance of Amadis of Gaul_, by Vasco Lobeira, which was
expressly condemned by Montaigne (see p. 144), was translated from the
Spanish version of Garciodonez de Montalvo by Southey.

P. 159. _Ruskin._--As Mr. Frederic Harrison points out, 'Books are no
more education than laws are virtue; and, just as profligacy is easy
within the strict limits of law, a boundless knowledge of books may be
found with a narrow education.'

P. 159. _E. B. Browning._--This letter was written to 'Orion' Horne
three years before Mrs. Browning's marriage in 1843, when she was
thirty-seven. Compare Matthew Arnold in the preface to _Literature and
Dogma_ (1873): 'Nothing can be truer than what Butler says, that really,
in general, no part of our time is more idly spent than the time spent
in reading. Still, culture is indispensably necessary, and culture is
reading; but reading with a purpose to guide it, and with system.'

P. 161. _Maurice._--This is better than Sydney Smith's attitude
expressed in the question, 'Who reads an American book, or goes to an
American play, or looks at an American picture or statue?'

P. 162. _Blackie._--'Reading is seeing by proxy--is learning indirectly
through another man's faculties, instead of directly through one's own
faculties; and such is the prevailing bias, that the indirect learning
is thought preferable to the direct learning, and usurps the name of
cultivation.'--HERBERT SPENCER. _The Study of Sociology._

P. 163. _Montaigne._--'Montesquieu used to say that he had never known
a pain or a distress which he could not soothe by half an hour of a good
book.'--LORD MORLEY.

P. 163. _Davies._--

    What is the end of Fame? 'Tis but to fill
      A certain portion of uncertain paper ...
    To have, when the original is dust,
    A name, a wretched picture, and worse bust.

                LORD BYRON, _Don Juan_.

P. 164. _Hall._--'Hard students are commonly troubled with gouts,
catarrhs, rheums, cachexia, bradiopepsia, bad eyes, stone and colic,
crudities, oppitations, vertigo, winds, consumptions, and all such
diseases as come by overmuch sitting; they are most part lean, dry,
ill-coloured, spend their fortunes, lose their wits, and many times
their lives, and all through immoderate pains, and extraordinary
studies.'--R. BURTON. _The Anatomy of Melancholy._

P. 165. _Lytton._--'I look upon a library as a kind of mental chemist's
shop, filled with the crystals of all forms and hues which have come
from the union of individual thought with local circumstances or
universal principles.'--O. W. HOLMES. _The Professor at the

P. 169. _Walpole._--Mr. Augustine Birrell in _Obiter Dicta: The Office
of Literature_ writes that the author's office is to make the reader

'Cooks, warriors, and authors must be judged by the effects they
produce: toothsome dishes, glorious victories, pleasant books--these are
our demands....

'Literature exists to please--to lighten the burden of men's lives; to
make them for a short while forget their sorrows and their sins, their
silenced hearths, their disappointed hopes, their grim futures--and
those men of letters are the best loved who have best performed
literature's truest office.'

P. 169. _Chaucer._--The book referred to is Ovid's _Metamorphoses_.

P. 169. _Digby._--Sir Kenelm Digby's 'observations' are generally
printed with _Religio Medici_, although in a letter to Sir T. Browne,
who had written to him on the subject, he explained that the hastily set
down notes did not merit the press, and would 'serve only for a private
letter, or a familiar discourse with lady-auditors'.

To Sir Thomas Browne, 'a library,' says Coleridge, 'was a living world,
and every book a man, absolute flesh and blood.'

P. 170. _Boswell._--'Who is he that is now wholly overcome with
idleness, or otherwise involved in a labyrinth of worldly cares,
troubles, and discontents, that will not be much lightened in his mind
by reading of some enticing story, true or feigned, where as in a glass
he shall observe what our forefathers have done, the beginnings, ruins,
ends, falls of commonwealths, private men's actions displayed to the
life, &c. Plutarch therefore calls them _secundas mensas et bellaria_,
the second courses and junkets, because they were usually read at
noblemen's feasts.'--R. BURTON. _Anatomy_.

P. 171. _Rabelais._--

    Whence is thy learning? Hath thy toil
    O'er books consumed the midnight oil?--J. GAY.

P. 171. _Wilson._--This is often taken to be an antique. As a matter of
fact, Mr. John Wilson, a London bookseller, stated to Mr. Austin Dobson
that he wrote the lines as a motto for one of his second-hand
catalogues. Wilson, Mr. Dobson tells us, was amused at the vogue the
lines eventually obtained.

P. 172. _Chaucer._--This is the earlier version, and to be preferred to
the later, in which the passage ends:

    Farwel my book and my devocioun!

wel unethe=scarcely any.

P. 175. _Tickle._--'Written in a fit of the gout.'

'And laid the storm,' &c.: the advice given to Augustus by Athenodorus
the Stoic philosopher.

See Shakespeare's _Love's Labour's Lost_, Act v, sc. i. Holofernes
'teaches boys the horn-book'.

P. 181. _Richardson._--In his preface to _Pamela_ Richardson claims to
give 'practical examples worthy to be followed in the most critical and
affecting cases by the modest virgin, the chaste bride, and the obliging
wife'. The heroine becomes Mrs. B----, and Billy is the first-born.
Locke's treatise was published in 1693, or forty-seven years before
Richardson's novel, and the philosopher observes 'That most Children's
Constitutions are either spoiled, or at least harmed, by _Cockering and
Tenderness_'. 'Mr. B.' recommended better than he knew.

P. 181. _Johnson_ ('At large in the library').--Ruskin gives the same
advice. See p. 208.

P. 183. _Gibbon._--The _Autobiography_, in Sir Archibald Alison's
opinion, is 'the most perfect account of an eminent man's life, from his
own hand, which exists in any language'.

P. 186. _Landor._--See the poem to Wordsworth on p. 21.

P. 187. _Hunt._--The friend referred to was Shelley.

P. 188. _Dickens._--Of this passage, Forster says in the _Life of
Dickens_, 'It is one of the many passages in _Copperfield_ which are
literally true.... Every word of this personal recollection had been
written down as fact, some years before it found its way into _David
Copperfield_; the only change in the fiction being his omission of the
name of a cheap series of novelists then in course of publication, by
means of which his father had become happily the owner of so large a
lump of literary treasure in his small collection of books.'

Apropos of Defoe, Macaulay, who could not 'understand the mania of some
people about Defoe', admitted that 'he certainly wrote an excellent
book--the first part of _Robinson Crusoe_ ... my delight before I was
five years old'.

P. 189. _Hazlitt._--It is reported (Dibdin relates in _Bibliomania_)
that a certain man, of the name of Similis, who fought under the Emperor
Hadrian, became so wearied and disgusted with the number of troublesome
events which he met with in that mode of life, that he retired and
devoted himself wholly to leisure and reading, and to meditations upon
divine and human affairs, after the manner of Pythagoras. In this
retirement, Similis was wont frequently to exclaim that '_now_ he began
to _live_': at his death he desired the following inscription to be
placed upon his tomb.

        Here lies Similis;
    In the seventieth year of his age
    But only the seventh of his life.

In a note it is stated that 'This story is related by Dion Cassius and
from him told by Spizelius in his _Infelix Literarius_'.

P. 190. _Donne._--This is the title given by Donne's editors, but is
nonsense. Grosart explains that Pindar's instructress was Corinna the
Theban, and that Lucan's 'help' is probably his helpmeet--Argentaria
Polla, his wife who survived him.

P. 192. _Dante._--This is the famous passage in Canto V referring to
Paolo and Francesca.--(Cary's translation.)

P. 196. _Moore._--

     For where is any author in the world
     Teaches such beauty as a woman's eye?

    SHAKESPEARE. _Love's Labour's Lost_, Act IV. Sc. iii.

P. 198. _More._--Warton thinks it probable that Sir Thomas More--'one of
the best jokers of the age'--may have written this epigram, which he
considers the first pointed epigram in our language. But by some the
lines are credited to Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, who is memorable,
among other things, for introducing the sonnet from Italy into England,
a distinction which he shares with Wyatt.

P. 199. _Moore._--'Mamurra was a dogmatic philosopher, who never doubted
about anything, except who was his father; Bombastus, one of the names
of the great scholar and quack Paracelsus. St. Jerome was scolded by an
angel for reading Cicero, as Gratia tells the story in his _Concordantia
discordantium Canonum_, and says, that for this reason bishops were not
allowed to read the classics'.

P. 203. _Scott._--The Roxburgh Club was inaugurated on the day of the
sale of the Duke of Roxburgh's library in 1812 in order to print for
members rare books or manuscripts. The club had numerous offspring,
including the Bannatyne Club (see p. 270, and the note thereon). The
Duke of Roxburgh's library, which was celebrated for its Caxtons, sold
for £23,341.

P. 205. _E. B. Browning._--

    Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
    A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse--and Thou
      Beside me singing in the Wilderness--
    And Wilderness is Paradise enow.

             E. FITZGERALD. _Omar Khayyám._

P. 207. _Macaulay._--'Neither we nor divinity require much learning in
women; Francis, Duke of Brittany, son to John V, when he was spoke unto
for a marriage between him and Isabel, a daughter of Scotland, and some
told him she was meanly brought up, and without any instruction of
learning, answered he loved her the better for it, and that a woman was
wise enough if she could but make a difference between the shirt and
doublet of her husband's.'--MONTAIGNE.

P. 208. _Ruskin._--Compare Johnson's advice on page 181.

P. 209. _Addison._--Virgil _Aeneid_, vii. 805:

    Unused to spinning, in the loom unskilled.--DRYDEN.

The _Virgil_ of Ogilby, or Ogilvy, originally a dancing-master, was
published in 1649, and was the first complete English translation
(Ogilby is mentioned by Pope, see page 313); _Cassandra_, _Cleopatra_,
_Astraea_, _The Grand Cyrus_ and _Clelia_ were French romances
translated into English. Sidney called his pastoral romance _The
Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia_; Sherlock's _Discourse on Death_ passed
through forty editions; _The Fifteen Comforts_, a translation of a
French satirical work of the fifteenth century; Sir Richard Baker's
_Chronicle of the Kings of England from the time of the Romans'
Government unto the Death of King James_ (1641); Mrs. Manley was tried
for libelling the nobility in her _Secret Memoirs and Manners of several
Persons of Quality of both Sexes from the New Atlantis_ (1707); the
Fielding referred to is Beau Fielding, tried at the Old Bailey in 1706
for a bigamous marriage with the Duchess of Cleveland.

In Addison's time, Dr. Johnson wrote, 'in the female world, any
acquaintance with books was distinguished only to be censured.'

P. 211. _Addison._--Hor. 2 _Ep._ ii. 61:

      What would you have me do,
    When out of twenty I can please not two?--
    One likes the pheasant's wing, and one the leg;
    The vulgar boil, the learned roast an egg;
    Hard task, to hit the palate of such guests.--POPE.

The _Vindication_ was the work of Charles Leslie, the non-juror;
_Pharamond_, a romance dealing with the Frankish empire, by La
Calprenède; _Cassandra_ is wrong--the French work, also by La
Calprenède, was _Cassandre_ (the son of Antipater); _All for Love_,
Dryden's play; _Sophonisba_, by Lee; _The Innocent Adultery_, the second
name of Sotherne's _The Fatal Marriage_; _Mithridates_ was by Lee, who
also wrote _The Rival Queens, or The Death of Alexander the Great_, and
_Theodosius_; _Aureng-Zebe_, Dryden's tragedy. (T. Arnold's _Addison_:
Clarendon Press).

P. 213. _Sheridan._--The first reference to a circulating library given
in the _Oxford English Dictionary_ is an advertisement, June 12,
1742--'Proposals for erecting a Public Circulating Library in London.'
Joseph Knight, in the Oxford edition of Sheridan's _Plays_, annotates
this passage fully. Dillingham, sending his Latin translation of
Herbert's _Porch_ to Sancroft, says: 'I know that if these should be
once published, it would be too late then to prevent, if not to correct
a fault; I therefore shall take it as a great kindness if you will
please to put on your critical naile, and to give your impartial censure
on these papers while they are yet in the tireing roome; and I shall
endeavour to amend them with one great or more lesser blotts.' Sancroft
replies: 'I greedily took your original in one hand, and your copy in
the other, of which I had suffered one nayl (though it pretends not to
be a critical one) to grow ever since you bespoke its service.'

Compare Herrick:--

    Be bold, my book, nor be abashed, or fear
    The cutting thumb-nail, or the brow severe;
    But by the Muses swear, all here is good,
    If but, well read or ill read, understood.

Blonds=blond laces, produced from unbleached silk.

All the works mentioned have been identified. The _Innocent Adultery_ is
the alternative title of Sotherne's _Fatal Marriage_; _The Whole Duty of
Man_ was by Allestree, once Provost of Eton; the 'admirable Mrs.
Chapone', an admirer of Richardson, and a contributor to the _Rambler_;
'Under the most repulsive exterior that any woman ever possessed she
concealed very superior attainments and extensive knowledge'; Fordyce
was Johnson's friend, and his sermons were specially addressed to young

P. 216. _Chaucer._--holwe=hollow; courtepy=short upper coat of a coarse
material; fithele=fiddle; sautrye=psaltery; hente=borrow; yaf=gave;
scoleye=to attend school; sentence=sentiment; souninge in=conducing to.

P. 216. _Brant._--Sebastian Brant's _Narrenschiff_, published in 1497,
at Basle, was the first printed book that treated of contemporaneous
events and living persons, instead of old German battles and French
knights. Barclay's translation, Professor Max Müller points out, 'was
not made from the original but from Locher's Latin translation. It
reproduces the matter, but not the marrow of the original satire ... in
some parts his translation is an improvement on the original.' _The Ship
of Fools_ in its original form, and in numerous translations, had an
enormous success, edition after edition being printed.


P. 219. _Young._--T--n=Tonson.

P. 220. _Ferriar._--The first edition of this poem was issued as a
quarto pamphlet in 1809. It is reprinted in the second volume of the
second edition of Ferriar's _Illustrations of Sterne, and other Essays_,
1812, with some 140 additional lines.

'He, whom chief the laughing Muses own' is Aristophanes; the lines that
follow refer to the fire of London. D--n=Dryden.

'On one of these occasions [a book-auction] a succession of valuable
fragments of early English poetry brought prices so high and far beyond
those of ordinary expensive books in the finest condition, that it
seemed as if their imperfections were their merit; and the auctioneer,
momentarily carried off with this feeling, when the high prices began to
sink a little, remonstrated thus, "Going so low as thirty shillings,
gentlemen,--this curious book--so low as thirty shillings--and _quite
imperfect_!"'--J. H. BURTON. _The Book-Hunter._

Ferriar mentions incidentally most of the famous printers of olden time.
Aldine editions were those printed by Aldo Manuzio and his family in
Venice from 1490 to 1597. The Elzevir family became famous on account of
its duodecimos.

P. 225. _Beresford._--_Bibliosophia; or Book-wisdom_, by the Rev. J.
Beresford, was written as 'a feeling remonstrance against the _prose_
work, lately published by the Reverend T. F. Dibdin under the title of
_Bibliomania; or Book-madness_', quoted in successive pages.

P. 226. _d'Israeli._--The verse is imitated from the Latin of 'Henry
Rantzau, a Danish gentleman, the founder of the great library at
Copenhagen, whose days were dissolved in the pleasures of reading', who
'discovers his taste and ardour in the following elegant effusion'.

P. 227. _d'Israeli._--'An allusion and pun which occasioned the French
translator of the present work an unlucky blunder: puzzled no doubt by
my _facetiously_, he translates "mettant comme on l'a _très
judicieusement_ fait observer, l'entendement humain sous la clef". The
book, and the author alluded to, quite escaped him.'--I. D'ISRAELI.
_Curiosities of Literature: The Bibliomania, note._

P. 228. _Dibdin._--Magliabechi was born at Florence, October 29, 1633.
'He had never learned to read; and yet he was perpetually poring over
the leaves of old books that were used in his master's shop. A
bookseller, who lived in the neighbourhood, and who had often observed
this, and knew the boy could not read, asked him one day "what he meant
by staring so much on printed paper?" Magliabechi said that he did not
know how it was, but that he loved it of all things. The consequence was
that he was received, with tears of joy in his eyes, into the
bookseller's shop; and hence rose, by a quick succession, into posts of
literary honour, till he became librarian to the Grand Duke of Tuscany.'

P. 234. _Longfellow._--Bayard Taylor, born 1825, died 1878. The allusion
is to the famous monument of the Emperor Maximilian in the Franciscan
church, or Hofkirche, at Innsbruck, where a kneeling figure of
Maximilian is surrounded by statues of his contemporaries and ancestors.
The emperor is buried actually at Wiener-Neustadt. Taylor published
_Prince Deukalion: a lyrical drama_, in 1878.

P. 236. _Browning._--Sibrandus Schafnaburgensis 'is apparently', Mrs.
Orr says, without adding to our store of knowledge, 'the name of an old
pedant who has written a tiresome book.'

P. 239. _de Bury._--J. H. Burton, in _The Book-Hunter_, tells the
following story:--It was Thomson, I believe, who used to cut the leaves
with his snuffers. Perhaps an event in his early career may have soured
him of the proprieties. It is said that he had an uncle, a clever active
mechanic, who could do many things with his hands, and contemplated
James's indolent, dreamy, 'feckless' character with impatient disgust.
When the first of _The Seasons_--_Winter_ it was, I believe--had been
completed at press, Jamie thought, by a presentation copy, to triumph
over his uncle's scepticism, and to propitiate his good opinion he had
the book handsomely bound. The old man never looked inside, or asked
what the book was about, but turning it round and round with his fingers
in gratified admiration, exclaimed: 'Come, is that really our Jamie's
doin' now? Weel, I never thought the cratur wad hae had the handicraft
to do the like!'

P. 246. _H. Coleridge._--See Roscoe's poem to his books on parting with
them, p. 9.

P. 247. _Dibdin._--'There are shrewd books, with dangerous frontispieces
set to sale; who shall prohibit them? shall twenty licensers?'--MILTON.

P. 249. _Burns._--Mr. Andrew Lang states that Burns saw a splendidly
bound but sadly neglected copy of Shakespeare in the library of a
nobleman in Edinburgh, and he wrote these lines on the ample margin of
one of its pages, where they were found long after the poet's death.

P. 250. _Parnell._--'It was supposed that a binding of Russian leather
secured books against insects, but the contrary was recently
demonstrated at Paris by two volumes pierced in every direction. The
first bookbinder in Paris, Bozerian, told me he knew of no remedy except
to steep the blank leaves in muriatic acid.'--PINKERTON'S _Recollections
of Paris_. Parnell's poem is translated from Theodore Beza.

'Smith was very comical about a remedy of Lady Holland's for the
bookworms in the library at Holland House, having the books washed with
some mercurial preparation. He said it was Sir Humphry Davy's opinion
that the air would become charged with the mercury, and that the whole
family would be salivated, adding, "I shall see Allen some day, with his
tongue hanging out, speechless, and shall take the opportunity to stick
a few principles into him."'--_Bon-Mots_ of Sydney Smith, edited by W.

John Allen, M.D., was the librarian, described by Byron as 'the best
informed and one of the ablest men I know--a perfect Magliabechi; a
devourer, a _heluo_ of books'. His scepticism earned him the title of
'Lady Holland's atheist'.

P. 252. _King._--This is from J. Nichols's Collection of Poems, vol.
iii, _Bibliotheca_, and is ascribed 'upon conjecture only' to Dr. W.
King. _See_ p. 311.

P. 253. _d'Arblay._--Macaulay notes that Miss Burney 'describes this
conversation as delightful; and, indeed, we cannot wonder that, with her
literary tastes, she should be delighted at hearing in how magnificent a
manner the greatest lady in the land encouraged literature'. The
conversation took place at Windsor in December, 1785.

P. 255. _Lamb._--Walter Pater says of Charles Lamb: 'He was a true
"collector", delighting in the personal finding of a thing, in the
colour an old book or print gets for him by the little accidents which
attest previous ownership. Wither's _Emblems_, "that old book and
quaint," long-desired, when he finds it at last, he values none the less
because a child had coloured the plates with his paints.'

P. 256. _Milton._--'The call for books was not in Milton's age what it
is in the present. To read was not then a general amusement; neither
traders, nor often gentlemen, thought themselves disgraced by ignorance.
The women had not then aspired to literature nor was every house
supplied with a closet of knowledge.'--DR. JOHNSON.

P. 257. _Browning._--The statue referred to is that of Giovanni delle
Bande Nere, father of Cosimo de' Medici, in the Piazza San Lorenzo. The
imaginative Sienese is Ademollo; the 'Frail one of the Flower' will be
recognized as _La Dame aux Camélias_. Browning 'translates' the
title-page of his 'find' thus:--

                A Roman murder-case:
    Position of the entire criminal cause
    Of Guido Franceschini, nobleman,
    With certain Four the cutthroats in his pay,
    Tried, all five, and found guilty and put to death
    By heading or hanging as befitted ranks,
    At Rome on February Twenty Two,
    Since our salvation Sixteen Ninety Eight:
    Wherein it is disputed if, and when,
    Husbands may kill adulterous wives, yet 'scape
    The customary forfeit.'

P. 260. _Eliot._--

      I often wonder what the Vintners buy
    One half so precious as the stuff they sell.

              E. FITZGERALD. _Rubaiyát of Omar Khayyám._

P. 263. _Lewis._--This is a portion of an imitation of Horace. _Ep._ 20,
Bk. i.

P. 265. _Gay._--The authorship of this and the following poem cannot be
decided definitely, but it is presumed that they were written by Gay and
Pope respectively, and they have been so credited in the text.

P. 269. _Lamb._--This appeared originally in _The London Magazine_, and
was reprinted by Hone in _The Every-Day Book_. It was in Hone's _Table
Book_ that Lamb's extracts from the Elizabethan dramatists were

P. 269. _Goldsmith._--See Bacon, on p. 65, and the note thereon.

P. 270. _Scott._--Sir Walter was the first President of the Bannatyne
Club, and he wrote these lines for the anniversary dinner in 1823. The
club had been founded in the previous year with the object of printing
works on the history and antiquities of Scotland. Bannatyne himself,
whose name was given to the club, achieved immortality by copying out
nearly all the ancient poetry of Scotland in 1568, at a time when the
country was ravaged by plague, and the records of Scottish literature
were also in danger of destruction. Of the other names mentioned here,
Ritson had written a vegetarian book. The 'yeditur' was the name given
by Lord Eldon to James Sibbald. 'Greysteel' was a romance that David
Herd sought in vain, and it gave him his nickname.

P. 271. _Maginn._--Sung at the Booksellers' Annual Dinner, Blackwall,
June 7, 1840. Fraser, whose name lives in his magazine, died in the
following year.

It is very tempting to give more passages about booksellers but I must
refrain as it would be foreign to the purpose of this volume, and the
subject has been recently treated with great fullness and greater
ability by Mr. Frank A. Mumby in _The Romance of Bookselling_.

P. 273. _de Bury._--'Would it not grieve a man of a good spirit to see
Hobson finde more money in the tayles of 12 jades than a scholler in 200
bookes?'--_The Pilgrimage to Parnassus._ Hobson, the carrier, celebrated
by Milton, is the hero of 'Hobson's choice'.

P. 274. _Lamb._--'The motto I proposed for the [_Edinburgh_] _Review_
was: Tenui Musam meditamur avena--"we cultivate literature upon a little
oatmeal."'--SYDNEY SMITH.

P. 274. _Ruskin._--Mark Pattison said that nobody who respected himself
could have less than 1,000 volumes, and that this number of octavo
volumes could be stacked in a bookcase 13 feet by 10 feet and 6 inches
deep. He complained that the bookseller's bill in the ordinary
middle-class family is shamefully small, and he thought it monstrous
that a man who is earning £1,000 a year should spend less than £1 a week
on books. 'A shilling in the pound to be spent on books,' is Lord
Morley's comment, 'by a clerk who earns a couple of hundred pounds a
year, or by a workman who earns a quarter of that sum, is rather more, I
think, than can be reasonably expected.'

P. 276. _Lamb._--Comberbatch was the name in which Coleridge enlisted in
the Dragoons. _The Life and Opinions of John Buncle, Esq._, was by
Thomas Amory. Leigh Hunt describes Buncle as 'a kind of innocent Henry
VIII of private life'.

Charles Lamb, who at last grew tired of lending his books, threatened to
chain Wordsworth's poems to his shelves, adding:--'For of those who
borrow, some read slow; some mean to read, but don't read; and some
neither read nor mean to read, but borrow to leave you an opinion of
their sagacity. I must do my money-borrowing friends the justice to say
that there is nothing of this caprice or wantonness of alienation in
them. When they borrow my money they never fail to make use of it.'--SIR

P. 289. _Shakespeare._--Also in a later scene of the same play:--'Thou
hast most traitorously corrupted the youth of the realm in erecting a
grammar-school; and whereas, before, our forefathers had no other books
but the score and the tally, thou hast caused printing to be used; and,
contrary to the king, his crown, and dignity, thou hast built a
paper-mill. It will be proved to thy face that thou hast men about thee
that usually talk of a noun and a verb, and such abominable words as no
Christian ear can endure to hear.'

P. 292. _Wesley._--'Next morning he was still better: ... he desired to
be drawn into the library, and placed by the central window, that he
might look down upon the Tweed. Here he expressed a wish that I should
read to him, and when I asked from what book, he said--"Need you ask?
There is but one."'--J. G. LOCKHART. _Life of Sir Walter Scott._

'It is our _duty_ to live among books, especially to live by ONE BOOK,
and a very old one.'--JOHN HENRY NEWMAN in _Tracts for the Times_.

P. 296. _De Vere._--Addison speaks of Horace and Pindar as showing, when
confronted with the Psalms, 'an absurdity and confusion of style,' and
'a comparative poverty of imagination'.

Coleridge has left on record his opinion that, 'after reading Isaiah or
St. Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews, Homer and Virgil are disgustingly
tame to me, and Milton himself scarcely tolerable.'

Milton's own words may be recalled: 'There are no songs comparable to
the songs of Sion; no orations equal to those of the Prophets.'

P. 296. _Swift._--Compare Cowper in _Hope_:--

          In her own light arrayed,
    See mercy's grand apocalypse displayed!
    The sacred book no longer suffers wrong,
    Bound in the fetters of an unknown tongue;
    But speaks with plainness, art could never mend,
    What simplest minds can soonest comprehend.

Macaulay described the Bible as 'a book which, if everything else in our
language should perish, would alone suffice to show the whole extent of
its beauty and power'.

P. 297. _Arnold._--Wordsworth's opinion was that the prophetic and
lyrical parts of the Bible formed 'the great storehouse of enthusiastic
and meditative imagination'.

P. 297. _Faber._--Professor Huxley wrote in the _Contemporary Review_,
in his famous article on 'The School Boards':--'Consider the great
historical fact that, for three centuries, this book has been woven into
the life of all that is best and noblest in English history; that it has
become the national epic of Britain, and is familiar to noble and
simple, from John-o'-Groat's House to Land's End, as Dante and Tasso
were once to the Italians; that it is written in the noblest and purest
English, and abounds in exquisite beauties of mere literary form; and,
finally, that it forbids the veriest hind who never left his village to
be ignorant of the existence of other countries and other civilizations,
and of a great past, stretching back to the furthest limits of the
oldest nations in the world.'

P. 299. _Eliot._--Maggie Tulliver, during the home troubles caused by
her father's bankruptcy, receives a present of books, among which is the
_Imitation of Christ_.

P. 304. _Gaskell._--The essay by Mrs. Gaskell, first published in
_Household Words_ in 1854, was suggested by an article by Victor Cousin
on Madame de Sablé in the _Revue des Deux Mondes_. Madame was a habitual
guest at the Hôtel Rambouillet and friend of the Duchess de Longueville;
her crowning accomplishment was the ability _tenir un salon_.

P. 311. _Alcuin._--Born at York in 735, Alcuin was the adviser of
Charlemagne, whose court, under the Englishman's direction became a
centre of culture. After fifteen years of court life at Aix-la-Chapelle
Alcuin retired to Tours, where he died in 804. His English name is given
as Ealwhine.

The catalogue refers to the library of Egbert, Archbishop of York. The
translator is D. McNicoll.

P. 311. _King._--This is an extract from a poem of 1,500 lines preserved
in vol. iii of Nichols's _Poems_, where it is said to be probably by Dr.
W. King. It first appeared in 1712. See p. 252.

P. 313. _Pope._--For the fate of the bonfire the reader is referred to
the _Dunciad_ itself. Pope explains that 'this library is divided into
three parts; the first consists of those authors from whom he (the
hero, i.e. Colley Cibber) stole, and whose works he mangled; the second,
of such as fitted the shelves, or were gilded for show, or adorned with
pictures; the third class our author calls solid learning, old Bodies of
Divinity, old Commentaries, old English Printers, or old English
Translations; all very voluminous, and fit to erect altars to Dulness'.
Tibbald, or Theobald, wrote _Shakespear Restored_; Ogilby, poet and
printer, is mentioned by Addison on p. 210; the Duchess of Newcastle was
responsible for eight folios of poetical and philosophical works;
Settle, the hero's brother Laureate 'for the city instead of the court';
Banks, his rival in tragedy; Broome, 'a serving man of Ben Jonson'; De
Lyra or Harpsfield, whose five volumes of commentaries in folio were
printed in 1472; Philemon Holland, 'the translator general of his age';
Cibber's Birthday Ode as Laureate.

William Caxton (1422-91), of course, printed, at Bruges, the first book
printed in English--the _Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye_--in 1474.
His printing press in Westminster was set up two years later. Wynkyn de
Worde, his servant and successor, started business on his own account in

P. 314. _Sterne._--'Sterne has generally concealed the sources of his
curious trains of investigation, and uncommon opinions, but in one
instance he ventured to break through his restraint by mentioning
Bouchet's _Evening Conferences_, among the treasures of Mr. Shandy's
library.... I have great reason to believe that it was in the Skelton
library some years ago, where I suspect Sterne found most of the authors
of this class. I entertain little doubt, that from the perusal of this
work, Sterne conceived the first precise idea of his _Tristram_, as far
as anything can be called precise, in a desultory book, apparently
written with great rapidity.'

This quotation is from Ferriar's _Illustrations of Sterne_, which was
published in 1798. He seemed, Sir Walter Scott wrote, 'born to trace and
detect the various mazes through which Sterne carried on his
depredations upon ancient and dusty authors.' Ferriar wrote the
following lines addressed to Sterne:--

    Sterne, for whose sake I plod through miry ways,
      Of antique wit and quibbling mazes drear,
      Let not thy shade malignant censure fear,
    Though aught of borrowed mirth my search betrays.
    Long slept that mirth in dust of ancient days,
      (Erewhile to Guise or wanton Valois dear;)
      Till waked by thee in Skelton's joyous pile,
    She flung on Tristram her capricious rays;
      But the quick tear that checks our wondering smile,
    In sudden pause or unexpected story,
      Owns thy true mastery--and Le Fever's woes,
      Maria's wanderings, and the Prisoner's throes,
    Fix thee conspicuous on the throne of glory.

P. 315. _Scott._--The modern poet is Crabbe, and the context will be
found on p. 340; Thalaba is the name of Southey's hero.

P. 319. _Montaigne._--In another essay Montaigne tells us that his
library for a country library could pass for a very fair one.

P. 320. _Southey._--This extract is from Southey's _Sir Thomas More_; a
book of colloquies between Southey himself, under the name of
Montesinos, and the apparition of Sir T. More: who tells him that 'it is
your lot, as it was mine, to live during one of the grand climacterics
of the world', and that, 'I come to you, rather than to any other
person, because you have been led to meditate upon the corresponding
changes whereby your age and mine are distinguished, and because ...
there are certain points of sympathy and resemblance which bring us into
contact.' The colloquies are upon such subjects as the feudal and
manufacturing systems, the Reformation, prospects of Europe, infidelity,

Chartier was the French poet whose 'eternal glory' it was 'to have
announced the mission of Jeanne d'Arc'.

'Here are God's conduits,' &c., is from the first of Donne's _Satires_.

P. 324. _Barton._--The Rev. John Mitford (1781-1859) formed a large
library at Benham, where he also devoted himself to gardening.

P. 325. _Bale._--'I was called to London to wait upon the Duke of
Norfolk, who having at my sole request bestowed the Arundelian Library
on the Royal Society, sent to me to take charge of the books and remove
them.... I procured for our Society, besides printed books, near 100
MSS., some in Greek, of great concernment. The printed books being of
the oldest impressions are not the less valuable; I esteem them almost
equal to MSS. Amongst them are most of the Fathers printed at Basle,
before the Jesuits abused them with their expurgatory Indexes; there is
a noble MS. of Vitruvius. Many of these books had been presented by
Popes, Cardinals, and great persons, to the Earls of Arundel and Dukes
of Norfolk; and the late magnificent Earl of Arundel bought a noble
library in Germany, which is in this collection. I should not, for the
honour I bear the family, have persuaded the Duke to part with these,
had I not seen how negligent he was of them, suffering the priests and
everybody to carry away and dispose of what they pleased, so that
abundance of rare things are irrecoverably gone.'--J. EVELYN (_Diary_,
August 29, 1678.)

P. 326. _Whittier._--Sung at the opening of the library at Haverhill,

P. 334. _Helps._--Pope's _Essay on Man_:

    If parts allure thee, think how Bacon shined,
    The wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind.

The other allusions are to Johnson, Byron, Shelley, and Keats.

P. 337. _Crabbe._--It is explained by Crabbe that while composing 'The
Library' he 'was honoured with the notice and assisted by the advice of
the Right Honourable Edmund Burke: part of it was written in his
presence, and the whole submitted to his judgement; receiving, in its
progress, the benefit of his correction'. The poem was published in

P. 354. _Saxe._--Aristophanes' _The Clouds_, ridiculing Socrates.

P. 355. _Drummond._--Of Sir Thomas Bodley old Anthony Wood says: 'Though
no writer, worth the remembrance, yet hath he been the greatest promoter
of learning that hath yet appeared in our nation.'

It may be recalled that R. de Bury had a fine idea, although it did not
fructify, to wit:--'We have for a long time held a rooted purpose in the
inmost recesses of our mind, looking forward to a favourable time and
divine aid, to found, in perpetual alms, and enrich with the necessary
gifts, a certain Hall in the revered University of Oxford, the first
nurse of all the liberal Arts; and further to enrich the same, when
occupied by numerous scholars, with deposits of our books, so that the
books themselves and every one of them may be made common as to use and
study, not only to the scholars of the said Hall, but through them to
all the students of the aforesaid University for ever.'

P. 357. _Cowper._--'This ode,' Cowper states, 'is rendered without
rhime, that it might more adequately represent the original, which, as
Milton himself informs us, is of no certain measure. It may possibly for
this reason disappoint the reader, though it cost the writer more labour
than the translation of any other piece in the whole collection.'

P. 360. _Cowley._--

    Who now reads Cowley? if he pleases yet,
    His moral pleases, not his pointed wit.
    Forgot his epic, nay, Pindaric art!
    But still I love the language of his heart.--POPE.

P. 368. _J. M._--It cannot escape observation that Bodley and his
library has been a much more fruitful theme than the University of
Cambridge. This is the only poem on the latter subject which I have been
able to find; it is quoted in Edwards's _Memoirs of Libraries_. Leigh
Hunt has related his experiences in the library of Trinity College 'when
the keeper of it was from home'; see p. 279.

P. 368. _Whitelocke._--The authorship of this fine testimony is
attributed to Whitelocke, but I have not traced it, by J. K. Hoyt and
Anna L. Ward.



Abelard, 112, 381.

Accius, 104.

Addison, 14, 29, 60, 75, 80, 119, 128, 145, 209, 211, 266, 366, 367,
375, 377, 395.

Aelian, 90, 206.

Aeschylus, 104, 117, 259, 355.

Aëtius, 90.

Agrippa, Cornelius, 6.

Akenside, 283.

Alcott, 6.

Alcuin, 311, 396.

Alison, 387.

Allestree, 214, 390.

Alphonsus (Alonso), of Aragon, 65, 109, 241, 287, 376.

Amory, 276, 395.

Anacreon, 23, 250, 266, 355.

Andrewes, 130.

Antimachus, 222.

Aquinas, St. Thomas, 59, 64, 276, 292.

Arblay d', 20, 87, 253, 378, 393.

Ariosto, 73, 154, 248, 301.

Aristophanes, 73, 104, 222, 329, 355, 377, 391, 399.

Aristotle, 14, 20, 50, 60, 64, 127, 131, 144, 152, 153, 216, 308.

Armstrong, 127.

Arnobius, 89.

Arnold, M., 297, 379, 380, 385.

Arnold, T., 390.

Arvine, 331.

Ascham, 77, 138, 207, 259, 282, 377.

Augustine, St., 29, 90, 102, 199, 290.

Aurelius, Marcus, 20, 111.

Austen, Jane, 87, 382.

Avicenna, 90.

Aylmer, 207.

Bacon, Francis, 16, 22, 30, 46, 65, 74, 97, 113, 124, 131, 132, 141,
157, 280, 287, 322, 325, 334, 382, 398.

Bailey, N., 382.

Bailey, P. J., 5.

Baker, 210, 389.

Bale, 325.

Banks, 313, 397.

Barclay, 218, 390.

Barnes, 173.

Barros, 5, 370.

Barrow, 3.

Barton, 324.

Baxter, 84, 108, 145, 331, 378.

Bayle, 111, 211, 282.

Bayly, 88.

Beaconsfield. _See_ Disraeli.

Beattie, 18.

Beaumont, 103.

Beaumont and Fletcher, 73, 167, 204, 245, 254, 377.

Bede, 136, 331.

Beecher, 364.

Bellarmine, 64, 276, 343.

Benlowe, 383.

Bentley, 116, 376.

Beresford, 225, 242, 391.

Bettinelli, 154, 384.

Beza, 102, 250, 392.

Birrell, 374, 386.

Blackie, 162.

Blackmore, 116.

Blanchard, 192, 280.

Blount, 119.

Blundeville, 377.

Boccaccio, 31, 144, 233.

Boerhaave, 108.

Boileau, 372, 376.

Bonaventura, 276.

Boston, 135.

Boswell, 48, 128, 148, 153, 170, 247, 384.

Bouchet, 224, 314, 397.

Boyle, 376.

Brant, 216, 390.

Brontë, C., 382.

Brooke, Lord. _See_ Greville.

Broome, 282, 313, 397.

Browne, Sir T., 30, 58, 62, 75, 169, 276, 278, 323, 386.

Browne, Sir W., 113, 381.

Browning, E. B., 39, 159, 205, 206, 259, 318, 385.

Browning, R., 205, 236, 257.

Bruce, 96.

Bruscambille, 70.

Brydges, G., Lord Chandos, 149, 384.

Buchanan, 64.

Buckingham. _See_ Sheffield.

Bulwer. _See_ Lytton.

Bunyan, 70, 97, 248, 282, 292, 293, 317, 382, 384.

Burke, 28, 86, 103, 135, 378, 399.

Burns, 136, 249, 283, 298, 300.

Burton, J. H., 18, 134, 235, 391, 392.

Burton, R., 26, 40, 51, 89, 245, 276, 278, 283, 290, 356, 373, 378, 386.

Bury, R. de, 13, 43, 203, 239, 240, 273, 399.

Butler, J., 30, 93, 131, 147.

Butler, S., 151, 372, 383.

Butler, S., 330.

Byron, 52, 71, 95, 135, 198, 202, 268, 334, 373, 376, 386, 393, 398.

Caesar, 43, 114, 164.

Calprenède, La, 210, 212, 389.

Calverley, 135, 383.

Camden, 64.

Campbell, 281.

Campion, 261.

Cardan, 290.

Cardwell, 331.

Carlyle, 42, 52, 109, 112, 295, 369, 375, 380.

Cary, 388.

Castanheda, 5, 370.

Catullus 44, 98.

Cervantes, 31, 53, 93, 117, 132, 155, 188, 207, 231, 382, 383, 384, 385.

Chandos. _See_ Brydges.

Channing, 19, 60, 156, 372.

Chapman, 100, 101, 233, 372.

Chapone, 214, 390.

Charles (King), 90, 378.

Charron, 121.

Chartier, 321, 398.

Chaucer, 20, 22, 29, 62, 93, 103, 136, 169, 172, 180, 186, 207, 216,
233, 248, 266, 279, 301, 323, 327, 386, 387, 390.

Chesterfield. _See_ Stanhope.

Chesterton, 372.

Chrysostom, St., 290.

Churchill, 379.

Churchyard, 33.

Cibber, 313, 396, 397.

Cicero, 20, 23, 25, 41, 58, 60, 74, 183, 184, 219, 221, 296, 329, 382,

Clarendon, 62, 322.

Cobbett, 86, 184, 378.

Cokain (Cokayne), 222.

Coke, 17, 281.

Coleridge, H., 246.

Coleridge, S. T., 5, 129, 153, 276, 278, 293, 375, 382, 384, 386, 395,

Collier, 34, 323.

Colman, 281.

Colton, 6, 120, 123, 154, 159.

Comines, 208.

Congreve, 266.

Cook, Eliza, 177.

Corderius, 231.

Cornwall, Barry. _See_ Procter.

Coryat, 302.

Cotton, 282.

Courthope, 383.

Cousin, 396.

Cowley, 12, 14, 63, 136, 187, 295, 360, 399.

Cowper, 30, 81, 158, 208, 357, 396, 399.

Coxe, 52.

Crabbe, 26, 215, 281, 316, 317, 335, 337, 398.

Crashaw, 106, 200, 201, 381.

Crébillon, 378.

Cross, Mary Ann. _See_ Eliot.

Culpepper, 210.

Cureton, 331.

Curll, 380.

Cyprian, 89.

Dalton, 211.

Daniel, 46, 51, 195, 278, 374.

Dante, 20, 117, 165, 192, 384, 388, 396.

Davenant, 92.

Davies, 163.

Davila, 64.

Davy, 31, 41, 393.

Dawson, 309, 327.

Debrett, 263.

Defoe, 31, 179, 188, 281, 303, 382, 387.

De Lyra, 313, 397.

Democritus, 355.

Demosthenes, 156.

Denham, 33, 373.

Dennis, 251.

De Quincey, 36, 61, 93.

Descartes, 63.

Despreaux, 63.

D'Estrades, 211.

Dibdin, 227, 228, 247, 388, 391.

Dickens, 188, 272, 382, 387.

Digby, 169, 386.

Dillingham, 390.

Dillon, W., Earl of Roscommon, 7.

Dion Cassius, 388.

Disraeli, B., Earl of Beaconsfield, 88, 99, 154.

D'Israeli, I., 226, 227, 235, 275, 391.

Dobson, 387.

Dodd, 15, 372.

Doddridge, 333, 336.

Dodson, 369.

Donne, 180, 190, 305, 322, 388, 398.

Dovaston, 253.

Drayton, 56, 100.

Drinkwater, 96.

Drummond, 47, 283, 300, 355.

Dryden, 22, 29, 63, 75, 86, 91, 106, 115, 136, 210, 212, 224, 233, 323,
380, 389, 390.

Du Bartas, 97.

Du Bellay, 224.

Dudley, Earl of. _See_ Ward.

Dumas, 258, 393.

Dunton, 378.

D'Urfé, 210.

D'Urfey, 115, 210, 252.

Dyer, 306.

Ealwhine. _See_ Alcuin.

Earle, 94, 114, 150, 219, 381.

Edgeworth, Maria, 87, 302, 378.

Edwards, 399.

Eliot, George, 260, 287, 299, 396.

Elliott, 7.

Emerson, 6, 21, 28, 29, 74, 99, 103, 111, 116, 122, 132, 133, 370, 373,

Enfield, 249.

Ennius, 171, 180.

Epictetus, 219, 305.

Erasmus, 16, 123, 221, 375, 382.

Ernesti, 183.

Euclid, 64, 140, 260.

Euripides, 104.

Evelyn, 398.

Faber, 297, 365.

Fabricius, 43, 111.

Farquhar, 18, 167.

Felix, M., 89.

Ferriar, 220, 391, 397.

Fielding, H., 17, 70, 118, 129, 167, 188, 244, 366, 371, 377, 382.

Fielding, R., 210, 389.

Fields, 7, 370.

Fitzgerald, E., 389, 394.

Fitzgerald, Lord E., 302.

Fitzmaurice-Kelly, 385.

Fletcher, G., 106, 381.

Fletcher, J., 222, 305, 313. _See also_ Beaumont and Fletcher.

Fletcher, P., 106.

Florio, 373.

Foote, 282.

Fordyce, 214, 390.

Forster, 387.

Foster, 38, 332, 335, 336.

Fox, 246, 281.

Foxe, 322, 349.

Francis, 383.

Franklin, 19.

Frascatorius, 154.

Froissart, 208, 228.

Frost, 330, 331.

Fuller, 57, 62, 79, 142, 245, 375.

Galen, 90, 199.

Garnett, 95.

Garrick, 7, 384.

Garth, 115, 266.

Gaskell, 304, 396.

Gassendi, 63.

Gay, 86, 186, 250, 264, 265, 283, 374, 387, 394.

Gaye, 382.

Geber, 308.

Gibbon, 18, 135, 138, 183, 210, 310, 383, 387.

Giles, 331.

Gilfillan, 335.

Gilpin, 97.

Gissing, 40, 310.

Glanvill, 102, 118, 380, 384.

Glover, 282.

Godwin, 15, 83.

Goethe, 40, 165, 295, 370.

Goldsmith, 4, 67, 115, 186, 188, 244, 269, 282, 302, 366, 367.

Goodyer, 10, 370.

Gower, 180, 208.

Granville, 266.

Gratia, 388.

Gray, 283, 366, 367, 378, 382.

Greene, 288.

Greville, 277, 278.

Guiccardini, 64.

Hafiz, 132.

Hailes, Lord, 270.

Hale, 293.

Hales, 136.

Hall, John, 98, 164.

Hall, Joseph, 125, 170, 280, 331.

Haller, 308.

Hamilton, 140.

Hare, A. W. and J. C., 115, 121, 122, 131, 148, 156.

Harington, 114.

Harper, 222.

Harpsfield, 313, 397.

Harrison, 385.

Harvey, 63, 308.

Hazlitt, 49, 69, 71, 182, 189, 228, 229, 282, 372, 374, 376, 379.

Hedericus, 258.

Helps, 99, 334.

Helvicus, 136.

Hemans, 294.

Herbert, G., 136, 140, 201, 390.

Herd, 271, 394.

Herodotus, 64, 100, 117.

Herrick, 45, 77, 84, 242, 374, 390.

Herschel, 27, 87.

Hervey, 135.

Hesiod, 101.

Hilarius, 89.

Hill, 280.

Hill, Birkbeck, 384.

Hippocrates, 64, 108, 111.

Hobbes, 63, 158, 281.

Hoffmann, 228.

Hogg, 30, 281.

Holland, 313, 397.

Holmes, 74, 98, 118, 233, 258, 307, 309, 318, 374, 382, 386.

Home, 281.

Homer, 11, 20, 22, 23, 46, 49, 50, 52, 60, 64, 73, 90, 100, 101, 106,
116, 117, 127, 128, 134, 152, 154, 156, 171, 180, 190, 199, 221, 233,
251, 259, 260, 265, 266, 268, 279, 296, 297, 303, 355, 356, 395.

Hone, 269.

Hood, 29, 282.

Hookham, 263.

Horace, 20, 50, 62, 91, 98, 128, 134, 145, 154, 171, 177, 211, 221, 258,
265, 389, 394, 395.

Horne, 282, 385.

Howard, H., Earl of Surrey, 388.

Howell, 125, 198, 275.

Howitt, 205.

Hoyle, 52, 282.

Hughes, 282.

Hugo, 375.

Hume, 18, 49, 136, 178, 300.

Hunt, Leigh, 9, 16, 20, 50, 62, 95, 167, 187, 233, 248, 256, 278, 282,
294, 300, 301, 302, 305, 323, 372, 376, 399.

Huxley, 396.

Hyperius, 290.

Inglis, 371.

Irving, 9.

Isocrates, 207, 357.

Jackson, 62.

Jago, 212.

Jefferies, 101, 328.

Jenyns, 18.

Jerome, St., 51, 89, 199, 273, 388.

Jerrold, D., 12.

Jerrold, W., 393.

Jervas, 385.

Johnson, L., 366, 372.

Johnson, S., 37, 40, 60, 67, 86, 108, 109, 111, 128, 129, 138, 143, 148,
153, 170, 181, 183, 247, 281, 301, 334, 373, 374, 375, 378, 382, 384,
389, 393, 398.

Jonson, 10, 66, 73, 75, 76, 91, 101, 103, 105, 180, 204, 261, 295, 300,
377, 379, 380, 382, 397.

Josephus, 18, 58.

Julian, 20.

Jusserand, 379.

Juvenal, 17, 91, 210.

Keats, 100, 189, 335, 398.

Keble, 201.

Keddie, 384.

Kempis, 299, 323.

Killigrew, 121.

King, 252, 311, 393, 396.

Kingsley, 25, 83, 135.

Knight, 390.

Kotzebue, 116.

Kyd, 103.

Lactantius, 89.

La Ferte, 210.

La Fontaine, 67.

Lamb, 1, 17, 18, 30, 75, 76, 84, 121, 130, 170, 171, 244, 254, 255, 269,
274, 276, 280, 364, 366, 367, 369, 374, 393, 394, 395.

Landor, 21, 57, 66, 67, 95, 131, 186, 202, 312, 372.

Lang, 392.

Lardner, 171.

Law, 66, 209.

Lee, 212, 282, 390.

Leighton, 49.

Le Sage, 188, 306.

Leslie, 211, 389.

L'Estrange, 64.

Lewis, 263, 394.

Lingard, 331.

Livy, 64, 180.

Lobeira, 144, 182, 301, 385.

Locke, 74, 126, 138, 141, 181, 210, 227, 281, 387, 391.

Locker-Lampson, 374.

Lockhart, 298, 395.

Longfellow, 10, 20, 234, 286, 370.

Lorenzini, 154.

Lovelace, 222.

Lowe, R., Ld. Sherbrooke, 39.

Lowell, 75, 303, 370.

Lucan, 91, 104, 190, 356, 388.

Lucilius, 363.

Lucretius, 24, 128.

Lully, 18, 308.

Luther, 323, 343, 375.

Lyly, 43, 103, 304.

Lysias, 207.

Lytton, 22, 30, 42, 68, 135, 136, 143, 165, 329, 371, 375, 383.

M., J., 368.

Macaulay, 53, 73, 96, 117, 207, 232, 375, 382, 384, 387, 393, 396.

Maccreery, 243.

MacDonald, 370.

Mackenzie, 214.

Macpherson, 300.

Maginn, 271.

Magliabechi, 111, 228, 391, 393.

Maimon, 260.

Malebranche, 210.

Mallet, 152, 281.

Malone, 76, 245.

Malory, 77.

Mamurra, 199, 388.

Mancini, 33.

Manley, Mary, 210, 389.

Mariana, 64.

Marivaux, 378.

Marlowe, 103.

Martial, 20, 44.

Martineau, H., 382.

Marvell, 29, 167, 281.

Massinger, 136, 204.

Masson, 381.

Mather, 308, 331.

Maurice, 53, 161, 375, 385.

McNicoll, 396.

Mede, 211.

Meleager, 95.

Menander, 222.

Meredith, 378.

Messala, 128.

Michaelis, 228.

Mickle, 282.

Middleton, 183.

Midwinter, 222.

Migne, 330.

Mill, 92.

Milman, 310.

Milton, 1, 5, 16, 19, 22, 23, 30, 31, 36, 47, 50, 62, 63, 66, 83, 90,
97, 103, 105, 106, 127, 130, 132, 134, 135, 136, 154, 157, 170, 187,
244, 245, 248, 256, 279, 301, 355, 357, 369, 374, 378, 380, 392, 394,

Mirandola, 111.

Mitford, 96, 398.

Molière, 31, 67, 313.

Montagu, 204.

Montaigne, 32, 44, 75, 90, 91, 121, 122, 133, 139, 144, 163, 182, 207,
218, 305, 306, 319, 323, 373, 377, 379, 380, 389, 398.

Montalvo, 385.

Montesquieu, 385.

Montgomery, 117.

Moore, 30, 196, 199, 280, 388.

More, Hannah, 86, 92, 378.

More, Sir T., 198, 320, 388, 398.

Moreri, 134.

Morley, Lord, 383, 385, 395.

Motteux, 374.

Müller, 390.

Mumby, 380, 394.

Musaeus, 100.

Newcastle, Duchess of, 244, 277, 313, 323, 397.

Newman, 369, 395.

Newton, 97, 210.

Nichols, 393, 396.

Nicolson, 375.

Norris, 142.

Norton, Caroline, 8.

Norton, J., 331.

Norton, J. B., 365.

Ogilby, 210, 313, 389, 397.

Ogle, 223.

O'Keefe, 167.

Oldham, 199.

Olivet, 183.

Orford. _See_ Walpole.

Oribasius, 90.

Orpheus of Thrace, 6.

Orr, Mrs. S., 392.

Ortelius, 136.

Osorio, 5, 370.

Overbury, 13.

Ovid, 14, 50, 144, 169, 182, 250, 265, 266, 382, 386.

Paccuvius, 104.

Paley, 18.

Papinian, 41.

Paracelsus, 18, 63, 199, 388.

Paraeus, 314.

Parnell, 86, 250, 392.

Parrot, 262.

Parsons, 322.

Pascal, 73.

Pasquin, 224.

Pastorini, 154.

Pater, 369, 393.

Patmore, 376, 384.

Pattison, 92, 394.

Payn, 168, 382.

Paynter, 222.

Peacham, 149, 241.

Peacock, 247.

Peignot, 235.

Pembroke, 210, 389.

Penn, 246.

Percy, 37.

Persius, 44.

Petrarch, 1, 20, 205, 249, 369, 384.

Petronius Arbiter, 91.

Philips, 251.

Pindar, 64, 190, 355, 388, 395.

Pineda, 59, 375.

Pinkerton, 270, 300, 392.

Piozzi, Mrs., 382.

Plato, 20, 22, 25, 28, 34, 41, 50, 64, 73, 116, 117, 133, 152, 156, 165,
296, 308, 309.

Plautus, 73, 104, 114, 183, 377.

Pliny, 20, 265, 378.

Plutarch, 20, 29, 90, 248, 362, 382.

Pollock, 116.

Polydore, 64.

Pope, 29, 50, 86, 114, 115, 121, 127, 136, 186, 233, 250, 267, 281, 297,
301, 313, 374, 380, 389, 394, 396, 398, 399.

Praed, 201.

Pregnitz, 314, 315.

Prideaux, 356.

Prior, 50, 186, 248, 266, 282, 323.

Proclus, 259, 260.

Procter, A. A., 238.

Procter, B. W., 8.

Propertius, 144.

Prynne, 383.

Ptolemy, 136.

Pulci, 62.

Pye, 280.

Quarles, 291, 313.

Quintilian, 180, 256.

Rabelais, 31, 41, 79, 144, 169, 171, 208, 236.

Racine, 73.

Radcliffe, Ann, 88.

Raleigh, 380.

Ramsay, 270.

Rantzau, 391.

Rawlinson, 267.

Regiomontanus, 64.

Reid, 282.

Richardson, 84, 181, 255, 323, 366, 367, 387.

Ritson, 270, 394.

Rive, 235.

Robertson, F. W., 165, 383.

Robertson, W., 18, 300.

Rochefoucauld, 99.

Rochester. _See_ Wilmot.

Rogers, 7, 282, 376.

Roscoe, 9, 370.

Roscommon. _See_ Dillon.

Rosenmuller, 228.

Ross, 183.

Rossi, 224.

Rousseau, 376.

Rowe, 281.

Ruskin, 54, 117, 159, 208, 254, 274, 326.

Sacheverell, 210.

Saintsbury, 381.

Sallust, 180.

Sannazarius, 154.

Sappho, 199, 222.

Savage, 281.

Saxe, 354.

Scaliger, 111.

Schiller, 31, 40.

Schoettgenius, 228.

Scott, Michael, 6.

Scott, Sir W., 30, 69, 71, 134, 135, 147, 187, 203, 231, 270, 300, 301,
315, 383, 384, 394, 395, 397.

Scotus, 64.

Scroderus, 314.

Scudéry, 210.

Selden, 100, 102, 111, 119.

Seneca, 37, 89, 90, 91, 104, 157, 210, 290, 296, 363, 382.

Settle, 313, 397.

Sewell, 323.

Shadwell, 252.

Shaftesbury, 17.

Shakespeare, 1, 5, 19, 21, 22, 30, 48, 55, 62, 66, 73, 75, 92, 101, 103,
104, 105, 117, 127, 130, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 152, 159, 162, 164,
165, 189, 191, 194, 196, 198, 204, 207, 215, 219, 240, 242, 243, 244,
245, 248, 278, 279, 281, 283, 288, 289, 295, 298, 301, 306, 309, 310,
313, 316, 327, 355, 373, 374, 376, 377, 382, 387, 388, 395.

Sheffield, 127, 266.

Shelley, 165, 187, 294, 334, 335, 372, 387, 398.

Sherbrooke. _See_ Lowe.

Sheridan, C., 170.

Sheridan, R. B., 91, 213, 249, 379, 382.

Sheridan, T., 11, 370.

Sherlock, 210, 389.

Shirley, 26, 196, 222.

Sibbald, 271, 394.

Siddons, Mrs., 97.

Sidney, 62, 90, 180, 210, 245, 323, 379, 389.

Silius Italicus, 154.

Skelton, 241.

Slawkenbergius, 314.

Smith, Adam, 18, 97.

Smith, Alex., 11, 32.

Smith, S., 154, 264, 375, 385, 392, 394.

Smollett, 30, 70, 188, 213, 214, 244, 366, 367.

Socrates, 80, 355.

Sophocles, 104, 165.

Sotherne, 212, 214. 390.

South, 62, 80, 120, 158, 282, 378.

Southey, 4, 5, 28, 62, 130, 292, 316, 320, 323, 373, 385, 398.

Spencer, 385.

Spenser, 1, 5, 21, 22, 50, 56, 62, 103, 117, 130, 180, 186, 195, 205,
207, 223, 248, 266, 279, 280, 301, 302.

Spinoza, 167, 323.

Spizelius, 388.

Sprat, 280.

Staël, de, Mme., 279.

Stanhope, 4, 180, 214, 235, 246, 273.

Steele, 18, 37, 167, 210, 281, 302.

Stephen, 136.

Sterne, 3, 40, 167, 215, 244, 283, 302, 314, 366, 376, 397.

Stevenson, 174, 378.

Stirling-Maxwell. _See_ Norton, C.

Stockdale, 263.

Stoddard, 370.

Sturm, 135.

Suckling, 167, 281, 301.

Surrey, E. of. _See_ Howard.

Swift, 24, 31, 63, 67, 73, 94, 184, 186, 194, 249, 281, 296, 302, 303,
370, 376, 377, 396.

Sydenham, 108.

Sylvester, 156.

Symonds, 197, 379.

Tacitus, 382.

Talfourd, 395.

Tasso, 63, 251, 396.

Tate, 252.

Taylor, Bayard, 234, 392.

Taylor, 62, 210, 245, 282, 323.

Taylor, J., 77, 150, 289, 302.

Temple, 59, 63, 64, 69, 110, 210, 376.

Tennyson, 98, 165, 205, 289.

Terence, 73, 104, 183, 377.

Teresa, St., 106.

Thackeray, 89, 135, 153, 187, 369.

Theocritus, 233, 248.

Theophrastus, 199, 206.

Thomas, E. C, 371.

Thomson, J., 16, 86, 161, 244, 392.

Thomson, R., 284.

Thurloe, 69.

Tibbald (Theobald), 313, 397.

Tibullus, 128.

Tickle, 175, 282, 387.

Tillotson, 37, 380.

Tooke, 129, 282.

Trapp, 113, 381.

Trench, 160.

Tully. _See_ Cicero.

Tupper, 12, 370.

Turner, 82.

Urquhart, 374.

Valcarenghus, 17.

Varro, 89, 114.

Vaughan, 13, 284, 290, 362.

Verburgius, 183.

Vere, 296, 395.

Verulam. _See_ Bacon.

Victorinus, 89.

Virgil, 20, 49, 60, 64, 73, 98, 101, 106, 127, 134, 138, 152, 154, 180,
183, 209, 210, 250, 251, 265, 268, 296, 308, 329, 382, 389, 395.

Vitruvius, 241, 398.

Voltaire, 24, 59, 81, 84, 107, 341, 376, 381.

Vossius, 64.

Walker, 281.

Wall, 211.

Waller, 2, 66, 146, 149, 249, 266.

Walpole, 7, 116, 169, 223, 264, 376.

Walton, 62, 276.

Warburton, 204.

Ward, 135.

Ward, J. W., 72.

Warton, 388.

Watts, 139.

Webster, 204, 276.

Welsted, 371.

Wesley, 291, 292.

West, 282.

West, A. S., 381.

White, G., 301.

Whitelocke, 368, 399.

Whittier, 7, 326, 370, 398.

Wierus, 16.

Wilkins, 64.

Wilmot, 39, 372.

Wilson, 171, 387.

Wingate, 212.

Wirgmann, 140.

Wither, 63, 78, 94, 262, 393.

Wolff, 260.

Wood, 399.

Wollstonecraft, M., 279.

Wordsworth, 7, 21, 132, 165, 172, 184, 205, 282, 373, 375, 382, 395,

Wotton, 376.

Wyatt, 388.

Xenophon, 101, 184, 382.

Young, 93, 219.

Zimmerman, 277.

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