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Books And Bookmen - TO THE VISCOUNTESS WOLSELEY Post by :devnull Category :Nonfictions Author :Andrew Lang Date :August 2011 Read :1068

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Books And Bookmen - TO THE VISCOUNTESS WOLSELEY

TO THE VISCOUNTESS WOLSELEY

Madame, it is no modish thing,
The bookman's tribute that I bring;
A talk of antiquaries grey,
Dust unto dust this many a day,
Gossip of texts and bindings old,
Of faded type, and tarnish'd gold!

Can ladies care for this to-do
With Payne, Derome, and Padeloup?
Can they resign the rout, the ball,
For lonely joys of shelf and stall?

The critic thus, serenely wise;
But you can read with other eyes,
Whose books and bindings treasured are
'Midst mingled spoils of peace and war;
Shields from the fights the Mahdi lost,
And trinkets from the Golden Coast,
And many things divinely done
By Chippendale and Sheraton,
And trophies of Egyptian deeds,
And fans, and plates, and Aggrey beads,
Pomander boxes, assegais,
And sword-hilts worn in Marlbro's days.

In this pell-mell of old and new,
Of war and peace, my essays, too,
For long in serials tempest-tost,
Are landed now, and are not lost:
Nay, on your shelf secure they lie,
As in the amber sleeps the fly.
'Tis true, they are not "rich nor rare;"
Enough, for me, that they are--there!

A. L

 

PREFACE

 

The essays in this volume have, for the most part, already appeared in an American edition (Combes, New York, 1886). The Essays on 'Old French Title-Pages' and 'Lady Book-Lovers' take the place of 'Book Binding' and 'Bookmen at Rome;' 'Elzevirs' and 'Some Japanese Bogie- Books' are reprinted, with permission of Messrs. Cassell, from the Magazine of Art; 'Curiosities of Parish Registers' from the Guardian; 'Literary Forgeries' from the Contemporary Review; 'Lady Book-Lovers' from the Fortnightly Review; 'A Bookman's Purgatory' and two of the pieces of verse from Longman's Magazine--with the courteous permission of the various editors. All the chapters have been revised, and I have to thank Mr. H. Tedder for his kind care in reading the proof sheets, and Mr. Charles Elton, M.P., for a similar service to the Essay on 'Parish Registers.'

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