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

Keep me, I pray, in wisdom's way
   That I may truths eternal seek;
I need protecting care to-day,---
   My purse is light, my flesh is weak.
So banish from my erring heart
   All baleful appetites and hints
Of Satan's fascinating art,
   Of first editions, and of prints.
Direct me in some godly walk
   Which leads away from bookish strife,
That I with pious deed and talk
   May extra-illustrate my life.

But if, O Lord, it pleaseth Thee
   To keep me in temptation's way,
I humbly ask that I may be
   Most notably beset to-day;
Let my temptation be a book,
   Which I shall purchase, hold, and keep,
Whereon when other men shall look,
   They'll wail to know I got it cheap.
Oh, let it such a volume be
   As in rare copperplates abounds,
Large paper, clean, and fair to see,
   Uncut, unique, unknown to Lowndes.

 

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Page last updated: 6 August 1998
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