Wednesday, August 07, 2013


A Bookshelf

George Crabbe (1754-1832), Tales of the Hall, Book V (Ruth), lines 23-58:
Full twenty volumes—I would not exceed
The modest truth—were there for me to read;
These a long shelf contain'd, and they were found        25
Books truly speaking, volumes fairly bound;
The rest—for some of other kinds remained,
And these a board beneath the shelf contained—
Had their deficiencies in part; they lack'd
One side or both, or were no longer back'd;        30
But now became degraded from their place,
And were but pamphlets of a bulkier race.
Yet had we pamphlets, an inviting store,
From sixpence downwards—nay, a part were more;
Learning abundance, and the various kinds        35
For relaxation—food for different minds;
A piece of Wingate—thanks for all we have—
What we of figures needed, fully gave;
Culpepper, new in numbers, cost but thrice
The ancient volume's unassuming price,        40
But told what planet o'er each herb had power,
And how to take it in the lucky hour.
History we had—wars, treasons, treaties, crimes,
From Julius Caesar to the present times;
Questions and answers, teaching what to ask        45
And what reply—a kind, laborious task;
A scholar's book it was, who, giving, swore
It held the whole he wish'd to know, and more.
And we had poets, hymns and songs divine;
The most we read not, but allowed them fine.        50
Our tracts were many, on the boldest themes—
We had our metaphysics, spirits, dreams,
Visions and warnings, and portentous sights
Seen, though but dimly, in the doleful nights,
When the good wife her wintry vigil keeps,        55
And thinks alone of him at sea, and weeps.
Add to all these our works in single sheets,
That our Cassandras sing about the streets.
37-38: Edmund Wingate, Arithmetique Made Easie (1630). "Editions continued to appear until 1760" according to Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB).

39-42 Nicholas Culpeper, The English Physitian, or, An Astrologo-Physical Discourse on the Vulgar Herbs of This Nation, Being a Compleat Method of Physick, Whereby a Man May Preserve His Body in Health, or Cure Himself, Being Sick (1652), with "over one hundred subsequent editions" (ODNB).

John Frederick Peto (1854-1907), Old Companions

Related posts:

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?