The Bibliomaniac's Prayer

Original Text: 
The Poems of Eugene Field, Complete Edition (Toronto: McClelland and Goodchild, 1910): 22-23. ROBA PS 1665 A2 1910. From Eugene Field, A Little Book of Western Verse (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1896).
1Keep me, I pray, in wisdom's way
2    That I may truths eternal seek;
3I need protecting care to-day,--
4    My purse is light, my flesh is weak.
5So banish from my erring heart
6    All baleful appetites and hints
7Of Satan's fascinating art,
8    Of first editions, and of prints.
9Direct me in some godly walk
10    Which leads away from bookish strife,
11That I with pious deed and talk
12    May extra-illustrate my life.
13But if, O Lord, it pleaseth Thee
14    To keep me in temptation's way,
15I humbly ask that I may be
16    Most notably beset to-day;
17Let my temptation be a book,
18    Which I shall purchase, hold, and keep,
19Whereon when other men shall look,
20    They 'll wail to know I got it cheap.
21Oh, let it such a volume be
23Large paper, clean, and fair to see,


22] copperplates: prints made from engraved copper plates. Back to Line
24] Uncut: with unslit leaves (making impossible the reading of the pages)
Lowndes: William Thomas Lowndes (d. 1843), famous English bibliographer. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1997.