Ballad of Books: The Book-Hunter

The thrill of the book-hunter is timeless, as this poem from 1885 shows. Thanks to blogger ‘A reader’s footprint’ for this amazing discovery!

A reader's footprints

The Book-Hunter

A cup of coffee, eggs, and rolls
Sustain him on his morning strolls:
Unconscious of the passers-by,
He trudges on with downcast eye;
He wears a queer old hat and coat,
Suggestive of a style remote;
His manner is preoccupied,—
A shambling gait, from side to side.
For him the sleek, bright-windowed shop
Is all in vain,—he does not stop.

His thoughts are fixed on dusty shelves
Where musty volumes hide themselves,—
Rare prints of poetry and prose,
And quaintly lettered folios,—
Perchance a parchment manuscript,
In some forgotten corner slipped,
Or monk-illumined missal bound
In vellum with brass clasps around;
These are the pictured things that throng
His mind the while he walks along.

A dingy street, a cellar dim,
With book-lined walls, suffices him.
The dust is white upon his sleeves;
He turns the yellow, dog-eared leaves
With just the same religious look
That priests give…

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