Samuel Laman Blanchard

(1803-1845 / England)

The Art Of Book-Keeping - Poem by Samuel Laman Blanchard

How hard, when those who do not wish
To lend, that's lose, their books,
Are snared by anglers; folks that fish
With literary hooks;

Who call and take some favourite tome,
But never read it through;
They thus complete their set at home,
By making one at you.

Behold the bookshelf of a dunce
Who borrows; never lends;
Yon work, in twenty volumes, once
Belonged to twenty friends.

New tales and novels you may shut
From view; 'tis all in vain;
They're gone; and though the leaves are 'cut'
They never 'come again.'

For pamphlets lent I look around,
For tracts my tears are spilt;
But when they take a book that's bound,
'Tis surely extra guilt.

A circulating library
Is mine; my birds are flown;
There's one odd volume left, to be
Like all the rest, alone.

I, of my 'Spenser' quite bereft,
Last winter sore was shaken;
Of 'Lamb' I've but a quarter left,
Nor could I save my 'Bacon.'

My 'Hall' and 'Hill' were levelled flat,
But 'Moore' was still the cry;
And then, although I threw them 'Sprat,'
They swallowed up my 'Pye.'

O'er everything, however slight,
They seized some airy trammel;
They snatched my 'Hogg' and 'Fox' one night,
And pocketed my 'Campbell.'

And then I saw my 'Crabbe' at last,
Like Hamlet's, backward go;
And as my tide was ebbing fast,
Of course I lost my 'Rowe.'

I wondered into what balloon
My books their course had bent;
And yet, with all my marvelling, soon
I found my 'Marvell' went.

My 'Mallet' served to knock me down,
Which makes me thus a talker;
And once, while I was out of town,
My 'Johnson' proved a 'Walker.'

While studying o'er the fire one day
My 'Hobbes' amidst the smoke;
They bore my 'Colman' clean away,
And carried off my 'Coke.'

They picked my 'Locke,' to me far more
Than Bramah's patent's worth;
And now my losses I deplore,
Without a 'Home' on earth.

If once a book you let them lift,
Another they conceal,
For though I caught them stealing 'Swift,'
As swiftly went my 'Steele.'

'Hope' is not now upon my shelf,
Where late he stood elated;
But, what is strange, my 'Pope' himself
Is excommunicated.

My little 'Suckling' in the grave
Is sunk, to swell the ravage;
And what 'twas Crusoe's fate to save
'Twas mine to lose: a 'Savage.'

Even 'Glover's' works I cannot put
My frozen hands upon;
Though ever since I lost my 'Foote,'
My 'Bunyan' has been gone.

My 'Hoyle' with 'Cotton' went; oppressed,
My 'Taylor' too must fail;
To save my 'Goldsmith' from arrest,
In vain I offered 'Bayle.'

I 'Prior,' sought, but could not see
The 'Hood' so late in front;
And when I turned to hunt for 'Lee,'
Oh! where was my 'Leigh Hunt!'

I tried to laugh, old care to tickle,
Yet could not 'Tickell' touch;
And then, alas! I missed my 'Mickle,'
And surely mickle's much.

'Tis quite enough my griefs to feed,
My sorrows to excuse,
To think I cannot read my 'Reid,'
Nor even use my 'Hughes.'

To 'West,' to 'South,' I turn my head,
Exposed alike to odd jeers;
For since my 'Roger Ascham's' fled,
I ask 'em for my 'Rogers.'

They took my 'Horne;' and 'Horne Tooke' too,
And thus my treasure flit;
I feel when I would 'Hazlitt' view,
The flames that it has lit.

My word's worth little, 'Wordsworth' gone,
If I survive its doom;
How many a bard I doted on
Was swept off; with my 'Broome.'

My classics would not quiet lie,
A thing so fondly hoped;
Like Dr. Primrose, I may cry,
'My 'Livy' has eloped!'

My life is wasting fast away;
I suffer from these shocks;
And though I fixed a lock on 'Grey,'
There's grey upon my locks.

I'm far from young; am growing pale;
I see my 'Butter' fly;
And when they ask about my ail,
'Tis 'Burton' I reply.

They still have made me slight returns,
And thus my griefs divide;
For oh! they've cured me of my 'Burns,'
And eased my 'Akenside.'

But all I think I shall not say,
Nor let my anger burn;
For as they never found me 'Gay,'
They have not left me 'Sterne.'

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Poem Submitted: Monday, September 20, 2010

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