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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

The Bibliomaniac’s Prayer

By Eugene Field (1850–1895)

[From A Little Book of Western Verse. 1889.]

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.