Books and Bookmen, by Andrew Lang

To F. L.

I mind that Forest Shepherd’s saw,

For, when men preached of Heaven, quoth he,

“It’s a’ that’s bricht, and a’ that’s braw,

But Bourhope’s guid eneuch for me!”

Beneath the green deep-bosomed hills

That guard Saint Mary’s Loch it lies,

The silence of the pasture fills

That shepherd’s homely paradise.

Enough for him his mountain lake,

His glen the burn went singing through,

And Rowfant, when the thrushes wake,

May well seem good enough for you.

For all is old, and tried, and dear,

And all is fair, and round about

The brook that murmurs from the mere

Is dimpled with the rising trout.

But when the skies of shorter days

Are dark and all the ways are mire,

How bright upon your books the blaze

Gleams from the cheerful study fire,

On quartos where our fathers read,

Enthralled, the book of Shakespeare’s play,

On all that Poe could dream of dread,

And all that Herrick sang of gay!

Fair first editions, duly prized,

Above them all, methinks, I rate

The tome where Walton’s hand revised

His wonderful receipts for bait!

Happy, who rich in toys like these

Forgets a weary nation’s ills,

Who from his study window sees

The circle of the Sussex hills!

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:57