Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1861–1889
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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        5
  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,        10
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        15
  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.        20
Oh, let it such a volume be
  As in rare copperplates abounds,
Large paper, clean, and fair to see,
  Uncut, unique, unknown to Lowndes.
 
 
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