They dwell in the odour of camphor,
They stand in a Sheraton shrine,
They are "warranted early editions,"
These worshipful tomes of mine;--
In their creamiest "Oxford vellum,"
In their redolent "crushed Levant,"
With their delicate watered linings,
They are jewels of price, I grant;--
Blind-tooled and morocco-jointed,
They have Zaehnsdorf's daintiest dress,
They are graceful, attenuate, polished,
But they gather the dust, no less;--
For the row that I prize is yonder,
Away on the unglazed shelves,
The bulged and the bruised octavos,
The dear and the dumpy twelves,--
Montaigne with his sheepskin blistered,
And Howell the worse for wear,
And the worm-drilled Jesuits' Horace,
And the little old cropped Molière,
And the Burton I bought for a florin,
And the Rabelais foxed and flea'd,--
For the others I never have opened,
But those are the books I read.