1817 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Frognall Dibdin

Anonymous, "Bibliomania" The Sun (24 September 1817).



If Folly did not mark mankind,
We well might be surprised to find
So many idly waste their gold
On Books most valu'd as most old,
Though all within this learned show,
Perchance the dullest Readers know.
Others, as prodigal of pelf,
With dull BLACK-LETTER load the shelf,
Preserving thus, with empty pride,
What TIME had wisely thrown aside.
Full proof these Coxcombs, pert and vain,
Were Blockheads born, and so remain.
Blockheads, to those an easy prey,
Who thrive in quite a novel way;
A set of cunning Elves, who prate
On Title-page, Edition, Date,
Who bring forth heaps of ancient trash,
And change the mass to modern cash;
While, by this venal, base parade,
The BOOKSELLERS are robb'd of trade.

Yet there are Spirits form'd to soar,
Who feel the worth of ancient lore;
Spirits by Nature taught to rise
On wings of Genius to the skies,
Or fondly traverse classic ground,
And all the depths of Learning sound.
Such are the men by Fate design'd,
Sagacious, sound, acute, refined,
To teach Old Time what works to spare,
Or rather guard with aweful care,
Works that to erring Man can tell
Where Virtue and where Wisdom dwell.
Such HEBER, GIFFORD, some few more,
Who think like Bard and Sage of yore,
And add new treasures to the store.