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    Ballade of the Unattainable

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    Chapter 13
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    The Books I cannot hope to buy,
    Their phantoms round me waltz and wheel,
    They pass before the dreaming eye,
    Ere Sleep the dreaming eye can seal.
    A kind of literary reel
    They dance; how fair the bindings shine!
    Prose cannot tell them what I feel,--
    The Books that never can be mine!

    There frisk Editions rare and shy,
    Morocco clad from head to heel;
    Shakspearian quartos; Comedy
    As first she flashed from Richard Steele;
    And quaint De Foe on Mrs. Veal;
    And, lord of landing net and line,
    Old Izaak with his fishing creel,--
    The Books that never can be mine!

    Incunables! for you I sigh,
    Black letter, at thy founts I kneel,
    Old tales of Perrault's nursery,
    For you I'd go without a meal!
    For Books wherein did Aldus deal
    And rare Galliot du Pre I pine.
    The watches of the night reveal
    The Books that never can be mine!


    Prince, bear a hopeless Bard's appeal;
    Reverse the rules of Mine and Thine;
    Make it legitimate to steal
    The Books that never can be mine!
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