Verse > Anthologies > Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. > Yale Book of American Verse
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CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. (1838–1915). Yale Book of American Verse.  1912.
 
Eugene Field. 1850–1895
 
225. Dibdin's Ghost
 
DEAR wife, last midnight, whilst I read 
  The tomes you so despise, 
A spectre rose beside the bed, 
  And spake in this true wise: 
"From Canaan's beatific coast         5
  I 've come to visit thee, 
For I am Frognall Dibdin's ghost," 
  Says Dibdin's ghost to me. 
  
I bade him welcome, and we twain 
  Discussed with buoyant hearts  10
The various things that appertain 
  To bibliomaniac arts. 
"Since you are fresh from t' other side, 
  Pray tell me of that host 
That treasured books before they died,"  15
  Says I to Dibdin's ghost. 
  
"They 've entered into perfect rest; 
  For in the life they 've won 
There are no auctions to molest, 
  No creditors to dun.  20
Their heavenly rapture has no bounds 
  Beside that jasper sea; 
It is a joy unknown to Lowndes," 
  Says Dibdin's ghost to me. 
  
Much I rejoiced to hear him speak  25
  Of biblio-bliss above, 
For I am one of those who seek 
  What bibliomaniacs love. 
"But tell me, for I long to hear 
  What doth concern me most,  30
Are wives admitted to that sphere?" 
  Says I to Dibdin's ghost. 
  
"The women folk are few up there; 
  For 't were not fair, you know, 
That they our heavenly joy should share  35
  Who vex us here below. 
The few are those who have been kind 
  To husbands such as we; 
They knew our fads, and did n't mind," 
  Says Dibdin's ghost to me.  40
  
"But what of those who scold at us 
  When we would read in bed? 
Or, wanting victuals, make a fuss 
  If we buy books instead? 
And what of those who 've dusted not  45
  Our motley pride and boast,— 
Shall they profane that sacred spot?" 
  Says I to Dibdin's ghost. 
  
"Oh, no! they tread that other path, 
  Which leads where torments roll,  50
And worms, yes, bookworms, vent their wrath 
  Upon the guilty soul. 
Untouched of bibliomaniac grace, 
  That saveth such as we, 
They wallow in that dreadful place,"  55
  Says Dibdin's ghost to me. 
  
"To my dear wife will I recite 
  What things I 've heard you say; 
She 'll let me read the books by night 
  She 's let me buy by day.  60
For we together by and by 
  Would join that heavenly host; 
She 's earned a rest as well as I," 
  Says I to Dibdin's ghost. 
 
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