That place that does contain My books, the best companions, is to me A glorious court, where hourly I converse With the old sages and philosophers; And sometimes, for variety, I confer With kings and emperors, and weigh their counsels; Calling their victories, if unjustly got, Unto a strict account, and, in my fancy, Deface their ill-placed statues. Beaumont and FletcherThe Elder Brother. Act I. Sc. 2. L. 177.
The first thing naturally when one enters a scholars study or library, is to look at his books. One gets a notion very speedily of his tastes and the range of his pursuits by a glance round his book-shelves. HolmesPoet at the Breakfast Table. VIII.
What a place to be in is an old library! It seems as though all the souls of all the writers that have bequeathed their labours to these Bodleians were reposing here as in some dormitory, or middle state. I do not want to handle, to profane the leaves, their winding-sheets. I could as soon dislodge a shade. I seem to inhale learning, walking amid their foliage; and the odor of their old moth-scented coverings is fragrant as the first bloom of those sciential apples which grew amid the happy orchard. LambEssays of Elia. Oxford in the Vacation.