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A poem by John Kendrick Bangs

The Edition De Looks

Title:     The Edition De Looks
Author: John Kendrick Bangs [More Titles by Bangs]

How very close to truth these bookish men
Can be when in their catalogues they pen

The words descriptive of the wares they hold
To tempt the book-man with his purse of gold!

For instance, they have Dryden-splendid set-
Which some poor wight would part with wealth to get.

’Tis richly bound, its edges gilded-but-
Hard fate-as Dryden well deserves-_uncut_!

For who these days would think to buy the screed
Of dull old dusty Dryden just to read?

In faith if his editions had been kept
Amongst the rarities he’d ne’er have crept!

And then those pompous, overwhelming tomes
You find so oft in overwhelming homes,

No substance on a Whatman surface placed,
In polished leather and in tooling cased,

The gilded edges dazzling to the eye
And flaunting all their charms so wantonly.

These book-men, when they catalogue their books,
Call them in truth _édition de luxe_.

That’s all they have, most of ’em, just plain shape,
With less pure wine than any unripe grape.

But tomes that travel on their "looks" indeed
Are only good for those who do not read;

And, like most people clad in garments grand,
Seem rather heavy for the average hand.

[The end]
John Kendrick Bangs's poem: Edition De Looks