My garden aboundeth in pleasant nooks
And fragrance is over it all;
For sweet is the smell of my old, old books
In their places against the wall.
Here is a folio that’s grim with age
And yellow and green with mould;
There’s the breath of the sea on every page
And the hint of a stanch ship’s hold.
And here is a treasure from France la belle
Exhaleth a faint perfume
Of wedded lily and asphodel
In a garden of song abloom.
And this wee little book of Puritan mien
And rude, conspicuous print
Hath the Yankee flavor of wintergreen,
Or, may be, of peppermint.
In Walton the brooks a-babbling tell
Where the cheery daisy grows,
And where in meadow or woodland dwell
The buttercup and the rose.
But best beloved of books, I ween,
Are those which one perceives
Are hallowed by ashes dropped between
The yellow, well-thumbed leaves.
For it’s here a laugh and it’s there a tear,
Till the treasured book is read;
And the ashes betwixt the pages here
Tell us of one long dead.
But the gracious presence reappears
As we read the book again,
And the fragrance of precious, distant years
Filleth the hearts of men.
Come, pluck with me in my garden nooks
The posies that bloom for all;
Oh, sweet is the smell of my old, old books
In their places against the wall!