Sonnet XXVI. In A Library. 1.

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IN my friend's library I sit alone,
Hemmed in by books. The dead and living there,
Shrined in a thousand volumes rich and rare,
Tower in long rows, with names to me unknown.
A dim half-curtained light o'er all is thrown.
A shadowed Dante looks with stony stare
Out from his dusky niche. The very air
Seems hushed before some intellectual throne.
What ranks of grand philosophers, what choice
And gay romancers, what historians sage,
What wits, what poets, on those crowded shelves!
All dumb forever, till the mind gives voice
To each dead letter of each senseless page,
And adds a soul they own not of themselves.

© Christopher Pearse Cranch