In a Library

Tread softly here, as ye would tread
In presence of the honoured dead,
With reverent step and low-bowed head.

Speak low—as low as ye would speak
Before some saint of grandeur meek
Whose favour ye would humbly seek.

Within these walls the very air
Seems weighted with a fragrance rare,
Like incense burned at evening prayer.

Here may we sit and converse hold
With those whose names in ages old
Were in the book of fame enrolled.

Here under poet's power intense
We leave the world of sound and sense,
Where mortals strive with problems dense,

And mount to realms where fancy, free,
Above our poor humanity,
Roams in a joyous ecstasy.

Or if through history's maze we tread,
The hero, patriot, long since dead,
Whose great heart for his country bled,

Seems once again to work and fight
In superstition's darkest night
For God, his fellows, and the right.

Enough! mere words can never tell
The influence of the grateful spell
Which seems among these books to dwell.
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