National Book Week is coming to an end (and Banned Books’ Week is coming up! WHOO!), so instead of sharing whatever word is on whatever page of whatever book is nearest, I thought I’d share my favorite quote about books with you.
It’s a bit long, but I hand-translated every word of it into Circean, the language I created for my Circe novels, and I’ve even rendered it longhand in the glyphs of that storied tongue. However, for today’s purposes, I thought it best to include it as a translation into English, since some of you don’t want to read my 200-page “Beginner’s Guide to Circean” for some reason. WHATEVA!
Anyway, don’t forget to make friends with a book this week. And every week!
“How safely we lay bare the poverty of human ignorance to books without feeling any shame! They are masters who instruct us without rod or ferule, without angry words, without clothes or money. If you come to them they are not asleep; if you ask and inquire of them they do not withdraw themselves; they do not chide if you make mistakes; they do not laugh at you if you are ignorant. O books, who alone are liberal and free, who give to all who ask of you and enfranchise all who serve you faithfully! By how many thousand types are ye commended to learned men in the Scriptures given us by inspiration of God! For ye are the minds of profoundest wisdom, to which the wise man sends his son that he may dig out treasures: Prov. ii. Ye are the wells of living waters, which father Abraham first digged, Isaac digged again, and which the Philistines strive to fill up: Gen. xxvi. Ye are indeed the most delightful ears of corn, full of grain, to be rubbed only by apostolic hands, that the sweetest food may be produced for hungry souls: Matt. xii. Ye are the golden pots in which manna is stored, and rocks flowing with honey, nay, combs of honey, most plenteous udders of the milk of life, garners ever full; ye are the tree of life and the fourfold river of Paradise, by which the human mind is nourished, and the thirsty intellect is watered and refreshed. Ye are the ark of Noah and the ladder of Jacob, and the troughs by which the young of those who look therein are coloured; ye are the stones of testimony and the pitchers holding the lamps of Gideon, the scrip of David, from which the smoothest stones are taken for the slaying of Goliath. Ye are the golden vessels of the temple, the arms of the soldiers of the Church with which to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked, fruitful olives, vines of Engadi, fig-trees that are never barren, burning lamps always to be held in readiness–and all the noblest comparisons of Scripture may be applied to books, if we choose to speak in figures.” —Richard de Bury, “The Philobiblon.”
(Read the whole thing…it’s a labor of purest love.)