These are the masters who instruct us
without rods and ferules,
without hard words and anger,
without clothes or money.
If you approach them they are not asleep;
if investigating you interrogate them
they conceal nothing;
if you mistake them, they never grumble;
if you are ignorant they cannot laugh at you.
The library of wisdom, therefore,
is more precious than all riches,
and nothing that can be wished for
is worthy to be compared with it.
Whosoever, therefore, acknowledges himself
to be a zealous follower
of truth, of happiness,
of wisdom, of science,
or even of faith,
must of necessity make himself
a lover of books.
–Richard De Bury, Philobiblon, written in 1344, first published in 1474
I was looking for something quick I could post, so I searched my blog and found the “Quotable Chemist” ditty I put up earlier. Looking further, I found this–my very first brush with the Philobiblon. It was December 1, 2015, and I was looking through a recently purchased old book, Library Guide for The Chemist by Bryon A. Soule (1938), which had this as the epigraph.