Bookbinder's Poem
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Bookbinder's Poem


The following poem taken from the Bookbinding Trades Journal is a warning to those who would try to sell their craft under the agreed price!

A Most Solemn Curse Pronounced by Ben Burnisher
upon a Master Bookbinder for Working Under Price
Many rats and mice devour your paste,
Your paper and your leather;
May your hand letters be defac'd Your types all mixed together.
May your pallets,
stamps and rolls Be on their faces batter'd,
Your beating stone pick'd full of holes,
And may your standing press fall down,
Your pressboards all be cracked;
May your leather all turn brown,
Each law book edge get blackened.
May you be bothered all your life With workmen brandy lovers,
With sandy board, a dull plough knife,
Thin paste and horney covers.
And may your gliding all rub off,
Your rolls burn through the leather;
And you henceforth be oblig'd To finish in dry weather.
And may your polisher upon The face be full of scratches;
May every cover you put on At least have twenty patches.
May all your colours be too strong,
So as to rot the leather;
May all your books be titled wrong,
Each fly sheet past'd together.
May your drying presses all get broke,
Your books be wrong collated;
And may you with foul charcoal smoke Be almost suffocated.
May your apprentices run away,
Your business be diminished;
And may booksellers never pay You,
when your work is finished.
God grant that you distress'd may be,
From constable to the beadle;
And live till you can't feel or see Your press pin from your needle.