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How Would They Look if They Weren’t Well Bound? – A Bookbinders Song

Woman at Frame

The Bookbinder’s Song
“Be man’s peculiar work his sole delight.”–Minstrel, Book 1
Air: “Johnny Lump’s Visit to Somerset House”

Ere Printing began the dark ages to mend,
On volumes of parchment their writings were penned.
Now fine printed books in abundance are found,
But how would they look if they weren’t well bound?
Fall de ral la, &c.

Some books to our craft all their value do owe,
And are loved like fine ladies in glitter and show;
Sometimes those who of books have a plentiful store,
The Back Titles may read–though they seldom read more.
Fall de ral la, &c.

In literature, too, we the prize bear away,
And on all sorts of subjects, our talents display;
My assertion i’ll prove, both by reason and law;
For we Beat all the Authors that ever we saw.
Fall de ral la, &c.

The Commandments which Moses did dash on the ground
Had ne’er met their fate had they only been BOUND;
He’d have spoiled the good cover and gilding, I own
But they ne’er would have broke like the TABLES OF STONE.
Fall de ral la, &c.

Though to imitate US other Craftsmen will Bind,
No equals in fame we Bookbinders can find,
Only monarchs to us can be rivals unrolled,
For both make impressions on silver and gold.
Fall de ral la, &c.

The Magistrate Binds to the Peace for a year,
And the fond Lover sighs to be Bound to his Dear;
The Soldier is Bound to defend us rom foes,
And St. Dunstan (we’re told) Bound the Devil by the nose.
Fall de ral la, &c.

Here’s a health to Bookbinders, and long be their lives,
A health running o’er to our sweethearts and wives;
Let beauty and health give them fresh blooming charms,
May we have them in Sheets to be BOUND IN OUR ARMS.
Fall de ral la, &c.

The Book Finisher’s Friendly Circular, No.1, 1845-51, p.6.