Open Tues-Sat 10am-4pm: Closed Tuesday June 18th

German Bookbinders Song of 1842


Who can be more contented,
With life as ‘tis presented
To us who bind the books?
Our work is full of pleasures,
We bind the richest treasures,
And beautify their looks.

CHORUS: Hallo, Halli, Hallo, Halli,
The Binder’s life for me!

The plough we move so swiftly.
The hammer wield so deftly,
Upon the beating stone.
In rounding or in backing,
We find no music lacking.
Each has its merry tone.

We scrape and gild and burnish,
Till every edge we furnish,
With golden ray of light.
We work most charming headbands
With blue and white and red strands,
Like ladies’ dress bedight.

The backs we draw on lightly,
The corners turn in tightly,
Well soaked with good stout paste.
The sides we neatly cover
With marbled paper over,
To suit the owner’s taste.

Half French, half English binding,
In each a pleasure finding,
We ready are to do.
The back we neatly fillet,
Or gild with tools to fill it,
The title letter too.

In carven oak book cases,
And shelves in poorer places,
Or ladies’ hands I wean:
Before the Sacred Presence,
At wedding feasts as presents,
Our work is always seen.

The leaders of the nations,
With stars and decorations,
With us their treasures trust.
Where would be all the sages?
The wisdom of the ages
Without us would be dust.

If all our storied pages,
As in the by-gone ages,
Were written down on rolls;
The wear from oft unfolding,
And stains, from students’ holding,
Would oft blot out the scrolls.

But since the art of printing–
The world with glory tinting–
Brought books within our reach:
In any form of binding,
How easy ’tis in finding,
Whate’er the pages teach.

There could be no diffusion
Of knowledge, in confusion,
Of papers loosely laid.
So, colleagues, lift your glasses,
To readers of all classes,
And drink, “Long Live our Trade.”

All hail the craftsman’s hand, boys!
All through the Fatherland. boys!
Men still will need our aid.
Long as the world goes round, boys!
Bookbinding can’t go down, boys!
All hail our worthy Trade!

Journal fur Buchbinderei

British bookmaker: a journal for the book printer, the book illustrator, the book cover designer, the book binder, librarians, and lovers of books generally, Volume 5, 1891-92, pg 70.

Hat tip to Peter D. Verheyen!