9 October 2013

Non Libri Sed Liberi

Kenneth Grahame, "Non Libri Sed Liberi," Pagan Papers (London: Elkin Mathews and John Lane, 1894), pp. 17-18:
In book-buying you not infrequently condone an extravagance by the reflection that this particular purchase will be a good investment, sordidly considered: that you are not squandering income but sinking capital. But you know all the time that you are lying. Once possessed, books develop a personality: they take on a touch of warm human life that links them in a manner with our kith and kin. Non Angli sed Angeli was the comment of a missionary (old style) on the small human duodecimos exposed for sale in the Roman market-place; and many a buyer, when some fair-haired little chattel passed into his possession, must have felt that here was something vendible no more. So of these you may well affirm Non libri sed liberi; children now, adopted into the circle, they shall be trafficked in never again.
The title page to Pagan Papers,
Illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley