I keep collecting books I know I'll never, never read; My wife and daughter tell me so, And yet I never head. "Please make me," says some wistful tome, "A wee bit of yourself." And so I take my treasure home, And tuck it in a shelf.
And now my very shelves complain; They jam and over-spill. They say: "Why don't you ease our strain?" "some day," I say, "I will." So book by book they plead and sigh; I pick and dip and scan; Then put them back, distrest that I Am such a busy man.
Now, there's my Boswell and my Sterne, my Gibbon and Defoe; To savour Swift I'll never learn, Montaigne I may not know. On Bacon I will never sup, For Shakespeare I've no time; Because I'm busy making up These jingly bits of rhyme.
Chekov is caviare to me, While Stendhal makes me snore; Poor Proust is not my cup of tea, And Balzac is a bore. I have their books, I love their names, And yet alas! they head, With Lawrence, Joyce and Henry James, My Roster of Unread.
I think it would be very well If I commit a crime, And get put in a prison cell And not allowed to rhyme; Yet given all these worthy books According to my need, I now caress with loving looks, But never, never read.