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The Scrivener: Bryan The Bookman

To celebrate Brian Barratt's 50th birthday in 1986, friends were asked to write a poem. Much merriment ensued. Richard McRoberts a teacher and prolific author who later became a publisher produced and read aloud this wondrous Chaucerian account of Brian's work as a publisher. Richard has kindly granted permission for it to be reproduced here.

A book man was ther, gentil and wise,
He wight better was, for mon avise,
Bespectacled he was, with eyen brighte,
A merye felawe, of jolitee arrighte.
His laughe was as a fontaigne overflowinge,
With nosethirles wyde and giggles unbeknowinge.
He was a cherybynne of fyftie yeer;
Yet, soothee, ther nas ne any greye heer.
Enogh of flatterye and trybutes gaie.
His speciale loves and querkes I nowe shall saye:
Long lettres, tea, and journeyes to the coaste,
Crosswerdes, poesie and bernte toaste;
The lyttle birdes and heerie dogges as welle,
With whom he oft discourses, truth to telle.
By callynge he was a publishere,
A man of lerning and of literature.
His taske the fyndinge of wrytten tresure
For kynder folke, for to gyve them plesure.
His bysinesse thruste him out mid scriveners poore,
Whose braynes he massaged till fruite they bore
And yielded manuscriptes howe'er belayted,
The which he mercifullie illuminated.
Thus noblie he's attayned decades fyve;
We wishe him welle a longe and happye lyve!

Richard McRoberts, 1986, 2007

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