What $5 spent at a junk store can buy: a late 19th/early 20th century illustrated edition of The Vicar of Wakefield and Miscellaneous Works by Oliver Goldsmith in very good readable condition (intact spine, cover, gilt and embossing) that opens to this passage from one of his poems, The Traveller:
"And the weak soul, within itself unblest,
Leans for all pleasure on another's breast.
Hence ostentation here, with tawdry art,
Pants for the vulgar praise, which fools impart;
Here vanity assumes her pert grimace,
And trims her robes of frieze with copper lace;
Here beggar pride defrauds her daily cheer,
To boast one splendid banquet once a-year:
The mind still turns where shifting fashion draws,
Nor weighs the solid worth of self-applause."
Damn, that man could write. Not to applaud myself, Oliver, but I also unearthed near-mint 1901 University Society/Booklovers editions of The Merchant of Venice and Timon of Athens ($6 each.) They're so pristine I don't think they were read much or at all. The Goldsmith once belonged to a Minnie J. Legon in 1925, as she so helpfully inked her name on the inside of the front cover (Min didn't blot her sig before she closed the book, so it transferred over to the facing page.)
Rummaging through junk shops for books is fun. Tucked in among all those Reader's Digest Condensed Books and 8-Track Tape Guides are some real treasures; books so old and lovely that you feel privileged simply to hold them. Most of the time I don't find anything, but every now and then like today, I score.
Oliver Goldsmith's The Traveller is one of my favorite poems for personal reasons, but these lines are really cool:
"Still to ourselves in every place consign'd,
Our own felicity we make or find;
With secret course, which no loud storms annoy,
Glides the smooth current of domestic joy."
Okay, I'll stop now.