A Library in a Garden

From In Praise of Old Gardens (1912), by Vernon Lee.

My dream is of a Library in a Garden! In the very centre of the garden away from house or cottage, but united to it by a pleached alley or pergola of vines or roses, an octagonal book-tower like Montaigne’s rises upon arches forming an arbour of scented shade. Between the book-shelves, windows at every angle, as in Pliny’s Villa library, opening upon a broad gallery supported by pillars of “faire carpenter’s work,” around which cluster flowering creepers, follow the course of the sun in its play upon the landscape. “Last stage of all,” a glass dome gives gaze upon the stars by night, and the clouds by day: “les nuages … les nuages qui passent … là  bas . . . les merveilleux nuages!” And in this–this Garden of Books–Sui et Amicorum, would pass the coloured days and the white nights, “not in quite blank forgetfulness, but in continuous dreaming, only half-veiled by sleep.”