H. P. Dillon was a man of many interests. One of his great passions was literature. Evidenced by the stained glass on both the South and North walls of the library, but also by the carving in the massive fireplace. The stained glass is of notable poets and authors admired by Mr. Dillon. There both European and Americans represented. However, one of the most notable element in the room is the engraved quote on the massive fireplace mantle.
The Library fireplace is located back to back with that in the Reception Hall. The surround is green tile framed by ornately carved wooden Ionic columns supporting an Ionic entablature which serves as the mantel. The frieze of the mantel is inscribed with a line from Shakespeare: “My library was dukedom large enough”.
Shakespeare – “The Tempest” – Act 1, Scene 2, Page 5
I pray thee, mark me. I, thus neglecting worldly ends, all dedicated to closeness and the bettering of my mind with that which, but by being so retired, O'erprized all popular rate, in my false brother Awaked an evil nature. And my trust, like a good parent, did beget of him a falsehood in its contrary as great as my trust was, which had indeed no limit, a confidence sans bound. He being thus lorded, not only with what my revenue yielded
But what my power might else exact, like one who having into truth, by telling of it, made such a sinner of his memory to credit his own lie—he did believe he was indeed the duke, out o' th' substitution and executing th' outward face of royalty, with all prerogative. Hence his ambition growing—
Dost thou hear?
Your tale, sir, would cure deafness.
To have no screen between this part he played and him he played it for, he needs will be absolute Milan. Me, poor man, my library was dukedom large enough. Of temporal royalties he thinks me now incapable, confederates—
So dry he was for sway—wi' th' King of Naples to give him annual tribute, do him homage, subject his coronet to his crown and bend the dukedom yet unbowed—alas, poor Milan!—To most ignoble stooping.
Oh, the heavens!
MODERN TEXT – Not as eloquent, but perhaps more understandable…..
Please listen to me carefully. As I neglected practical matters, being totally dedicated to solitude and to improving my mind with subjects more valuable than most people imagine, I was so shut away from the world that I unwittingly stirred up evil wishes in my disloyal brother. My deep trust in him made him deeply untrustworthy, arousing in him a treachery as big as my trust was—my trust which had no limit, an infinite confidence. With Antonio possessing such powers and wealth, coming not only from my income but also from his ability to take whatever my authority allowed him to take, Antonio started to believe that he was the duke, like some liar who begins to believe in his own lie. He put on the face of royalty, with all the rights that go along with it. With his ambition growing like this—do you hear what I’m saying?
What you’re saying could cure deafness, father. Of course I hear it.
To make his political performance absolutely perfect, he simply had to become the Duke of Milan himself. My library was a large enough dukedom for me. So, now Antonio judges me incapable of carrying out my duties. He’s so power-hungry that he allies himself with the King of Naples, agreeing to pay him a regular annual sum, swear subservience to him, and put the dukedom of Milan—never subservient to anyone before!—under the humiliating control of Naples.