I am a mild man, you'll agree,
But red my rage is,
When folks who borrow books from me
Turn down their pages.
Or when a chap a book I lend,
And find he's loaned it
Without permission to a friend -
As if he owned it.
But worst of all I hate those crooks
(May hell-fires burn them!)
Who beg the loan of cherished books
And don't return them.
My books are tendrils of myself
No shears can sever . . .
May he who rapes one from its shelf
Be damned forever.
Robert William Service