Ballade of Librolarceny

When this ballade appears in print
Someone will feel a guilty thrill,
So circulate it without stint
And shout it loud on every hill.
The bibliopilfering bibliophil
Perhaps will ponder and repent
To hear me cry with accent shrill
Where are the books that I have lent?

Where are my Gissings gone, I hint?
Whose bookcase do my Conrads fill?
And my Decameron? I squint
Along my shelves and feel a chill:
Lavengro gone! O imbecile
To lend that book! Yes, I am shent.
I'll put your conscience on the grill:
Where are the books that I have lent?

My Daisy Ashford, my Peer Gynt ,
My Ocean Tramp — all gone! Until
Those books come back my heart is flint;
My Trivia , too — a bitter pill!
Now, by the root of Ygdrasil
I ask where my Max Beerbohms went?
And so I roar, with metric skill,
Where are the books that I have lent?

ENVOY

The bibliokleptomaniac will
Reply (of course) he truly meant
To bring them back last week. . . . But still
Where are the books that I have lent?
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