Monday, 18 January 2021

The Lender’s Library, 1907

I found "The Lender’s Library" printed in Perth Boy’s School Magazine, Vol. 1, no. 1 (2 May 1913): 5b. Google tells me that over thirty years later the poem was reprinted as “The Lender’s Litany,” in The Educational Magazine, Vol. 4 (1947): 143, but it seems not to have been printed again.

Since the poem nicely enumerates (albeit condemns) many of the evidences of reading that I am presently searching for, and hoping to find, I thought I should do my bit to preserve it. I have since done some research into the author and first publisher, which I will post separately.


The following lines, written by F. H. Johnstone, Esq., M.A., of Perth, are published this month for the benefit of all readers, but more especially for those boys who are thoughtless and careless in their treatment of books, and who have yet to learn that “books are friends,” and should be cared for as such.

We have to thank Mr.[sic] Zabel, of the Booklovers’ Library, Hay-st., Perth, by whom the copyright is held, for kindly allowing us to use the verses, and trust that they will be carefully studied and practised [sic].


From leaves turned down or folded back,
To mark the careless reader’s track;
From comments in the margin writ—
By pen or pencil void of wit;
From Vandal’s mutilating zeal,
Inflicting wounds that none can heal;
From candle grease or liquid spilt
On covers fair or edges gilt;
From dogs’ ears that too plainly say
“A dirty thumb has passed this way”;
From thoughtless failure to extend
Protection when the rains descend;
From artists of a tender age,
Whose sketch-book is the printed page;
From all such conduct as offends
The reader to whom books are friends—
Good Borrower, deliver me.

(Copyright Book Lovers' Library, Perth, W.A., 1st Sept., 1907[)].

[Updated 2121.01.20]

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