I'm a strange contradiction; I'm new and I'm old,
I'm often in tatters, and oft decked with gold.
Though I never could read, yet lettered I'm found;
Though blind, I enlighten; though loose, I am bound.
I'm always black, and I'm always in white;
I'm grave and I'm gay, I am heavy and
In form, too, I differ,—I'm thick and I'm thin,
I've no flesh and no bones, yet I'm covered with skin;
I've more points than the compass, more stops than the flute;
I sing without voice, without speaking confute.
I'm English, I'm German, I'm French, and I'm Dutch;
Some love me too fondly, some slight me too much;
I often die soon, though I sometimes live ages,
And no monarch alive has so many pages.