I’m a strange contradiction; I’m new and I’m old,
I’m often in tatters, and oft deck’d in gold:
Though I never could read, yet letter’d I’m found;
Though blind, I enlighten; though loose, I am bound –
I am always in black, and I’m always in white;
I am grave and I’m gay, I am heavy and light.
In form too I differ – I’m thick and I’m thin,
I’ve no flesh, and no bones, yet I’m cover’d 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 sometimes live ages,
And no monarch alive has so many pages.