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 in black, and I’m always in white;
I’m grave and I’m gay, I am heavey and light-
In form too I differ – I’m thick and I’m thin,
I’ve no flesh and 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.
From Highdays and Holidays
Published by E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc. New York
Copyright August, 1927
Found in Bound-to-stay-bound: the story of a book; an informal approach to the subject of pre-bound books by Melvin B. Summerfield. p. viii