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All of us in one you'll find,
Brethren of a wondrous kind;
Yet among us all no brother
Knows one title of the other;
We in frequent counsels are,
And our marks of things declare,
Where, to us unknown, a clerk
Sits, and takes them in the dark.
He's the register of all
In our ken, both great and small;
By us forms his laws and rules,
He's our master, we his tools ;
Yet we can with greatest ease
Turn and wind him where you please.

One of us alone can sleep,
Yet no watch the rest will keep,
But the moment that he closes,
Every brother else reposes.

If wine's bought or victuals drest,
One enjoys them for the rest.

Pierce us all with wounding steel,
One for all of us will feel.

Though ten thousand cannons roar,
Add to them ten thousand more,
Yet but one of us is found
Who regards the dreadful sound.


From Heaven I fall, though from earth I begin,
No lady alive can show such a skin.
I'm bright as an angel, and light as a feather,
But heavy and dark, when you squeeze me together.
Though candor and truth in my aspect I bear,
Yet many poor creatures I help to insnare.
Though so much of Heaven appears in my make,
The foulest impressions I easily take.
My parent and I produce one another,
The mother the daughter, the daughter the mother.

Though at the tables of the great
I near the sideboard take my seat;
Yet the plain 'squire, when dinner 's done,
Is never pleased till I make one;
He kindly bids me near him stand,
And often takes me by the hand.

I twice a-day a-hunting go,
And never fail to seize my foe;
And when I have him by the poll,
I drag him upward from his hole;
Though some are of so stubborn kind,
I'm forced to leave a limb behind.

I hourly wait some fatal end;
For I can break, but scorn to bend.


Never sleeping, still awake,
Pleasing most when most I speak;
The delight of old and young,
Though I speak without a tongue.
Nought but one thing can confound me,
Many voices joining round me;
Then I fret, and rave, and gabble,
Like the laborers of Babel.
Now I am a dog, or cow,
I can bark, or I can low;
I can bleat, or I can sing,
Like the warblers of the spring.
Let the love-sick bard complain,
And I mourn the cruel pain;
Let the happy swain rejoice,
And I join my helping voice:
Both are welcome, grief or joy,
I with either sport and toy.
Though a lady, I am stout,
Drums and trumpets bring me out:
Then I clash, and roar, and rattle,
Join in all the din of battle.
Jove, with all his loudest thunder,
When I'm vexed can't keep me under ;
Yet so tender is my ear,
That the lowest voice I fear;
Much I dread the courtier's fate,
When his merit's out of date,
For I hate a silent breath,
And a whisper is my death.


We are little airy creatures,
All of different voice and features;
One of us in glass is set,
One of us you 'll find in jet.
T' other you may see in tin,
And the fourth a box within.
If the fifth you

should pursue,
It can never fly from you.


We are little brethren twain,
Arbiters of loss and gain,
Many to our counters run,
Some are made, and some undone :
But men find it to their cost,
Few are made, but numbers lost.
Though we play them tricks forever,
Yet they always hope our favor.


By something form'd, I nothing am,
Yet every thing that you can name;
In no place have I ever been,
Yet everywhere I may be seen;
In all things false, yet always true,
I'm still the same—but ever new.
Lifeless, life's perfect form I wear,
Can show a nose, eye, tongue, or ear,
at neither smell, see, taste, nor hear.

All shapes and features I can boast,
No flesh, no bones, no blood—no ghost:
All colors, without paint, put on,
And change, like the chameleon.
Swiftly I come, and enter there,
Where not a chink lets in the air;
Like thought, I'm in a moment gone,
Nor can I ever be alone :
All things on earth I imitate
Faster than nature can create;
Sometimes imperial robes I wear,
Anon in beggar's rags appear;
A giant now, and straight an elf,
I'm every one, but ne'er myself;
Ne'er sad I mourn, ne'er glad rejoice,
I move my lips, but want a voice;
I ne'er was born, nor ne'er can die,
Then, pr’ythee, tell me what am I?


Ever eating, ever cloying,
All-devouring, all-destroying
Never finding full repast,
Till I eat the world at last.


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