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When his merit's out of date,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.