In every town, in every street,
In nearly every house you meet
A little imp, who wriggles in,
With half a sneer and half a grin,
And climbs upon your rocking chair
Or creeps upon you anywhere;
And when she gets you very near,
Just whispers something in your ear,
Some rumor or another's shame,
And little 'Hearsay' is her name.
She never really claims to know;
She's only heard that it is so;
And then she whispers it to you,
So you will go and whisper too.
For if enough is passed along,
The rumor even though it's wrong,
If Jane tells Henry; Henry, Flo;
And Flo tells Mildred, and Mildred, Ruth;
It very soon will pass for truth.
You understand this little elf;
She doesn't say she knows herself;
She only whispers it to you
Because she knows you'll go and tell
Some other whisperers as well;
And so before the setting sun
She gets the devil's mischief done,
And there is less of joy and good,
Around your little neighborhood.
Look out for 'Hearsay' when she sneaks
Inside the house when Slander speaks,
Just ask the proof in every case;
Just ask the name, the date, the place;
And if she says she's only heard,
Declare you don't believe a word
And tell her that you'll not repeat
The silly chatter of the street,
However gossips smile and smirk,
Refuse to do the devil's work!