There are qualities, esteemed by some, to which I lay no claim
But look down on them with quiet scorn, as commonplace and tame
Such as industry, sobriety, and honesty, forsooth
Puctuality, and accurate adherence to the truth
I've been told by captious persons that my 'form' is bad
That my language is irreverent _ in fact, that I'm a cad
But to balance my shortcomings, e'en my enemies agree
That kind nature has endowed me with the gift of repartee
That kind nature has endowed me with the gift of repartee.

Every day_ occasion serving_I contrive to make a hit
With some dazzling inspiration of my keen and ready wit
My impromptus are as luminous as lightning, and as hot
Sometimes playful, sometimes withering, but always on the spot
Yet the smartest things I utter have occasionally led
To results which made feel that they had best been left unsaid
For Society abounds in stupid Philistines, you see
Quite incapable of relishing the charms of Repartee.

I've a muscular acquaintance who is always full of chaff
And against me, t'other evening, he contrived to raise a laugh
With a somewhat rough and vulgar kind of joke_ but let that pass
I rejoined, with sparkling humour, 'Jones, my boy, you are an ass.'
Whereupon he struck me suddenly, just between my eyes
With a force that caused me no small pain and very great surprise
It was then, I may admit, the notion first occurred to me
That it might have been as well had I foregone that repartee.

Once my venerable Aunt to reprehend me felt inclined
She's a Paedo-Anabaptist, of a gloomy turn of mind
After twenty minutes preaching, I had had about enough
So I said wittily exclaimed, 'Beloved Auntie, you're a muff!'
The old woman, at her dullness you will be amazed, I trow
Proved unable to appreciate that admirable 'mot'
She left every ounce of property she owned away from me
And I lost a handsome fortune by that brilliant repartee.
Performed by E.D. Ward
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