True Diffidence.

A poem by William Schwenck Gilbert

My boy, you may take it from me,
That of all the afflictions accurst
With which a man's saddled
And hampered and addled,
A diffident nature's the worst.
Though clever as clever can be
A Crichton of early romance
You must stir it and stump it,
And blow your own trumpet,
Or, trust me, you haven't a chance.

Now take, for example, my case:
I've a bright intellectual brain
In all London city
There's no one so witty
I've thought so again and again.
I've a highly intelligent face
My features cannot be denied
But, whatever I try, sir,
I fail in and why, sir?
I'm modesty personified!

As a poet, I'm tender and quaint
I've passion and fervor and grace
From Ovid and Horace
To Swinburne and Morris,
They all of them take a back place,
Then I sing and I play and I paint;
Though none are accomplished as I,
To say so were treason:
You ask me the reason?
I'm diffident, modest and shy!

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