Songs of a Savoyard/True Diffidence

From Ruddigore.



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 fervour 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!