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Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Lost Repartee

Guest Blogger Dept.: More verse by P.G. Wodehouse, proving that even a century ago we lamented the lost art of chit-chat, and with no electronics to hold as scapegoat.


P. G. Wodehouse
O! bitter the grief that it causes to me,
The thought of that wonderful, lost repartee.
In its youth and its beauty it fled from my brain,
And never, I fear me, ah! never again,
If I wait all my life, from today till I die,
Shall I find such a chance for a crushing reply.

Its wording was mild, but that rendered it worse.
It was crisply satirical, bitterly terse.
And it fled! Yes it fled! In my hour of need
From my agonised brain did it coyly recede,
Returning no more with its luminous ray
Till the critical moment had perished for aye.

O! let lovers lament of love’s terrible pangs,
Let hunters talk darkly of tigers and fangs,
Let the gambler repine o’er the loss of his cash
Let the banker hold forth on the woes of a crash,
Let the penniless debtor dilate on how ill
He feels, when a dun ambles in with a bill.

Let the footpad explain all the feelings that gnaw
His heart, when he’s safe in the hands of the Law,
Let ministers prate of the worries of state,
But none of these woes – though they’re all of them great –
Can compare with the grief that is harassing me
For the loss of that priceless, superb repartee.

– P. G. Wodehouse, Fun Magazine, 5 January 1901

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