From The Wit and Humor of America, edited by Marshall P. Wilder, Volume IV, New York and London: Funk and Wagnalls and Company, 1911; pp. 688-690.
BY WALLACE IRWIN
(Being a Mental Attitude from Bernard Pshaw)
It’s wrong to be thoroughly human,
It’s stupid alone to be good,
And why should the “virtuous” woman
Continue to do as she should?
(It’s stupid to do as you should!)
For I’d rather be famous than pleasant,
I’d rather be rude than polite;
It’s easy to sneer
When you’re witty and queer,
And I’d rather be Clever than Right.
I’m bored by mere Shakespeare and Milton,
Though Hubbard compels me to rave;
If I should lay laurels to wilt on
That foggy Shakespearean grave,
How William would squirm in his grave!
For I’d rather be Pshaw than be Shakespeare,
I’d rather be Candid than Wise;
And the way I amuse
Is to roundly abuse
The Public I feign to despise.
I’m a Socialist, loving my brother
In quite an original way,
With my maxim, “Detest One Another” —
Though faith, I don’t mean what I say.
(It’s beastly to mean what you say!)
For I’m fonder of talk than of Husbands,
And I’m fonder of fads than of Wives,
So I say unto you,
If you don’t as you do
You will do as you don’t all your lives.
My “Candida’s” ruddy as coral,
With thoughts quite too awfully plain —
If folks would just call me Immoral
I’d feel that I’d not lived in vain.
(It’s nasty, this living in vain!)
For I’d rather be Martyred than Married,
I’d rather be tempted than tamed,
And if I had my way
(At least, so I say)
All Babes would be labeled, “Unclaimed.”
I’m an epigrammatical Moses,
Whose humorous tablets of stone
Condemn affectations and poses —
Excepting a few of my own.
(I dote on a few of my own.)
For my method of booming the market
When Managers ask for a play
Is to say on a bluff,
“I’m so fond of my stuff
That I don’t want it acted — go ’way!”
I’m the club-ladies’ Topic of Topics,
Where solemn discussions are spent
In struggles as hot as the tropics,
Attempting to find what I meant.
(I never can tell what I meant!)
For it’s fun to make bosh of the Gospel,
And it’s sport to make gospel of Bosh,
While divorcées hurrah
For the Sayings of Pshaw
And his sub-psychological Josh.
* From “At the Sign of the Dollar,” by Wallace Irwin. Copyright, 1905, by Fox, Duffield & Co.