The Philosophic Pill

I've wisdom from the East and from the West,
That's subject to no academic rule;
You may find it in the jeering of a jest,
Or distill it from the folly of a fool.
I can teach you with a quip, if I've a mind;
I can trick you into learning with a laugh;
Oh, winnow all my folly, and you'll find
A grain or two of truth among the chaff!

I can set a braggart quailing with a quip,
The upstart I can wither with a whim;
He may wear a merry laugh upon his lip,
But his laughter has an echo that is grim.
When they've offered to the world in merry guise,
Unpleasant truths are swallowed with a will -
For he who'd make his fellow-creatures wise
Should always gild the philosophic pill!

by William Schwenck Gilbert

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