Poem From Ruddigore By Gilbert And SullivanTrue Diffidence is a poem by William Schwenck Gilbert, also found as a song in Ruddigore, a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert.
Ruddigore; or, The Witch's Curse, originally called Ruddygore, is one of the Savoy Operas and the tenth of fourteen comic operas written together by Gilbert and Sullivan.
It was first performed by the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company at the Savoy Theatre in London on 22 January 1887.
Robin Oakapple, a young farmer loves Rose Maybud, but both are too shy to tell the other. But Robin has a secret. He is really Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd, the rightful Baronet of Ruddigore, in disguise. His younger brother, Despard, believing Ruthven to be dead, has assumed the title. Robin's foster brother, Richard, seeking Rose for himself, tells Despard of Robin's deception, and Robin is forced to accept his true position, losing Rose to Richard in the process.
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True Diffidence Poem
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!
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George Grossmith As Robin Oakapple In Ruddigore, 1887
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Text from this original Songs Of A Savoyard, True Diffidence article on Wikisource.
Text from this original Ruddigore article on Wikisource.
Image copyright (cropped) Unknown Author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.