Newspaper History presents media sourced from a United States newspaper dating back 108 years.

  • The Bitter Wit

    From the Newark Evening Star, October 20, 1914.

    To speak unkindly isn’t wit,
        To say things that wound the heart
    Is never clever—not a bit.
        Though at the time you think it smart,
    Far better is it to remain
        As silent as a marble bust
    Than speak and leave a track of pain
        Behind a smiling, bitter thrust.

    The poisoned barb within a jest
        That leaves a fellow being hurt
    Is not a cleverness the test,
        Nor of a brain that is alert.
    To gibe at age or private scars,
        Or sacred griefs proclaims the cad
    And he who does it sadly mars
        The laughter that should leave us glad.

    Unkindness isn’t wit at all,
        There’s little humor in a sneer.
    One cannot drench his speech in gall
        And seek to laugh away the tear.
    And he who poisons thus the gay
        Is just as cowardly as he
    Who kicks a cripple’s crutch away
        And laughs his helplessness to see.