Your doom-laden songs are suffused with poison
And your jokes coloured with black feelings
no one escapes your fangs:
Not man, nor woman; not youth nor old age.
Furious, you throw your cruel words in the same way
as an army hurls boulders at our city.
(but, it is the habit of insane people to appear sane
and we do not see the missiles that strike home)
The Muse rewards your sullen menace
granting discordant songs to you alone
while my rebuttals fall like unpractised
arms, short of their marks.
Are you a man of honour? Your jokes are like crimes
trickling black venom
Ah, but for a laugh – you say – and the wine,
Anything to score a hit, and if I weep, that wit has won!
Why abolish jokes? It is not the laugh that is spiteful:
Wits are never light – whoever they strike.