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WIT
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[ Also see Argument Cleverness Conversation Dullness Eloquence Epigrams Humor Irony Jesting Jokes Language Levity Merriment Pun Repartee Ridicule Sarcasm Satire Smiles Speech Wisdom Witticisms ]

Some wits, like oracles, deal in ambiguities, but not with equal success; for though ambiguities are the first excellence of an impostor, they are the last of a wit.
      - Edward Young

Wit, how delicious to man's dainty taste!
  'Tis precious, as the vehicle of sense;
    But, as its substitute, a dire disease;
      Pernicious talent! flatter'd by the world,
        By the blind world, which thinks the talent rare.
          Wisdom is rare--wit abounds.
            Passion can give it; sometimes wine inspires
              The lucky flash, and madness rarely fails.
      - Edward Young

Against their wills what numbers ruin shun,
  Purely through want of wit to be undone!
    Nature has shown by making it so rare,
      That wit's a jewel which we need not wear.
      - Edward Young, Epistle to Mr. Pope
         (ep. II, l. 80)

As in smooth oil the razor is whet,
  So wit is by politeness sharpest set;
    Their want of edge from their offence is seen,
      Both pain us least when exquisitely keen.
      - Edward Young, Love of Fame
         (satire II, l. 118)

Many species of wit are quite mechanical; these are the favorites of witlings, whose fame in words scarce outlives the remembrance of their funeral ceremonies.
      - Johann Georg von Zimmermann

Wit, to be well defined, must be defined by wit itself; then it will be worth listening to.
      - Johann Georg von Zimmermann


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