Gilbert and Sullivan

If you give me your attention

LYRIC

[KING GAMA]
If you give me your attention, I will tell you what I am:
I'm a genuine philanthropist — all other kinds are sham
Each little fault of temper and each social defect
In my erring fellow creatures, I endeavor to correct
To all their little weaknesses I open people's eyes;
And little plans to snub the self-sufficient I devise;
I love my fellow creatures — I do all the good I can —
Yet everybody says I'm such a disagreeable man!
And I can't think why!

To compliments inflated I've a withering reply;
And vanity I always do my best to mortify;
A charitable action I can skillfully dissect;
And interested motives I'm delighted to detect;
I know everybody's income and what everybody earns;
And I carefully compare it with the income-tax returns;
But to benefit humanity however much I plan
Yet everybody says I'm such a disagreeable man!
And I can't think why!

I'm sure I'm no ascetic; I'm as pleasant as can be;
You'll always find me ready with a crushing repartee
I've an irritating chuckle, I've a celebrated sneer
I've an entertaining snigger, I've a fascinating leer
To everybody's prejudice I know a thing or two;
I can tell a woman's age in half a minute — and I do
But although I try to make myself as pleasant as I can
Yet everybody says I'm such a disagreeable man!
And I can't think why!

[ENSEMBLE]
He can't think why!

[ALL]
I/he can't think why!

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About "If you give me your attention"

This song was written for the 1884 comic operetta Princess Ida as the entrance aria for the princess' father to a foreign court. The king reveals himself to be a well-intentioned but not terribly self-aware person.

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