- Year Published: 1913
- Language: English
- Country of Origin: United States of America
- Source: Dunbar, P.L. (1913). The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company.
- Flesch–Kincaid Level: 6.5
- Word Count: 91
Dunbar, P. (1913). "Retort". Lyrics of Lowly Life (Lit2Go Edition). Retrieved December 10, 2023, from
Dunbar, Paul Laurence. ""Retort"." Lyrics of Lowly Life. Lit2Go Edition. 1913. Web. <>. December 10, 2023.
Paul Laurence Dunbar, ""Retort"," Lyrics of Lowly Life, Lit2Go Edition, (1913), accessed December 10, 2023,.
“Thou art a fool,” said my head to my heart,
“Indeed, the greatest of fools thou art,
To be led astray by the trick of a tress,
By a smiling face or a ribbon smart;”
And my heart was in sore distress.
Then Phyllis came by, and her face was fair,
The light gleamed soft on her raven hair;
And her lips were blooming a rosy red.
Then my heart spoke out with a right bold air:
“Thou art worse than a fool, O head!”