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Parrot Poems

Table of Contents

  1. The Parrot by Thomas Campbell
  2. The Parrot by Anonymous

  1. The Parrot

    by Thomas Campbell

    The deep affections of the breast
    That Heaven to living things imparts
    Are not exclusively possessed
    By human hearts.

    A parrot from the Spanish Main,
    Full young and early caged, came o’er
    With bright wings to the bleak domain
    Of Mulla’s shore.

    To spicy groves where he had won
    His plumage of resplendent hue,
    His native fruits and skies and sun,
    He bade adieu.

    For these he changed the smoke of turf,
    A heathery land and misty sky,
    And turned on rocks and raging surf His golden eye.

    But, petted, in our climate cold
    He lived and chattered many a day;
    Until with age from green and gold
    His wings grew gray.

    At last, when blind and seeming dumb,
    He scolded, laughed, and spoke no more,
    A Spanish stranger chanced to come
    To Mulla’s shore;

    He hailed the bird in Spanish speech;
    The bird in Spanish speech replied,
    Flapped round his cage with joyous screech,
    Dropped down, and died.

  2. The Parrot

    Old birds are fools: they dodder in their speech,
    More eager to forget than you to teach;

    - Anonymous
    The Parrot
    by Anonymous

    The old professor of Zoology
    Shook his long beard and spake these words to me:
    "Compare the Parrot with the Dove. They are
    In shape the same: in hue dissimilar.
    The Indian bird, which may be sometimes seen
    In red or black, is generally green.
    His beak is very hard: it has been known
    To crack thick nuts and penetrate a stone.
    Alas that when you teach him how to speak
    You find his head is harder than his beak.
    The passionless Malay can safely drub
    The pates of parrots with an iron club:
    The ingenious fowls, like boys they beat at school,
    Soon learn to recognize a Despot's rule.
    Now if you d train a parrot, catch him young
    While soft the mouth and tractable the tongue.
    Old birds are fools: they dodder in their speech,
    More eager to forget than you to teach;
    They swear one curse, then gaze at you askance,
    And all oblivion thickens in their glance.

    Thrice blest whose parrot of his own accord
    Invents new phrases to delight his Lord,
    Who spurns the dull quotidian task and tries
    Selected words that prove him good and wise.
    Ah, once it was my privilege to know
    A bird like this ...
    But that was long ago!"