The Two Parrots And The Magpie

: Literary Fables Of Yriarte

A dame from St. Domingo

Brought with her Parrots twain.

Now this island is half Gallic,

Half owns the flag of Spain;

Thus, in two different languages,

The Parrots talked amain,

Till the gallery where their cages hung

Discordant was as Babylon.

Soon the French and the Castilian

They mixed up in such a bother

That, in the end, no soul could

If it were one or 't other.

The French Parrot from the Spaniard

Took a contribution small;

While the Spanish bird changed nigh each word

For the idiom of Gaul.

Their mistress parts the babblers--

And the Frenchman kept not long

The phrases he had borrowed

From less fashionable tongue.

The other still refuses

His jargon to give over;

But new merit rather chooses

In this hotchpotch to discover--

Exulting that he thus can vary

The range of his vocabulary.

In mongrel French, one day,

He eagerly begged after

The scrapings of the pot;

With hearty roar of laughter,

From balcony across the way,

A Magpie shouted out

At the folly of the lout.

The Parrot answered pertly,

As with argument conclusive,--

"You are nothing but a Purist,

Of taste foolishly exclusive."--?

"Thanks for the compliment," quoth Magpie, curtly.

* * * * *

Many men, in sooth, there are,

Like the Parrots, everywhere;

With their own language not content,

Would a mongrel tongue invent.