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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Connoisseur
By Jean Pierre Claris de Florian (1755–1794)
 
Translation of Thomas Walsh

A FAT and pompous paroquet,
  Free from his cage by hazard set,
  Established him as connoisseur
Within a grove, when he, like those
  Our critics false, began to slur        5
At everything with stuck-up nose:
The nightingale should trim her song—
  Her cadences seemed rather poor:
  The linnet he could not endure;
The thrush, perhaps, would get along        10
  Could he but teach her for a while,—
  That is, if she would aim at style.
Thus, none of all could please him—none;
  And when their morning songs awoke,
  The paroquet whistled, for a joke,        15
And kept it up till day was done.
Outraged at this unruly fate,
A deputation came in state,
Requesting him with curtsies low:—
“Good sir, who always whistle so,        20
  Inform us, pray, where we offend:
We wish to have a song from you:
  Come, show us how we may amend.”
  The paroquet, abashed, replied,
  Scratching his head on either side,—        25
“Whistling, my friends, is all I do.”
 
 
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