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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

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

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,

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,

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,—

“Whistling, my friends, is all I do.”