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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

John Skelton (1460?–1529)

Ladies’ Darling

From “Speak, Parrot”

MY name is Parrot, a byrd of paradise,

By nature deviséd of wondrous kind,

Daintily dieted with divers delicate spice,

Till Euphrates, that floodé, driveth me to Inde,

Where men of that countrey by fortuné me find,

And send me to great ladies of estate.

Then Parrot must have an almon or a date;

A cage curiously carv’n, with silver pin,

Properly painted, to be my coverture;

A mirror of glass, that I may toot therein.

These maidens full meeklý with many a divers flow’r

Freshly they dress and maké sweet my bower.

“Speak, Parrot, I pray you,” full curtesly they say:

“Parrot is a goodly byrd, a pretty popagey.”

With beak ybent, my little wanton eye,

My feathers fresh as is the emeraud green,

About my neck a circlet like riche ruby,

My little leggés, feet both neat and clean,

I am a minión to wait upon a queen.

“My proper Parrot, my little pretty fool,”

From ladiés I learn, and go with them to school.

“Ha, ha! Parrót, ye can laugh prettily;”

Parrot hath dined of all this longé day.

Like your pusscat Parrot can mute and cry

In Latin, Ebrew, Araby, and Chaldéy.

In Greek tongue Parrot can both speak and say,

As Persius, that poet, doth report of me,

“Quis expedivit psittaco suum chairé?”

The French of Parrysé Parrot can learn,

Pronouncing my purpóse after my property,

With, “Parlez bien, Parrot, ou parlez rien.”

With Dutch, with Spanish, my tongue can agree;

In English to God Parrot can supplé:

“Christ save Henry VIII., our royal King,

The redde rose in honour to flourish and to spring!”