The Parrot

The following incident, so strongly illustrating the power of memory and association in the lower animals, is not a fiction. I heard it many years ago in the Island of Mull, from the family to whom the bird belonged. –T.C.

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.

Thomas Campbell (1777 - 1844).

The Poetry of Things

All creatures, great and small.

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