Henry Clay Work

(1 October 1832 – 8 June 1884 / Middletown, Connecticut)

The Parrot And The Billy-Goat - Poem by Henry Clay Work

There were no romping children at Doctor Quibble's door;
Long past the silver wedding, no toys lay on the floor,
But to relieve her longings, to soothe her vain regrets,
His good wife had contrived to raise a family of pets.

What! a family of pets?
Yes! a family of pets;
His good wife had contrived to raise a family of pets.

A Spanish alto, Polly, who sang from early morn;
A bearded actor, Billy, who play'd the double horn;
A mimic man, Falsetto, who scaled the treble staff,
And climb'd the ledger lines above, and made the people laugh.

What! and made the people laugh?
Yes! and made the people laugh;
And climb'd the ledger lines above, and made the people laugh.

Remark'd the joking Doctor: "My dear, you ought to get
Another one -- a basso -- and have a full quartette."
She took his words in earnest, nor thought of ridicule;
She bargain'd from a circus man a educated mule.

What! an educated mule?
Yes! an educated mule;
She bargain'd from a circus man a educated mule.

Then said the Doctor gravely: "My dear, you should engage
That circus man as tutor, to fit them for the stage;
To cultivate their voices, and train them up by rule --
The parrot and the billy goat, the monkey and the mule."

What! the monkey and the mule?
Yes! the monkey and the mule;
The parrot and the billy goat, the monkey and the mule.

Three weary weeks she waited, and then the job was done;
Their education finish'd, their tutor's fortune won.
Tho' some folks thought she carried her husband's joke too far,
She organized a trav'ling troupe, each pet to be a star.

What! each pet to be a star?
Yes! each pet to be a star;
She organized a trav'ling troupe, each pet to be a star.

She sold a thousand tickets upon the opening night;
But when the curtain lifted, 'twas on a sorry sight:
The bearded actor Billy devoured a music roll;
Then burst the big bass drum, and went headforemost thro' the hole.

What! headforemost through the hole?
Yes! headforemost through the hole;
He burst the big bass drum, and went headforemost thro' the hole!

Falsetto snatched the turban which Madame Polly wore;
Its green and scarlet feathers he scattered on the floor.
The Madame swore in Spanish, her eyes suffused with tears;
And, flying to the basso's head, she hid behind his ears.

What! she hid behind his ears?
Yes! she hid behind his ears;
And flying to the basso's head, she hid behind his ears.

Began then B. Profundo his great fantastic dance;
The footlights flew like rockets, the audience in advance.
And so they changed the programme, and broke the golden rule
The parrot and the billy-goat, the monkey and the mule.

What! the monkey and he mule?
Yes! the monkey and he mule;
The parrot and the billy-goat, the monkey and the mule.


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Read poems about / on: family, star, people, education, wedding, husband, sorry, dance, silver, music, children, green, change, child



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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