Daily Express, Wednesday, November 4, 1903

Poem 31

(By P. G. Wodehouse)



I found the Parrot perching,
And he eyed me with a searching
Glance, as if to ask me whether
We had ever met before.
Having finished this inspection,
He seemed plunged in deep reflection.
Then he closed his eyes and muttered,
Sir, your food will cost you more.”

“But, excuse me,” I protested,
“I am hardly interested
In the subject you refer to:
I consider it a bore.
Talk of something else but feeding.”
But the Parrot, all unheeding,
Simply muttered, “Footle—footle— 1
Food’ll—food’ll cost you more.”

“Let us talk,” I said, “of Joseph.
Do you fancy that he knows if
Our great Empire’s star is waning, 2
Or (au contraire) tends to soar?
Do his fiscal movements thrill you?
Kindly probe the subject, will you?”
But the Parrot’s only answer
Was, “Your food will cost you more.

Then I said, “You wretched bird, you!
You have wearied all who’ve heard you.
You must think of something subtler
If you really wish to score.
You gain nothing by repeating
Your delirious views on eating.”
And the Parrot, as I left him,
Said, “Your food will cost you more.



Footle: foolish talk.


Chamberlain argued that the long-term survival of the Empire could only be assured if Britain and its colonies—which he largely thought of as consisting of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa (India was the responsibility of the Secretary of State for India and had not, therefore, been of concern to him as a minister)—were bound more closely together. This, he believed, could only be achieved through a strengthening of trade relations. In effect, he envisaged Britain and its Dominions as a vast trading bloc.