Daily Express, Friday, November 13, 1903

Poem 39

(By P. G. Wodehouse)



  [The Parrot is highly delighted at being mentioned in Mr. Winston Churchill’s speech at Birmingham on Wednesday. 1]


When I saw the Parrot lately,
Something seemed to please him greatly:
He was squawking when I met him,
And a happy smile he wore.
When I asked him “Why so perky?”
He replied, in accents jerky,
“I’ve grown famous, all through saying
That ‘Your food will cost you more.

“I’ve been mentioned on a platform!
Immortality in that form
Does not come to everybody,
Though it’s greatly hungered for.
Am I wrong in my assumption
That you wish you’d had the gumption
To acquire renown by saying
Food is going to cost you more’?

“I had previously intended
My manœuvres to have ended,
To have quitted an existence
Which began to be a bore;
But, encouraged by this mention,
It is now my fixed intention
To return (upon occasion) 2
To my ‘Food will cost you more.’ ”



See poem 10, note 2.

Churchill spoke at a meeting organised by the Free Trade Union in the Town Hall, Birmingham, where he proposed a motion that referred to “the protective taxation of food-stuff”.


Since the first appearance of The Parrot, on 30 September 1903, it had appeared every day (excluding Sundays) for six and half weeks. With this, the 39th poem, the unbroken sequence ended: from now on it would appear only intermittently, the remaining nine poems being spread over a period of five and a half weeks.