The Vizier’s Parrot.

The Caliph Haroun gave his Vizier Ali1
An Indian parrot, green and scarlet wing’d,2
A bird of wisdom, once King Hownynama’s ;3
Its filmy eyes were all with wrinkles ring’d :4
With gravity befitting a royal bird,5
It ate and talked, and watch’d the coming finger,6
Holding its head awry to catch the voice7
Of every laughing slave or passing singer.8
The women of the harem call’d the bird9
King Red-Cloak,” for a bright flamingo colour10
Was half its plumage ; and its beak a dagger11
Of curious curve—it needed Rustum’s valour12
To face its bite ; peach, almond, fig, or apple,13
It would dissect with calm consideration.14
It was of wondrous age, and, if it chose,15
Could have reveal’d the lore of many a nation.16
It was the rarest mimic : dog or ape,17
Raven or child, or eunuch it could follow,18
Just like an echo, giving every sound,19
Or whisper, about, or scream, or cry or hallo,20
With a droll twinkle of its beady eyes,21
And rocking change of foot, and fluttering22
Spiteful and humorous, goblin-like and quaint—23
Of its green plumage and its crimson wing.24
One day the Caliph came, the Vizier gone25
To hunt the leopard, and sat down beside26
Red-Mantle’s cage, with sugar’d fruits and cakes27
To tempt the Indian bird, that listening eyed28
The turban’d man that muttered the Koran29
(His former master), with a wistful look,30
And soon began to chatter o’er his hoard31
Like mollah mumbling o’er a sacred book.32
A bearded man sits cross-legged on a bed and looks toward a parrot who is perched on a stand across from him. The man wears a tall, ornately decorated hat and holds his beard with his right hand. A small potted tree stands beside the bed and there is a hookah on the floor in the foreground. Behind the parrot, there is a stylized cage as well as a window. A street with buildings is visible through the window. 3/4-page illustration contained within a single-ruled rectangular border.
Not his old sayings, but his newest chat,33
Gather’d in the divan ; the secrets hidden34
From all but it,—some inklings of a plot,35
But too apparent to that guest unbidden :36
The knife or bowstring !” “ Tyrants must be slain,37
Or they will slay us !” “ Dead men tell no tales.”38
This very night after the hunting, mind,39
Strike all together.” “ Death to those who fail !”40
The Caliph, brooding, listened ; then arose,41
And to his palace slow and silent went,42
Musing o’er what he’d heard, and tracking out43
The parrot’s prattle with a stern intent. . . .44
At sunset came the Vizier to the bath,45
And, as he raised the curtain, met a hand,46
Bony and strong, that closed upon his throat,47
And choked his life out by Haroun’s command.48