The Mocking-Bird and the Donkey by William Cullen Bryant









THE MOCKING-BIRD AND THE DONKEY
(From the Spanish of the Mexican poet José Rosas.)
BY WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT

A mock-bird in a village
Had somehow gained the skill
To imitate the voices
Of animals at will.

And singing in his prison,
Once, at the close of day,
He gave, with great precision,
The donkey's heavy bray.

Well pleased, the mock-bird's master
Sent to the neighbors 'round,
And bade them come together
To hear that curious sound.

They came, and all were talking
In praise of what they heard,
And one delighted lady
Would fain have bought the bird.

A donkey listened sadly,
And said: "Confess I must
That these are shallow people,
And terribly unjust.

"I'm bigger than the mock-bird,
And better bray than he,
Yet not a soul has uttered
A word in praise of me."