"I am the Great Prestigio...
"I am the Great Prestigio,
The world renowned illusionist.
I'm happy that you liked my show,
So glad the clou you haven't missed.
Please join me in a glass of wine;
We'll talk of that last trick of mine.
"You saw me strolling centre stage,
In tails, white gloves and black crush hat,
With in my hand a golden cage
In which a gold canary sat;
Or hopped about - they sometimes do,
Though one should scare expect them to.
"On tripod stand I set my cage,
While over it I put my hat;
The music hushed, then as in rage
With fist I squashed my gibus flat;
I straightened it, searched everywhere . . .
No bird, no cage, just empty air.
"And now I'll tell you how it's done :
I touch a spring, the cage snaps small;
Of such fine wiring is it spun,
It contracts to a tiny ball.
I palm it, slip it up my sleeve,
So swiftly you could scarce believe.
"The audience, you saw, was thrilled;
I score a triumph every night.
Of course the little bird is killed,
(It can't be helped) but that's all right:
I buy them cheap - females are best,
Because their bones are fragilest.
"If only I could make them sing
A note or two 'twould help my Act,
A trill before I touch the spring
And make my golden cage contract
To crush them close from claw to beak -
You know, I use up nine a week.
"You've said it, sir, my Act is great,
'Tis fit to show before the King;
My birds are honoured by their fate,
But oh if only they would sing!
. . . Why, must you go? The hour's not late;
Rome's so poetical in Spring.