[Page 108]


The two Owls and the Sparrow.

1 Two formal Owls together sate,
2 Conferring thus in solemn chat.
3 How is the modern taste decay'd!
4 Where's the respect to wisdom paid?
5 Our worth the Grecian sages knew,
6 They gave our sires the honour due,
[Page 109]
7 They weigh'd the dignity of fowls,
8 And pry'd into the depth of owls.
9 Athens, the seat of learned fame,
10 With gen'ral voice rever'd our name;
11 On merit title was conferr'd,
12 And all ador'd th' Athenian bird.
13 Brother, you reason well, replies
14 The solemn mate, with half-shut eyes;
15 Right. Athens was the seat of learning,
16 And truly wisdom is discerning.
17 Besides, on Pallas' helm we sit,
18 The type and ornament of wit:
19 But now, alas, we're quite neglected,
20 And a pert sparrow's more respected.
21 A Sparrow, who was lodg'd beside,
22 O'erhears them sooth each other's pride,
23 And thus he nimbly vents his heat.
24 Who meets a fool must find conceit.
25 I grant, you were at Athens grac'd,
26 And on Minerva's helm were plac'd,
[Page 110]
27 But ev'ry bird that wings the sky,
28 Except an owl, can tell you why.
29 From hence they taught their schools to know
30 How false we judge by outward show,
31 That we should never looks esteem,
32 Since fools as wise as you might seem.
33 Would ye contempt and scorn avoid,
34 Let your vain-glory be destroy'd;
35 Humble your arrogance of thought,
36 Pursue the ways by nature taught,
37 So shall ye find delicious fare,
38 And grateful farmers praise your care,
39 So shall sleek mice your chase reward,
40 And no keen cat find more regard.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): FABLE [32] XXXII. The two Owls and the Sparrow.
Author: John Gay
Themes: animals
Genres: fable

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Source edition

FABLES. By Mr. GAY. London: Printed for J. Tonson and J. Watts, MDCCXXVII., 1727, pp. 108-110. [14],173,[1]p.: ill.; 4°. (ESTC T13818)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.

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