The Two Owls and the Sparrow by Gay

Letter T.

Two formal Owls together sat,

Conferring thus in solemn chat:

"How is the modern taste decay'd!

Where's the respect to wisdom paid?

Our worth the Grecian sages knew;

They gave our sires the honour due:

They weigh'd the dignity of fowls,

And pry'd into the depth of Owls.

Athens, the seat of earned fame,

With gen'ral voice revered our name;

On merit title was conferr'd,

And all adored th' Athenian bird."

"Brother, you reason well," replies

The solemn mate, with half-shut eyes:

"Right: Athens was the seat of learning,

And truly wisdom is discerning.

Besides, on Pallas' helm we sit,

The type and ornament of wit:

But now, alas! we're quite neglected,

And a pert Sparrow's more respected."

A Sparrow, who was lodged beside,

O'erhears them sooth each other's pride.

The Two owls and the Sparrow.

And thus he nimbly vents his heat:

"Who meets a fool must find conceit.

I grant you were at Athens graced,

And on Minerva's helm were placed;

But ev'ry bird that wings the sky,

Except an Owl, can tell you why.

From hence they taught their schools to know

How false we judge by outward show;

That we should never looks esteem,

Since fools as wise as you might seem.

Would you contempt and scorn avoid,

Let your vain-glory be destroy'd:

Humble your arrogance of thought,

Pursue the ways by Nature taught:

So shall you find delicious fare,

And grateful farmers praise your care;

So shall sleek mice your chase reward,

And no keen cat find more regard."

Gay.