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The large white owl that with eye is blind,
That hath sate for years in the old tree hollow,
Is carried away in a gust of wind.
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Isobel's Child
The Roman senate, when within
The city walls an owl was seen,
Did cause their clergy, with lustrations
. . . .
The round-fac'd prodigy t' avert,
From doing town or country hurt.
- Samuel Butler (1), Hudibras
(pt. II, canto III, l. 709)
In the hollow tree, in the old gray tower,
The spectral Owl doth dwell;
Dull, hated, despised, in the sunshine hour,
But at the dusk--he's abroad and well!
Not a bird of the forest e'er mates with him--
All mock him outright, by day:
But at night, when the woods grow still and dim,
The boldest will shrink away!
O, when the night falls, and roosts the fowl,
Then, then, is the reign of the Horned Owl!
- Barry Cornwall (pseudonym of Bryan Waller Procter),
St Agnes' Eve--Ah, bitter chill it was!
The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold.
- John Keats (1), The Eve of St. Agnes
The wailing owl
Screams solitary to the mournful moon.
- David Mallet (originally Malloch),
The screech-owl, with ill-boding cry,
Portends strange things, old women say;
Stops every fool that passes by,
And frights the school-boy from his play.
- Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, The Politicians
Come, now a roundel and a fairy song;
Then, for the third part of a minute, hence--
Some to kill canters in the musk-rose buds,
Some war with reremice for their leathren wings,
To make my small elves coats, and some keep back
The clamorous owl, that nightly hoots and wonders
At our quaint spirits.
- William Shakespeare,
A Midsummer Night's Dream
(Titania at II, ii)
When all aloud the wind doth blow,
And coughing drowns the parson's saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,
And Marian's nose looks red and raw,
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
Tu-whit, tu-who: a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.
- William Shakespeare, Love's Labor's Lost
(Winter at V, ii)
It is the owl that shrieked, the fatal bellman
Which gives the stern'st good-night.
- William Shakespeare, Macbeth
(Lady Macbeth at II, ii)
O you virtuous owle,
The wise Minerva's only fowle.
- Sir Philip Sidney (Sydney),
A Remedy for Love (l. 77)
When cats run home and light is come,
And dew is cold upon the ground,
And the far-off stream is dumb,
And the whirring sail goes round,
And the whirring sail goes round;
Alone and warming his five wits,
The white owl in the belfry sits.
- Lord Alfred Tennyson, Song--The Owl
Then lady Cynthia, mistress of the shade,
Goes, with the fashionable owls, to bed.
- Edward Young, Love of Fame
(satire V, l. 209)