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O you virtuous owle,
The wise Minerva's only fowle.

Owls belong to the order Strigiformes, constituting 200 extant bird of prey species. Most are solitary and nocturnal, with some exceptions (e.g. the Northern Hawk Owl). Owls hunt mostly small mammals, insects, and other birds, although a few species specialize in hunting fish. They are found in all regions of the Earth except Antarctica, most of Greenland and some remote islands. Though owls are typically solitary, the literary collective noun for a group of owls is a parliament. Living owls are divided into two families: the typical owls, Strigidae; and the barn-owls, Tytonidae.


Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 574-75.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In the hollow tree, in the old gray tower,
    The spectral Owl doth dwell;
    Dull, hated, despised, in the sunshine hour,
    But at 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!
  • St. Agnes' Eve—Ah, bitter chill it was!
    The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold.
  • The wailing owl
    Screams solitary to the mournful moon.
  • 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.
  • It was the owl that shriek'd, the fatal bellman,
    Which gives the stern'st good night.
  • O you virtuous owle,
    The wise Minerva's only fowle.
  • 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.
  • Then lady Cynthia, mistress of the shade,
    Goes, with the fashionable owls, to bed.

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