In ancient days when every brute
by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
To humble privilege had right;
Could reason, wrangle, or dispute,
As well as scratch, and tear, and bite;
When Phoebus shone his brightest ray,
The rip'ning corn his pow'r confessed;
His cheering beams made Nature gay,
The eagle in his warmth was blest.
But malcontents e'en then arose,
The birds who love the dolesome night
The darkest grove with care they chose,
And there caball'd against the light.
The screech-owl, with ill-boding cry,
Portends strange things, old women say,
Stops ev'ry fool that passes by,
And frights the schoolboy from his play.
The raven and the double bat,
With families of owls combine;
In close consult they rail and chat,
And curse aloud the glorious shine.
While the great planet, all serene,
Heedless pursues his destin'd way,
He asks not what these murmurs mean,
But runs his course, and gives us day.