Owl and the Nightingale, The

Owl and the Nightingale, The,

Middle English poem written probably by Nicholas de Guildford of Dorsetshire about the beginning of the 13th cent. Written in 2,000 lines of octosyllabic couplets, it describes a debate between the sober owl and the merry nightingale as to their respective merits. The allegory may represent the argument between asceticism and pleasure, philosophy and art, or the older didactic poetry and the newer secular love poetry. Conversational diction, humor, and dramatic touches make this poem one of the best of the period.
References in periodicals archive ?
Honegger divides what is left into three separate traditions: that stemming from the Physiologus (the Old English Physiologus and Phoenix, and the Middle English Physiologus); the genre of bird debate (The Owl and the Nightingale, The Thrush and The Nightingale, The Cuckoo and the Nightingale, and The Parliament of Fowls); and that of beast epic and beast fable (The Vox and the Wolf and the Nun's Priest's Tale).