And I beheld the birds in the bushes building their nests, which no man, with all his wits, could ever make. And I marvelled to know who taught the magpie to place the sticks in which to lay her eggs and to breed her young; for no craftsman could make such a nest hold together, and it would be a wonderful mason who could make a mould for it!
And yet I wondered still more at other birds - how they concealed and covered their eggs secretly on moors and marshlands, so that men should never find them; and how they hid them more carefully still when they went away, for fear of birds of prey and of wild beasts.
I saw the flowers in the woods, with all their bright colours, growing with so many hues in the green grass. And it seemed to me strange that some were rank, while others were sweet, but it would take too long to speak of all their kinds, and their many different colours.
Yet the thing that moved me most, and changed my way of thinking, was that Reason rules and cared for all the beasts, except only for man and his mate; for many a time they wandered ungoverned by Reason.
Piers the Ploughman, by William Langland, written in the second half of the Fourteenth Century (a long time before the Age of Reason)