"I cannot get out, as the starling said"
Portrait of Laurence Sterne
Public DomainPortrait of Laurence Sterne - Credit: unknown

 The caged starling appears in the novel A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy (1768) by Laurence Sterne (1713-1768). In the chapter entitled 'The Passport, the Hotel at Paris', Mr Yorick, the first person narrator, says:

"In my return back through the passage, I heard the same words repeated twice over; and, looking up, I saw it was a starling hung in a little cage - 'I can't get out, - I can't get out,' said the starling."