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Eagle Poems

Table of Contents

  1. The Eagle by Alfred Tennyson
  2. Song of the Eagle by Frances Fuller Victor
  3. The Loose Feather by Hannah Flagg Gould
  4. The Voice of the Eagle by Hannah Flagg Gould
  5. The Eagle by Timothy Otis Paine
  6. The Eagle by James Gates Percival
  7. The Tamed Eagle by Anna Maria Wells
  8. The Eagle by Alfred Billings Street
  9. The Eagle by Alfred Billings Street
  10. The Rising Eagle by Hannah Flagg Gould
  11. Song of the American Eagle by Anonymous
  12. The Eagle by Anna Letitia Barbauld
  13. The Eagle Trees by Sarah Orne Jewett

  1. The Eagle

    by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

    He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
    Close to the sun in lonely lands,
    Ringed with the azure world, he stands.

    The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
    He watches from his mountain walls,
    And like a thunderbolt he falls.

  2. Song of the Eagle

    by Frances Fuller Victor

    I'm the child of light, yet the darkest night
    No terrors hath for me,
    For the storm I ride, in a monarch's pride,
    Or skim o'er the heaving sea.
    When lowering clouds, like sable shrouds,
    Wrap the earth in deepest gloom,
    I join the surge in the funeral dirge,
    O'er the sailor's watery tomb.

    And I love to rest on the summit crest
    Of the proudest mountain's height,
    While the clouds below lie like wreaths of snow,
    Yielding homage to my might.
    In my pride I go where eternal snow
    Has crested the mountain's brow,
    And laugh at the storm, and the blackened form
    Of the threatening clouds below.

    Mid the lightning's flash, and the thunder's crash,
    I scream for my own delight,
    For I love to hear, so loud and clear,
    My voice ringing out in the night.
    Not so proud a one ever gazed on the sun
    As the eagle bird, I trow,
    Stooping to rest on the towering crest
    Of the highest mountain's brow.

    In the pride of a king, with folded wing,
    I gaze on ruined Tyre;
    By Heaven's decree it was given to me,
    And no power to give is higher.
    From land or sea God hath chosen me,
    And a favored bird am I—
    The gifted of Heaven, to whom power is given
    Over earth, and sea, and sky.

    I care not for earth, though I had my birth
    On the proudest height she owns;
    And I'd rather ride o'er old ocean's tide
    Than sit on her rocky thrones.
    But I love the sun, and could I have won
    A home in its realms of light.
    With a laugh of scorn from this earth I'd turn.
    And soar to my home in delight.

  3. The Loose Feather

    And what shall again, the wounded heart
    And its vanished peace e'er bring together?
    Ah! sundered once, they must sink apart,
    Like the stricken bird and her falling feather!

    – Hannah Flagg Gould
    The Loose Feather
    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    'T is wandering down through pathless air,
    A lonely thing in a boundless space,
    That has lost its way, and knows not where
    To find a home, or a resting place.

    The fearless breast, where late't was worn,
    Has met the arrow the foeman hurled;
    The venturous wing, by which't was borne
    Through clouds, must soon in death be furled.

    Poor timorous thing! when it felt the dart,
    Where it peaceful lay, how it fluttered and fled;
    Nor staid till the blood of the eagle's heart,
    To sully and moisten its down, was shed!

    And now, as in careless sport, 't is tossed
    Above the stream by the whiffling wind!
    In the next swift wave 't will be curled and lost,
    Nor leave one trace of itself behind.

    So fly the joys that warm the breast,
    Where they in their downy lightness grew,
    When their only home and their native rest
    The shaft of sorrow is passing through.

    And what shall again, the wounded heart
    And its vanished peace e'er bring together?
    Ah! sundered once, they must sink apart,
    Like the stricken bird and her falling feather!

  4. The Voice of the Eagle

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    Lady, the fairest flowers the morn disclosed
    Are glowing on thy bosom; while within,
    Thousands of clustering joys are still in bud;
    And thy fond heart has sweetly promised thee,
    Ere the bland violet shall hang its head,
    That they shall be full blown. Thy mild blue eye,

    With warm affection beaming, wistful looks
    Far o'er the treacherous deep, as calm it lies
    Beneath the splendor of a summer sky,
    And thou dost woo each billow sparkling there
    To bring thy lover's bark safe back to shore.
    Yon shining thing, on the horizon hung,
    That trails its silver fringe along the waves,
    And in the distance seems as sea or air,
    Might either claim it, thou dost think the sail
    That is to waft him to thine arms again.
    But 't is deceitful vapor—false as bright!
    For this bold wing has swept the snowy cloud,
    And found it melting, soon to pass away,
    As pass the hopes that mock the human heart.

    O lady! there's a secret known to me;
    To me alone—and when the fatal dart
    Shall part the down upon the eagle's breast,
    To stain its whiteness with the crimson drops,
    'T will never, never make my heart to ache
    As thine, when thou the mournful tale shall hear.
    For thou must sicken—thou must droop and pine,
    Yea, fade and perish, like the tender flower,
    That thou hast severed from its parent stem,
    Ere he, whose life was root and stem to thine,
    Shall meet thee more.

    It was a stilly hour—
    You might have heard the tiny sparrow's flight;
    For, not the coward poplar shook a leaf;
    And I had soared to breathe in upper air,
    Leaving my nest beneath the tall lone pine,
    Whose strong root fastened in the craggy bound
    That limited the ocean. Suddenly
    It seemed some mighty, sable pinions, spread
    O'er yonder azure vault, which grew so dark,
    I thought 't was night, without or moon, or star,
    And hastened home to seek my callow brood.
    Then there were rushing, deep and awful sounds;
    The pine was twisted, and its root uptorn.
    Frighted, I cowered, and pressed me 'gainst the shore,
    To make the fluttering of my bosom cease—
    There saw my tender nestlings headlong hurled
    Down, down the beetling cliff, amid the foam
    Which the mad waters dashed against the shore,
    Maddening the more that earth repelled their force.
    The wild and warring winds then onward whirled,
    The gloomy forest roared, and reeled, and fell.
    The quick, red lightning, with its fiery point,

    Engraved its path upon the yielding flint;
    And, overhead, the chariot wheels of Power
    In blackness rolled across the frowning heavens,
    With noise, which seemed as that stupendous arch
    Were rattling down, to crush the world beneath.
    Just then, a ship came struggling in the bay,
    With cables parted, bow and anchor lost—
    Her life-boat weltering in the distant surge;
    Now she was tossed high up the mountain waves,
    Then into gaping watery caverns thrown—
    And when she struck the consummating rock,
    While she was parting, I beheld the crew,
    Trembling, with faces paler than the sheets
    Hung, rent and fluttering round them; but there beamed
    From every eye a fire so strangely bright,
    It seemed its radiance might have lasted lives.
    One fell despairing from the loosening shroud,
    Another wildly clasped the shivered mast;
    And some, with hands upraised, as if they sought
    To meet an arm extended from on high,
    By which to hold them from their yawning graves,
    Were going to kneel. He who was last—
    The feeble lone one on the mighty deep,
    Clinging a moment to a floating beam,
    While his bright locks, that late so closely curled,
    All darkened, wet and heavy, fell apart,
    Leaving his smooth, white forehead, marble cold,
    Thrice, with his latest breath, called out thy name,
    As the black meeting billows closed him in.

  5. The Eagle

    by Timothy Otis Paine

    How the eagle does: —
    Gathering up his might,
    Quitting where he was,
    Soars he in the height.
    But his aerie home
    Is not always grand:
    Now on mountain dome,
    Now in lowly land.
    In a rugged wold,
    Be it but apart,
    He shall build his hold,
    Take his mighty start.
    Where he makes his bed,
    Where he piles his lair,
    Turns his noble head,
    'Tis the king that's there.
    Where he heaps his nest,
    Where he lies in state,
    Where he takes his rest,
    There the place is great.

  6. The Eagle

    by James Gates Percival

    Bird of the broad and sweeping wing!
    Thy home is high in heaven,
    Where the wide storms their banners fling,
    And the tempest clouds are driven.
    Thy throne is on the mountain top;
    Thy fields, the boundless air;
    And hoary peaks, that proudly prop
    The skies, thy dwellings are.

    Thou art perched aloft on the beetling crag,
    And the waves are white below,
    And on, with a haste that can not lag,
    They rush in an endless flow.
    Again thou hast plumed thy wing for flight
    To lands beyond the sea,
    And away, like a spirit wreathed in light,
    Thou hurriest, wild and free.

    Lord of the boundless realm of air!
    In thy imperial name,
    The hearts of the bold and ardent dare
    The dangerous path of fame,
    Beneath the shade of thy golden wings,
    The Roman legions bore,
    From the river of Egypt's cloudy springs,
    Their pride, to the polar shore.

    For thee they fought, for thee they fell,
    And their oath on thee was laid;
    To thee the clarions raised their swell,
    And the dying warrior prayed.
    Thou wert, through an age of death and fears,
    The image of pride and power,
    Till the gathered rage of a thousand years,
    Burst forth in one awful hour.

    And then, a deluge of wrath, it came,
    And the nations shook with dread;
    And it swept the earth, till its fields were flame,
    And piled with the mingled dead.
    Kings were rolled in the wasteful flood,
    With the low and crouching slave;
    And together lay, in a shroud of blood,
    The coward and the brave.

  7. The Tamed Eagle

    by Anna Maria Wells

    He sat upon his humble perch, nor flew
    As I came nigh;
    But when I nearer drew
    Looked, as I fancied, with reproachful eye
    And sadly too.

    And something spoke his native pride untamed
    Despite his woe;
    Which, when I marked — ashamed
    To see a noble creature brought so low —
    My heart exclaimed, —

    Where is the fire that lit thy fearless eye,
    Child of the storm,
    When from thy home on high,
    Yon craggy-breasted rock, I saw thy form
    Cleaving the sky?

    I grieve to see thy dauntless spirit tamed,
    Gone out the light
    That in thine eye-ball flamed,
    When to the mid-day sun thy steady flight
    Was proudly aimed!

    Like a young dove forsaken is the look
    Of thy sad eye,
    Who in some lonely nook
    Mourns on the willow bough her destiny
    Beside the brook.

    O, let me not insult thy fallen dignity,
    Thou monarch bird,
    Gazing with vulgar eye
    Upon thy ruin; for my heart is stirred
    To hear thy cry!

    Yet something sterner in thy downward gaze
    Doth seem to lower,
    And deep disdain betrays,
    As if thou cursed man's poorly acted power
    And scorned his praise.

  8. The Eagle

    by Alfred Billings Street

    An eagle in this lovely scene
    Was perched upon a hillock green,
    Where strew'd remains of bow and spear
    With here and there a scattered bone,
    Bared by the frost and rain, made known
    An Indian burial-place was here.
    And as he stood, his form stretch'd high,
    And from his keen and martial eye
    Glances around he shot,
    He seem'd within the halo-light
    With ruffled plumes, and crown of white,
    The monarch of the spot.

    Balancing on his outspread wing,
    At length he look'd as if to spring,
    While higher arch'd his kingly neck;
    Rustled the leaves — and with a shriek
    He swept up, pointing high his beak,
    And dwindled to a fading speck.

  9. The Eagle

    by Alfred Billings Street

    We touch the green marge; hark! a shriek shrill and loud,
    A bird with huge wings, like a fragment of cloud,
    Shoots swift from the gorge, sweeps around, then on high
    Cleaves his way, till he seems a dim spot in the sky;
    Then stooping in circles, contracting his rings,
    He swoops to a pine-top and settles his wings;
    An eagle! an eagle! how kingly his form!
    He seems fit to revel in sunshine and storm;
    What terrible talons, what strength in that beak,
    His red rolling eye-balls the proud monarch speak;
    He casts looks, superb and majestical, down;
    His pine for a throne, and his crest for a crown;
    He stirs not a feather, though shoutings arise,
    But still flings beneath mute contempt at our cries;
    A branch is hurl'd upward, whirls near him, but vain,
    He looks down his eloquent, glorious disdain,
    Till he chooses to spread his broad pinions of gray
    And launch in majestic, slow motion away.

  10. The Rising Eagle

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    My bird, the struggle's over!
    Thy wings, at length unfurled,
    Will bear thee, noble rover,
    Through yon blue, airy world.

    Thy fearless breast has shaken
    Earth's dust and dew away;
    Thine eye its aim has taken—
    Its mark the orb of day.

    Up, up, the faster leaving
    Thy rocky rest below,
    A fresher strength receiving,
    The lighter shalt thou go.

    The clouds that hang before thee
    Thou soon shalt over-sweep,
    Where all is brightness o'er thee,
    To swim the upper deep.

    Through seas of ether sailing,
    Thou lofty, valiant one!
    The breath of morn inhaling,
    Thy course is to the sun.

    The strife was all in lifting
    Thy breast from earth at first.
    The poising, and the shifting
    To balance, was the worst.

    And so with us; 't is spreading
    Our pinions for the skies,
    That keeps us low and dreading
    The first attempt to rise.

    'T is rousing up and getting
    Our balance, that we shun;
    With thousand ties besetting,
    We shrink from breaking one,

    But, when we're fairly started,
    And cleared from all below,
    How free and buoyant-hearted,
    On eagle wings we go!

    And as our bosoms kindle
    With pure and holy love,
    How all below will dwindle,
    And all grow bright above!

    The world that we are leaving
    Looks little in our sight,
    While, clouds and shadows cleaving,
    We seek the Source of Light.

    Rise! timid soul, and casting
    Aside thy doubt and fear,
    Mount up where all is lasting;
    For all is dying here!

    Then, as an eagle training
    Her tender young to fly,
    The hand, that's all sustaining,
    Will lift thee to the sky.

    While higher, higher soaring
    Thou'lt feel thy cares are drowned
    Where heaven's bright SUN is pouring
    A flood of glory round.

  11. Song of the American Eagle

    by Anonymous

    I build my nest on the mountain's crest,
    Where the wild winds rock my eaglets to rest,
    Where the lightnings flash, and the thunders crash,
    And the roaring torrents foam and dash;
    For my spirit free henceforth shall be
    A type of the sons of Liberty.

    Aloft I fly from my aërie high,
    Through the vaulted dome of the azure sky;
    On a sunbeam bright take my airy flight,
    And float in a flood of liquid light;
    For I love to play in the noontide ray,
    And bask in a blaze from the throne of day.

    Away I spring with a tireless wing,
    On a feathery cloud I poise and swing;
    I dart down the steep where the lightnings leap,
    And the clear blue canopy swiftly sweep;
    For, dear to me is the revelry
    Of a free and fearless Liberty.

    I love the land where the mountains stand,
    Like the watch-towers high of a Patriot band;
    For I may not bide in my glory and pride,
    Though the land be never so fair and wide,
    Where Luxury reigns o'er voluptuous plains,
    And fetters the free-born soul in chains.

    Then give to me in my flights to see
    The land of the pilgrims ever free!
    And I never will rove from the haunts I love
    But watch, from my sentinel-track above,
    Your banner free, o'er land and sea,
    And exult in your glorious Liberty.

    O, guard ye well the land where I dwell,
    Lest to future times the tale I tell,
    When slow expires in smoldering fires
    The goodly heritage of your sires,
    How Freedom's light rose clear and bright
    O'er fair Columbia's beacon-hight,
    Till ye quenched the flame in a starless night.

    Then will I tear from your pennon fair
    The stars ye have set in triumph there;
    My olive-branch on the blast I'll launch,
    The fluttering stripes from the flagstaff wrench,
    And away I'll flee; for I scorn to see
    A craven race in the land of the free!

  12. The Eagle

    by Anna Letitia Barbauld

    The tawny Eagle seats his callow brood
    High on the cliff, and feasts his young with blood:
    On Snowdon rocks, or Orkney’s wide domain,
    Whose beetling cliffs o’er hang the Western main,
    The royal bird his lonely kingdom forms,
    Amidst the gathering clouds and sullen storms;
    Through the wide waste of air he darts his sight,
    And holds his sounding pinions poised for flight;
    With cruel eye premeditates the war,
    And marks his destined victim from afar:
    Descending in a whirlwind to the ground,
    His pinions like the rush of waters sound:
    The fairest of the fold he bears away,
    And to his nest compels the struggling prey;
    He scorns the game by meaner hunters tore,
    And dips his talons in no vulgar gore.

  13. The Eagle Trees

    by Sarah Orne Jewett

    Great pines that watch the river go
    Down to the sea all night, all day,
    Firm-rooted near its ebb and flow,
    Bowing their heads to winds at play,
    Strong-limbed and proud, they silent stand,
    And watch the mountains far away,
    And watch the miles of farming land,
    And hear the church bells tolling slow.

    They see the men in distant fields
    Follow the furrows of the plough;
    They count the loads the harvest yields,
    And fight the storms with every bough,
    Beating the wild winds back again.
    The April sunshine cheers them now;
    They eager drink the warm spring rain,
    Nor dread the spear the lightning wields.

    High in the branches clings the nest
    The great birds build from year to year;
    And though they fly from east to west,
    Some instinct keeps this eyrie dear
    To their fierce hearts; and now their eyes
    Glare down at me with rage and fear;
    They stare at me with wild surprise,
    Where high in air they strong-winged rest.

    Companionship of birds and trees!
    The years have proved your friendship strong,
    You share each other's memories,
    The river's secret and its song,
    And legends of the country-side;
    The eagles, take their journey long,
    The great trees wait in noble pride
    For messages from hills and seas.

    I hear a story that you tell
    In idleness of summer days:
    A singer that the world knows well
    To you again in boyhood strays;
    Within the stillness of your shade
    He rests where flickering sunlight plays,
    And sees the nest the eagles made,
    And wonders at the distant bell.

    His keen eyes watch the forest growth,
    The rabbits' fear, the thrushes' flight;
    He loiters gladly, nothing loath
    To be alone at fall of night,
    The woodland things around him taught
    Their secrets in the evening light,
    Whispering some wisdom to his thought
    Known to the pines and eagles both.

    Was it the birds who early told
    The dreaming boy that he would win
    A poet's crown instead of gold?
    That he would fight a nation's sin?—
    On eagle wings of song would gain
    A place that few might enter in,
    And keep his life without a stain
    Through many years, yet not grow old?

    And he shall be what few men are,
    Said all the pine-trees, whispering low;
    His thought shall find an unseen star;
    He shall our treasured legends know:
    His words will give the way-worn rest
    Like this cool shade our branches throw;
    He, lifted like our loftiest crest,
    Shall watch his country near and far.