Ambushed in yonder cloud of white,
Far-glittering from its azure height,
He shrouds his swiftness and his might!
But oft across the echoing sky,
Long-drawn, though uttered suddenly,
We hear his strange, shrill, bodeful cry.
Winged robber! in his vaporous tower
Secure in craft, as strong in power,
Coolly he bides the fated hour,
When thro' cloud-rifts of shadowy rise,
Earthward are bent his ruthless eyes,
Where, blind to doom, the quarry lies!
And from dense cloud to noontide glow,
(His fiery gaze still fixed below),
He sails on pinions proud and slow!
Till, like a fierce, embodied ray,
He hurtles down the dazzling day,—
A death-flash on his startled prey;
And where but now a nest was found,
Voiceful, beside its grassy mound.
A few brown feathers strew the ground!