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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.

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