Herman Melville

(1 August 1819 – 28 September 1891 / New York City, New York)

The Eagle of the Blue


ALOFT he guards the starry folds
Who is the brother of the star;
The bird whose joy is in the wind
Exulteth in the war.

No painted plume—a sober hue,
His beauty is his power;
That eager calm of gaze intent
Foresees the Sibyl’s hour.

Austere, he crowns the swaying perch,
Flapped by the angry flag;
The hurricane from the battery sings,
But his claw has known the crag.

Amid the scream of shells, his scream
Runs shrilling; and the glare
Of eyes that brave the blinding sun
The volleyed flame can bear.

The pride of quenchless strength is his—
Strength which, though chained, avails;
The very rebel looks and thrills—
The anchored Emblem hails.

Though scarred in many a furious fray,
No deadly hurt he knew;
Well may we think his years are charmed—
The Eagle of the Blue.

Submitted: Monday, April 19, 2010

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