Hannah Flagg Gould

(1789-1865 / the United States)

The Voice Of The Eagle

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 'tis 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,
'Twill 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 'twas 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.
Frightened, 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 waltering 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.

Submitted: Friday, October 08, 2010


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