Walter Richard Cassels
The Eagle - Poem by Walter Richard Cassels
The winds sweep by him on his mountain throne,
Hurling the clouds together at his feet,
Till Earth is hidden, lost, and swallow'd up
As in the flood of waters,--and he sits
Eyeing the boundless firmament above,
Proud and unruffled, till his heart exclaims,--
'I am a god, Heaven is my home,--the Earth
Serveth me but for footstool.'
The strong winds
Sweep on, and wide his pinions spreadeth he,--
'Bear me afar!' and on the mighty storm
He rides triumphant, spurning the dim Earth--
Whither, O whither goest thou? What star
Shall raise its mountains for thee? What far orb
Echo the fierceness of thy battle-cry?
What dost thou when the thunder is unloosed?
'I sit amongst the crags, and feel the Earth
Tremble beneath me, whilst my heart is firm.
I gaze upon the lightning, and my lid
Quivers not. Is their aught 'neath which my gaze
Quaileth, or waxeth faint--I read the sun
Undazzled where the stars grow dim and pale.
'Men gather them to battle--host meets host--
And I am borne aloft to marshal them,--
I, the great King of Battles, that go forth
Conquering and to conquer. So do men
Worship me. Oh! the mighty crash ascends,--
The shoutings, and the glory, and the woe,
One great full chaunt of homage to mine ears,--
And there I wait the while the sacrifice
Is slain before me; then down with a swoop
I get me from my skyey throne, and dye
Deep in the ruddy stream my talons grey--
Hurrah! hurrah! blood red's the flag for me!'
The time will come, proud one, when thou shalt die!
'Die! Death I cast from me as these loose plumes
That moult out from my pinions--let them go
To Earth, and Death go with them, both I leave
To mortals. What have I to do with Time?
Let him pat forth his speed--these wings of mine
Shall match him stroke for stroke, until we reach
The limits of his empire, and I shake him off
Like dust upon the threshold of the world.'
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