The Eagle and the Dove

Intent on prey, an eagle spread
His pinions wide in air;
When swift the huntsman's arrow flew,
And headlong downward to a myrtle grove
The daring voyager of the sky
Fell panting, filled with anguish and despair;
And when three days and nights were gone,
Kind Nature's balm, that heals all hurts,
His fainting strength restored.
The bird outstretched his wing;—
Alas! there was no longer power for flight—
He scarce himself could raise
From off the hard, unyielding ground,
To seize some mean, unworthy prey.
With bursting heart, extended on a rock,
Hard by the rushing of a mountain stream.
Clear, sweet, and pure
As are the blue o'er-bending heavens,
With tearful eye he gazed through myrtle boughs,
To where two doves with soft and gentle flutter of contented wings
Were resting from their humble flight;
With strut and nodding head
They wandered by the golden sand and pebbly shore,
Or bathed their feet within the silver tide.
How full their red-tinged eyes with love!
How low and musical their cooing voice!
They paused—their vision fell
Upon the stricken sovereign of the air,
And, moved with pity, leaped the male,
Complacent, on a nearer twig, and thus discoursed:
“What sorrow fills thy breast? What grief be-dews thine eye?
Take comfort and good cheer, my friend,
For in this forest deep all rare delights are found.
Hast thou not here such boundless joy
As may all memories of the sky efface?
Hast thou not gladness in the bending bough
That fends thee from the sun's meridian heat?
And canst thou not thy breast uplift
Upon the fragrant moss,
And mark the sun's declining ray?
Here mayst thou wander through a world of flowers,
And gather food from shrub and bush and tree,
Or quench thy thirst at yonder bubbling spring.
O friend, believe me this:
'T is sweet contentment fills the world with bliss—
Be satisfied with that thou hast,
And everywhere thou hast enough.”
Then spake the eagle as he sank in thought,
“O wise one!”—and he pondered what his ear had heard,—
“O wisdom! thou speakest like a dove!”
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