I gazed at the azure-hued mantle of heaven,
The measureless depths of ethereal space;
I gazed at the clouds, so invisibly driven,
And an eagle, which wheeled with symmetrical grace.
I gazed at that eagle, majestically wheeling,
With dignity, born of the free mountain air;
I envied that bird, with an envious feeling
Which springs from a heart that is shackled with care.
I envied that eagle, which bowed to no master,
But soared at his will, through the ambient skies,
Defiant of danger, and scorning disaster,
He screamed at the cliffs, which re-echoed his cries.
I envied that bird, on that fair summer morning,
When nature lay decked with spontaneous art,
As he circled, with aspect defiant and scorning,
And perched on a pinnacle’s loftiest part.
And scanning the scene with a stern indecision,
He spread his dark wings, with intuitive cries,
And sped, till acute and inquisitive vision
Discerned but a movable speck in the skies.
When the shades of the evening, so listless and dreary,
Descend on the valley, his wing never flags,
As through the dark shadows he soars to his eyerie,
Which nestles among the impregnable crags.
Ah! fain would I rise on thy feathery pinions,
Above the material cares of the day,
And float over earth’s most enchanting dominions,
As clouds, by the zephyrs, are wafted away!