The wounded vulture
A kingly vulture sat alone,
Lord of the ruin round,
Where Egypt's ancient monuments
Upon the desert frowned.
A hunter's eager eye had marked
The form of that proud bird,
And through the voiceless solitude
His ringing shot was heard.
It rent that vulture's pluméd breast,
Aimed with unerring hand,
And his life-blood gushed warm and red
Upon the yellow sand.
No struggle marked the deadly wound,
He gave no piercing cry,
But calmly spread his giant wings,
And sought the upper sky.
In vain with swift pursuing shot
The hunter seeks his prey,
Circling and circling upward still
On his majestic way.
Up to the blue empyrean
He wings his steady flight,
Till his receding form is lost
In the full flood of light.
Oh wounded heart! oh suffering soul!
Sit not with folded wing,
Where broken dreams and ruined hopes
Their mournful shadows fling.
Outspread thy pinions like that bird,
Take thou the path sublime,
Beyond the flying shafts of Fate,
Beyond the wounds of Time.
Mount upward! brave the clouds and storms!
Above life's desert plain
There is a calmer, purer air,
A heaven thou, too, may'st gain.
And as that dim, ascending form
Was lost in day's broad light,
So shall thine earthly sorrows fade,
Lost in the Infinite.