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.

This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.