Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
The American Eagle
By C. W. Thompson
 
BIRD of the heavens! whose matchless eye
  Alone can front the blaze of day,
And, wandering through the radiant sky,
  Ne’er from the sunlight turns away;
Whose ample wing was made to rise        5
  Majestic o’er the loftiest peak,
On whose chill tops the winter skies,
  Around thy nest, in tempests speak.
What ranger of the winds can dare,
Proud mountain king! with thee compare;        10
Or lift his gaudier plumes on high
Before thy native majesty,
When thou hast ta’en thy seat alone,
Upon thy cloud-encircled throne?
 
Bird of the cliffs! thy noble form        15
  Might well be thought almost divine;
Born for the thunder and the storm,
  The mountain and the rock are thine;
And there, where never foot has been,
  Thy eyry is sublimely hung,        20
Where lowering skies their wrath begin,
  And loudest lullabies are sung
By the fierce spirit of the blast,
When, his snow mantle o’er him cast,
He sweeps across the mountain top,        25
With a dark fury naught can stop,
And wings his wild, unearthly way
Far through the clouded realms of day.
 
Bird of the sun! to thee—to thee
  The earliest tints of dawn are known,        30
And ’tis thy proud delight to see
  The monarch mount his gorgeous throne;
Throwing the crimson drapery by,
  That half impedes his glorious way;
And mounting up the radiant sky,        35
  E’en what he is,—the king of day!
Before the regent of the skies
Men shrink, and veil their dazzled eyes;
But thou, in regal majesty,
Hast kingly rank as well as he;        40
And with a steady, dauntless gaze,
Thou meet’st the splendour of his blaze.
 
Bird of Columbia! well art thou
  An emblem of our native land;
With unblench’d front and noble brow,        45
  Among the nations doom’d to stand;
Proud, like her mighty mountain woods;
  Like her own rivers, wandering free;
And sending forth, from hills and floods,
  The joyous shout of liberty!        50
Like thee, majestic bird! like thee,
She stands in unbought majesty,
With spreading wing, untired and strong,
That dares a soaring far and long,
That mounts aloft, nor looks below,        55
And will not quail though tempests blow.
 
The admiration of the earth,
  In grand simplicity she stands;
Like thee, the storms beheld her birth,
  And she was nursed by rugged hands;        60
But, past the fierce and furious war,
  Her rising fame new glory brings,
For kings and nobles come from far
  To seek the shelter of her wings.
And like thee, rider of the cloud,        65
She mounts the heavens serene and proud,
Great in a pure and noble fame,
Great in her spotless champion’s name,
And destined in her day to be
Mighty as Rome—more nobly free.        70
 
My native land! my native land!
  To whom my thoughts will fondly turn:
For her the warmest hopes expand,
  For her the heart with fears will yearn.
O! may she keep her eye, like thee,        75
  Proud eagle of the rocky wild,
Fix’d on the sun of liberty,
  By rank, by faction unbeguiled;
Remembering still the rugged road
Our venerable fathers trod,        80
When they through toil and danger press’d,
To gain their glorious bequest,
And from each lip the caution fell
To those who follow’d, “Guard it well.”
 
 
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