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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
The Eagle
Bestiaries and Lapidaries
Guillaume le Clerc de Normandie (Thirteenth Century)
THE EAGLE is the king of birds. When it is old it becomes young again in a very strange manner. When its eyes are darkened and its wings are heavy with age, it seeks out a fountain clear and pure, where the water bubbles up and shines in the clear sunlight. Above this fountain it rises high up into the air, and fixes its eyes upon the light of the sun and gazes upon it until the heat thereof sets on fire its eyes and wings. Then it descends down into the fountain where the water is clearest and brightest, and plunges and bathes three times, until it is fresh and renewed and healed of its old age. 1  1
  The eagle has such keen vision, that if it is high up among the clouds, soaring through the air, it sees the fish swimming beneath it, in river or sea; then down it shoots upon the fish and seizes and drags it to the shore. Again, if unknown to the eagle its eggs should be changed and others put into its nest,—when the young are grown, before they fly away, it carries them up into the air when the sun is shining its brightest. Those which can look at the rays of the sun, without blinking, it loves and holds dear; those which cannot stand to look at the light, it abandons, as base-born, nor troubles itself henceforth concerning them. 2  2
Note 1.
  “Bated like eagles having lately bathed.”
—‘1 Henry IV.,’ iv. 1.    [back]
Note 2.
  “Nay, if thou be that princely eagle’s bird,
Show thy descent by gazing ’gainst the sun.”
—‘3 Henry VI.,’ ii. 1.    [back]

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