The Eagle of the Blue

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ALOFT he guards the starry folds
  Who is the brother of the star;
The bird whose joy is in the wind
  Exulteth in the war.

No painted plume—a sober hue,  
  His beauty is his power;
That eager calm of gaze intent
  Foresees the Sibyl’s hour.

Austere, he crowns the swaying perch,
  Flapped by the angry flag;  
The hurricane from the battery sings,
  But his claw has known the crag.

Amid the scream of shells, his scream
  Runs shrilling; and the glare
Of eyes that brave the blinding sun  
  The volleyed flame can bear.

The pride of quenchless strength is his—
  Strength which, though chained, avails;
The very rebel looks and thrills—
  The anchored Emblem hails.  

Though scarred in many a furious fray,
  No deadly hurt he knew;
Well may we think his years are charmed—
  The Eagle of the Blue.

© Herman Melville