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The Eagle of the Blue

Aloft he guards the starry folds
  Who is the brother of the star;
The bird whose joy is in the wind
  Exultleth 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 vollied 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.


Among the Northwestern regiments there would seem to have been more than one which carried a living eagle as an added ensign. The bird commemorated here was, according the the account, borne aloft on a perch beside the standard; went through successive battles and campaigns; was more than once under the surgeon's hands; and at the close of the contest found honorable repose in the capital of Wisconsin, from which state he had gone to the wars.


Herman Melville