Dark monarch of the cloudy sky!
Proud and companionless--
Alone, thou bend'st thy scornful eye
On spheres so dark as this.
Where thou dost reign in gloomy pride,
No living thing is by thy side
Within the wilderness,
Nought but thy own unshrinking brood,
And thou dost quench their thirst with blood.
Thou need'st no chart to guide thy path;
Thou climb'st the tempest's form,
Careering grandly o'er its wrath,
Dark rider of the storm!
The thunder rolls beneath thy feet,
The whirlwind is thy winding-sheet--
Laughing his wrath to scorn:
Thou spread'st thy mighty wings abroad,
Like some fleet messenger of God!
Where leaps the living cataract loud
In Cona's wizard glen,
From thy black eyrie 'mid the cloud,
Above the reach of men,
Thou'rt seen in noblest grandeur there,
Enthroned among the caverns bare;
Woe to the intruder, then,
Who meets thee floating on the breeze,
Above thy own dark palaces!
And thou hast had in that black dell
A red and wild repast,
For there the brave and lovely fell
'Neath murder's midnight blast;
Yet when thou whett'st thy gory beak
Upon the young and blooming cheek,
Whose life was ebbing fast,
Thou didst what nature bade thee do:
Thy foemen were not to subdue.
More wild, more ruthless far than thou,
Man sought that lone abode;
He gave the hand, he pledged the vow,
Before the eye of God;
But in the holy hour of sleep,
They broke the faith they swore to keep,
Then murder grimly strode,
And manhood's groan and woman's prayer
Thrill'd vainly through the wintery air.
Hold on thy path, stern child of heaven!
Across the marble sky,
The sleeping clouds are quickly riven,
To let thee journey by;
So may the chainless soul at last,
When life's cold twilight hour is past,
Stretch her bright wings on high,
And mount along her starry road,
From nature up to Nature's God!