Ella Wheeler Wilcox

(5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)

A Fable


Some cawing Crows, a hooting Owl,
A Hawk, a Canary, an old Marsh-Fowl,
One day all meet together
To hold a caucus and settle the fate
Of a certain bird (without a mate),
A bird of another feather.
'My friends,' said the Owl, with a look most wise,
'The Eagle is soaring too near the skies,
In a way that is quite improper;
Yet the world is praising her, so I'm told,
And I think her actions have grown so bold
That some of us ought to stop her.'
'I have heard it said,' quoth Hawk, with a sigh,
'That young lambs died at the glance of her eye,
And I wholly scorn and despise her.
This, and more, I am told they say,
And I think that the only proper way
Is never to recognize her.'
'I am quite convinced,' said Crow, with a caw,
'That the Eagle minds no moral law,
She's a most unruly creature.'
'She's an ugly thing,' piped Canary Bird;
'Some call her handsome—it's so absurd—
She hasn't a decent feature.'
Then the old Marsh-Hen went hopping about,
She said she was sure—she hadn't a doubt—
Of the truth of each bird's story:
And she thought it a duty to stop her flight,
To pull her down from her lofty height,
And take the gilt from her glory.
But, lo! from a peak on the mountain grand
That looks out over the smiling land
And over the mighty ocean,
The Eagle is spreading her splendid wings—
She rises, rises, and upward swings,
With a slow, majestic motion.
Up in the blue of God's own skies,
With a cry of rapture, away she flies,
Close to the Great Eternal:
She sweeps the world with her piercing sight;
Her soul is filled with the infinite
And the joy of things supernal.
Thus rise forever the chosen of God,
The genius-crowned or the power-shod,
Over the dust-world sailing;
And back, like splinters blown by the winds,
Must fall the missiles of silly minds,
Useless and unavailing.

Submitted: Friday, April 02, 2010

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