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Tho'strong the hawk,tho' practis'd well to fly, An eagle drops her in a lower sky; An eagle, when, deserting human sight, She seeks the sun in her unwearied flight: Did thy command her yellow pinion lift So high in air, and set her on the clift, Where far above thy world she dwells alone, And proudly makes the strength of rocks her own; 2 Thence wide o'er nature takes her dread
survey, And with a glance predestinates her prey ? She feasts her young with blood; and, hov’ring o'er Th' unslaughter'd host, enjoys the promis'd gore.
3 Know'st thou how many moons, by me assign'd, Roll o'er the mountain goat, and forest hind, While pregnant they a mother's load sustain ? They bend in anguish, and cast forth their pain. Hale are their young, from human frailties freed; Walk unsustain'd, and unassisted feed;
" Thyanus (de Re Accip.) mentions a hawk that few from Paris to London in a night.
And the Egyptians, in regard to its swiftness, made it their symbol for the wind; for which reason we may suppose the hawk, as well as the crow above, to have been a bird of note in Egypt.
2 The eagle is said to be of so acute a sight, that when she is so high in air that man cannot see her, she can discern the smallest fish under water. My author accurately understood the nature of the creatures he describes, and seems to have been a naturalist as well as a poet, which the next note will confirm.
3 The meaning of this question is, Knowest thou the time and circumstances of their bringing forth? For to know the time only was easy, and had nothing extraordinary in it; but the circumstances had something peculiarly ex
They live at once ; forsake the dam's warm side ; Take the wide world, with nature for their guide ; Bound o'er the lawn, or seek the distant glade; And find a home in each delightful shade.
Will the tall reem, which knows no lord but me, Low at the crib, and ask an alms of thee; Submit his unworn shoulder to the yoke, Break the stiff clod, and o'er thy furrow smoke? Since great his strength, go trust him, void of care; Lay on his neck the toil of all the year; Bid him bring home the seasons to thy doors, And cast his load among thy gather'd stores.
Didst thou from service the wild ass discharge, And break his bonds, and bid him live at large, Through the wide waste, his ample mansion, roam, And lose himself in his unbounded home? By nature's hand magnificently fed, His meal is on the range of mountains spread ; As in pure air aloft he bounds along, He sees in distant smoke the city throng; Conscious of freedom, scorns the smother'd train, The threat'ning driver, and the servile rein.
Survey the warlike horse ! didst thou invest With thunder his robust distended chest? No sense of fear his dauntless soul allays; 'Tis dreadful to behold his nostrils blaze ; pressive of God's providence, which makes the question proper in this place. Pliny observes, that the hind with young is by instinct directed to a certain herb called Seselis, which facilitates the birth. Thunder also (which looks like the more immediate hand of Providence) has the same effect. Ps. xxix. In so early an age to observe these things, may style our author a naturalist.
To paw the vale he proudly takes delight,
groans his last.
Pursuing their prey by night is true of most wild beasts, particularly the lion. Ps. cvi. 20. The Arabians have one among their five hundred names for the lion, which signifies “the hunter by moonshine.”
Now shrieks, and dying groans, the desart fill;
Mild is my behemoth, though large his frame;
groves of willows give him all their shade. His eye drinks Jordan up, when fir'd with
drought, He trusts to turn its current down his throat; In lessen'd waves it creeps along the plain :
1 He sinks a river, and he thirsts again.
2Go to the Nile, and, from its fruitful side, Cast forth thy line into the swelling tide : With slender hair leviathan command, And stretch his vastness on the loaded strand. Will he become thy servant? Will he own Thy lordly nod, and tremble at thy frown? Or with his sport amuse thy leisure day, And, bound in silk, with thy soft maidens play?
Shall pompous banquets swell with such a prize?
· Cephissi glaciale caput, quo suetus anhelam
Stat. Theb. vii. 349.
Claud, Pref. in Ruf. Let not then this hyperbole seem too much for an eastern poet, though some commentators of name strain hard in this place for a new construction, through fear of it.
2 The taking the crocodile is most difficult. Diodorus says, they are not to be taken but by iron nets. When Augustus conquered Egypt, he struck a medal, the impress of which was a crocodile chained to a palm-tree, with this inscription, Nemo antea religavit.
3 This alludes to a custom of this creature, which is, when sated with fish, to come ashore and sleep among the reeds.