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Page 255 of Wild scenes and song-birds / by C. W. Webber.

EAGLES AND ART. bird when in perfect repose emits a series of sounds resem- bling considerably those produced by musical glasses under the finger-it is strange to find this trait in the harsh family of Raptorese-but it is not the less consistent with the unity in apparent discord prevailing throughout Nature. These savage despots of the air have all a harmony of their own! Aye, in his solitary wandering the Artist makes the discov- ery, that in the fitness of things the Eagle even may be consid- ered a musical bird. His estimate of harmonious sounds is comparative by necessity. When standing beside Niagara, or when amidst savage mountains he scales the slippery rocks that tremble to the sullen thunder-bass of cataracts, leaping down dark-mouthed, jagged-gorges; then if he hear the Eagle shout its shrill war-cry from out the spray-mist, doth his heart leap up within him, for here those dissonant notes best harmonize the dissonance! Here, too, one glimpse of its warrior form as it comes forth suddenly to view on steadied Lwings, cutting the span of the perpetual iris in one imperial gleaming sweep of arrowy flight, the Artist sees to be worth a life full of common sights !-that the Old Mother has no grand show beyond this one! The creature seems the embodied spirit of the place -a winged desolation, born amidst the angry roar of mighty forces, to spring forth glorious in fierce beauty from the mists of their collision. Of the stern wildness of all pathless solitudes the Eagle is a part, and the Artist knows that in painting such scenes his highest and noblest effects are produced by its presence. Hence, apart from the necessity he has found for studying it as the antitype of grandeur in humanity, he must do so as the most perfect consummation of the wild sublime in land- scape-in the moods, humors and conditions presented by his mother. Now, therefore, has he at length learned of her to look upon the Eagle, not as the mere object of a technical curi- osity, as an ornithological specimen, to be measured, skinned, 255

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