The Eagle: A Fragment

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1809-1892

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ringed with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.


The "fragment" element of the title is from Tennyson himself, and probably means a small but complete work, rather than its more common meaning today of an incomplete quote from a larger work.

I include this poem not just for its fine imagery, but also because that imagery tenuously suggests that he may have been describing a white-tailed sea eagle, which, before the beginning of the current re-introduction programme beginning in 1959, last bred in England and Wales in the 1830s, in Ireland in 1898 and in Scotland in 1916 (further info: RSPB)