There Ganymede is wrought with living art, Chasing thro’ Ida’s groves the trembling hart: Breathless he seems, yet eager to pursue; When from aloft descends, in open view, The bird of Jove, and, sousing on his prey, With crooked talons bears the boy away.
A rav’nous vulture, in his open’d side, Her crooked beak and cruel talons tried; Still for the growing liver digg’d his breast; The growing liver still supplied the feast; Still are his entrails fruitful to their pains: Th’ immortal hunger lasts, th’ immortal food remains.
Thus on some silver swan, or tim’rous hare, Jove’s bird comes sousing down from upper air; Her crooked talons truss the fearful prey: Then out of sight she soars, and wings her way.
For, sudden, in the fiery tracts above, Appears in pomp th’ imperial bird of Jove: A plump of fowl he spies, that swim the lakes, And o’er their heads his sounding pinions shakes; Then, stooping on the fairest of the train, In his strong talons truss’d a silver swan.
So stoops the yellow eagle from on high, And bears a speckled serpent thro’ the sky, Fast’ning his crooked talons on the prey: The pris’ner hisses thro’ the liquid way; Resists the royal hawk; and, tho’ oppress’d, She fights in volumes, and erects her crest: Turn’d to her foe, she stiffens ev’ry scale, And shoots her forky tongue, and whisks her threat’ning tail.
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Bald eagle talons can measure as long as two inches.