From the time of the ancient prophets men have found in the birds the symbol of freedom, the emblem of joyous liberation from the burden and bondage with which mortal mind has endowed the man of its own creating. In the eagle David saw expressed the attributes of youth, —freedom, buoyancy, strength, activity, hope, so commonly associated with the heyday of life. Isaiah beheld in the wings of the eagle symbols of the ascending thought which so exalts those who wait upon the Lord that in their sure sense of glad release from the bonds of materiality they "shall renew their strength;" they may, indeed, "mount up with wings as eagles," or as remaining on the earth, "run, and not be weary; ... walk,. and not faint."
The great poets have adopted the same symbolism, finding in the birds the very apotheosis of their idealism until, taking flight free from the weights of earthly burdens, in their loftiest altitudes they have clapped their wings "at heaven's gate." In Wordsworth's earlier poem "To a Sky-lark" we find these lines:—
Up with me, up with me into the clouds I