You know that all we hawks are cut out for the selfsame part:
A mere handful of feathers, each one has a lion’s heart.
Be good and sound and steady and mature in every way:
Be brave and self-respecting, and try only for big prey.
Do not have anything to do with partridge, grouse or quail,
Unless, of course, you want to try on them your hunting skill.
It is a low-born, cowardly, unenterprising brood
That cleans its beak with dirt by picking from the ground its food.
The foolish hawk who imitates his quarry’s timid way
Is destined to find one day that he is his quarry’s prey.
I know of many hawks who fell in the dust on their face,
Because they had acquired the ways of the grain-picking race.
Preserve your dignity and thereby lead a happy life;
Be always coarse-grained, unrelenting, brave and strong in strife.
Let the poor pheasant have a body delicate and spare;
Build yourself sinews as strong as the horns of a male deer.
Whatever happiness can be derived by mortals here
Comes from a life that is courageous, vigorous, austere.
What valuable counsel did the eagle give his son:
"Prefer the brightness of a blood-drop to a ruby’s sheen.
Do not lose yourself in the herd as deer and buffaloes do;
Be on your own just like your ancestors since long ago.
I well remember how my elders always counselled me•
"Do not", they said, "build your nest in the branches of a tree.
We hawks do not seek shelter in man’s orchards or his fields;
Our paradise is on high mountains and in wastes and wealds.
To us it is prohibited to pick grain from the ground;
For God has given us the higher spaces with no bound."
A high born denizen of the air who settles for the earth
Is in my view much worse than a bird of domestic birth.
For hawks the proper hunting ground is rock and rough-edged stone,
For rock acts as a whetting stone to sharpen their claws on.
You are one of the cold-eyed children of the wilderness,
By ancestry a griffin of the purest breed, no less:
A thoroughbred young hawk who, if he should be challenged by
A tiger, could pluck out the very pupil from his eye.
Your flight is sure-winged and majestic like the angels’ flights;
In your veins flows the blood of ancient lords of mountain heights.
Under the canopy of these extensive, dome-like skies
Seize by the right of might whatever objects please your eyes.
From no one’s hand ought you at any time to take your food.
Be always good and listen to the counsels of the good.