Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Eagle (in funerals).

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Eagle (in funerals).
The Romans used to let an eagle fly from the funeral pile of a deceased emperor. Dryden alludes to this custom in his stanzas on Oliver Cromwell after his funeral, when he says, “Officious haste did let too soon th sacred eagle fly.”   1


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