Such heavenly grace

20120517-104506.jpg

My soul is an enchanted boat,
Which, like a sleeping swan, doth float
Upon the silver waves of thy sweet singing.


Shelley, Prometheus Unbound (1820), II.v, l.39

The mute swan, although ubiquitous in Britain, is always a graceful sight and provides an elegant focal point for the lake-side photographer. According to legend, the mute swan is mute through life until the moment before its death when it emits a beautiful song. This is the origin of the expression, “swan song”.

20120517-105643.jpg

The silver Swan, who living had no note,
When Death approached, unlocked her silent throat.
Leaning her breast against the reedy shore,
Thus sang her first and last, and sang no more:
“Farewell, all joys! O Death, come close mine eyes!
“More Geese than Swans now live, more Fools than Wise.


Orlando Gibbons, “The Silver Swan”, The First Set of Madrigals and Motets of Five Parts (1612)

4 thoughts on “Such heavenly grace

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s