Here is an excerpt of Alfred Tennyson's poem, The Dying Swan...
- The wild swan's death-hymn took the soul
- Of that waste place with joy
- Hidden in sorrow: at first to the ear
- The warble was low, and full and clear; ...
- But anon her awful jubilant voice,
- With a music strange and manifold,
- Flow’d forth on a carol free and bold;
- As when a mighty people rejoice
- With shawms, and with cymbals, and harps of gold...
The term 'Swan Song' has also come to represent a final glorious work of a performer or composer before their retirement or death.
None of the Mute Swans pictured here were singing or dying. The resting swan swam around with its head tucked in its wing, raising its head only when it needed to change direction. The cygnets were almost as large as the adult swans but lacked the white feathers and orange bill.
Beautiful birds indeed!
Thanks to Donna and Mare for recommending E. B. White's book, "The Trumpet of the Swan". I borrowed it this weekend and found it to be delightful!