The Wild Swans at Coole

(1980)

"The Wild Swans at Coole" is the fourth song of David Leisner's song cycle O Love is the Crooked Thing.

-----

The audio selection in the player to the right features William Alvarado, baritone, and Kate Bowen, piano. The recording is from a live performance in Boston, 1998. Used with the permission of the composer. To listen, please click on the track name itself.

The Wild Swans at Coole
by William Butler Yeats


The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.


The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.


I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All's changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.


Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.


But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake's edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?


Audio PLaylist