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SWANS
  Displaying page 1 of 2    Next Page >> 
[ Also see Birds ]

All our geese are swans.
      - Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy
         (pt. I, sec. II, memb. 3, subsect. 14)

Place me on Sunium's marbled steep,
  Where nothing save the waves and I
    May hear our mutual murmurs sweep;
      There, swan-like, let me sing and die.
      - Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron),
        Don Juan (canto III, st. 86, 16)

The jelous swan, agens hire deth that syngith.
      - Geoffrey Chaucer, The Parlement of Fowles
         (l. 342)

The swan is not without cause dedicated to Apollo, because foreseeing his happiness in death, he dies with singing and pleasure.
  [Lat., Cignoni non sine causa Apoloni dicata sint, quod ab eo divinationem habere videantur, qua providentes quid in morte boni sit, cum cantu et voluptate moriantur.]
      - Cicero (Marcus Tullius Cicero) (often called "Tully" for short),
        Tusculanarum Disputationum (I, 30)

But calm, white calm, was born into a swan.
      - Elizabeth Coatsworth

Death darkens his eyes, and unplumes his wings,
  Yet the sweetest song is the last he sings:
    Live so, my Love, that when death shall come,
      Swan-like and sweet it may waft thee home.
      - Bishop George Washington Doane

The immortal swan that did her life deplore.
      - Giles Fletcher ("The Younger"),
        Temptation and Victory of Christ

The dying swan, when years her temples pierce,
  In music-strains breathes out her life and verse,
    And, chanting her own dirge, tides on her wat'ry hearse.
      - Phineas Fletcher, Purple Island (canto I)

The swan in the pool is singing,
  And up and down doth he steer,
    And, singing gently ever,
      Dips under the water clear.
      - Heinrich Heine,
        Book of Songs--Lyrical Interlude
         (no. 64)

And over the pond are sailing
  Two swans all white as snow;
    Sweet voices mysteriously wailing
      Pierce through me as onward they go.
        They sail along, and a ringing
          Sweet melody rises on high;
            And when the swans begin singing,
              They presently must die.
      - Heinrich Heine, Early Poems--Evening Songs
         (no. 2)

The swan, like the soul of the poet,
  By the dull world is ill understood.
      - Heinrich Heine, Early Poems--Evening Songs
         (no. 2)

There's a double beauty whenever a swan
  Swims on a lake with her double thereon.
      - Thomas Hood, Her Honeymoon

The swan murmurs sweet strains with a flattering tongue, itself the singer of its own dirge.
      - Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis),
        Epigrams (bk. XIII, ep. LXXVII)

The swan, with arched neck
  Between her white wings mantling proudly, rows
    Her state with oary feet.
      - John Milton, Paradise Lost
         (bk. VI, l. 438)

Thus does the white swan, as he lies on the wet grass, when the Fates summon him, sing at the fords of Maeander.
      - Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso) ep. VII,
        (Riley's translation)

As I have seen a swan
  With bootless labour swim against the tide
    And spend her strength with over-matching waves.
      - William Shakespeare

Her tongue will not obey her heart, nor can
  Her heart inform her tongue--the swan's down-feather
    That stands upon the swell at full of tide,
      And neither way inclines.
      - William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra
         (Antony at III, ii)

We bodged again, as I have been a swan
  With bootless labor swim against the tide
    And spend her strength with overmatching waves.
      - William Shakespeare,
        King Henry the Sixth, Part III
         (Plantagenet, Duke of York at I, iv)

I will play the swan,
  And die in music.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Othello the Moor of Venice
         (Emilia at V, ii)

I am the cygnet to this pale faint swan,
  Who chants a doleful hymn to his own death,
    And from the organ-pipe of fraity sings
      His soul and body to their lasting rest.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Life and Death of King John
         (Prince Henry at V, vii)

Let music sound while he doth make his choice;
  Then if he lose he makes a swanlike end,
    Fading in music.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Merchant of Venice
         (Portia at III, ii)

Coal-black is better than another hue
  In that it scorns to bear another hue;
    For all the water in the ocean
      Can never turn the swan's black legs to white,
        Although she lave them hourly in the flood.
      - William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus
         (Aaron at IV, ii)

You think that upon the score of fore-knowledge and divining I am infinitely inferior to the swans. When they perceive approaching death they sing more merrily than before, because of the joy they have in going to the God they serve.
      - Socrates, see Plato's "Phaedo", 77

Some full-breasted swan
  That, fluting a wild carol ere her death,
    Ruffles her pure cold plume, and takes the flood
      With swarthy webs.
      - Lord Alfred Tennyson, Passing of Arthur

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.
      - Lord Alfred Tennyson, The Dying Swan


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