The Wild Swans at Coole

The Wild Swans at Coole

Original Text

Yeats, William Butler. W. B. Yeats: Selected Poetry: 64-65. Ed. by A. Norman Jeffares. London: Macmillan, 1968.

1The trees are in their autumn beauty,
2The woodland paths are dry,
3Under the October twilight the water
4Mirrors a still sky;
5Upon the brimming water among the stones
6Are nine and fifty swans.
7The nineteenth Autumn has come upon me
8Since I first made my count;
9I saw, before I had well finished,
10All suddenly mount
11And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
12Upon their clamorous wings.
13I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
14And now my heart is sore.
15All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
16The first time on this shore,
17The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
18Trod with a lighter tread.
19Unwearied still, lover by lover,
20They paddle in the cold,
21Companionable streams or climb the air;
22Their hearts have not grown old;
23Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
24Attend upon them still.
25But now they drift on the still water
26Mysterious, beautiful;
27Among what rushes will they build,
28By what lake’s edge or pool
29Delight men’s eyes, when I awake some day
30To find they have flown away?
Publication Start Year
Publication Notes

The Wild Swans at Coole, 1919.

RPO poem Editors
Ian Lancashire, assisted by Ana Berdinskikh
RPO Edition