The Wild Swans at Coole


The Wild Swans at Coole was first published in the Little Review, June, 1917. It was the title poem in his 1917 and 1919 poetry collections.
The Wild Swans at Coole
Trumpeter Swans, Riverlands Bird Sanctuary, Missouri, 2011
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?

You might also enjoy the poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, titled Wild Swans.


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Return to the William Butler Yeats library , or . . . Read the next poem; The Winding Stair And Other Poems

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