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1414 views May 1, 2011

Companion Piece to Lady-In-Waiting

“The phrase “swan song” is a reference to an ancient belief that the Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) is completely mute during its lifetime until the moment just before it dies, when it sings one beautiful song.
Mute Swans are not actually mute during life – they produce snorts, shrill noises, grunts, and hisses – and they do not sing as they die. Peterson et al. note that Cygnus olor is “not mute but lacks bugling call, merely honking, grunting, and hissing on occasion.” This folktale has been contested ever since antiquity. In 77 A.D. Pliny the Elder refuted it in Natural History (book 10, chapter xxxii: olorum morte narratur flebilis cantus, falso, ut arbitror, aliquot experimentis), stating: “observation shows that the story that the dying swan sings is false.”
Nevertheless, the folktale has remained so appealing that over the centuries it has continued to appear in various artistic works. Aesop’s fable of “The Swan Mistaken for a Goose” alludes to it: “The swan, who had been caught by mistake instead of the goose, began to sing as a prelude to its own demise. His voice was recognized and the song saved his life.” Ovid mentions it in “The Story of Picus and Canens”: “There, she poured out her words of grief, tearfully, in faint tones, in harmony with sadness, just as the swan sings once, in dying, its own funeral song.”
The well-known Orlando Gibbons madrigal (The Silver Swan) states the legend thus:

The silver Swan, who living had no Note,
when Death approached, unlocked her silent throat.
Leaning her breast against the reedy shore,
thus sang her first and last, and sang no more:
“Farewell, all joys! O Death, come close mine eyes!
“More Geese than Swans now live, more Fools than Wise.”

Chaucer wrote of “The Ialous swan, ayens his deth that singeth.” In Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, Portia exclaims "Let music sound while he doth make his choice; Then, if he lose, he makes a swan-like end, Fading in music.

Tennyson’s poem “The Dying Swan” is a poetic evocation of the beauty of the supposed song and so full of detail as to imply that he had actually heard it:
“ 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… "

my thanks for the above interesting info to Wikipedia

This image is a compilation of two of my own images, plus several textures from FloraBella. I can’t describe the excitement we felt as this magnificent creature flew over us … the swan may or may not “sing” … but the music made by its wings will never, ever be forgotten!!!

The swan’s image was taken in the beautiful Presqui’le Provincial Park in Brighton, Ontario Canada in April of 2010 with the Nikon D300 and the 150-500mm OS Sigma lens at 500mm focal distance; the cloud background was taken from my backyard in Maryland with the Nikon D300 and the 18-200mm vr Nikon lens. All combined in Photoshop CS4.

Tags

bird, clouds, compilation, flying swan, lois bryan, sky, swan, swans, wildlife, swan song, mute swan, flight, white bird

All images are copyright © Lois Bryan. All materials contained may not be reproduced, copied, edited, published, transmitted, borrowed, swiped, snitched or downloaded in any way, shape or form. All rights reserved. Copying, altering, displaying or redistribution without written permission from the artist is strictly prohibited. NO MEANS NO.

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Comments

  • PirminNohr
    PirminNohrabout 4 years ago

    Beautiful work!

  • thank you!!!! Very happy you enjoyed it!!!

    – Lois Bryan

  • VonMcKnelly
    VonMcKnellyabout 4 years ago

    Man you sure do know how to ruin a guys belief in ancient myths. :-}
    But on the bright side I have this OUTSTANDING artwork to view that makes my day.
    Hi Lois!!

  • Thanks so much, Von!!! As much as I love Aesop and other ancient myths, I had no idea about this one … interesting reading … I just had to include the whole thing, lol!!! Ever so sorry about dashing your beliefs, by the way!!!

    – Lois Bryan

  • Sean Farragher
    Sean Farragherabout 4 years ago

    well done

  • Hi Sean!!! Thank you!!!

    – Lois Bryan

  • robpixaday
    robpixadayabout 4 years ago

    WOW! WOW! WOW!!!!!!!!!!
    Exquisite!!!!!!!

  • Robin, you sweetie!!! Thank you!!!

    – Lois Bryan

  • naturelover
    natureloverabout 4 years ago

    Absolutely beautiful Lois!!

  • Hi Pauline!!!!!! I almost didn’t recognize you in your beautiful new avatar!!! Thank you!!!!

    – Lois Bryan

  • Tibby Steedly
    Tibby Steedlyabout 4 years ago

    Instant fave and I’m sitting here saying WOWOWOW!!!! BEAUTIFUL, Lois!!! Your art is inspiring and so very beautiful!

  • Oh, Tibby, thank you sooo much … I must have two dozen versions of this swan image in my computer … they probably take up a couple of gigs … thank heavens I finally jumped down from the fence and picked one and posted it .. now I can dump the other versions in the external hd!!! LOLOL!!!! WHEW!!!!!!!

    – Lois Bryan

  • Desirée Glanville
    Desirée Glanvilleabout 4 years ago

    fantastic capture!

  • Hi Daisy … thank you!!!

    – Lois Bryan

  • Photos - Pauline Wherrell
    Photos - Pauli...about 4 years ago

    Gorgeous shot!

  • Thank you, Pauline!!!

    – Lois Bryan

  • Ian David Soar
    Ian David Soarabout 4 years ago

    Beautiful !!

  • Hello, hello Ian!!! Thank you!!!

    – Lois Bryan

  • LudaNayvelt
    LudaNayveltabout 4 years ago

    wow, Lois, you done it again. to be honest ,I newer was lucky to see in real life swan flying, fantastic image

  • My darling Luda!!!!! Thank you!!!!! It was an incredible experience … the WHOOOOOSHING noise was astounding!!!!! I head the noise (was fiddling with the camera) and thought .. .what the heck is THAT? Looked up and BLAM!!!! This 747 birdie was flying over!!!!! HAHA!!!! WAY COOL!!!!!!!

    – Lois Bryan

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