A sudden blow: the great wings beating still Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed By the dark webs, her nape caught in the bill, He holds her helpless breast upon his breast. How can those terrified vague fingers push The feathered glory from her loosening thighs? And how can body, laid in that white rush, But feel the strange heart beating where it lies? A shudder in the loins engenders there The broken wall, the burning roof and tower And Agamemnon dead. Being so caught up, So mastered by the brute blood of the air, Did she put on his knowledge with his power Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?
About the headline (FAQ)First published in Dial, June 1924
Confirmed with W. B. Yeats, The Tower, Macmillan and Co., St. Martin Street, London, 1928, page 51.
- by William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939), "Leda and the Swan", appears in The Tower [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Jules Langert (b. 1932), "Leda and the Swan" [baritone and piano] [text not verified]
- by Elias Tanenbaum , "Leda and the Swan", copyright © 1958 [soprano and orchestra], from Cygnology (Three Songs on Leda and the Swan) [text not verified]
- by Peter Westergaard (b. 1931), "Cantata III (Leda and the Swan)", 1961. [mezzo-soprano, clarinet, viola, vibraphone, marimba] [text not verified]
Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):
- FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2009-01-19
Line count: 15
Word count: 113