Question:Contrast the swans and the man
Symbolically, what does the "flying away" of the swans suggest they have that the speaker does not?
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,
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?
The swans are fulfilling their nature, they are swans doing what swans are supposed to do and no more. They do not reflect on their lives or wonder why they do what they do. They just are - swans.
The man on the other hand, perceives the passage of time. He sounds as if he is mourning that his life is coming to an end.
Symbolically, the flying away of the swans suggests to me that the swans have an ability to be reborn to rejuvenate themselves.
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