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Leda and the Swan

Page history last edited by Mr. Mullen 5 years, 4 months ago

PDF version of the poem

 

 

"Leda and the Swan"

 

A sudden blow: the great wings beating still

Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed

By the dark webs, her nape caught in his 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?

 

--William Butler Yeats, 1923


Da Vinci's portrayal: https://www.1st-art-gallery.com/thumbnail/91000/91867/painting_page_800x/Da-Vinci/Leda-And-The-Swan-1505-10.jpg?ts=1501179275 

 

Bacchiaca's version (http://www.metmuseum.org/works_of_art/collection_database/european_paintings/leda_and_the_swan_bachiacca_francesco_d_ubertino_verdi/objectview_enlarge.aspx?page=102&sort=0&sortdir=asc&keyword=&fp=1&dd1=11&dd2=0&vw=1&collID=11&OID=110000027&vT=1


Mythological background

http://www.theoi.com/Heroine/Leda.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leda_%28mythology%29


Essay prompt:

How does Yeats characterize the relationship between the "human" and the "divine" in the poem? Concentrate on imagery, figurative language, and tone.


 

back to Modern Poems

 

Comments (1)

Mr. Mullen said

at 10:49 am on Apr 12, 2013

How does Yeats characterize the relationship between the "human" and the "divine" in the poem? Concentrate on imagery, figurative language, and tone.

1 paragraph, 4-5 sentences: 20 points
Answer the question. 5
Stay text rooted-- conentrate on "indifferent beak." 5
Interpret on at least the symbolic and allegorical levels. 8
Try an anagogical reading 2

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