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Leda and the Swan (poem)

  • Type: Poem
  • Length: 14 lines

William Butler Yeats may have seen the Leda and the Swan painting (16th century copy of a Michelangelo) at National Gallery, London. - AsNotedIn

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  • National Gallery, London Yeats may have been inspired by the 'Leda and the Swan' painting at National Gallery.


Y/M/D Association Description Place Locale Food Event
1924/06/00 William Butler Yeats Author "Leda and the Swan" by William Butler Yeats appears in The Dial.
1924/06/00 The Dial (literary magazine) Publisher "Leda and the Swan" by William Butler Yeats appears in The Dial.

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Particulars for Leda and the Swan (poem):
Art Type Poem writing that partakes of the nature of both speech and song that is typically rhythmical, usually metaphorical, and often exhibits such formal elements as meter, rhyme and stanzaic structure.

Leda and the Swan (poem)


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?

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