The Wild Swans at Coole
Man and the Natural World Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings (9-11)
The swans "suddenly mount" and "scatter." The swans abandon the speaker, in a way that foreshadows his vision at the end. He's doomed to be abandoned by these swans (as he sees it), but they'll be moving on, unchanged, to impress some other folks.
I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore (13-14)
Nature, in all its beauty, makes the speaker feel sad. Or maybe it doesn't. Just because he says "and" doesn't mean the image of the swan causes him to be sad. Maybe he just means "Now, at this moment, my heart is sore, even though I have looked upon those brilliant creatures." He may be ten times more depressing without these swans around!
Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air; (19-21)
The swans are "unwearied still." Despite everything that has happened in the world, they remain unaffected. While this seems enviable (they just go on paddling), it's also kind of a problem. They are "still," a word that here and elsewhere in the poem reminds us of a lack of change, but also of a lack of growth and development.