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Ballet and Poetry. Dying Swan and Lord Tennyson

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In 1905, after reading Lord Alfred Tennyson's beautiful poem "The Dying Swan", Anna Pavlova-(who had just become a ballerina at the Mariinsky)-asked Michel Fokine, who had also read the poem, to create a solo ballet for her for a concert performance. The rest, as we all know, is history.

Enjoy! :flowers:


The Dying Swan

By Lord Alfred Tennyson


The plain was grassy, wild and bare,

Wide, wild, and open to the air,

Which had built up everywhere

An under-roof of doleful gray.

With an inner voice the river ran,

Adown it floated a dying swan,

And loudly did lament.

It was the middle of the day.

Ever the weary wind went on,

And took the reed-tops as it went.


Some blue peaks in the distance rose,

And white against the cold-white sky,

Shone out their crowning snows.

One willow over the river wept,

And shook the wave as the wind did sigh;

Above in the wind was the swallow,

Chasing itself at its own wild will,

And far thro' the marish green and still

The tangled water-courses slept,

Shot over with purple, and green, and yellow.


The wild swan's death-hymn took the soul

Of that waste place with joy

Hidden in sorrow: at first to the ear

The warble was low, and full and clear;

And floating about the under-sky,

Prevailing in weakness, the coronach stole

Sometimes afar, and sometimes anear;

But anon her awful jubilant voice,

With a music strange and manifold,

Flow'd forth on a carol free and bold;

As when a mighty people rejoice

With shawms, and with cymbals, and harps of gold,

And the tumult of their acclaim is roll'd

Thro' the open gates of the city afar,

To the shepherd who watcheth the evening star.

And the creeping mosses and clambering weeds,

And the willow-branches hoar and dank,

And the wavy swell of the soughing reeds,

And the wave-worn horns of the echoing bank,

And the silvery marish-flowers that throng

The desolate creeks and pools among,

Were flooded over with eddying song.


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:off topic:

Now, as the English press has unconditionally surrendered to Osipova's dancing, how much time until a Dying Swan by her? Shall she expect to be 30?

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Thanks for this, cubanmiamiboy. Tennyson's swan dies on an almost triumphant note:

But anon her awful jubilant voice,

With a music strange and manifold,

Flow'd forth on a carol free and bold;

As when a mighty people rejoice

I had to look up coronach.

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regarding the name of Fokine's solo, i don't know for certain when the title changed from THE SWAN to THE DYING SWAN.

there are Pavlova tour programs where the number is still called THE SWAN.

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