The Yule Days – Day 9 – ‘Three swans a-merry swimming’
The king sent his lady on the ninth Yule day,
Three swans a-merry swimming,
Three ducks a-merry laying, a bull that was brown,
Three goldspinks, three starlings,
A goose that was gray,
Three plovers, three partridges, a papingo-aye;
Wha learns my carol and carries it away?
Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (1707-1788) was a French naturalist. He published 36 volumes of Histoire Naturelle.
This engraving of the Mute Swan (so-called because they are less vocal than other swan species) is from The natural history of Birds. From the French of the Count de Buffon published in 1793.
This is the swan associated with ballet and fairy tales. It swims with its long neck curved into an ‘S’ and often holds its wings raised slightly above its back. Mute Swans form long-lasting pair bonds which has led to them being regarded as a symbol of love in many cultures.