The Wild Swans at Coole

by William Butler Yeats

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Where did the poet first see the swans in "The Wild Swans at Coole"?

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The place where the poet first saw the swans can be described as autumnal, pristine, and exceptionally beautiful.

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In “The Wild Swans at Coole,” the place where the poet first sees the swans can be described as beautiful. In the opening line of the poem, W. B. Yeats says that the trees are “in their autumn beauty.” The mention of autumn reveals further details about the scene. It’s fall, so the beauty of the place likely corresponds to its colors, which, taking the season into account, are probably some combination of brown, red, yellow, and orange.

The place could be described as romantic as well. The October colors and the setting sun produce a picturesque image. It’s as if Yeats is painting some sort of enchanting landscape. The pristine quality of his image is reinforced by the “dry” paths. This location has not been sullied by rain or snow. Aside from the speaker, no humans are around, so it's not befouled by people.

However, there is water. As with the trees, the water comes across as rather breathtaking. The water is marvelously still and, according to Yeats, “Mirrors a still sky.” The water’s ability to reflect the sky advances the idea that this body of water is far from ordinary.

After setting up this alluring place of natural splendor, Yeats introduces the swans. It makes sense for Yeats to stumble upon a large group of swans in such an exceptional realm. The uncommon sighting compliments the uncommonly august woodland.

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