Shakespeare, Swans and Sabbath – Week 24

by | Jun 22, 2013 | Uncategorized


One day when England’s June was at its best,
I saw a stately and imperious swan
Floating on Avon’s fair untroubled breast.
Sudden, it seemed as if all strife had gone
Out of the world; all discord, all unrest.

The sorrows and the sinnings of the race
Faded away like nightmares in the dawn.
All heaven was one blue background for the grace
Of Avon’s beautiful, slow-moving swan;
And earth held nothing mean or commonplace.

Life seemed no longer to be hurrying on
With unbecoming haste; but softly trod,
As one who reads in emerald leaf, or lawn,
Or crimson rose a message straight from God.
. . . . .
On Avon’s breast I saw a stately swan.

On Avon’s Breast I Saw a Stately Swan by Ella Wheeler Wilcox


It wasn’t in June, but May, on the day of celebrating my twenty-third year of marriage, that I stood next to my husband on the shores of the River Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare, captivated by the beauty of the slow moving swan pushed on the surface of the water by the gentle finger of God.  I stood statue among the English celebrating the sun, thinking about the ticking clock, the next place to visit, and I heard Him whisper, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.


May you enjoy sitting in a holy trance, captivated by the beauty whirring past your passenger window, dripping from the surface of your oar, hovering overhead through the shade of your sunglasses, growing a green carpet beneath your toes. May the Voice of rest overshadow your protests in favor of  productivity; quiet the work of your senseless sonnet.

Happy Sabbath Friends!



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  1. Pam

    Oh so beautiful, Shelly. Captures some things I’ve been feeling lately… and reminds me of the beautiful classical music piece called The Swan… Photos and words… (Utterly amazing how oblivious those swans look to the boaters…)

    • Lynn Morrissey

      Ah, yes, Camille Saint-Saen’s “Le Cygne”! Tres jolie!

  2. Linda Stoll

    ‘softly trod’ … yes. simply yes.

  3. Trinity

    Beautifully written with beautiful pictures!

  4. Lynn Morrissey

    Shelly, I love the stately, graceful beauty of swans. In fact, I just wrote a poem called The Swan (actually I titled it Le Cygne, because the woman to whom I dedicated it loves to speak French). Swans became a symbol of love for my husband and me, because they mate for life, and also because years ago, we visited Castle Neuschvanstein in Bavaria (very romantic), and there were beautiful swan decorations throughout. It’s my understanding that early Christians also saw swans as symbolic of Christ, because of their pure white color. Thank you for continuously capturing His grace and beauty at your lovely blogsite.

  5. Marty

    Oh, this is such a beautiful post…may we take time to have a holy trance and hear His voice!
    Blessings to you and happy belated anniversary 🙂

  6. Jody Ohlsen Collins

    Oh, I hear that Voice, too. This was lovely. Just lovely, Shelly.

  7. Elizabeth Stewart

    Life no longer hurrying on…I long to live like that!

  8. Megan Willome

    I really love that last photo!

    I’ve been on the couch mostly for the last three days. Just not feeling well, but not officially sick either. It’s been a little nice.

  9. Nancy Ruegg

    Sat on the porch Saturday evening, with my son and daughter-in-law, enjoying the fireflies slowly dance across the lawn. I did indeed sit in a holy trance. Such quiet, gentle beauty! So glad I listened to that Voice of rest. Thank you, Shelly, for giving us your inspiration!

  10. Joanne Norton

    When I was in the Worcester area, I saw SO many swans. It was a real treat!

    Love yours.

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