previous next


Geese, and swans also, travel in a similar manner, but then they are seen to take their flight. The flocks, forming a point, move along with great impetus, much, indeed, after the manner of our Liburnian beaked galleys; and it is by doing so that they are enabled to cleave the air more easily than if they presented to it a broad front. The flight gradually enlarges in the rear, much in the form of a wedge, presenting a vast surface to the breeze, as it impels them onward; those that follow place their necks on those that go before, while the leading birds, as they become weary, fall to the rear. Storks return to their former nests, and the young, in their turn, support their parents when old. It is stated that at the moment of the swan's death, it gives utterance to a mournful song;1 but this is an error, in my opinion, at least I have tested the truth of the story on several occasions. These birds will eat the flesh of one another.

1 M. Mauduit has a learned discussion in Panckouke's Translation, vol. viii., many pages in length; in which he satisfactorily shows that this is not entirely fabulous, but that the wild swan of the northern climates really is possessed of a tuneful note or cadence. Of course, the statement that it only sings just before its death, must be rejected as fabulous.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide References (6 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, Commentary on the Odyssey (1886), 5.51
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (5):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: