The silver Swan, who, living, had no Note,
when Death approached, unlocked her silent throat.
Leaning her breast against the reedy shore,
thus sang her first and last, and sang no more:
"Farewell, all joys! O Death, come close mine eyes!
More Geese than Swans now live, more Fools than Wise."
About the piece:
"The Silver Swan" is the most famous madrigal by Orlando Gibbons. It is scored for 5 voices (in most sources, soprano (S), alto (A), tenor (T), baritone (Bar) and bass (B), although some specify SSATB instead) and presents the legend that swans are largely silent in life (or at least unmusical), and sing beautifully only just before their deaths.
- Orlando Gibbons (bapt. 25 December 1583 – 5 June 1625)