"Leda lurking in the bushes, whimpering and moaning for the swan"
Leda
Public DomainLeda - Credit: Emmanuel Benner

In Greek mythology, Leda, the Queen of Sparta, is one of the many mortals desired by Zeus. He takes the form of a swan and, pretending to escape the claws of an eagle, casts himself into her arms. In this guise he rapes or seduces her on the very night she consummates her marriage to King Tyndareus.

 

Listen to Dylan Thomas reading W. B. Yeats’ beautiful, unsettling poem about their coupling.

Leda and the Swan