Soul of the Swan

this is an extraction from ‘Light of Asia’ (Edwin Arnold) mentioned on the LemurianTour Blog
which seems appropriate here in sentiment and situation.

faucon, PST

The Swan
(first experience with pain for the young Buddha)

In the Royal garden on a day of spring,
A flock of wild swans passed, voyaging north
To their nest-places on Himala’s breast.
Calling in love-notes down their snowy line
the bright birds flew, fond love piloted;
And Devaddatta, cousin of the Prince
Pointed his bow, and loosed a wilful shaft
Which found the wide wing of the foremost swan
Broad-spread to glide upon the free blue road
So that it fell, the bitter arrow fixed,
Bright scarlet blood-gouts staining pure plumes.

Which seeing, Prince Siddartha took the bird
Tenderly up, rested it in his lap –
Sitting with knees crossed, as Lord Buddha sits –
and, soothing with a touch the wild thing’s fright
Caresses it into peace with light kind palms
As soft as plaintian-leaves ad hour unrolled;
And while the left hand held, the right hand drew
The cruel steel forth from the wound and laid
Cool leaves and healing honey on the smart.

Yet all so little knew the boy of pain
That Curiously into his wrist he pressed
The arrow’s barb, and winced to feel its sting.
And turned with tears to soothe the bird again.
Then someone came who said, “My Prince has shot
A swan, which fell among the roses here,
He bids my pray you send it. Will you send?”
“Nay,” quoth Siddartha, “if the bird were dead
To send to the slayer might be well,
But the swan lives; my cousin hath not killed
The god-like speed which throbbed in this white thing.”
And Daveddata answered, “The wild thing,
Living or dead, is his who fetched it down;
‘Twas no man’s in the clouds, but fall’n ‘tis mine,
Give me my prize, fair cousin.” Then our Lord
Laid the swan’s neck beside his own smooth cheek
And gravely spake, “Say no! the bird is mine,
The first of myriad things which shall be mine
By right of mercy and love’s lordliness.
For now I know, by what within me stirs,
that I will teach compassion unto men
and be a speechless world’s interpreter,
abating this accursed flood of woe,
Not man’s alone; but, if the Prince disputes,
Let him submit this matter to the wise
And we will wait their word.” So it was done;
In full divan the business had debate,
And many thought this thing and that,
‘Till there arose an unknown priest who said,
“If life be aught, the savior of a life
Owns more of the living thing than he can own
Who sought to slay – the slayer spoils and wastes,
the cherisher sustains, give him the bird:”
Which judgment all found just; but when the King
Sought out this sage for honor, he was gone …
the gods come oftimes thus!… Yet not more
Knew he as yet of grief than this one bird’s,
Which, being healed, went joyous to its kind.


and Heather might say,

“For now I know, by what within me stirs,
that I will teach compassion unto men
and be a speechless world’s interpreter,
abating this accursed flood of woe”


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Male, 62 - owner of an eclectic retreat center called Sakin'el in Knoxville, TN. Author of many books listed on

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