SWAN, MUTE
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SWAN, MUTE

SWAN, MUTE




      

SWAN, MUTE


SWAN, MUTE or TAME, (Anas cygnus mansuetus.) This is much larger; secondly, by the bill, which is red, and the tip and sides black; a black callous knob projects over the base of the upper mandible. No bird, perhaps, makes so inelegant a figure out of the water, or has the command of such beautiful attitudes on that element as the swan, when " it proudly rows its state," Milton's words, " with arched neck between its white wings mantling." The male and female assist in forming their nest, composed of long grass, aquatic plants, and sticks; the number of eggs deposited not exceeding eight, white, and considerably larger than those of the goose/ It sits nearly two months before its young are excluded, which do not reach their proper size until they are a twelvemonth old : indeed all the stages of this bird's approach to maturity are slow, and seem to mark its longevity.

In such high estimation were swans held, that by an act of parliament passed in the twenty-second year of the reign of Edward IV, no person, except the king's son or a freeholder of five marks a year, was allowed to keep a swan : and by an act of James I. to take or destroy their eggs, subjects the offender to a fine of twenty shillings for each egg, or imprisonment for three months. It is felony to steal any swan lawfully marked or domesticated in private motes, ponds, or rivers.

In former times, the swan was considered a great delicacy, and was served up at all sumptuous entertainments as a dish of state; but modern manners have inverted tastes.

Harewood, Harry. A Dictionary of Sports. London: T. Tegg and son, 1835.

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