“Your father used to call you his swan, so I am told. I think that’s a good thing to remember. Think what it means to be a swan. To glide like a dream on the smooth surface of the lake, and never go to the shore. On dry land, where ordinary people walk, the swan is awkward, even ridiculous. When she waddles up the bank she painfully resembles a different kind of bird, n’est-ce-pas?
… And there she must stay, out on the lake; silent, white, majestic. Be a bird, but never fly; know one song, but never sing it until the moment of death. And so it must be for you, Alexandra. Cool indifference to the standing crowds along the bank. And the song? Never.”
– “The Swan” (1956)