Yeats sets a still and weathered scene in the first stanza. The word autumn in the first line symbolizes something coming to an end, and this is further emphasized by the time of day, "under the October twilight the water/ Mirrors a still sky." This lack of movement reminds the reader of death and emptiness. In the last line Yeats mentions the subjects of the poem, "nine-and-fifty swans", which is an odd number. This is significant because he later refers to the swans as couples in the third stanza, "Unwearied still, lover by lover," meaning that one swan must be alone, missing a companion. This might be Yeats ' way of including himself and his rejection in the poem.
In the following stanza, Yeats expresses a sense of sudden surprise in his life through, "The nineteenth autumn has come upon me . I saw, before I had well finished." The final two lines of the second stanza may be references to the sudden violence and destruction of the First World War, "And scatter wheeling in great broken rings/ Upon their clamorous wings." The suddenness of the birds ' noisy
Bibliography: Yeats, William Butler. "The Wild Swans at Coole"