Swan Upping (the Royal Barge)
Does the Sovereign own the swans? I often hear it asked
As Vintners pull their boats out and begin what they’ve been tasked
With Dyers and with Royal markers clipping cygnet wings
And counting out the census, gauging health and other things.
The ones they mark upon the Thames are owned by Guilds I’m told
And those unmarked are Royal Swans and stay within that fold
It may be possible to find a Church or College Swan
Though these rights may have lapsed a bit, you still might feed upon
A feast in Cambridge or perhaps a Banquet with a Duke
It doesn’t happen often so I think it’s worth a look!
Swan-Upping is an ancient act – Eight hundred years or so;
A customed way to keep these birds alive and watch them grow.
Magnificent, the cobs and pens are British through and through
and when you bow before them you will see they’re regal too.