The poem is composed by five stanzas and the first stanza begins with the poet describing an autumn scene, beautiful scenery with beautiful trees at twilight and a lake with fifty-nine swans. In the second stanza, it is revealed that that was the nineteen autumn for the poet since he started visiting that place and since he started counting the swans.
Suddenly, the swans start flying in a circular motion which makes him meditate. He is saddened to see that the swans have left and that everything changed since he visited for the first time Coole Parke. The poet continues to watch the swans as the fly and then descend on the lake and how they seem to be in pairs. The swans are described as being unchanged, always young and full of life while we are left to believe that this is not what the poet feel about himself.
The poet is pained by the notion that some day these brilliant swans will abandon him and leave him behind to live and build their nests. He is quite envious of the people whom these brilliant swans will impress with their charming beauty. He ends the poem on a peaceful note of the swans leaving.