在《飄》里有这样?#27426;?#35805;:

The “Lament” had evidently been Gerald’s swan song for he was frankly hanging onto his companion’s arm. His hat was gone, his crisp long hair was tumbled in a white mane, his cravat was under one ear, and there were liquor stains down his shirt bosom.
那首《挽歌》显然已成了杰拉尔德的天鹅之歌,因为他已经老老实实地?#20197;?#36825;位同伴的臂膀上了,他帽子不见了,那头波浪式的长发?#39029;?#20102;?#27426;?#30333;马鬃似的,领结歪到了耳朵下面,衬衫胸口?#19979;?#26159;污秽的酒渍。

最初读的时候并不能理解swan song的意思,查询之后才知?#28010;?#24847;为“临死或结束之前的最后动作”,是一个比喻性表达。

这个说法源起古代人们所持的一种观点,即天鹅一生中大多时间都是沉默的,或者叫声不会如此悦耳,但会在死去之前唱一首动听的歌。
The phrase refers to an ancient belief that swans (Cygnus spp.) sing a beautiful song just before their death, having been silent (or alternatively, not so musical) during most of their lifetime.

这个观点一直备受议论,在公元前三世纪前的古希腊早已众所周知,在之后的西方诗歌和艺术中被反复多?#25105;?#29992;。

在希腊神话中,天鹅是侍奉太阳神阿波罗的鸟,阿波罗掌管音乐,也因此被看作是和谐美丽的象征,而它有限的歌唱能力则被升华至与其他鸣禽的吟唱相提并论。

伊索寓言中的《天鹅与鹅》就使用了天鹅之歌的传说,故事里天鹅被当成鹅误抓起来,是它用歌声表明了自己的身份,得以获救。

随后在埃斯库罗斯于公元前458年创作的《阿伽门农》中,克里斯?#20154;?#22612;将卡桑德拉比作一只已经唱过最后一首挽歌的天鹅。
*埃斯库罗斯是古希腊悲剧诗人,与索福?#27515;?#26031;和欧里庇得斯一起被称为是古希?#30333;?#20255;大的悲剧作家,有“悲剧之父”、“有强烈倾向的诗人”的美誉。

柏拉图的?#40517;?#22810;篇》记录了苏格拉底的言论,称尽管天鹅在早期?#19981;?#27468;唱,但不如死前的歌声那样动听。

Plato's Phaedo (84d) records Socrates saying that, although swans sing in early life, they do not do so as beautifully as before they die.

后续乔叟、莎士比亚、达芬奇等都反复重申这一表述,称天鹅死前的歌声最美妙,它是在音乐中逝去的。

据牛津词典记载,英语中swan song,一作swan-song,是从德语引入的?#40644;?#20013;swan与声音sound同源,亦是与它死前发出美妙的歌声有关。

如前所述,现在的swan song已经成为一个表?#23613;白?#21518;一次演出或最后一次作品”的短语。

例句:

I am going to resign tomorrow. This project was my swan song and now that it has been completed, I will leave.
我打算明天辞职。这个项目是我最后的作品,既然完成了,我也该走了。