tips:怎样阅读才是有质量的阅读了？ 中英对照请点击【中英对照】查看译文请点击 【查看译文】进行核对。
Now, the Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.
The white swan – with its long, graceful neck – is among the most beautiful of birds. The swan is mostly silent through its life. It floats quietly on the water, unable to sing sweet songs like most other birds.
In ancient times, however, people believed that the swan was given a special gift of song at the end of its life. They believed a swan sings a most beautiful song…just before it dies.
The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates talked of this two thousand three hundred years ago. Socrates explained that the swan was singing because it was happy. The bird was happy because it was going to serve the Greek God Apollo. Swans were holy to Apollo, the god of poetry and song.
The story of the swan’s last song found a place in the works of other writers, including the early English writers Chaucer and Shakespeare.
And, the expression swan song has long been a part of the English language. At first, swan song meant the last work of a poet, musician or writer. Now, it means the final effort of any person. Someone’s swan song usually is also considered that person’s finest work.
A political expression with a similar meaning is the last hurrah. The expression may be used to describe a politician’s last campaign, his final attempt to win the cheers and votes of the people. The last hurrah also can mean the last acts of a politician, before his term in office ends.
Writer Edwin O’Connor made the expression popular in nineteen fifty-six. He wrote a book about the final years in the political life of a long-time mayor of Boston, Massachusetts. He called his book, The Last Hurrah.
Some language experts say the expression came from a name given to noisy supporters of Andrew Jackson…America’s seventh president. They cheered hurrah so loudly for Andy Jackson during his presidential campaign that they became known as the hurrah boys.
Jackson’s hurrah boys also played a part in the election to choose the next president. Jackson’s choice was his vice president, Martin VanBuren.
A newspaper of the time reported that VanBuren was elected president, in its words: “...by the hurrah boys, and those who knew just enough to shout hurrah for Jackson.” So, President Jackson really heard his last hurrahs in the campaign of another candidate, the man would replace him in the White House.
This VOA Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES was written by Marilyn Christiano. Maurice Joyce was the narrator. I'm Shirley Griffith.
政治措辞中意思相近的是最后一搏（the last hurrah）。该措辞可用于表述政客最后的竞选，他为赢得欢呼和选民的支持最后的努力。其也可比喻政客任期结束前最后举动。
以上是美国之音慢速英语《词汇掌故》，由Marilyn Christiano撰写，Maurice Joyce讲解，我是Shirley Griffith.