The Phoenix and the Turtle By William Shakespeare,
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The Phoenix and the Turtle
Let the bird of loudest layOn the sole Arabian treeHerald sad and trumpet be,To whose sound chaste wings obey.
But thou shrieking harbinger,Foul precurrer of the fiend,Augur of the fever’s end,To this troop come thou not near.
From this session interdictEvery fowl of tyrant wing,Save the eagle, feather’d king;Keep the obsequy so strict.
Let the priest in surplice white,That defunctive music can,Be the death-divining swan,Lest the requiem lack his right.
And thou treble-dated crow,That thy sable gender mak’stWith the breath thou giv’st and tak’st,‘Mongst our mourners shalt thou go.
Here the anthem doth commence:Love and constancy is dead;Phoenix and the Turtle fledIn a mutual flame from hence.
So they lov’d, as love in twainHad the essence but in one;Two distincts, division none:Number there in love was slain.
Hearts remote, yet not asunder;Distance and no space was seen‘Twixt this Turtle and his queen:But in them it were a wonder.
So between them love did shineThat the Turtle saw his rightFlaming in the Phoenix’ sight:Either was the other’s mine.
Property was thus appalledThat the self was not the same;Single nature’s double nameNeither two nor one was called.
Reason, in itself confounded,Saw division grow together,To themselves yet either neither,Simple were so well compounded;
That it cried, “How true a twainSeemeth this concordant one!Love has reason, reason none,If what parts can so remain.”
Whereupon it made this threneTo the Phoenix and the Dove,Co-supremes and stars of love,As chorus to their tragic scene:
Beauty, truth, and rarity,Grace in all simplicity,Here enclos’d, in cinders lie.
Death is now the Phoenix’ nest,And the Turtle’s loyal breastTo eternity doth rest,
Leaving no posterity:‘Twas not their infirmity,It was married chastity.
Truth may seem but cannot be;Beauty brag but ’tis not she;Truth and beauty buried be.
To this urn let those repairThat are either true or fair;For these dead birds sigh a prayer.