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William Shakespeare

The Phoenix and the Turtle

LET the bird of loudest lay
    On the sole Arabian tree,
    Herald 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 interdict
    Every 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'st
    With 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 fled
In a mutual flame from hence.

So they loved, as love in twain
    Had 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 the turtle and his queen:
But in them it were a wonder.

So between them love did shine,
    That the turtle saw his right
    Flaming in the phoenix' sight;
Either was the other's mine.

Property was thus appall'd,
    That the self was not the same;
    Single nature's double name
Neither two nor one was call'd.

Reason, in itself confounded,
    Saw division grow together;
    To themselves yet either neither;
Simple were so well compounded,

That it cried, 'How true a twain
    Seemeth this concordant one!
    Love hath reason, reason none
If what parts can so remain.'

Whereupon it made this threne
    To the phoenix and the dove,
    Co-supremes and stars of love,
As chorus to their tragic scene.

THRENOS

BEAUTY, truth, and rarity,
Grace in all simplicity,
Here enclosed in cinders lie.

Death is now the phoenix' nest;
And the turtle's loyal breast
To 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 repair
That are either true or fair;
For these dead birds sigh a prayer.

 
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About the poet
William Shakespeare
 
By the same poet
Sonnet i
Sonnet ii
Sonnet iii
Sonnet iv
Sonnet v
Sonnet vi
Sonnet vii
Sonnet viii
Sonnet ix
Sonnet x
Sonnet xi
Sonnet xii
Sonnet xiii
Sonnet xiv
Sonnet xv
Sonnet xvi
Sonnet xvii
Sonnet xviii
Sonnet xix
Sonnet xx
Carpe Diem
Silvia
The Blossom
Spring and Winter (i)
Spring and Winter (ii)
Fairy Land (i)
Fairy Land (ii)
Fairy Land (iii)
Fairy Land (iv)
Fairy Land (v)
Love
Dirge
Under the Greenwood Tree
Blow, blow, thou Winter Wind
It was a Lover and his Lass
Take, O take those Lips away
Aubade
Fidele
 
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