The Phoenix and Turtle

 
 
 
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Let the bird of loudest lay,
lay (n.) 1 song
turtle (n.) turtle-dove, lover
On the sole Arabian tree,
sole (adj.) 1 unique, unrivalled, singular
Herald sad and trumpet be,
sad (adj.) 1 serious, grave, solemn
trumpet (n.) 1 trumpeter; herald, announcer
To whose sound chaste wings obey.
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But thou shrieking harbinger,
harbinger (n.) forerunner, herald, precursor
Foul precurrer of the fiend,
precurrer (n.) precursor, forerunner
Augur of the fever's end,
augur, augure (n.) 2 augurer, soothsayer, fortune-teller
To this troop come thou not near!
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From this session interdict
interdict (v.) forbid, prohibit, debar
Every fowl of tyrant wing,
fowl (n.) bird
tyrant (adj.) cruel, violent, rapacious
Save the eagle, feathered king:
Keep the obsequy so strict.
obsequy (n.) funeral rite, burial ceremony
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Let the priest in surplice white,
That defunctive music can,
can (v.) 1 be skilled [in], have ability [in]
defunctive (adj.) to do with dying, funereal
Be the death-divining swan,
Lest the requiem lack his right.
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And thou treble-dated crow,
treble-dated (adj.) living three times as long as man
That thy sable gender mak'st
gender (n.) 2 offspring, brood
sable (adj.) black
With the breath thou giv'st and tak'st,
'Mongst our mourners shalt thou go.
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Here the anthem doth commence:
anthem (n.) song of mourning, hymn of grief
Love and constancy is dead;
Phoenix and the turtle fled
In a mutual flame from hence.
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So they loved, as love in twain
Had the essence but in one;
Two distincts, division none:
distinct (n.) separate entity, differentiated thing
Number there in love was slain.
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Hearts remote, yet not asunder;
Distance, and no space was seen
'Twixt the turtle and his queen:
But in them it were a wonder.
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So between them love did shine,
That the turtle saw his right
Flaming in the phoenix' sight;
Either was the other's mine.
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Property was thus appalled,
property (n.) 2 feature, characteristic, particular respect
That the self was not the same;
Single nature's double name
Neither two nor one was called.
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Reason, in itself confounded,
confound (v.) 1 destroy, overthrow, ruin
Saw division grow together,
To themselves yet either neither,
Simple were so well compounded;
simple (adj.) 4 unmixed, without addition, plain
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That it cried, How true a twain
Seemeth this concordant one!
concordant (adj.) 1 agreeing as one, harmonious, of one heart and mind
Love hath reason, reason none,
If what parts can so remain.
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Whereupon it made this threne
threne, threnos (n.) dirge, lament, funeral song
To the phoenix and the dove,
Co-supremes and stars of love,
co-supreme (n.) joint supreme ruler
As chorus to their tragic scene.
Threnos
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Beauty, truth, and rarity,
rarity (n.) exceptional nature, striking quality
Grace in all simplicity,
Here enclosed, in cinders lie.
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Death is now the phoenix' nest;
And the turtle's loyal breast
To eternity doth rest.
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Leaving no posterity,
'Twas not their infirmity,
It was married chastity.
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Truth may seem, but cannot be;
Beauty brag, but 'tis not she;
Truth and beauty buried be.
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To this urn let those repair
That are either true or fair;
For these dead birds sigh a prayer.
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