The Phoenix and Turtle
Text Background

Modern text


Key line

LEt the bird of lowdest lay Let the bird of loudest lay, turtle (n.)
turtle-dove, lover
lay (n.)
On the sole Arabian tree, On the sole Arabian tree, sole (adj.)
unique, unrivalled, singular
Herauld sad and trumpet be: Herald sad and trumpet be, trumpet (n.)
trumpeter; herald, announcer
sad (adj.)
serious, grave, solemn
To whose sound chaste wings obay. To whose sound chaste wings obey.  Phoen.4
But thou shriking harbinger, But thou shrieking harbinger, harbinger (n.)
forerunner, herald, precursor
Foule precurrer of the fiend, Foul precurrer of the fiend, precurrer (n.)
precursor, forerunner
Augour of the feuers end, Augur of the fever's end, augur, augure (n.)

old form: Augour
augurer, soothsayer, fortune-teller
To this troupe come thou not neere. To this troop come thou not near!  Phoen.8
From this Session interdict From this session interdict interdict (v.)
forbid, prohibit, debar
Euery foule of tyrant wing, Every fowl of tyrant wing, tyrant (adj.)
cruel, violent, rapacious
fowl (n.)

old form: foule
Saue the Eagle feath'red King, Save the eagle, feathered king:  Phoen.11
Keepe the obsequie so strict. Keep the obsequy so strict. obsequy (n.)

old form: obsequie
funeral rite, burial ceremony
Let the Priest in Surples white, Let the priest in surplice white,  Phoen.13
That defunctiue Musicke can, That defunctive music can, can (v.)
be skilled [in], have ability [in]
defunctive (adj.)

old form: defunctiue
to do with dying, funereal
Be the death-deuining Swan, Be the death-divining swan,  Phoen.15
Lest the Requiem lacke his right. Lest the requiem lack his right.  Phoen.16
And thou treble dated Crow, And thou treble-dated crow, treble-dated (adj.)

old form: treble dated
living three times as long as man
That thy sable gender mak'st, That thy sable gender mak'st sable (adj.)
gender (n.)
offspring, brood
With the breath thou giu'st and tak'st, With the breath thou giv'st and tak'st,  Phoen.19
Mongst our mourners shalt thou go. 'Mongst our mourners shalt thou go.  Phoen.20
Here the Antheme doth commence, Here the anthem doth commence: anthem (n.)

old form: Antheme
song of mourning, hymn of grief
Loue and Constancie is dead, Love and constancy is dead;  Phoen.22
Phonix and the Turtle fled, Phoenix and the turtle fled  Phoen.23
In a mutuall flame from hence. In a mutual flame from hence.  Phoen.24
So they loued as loue in twaine, So they loved, as love in twain  Phoen.25
Had the essence but in one, Had the essence but in one;  Phoen.26
Two distincts, Diuision none, Two distincts, division none: distinct (n.)
separate entity, differentiated thing
Number there in loue was slaine. Number there in love was slain.  Phoen.28
Hearts remote, yet not asunder; Hearts remote, yet not asunder;  Phoen.29
Distance and no space was seene, Distance, and no space was seen  Phoen.30
Twixt this Turtle and his Queene; 'Twixt the turtle and his queen:  Phoen.31
But in them it were a wonder. But in them it were a wonder.  Phoen.32
So betweene them Loue did shine, So between them love did shine,  Phoen.33
That the Turtle saw his right, That the turtle saw his right  Phoen.34
Flaming in the Phonix sight; Flaming in the phoenix' sight; sight (n.)
Either was the others mine. Either was the other's mine.  Phoen.36
Propertie was thus appalled, Property was thus appalled, property (n.)

old form: Propertie
feature, characteristic, particular respect
That the selfe was not the same: That the self was not the same;  Phoen.38
Single Natures double name, Single nature's double name  Phoen.39
Neither two nor one was called. Neither two nor one was called.  Phoen.40
Reason in it selfe confounded, Reason, in itself confounded, confound (v.)
destroy, overthrow, ruin
Saw Diuision grow together, Saw division grow together,  Phoen.42
To themselues yet either neither, To themselves yet either neither,  Phoen.43
Simple were so well compounded. Simple were so well compounded; simple (adj.)
unmixed, without addition, plain
That it cried, how true a twaine, That it cried, How true a twain  Phoen.45
Seemeth this concordant one, Seemeth this concordant one! concordant (adj.)
agreeing as one, harmonious, of one heart and mind
Loue hath Reason, Reason none, Love hath reason, reason none,  Phoen.47
If what parts, can so remaine. If what parts can so remain.  Phoen.48
Whereupon it made this Threne, Whereupon it made this threne threne, threnos (n.)
dirge, lament, funeral song
To the Phonix and the Doue, To the phoenix and the dove,  Phoen.50
Co-supremes and starres of Loue, Co-supremes and stars of love, co-supreme (n.)
joint supreme ruler
As Chorus to their Tragique Scene. As chorus to their tragic scene.  Phoen.52
Threnos  Phoen
BEautie, Truth, and Raritie, Beauty, truth, and rarity, rarity (n.)

old form: Raritie
exceptional nature, striking quality
Grace in all simplicitie, Grace in all simplicity,  Phoen.54
Here enclosde, in cinders lie. Here enclosed, in cinders lie.  Phoen.55
Death is now the Phonix nest, Death is now the phoenix' nest;  Phoen.56
And the Turtles loyall brest, And the turtle's loyal breast  Phoen.57
To eternitie doth rest. To eternity doth rest.  Phoen.58
Leauing no posteritie, Leaving no posterity,  Phoen.59
Twas not their infirmitie, 'Twas not their infirmity,  Phoen.60
It was married Chastitie. It was married chastity.  Phoen.61
Truth may seeme, but cannot be, Truth may seem, but cannot be;  Phoen.62
Beautie bragge, but tis not she, Beauty brag, but 'tis not she;  Phoen.63
Truth and Beautie buried be. Truth and beauty buried be.  Phoen.64
To this vrne let those repaire, To this urn let those repair  Phoen.65
That are either true or faire, That are either true or fair;  Phoen.66
For these dead Birds, sigh a prayer. For these dead birds sigh a prayer.  Phoen.67

Jump directly to