The Phoenix and Turtle

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Original text
LEt the bird of lowdest lay
On the sole Arabian tree,
Herauld sad and trumpet be:
To whose sound chaste wings obay.
But thou shriking harbinger,
Foule precurrer of the fiend,
Augour of the feuers end,
To this troupe come thou not neere.
From this Session interdict
Euery foule of tyrant wing,
Saue the Eagle feath'red King,
Keepe the obsequie so strict.
Let the Priest in Surples white,
That defunctiue Musicke can,
Be the death-deuining Swan,
Lest the Requiem lacke his right.
And thou treble dated Crow,
That thy sable gender mak'st,
With the breath thou giu'st and tak'st,
Mongst our mourners shalt thou go.
Here the Antheme doth commence,
Loue and Constancie is dead,
Phonix and the Turtle fled,
In a mutuall flame from hence.
So they loued as loue in twaine,
Had the essence but in one,
Two distincts, Diuision none,
Number there in loue was slaine.
Hearts remote, yet not asunder;
Distance and no space was seene,
Twixt this Turtle and his Queene;
But in them it were a wonder.
So betweene them Loue did shine,
That the Turtle saw his right,
Flaming in the Phonix sight;
Either was the others mine.
Propertie was thus appalled,
That the selfe was not the same:
Single Natures double name,
Neither two nor one was called.
Reason in it selfe confounded,
Saw Diuision grow together,
To themselues yet either neither,
Simple were so well compounded.
That it cried, how true a twaine,
Seemeth this concordant one,
Loue hath Reason, Reason none,
If what parts, can so remaine.
Whereupon it made this Threne,
To the Phonix and the Doue,
Co-supremes and starres of Loue,
As Chorus to their Tragique Scene.
BEautie, Truth, and Raritie,
Grace in all simplicitie,
Here enclosde, in cinders lie.
Death is now the Phonix nest,
And the Turtles loyall brest,
To eternitie doth rest.
Leauing no posteritie,
Twas not their infirmitie,
It was married Chastitie.
Truth may seeme, but cannot be,
Beautie bragge, but tis not she,
Truth and Beautie buried be.
To this vrne let those repaire,
That are either true or faire,
For these dead Birds, sigh a prayer.
Modern text
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, feathered 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 appalled,
That the self was not the same;
Single nature's double name
Neither 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 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.
SHAKESPEARE'S WORDS © 2018 DAVID CRYSTAL & BEN CRYSTAL