The Phoenix and the Turtle

by William Shakespeare


The Phoenix and the Turtle (also spelled The Phœnix and the Turtle) is an allegorical poem by William Shakespeare, first published in 1601 as a supplement to a longer work, Love's Martyr, by Robert Chester. The poem, which has been called "the first great published metaphysical poem", has many conflicting interpretations. The title "The Phoenix and the Turtle" is a conventional label. As published, the poem was untitled. The title names two birds: the mythological phoenix and the turtle dove. 
The poem describes a funeral arranged for the deceased Phoenix and Turtledove, to which some birds are invited, but others excluded. The Phoenix and Turtledove are emblems of perfection and of devoted love, respectively. The traditional attribute of the Phoenix is that when it dies, it returns to life, rising from the ashes of its prior incarnation; the Turtledove, by contrast, is mortal. The poem states that the love of the birds created a perfect unity which transcended all logic and material fact. It concludes with a prayer for the dead lovers.
Excerpted from The Phoenix and the Turtle on Wikipedia.

person AuthorWilliam Shakespeare 
language CountryEngland
api GenrePoetry, Renaissance poetry
copyright CopyrightPublic domain worldwide.
camera_alt Book cover-
book_online EbooksProject Gutenberg
description Scans-
headphones AudioThanks to Librivox | Internet Archive:
Reader: Michael Armenta
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