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I'll fetch sweet myrrh to burn, and licorice,
Sweet juniper, and straw them o'er with spice.

See, beauteous Phoenix, it begins to burn :
O blessed Phoebus! happy, happy light!
Now will I recompense thy great good turn,
And first, dear bird, I'll vanish in thy sight;

And thou shalt see with what a quick desire
I'll leap into the middle of the fire.

PHOENIX: Stay, Turtle, stay, for I will first prepare;
Of my bones must the princely Phoenix rise;
And, if't be possible, thy blood we'll spare :
For none but for my sake dost thou despise

This frailty of thy life. O live thou still,

And teach the base deceitful world love's will.

TURTLE: Have I come hither drooping through the woods,

And left the springing groves to seek for thee?
Have I forsook to bathe me in the floods,
And pined away in careful misery?

Do not deny me, Phoenix; I must be
A partner in this happy tragedy.

PHOENIX: O holy, sacred, and pure perfect fire,

More pure than that ore which fair Dido moans,
More sacred in my loving kind desire

Than that which burnt old Eson's agéd bones,
Accept into your ever-hallowed flame

Two bodies, from the which may spring one name.

TURTLE: O sweet perfuméd flame, made of those trees
Under the which the Muses nine have song
The praise of virtuous maids in mysteries,

To whom the fair-faced nymphs did often throng,
Accept my body as a sacrifice

Into your flame, of whom one name may rise.

PHOENIX: 0 wilfulness! see how, with smiling cheer,
My poor dear heart hath flung himself to thrall!
Look what a mirthful countenance he doth bear,
Spreading his wings abroad, and joys withal!

Learn, thou corrupted world, learn, hear, and see,
Friendship's unspotted true sincerity.

I come, sweet Turtle, and with my bright wings
I will embrace thy burnt bones as they lie.
I hope of these another creature springs
That shall possess both our authority.

I stay too long, O take me to your glory.
And thus I end the Turtle Dove's true story.

In a short additional piece the resultant Phoenix is noticed:

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From the sweet fire of perfumed wood
Another princely Phoenix upright stood,
Whose feathers, purified, did yield more light
Than her late burnéd mother out of sight;

And in her heart rests a perpetual love,
Sprung from the bosom of the Turtle Dove.

We now give an account of the other compositions, except Shakespeare's; and it will be seen that their writers' attitude to Chester's poem is simply that of interpreters of the allegory.

These other compositions are preceded by a special title page:

'Hereafter follow diverse Poeticall Essaies on the

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former Subject; viz., the Turtle and Phoenix. Done by the best and chiefest of our moderne writers, with their names subscribed to their particular workes: never before extant. And (now first) consecrated by them all generally to the love and merite of the true-noble Knight Sir John Salisburie.'

Next after the title page come two pieces by 'Vatum Chorus: the first an invocation of Apollo and the Pierian influences; the second an address to Sir John Salisbury. Then come the essays by the other writers, in the order, 'Ignoto,' William Shakespeare, John Marston, George Chapman, Ben Jonson.

'Ignoto's' contribution is:


The silver vault of heaven hath but one eye,
And that's the sun: the foul-masked lady Night
(Which blots the clouds, the white book of the sky),
But one fickle Phoebe, fever-shaking light :

The heart one string so, thus in single turns,
The world one Phoenix, till another burns.'


Suppose here burns this wonder of a breath
In righteous flames and holy-heated fires :
(Like music, which doth rapt itself to death,
Sweet'ning the inward room of man's desires.)
So she wastes both her wings in piteous strife;
The flame that eats her feeds the other's life :

Her rare dead ashes fill a rare live urne :
One Phoenix born, another Phoenix burn.'

He concerns himself only with the Phoenix, and takes the flames that burn her to be allegorical of the 'righteous

flames and holy-heated fires' that burn in a good man, and perhaps especially in a poet, and burn him up as he tries to embody them in poem or conduct: such poem or beneficent conduct being the Phoenix that springs from his ashes.

Marston's contribution is in four parts, and his interpretation of the allegory is contained in the last two lines of the fourth part, which is addressed to the creature that arises from the Phoenix' and the Turtle Dove's ashes:—


What should I call this creature,

Which now is grown unto maturity?

How should I blaze this feature

As firm and constant as eternity?

Call it perfection? Fie!

'Tis perfecter than brightest names can light it.

Call it heaven's mirror? Ay,

Alas! best attributes can never right it.

Beauty's resistless thunder?

All nomination is too straight of sense.
Deep contemplation's wonder?

That appellation gives this excellence.

Within all best confined?

(Now, feebler Genius, end thy slighter rhyming),

No suburbs,-all is Mind,

As far from spot as possible defining.'

Since he takes the resultant Phoenix to be representative of a mind of perfect beauty, it is to mind that he refers the whole allegory.

George Chapman's complete, characteristic contribution



Not like that loose and parti-livered sect
Of idle lovers, that (as different lights
On coloured subjects different hues reflect)
Change their affections with their mistress' sights,
That with her praise or dispraise drown or float,

And must be fed with fresh conceits and fashions;
Never wax cold, but die; love not, but dote;

(Love's fires staid judgments blow, not humourous passions.) Whose loves upon their lover's pomp depend,

And quench as fast as her eyes' sparkle twinkles, (Nought lasts that doth to outward worth contend;

All love in smooth brows born is tombed in wrinkles.) But like the consecrated Bird of Love,1

Whose whole life's hap to his sole-mate alluded, Whom no proud flocks of other fowls could move, But in herself all company concluded:

(She was to him th' analysed world of pleasure;
Her firmament clothed him in varieties;
Excess of all things he joyed in her measure;

Mourned when she mourned, and dieth when she dies.)
Like him, I bound th' instinct of all my powers
In her that bounds the empire of desert;

And Time nor Change, that all things else devours
But truth eternized in a constant heart,

Can change me more from her, than her from merit;
That is my form, and gives my being spirit.'

Like 'Ignoto and Marston he refers the allegory to mind only:

'Nought lasts that doth to outward worth contend';

but while they concern themselves only with the Phoenix, Chapman embraces the whole allegory, and states that just as the Turtle Dove, the type of perfect love, gave

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