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noble Knight, Sir John Salisburie. virum Musa vetat mori. MDCI.'

Dignum laude

The significance of this slight piece, which, as indicated, is signed in Shakespeare's full name, remains an unsolved problem; but its authenticity is generally accepted. It has the air of a trifle, thrown off perhaps at the urgency of a resolute Album-maker, whose hackneyed emblematics, allegorical mystifications, and Arthurian legend-lore can have had few attractions for the Shakespeare of 1600. Critics of repute have read high romance in these cloudy symbols; and Chester himself doubtless intended to convey a very serious meaning, whether it concerned the love-affairs of Elizabeth with Essex or another, or some private history to which we have no clue;1 but the team of distinguished poets whom he persuaded to be yoked to his allegorical chariot regarded their enterprise, one surmises, as a pleasant jest, though they carried their parts through with appropriate decorum to the end.

1 Dr. Grosart, in his valuable edition (New Shaks. Soc. 1878), ardently defends the Essextheory. Mr. Lee has pointed

out the resemblance between the symbolism of this poem and 'the parts figuratively played in

Sidney's obsequies by turtledove, swan, phoenix, and eagle,' as described in Matthew Roydon's elegy on Sidney appended to Spenser's Colin Clout's Come Home again, 1595 (W. Shakespeare, p. 184).



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, feather'd 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 makest

With the breath thou givest and takest,
'Mongst our mourners shalt thou go.

14. can, is accomplished in.

17. treble-dated, thrice as long

lived as man.

18. gender, race,



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.

25. as, as if.

37, Property, individual nature, personal identity.


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