The Phoenix and the Turtle first appeared in 1601 as one of the additional poems to Chester's Love's Martyr; or, Hosalin's Complaint. The poem was signed with Shakespeare's name. Attempts have been made, quite uselessly of course, to explain the allejgory; no clue to the events hinted at has survived. Chester's Love's Martyr, described as an extremely rare volume by the Cambridge editors (see vol. ix. Introduction, p. xviii.), has been reprinted by the New Shakspere Society.
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 mak'st
With the breath thou giv'st and tak'st,
Mongst our mourners shalt thou go.