The poem describes a funeral arranged for the deceased Phoenix and Turtledove, respectively emblems of perfection and of devoted love. Some birds are invited, but others excluded. It goes on to state 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.
The Phoenix and the Turtle is an allegorical poem about the death of ideal love by William Shakespeare. It is widely considered to be one of his most obscure works and has led to many conflicting interpretations. It has also been called "the first great published metaphysical poem". The title "The Phoenix and the Turtle" is a conventional label. As published, the poem was untitled. The "turtle" is the Turtledove, not the shelled reptile.
- THE PHOENIX AND THE TURTLE