The Phoenix
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120 As soon as the sun high overtops the salt streams then this shining grey bird goes from the tree, out of the grove, and swift on his wings he takes flight upon the air and makes melody and sings towards the firmament. Then so lovely is the bird's articulation, so inspired his heart, ecstatically jubilant, he modulates his singing more wondrously, with clear voice, than ever a son of man heard below the heavens since the exalted King, Creator of glory, founded the world, the heaven and the earth. The harmony of the song is sweeter and more beautiful than all musical instruments and more delightsome than every melody. Not trumpets, nor horns, nor the sound of the harp, nor the voice of any man on earth, nor the strain of the organ's melody, nor the wings of the swan, nor any of the joys which the Lord created for men's mirth in this mournful world may match that effusion. So he sings and makes melody, joyously enraptured, until the sun has sunk in the southern sky; then he falls silent and takes to listening. Intrepid, discerning in his contemplation, he upturns his head, and three times beats his swift-flighted wings; then the bird is silenced. Always, twelve times by day and by night, he marks the hours.
147 Thus it is ordained to the grove's denizen that there amidst its pleasures he may make use of the plateau and enjoy well-being, life, the joys of peace and the land's ornate beauties until this custodian of the woodland grove will have bided a thousand years of this existence.
153 When he is grown weak, the grey-feathered bird, aged and old in years, from the verdant earth and the luxuriant land he flies away, the finest among fowls, and then seeks out a spacious realm in earth, a dwelling and a domain where no people live. There he accepts supreme sovereignty over the family of birds, a paragon among his people, and for a while he dwells with them in the desert. Then resolute in his objectives, burdened with years, he goes flying westwards with fleet wings. Birds throng about the prince - each wants to be vassal and servant to the glorious lord - until they arrive, in greatest multitude, in the land of the Syrians. There the chaste bird quickly hastens away from them in order to occupy a deserted place in obscurity within a grove of trees, concealed and hidden from numbers of mortals. There in the wood he inhabits and occupies a lofty tree, secure upon its roots beneath the vault of heaven, which people call Phoenix, from the name of the bird. To this tree the King potent in glory, the ordaining Lord of mankind, has granted it, I have heard, that this one of all the upward-spreading trees on earth is most respendently luxuriant. No violent thing can wickedly harm it, but it will continue for ever shielded and inviolate while the world remains.
182 When the wind lies low and the weather is fair and the holy clear gem of heaven shines, when the clouds are cleared away and the torrent of the waters remains stilled and every storm is lulled beneath the firmament, when from the south the warm ethereal candle sweetly sheds its light, then he begins to build in the branches, to prepare a nest. A great compulsion is upon him, through an upsurge of awareness, that he must urgently turn that senility to life and take on a new being. Then far and near he garners and gathers in to that dwelling-place the most fragrant and delightsome herbs that the King of glory, Father of each created thing, created to the honour of mankind, the most fragrant beneath the firmament. There he himself bears the splendid treasure into the tree where in the wasteland the wild bird builds a house at the top of the tall tree, lovely and delightsome, and there in that solarium he installs himself and in that leafy obscurity surrounds himself body and wings on every side with sanctifying odours and the noblest flowers of the earth. He settles down, eagerly anticipating his destiny.