The mythical bird.
21 occurrences (8 phoenix, 8 Phoenix, 1 phoenix', 2 Phoenix, 2 Arabian bird)
TMP 3 3 23 There is one tree, the phoenix' throne; one phoenix
ERR 1 2 75 Home to your house, the Phoenix, sir, to dinner.
ERR 1 2 88 Your worship's wife, my mistress, at the Phoenix:
ERR 2 2 11 My house was at the Phoenix? Wast thou mad
AYL 4 3 17 Were man as rare as Phoenix. 'Od's my will,
AWW 1 1 164 A phoenix, captain, and an enemy,
TN 5 1 59 That took the Phoenix and her fraught from Candy,
1H6 4 7 93 A phoenix that shall make all France afeard.
3H6 1 4 35 My ashes, like the phoenix, may bring forth
H8 5 4 40 The bird of wonder dies, the maiden phoenix,
TIM 2 1 32 Which flashes now a phoenix. Get you gone.
TNK 1 3 70 To the like innocent cradle, where, phoenix-like,
LC 93 His phoenix down began but to appear,
PHT TITLE The Phoenix and Turtle
PHT 23 Phoenix and the Turtle fled
PHT 35 Flaming in the Phoenix' sight;
PHT 0 To the Phoenix and the Dove,
PHT 56 Death is now the Phoenix' nest,
SON 19 4 And burn the long-lived phoenix in her blood.
ANT 3 2 12 O Antony, O thou Arabian bird!
CYM 1 7 17 She is alone th' Arabian bird; and I
The phoenix is the type of the mythical bird, and Sebastian, amazed at the wonders of Prospero's island and trying to assess them, compares them to two of the most famous travellers' tales:
Now I will believe
That there are unicorns; that in Arabia
There is one tree, the phoenix' throne; one phoenix
(TMP 3 3 21-3)
Pliny gives us the best description of the phoenix:
By report he is as big as an eagle in colour yellow, and bright as gold, namely all about the neck, the rest of the bodie in deepe red purple; the taile azure blue, intermingled with feathers among of rose carnation colour: and the head bravely adorned with a crest and panache finely wrought, having a tuft and plume thereupon right faire and goodly to be seen. (PHIPSON quoting Holland's translation of the Historia Naturalis, bk. 10, § 2).
But Shakespeare is more concerned with its other qualities. The phoenix is the proverbial symbol of rarity. TILLEY (P256) "As rare as the Phoenix" is found in both in As You Like It and in Cymbeline:
She calls me proud, and that she could not love me,
Were man as rare as Phoenix. 'Od's my will,
Her love is not the hare that I do hunt;
(AYL 4 3 16-8)
If she be furnish'd with a mind so rare,
She is alone, th' Arabian bird; and I
Have lost the wager.
(CYM 1 7 16-8)
The phoenix was said to live for 500 years - "long-lived" (SON 19 4) - in Arabian deserts, hence his name of "Arabian bird". At the end of its time it consumed itself by fire and rose renewed from its ashes.
My ashes, like the phoenix, may bring forth
A bird that will revenge upon you all;
(3H6 1 4 35-6)
In this case the avenging young bird is Edward, who became Edward IV.
The phoenix is also one of the two main protagonist the Phoenix and Turtle, an elegy for the two birds and Shakespeare's poetic expression of the loyalty of human love.