The Nightingale's Refrain: P. Oxy. 2625 = Slg 460*
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The Nightingale's Refrain: P. Oxy. 2625 = Slg 460* book
This chapter suggests that an allusion to bird-song lurks unnoticed in the refrain of a fragment of Greek lyric poetry. The sounds of birds are a common source for refrains in poetry and song. Refrains based on bird-song are found in Medieval troubadour lyric and in German Minnesang. English poets of the Elizabethan period also used bird-song refrains, for example in a lyric from Thomas Nashe's Summer's Last Will and Testament, which dates from 1592. Perhaps the main part of the song, with the refrain, is represented as being uttered by the nightingale. The surface meaning of the refrain is that the chorus should perform the song as they walk, or at least that they are imagined as walking. If the performance is processional, the song is probably meant to be interpreted as a prosodion. However, there is also a secondary meaning, and that is that the song itself should “go”, i.e. that it should continue.