E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Said to live a certain number of years, when it makes in Arabia a nest of spices, sings a melodious dirge, flaps his wings to set fire to the pile, burns itself to ashes, and comes forth with new life, to repeat the former one. (See PHNIX PERIOD.)
The enchanted pile of that lonely bird,
Who sings at the last his own death-lay,
And in music and perfume dies away.
Thomas Moore: Paradise and the Peri.
Phnix, as a sign over chemists shops, was adopted from the association of this fabulous bird with alchemy. Paracelsus wrote about it, and several of the alchemists employed it to symbolise their vocation.
A phnix among women. A phnix of his kind. A paragon, unique; because there was but one phnix at a time.
If she be furnished with a mind so rare,
She is alone the Arabian bird.
Shakespeare: Cymbeline, i. 7.
The Spanish Phnix. Lope de Vega is so called by G. H. Lewes.