Willobie His Avisa

Subtitle

Avisa "The Bird Not Seen"

The bird not seen (3)

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The bird not seen  (3)
Bird imagery abounds throughout Willobie His Avisa . Avisa is constantly referred to as the bird not seen or the nympth not seen .This is a reference to Ovid metamorphoses 2.589 which describes Nyktimene who was the beautiful daughter of the Arcadian king Epopeus . She was a victim of incest instigated by her father and shamefully hid herself in the woods. The Goddess Athena took pity and changed her into an owl. Ovid writes " Bird she may be , but shuns the daylight and the watching eye guilt cursed, her shame shut in the dark unseen an utter outcastfrom the sky's bright sheen. Hounded from the sky by all". By this allusion the author is also indicating that Avisa is the not seen shame and guilt ridden bird. The author also calls Avisa" a chaste -found bird of noble price. " this is punning on Penelope's surname of Rich. It is noted the bird not seen Nyktimene IS seen on the title page sitting at the feet of Athena.
Posted on November 1, 2010 Full Size| Slideshow