Note to King Lear, 2.2.78-79: "Renege, affirm, and turn their halcyon beaks
With every gale and vary of their masters"


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King Lear,
Act 2, Scene 2, line 78
     This is part of Kent's bitter denunciation of toadies like Oswald, who always say whatever they believe the boss wants to hear.
     There's an interesting background to the phrase "halcyon beaks." In Greek fable the halcyon was a bird that was supposed to have the power to calm the wind and the waves while it nested on the sea during the winter solstice. For more about the myth, see Wikipedia: Alcyone.
Kingfisher genus: Halcyon
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