This is part of Kent's bitter denunciation of toadies like Oswald, who always say whatever they believe the boss wants to hear.
- "Renege, affirm" = say aye and nay
- "halcyon beaks" = weathervane faces
- "every gale and vary" = every shifting wind of emotion
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 Source:
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