Common Nightingales are named so because they frequently sing at night as well as during the day. The name has been used for well over 1,000 years, being highly recognizable even in its Anglo-Saxon form – "nightingale." It means "night songstress." Early writers assumed the female sang when it is in fact the male. The song is loud, with an impressive range of whistles, trills and gurgles. Its song is particularly noticeable at night because few other birds are singing. This is why its name includes "night" in several languages. Only unpaired males sing regularly at night, and nocturnal song is likely to serve to attract a mate. Singing at dawn, during the hour before sunrise, is assumed to be important in defending the bird's territory. Nightingales sing even more loudly in urban or near-urban environments, in order to overcome the background noise. The most characteristic feature of the song is a loud whistling crescendo, absent from the song of Thrush Nightingale. It has a frog-like alarm call.
The Common Nightingale is an important symbol for poets from a variety of ages, and has taken on a number of symbolic connotations. Homer evokes the Nightingale in the Odyssey, suggesting the myth of Philomela and Procne (one of whom, depending on the myth's version, is turned into a nightingale). This myth is the focus of Sophocles' tragedy, Tereus, of which only fragments remain. Ovid, too, in his Metamorphoses, includes the most popular version of this myth, imitated and altered by later poets, including Chrétien de Troyes, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower, and George Gascoigne. T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land" also evokes the Common Nightingale's song (and the myth of Philomela and Procne). Because of the violence associated with the myth, the nightingale's song was long interpreted as a lament.
The Common Nightingale has also been used as a symbol of poets or their poetry....Virgil compares the mourning of Orpheus to the "lament of the nightingale." Source.
What started me down this road was that on December 5th, I heard from a correspondent (Dave M) about a suicide, which seemed a little unusual.
The term originates from two incidents in history, both occurring in Prague. In 1419, seven town officials were thrown from the Town Hall, precipitating the Hussite War. In 1618, two Imperial governors and their secretary were tossed from Prague Castle, sparking the Thirty Years War. These incidents, particularly in 1618, were referred to as the Defenestrations of Prague and gave rise to the term and the concept. Source.Self-defenestration (autodefenestration) is the act of jumping, propelling oneself, or causing oneself to fall, out of a window.
What I found interesting, as to the timing of Milinkovic's "suicide," was it came the day after Showtime's broadcast of Oliver Stone's newest episode of The Untold History of the United States on the Cold War.
James Vincent Forrestal (February 15, 1892 – May 22, 1949) too died by death from a window.
In the early morning hours of May 22, 1949, Forrestal's body, like Jan Masaryk's, clad only in pajamas, was found on a third-floor roof below the 16th-floor kitchen across the hall from his room.
- Fair Salamis, the billows’ roar,
- Wander around thee yet,
- And sailors gaze upon thy shore
- Firm in the Ocean set.
- Thy son is in a foreign clime
- Where Ida feeds her countless flocks,
- Far from thy dear, remembered rocks,
- Worn by the waste of time–
- Comfortless, nameless, hopeless save
- In the dark prospect of the yawning grave....
- Woe to the mother in her close of day,
- Woe to her desolate heart and temples gray,
- When she shall hear
- Her loved one’s story whispered in her ear!
- “Woe, woe!’ will be the cry–
- No quiet murmur like the tremulous wail
- Of the lone bird, the querulous nightingale–
Some have read what Forrestal left behind as an implied suicide note. Others have considered it some kind of warning, linked to the Nazi unit he had help get into America. We may never know.
The Defenestration Trilogy, three chamber operas, were created by Evan Hause.
The three defenestrations that Hause details are those of James Forrestal (d. 1949), Frank Olson (d. 1953), an army chemist who worked for the CIA in America's early biological warfare program, and Edwin H. Armstrong (d. 1954), the inventor of F.M. All three died by relatively mysterious falls from windows.
Consider this, even the life of Florence Nightingale remains a mystery. Why should we be surprised that anything linked to "nightingale" should be totally known?