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Hot Sun, Cool Fire

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Hot sun, cool fire, tempered with sweet air,
Black shade, fair nurse, shadow my white hair.
Shine, sun; burn, fire; breathe, air, and ease me;
Black shade, fair nurse, shroud me and please me.
Shadow, my sweet nurse, keep me from burning;
Make not my glad cause cause of mourning.
    Let not my beauty’s fire
    Inflame unstaid desire,
    Nor pierce any bright eye
    That wandereth lightly.


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Hot Sun, Cool Fire

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  • George Peele is more difficult to place in the Elizabethan literary landscape than many of his immediate contemporaries. Each of his plays is different from the others, so he is not readily identifiable as a writer primarily of comedies or tragedies or histories; he also practiced hybrid dramatic forms, known variously and vaguely as "entertainments" or "pageants" or "shows." His few surviving non-dramatic works are in a variety of minor, sometimes esoteric genres, while his name does not figure among the practitioners of more highly visible ones such as the sonnet sequence, prose fiction, Ovidian "minor epic," verse satire, or classical translation. Peele's modern literary reputation rests largely on one short play: the strange, delightful fantasy/folktale/comedy The Old Wife's Tale (circa 1591-1594), published in quarto in 1595. His few other plays—the pastoral Arraignment of Paris (1584), the biblical David and Bethsabe (by 1594), the historical Edward I (circa 1590-1592), and...

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