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George Peele

What thing is love?

What thing is love? — for (well I wot) love is a thing
It is a prick, it is a sting,
It is a pretty, pretty thing;
It is a fire, it is a coal,
Whose flame creeps in at every hole!

poem by George Peele from The Hunting of Cupid (1591)Report problemRelated quotes
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Hot Sun, Cool Fire

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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Bathsheba's Song

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 wand'reth lightly.

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The Sad Shepherd's Passion of Love

O Gentle Love, ungentle for thy deed,
Thou makest my heart
A bloody mark
With piercing shot to bleed.
Shoot soft, sweet Love, for fear thou shoot amiss,
For fear too keen
Thy arrows been,
And hist the heart where my beloved is.
Too fair that fortune were, nor never I
Shall be so blest,
Among the rest,
That Love shall seize on her by sympathy.
Then since with Love my prayers bear no boot,
This doth remain
To cease my pain,
I take the wound, and die at Venus' foot.

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Œnone's Complaint

Melpomene, the muse of tragic songs,
With mournful tunes, in stole of dismal hue,
Assist a silly nymph to wail her woe,
And leave thy lusty company behind.

Thou luckless wreath! becomes not me to wear
The poplar tree for triumph of my love:
Then as my joy, my pride of love, is left,
Be thou unclothed of thy lovely green;

And in thy leaves my fortune written be,
And them some gentle wind let blow abroad,
That all the world may see how false of love
False Paris hath to his Œnone been.

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Not Iris in Her Pride

Not Iris in her pride and bravery
Adorns her arch with such variety;
Nor doth the Milk-white Way in frosty night
Appear so fair and beautiful in sight,
As do these fields and groves and sweetest bowers
Bestrewed and decked with parti-coloured flowers.
Along the bubbling brooks and silver glide,
That at the bottom doth in silence slide,
The water-flowers and lilies on the banks
Like blazing comets burgeon all in ranks;
Under the hawthorn and the poplar tree,
Where sacred Phoebe may delight to be,
The primrose and the purple hyacinth,
The dainty violet and the wholesome minth,
The double-daisy and the cowslip (Queen)
Of summer flowers) do over-peer the green;
And round about the valley as ye pass,
Ye may not see, for peeping flowers, the grass.

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Polyhymnia: Sonnet

His golden locks time hath to silver turn'd;
O time too swift, O swiftness never ceasing!
His youth 'gainst time and age hath ever spurn'd,
But spurn'd in vain; youth waneth by increasing:
Beauty, strength, youth, are flowers but fading seen;
Duty, faith, love, are roots, and ever green.

His helmet now shall make a hive for bees;
And lovers' sonnets turn'd to holy psalms,
A man-at-arms must now serve on his knees,
And feed on prayers, which are age his alms:
But though from court to cottage he depart,
His saint is sure of his unspotted heart.

And when he saddest sits in homely cell,
He'll teach his swains this carol for a song:
"Blest be the hearts that wish my sovereign well,
Curst be the souls that think her any wrong."
Goddess, allow this aged man his right,
To be your beadsman now that was your knight.

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A Farewell to Arms (To Queen Elizabeth)

HIS golden locks Time hath to silver turn'd;
   O Time too swift, O swiftness never ceasing!
His youth 'gainst time and age hath ever spurn'd,
   But spurn'd in vain; youth waneth by increasing:
Beauty, strength, youth, are flowers but fading seen;
Duty, faith, love, are roots, and ever green.

His helmet now shall make a hive for bees;
   And, lovers' sonnets turn'd to holy psalms,
A man-at-arms must now serve on his knees,
   And feed on prayers, which are Age his alms:
But though from court to cottage he depart,
His Saint is sure of his unspotted heart.

And when he saddest sits in homely cell,
   He'll teach his swains this carol for a song,--
'Blest be the hearts that wish my sovereign well,
   Curst be the souls that think her any wrong.'
Goddess, allow this aged man his right
To be your beadsman now that was your knight.

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Fair and Fair

Oenone:

Fair and fair, and twice so fair,
As fair as any may be;
The fairest shepherd on our green,
A love for any lady.

Paris:

Fair and fair, and twice so fair,
As fair as any may be;
Thy love is fair for thee alone
And for no other lady.

Oenone:

My love is fair, my love is gay,
As fresh as bin the flowers in May
And of my love my roundelay,
My merry, merry, merry roundelay,

[...] Read more

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Polyhymnia

[Polyhymnia: Describing, The honourable Triumph at Tylt,
before her Maiestie, on the 17. of Nouember, last past,
being the first day of the three and thirtith yeare of
her Highnesse raigne. With Sir Henrie Lea, his resignation
of honour at Tylt, to her Maiestie, and receiued by the right
honourable, the Earle of Cumberland.]

[Polyhimnia. Entituled, with all dutie to the Right
Honourable, Lord Compton of Compton.]


Therefore, when thirtie two were come and gone,
Years of her raigne, daies of her countries peace,
Elizabeth great Empresse of the world,
Britanias Atlas, Star of Englands globe,
That swaies the massie scepter of her land,
And holdes the royall raynes of Albion:
Began the gladsome sunnie day to shine,
That drawes in length date of her golden raigne:
And thirtie three shee numbreth in her throne:

[...] Read more

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