Hot Anger Soon Cold

Henry Porter, Henry Chettle and Ben Jonson (1598)

Historical Records


To playwrights in Philip Henslowe's diary

Fol. 49 (Greg I.94)

lent vnto the company the 18 of aguste 1598 to }
bye a Boocke called hoote anger sone cowld of }
mr porter mr cheattell & bengemen Johnson in } vjli
fulle payment the some of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . }

Theatrical Provenance

Presumably performed by the Admiral's Men at the Rose in the summer or autumn of 1598.

Probable Genre(s)

Comedy (Harbage).

Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues

Wiggins, Catalogue #1139 opines that play might have been about humours; he bases this on the "hot anger" of the title that, in its turn to "cold," predicts an ending in melancholy.

References to the Play

None known.

Critical Commentary

Collier did not suggest a storyline for the play, but he did observe poignantly that the date of Jonson's payment for "Hot Anger Soon Cold" was "as nearly as may be" about a month before Jonson killed Gabriel Spenser with a rapier in a duel on 22 September 1598 (p. 131, n.3).

Greg II, embracing the silence also of Malone and Fleay, BCED" observed merely that "[n]othing is known of this piece" (#147, p. 196).

Carson speculates that the play was "almost certainly completed" (49) and that Jonson may have been "brought in as 'coadjutor' in a relatively subordinate role" to help Wilson and Chettle, who had recently collaborated on "Black Bateman of the North, Part 2" (62).

Donaldson points out that "[a]nger was a subject of some interest to Jonson, whose surviving commedies often depict wrathful eruptions of the kind indicated by this title...; and also to Porter" (1:110).

For What It's Worth

The title looks like a pun on the two common proverbial expressions "Hot love is soon cold" and "Soon hot, soon cold".

Works Cited

Carson, Neil. A Companion to Henslowe's Diary. Cambridge: CUP, 1988.
Donaldson, Ian. "Hot Anger Soon Cold (lost play)." The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson. Ed. David Bevington, Martin Butler and Ian Donaldson. 7 vols. Cambridge: CUP, 2012. 1:110.

Site created and maintained by Domenico Lovascio, University of Genoa; updated 05 March 2015.