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For of the lower end two handful
This sword a dagger had, his page,
In th' holsters, at his saddle-bow,
They were upon hard duty still,
Thus clad and fortify'd, Sir Knight,
BORN 1613-DIED 1641,
This gay young cavalier, whose mercurial productions look
like the mere ebullition of high animal spirits, while they in fact possess the ease and grace of polished composition, was the son of the comptroller of the household of Charles I., and born and bred in the atmosphere of a court. Suckling died at the age of twenty-eight, having written five plays, lyric pieces, letters, tracts, &c. &c. He was also in parliament, and distinguished for the various accomplishments of a court-gallant. At the commencement of the civil wars, he raised what would now be called a crack regiment of horse for the King's service. His soldiers were as ridiculous, in the first instance, for the finery and effeminacy of their equipments, as they afterwards became contemptible for their cowardice when opposed to the sturdy Scottish covenanters. It is related, that the King, seeing many of the troops so finely equipped, remarked, that " the Scots would fight stoutly were it but for the Englishmen's fine clothes." The disgrace of Suckling and his foppish regiment produced a “pasquil," as it was then called, which overwhelmed him with shame.(a) This humorous ballad is attributed to Sir John Mennis, a contemporary versifier, though it has been given to Suckling himself. Human nature never
carried mirth so far. Suckling, being involved by an attempt to rescue Strafford
from the Tower, fled to France, where he died soon afterwards. The manner of his death is not a little painful. Having discovered that his foreign servant had robbed him and fled, Suckling hastily dressed himself to pursue the thief, and, in drawing on his boots, pierced his foot with a rusty nail, which speedily occasioned mortification
and death. His ballad of the WEDDING has ever been admired : it is
unequalled in its kind.
(a) A few stanzas from this ballad may be amusing, as a specimen of the tone of ridicule and mockery about 200 years ago. Our modern party-newspapers rarely produce any thing so good. The lack-a-daisical metre is not its least merit :
Sir John he got him an ambling nag,
To Scotland for to ride-a,
To guard him on every side-a.
No errant-knight ever went to fight
With half so gay a bravado,
He'd have conquer'd a whole armado.
So gallant and warlike a sight-a,
DESCRIPTION OF THE BRIDE.
I TELL thee, Dick, where I have been,
Oh! things without compare !
Be it at wake or fair.
The maid-and thereby hangs a tale
Could ever yet produce :
Nor half so full of juice.
Her finger was so small, the ring
It was too wide a peck :
About our young colt's neck.
As if they fear’d the light :
Is half so fine a sight.
She wou'd not do't in sight;
And then she look'd as who shou'd say,
And you shall do't at night.
Her cheeks so rare a white was on,
(Who sees them is undone) For streaks of red were' mingled there, Such as are on a Katherine pear,
The side that's next the sun.
Her lips were red, and one was thin,
(Some bee had stung it newly) ;
Than on the sun in July.
Her mouth so small, when she does speak, Thou’dst swear her teeth her words did break,
That they might passage get ; But she so handled still the matter, They came as good as ours, or better,
And are not spent a whit.
Why so pale and wan, fond lover ?
Prythee why so pale ?
Looking ill prevail ?