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LIFE OF SUCKLING.
SIR JOHN SUCKLING, the son of sir John Suckling, comptroller of the household, under Charles I. was born at Witham, in Middlesex, in the year 1613. Dr. Anderson, as a physician, very properly notices' the remarkable circumstance of his mother's going till the eleventh month with him ;' and Longbaine, resolved to improve the story, tells us, that his life was not less remarkable than his birth; for he had so pregnant a genius, that he spoke Latin at five years old, and writ in it at nine years of age. After this, we are prepared to hear, that he consumed all the literature of his age ; and then travelled to digesť it. He performed a campaigne under Gustavus Adolphus; and was present at three battles and five sieges. He returned to England, a finished gentleman ; and is said to have been conspicuous for his wit and gaiety, in a court, which had nothing but wit and gaiety to boast of. In common with Jonson, Carew, Davenant, and others, he wrote plays for the diversion of the court; and the setting out of his Aglaura, is said to have cost three or four hundred pounds. At the rupture of the civil war, Dr. Anderson says, “his loyalty was more conspicuous than his valour;' for, after expending twelve thousand pounds in splendid equipments for a troop of horse, he returned
from the service, without having achieved a single exploit. When we are told, immediately after, however, that he took his ‘miscarriage very much at heart, and when we have just before learned, that he was in various battles and sieges, under a leader, who was no patron of cowards, we cannot help thinking, that the doctor's remark, in his behalf, has more point than truth. Our poet died on the 7th of May, 1641.
Suckling is one of what Pope calls the 'mob of gentlemen who wrote with ease' in the reign of Charles I. His great ambition was to shine as a finished gentleman; and, like most of his cotempo. rary wits, he only became a poet that he might appear the better courtier. He does not take rank among any distinct class of writers; though, if the quantity of verse were to be the standard of its character, he must unquestionably be ranked with the playwrights. He is as sprightly, and as amorous, and as licentious, .as any of his brother wits. Lloyd says, with a distinction which all apologists should recognise, that Suckling's thoughts were not so loose as his expressions; nor his life so vain as his thoughts. Besides, what reformation might not have been expected, had he not died so early? And, young or old, cannot the age in which he lived sustain the blame of all his immorality?
SIR JOHN SUCKLING.
A SESSIONS OF THE POETS.
A SESSION was held the other day,
And There was Lucan's translator too, and he That makes God speak so big in's poetry ; Selwin and Walter, and Bartlets both the brothers; Jack Vaughan and Porter, and divers others. The first that broke silence was good old Ben, Prepar'd before with Canary wine,
And he told them plainly he deserv'd the bays, For his were call'd works, where others' were but plays.
And Bid them remember how he had purg'd the stage Of errours that had lasted many an age ; And he hopes they did not think the Silent Woman, The Fox, and the Alchymist, out-done by no man. Apollo stopt him there, and bade him not go on, 'Twas merit, he said, and not presumption, Must carry't; at which Ben turned about, And in great choler offer'd to go out:
But Those that were there thought it not fit To discontent so ancient a wit; And therefore Apollo call'd him back again, And made him mine host of his own New Inn. Tom Carew was next, but he had a fault That would not well stand with a laureat; His Muse was hard bound, and th’ issue of 's brain Was seldom brought forth but with trouble and pain.
And All that were present there did agree, A laureat Muse should be easie and free; [grace Yet sure t’was not that, but 'twas thought that his Consider'd he was well, he had a cup bearer's place. Will Davenant, asham'd of a foolish mischance That he had got lately travelling in France, Modestly hoped the handsomness of 's Muse Might any deformity about him excuse.
And Surely the company would have been content, If they could have found any precedent; But in all their records, either in verse or prose, There was not one laureat without a nose. To Will Bartlet sure all the wits meant well, But first they would see how his snow would sell : Will smil'd, and swore in their judgments they That concluded of merit upon success. [went less, Suddenly taking his place again, He gave way to Selwin, who straight stept in ; But, alas ! he had been so lately a wit, That Apollo hardly knew him yet. Toby Matthews (pox on him, how came he there?) Was whispering nothing in some body's ear, When he had the honour to be nam'd in court : But, sir, you may thank my lady Carlile fort : For had not her care furnisht you out With something of handsome, without all doubt You and your sorry lady Muse had been In the number of those that were not let in. In haste from the court two or three came in, And they brought letters (forsooth) from the queen. 'Twas discreetly done too; for if th’ had come Without them, th' had scarce been let into the
Suckling next was call'd, but did not appear;