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The wandring pilot sweates to find
Still gazing on the pole.
And swells the ambitious soule.
Doth soberly disdaine
Distempers of our braine.
On every idle cause :
Regardlesse of th' applause.
My God! If 'tis thy great decree
Wherein I breath this ayre;
And treachery of the faire.
What should I grieve or feare,
And nere againe appeare.
Doe we deplore the losse ?
Shall I grieve for the drosse ?
LIFE OF SIR JOHN SUCKLING.
BY MR. CHALMERS.
This elegant poet, and accomplished courtier and scholar was the son of sir John Suckling, a native of Norwich (the son of Robert Suckling, Esq. alderman and mayor of that city); who was of Gray's Inn, and afterwards settled at Whitton in Middlesex, was made one of the principal secretaries of state, March 1622; and comptroller of the household to James I. and Charles I, and a privy counsellor. The poet was born at Whitton in the year 1609. His biographers have hitherto fixed the time of his birth in 1612, but according to some extracts from the parish register of Twickenham", it appears that he was baptised Feb. 10, 1608-9.
Lloyd, from whom we have the first account of this poet, mentions a circumstance relating to his birth from wbich more was presaged than followed. He was born, according to his mother's computation, in the eleventh month, and long life and health were expected from so extraordinary an occurrence. During his infancy he certainly displayed an uncommon facility of acquiring every branch of education. He spoke Latin at five years of age, and could write in that language at the age of nine. It is probable that he was taught more languages than one at the same time, and by practising frequently with men of education who kept company with his father, soon acquired an ease and elegance of address which qualified him for the court as well as for foreign travel. His father is represented as a man of a serious tạrn and grave manners, the son volatile, good tempered and thoughtless, characteristics which he seems to have preserved throughout life. His tutors found him particularly submissive, docile, easy to be taught, and quick in learning. It does not appear that he was sent to either university, yet a perusal of his prose works can leave
'Blomefield's Hist. of Norwich. He died in 1627, when his son was nineteen years old. C.
Lyson's Environs, vol. 3. p. 589. At the same place were baptized bis brother Lionel in 1610, and bis sister Elizabeth in 1612. C.
no doubt that he laid a very solid and extensive foundation for various learning, and studied not only such authors as were suitable to the vivacity of his disposition, but made himself acquainted with those political and religious controversies which were about to involve his country in all the miseries of civil war.
After continuing for some years under his father's tutorage, he travelled over the kingdom, and then went to the continent, where, his biographer informs us, “he made an honourable collection of the virtues of each nation, without any tincture of theirs", unless it were a little too much of the French air, which was indeed the fault of his complexion, rather than his person.” It was about this time probably, in his twentieth year", that he joined the standard of the illustrious Gustavus Adolphus, and was present at three battles and five sieges, besides lesser engagements, within the space of six months.
On bis return he employed his time and expended his fortune among the wits of his age, to whom he was recommended not only by generous and social habils, but by a solid sense in argument and conversation far beyond what might be expected from his years, and apparent lightness of disposition. Among his principal associates, we find the names of lord Falkland, Davenant, Ben Jonson, Digby, Carew, sir Toby Matthews, and the “ever memorable” Hales of Eton, to whom he addresses a lively invitation to come to town. His plays, Aglaura, Brennoralt, The Goblins, and an unfinished piece entitled, The Sad One, added considerably to his fame, although they have not been able to perpetuate it. The first only was printed in his life-time. All his plays, we are told, were acted with applause, and he spared no expense in costly dresses and decorations.
While thus seemingly devoted to pleasure only, the unfortunate aspect of public affairs roused him to a sense of duty, and induced him to offer his services, and devote his life and fortune to the cause of royalty. How justly he could contemplate the unfortunate dispute between the court and nation, appears in his letter 10 Mr. Germain, (afterwards lord Albemarle) a composition almost unrivalled in that age for elegance of style and depth of observation. It was, however, too much the practice with those who made voluntary offers of soldiers, to equip them in an expensive and useless manner. Suckling, who was maguificent in all his expenses, was not to be outdone in an article which he had studied more than became a soldier, and which he might suppose would afford unquestionable proof of his attachment to the royal cause, and having been permitted to raise a troop of horse, consisting of an hundred, he equipped them so richly, that they are said to have cost hiin the sum of twelve thousand pounds.
This exposed him to some degree of ridicule, a weapon which the republicans often wielded with successful dexterity, and which in this instance was sharpened by the misconduct of his gaudy soldiers. The particulars of this aflair are not recorded, but it appears that in 1629, the royal army, of which his troop formed a part, was
» Probably "their vices, or follies.” C.
• In the Gent. Mag. vol. 66. p. 16, is a letter from him dated Leyden, Nor. 18, 1629, giring u Humorous but not very favourable character of the Dutch. C.