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defeated by the Scotch, and that sir John's men behaved remarkably ill. All this is possible, without any imputation on the courage of their commander, but it afforded his enemies an opportunity of turning the expedition into ridicule with an effect that is yet remembered. The lines from Dr. Percy's collection, at the end of these memoirs, are not the only specimen of the wit of the times at our author's expense.
This unhappy affair is said by Lloyd to have contributed to shorten his days, but Oldys, in his MSS. notes on Langbaine, attributes his death to another cause. Lord Oxford informed Oldys, on the authority of dean Chetwood, who said he had it from lord Roscommon, that sir John Suckling, in his way to France, was robbed of a casket of gold and jewels, by his valet, who gave him poison, and besides stuck the blade of a penknife into his boot in such a manner, that sir John was disabled from pursuing the villain, and was wounded incurably in the heel. Dr. Warton, in a note to his Essay on Pope, relates the story somewhat differently. « Sir John Suckling was robbed by his valet-de-chambre: the moment he discovered it, he clapped on his boots in a passionate hurry, and perceived not a large rusty nail that was concealed at the bottom, which pierced his heel, and brought on a mortification.” He died May 7, 1641, in the thirty - second year of his age. That he was on his way to France, when he met with the occasion of his death, seems to be confirmed by a ludicrous poem, lately reprinted in the Censura Literaria, entitled, “A Letter sent by sir John Suckling from France, deploring his sad estate and flight: with a discoverie of the plot and conspiracie, intended by him and his adherents against England. Imprinted at London, 1641.” This poem is dated Paris, June 16, 1641, al which time the author probably had not learned that the object of his satire was beyond his reach.
As a poet, he was one of those who wrote for amusement, and was not stimulated by ambition, or anxious for fame. His pieces were sent loose about the world, and not having been collected until after his death, they are probably less correct than he left them. Many of his verses are as rugged and unbarmonious as those of Donne, but his songs and ballads are elegant and graceful. He was particularly happy and original in expressing the feelings of artificial love, disdain, or disappointment. The Session of the Poets, the lines to a Rival, the Honest Lover, and the ballad upon a wedding, are suficient to entitle him to the honours of poetry, which the author of the lives published under the name of Cibber is extremely anxious to wrest from him.
His works have been often reprinted; first in 1646, octavo; again in 1659 and 1676; very correctly by Tonson in 1719, and elegantly but incorrectly by Davies in 1770. The edition of Tonson has been followed in the present collection, with the omission of such pieces as were thought degrading to his memory, and insulting to public decencys.
* There is a manuscript poem from his pen, in the British Museum, replete with bumour, but the subject is of that gross kind, which delicacy will not now tolerate. C.
But whatever opinion may be entertained of Suckling as a poet, it may be doubted whether his prose writings are not calculated to raise a yet higher opinion of his talents. His letters, with a dash of gallantry more free than modern times will admit, are shrewd in observation and often elegant in style. That addressed to Mr. Germain has already been noticed, and his Account of Religion by Reason, is remarkable for soundness of argument, and purity of expression, far exceeding the controversial writings of that age. This piece affords a presumption that he was even now no stranger to those reflections which elevate the human character, and that if his life had been spared, it would have been probably devoted to more honourable objects than those in which he had employed bis youthful days.
SIR JOHN SUCKLING'S CAMPAIGNE.
“When the Scottish convenanters rose up in arms, and advanced to the English borders in 1639, many
of the courtiers complimented the king by raising forces at their own expense. Among these none where more distinguished than the gallant Sir John Suckling, who raised a troop of horse, so richly accoutred, that it cost him 12,0001. The like expensive equipment of other parts of the army, made the king remark, the 'Scots would fight stoutly, if it were but for the Englishmen's fine cloaths.' (Lloyd's memoirs.) When they came to action, the rugged Scots proved more than a match for the fine showy English: many of whom behaved remarkably ill, and among the rest this
splendid troop of Sir John Suckling's. “ This humorous lampoon, supposed to have been written by Sir John Mernis, a wit of those times, is
found in a small poetical miscellany intitled, “ Musarum deliciæ: or the Muses' recreation, conteining several pieces of poetique wit. 2d edition.—By Sir J. M. (Sir John Mennis) and Ja. S. (James Smith.) Lond. 1656. 12mo.'— See Wood's Athenæ. II. 397, 481." Percy, vol. 2. p. 322'.
Sir John he got him an ambling nag,
None lik'd him so well, as his own colonell, To Scotland for to ride-a,
Who took him for John de Weart-a ; With a hundred horse more, all his own he swore, But when there were shows of gunning and blows, To guard him on every side-a.
My gallant was nothing so peart-a. No errant-knight ever went to fight
For when the Scots' army came within sight, With halfe so gay a bravado,
[book, And all prepard to fight-a, Had you seen but his look, you'd have sworn on a He ran to bis tent, they ask'd what he meant, Heeld have conquer'd a whole arınado.
He swore he must needs goe sh-te-a. The ladies ran all to the windoes to see
The colonell sent for him back agen, So gallant and warlike a sight-a,
To quarter him in the van-a; And as he pass'd by, they began to cry,
But sir John did sweare, he would not come there, “ Sir John, why will you go fight-a ?”
To be kill'd the very first man-a. But he, like a cruel knight, spurr'd on;
To cure his feare, he was sent to the reare,
Some ten miles back, and more-a,
And ne'er saw the enemy more-a.
His money, which lately he spent-a,
At Barwick away it went-a.
! See an account of the Vox Borealis, Censura Literaria, vol. 6. p. 157. et seqq. C.
SIR JOHN SUCKLING.
ON NEW-YEAR'S DAY, 1640.
TO THB KING.
Awake (great sir) the Sun shines here,
Who cannot wish.
But gales of joy, so fresh, so high,
Awake, awake, &c. May all the discords in your state (Like those in musick we create)
Be goveru'd at so wise a rate,
Awake, awake, &c.
Take up henceforth our master's mind,
Awake, awake, &c.
Double this year, save those o'th' night :
Who cannot wish.
LOVING AND BELOVED. There never yet was honest man
That ever drove the trade of love;
Integrity our ends promove :
Good-nature now and passion strive
And laws unto the other give.
Here we must court, and here ingage,
Oh ! 'tis torture all, and cozenage ;
Give me my honesty again,
I'm weary of the state I'm in :
A SESSIONS OF THE POETS.