Sir John Suckling – 3

The Wedding Dance In A Barn – Pieter Brueghel the Younger c. 1616 – oil on oak panel 74 cms x 106 cms

AG:  Well, he (John Suckling)’s got this “Ballad Upon A Wedding (page three hundred and fifty-one), which is a long poem, probably addressed to his friend, the poet (Richard) Lovelace, (who had an equally fantastical prettiness of body and extraordinary exquisite political career)

“I Tell Thee Dick” (Richard Lovelace) – page three fifty-one) – “I tell thee, Dick, where I have been/,Where I the rarest things have seen;/Oh, things without compare!/Such sights again cannot be found/In any place on English ground,/Be it at wake, or fair/.  At Charing-Cross, hard by the way,/Where we (thou know’st) do sell our hay,/There is a house with stairs;/And there did I see coming down/Such folk as are not in our town,/Forty, at least, in pairs….”

Well, there’s lots and lots of quatrains, lots and lots of stanzas to this ballad and I don’t want to go through it all but there are a couple of high points. At the bottom of the page:- “The maid (and thereby hangs a tale)/For such a maid no Whitsun-ale/Could ever yet produce:/No grape, that’s kindly ripe, could be/So round, so plump, so soft as she,/Nor half so full of juice….”

“Her feet beneath her petticoat,  (page three fifty-two)  –”Her feet beneath her petticoat/Like little mice, stole in and out,/As if they fear’d the light:/But oh! she dances such a way/No sun upon an Easter-day/Is half so fine a sight./ He would have kissed her once or twice,/But she would not, she was nice,/She would not do’t in sight,/And then she looked as who should say/I will do what I list to day;/And you shall do’t at night.

And then there’s a pretty stanza at the bottom, and, well, then, the wedding party feast begins (three fifty three -third stanza) – “Now hats fly off, and youths carouse/,Healths first go round, and then the house,/The bride’s came thick and thick;/And when ’twas nam’d another’s health,/Perhaps he made it hers by stealth;/And who could help it, Dick?/  O’ th’ sudden up they rise and dance;/Then sit again and sigh, and glance;/Then dance again and kiss..” – (almost spectral, actually –  “up they rise and dance/Then sit again” – it’s sort of like phantom-like, almost..) – “O’ th’ sudden up they rise and dance;/Then sit again and sigh, and glance;/Then dance again and kiss:/Thus sev’ral ways the time did pass,/Whilst ev’ry woman wish’d her place,/And ev’ry man wish’d his”.

“At length the candles out” –  (bottom of the page) – “At length the candles out and out,/All that they had not done, they do’t:/What that is, who can tell?/But I believe it was no more/Then thou and I have done before/With Bridget, and with Nell…”

Well, you get… you get it. It’s, one of the celebrated tour-de-force, you know, like a long ballad (a happy ballad, actually, the handsome rich young fellow enjoying marriage, enjoying the fullness of rosy life in London. while there was still a King, and getting laid all he wants, (with)  millions of dollars,  having lots and lots, millions of pounds, lots of girlfriends from one day to another..

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at seven-and-a-half  minutes in  and concluding approximately ten-and-three-quarter minutes in]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *