Sir John Suckling – 2

John Suckling (1609-1641)

continued from yesterday 

AG: So Suckling is one of those characters who was on the side of the King but he’s an extraordinary person. So, of all people, he needs a little biographical background to get something of the panache, lilt, flair, charm, Jimmy Dean-esque quality, of his little lyrics

“Beautiful and vigorous in body, educated in all the accomplishments that grace a gentleman, endowed from earliest youth with the prestige of a soldier and a popular courtier, his enormous wealth enabled him to indulge every whim that a fondness for what was splendid or eccentric in dress, architecture and pageantry could devise. Such a life could present no void which literary ambition could fill, and Suckling’s scorn for poetic fame was well known to his contemporaries. At the age of nineteen he went away to the continent, and wandered through France, Italy, Germany and Spain for four years, seeking adventure…” – [like Rimbaud!] – born in 1608 or 9  – “He offered his sword to the King of Sweden, fought in command of a troop in front of Glogau…(G-L-O-G-A-U).. and of Magdeburg, performed astounding feats of prowess in Silesia, and returned before the battle of Lützen simply because his imperious fancy began to find the great war a tedious pastime. He proceeded to London, and lived for six years in a style of such gorgeous profusion that at last he contrived to cripple one of the amplest fortunes of that age. He retired for a while, ostentatiously enough, into a literary seclusion at Bath, taking the obsequious Davenant..” – another poet – (William) Davenant] – taking with him as a sort of amanuensis – secretary – “During this brief time, no doubt, his tragedies were composed. The King, however, fretted for his return, and he emerged as the leader of the Royalist party in its earliest troubles. After the crisis…” – [he did some, he did some politics there] – “After the crisis” – “After the crisis” – [I guess when the King was beheaded, is that right?] – Suckling fled to France, and thence to Spain; at Madrid he fell into the clutches of the Inquisition, and underwent horrible tortures. He escaped to Paris, with a mind probably unstrung by these torments, for he poisoned himself in his thirty-fourth year.”

So there you are – Sir John Suckling – so what’s he got to say? – “Why so pale and wan fond lover?/Prithee why so pale?

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

One comment

Leave a Reply

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