AG: Now we’ll find out about him..let’s see, Lovelace’s history. He was a friend of… Dick Lovelace was a friend of Jack Suckling, as you remember. Lets see now.. what is this?,.. born in Woolwich, 1618, died in Gunpowder Alley, near Shoe Lane, London, April 1658.. he was an improvisateur. “a more slovenly poet than Lovelace it would be difficult to find” (according to this editor from the nineteenth-century).
Well, here is the situation – (he has several poems about prison, which we’ll get to)
“Imprisonment from which he was suffering was brought on him
AG: And then the last… then there are two other poems that are worth checking out – “The Deformed Mistress” ( this is written by the handsomest man of his age, and the richest) – “I know there are some fools…” – (it’s like there’s a line in (W.H.) Auden – “Tell then of witty angels who/Come only to the beasts/ Of Heirs Apparent, who prefer/ Low dives to formal feasts;/For … Read More
Then he [John Suckling] also was quite a scholar and was interested in the same things we are in poetics so he did a little imitation of (Ben) Jonson’s poem on page two-sixty, the “Oh so white…” – remember that one that we went over so much. – from “The Triumph of Charis?
“Have you seen but a bright lily grow/Before rude hands have touched it/Have you marked but the fall of snow/Before the soil hath smutched it?/Have you felt the wool of beaver,/Or swan’s down ever?/Or have … Read More
[“Love is the fart/Of every heart” – Floral border to Le Livre des hystoires du Mirouer du monde, Paris 15th century]
AG: So on page three fifty-four. (more Suckling) – “Out upon it I have loved three whole days together” – “Out upon it, I have lov’d/Three whole days together;/And am like to love three more,/If it prove fair weather./ Time shall moult away his wings,/Ere he shall discover/In the whole wide world again/Such a constant lover./ But the spite on’t is, no praise/Is due at all to me;/Love with me had made no stays,/Had it any been but … Read More
[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 … Read More
AG: So Suckling is one of those characters who was on the side of the King but he’san 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 … Read More
AG: Let’s start in the anthology with Sir John Suckling(page three forty-nine), with the poem called “Song”, which my father used to stomp around the house and recite when he was teaching it in high school all the time because it’s a charming poem, and, apparently, it was very popular among the lyric poets of the 1920s as a model example of all-time great top-ten lyric out of English history. And it fitted in with the tuneful cynicism of the ‘twenties, like (the) Floradora Sextette and the Flappers, … Read More