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Proceeded on with no less art,
My tongue was engineer;
When this did nothing, I brought down
A thousand thousand to the town,
I then resolv'd to starve the place,
To draw her out, and from her strength,
And brought myself to lie at length,
When I had done what man could do,
And smil'd at all was done.
I sent to know from whence, and where,
A spy inform'd, Honour was there,
And did command in chief.
March, march (quoth I;) the word straight give,
Let's lose no time, but leave her;
That giant upon air will live,
And hold it out for ever.
To such a place our camp remove
I hate a fool that starves for love
Only to feed her pride."
We shall now give a considerable part of his best piece. Nothing can be more airy and pleasant, and sometimes picturesque and poetical. The little feet (like mice) peeping from beneath the petticoats, is delightful; so are several others of the descriptive parts; and the parentheses are the best examples we are acquainted with of the use of that figure.
"I tell thee, Dick, where I have been,
At Charing Cross, hard by the way
And there did I see coming down
Amongst the rest, one pest'lent fine
Our landlord looks like nothing to him:
But wot you what? the youth was going
The maid (and thereby hangs a tale)
Could ever yet produce:
No grape that's kindly ripe could be
Her finger was so small, the ring
And to say truth (for out it must)
Her feet beneath her petticoat,
Is half so fine a sight.
Her cheeks so rare a white was on,
(Who sees them is undone)
For streaks of red were mingled there,
(The side that's next the sun.) Her lips were red; and one was thin, Compar'd to that was next her chin;
(Some bee had stung it newly.) But (Dick) her eyes so guard her face, them gaze,
I durst no more upon
Than on the sun in July.
Her mouth so small, when she does speak,
But she so handled still the matter,
Just in the nick the cook knock'd thrice,
His summons did obey;
Each servingman with dish in hand,
When all the meat was on the table,
And this the very reason was,
The bus'ness of the kitchen's great,
Nor was it there deny'd:
Passion oh me! how I run on!
There's that that would be thought upon, (I trow) besides the bride.
Now hats fly off, and youths carouse;
Healths first go round, and then the house,
And when 'twas nam'd another's health,
(And who could help it, Dick ?)
O'th' suddain up they rise and dance;
By this time all were stol'n aside
To counsel and undress the bride:
But yet 'twas thought he guest her mind,
Above an hour or so.
We shall next give two or three of his delightful love songs -if such they can be called, when they are all written on the anti-romantic theory. The first is well known, and is the perfection of that kind of "easy writing," which is also "easy reading."
Why so pale and wan, fond lover?
Will, when looking well can't move her,
Prithee why so pale?
Why so dull and mute, young sinner?
Will, when speaking well can't win her,
Prithee why so mute?
Quit, quit for shame, this will not move,
If of her self she will not love,
The Devil take her."
Unless the admirers of our delightful modern lyrist should insist that Suckling was imitating him in the following, we shall insist that he has imitated Suckling. To relish it fully, the reader should understand the nature of the old sport of Barleybreak, on which it turns. He may find this described by some of the commentators of Shakspeare.
"Love, Reason, Hate, did once bespeak
Love, Folly took; and Reason, Fancy;
And Hate consorts with Pride; so dance they :
That love and folly were in hell.
They break, and Love would Reason meet,
The rest do break again, and Pride
So Love and Folly were in hell.'
There is a fine reflective character about the following, unmixed with anything in the shape of contemptuousness or flippancy. The truth is, Suckling had a really philosophical mind, that would search after the truth: and perhaps the secret of his easy and happy disposition (which we so seldom find allied to minds of this cast)--is, that he permitted it to pursue this search without constraint, and then made the best of things as he found them; instead of endeavouring (as such minds usually do) to blink the matter themselves, and, not being able to do that effectually, kick against the pricks.-The style, too, of this little piece is the perfection of natural writing. There is not an inversion of any kind—not an ornament—not an epithet; there is not a word or a whole phrase that might not be used in the plainest prose, or even in common familiar conversation. And yet it is as musical as words can be, and would completely baffle the modern trick of printing it as prose, in order to depreciate its merits as verse. Who, after reading this and others we have now given, will listen, on the one hand, to those who pretend to see any necessary distinction between the language of prose and the language of verse; and, on the other hand, to those who pretend that the use of one and the same language for both is a modern invention ?
"Dost see how unregarded now
That piece of beauty passes?
There was a time when I did vow
To that alone;
But mark the fate of faces;
That red and white works now no more on me,
Than if it could not charm, or I not see.