Sir John Suckling, Poet

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Sir John Suckling, Poet

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Sir John Suckling, (February 10, 1609 – June 1, 1642) was an English poet and one prominent figure among those renowned for careless gayety, wit, and all the accomplishments of a Cavalier poet, and the supposed inventor of the card game Cribbage. He is best known by his poem "Ballad Upon a Wedding".

He was born at Whitton, in the parish of Twickenham, Middlesex, and baptized there on February 10, 1609. His father, Sir William Suckling, was Secretary of State under James I and Comptroller of the Household of Charles I, and his mother was Elizabeth Cranfield, sister of Sir Lionel Cranfield, 1st Earl of Middlesex. The poet inherited his father’s estate at the age of eighteen. He went to Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1623, and was enrolled at Gray’s Inn in 1627.[1] He was intimate with Thomas Carew, Richard Lovelace, Thomas Nabbes and especially with John Hales and Sir William Davenant, who later furnished John Aubrey with information about his friend.

In 1628 he left London to travel in France and Italy, returning before the autumn of 1630, when he was knighted. In 1631 he volunteered for the force raised by the Marquess of Hamilton to serve under Gustavus Adolphus in Germany. He was back at Whitehall in May 1632; but during his short service he had been present at the Battle of Breitenfeld and in many sieges. His poetic talent was only one of many accomplishments, but it commended him especially to Charles I and his queen, Henrietta Maria. He says of himself ("A Sessions of the Poets") that he "prized black eyes or a lucky hit at bowls above all the trophies of wit." Aubrey says that he invented the game of Cribbage, and relates that his sisters came weeping to the bowling green at Piccadilly to dissuade him from play, fearing that he would lose their portions. Suckling was so passionately devoted to cards, that he would frequently spend the whole morning in bed with a pack before him, studing the subtleties of his favourite games. He was considered not only the most skilful card-player, but also the best bowler in England.[2]

In 1634 great avalanche was caused in his old circle by a beating which he received at the hands of Sir John Digby, a rival suitor for the hand of the daughter of Sir John Willoughby; and it has been suggested that this incident, which is narrated at length in a letter (November 10, 1634) from George Garrard to Strafford, had something to do with his beginning to seek more serious society. In 1635 he retired to his country estates in obedience to the proclamation of June 20, 1632 enforced by the Star Chamber against absentee landlordism, and employed his leisure in literary pursuits. In 1637 "A Sessions of the Poets" was circulated in manuscript, and about the same time he wrote a tract on Socinianism entitled An Account of Religion by Reason (pr. 1646).

At the breaking out of disturbances in 1639, when the Scotch Covenanters advanced to the English borders, many of the courtiers complimented the king, by raising forces at their own expense. Among these, none was more distinguished than Sir John Suckling. These gallant gentlemen vied with each other in the costly equipment of their forces, which led the king facetiously to remark, that "the Scots would fight stoutly, if only for the Englishmen’s fine clothes." The troop of horse raised by Sir John alone cost him, so richly was it accoutred, twelve thousand pounds. In the action which ensued, the sturdy Scots were more than a match for the showy Englishmen; and among those who particularly distinguished themselves by their shabby behavior, was the splendid troop of Sir John Suckling. There is every reason to believe that Sir John personally acquitted himself as became a soldier and a gentleman; but the event gave rise to the following humorous pasquil, which, while some suppose it to have been written by Sir John Mennis, a cotemporary wit, others have attributed to Suckling himself.

As a dramatist Suckling is noteworthy as having applied to regular drama the accessories already used in the production of masques. His Aglaura (pr. 1638) was produced at his own expense with elaborate scenery. Even the lace on the actors’ coats was of real gold and silver. The play, in spite of its felicity of diction, lacks dramatic interest, and the criticism of Richard Flecknoe (Short Discourse of the English Stage), that it seemed "full of flowers, but rather stuck in than growing there," is not altogether unjustified. The Goblins (1638, pr. 1646) has some reminiscences of The Tempest; Brennoralt, or the Discontented Colonel (1639, pr. 1646) is a satire on the Scots, who are the Lithuanian rebels of the play; a fourth play, The Sad One, was left unfinished owing to the outbreak of the Civil War. Suckling raised a troop of a hundred horse, at a cost of £12,000, and accompanied Charles on the Scottish expedition of 1639. He shared in the earl of Holland’s retreat before Duns, and was ridiculed in an amusing ballad (pr. 1656), in Musarum deliciae, "on Sir John Suckling’s most warlike preparations for the Scottish war."

He was elected as member for Bramber for the opening session (1640) of the Long Parliament; and in that winter he drew up a letter addressed to Henry Jermyn, afterwards earl of St Albans, advising the king to disconcert the opposition leaders by making more concessions than they asked for. In May of the following year he was implicated in an attempt to rescue Strafford (Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford?) from the Tower and to bring in French troops to the king’s aid. The plot was exposed by the evidence of Colonel George Goring, and Suckling fled beyond the seas. The circumstances of his short exile are obscure. He was certainly in Paris in the summer of 1641. One pamphlet related a story of his elopement with a lady to Spain, where he fell into the hands of the Inquisition. The manner of his death is uncertain, but Aubrey’s statement that he put an end to his life by poison in May or June 1642 in fear of poverty is generally accepted.

Image from page 146 of “The story of agriculture in the United States” (1916)

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Identifier: storyofagricultu00sanf
Title: The story of agriculture in the United States
Year: 1916 (1910s)
Authors: Sanford, Albert Hart, 1866- [from old catalog]
Subjects: Agriculture
Publisher: Boston, New York [etc.] D. C. Heath and co

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oard of the colonial plow was coveredmore or less completely with strips or old scraps of sheetiron, a horseshoe, or the discarded blade of a hoe. Oftenthe farmer in making his moldboard selected a sectionfrom a tree trunk in which the grain was winding. Thishe hewed into a curved shape as best he could. Thelandside was also of wood, but it was shod with iron.The share was of iron, sometimes with a hardened steelpoint. The colter was of iron, edged with steel. Thewooden beam was usually straight, and the handles,rising nearly perpendicular to it, were made from thecrooked roots of the white ash. One will readily see that deep plowing and goodcontrol of this plow were impossible. But we mustrealize that the colonial farmer cultivated much landthat was newly cleared. The soil was easily workedand the fields were for the most part small. About the year 1790, Charles Newbold of New Jerseybegan to work out the idea of a cast-iron plow. Hesucceeded in making one, which was patented in 1797.

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THE STORY OF THE PLOW 137 All the parts, except the beam and handles, were cast inone soHd piece. This plow was ridiculed by the farmersof that time. They declared that it was not practicaland even persuaded themselves that it was worse thanuseless, because the ironcertainly poisoned the soil!They said it made the weedsflourish, while good seedwould not sprout in the fur-rows turned by it. Newbold Charles Newbolds Plow was persistent and spent The first cast-iron plow to be pat-^ , . , ,, , en ted in the United States. ,000, which was all he had, to introduce his invention, but without success.Meanwhile the problem of the proper shape of themoldboard of a plow was being studied in a most carefulmanner by a Virginia planter — Thomas Jefferson.This man is most often thought of as a patriot and astatesman; he was also a student, a scientist, and aphilosopher. Moreover, he took great interest in agricul-ture. During his travels in France and Italy after theRevolution, he said, In arc

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French Cathedral _p

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A 20" x 28" original painting by me for sale at The photo for this was taken by a personal friend in her travels in France. This painting was shown in "Tomorrow’s Masterpieces Art Show" but didn’t sell :>(

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