Sir John Suckling was an English, Cavalier poet who was born in Twickenham, Middlesex, on February 10, 1609. His mother died in 1613, when he was four years of age. His father, descendant of a prominent Norfolk family, was appointed Comptroller of James I’s household in 1622. Suckling matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1623, but left without taking a degree in 1626. Suckling inherited extensive estates after his father’s death in 1627. At the age of eighteen, he pursued a military and ambassadorial career in the Low Countries, and was knighted as a result in 1630. He returned to the English court in 1632 where through his wealth and charm he was known as an “elegant and popular gallant and gamester, credited with having invented the game of cribbage.” (MacLean 252) In 1637 Suckling wrote the prose work Account of Religion by Reason. His play, Aglaura, was published in 1638 and performed twice for Charles I. The play had two different endings, one tragic and one happy. Critics did not favor it, but it introduced some wonderful lyrics, such as “Why so pale and wan, fond lover?” (Crofts 51) That same year, Suckling’s comedy The Goblins was published. “It was much influenced by Shakespeare’s The Tempest and it is generally thought to be Suckling’s best.” (Andromeda Interactive Ltd.) In 1639, Suckling recruited and equipped cavalry to help the King in Scotland. “He was ridiculed by London wits for the troops’ elaborate uniforms (scarlet coats and plumed hats) but was well-esteemed by the King.” (Andromeda Interactive Ltd.) In 1640, Suckling sat in Parliament for Bramber and took part in an unsuccessful action against the Scots. Suckling was involved in a royalist plan in 1641 to make use of the army on behalf of Charles I. When Parliament ordered him to account for the movements he made, Suckling fled through Dieppe to Paris. A few months later, he is said to have committed suicide by taking poison. …
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