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IX.

Sir John Suckling's Campaigne.

When the Scottish covenanters rose up in arms, and advanced to the English borders in 1639, many of the courtiers complimented the king by raising forces at their own expense. Among these, none were more distinguished than the gallant Sir John Suckling, who raised a troop of horse, so richly accoutred, that it cost him 12,000l. The like expensive equipment of other parts of the army made the king remark, that "the Scots would fight stoutly, if it were but for the Englishmen's fine cloaths." [Lloyd's Memoirs.] When they came to action, the rugged Scots proved more than a match for the fine showy English: many of whom behaved remarkably ill, and among the rest this splendid troop of Sir John Suckling's.

This humorous pasquil has been generally supposed to have been written by Sir John, as a banter upon himself. Some of his contemporaries, however, attributed it to Sir John Mennis, a wit of those times, among whose poems it is printed in a small poetical miscellany, entitled, "Musarum delicia: or the Muses' recreation, containing several pieces of poetique wit, 2nd edition. By Sir J. M. [Sir John Mennis] and Ja. S. [James Smith.] London. 1656, 12mo." [See Wood's Athenæ, ii. 397, 418.] In that copy is subjoined an additional stanza, which probably was written by this Sir John Mennis, viz.—

"But now there is peace, he's return'd to increase

His money, which lately he spent-a;

But his lost honour must lye still in the dust;
At Barwick away it went-a."

SIR John he got him an ambling nag,

To Scotland for to ride-a,

With a hundred horse more, all his own he swore,

To guard him on every side-a.

No errant-knight ever went to fight

With halfe so gay a bravado,

Had you seen but his look, you'ld have sworn on a book,

Hee❜ld have conquer'd a whole armado.

The ladies ran all to the windows to see
So gallant and warlike a sight-a,
And as he pass'd, they said with a sigh,
"Sir John, why will you go fight-a?"

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But he, like a cruel knight, spurr'd on,

His heart would not relent-a,

For, till he came there, what had he to fear,

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Or why should he repent-a?

The king (God bless him!) had singular hopes
Of him and all his troop-a:

The borderers they, as they met him on the way,
For joy did hollow and whoop-a.

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None lik'd him so well as his own colonell,
Who took him for John de Wert-a;

But when there were shows of gunning and blows,
My gallant was nothing so pert-a.

For when the Scots army came within sight,
And all prepared to fight-a,

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He ran to his tent; they ask'd what he meant
He swore he must needs goe sh*te-a.

The colonell sent for him back

To quarter him in the van-a,

agen,

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But Sir John did swear, he would not come there
To be kill'd the very first man-a.

To cure his fear, he was sent to the reare,
Some ten miles back, and more-a;

Where Sir John did play at trip and away,

And ne'er saw the enemy more-a.

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V. 22. John de Wert was a German general of great reputation, and the terror of the French in the reign of Louis XIII. Hence his name became proverbial in France, where he was called De Vert.-See Bayle's Dictionary.

X.

To Althea from Prison.

This excellent sonnet, which possessed a high degree of fame among the old Cavaliers, was written by Colonel Richard Lovelace, during his confinement in the Gate-house, Westminster: to which he was committed by the House of Commons, in April, 1642, for presenting a petition from

the county of Kent, requesting them to restore the king to his rights, and to settle the government. See Wood's Athenæ, vol. ii. p. 228, and Lysons' Environs of London, vol. i. p. 109; where may be seen at large the affecting story of this elegant writer, who, after having been distinguished for every gallant and polite accomplishment, the pattern of his own sex, and the darling of the ladies, died in the lowest wretchedness, obscurity, and want, in 1658.

This song is printed from a scarce volume of his poems, entitled Lucasta, 1649, 12mo, collated with a copy in the Editor's folio MS.

WHEN Love with unconfinèd wings
Hovers within my gates,
And my divine Althea brings
To whisper at my grates;
When I lye tangled in her haire
And fetter'd with her eye,

The birds that wanton in the aire
Know no such libertye.

When flowing cups run swiftly round
With no allaying Thames,

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Our carelesse heads with roses crown'd,
Our hearts with loyal flames;

When thirsty griefe in wine we steepe,

When healths and draughts goe free,

[blocks in formation]

Ver. 10, With woe-allaying themes. MS. Thames is here used for water in general.

If I have freedom in my love,
And in my soule am free,
Angels alone that soare above
Enjoy such libertìe.

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XI.

The Downfall of Charing Cross.

Charing-cross, as it stood before the civil wars, was one of those beautiful Gothic obelisks erected to conjugal affection by Edward I., who built such an one wherever the hearse of his beloved Eleanor rested in its way from Lincolnshire to Westminster. But neither its ornamental situation, the beauty of its structure, nor the noble design of its erection, (which did honour to humanity,) could preserve it from the merciless zeal of the times: for, in 1647, it was demolished by order of the House of Commons, as popish and superstitious. This occasioned the following not unhumorous sarcasm, which has been often printed among the popular sonnets of those times.

The plot referred to in ver. 17 was that entered into by Mr. Waller the poet, and others, with a view to reduce the city and tower to the service of the king, for which two of them, Nathaniel Tomkins and Richard Chaloner, suffered death, July 5, 1643.—Vide Athen. Ox. ii. 24.

UNDONE, undone the lawyers are,
They wander about the towne,
Nor can find the way to Westminster,

Now Charing-cross is downe;

At the end of the Strand they make a stand,

Swearing they are at a loss,

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And chaffing say that's not the way,
They must go by Charing-cross.

The Parliament to vote it down
Conceived it very fitting,

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For fear it should fall and kill them all
In the house, as they were sitting.
They were told, god-wot, it had a plot,
Which made them so hard-hearted
To give command it should not stand,
But be taken down and carted.

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Men talk of plots, this might have been worse

For anything I know,

Than that Tomkins and Chaloner
Were hang'd for long agoe.
Our Parliament did that prevent,
And wisely them defended,
For plots they will discover still
Before they were intended.

But neither man, woman, nor child,
Will say, I'm confident,
They ever heard it speak one word
Against the Parliament.
An informer swore, it letters bore,
Or else it had been freed.
I'll take, in troth, my Bible oath,
It could neither write nor read.

The committee said that verily
To popery it was bent;
For ought I know it might be so,
For to church it never went.

What with excise, and such device,

The kingdom doth begin

To think you'll leave them ne'er a cross,
Without doors nor within.

Methinks the common-council shou'd

Of it have taken pity,

'Cause, good old cross, it always stood

So firmly to the city.

Since crosses you so much disdain,

Faith, if I were as you,

For fear the king should rule again,

I'd pull down Tiburn too.

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***Whitelocke says, "May 7, 1643, Cheapside-cross and other crosses were voted down," &c. But this vote was not put in execution with regard to Charing-cross till four years after, as appears from Lilly's 'Observations on the Life, &c. of King Charles,' viz. "Charing-cross we know, was pulled down 1647, in June, July, and August. Part of the stones were converted to pave before Whitehall. I have seen knife-hafts

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