by Sir John Suckling

I TELL thee, Dick, where I have been ;
Where I the rarest things have seen,
             O, things without compare !
Such sights again cannot be found
In any place on English ground,
             Be it at wake or fair.

At Charing Cross, hard by the way
Where we (thou know'st) do sell our hay,
             There is a house with stairs ;
And there did I see coming down
Such folks as are not in our town,
             Vorty at least, in pairs.

Amongst the rest, one pest'lent fine
(His beard no bigger though than thine)
             Walkt on before the rest :
Our landlord looks like nothing to him :
The King (God bless him !) 'twould undo him,
             Should he go still so drest.

At Course-a-Park, without all doubt,
He should have first been taken out
             By all the maids i' th' town :
Though lusty Roger there had been,
Or little George upon the Green,
             Or Vincent of the Crown.

But wot you what ? the youth was going
To make an end of all his wooing ;
             The parson for him staid :
Yet by his leave (for all his haste)
He did not so much wish all past
             (Perchance) as did the maid.

The maid—and thereby hangs a tale ;
For such a maid no Whitson-ale
             Could ever yet produce :
No grape, that's kindly ripe, could be
So round, so plump, so soft as she,
             Nor half so full of juice

Her finger was so small, the ring
Would not stay on, which they did bring ;
             It was too wide a peck :
And to say truth (for out it must)
It lookt like a great collar (just)
             About our young colt's neck.

Her feet beneath her petticoat,
Like little mice, stole in and out,
             As if they fear'd the light :
But O, she dances such a way !
No sun upon an Easter-day
             Is half so fine a sight.

He would have kist her once or twice ;
But she would not, she was so nice,
             She would not do 't in sight :
And then she lookt as who should say,
' I will do what I list to-day,
             And you shall do 't at night.'

Her cheeks so rare a white was on,
No daisy makes comparison
             (Who sees them is undone) ;
For streaks of red were mingled there,
Such as are on a Katherne pear
             (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,
I durst no more upon them gaze
             Than on the sun in July.

Her mouth so small, when she does speak,
Thou 'dst swear her teeth her words did break,
             That they might passage get ;
But she so handled still the matter,
They came as good as ours, or better,
             And are not spent a whit.

If wishing should be any sin,
The parson himself had guilty been
             (She lookt that day so purely) ;
And, did the youth so oft the feat
At night, as some did in conceit,
             It would have spoil'd him surely.

Just in the nick the cook knockt thrice,
And all the waiters in a trice
             His summons did obey :
Each serving-man, with dish in hand,
Marcht boldly up, like our train'd band,
             Presented, and away.

When all the meat was on the table,
What man of knife or teeth was able
             To stay to be intreated ?
And this the very reason was—
Before the parson could say grace,
             The company was seated.

The bus'ness of the kitchen's great,
For it is fit that man should eat ;
             Nor was it there deni'd—
Passion o' 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 :
             The bride's came thick and thick ;
And, when 'twas nam'd another's health,
Perhaps he made it hers by stealth ;
             (And who could help it, Dick ?)

O' th' sudden, up they rise and dance ;
Then sit again and sigh, and glance ;
             Then dance again and kiss :
Thus several ways the time did pass,
Whilst ev'ry woman wished her place,
             And every man wished his.

By this time all were stol'n aside
To counsel and undress the bride ;
             But that he must not know :
And yet 'twas thought he guess'd her mind,
And did not mean to stay behind
             Above an hour or so.

When in he came, Dick, there she lay
Like new-fall'n snow melting away
             ('Twas time, I trow, to part) :
Kisses were now the only stay,
Which soon she gave, as who would say,
             God b' w' ye, with all my heart.

But, just as Heav'ns would have, to cross it,
In came the bridesmaids with the posset :
             The bridegroom eat in spite ;
For, had he left the women to 't,
It would have cost two hours to do 't,
             Which were too much that night.

At length the candle's out ; and now
All that they had not done they do :
             What that is, who can tell ?
But I believe it was no more
Than thou and I have done before
             With Bridget and with Nell.

Suckling, John. The Works of Sir John Suckling. A. Hamilton Thompson, ed.
London: George Routledge & Sons, Ltd., 1910. 29-32.

to Works of Suckling

Site copyright © 1996-2000 Anniina Jokinen. All Rights Reserved.
Created by Anniina Jokinen on November 15, 1997. Last updated June 8, 2000.