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PO E MS,
L O N D ON:
Gate, next Grays-Inn Lane. MDCCIX.
T is not from any Necessity these Poems lyè under of being recommended to the World, but from
a Sense of Justice due to the Memory of the Author, that I have taken this Occasion of prefixing a short Account of his Life and Writings.
He was Son to Sir John Suckling, Comptroller. of the Houshold to King Charles I. He was born at Witham, in the County of Middlesex, in the Year 1613, with a remarkable circumstance of his Mother's going'till the Eleventh Month with him, which the Naturalists look upon as a Sign of an hardy and vigorous Constitution; and it is certain, the Slowness of his Birth was sufficiently made up in the
Quickness, Strength, and Pregnancy of his Parts, which he firft discovered by his strange Propenfity tờ Languages; insomuch that he is said to have spoke Latin at five Years old, and to have writ it at nine.
From this early Foundation, he proceeded in the course of his Studies, to apply the use of Words to the attainment of the Arts and Sciences, most of which he arrived to in an eminent degree. Those which he more particularly admired, were Musick and Poetry; and tho’he excelled in both, he professed neither, so as to make them his Business, but used them rather as his Mistresses, to soften the harshness and driness of his other Studies, just as his Leisure or Fancy inclined him. His Learning in other kinds was polite and general; and tho' the Sprightliness and Vivacity of his Temper would not suffer him to be long intent upon one Study, yet he had that which made amends for it in his Strength of Genius and Capacity, which required less Pains and Application in him, than it did in others, to make himself Master of it.
When he had taken a Survey of the most remarkable things at Home, he Travelld to digest and enlarge his Notions from a view of
other Countries; where he made a Collection of their Virtues, without any tincture of their Vices and Follies, only that some thought he had a little too much of the French Air, which being not so agreeable to the Gravity and Solidity, for which his Father was remarkable, or indeed to the Severity of the Times he lived in, was imputed to him as a Fault, and the effect of his Travels. But it was certainly rather Natural than acquired in him, the easiness of his Carriage and Address being suitable to the openness of his Heart, and to the Gaiety, Wit and Gallantry, which were so conspicuous in him; and he seems all along to have piqued himself upon nothing more than the Character of a Courtier, anda Fine Gentleman, which he so far attained to, that he was allowed to have the peculiar happiness of making every thing he did, become him.
He was not so devoted to the Muses, or to the softness and luxury of Courts, as to be wholly a Stranger to the Camp. In his Travels he made a Campaign under the Great Gustavus Adolphus, where he was present at three Battels, and five Sieges, besides other Skirmishes between Parties; and from such a considerable Scene of Action, gain'd as much Experience in six Months, as otherwise he