Why so dull and mute, young sinner?

Prythee, why so mute ?
Will, when speaking well can't win her,

Saying nothing do't ?
Prythee, why so mute ?

Quit, quit for shame! this will not move,

This cannot take her ;
If of herself she will not love,

Nothing can make her.
The Devil take her.

Suckling was the first writer (in English) of those critical Sessions, or gatherings together of the poets for the adjustment of their claims to superiority, which gave rise to similar pleasantries on the part of Rochester, Sheffield and others. Sir John's Sessions of the Poets seems to have been poured forth at a sitting, as heartily as his bottle. It has all the negligence, but at the same time spirit, of a first impulsive sketch ; and perhaps it might have been hurt by correction ; though such a verse as the second in the fifth stanza

Prepard with Canary wine”

could hardly have been intended to remain. The whole poem is here given almost verbatim.


A session was held the other day,
And Apollo himself was at it, they say.
The Laurel, that had been so long reserv'd,
Was now to be given to him best deserved :

And therefore the wits of the town came thither,
'Twas strange to see how they flock'd together;
Each, strongly confident of his own way,
Thought to bear the laurel away that day.

There was Selden, and he sat close by the chair ;
Wenman, not far off, whi l was very fair,

Sands with Townsend, for they kept no order,
Digby and Chillingworth a little further.

There was Lucan's translator too, and he
That makes God speak so big in his poetry ;*
Selwin, and Waller, and Bartlets, both the brothers;
Jack Vaughan and Porter, and divers others.

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The first that broke silence was good old Ben,
Prepar'd with Canary wine ;
And he told them plainly he deserv'd the bays,
For his were callid “ Works,” where others were but Plays.

And bid them remember how he had purgid the stage
Of errors that had lasted many an age;
And he hop'd they didn't think the Silent Woman,
The Fox and the Alchymist, out-done by no man.

Apollo stopt him there, and bid him not go on;
'Twas merit, he said, and not presumption
Must carry it; at which Ben turn'd about,
And in great choler offered to go out.

But those that were there, thought it not fit
To discontent so ancient a wit;
And therefore Apollo call’d him back again,
And made him mine host of his own New Inn.


Tom Carew* was next, but he had a fault
That wouldn't well stand with a Laureat;
His muse was so slow, that the issue of his brain
Was seldom brought forth but with trouble and pain;

And all that were present there did agree
A Laureat muse should be easy and free.
Yet sure 'twas n't that; but 'twas thought that his grace'
Consider'd he was well he had a cup-bearer's place 3


Will Davenant, asham'd of a foolish mischance
That he had got lately travelling in France,
Modestly hoped the handsomeness of 's muse
Might any deformity about him excuse.

And surely the company would have beer. content
If they could have found ary precedent;

• Who was this?

* Pronounced Carey.

But in all their records, either in verse or prose,
There was not ane Laureat without a nose.

To Will Bartlet sure all the wits meant well,
But first they would see how his “ Snow" would sell;
Will smild, and swore in their judgments they went less
That concluded of merit upon success.

Suddenly taking his place again,
He gave way to Selwin, who straight stept in;
But alas ! he had been so lately a wit,
That Apollo himself scarce knew him yet.

Toby Matthews (plague on him, how came he there ?)
Was whispering nothing in somebody's ear,
When he had the honor to be nam'd in court;
But, sir, you must thank my Lady Carlisle fort;

For had not her “ Character furnish'd you out
With something of handsome, without all doubt
You and y gur sorry lady-muse had been
In the number of those that were not let in.

In haste from the court two or three came in,
And they brought letters, forsooth, from the Queen !
'Twas discreetly done, too, for if they had come
Without them, they had scarce been let into the room

This made a dispute ; for 'twas plain to be seen
Each man had a mind to gratify the Queen;
But Apollo himself could not think it fit;
There was difference, he said, betwixt fooling and wit

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For if he cou'd do it, 'twould plainly appear
He understood more than any man there,
And did merit the bays above all the rest,
But the Monsieur was modest, and silence confest.

During these troubles in the court was hid
One that Apollo soon miss'd,- little Sid;
And having spy'd him, callid him out of the throng,
And advis'd him in his ear not to write so strong.

Murray was summond; but 'twas urg'd, that he
Was chief already of another company.

Hales, set by himself, most gravely did smile
To see them about nothing keep such a coil;
Apollo had spy'd him, but knowing his mind
Past by, and callid Falkland, that sat just behind :

But he was of late so gone with divinity,
That he had almost forgot his poetry;
Though to say the truth, and Apollo did know it,
He might have been both his priest and his poet.

At length who but an Alderman did appear,
At which Will Davenant began to swear ;
But wiser Apollo bade him draw nigher,
And, when he was mounted a little higher,

He openly declar'd, that the best sign
Of good store of wit was to have good store of coin;
And without a syllable more or less said,
He put the laurel on the Alderman's head.

At this all the wits were in such amaze,
That, for a good while, they did nothing but gaze
One upon another; not a man in the place
But had discontent writ at large in his face.

Only the small Poets cheer'd up again
Out of hope, as 'twas thought, of borrowing;
But sure they are out; for he forfeits his “crown,"
When he lends to any Poet about the town.6

IA Session of the Poets.”—Of the “poets” here mentioned, Selden is the famous jurist; Sands (or Sandys) the translator of Ovid; Digby, Sir Kenelm ; Chillingworth, the controversialist

“Lucan's translator,” May; Jack Vaughan, Sir John, afterwards Chief Justice of the Common Pleas; Porter, Endymion, an accomplished courtier and loyalist; Toby Matthews, a busy. body about town, author of a “ Character” of Lady Carlisle, of whom he was a great admirer; Wat Montague, Walter of the Manchester family, author of a poem called the “ Sheppard's Paradise,” who became a Roman Catholic, and had an abbey given him in France, whence he is called “ Monsieur;" Little Sid, Sidney Godolphin, one of the many great men of the age, who were diminutive in person ; Hales, the “ ever-memorable" of Eton; Falkland, Lord Falkland, the romantic victim of the civil wars.

Ben Jonson, Waller, Carew, and Davenant, need no explanation. Who the others were I cannot say.

2 “For his were calld Works, where others were but Plays."-An actual boast of Jonson's. “ Works” they certainly were,—the result of the greatest labor and pains. Shakspeare's plays were emanations. But the classic Ben thought no title for his books comparable to one that was a translation of the Latin word opera. The New Inn, subsequently mentioned, is the name of one of his comedies.

3“ A cup-bearer's place."-Carew held this office at court. 4How his · Snow' would sell.-A poem, I presume, so called.

5There was difference, he said, betwixt fooling and wit.”—This seems hardly respectful towards the Queen from the son of his Majesty's Comptroller of the Household. But perhaps Henrietta Maria was sometimes forced to give letters, which she was not unwilling to see regarded accordingly. Still the tone of the rejection, notwithstanding what is said of the wish to gratify her, seems hardly such as would have been liked by a woman of her temper. Had she ever called Suckling a fool ? and so provoked him to show the difference between a real wit like himself, and some of the pretenders in her Majesty's train ?

He forfeits his crown,”
When he lends to any Poet about the town.

Aan on the word crown.
Suckling's dramas are so confused and obscure, that they

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