Sir John Suckling

(1606-1642)

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Sonnet I


Dost see how unregarded now
That piece of beauty passes?
There was a time when I did vow
To that alone;
But mark the fate of faces;
The red and white works now no more on me
Than if it could not charm, or I not see.

And yet the face continues good,
And I have still desires,
Am still the selfsame flesh and blood,
As apt to melt
And suffer from those fires;
Oh some kind pow'r unriddle where it lies,
Whether my heart be faulty, or her eyes?

She ev'ry day her man does kill,
And I as often die;
Neither her power then, nor my will
Can question'd be.
What is the mystery?
Sure beauty's empires, like to greater states,
Have certain periods set, and hidden fates.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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Read poems about / on: beauty, fate, power, red, alone, time, heart, sonnet, work, fire

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  • Kevin Straw (10/21/2012 11:29:00 AM)

    Many of us have had the experience of being a slave to our passion for someone. Yet some passions burn themselves out, and after a while one wonders why we ever were passionate about him or her, though their looks have not changed. The answer to his riddle is that he did not love her! A perfect poem. (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (10/21/2011 3:35:00 AM)

    Sure, as Sir John Suckling says in this poem beauty is great but it has limitation and fate set ever just as sonnet perhaps I believe! (Report) Reply

  • Michael Pruchnicki (10/22/2009 9:24:00 AM)

    What is Suckling's persona in Sonnet I? Is he wearing the mask of the ardent lover or the worldly skeptic? Remember that a poet chooses which mask he will wear as the speaker (persona) of his poem. What does the speaker say about the subject of the poem?

    It doesn't seem to me that Suckling is making a magisterial comment about beauty in the abstract. The speaker (who is an artifice devised by the poet) - is not in the poem as Sir John Suckling himself, but as a rather cynical man who no longer appreciates the 'red and white'-the woman's make-up no longer attracts him though she remains physically much the same as before! One might as well try to read the future of a great nation in the daily doings of its citizens! There seems to be no reason why our romantic feelings wane and die, or flare up again with the attraction of another woman enticing in 'red and white'! (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (10/22/2009 6:01:00 AM)

    A magisterial comment on one of the mysteries of beauty. People we now think beautiful remain the same, and so do we, yet the attraction they have for us fails. The poem makes us stand in the poet's place and see and feel what he does. (Report) Reply

  • Ordinary Sandra (10/22/2009 12:55:00 AM)

    Well, nice comment sir Michael. But how about a woman who in loves with an ugly, bold, get brain cancer and doesn't have money? Is she stupid? or She just find a light and her purpose in her life? (Report) Reply

  • Michael Harmon (10/21/2009 9:49:00 PM)

    Interesting comment on this poem, Milica. I agree with you, with one addition:

    Rule 2: beautiful woman cannot hang 'on the arm of an ugly, fat bold, dribbling man just because he has stature and money'. (Report) Reply

  • Milica Franchi De Luri (10/21/2009 7:55:00 PM)

    Man love beauty, the thing they lack themselves? ? ? Or woman are still way behind, in spite the feminist revolution, opportunities given to them to be equal in the work place and life in general, still i see beautiful woman on the arm of an ugly, fat bold, dribbling man just because he has stature and money. Do they kiss them and make love to them?
    There should be a rule; ugly and old man can not look at young and beautiful woman............. (Report) Reply

  • Herman Chiu (10/21/2009 7:49:00 PM)

    Interesting title, considering this is not a sonnet. My guess is with Mr. Harmon's; the title is in reference to something - perhaps a dislike of conventionality, or something similar. If anybody knows why this poem is titles Sonnet, please share. Otherwise, I like the style and idea behind this poem - I never thought of writing a poem about something like this. (Report) Reply

  • Michael Harmon (10/21/2009 1:23:00 PM)

    Check the site below, if you're interested in a little more information on Sir John than the PH biography provides. Why he titled this a sonnet is beyond my erudition. It's possible he wished to flaunt the convention, which may be in keeping with his reputation for, though perhaps now thought to be only apparent, insouciance. If anyone has further reliable information on this, I would be happy to hear it. :)

    'Suckling, Sir John - Introduction.' Poetry Criticism. Ed. Ellen McGeagh and Linda Pavlovski. Vol.30. Gale Cengage,2000. eNotes.com.2006.21 Oct,2009 suckling-sir-john> (Report) Reply

  • Ordinary Sandra (10/21/2009 1:19:00 AM)

    Dear Sir,
    I like to see a beautiful face also. But i think for love, i choose to see an inner beauty. If you have spouse and children with beautiful face, i think you are very lucky. But if you have spouse and children with an inner beauty, you live with someone with an angel heart... wow... you will feel like live in heaven... If you have both... hhmmm... God loves you very much... then you must thanks Him everyday.... (Report) Reply

  • Yvette Smith (10/21/2007 6:19:00 AM)

    Falling out of love is more complex than just a surface attraction perhaps the poet has merely become bored with her obvious beauty and indeed there is nothing more interesting to captivate his wit, beneath her 'unchanged face' a challenge to Shakespeare whose love sonnets tend to relate death of love to passages of time and loss of aesthetic beauty thus his attempt to immortalise love's beauty in words (Report) Reply

  • Micah Ogberhie (10/21/2006 12:11:00 PM)

    I like ur unusual style, a sort of ''inversion'' and ur use of ellipses which shows that u are a poet to d core, though ur poem is not a sonnet by its technical meaning but i suppose ur choice of theme is best understood 2 u...cheers! (Report) Reply

Read all 21 comments »

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