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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


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

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Comments about this poem (Why so Pale and Wan? by Sir John Suckling )

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  • Lee Schneider (10/21/2013 6:43:00 AM)

    Not bad. I don't share the theme, but like the style.

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • * Sunprincess * (10/25/2012 7:25:00 PM)

    wow..awesome write..of course people's taste changes as they age..thanks for sharing.. :)

  • Douglas Scotney (10/22/2012 12:17:00 AM)

    He's kidding himself. He doesn't have those desires he says he does.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Portia Lane (10/21/2010 10:48:00 PM)

    He's talking about his fascination with spiders

  • 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'!

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • Michael Harmon (10/21/2009 9:58:00 PM)

    and a correction on my earlier comment, I meant 'flout', not 'flaunt'. my apologies.

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