"LOVING AND BELOVED" Sir John Suckling (1646) "Loving and Beloved" represents one of the weaker lyrics by Sir John Suckling. Critics often write of the uneven quality of his work, despite its attractive tone and distinct moments of brilliance. While some reflect unity and coherence, others, such as this poem, strain toward completion. Two of its four six-line stanzas reflect clumsy concluding rhythms, one the result of forced rhyme. Its subject matter of the difficulty of love was a traditional one, particularly for the
Cavalier poets. Suckling makes the point that in order both to give and receive love, one must be completely honest, a condition he believes impossible in romance. Therefore love is doomed. As he sums up in his final line, "Love's triumph must be Honor's funeral."
The speaker opens with the two-line declaration "There never yet was honest man / That ever drove the trade of love." The stanzas reflect a rhyme scheme of ababcc, with the first four lines each having four feet. Preservation of that meter in the final rhyming couplet places demands on Suckling, and he moves to five beats instead. To conclude the first stanza he writes, "For kings and lovers are alike in this, / That their chief art in reign dissembling is." The transition from four feet to five causes an unpleasant sound and challenges the reader. In addition, placement of the verb is as the final word of the stanza in order to rhyme with the word this proves clumsy at best and results in a disappointing rhyme. Stanza 2 concludes more smoothly with "So we false fire with art sometimes discover, / And the true fire with the same art do cover." This stanza proves the most successful, as the closing lines, through repetition of the terms fire and art, provide balance. In addition, the alliteration afforded by repetition of the f sounds is pleasant. Finally, the rhyme is an identity rhyme, as the same words are used at the lines' ends, generally an unchallenging approach. However, because cover in the first usage appears as part of the longer term discover, the rhyme satisfies more than had each line concluded with cover. The third stanza is not difficult to read once the reader accomplishes the rhythm shift, as the final line contains only single-syllable words: "And which the harder is I cannot tell, / To hide true love, or make false love look well." While the sense of the final line in the fourth stanza remains strong, its rhythm forces the reader to pronounce all three syllables of the term funeral separately. Suckling may have designed this intentionally to call attention to the negative connotation of death.
LYCIDAS John Milton (1638) John Milton had known Edward King at Cambridge and wrote Lycidas as an elegy for his friend's death. When word arrived that King had drowned in the Irish Sea returning to
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