Sir John Suckling

Cavalier Poet

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  • 10 February 1609 – 1 June 1642
  • renowned for careless gaiety and wit
  • Inventor of the card game cribbage
  • Best known for his poem "Ballad Upon a Wedding"
  • Born in Twickenham, Middlesex
  • His father was Secretary of State
  • The poet inherited his father's estate at the age of eighteen
  • Attended Trinity College, Cambridge
  • Gambler
  • Engaged to Anne Willoughby for possible monetary gain
  • Convicted of high treason
  • Many stories of how he died, most common story is of him commiting suicide
How to Play Cribbage

Why So Pale and Wan, Fond Lover?

Why so pale and wan fond lover?

Prithee why so pale?

Will, when looking well can’t move her,

Looking ill prevail?

Prithee why so pale?

Why so dull and mute young sinner?

Prithee why so mute?

Will, when speaking well can’t win her,

Saying nothing do’t?

Prithee 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.


This is a lyric poem with three five-line stanzas. It appeared as a song in a play that Suckling debuted in London in 1637 and published in 1638. The speaker of this poem in the play is a friend of a depressed man who is sad because a girl rejected him. The theme of this poem is unrequited love. The tone is concerned, yet strict. He is giving his friend "tough love". In the first stanza, the friend asks why does he look ill? If the women that he has fallen for did not like him when he was well, then she certainly won't like him now. In the second stanza, the friend asks why is he so quiet now? Him being quiet and withdrawn definitely won't make her like you, since when spoke, he didn't impress her. In the third stanza, the friend advises the man to stop trying to win her over or gain her love. If she refuses to love him, he can't change that. The literary devices are repetition and alliteration. The alliteration is used to help impart harmony, agreeable sound, and rhythm.
i can't make you love me - adele (w/ lyrics)


"Sir John Suckling." Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2016.

"Why So Pale and Wan, Fond Lover? (Study Guide)." Why So Pale and Wan, Fond Lover? (Study Guide). N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2016.

Parker, Michael P. "Sir John Suckling." Critical Survey Of Poetry, Second Revised Edition (2002): 1-6. Literary Reference Center. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.