A Ballade upon a Wedding
Sir John Suckling

I tell thee Dick where I have been,
Where I the rarest things have seen,
    Oh things without compare!
Such sights again cannot be found
In any place on English ground
    Be it at wake, or fair.

At Charing-Crosse, hard by the way
Where we (thou know'st) do sell our Hay,
    There is a house with stairs;
And there did I see coming down
Such folk as are not in our Town,
    Vorty at least, in Pairs.

Amongst the rest, one Pest'lent fine,
(His beard no bigger though then thine)
    Walkt on before the rest:
Our Landlord looks like nothing to him :
The King (God blesse him) 'twould undo him,
    Should he go still so drest.

At Course-a-Park, without all doubt,
He should have first been taken out
    By all the maids i' th' town:
Though lusty Roger there had been,
Or little George upon the Green
    Or Vincent of the Crown.

But whot you what?  the youth was going
To make an end of all his wooing ;
    The Parson for him staid:
Yet by his leave (for all his haste)
He did not so much wish all past
    (Perchance) as did the maid.

The maid - and thereby hangs a tale ;
For such a maid no Whitson-ale
    Could ever yet produce:
No grape, that's kindly ripe, could be
So round, so plump, so soft as she,
    Nor half so full of juice.

Her finger was so small, the ring
Would not stay on, which they did bring;
    It was too wide a peck:
And to say truth (for out it must)
It lookt like the great collar (just)
    About our young colt's neck.

Her feet beneath her petticoat,
Like little mice, stole in and out,
    As if they fear'd the light:
But O, she dances such a way !
No sun upon an Easter-day
    Is half so fine a sight.

He would have kist her once or twice:
But she would not, she was so nice,
    She would not do 't in sight:
And then she lookt as who should say,
'I will do what I list to-day,
    And you shall do 't at night.'

Her cheeks so rare a white was on,
No daisy makes comparison
    (Who sees them is undone) ;
For streaks of red were mingled there,
Such as are on a Katherne pear
    (The side that's next the sun).

Her lips were red; and one was thin
Compar'd to that was next her chin
    (Some bee had strung it newly):
But, Dick, her eyes so guard her face,
I durst no more upon them gaze
    Than on the sun in July.

Her mouth so small, when she does speak,
Thou 'dst swear her teeth her words did break,
    That they might passage get ;
But she so handles still the matter,
They came as good as ours, or better,
    And are not spent a whit.

If wishing should be any sin,
The parson himself had guilty bin
    (She lookt that day so purely);
And, did the youth so oft the feat
At night, as some did in conceit,
    It would have spoil'd him surely.

[The following stanza has been moved forward
and the two halves transposed as per
the persuasive case made by Berry]
 
Passion o' me, how I run on !
There's that that would be thought upon
    (I trow) besides the bride.
The bus'nesse of the Kitchin's great,
For it is fit that man should eat ;
    Nor was it there deni'd -

Just in the nick the cook knockt thrice,
And all the waiters in a trice
    His summons did obey :
Each serving-man, with dish in hand,
Marcht boldly up, like our Train'd Band,
    Presented, and away.

When all the meat was on the table,
What man of knife or teeth was able
    To stay to be intreated?
And this the very reason was -
Before the Parson could say Grace,
    The Company was seated.

Now hats fly off, the youths carouse,
Healths first go round, and then the house :
    The bride's come thick and thick :
And, when 'twas nam'd another's health,
Perhaps he made it hers by stealth ;
    (And who could help it, Dick?)

O'th'sudden up they rise and dance ;
Then sit again and sigh, and glance ;
    Then dance again and kiss :
Thus several ways the time did pass,
Whilst ev'ry woman wished her place,
    And every man wished his.

By this time all were stol'n aside
To counsel and undress the bride ;
    But that he must not know :
But yet 'twas thought he guess'd her mind,
And did not mean to stay behind
    Above an hour or so.

When in he came, Dick, there she lay
Like new-fall'n snow melting away
    ('Twas time, I trow to part) :
Kisses were now the only stay,
Which soon she gave, as who would say,
    God b'w'ye, with all my heart.

But, just as Heav'ns would have, to cross it,
In came the bridesmaids with the posset :
    The bridegroom eat in spite ;
For, had he left the women to 't,
It would have cost two hours to do 't,
    Which were too much that night.

At length the candle's out ; and now
All that they had not done they do :
    What that is, who can tell ?
But I believe it was no more
Than thou and I have done before
    With Bridget and with Nell.



The following is the text as it appears in Harleian MS. 6917 (f. 103-05). 
It is reproduced in Berry, Herbert, Sir John Suckling's Poems and Letters from Manuscript,
University of Western Ontario Studies in the Humanities, London, Ontario, Canada, 1960

On the Marriage of the Lord Louelace:

I tell thee Dick that I haue beene,
where I the rarest sights haue seene
    oh sights beyond compare;
Such things againe cannot bee found
in any part of English ground,
    bee it at Wake or fayre:

At Charing Crosse hard by the way
where we thou know'st do sell our hay,
    there is a house with stayres;
and there might I see comming downe
Such folke as are not in our towne,
    fourty at least by payres:

Among the rest one pest'lent fine,
his beard noe bigger though then thine,
    walkt on before the rest;
our Landlord lookes like nothing to him,
the King, God blesse him, twould undoe him
    should he goe still so drest:

At Course-a-parke, without all doubt
he should haue first beene taken out,
    by all the maydes ith' towne'
though lusty Roger there had beene,
or little George upon the greene,
    or Vincent of the Crowne:

But wott you whatk, the youth was going
to make an end of all his wooeing,
    the parson for him stayd;
Yet by his leaue for all his hast
he did not wish so much all past
    perchance as did the mayde:

The mayde, and thereby hangs a tayle,
for such a mayde noe Whitsun Ale
    did euer yet produce;
noe grape that's kindly ripe, could bee
soe round, soe plumpe, so soft as shee,
    nor halfe soe full of Juice:

Her fingers were so small, the ringe
would not stay on which they did bringe,
    it was too wide a pecke;
and to say truth, for out it must,
it lookt like the great Collar Just
    about our young Colts necke:

Her Cheekes soe rare a white had on,
noe Dazy makes comparison,
    who sees them is undone;
for streakes of redd are mingled there,
such as are on a Katherine peare,
    that side that's next the sunne:

Her lipps were redd, and one was thinne
compared to that was next her Chinne,
    some Bee had stung it newly;
but Dicke, her eyes soe guard her face
I durst noe more upon her gaze
    then on the sunne in July:

Her feete beneath her petticoate,
like litle mice stole in and out,
    as if they feared the light,
but oh shee daunces such a way,
noe sunne upon an Easter day,
    is halfe soe fine a sight:

If wishing might bee any sinne
The Parson's selfe had guilty beene
    shee oookt that day soe purely;
and did the youth as oft the feate
that night, so some did in conceit,
    it would haue spoyld him surely:

Passion of mee, how I runne on?
there's something must bee thought upon
    I trow besides the Bride;
the business of the Kitchin great,
for it was fitt that men should eate,
    nor was it here denyed:

For in the nicke the Cooke knockt thrice,
and all the wayters in a trice
    the summons did obey;
Each servingman with dish in hand,
marcht boldly up likie our traine band,
    presented and away:

When all the meate was on the table,
what man of knife or teeth was able
    to say to bee entreated;
and this the very reason was
why ere the parson could say grace
    the company was seated:

The up they rise, and play and daunce,
and then sitt downe, and sigh and glaunce,
    then daunce againe and kisse;
thus seuerall wayes the time did passé
whilst euery woman wisht her place,
    and euery man wisht his:

By this time all were stolne aside
to counsel and undress the Bride,
    but that he must not know;
But yet 'twas thought hee guest her minde,
and did not meane ot stay behinde,
    aboue an houre or soe:

When he came in Dicke, there shee lay
like new falne snow melting away,
    twas time I trow to part;
kisses were not the only stay,
which soone she faue, as who should say
    God bu'y with all my heart:

But Just as heaue'n would haue't to crosse it
in come the maydes now with the possett,
    the Bridegroome eate in spight;
for he had left the women to it
it would haue cost two houres to do it
    which was too much that night:

At length the candle's out, and now
all that they might not doe, they doe,
    what that was who can tell;
but I beleeue it was noe more,
then thou and I haue done before
    with Bridget, and with Nell: Sr John Suckling: