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John Suckling
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Poet
    (February 10, 1609-circa June 1, 1642)
    Born in Whitton, England, United Kingdom
    Poems include 'A Sessions of the Poets,' 'Ballade upon a Wedding' and 'Why So Pale and Wan, Fond Lover?'
    Wrote the plays 'Aglaura' (1638), 'The Goblins' (1638) and 'Brennoralt or the Discontented Colonel' (1639)
    Invented the card game cribbage
    He snuck marked packs of cards into the homes of the English aristocracy, then won £20,000 playing cribbage against them.
    He paid for the elaborate scenery and costumes -- including the use of real gold and silver for the lace on the actors' coats -- of his dramas out of his own pocket.
    He raised a cavalry troop to support Charles I against Scotland, but was ridiculed over the unit's over the top outfits of scarlet coats and plumed hats.
    He was accused of treason and forced to flee overseas after trying to bring French forces into the country to support Charles I.
    The manner of his death is uncertain, but the most accepted version was that he committed suicide by taking poison in order to escape poverty while in exile.
    He distinguished himself in battle as a volunteer under King Gustavus Adolphus in the Thirty Years War.
    While serving in Parliament, he advised King Charles I to throw his opponents into disarray by making more concessions than they had demanded. (We're not sure if it would have worked, but considering that Charles' 'never give an inch' strategy resulted in his losing his head, it couldn't have gone any worse.)
    He was known in court for his urbane wit.
    William Wordsworth said about 'Ballade upon a Wedding,' 'For grace and simplicity, it stands unrivaled in the whole compass of ancient and modern poetry.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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