What characteristics of lyric poetry can be inferred from "Why so pale and wan fond Lover?" by John Suckling?

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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John Suckling is a 17th century Cavalier poets who wrote many forms of lyric poetry including ballads and sonnets .From Suckling's lyric “Why so pale and wan fond Lover?” it can be inferred that lyric poetry may have a repeating refrain in a different metrical pattern than the other verses (lines of poetry): trochaic tetrameter versus trochaic trimeter in the refrain. It can be inferred that lyric poetry may have large repeating patterns that encompass more than a single verse (line) of distich (couplet): the pattern of the stanzas repeat. It can be inferred that lyric poetry may have a patterned rhyme scheme, such as ababb cdcdd etc.

It can be inferred that lyric poetry may address personal feelings of the poetic speaker (whether in the poet's own voice as with Edmund Spenser's lyric sonnets or as a fictional poetic speaker).  It can be inferred that lyric poetry may address topics of love, in particular unrequited love (unfulfilled or unreturned love). It can be inferred that separate stanzas may address separate topics: "why so pale? / ... / why so mute? / ... / The devil take her!" It can be inferred that lyric poetry may have a turn of diametrical opposition to the starting position: "Will ... / ... / Looking ill prevail? / ... / Nothing can make her."

To check these inferences, some of the acknowledged features of lyric poetry follow. Lyric poetry expresses personal feelings. It is rhymed. It may be sung. It has the repetition of large metrical patterns that extend beyond individual verses or distiches. Some lyric forms have refrains that repeat exactly or in variations. Most forms contain a turn in topic before presenting a resolution to the emotional problem addressed.

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