Richard Lovelace (poet)

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Richard Lovelace.

Richard Lovelace (9 December 16181657) was an English poet and nobleman, born in Woolwich, Kent, today part of southeast London. He was one of the Cavalier poets, and a noted royalist.


To Althea: From Prison (1642)[edit]

  • When flowing cups run swiftly round,
    With no allaying Thames,
    Our careless heads with roses bound,
    Our hearts with loyal flames;
    When thirsty grief in wine we steep,
    When healths and draughts go free,
    Fishes that tipple in the deep
    Know no such liberty.
    • 1642, quoted in English Literature And Its Background, p. 407
  • Stone walls doe not a prison make,
    Nor iron bars a cage;
    Mindes innocent and quiet take
    That for an hermitage;
    If I have freedome in my love,
    And in my soule am free,
    Angels alone that sore above
    Enjoy such liberty.
    • 1642, quoted in English Literature And Its Background, p. 407
  • Love, then unstinted, Love did sip,
    And cherries plucked fresh from the lip
    On cheeks and roses free he fed;
    Lasses like autumn plums did drop,
    And lads indifferently did crop
    A flower and a maidenhead.
    • Love Made in the First Age: To Chloris (l. 13–18).

The Grasshopper (1647)[edit]

  • Poor verdant fool, and now green ice! thy joys,
    Large and as lasting as thy perch of grass,
    Bid us lay in ‘gainst winter rain, and poise
    Their floods with an o’erflowing glass.
    • The Grasshopper (l. 17-20).

Lucasta (1649)[edit]

Online text

To Lucasta, Going to the Wars[edit]

  • TELL me not Sweet I am unkind,
    That from the Nunnery
    Of thy chaste breast, and quiet mind,
    To War and Armes I fly.
    True; a new Mistresse now I chase
    The first Foe in the Field
    And with a stronger Faith imbrace
    A Sword, a Horse, a Shield.
    *Yet this Inconstancy is such,
    As you too shall adore
    I could not love thee Dear so much,
    Loved I not honor more.
    • Quoted in English Literature And Its Background, p. 407
  • If to be absent were to be
    Away from thee
    Or that when I am gone,
    You and I were alone;
    Then, my Lucasta, might I crave
    Pity from blust'ring wind, or swallowing wave.
  • Though Seas and Land betwixt us both,
    Our Faith and Troth,
    Like separated soules,
    All time and space controules:
    Above the highest sphere wee meet
    Unseene, unknowne, and greet as Angels greet.
    • To Lucasta: Going Beyond the Seas, st. 3.
  • Yet this inconstancy is such
    As you too shall adore;
    I could not love thee, dear, so much,
    Loved I not honor more.
    • To Lucasta: Going to the Wars, st. 3.
  • Then, if when I have lov’d my round,
    Thou prov’st the pleasant she,
    With spoils of meaner beauties crown’d
    I laden will return to thee,
    Ev’n sated with variety.
  • Oh, could you view the melody
    Of every grace
    And music of her face,
    You'd drop a tear;
    Seeing more harmony
    In her bright eye
    Than now you hear.
    • Orpheus to Beasts. Compare: "There is music in the beauty, and the silent note which Cupid strikes, far sweeter than the sound of an instrument; for there is music wherever there is harmony, order, or proportion; and thus far we may maintain the music of the spheres", Thomas Browne, Religio Medici, Part ii, Section ix; "The mind, the music breathing from her face", Lord Byron, Bride of Abydos (1813), canto i, stanza 6.
  • When I lie tangled in her hair,
    And fettered to her eye,
    The gods that wanton in the air
    Know no such liberty.
  • When flowing cups pass swiftly round
    With no allaying Thames.
  • Stone walls do not a prison make,
    Nor iron bars a cage;
    Minds innocent and quiet take
    That for an hermitage;
    If I have freedom in my love,
    And in my soul am free,
    Angels alone that soar above
    Enjoy such liberty.
    • To Althea: From Prison, st. 4.
  • Then Love, I beg, when next thou takest thy bow,
    Thy angry shafts, and dost heart-chasing go,
    Pass rascal deer, strike me the largest doe.
    • La Bella Bona Roba (l. 13–15).

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