Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage.Richard Lovelace
Song to Amarantha, that she might Dishevel Her Hair
by Richard Lovelace
Amarantha sweet and fair
Ah braid no more that shining hair!
As my curious hand or eye
Hovering round thee let it fly.
Let it fly as unconfin’d
As its calm ravisher, the wind,
Who hath left his darling th’East,
To wanton o’er that spicy nest.
Ev’ry tress must be confest
But neatly tangled at the best;
Like a clue of golden thread,
Most excellently ravelled.
Do not then wind up that light
In ribands, and o’er-cloud in night;
Like the sun in’s early ray,
But shake your head and scatter day.
See ’tis broke! Within this grove
The bower, and the walks of love,
Weary lie we down and rest,
And fan each other’s panting breast.
Here we’ll strip and cool our fire
In cream below, in milk-baths higher:
And when all wells are drawn dry,
I’ll drink a tear out of thine eye,
Which our very joys shall leave
That sorrows thus we can deceive;
Or our very sorrows weep,
That joys so ripe, so little keep.
Richard Lovelace (pronounced loveless) obvious did not live up to his literal namesake, nor did he adhere to the idea of strictly platonic love among the Cavalier poets. There is plenty of zest in his poetry. The Cavalier poets were a group of poets who wrote to the tastes of King Charles I and who in turn was their benefactor. Many were loyalists who fought in support of the King. Lovelace was not on the winning side of things politically and died destitute.
I wonder if he would find it amusing that his poems have survived 300 years later and still bring a smile to readers? His poem is a Revlon commercial on men’s universal lusting after beautiful women with great hair.
To Lucasta, Going To War
by Richard Lovelace
Tell me not (Sweet) I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly.
True, a new mistress now I chase,
The first foe in the field;
And with a stronger faith embrace
A sword, a horse, a shield.
Yet this inconstancy is such
As you too shall adore;
I could not love thee (Dear) so much,
Lov’d I not Honour more.