15+ Best Richard Lovelace Poems

Richard Lovelace was an English poet in the seventeenth century. He was a cavalier poet who fought on behalf of the king during the Civil War. His best known works are “To Althea, from Prison”, and “To Lucasta, Going to the Warres”.

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Famous Richard Lovelace Poems

A La Bourbon. Done Moy Plus De Pitie Ou Plus De Creaulte, Car Sans Ci Ie Ne Puis Pas Viure, Ne Morir

I.
Divine Destroyer, pitty me no more,
Or else more pitty me;
Give me more love, ah, quickly give me more,
Or else more cruelty!
For left thus as I am,
My heart is ice and flame;
And languishing thus, I
Can neither live nor dye!

Your glories are eclipst, and hidden in the grave
Of this indifferency;
And, Caelia, you can neither altars have,
Nor I, a Diety:
They are aspects divine,
That still or smile, or shine,
Or, like th’ offended sky,
Frowne death immediately.

Ausonius Lib. I. Epig.

AUSONIUS LIB. I. EPIG.

Thesauro invento qui limina mortis inibat,
Liquit ovans laqueum, quo periturus erat;
At qui, quod terrae abdiderat, non repperit aurum,
Quem laqueum invenit nexuit, et periit.

A treasure found one, entring at death’s gate,
Triumphing leaves that cord, was meant his fate;
But he the gold missing, which he did hide,
The halter which he found he knit: so dy’d.

To Fletcher Reviv’d

How have I bin religious? what strange good
Has scap’t me, that I never understood?
Have I hel-guarded Haeresie o’rthrowne?
Heald wounded states? made kings and kingdoms one?
That FATE should be so merciful to me,
To let me live t’ have said I have read thee.

Faire star, ascend! the joy! the life! the light
Of this tempestuous age, this darke worlds sight!
Oh, from thy crowne of glory dart one flame
May strike a sacred reverence, whilest thy name
(Like holy flamens to their god of day)
We bowing, sing; and whilst we praise, we pray.

Bright spirit! whose aeternal motion
Of wit, like Time, stil in it selfe did run,
Binding all others in it, and did give
Commission, how far this or that shal live;
Like DESTINY of poems who, as she
Signes death to all, her selfe cam never dye.

And now thy purple-robed Traegedy,
In her imbroider’d buskins, cals mine eye,
Where the brave Aetius we see betray’d,
T’ obey his death, whom thousand lives obey’d;
Whilst that the mighty foole his scepter breakes,
And through his gen’rals wounds his own doome speakes,
Weaving thus richly VALENTINIAN,
The costliest monarch with the cheapest man.

Souldiers may here to their old glories adde,
The LOVER love, and be with reason MAD:
Not, as of old, Alcides furious,
Who wilder then his bull did teare the house
(Hurling his language with the canvas stone):
Twas thought the monster ror’d the sob’rer tone.

But ah! when thou thy sorrow didst inspire
With passions, blacke as is her darke attire,
Virgins as sufferers have wept to see
So white a soule, so red a crueltie;
That thou hast griev’d, and with unthought redresse
Dri’d their wet eyes who now thy mercy blesse;
Yet, loth to lose thy watry jewell, when
Joy wip’t it off, laughter straight sprung’t agen.

Now ruddy checked Mirth with rosie wings
Fans ev’ry brow with gladnesse, whilst she sings
Delight to all, and the whole theatre
A festivall in heaven doth appeare:
Nothing but pleasure, love; and (like the morne)
Each face a gen’ral smiling doth adorne.

Heare ye, foul speakers, that pronounce the aire
Of stewes and shores, I will informe you where
And how to cloath aright your wanton wit,
Without her nasty bawd attending it:
View here a loose thought sayd with such a grace,
Minerva might have spoke in Venus face;
So well disguis’d, that ’twas conceiv’d by none
But Cupid had Diana’s linnen on;
And all his naked parts so vail’d, th’ expresse
The shape with clowding the uncomlinesse;
That if this Reformation, which we
Receiv’d, had not been buried with thee,
The stage (as this worke) might have liv’d and lov’d
Her lines, the austere Skarlet had approv’d;
And th’ actors wisely been from that offence
As cleare, as they are now from audience.

Thus with thy Genius did the scaene expire,
Wanting thy active and correcting fire,
That now (to spread a darknesse over all)
Nothing remaines but Poesie to fall:
And though from these thy Embers we receive
Some warmth, so much as may be said, we live;
That we dare praise thee blushlesse, in the head
Of the best piece Hermes to Love e’re read;
That we rejoyce and glory in thy wit,
And feast each other with remembring it;
That we dare speak thy thought, thy acts recite:
Yet all men henceforth be afraid to write.

Sonnet

I.
When I by thy faire shape did sweare,
And mingled with each vowe a teare,
I lov’d, I lov’d thee best,
I swore as I profest.
For all the while you lasted warme and pure,
My oathes too did endure.
But once turn’d faithlesse to thy selfe and old,
They then with thee incessantly grew cold.

I swore my selfe thy sacrifice
By th’ ebon bowes that guard thine eyes,
Which now are alter’d white,
And by the glorious light
Of both those stars, which of their spheres bereft,
Only the gellie’s left.
Then changed thus, no more I’m bound to you,
Then swearing to a saint that proves untrue.

An Elegie. Princesse Katherine Borne, Christened, Buried, I

You, that can haply mixe your joyes with cries,
And weave white Ios with black Elegies,
Can caroll out a dirge, and in one breath
Sing to the tune either of life, or death;
You, that can weepe the gladnesse of the spheres,
And pen a hymne, in stead of inke, with teares;
Here, here your unproportion’d wit let fall,
To celebrate this new-borne funerall,
And greete that little greatnesse, which from th’ wombe
Dropt both a load to th’ cradle and the tombe.

Bright soule! teach us, to warble with what feet
Thy swathing linnen and thy winding sheet,
Weepe, or shout forth that fonts solemnitie,
Which at once christn’d and buried thee,
And change our shriller passions with that sound,
First told thee into th’ ayre, then to the ground.

Ah, wert thou borne for this? only to call
The King and Queen guests to your buriall!
To bid good night, your day not yet begun,
And shew a setting, ere a rising sun!

Or wouldst thou have thy life a martyrdom?
Dye in the act of thy religion,
Fit, excellently, innocently good,
First sealing it with water, then thy blood?
As when on blazing wings a blest man sores,
And having past to God through fiery dores,
Straight ‘s roab’d with flames, when the same element,
Which was his shame, proves now his ornament;
Oh, how he hast’ned death, burn’t to be fryed,
Kill’d twice with each delay, till deified.
So swift hath been thy race, so full of flight,
Like him condemn’d, ev’n aged with a night,
Cutting all lets with clouds, as if th’ hadst been
Like angels plum’d, and borne a Cherubin.

Or, in your journey towards heav’n, say,
Tooke you the world a little in your way?
Saw’st and dislik’st its vaine pompe, then didst flye
Up for eternall glories to the skye?
Like a religious ambitious one,
Aspiredst for the everlasting crowne?

Ah! holy traytour to your brother prince,
Rob’d of his birth-right and preheminence!
Could you ascend yon’ chaire of state e’re him,
And snatch from th’ heire the starry diadem?
Making your honours now as much uneven,
As gods on earth are lesse then saints in heav’n.

Triumph! sing triumphs, then! Oh, put on all
Your richest lookes, drest for this festivall!
Thoughts full of ravisht reverence, with eyes
So fixt, as when a saint we canonize;
Clap wings with Seraphins before the throne
At this eternall coronation,
And teach your soules new mirth, such as may be
Worthy this birth-day to divinity.

Ad Sylonem. Ep. 104.

AD SYLONEM. EP. 104.

Aut sodes mihi redde decem sestertia, Sylo,
Deindo esto quam vis saevus et indomitus;
Aut si te nummi delectant, desine, quaeso,
Leno esse, atque idem saevus et indomitus.

Sylo, pray pay me my ten sesterces,
Then rant and roar as much as you shall please;
Or if that mony takes [you,] pray, give ore
To be a pimp, or else to rant and roar.

An Anniversary On The Hymeneals Of My Noble kinsman, Tho. S

I. The day is curl’d about agen To view the splendor she was in; When first with hallow’d hands

The holy man knit the mysterious bands
When you two your contracted souls did move
Like cherubims above,
And did make love,
As your un-understanding issue now,
In a glad sigh, a smile, a tear, a vow.

II. Tell me, O self-reviving Sun, In thy perigrination Hast thou beheld a pair

Twist their soft beams like these in their chast air?
As from bright numberlesse imbracing rayes
Are sprung th’ industrious dayes,
So when they gaze,
And change their fertile eyes with the new morn,
A beauteous offspring is shot forth, not born.

III. Be witness then, all-seeing Sun, Old spy, thou that thy race hast run In full five thousand rings;

To thee were ever purer offerings
Sent on the wings of Faith? and thou, O Night,
Curtain of their delight,
By these made bright,
Have you not mark’d their coelestial play,
And no more peek’d the gayeties of day?

IV. Come then, pale virgins, roses strow, Mingled with Ios as you go. The snowy ox is kill’d,

The fane with pros’lyte lads and lasses fill’d,
You too may hope the same seraphic joy,
Old time cannot destroy,
Nor fulnesse cloy;
When, like these, you shall stamp by sympathies
Thousands of new-born-loves with your chaste eyes.

A Mock Charon. Dialogue

CHA. W.

W. Charon! thou slave! thou fooll! thou cavaleer!
CHA. A slave! a fool! what traitor’s voice I hear?
W. Come bring thy boat. CH. No, sir. W. No! sirrah, why?
CHA. The blest will disagree, and fiends will mutiny
At thy, at thy [un]numbred treachery.
W. Villain, I have a pass which who disdains,
I will sequester the Elizian plains.
CHA. Woes me, ye gentle shades! where shall I dwell?
He’s come! It is not safe to be in hell.

CHORUS. Thus man, his honor lost, falls on these shelves; Furies and fiends are still true to themselves.

CHA. You must, lost fool, come in. W. Oh, let me in!
But now I fear thy boat will sink with my ore-weighty sin.
Where, courteous Charon, am I now? CHA. Vile rant!
At the gates of thy supreme Judge Rhadamant.

DOUBLE CHORUS OF DIVELS. Welcome to rape, to theft, to perjurie, To all the ills thou wert, we canot hope to be; Oh, pitty us condemned! Oh, cease to wooe, And softly, softly breath, least you infect us too.

Another

I.
As I beheld a winter’s evening air,
Curl’d in her court-false-locks of living hair,
Butter’d with jessamine the sun left there.

II.

Galliard and clinquant she appear’d to give,
A serenade or ball to us that grieve,
And teach us A LA MODE more gently live.

III.

But as a Moor, who to her cheeks prefers
White spots, t’ allure her black idolaters,
Me thought she look’d all ore-bepatch’d with stars.

IV.

Like the dark front of some Ethiopian queen,
Vailed all ore with gems of red, blew, green,
Whose ugly night seem’d masked with days skreen.

V.

Whilst the fond people offer’d sacrifice
To saphyrs, ‘stead of veins and arteries,
And bow’d unto the diamonds, not her eyes.

VI.

Behold LUCASTA’S face, how’t glows like noon!
A sun intire is her complexion,
And form’d of one whole constellation.

VII.

So gently shining, so serene, so cleer,
Her look doth universal Nature cheer;
Only a cloud or two hangs here and there.

Ad Quintium. Cat. Ep. 83

AD QUINTIUM. CAT. EP. 83.

Quinti, si tibi vis oculos debere Catullum,
Aut aliud si quid carius est oculis,
Eripere ei noli, multo quod carius illi
Est oculis, seu quid carius est oculis.

TO QUINTIUS.

Quintius, if you’l endear Catullus eyes,
Or what he dearer then his eyes doth prize,
Ravish not what is dearer then his eyes,
Or what he dearer then his eyes doth prize.

Ad Fabullium. Catul. Lib. I. Ep. 13.

Caenabis bene, mi Fabulle, apud me
Paucis, si dii tibi favent, diebus;
Si tecum attuleris bonam atque magnam
Caenam, non sine candida puella,
Et vino, et sale, et omnibus cachinnis.
Haec si, inquam, attuleris, Fabulle noster,
Caenabis bene: nam tui Catulli
Plenus sacculus est aranearum.
Sed, contra, accipies meros amores,
Seu quod suavius elegantiusve est:
Nam unguentum dabo, quod meae puellae
Donarunt Veneres Cupidinesque;
Quod tu **** olfacies, deos rogabis,
Totum te faciant, Fabulle, nasum.

To Lucasta, Going Beyond the Seas

If to be absent were to be
Away from thee;
Or that when I am gone,
You or I were alone, –
Then, my Lucasta, might I crave
Pity from blust’ring wind or swallowing wave.

But I’ll not sigh one blast or gale
To swell my sail,
Or pay a tear to ‘suage
The foaming blue god’s rage;
For whether he will let me pass
Or no, I’m still as happy as I was.

Though seas and land betwixt us both,
Our faith and troth,
Like separated souls,
All time and space controls:
Above the highest sphere we meet
Unseen, unknown, and greet as angels greet.

So then we do anticipate
Our after-fate,
And are alive i’th’ skies,
If thus our lips and eyes
Can speak like spirits unconfined
In Heaven, their earthy bodies left behind.

To His Fairest Valentine Mrs. A. L.

“Come, pretty birds, present your lays,
And learn to chaunt a goddess praise;
Ye wood-nymphs, let your voices be
Employ’d to serve her deity:
And warble forth, ye virgins nine,
Some music to my Valentine.

“Her bosom is love’s paradise,
There is no heav’n but in her eyes;
She’s chaster than the turtle-dove,
And fairer than the queen of love:
Yet all perfections do combine
To beautifie my Valentine.

“She’s Nature’s choicest cabinet,
Where honour, beauty, worth and wit
Are all united in her breast.
The graces claim an interest:
All virtues that are most divine
Shine clearest in my Valentine.”
And learn to chaunt a goddess praise;
Ye wood-nymphs, let your voices be
Employ’d to serve her deity:
And warble forth, ye virgins nine,
Some music to my Valentine.

“Her bosom is love’s paradise,
There is no heav’n but in her eyes;
She’s chaster than the turtle-dove,
And fairer than the queen of love:
Yet all perfections do combine
To beautifie my Valentine.

“She’s Nature’s choicest cabinet,
Where honour, beauty, worth and wit
Are all united in her breast.
The graces claim an interest:
All virtues that are most divine
Shine clearest in my Valentine.”

To Althea, From Prison

When Love with unconfined wings
Hovers within my gates,
And my divine Althea brings
To whisper at the grates;
When I lie tangled in her hair,
And fetter’d to her eye,
The gods, that wanton in the air,
Know no such liberty.

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.

When (like committed linnets) I
With shriller throat shall sing
The sweetness, mercy, majesty,
And glories of my king;
When I shall voice aloud how good
He is, how great should be,
Enlarged winds, that curl the flood,
Know no such liberty.

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 Lucasta, On Going To The Wars

TELL me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breasts, 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,
Loved I not honour more.

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