To Lucasta From Prison An Epode

Richard Lovelace 1618 – 1657

I.
Long in thy shackels, liberty
I ask not from these walls, but thee;
Left for awhile anothers bride,
To fancy all the world beside.

  II.
Yet e're I doe begin to love,
See, how I all my objects prove;
Then my free soule to that confine,
'Twere possible I might call mine.

  III.
First I would be in love with PEACE,
And her rich swelling breasts increase;
But how, alas! how may that be,
Despising earth, she will love me?

  IV.
Faine would I be in love with WAR,
As my deare just avenging star;
But War is lov'd so ev'rywhere,
Ev'n he disdaines a lodging here.

  V.
Thee and thy wounds I would bemoane,
Faire thorough-shot RELIGION;
But he lives only that kills thee,
And who so bindes thy hands, is free.

  VI.
I would love a PARLIAMENT
As a maine prop from Heav'n sent;
But ah! who's he, that would be wedded
To th' fairest body that's beheaded?

  VII.
Next would I court my LIBERTY,
And then my birth-right, PROPERTY;
But can that be, when it is knowne,
There's nothing you can call your owne?

  VIII.
A REFORMATION I would have,
As for our griefes a SOV'RAIGNE salve;
That is, a cleansing of each wheele
Of state, that yet some rust doth feele.

  IX.
But not a reformation so,
As to reforme were to ore'throw,
Like watches by unskilfull men
Disjoynted, and set ill againe.

  X.
The PUBLICK FAITH I would adore,
But she is banke-rupt of her store:
Nor how to trust her can I see,
For she that couzens all, must me.

  XI.
Since then none of these can be
Fit objects for my love and me;
What then remaines, but th' only spring
Of all our loves and joyes, the King?

  XII.
He who, being the whole ball
Of day on earth, lends it to all;
When seeking to ecclipse his right,
Blinded we stand in our owne light.

  XIII.
And now an universall mist
Of error is spread or'e each breast,
With such a fury edg'd as is
Not found in th' inwards of th' abysse.

  XIV.
Oh, from thy glorious starry waine
Dispense on me one sacred beame,
To light me where I soone may see
How to serve you, and you trust me!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Richard Lovelace

Richard Lovelace was an English poet more…

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