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LOVELACE, Richard



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 birds, that wanton in the air,

Know no such liberty.


When flowing cups run swiftly round

With no allaying Thames,

Our carelesse 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 sweetnes, mercy, majesty,

And glories of my King.

When I shall voice aloud, how good

He is, how great should be,

Enlarged winds, that curle the flood,

Know no such liberty.


Stone walls doe 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 sore above

Enjoy such liberty.



The Scrutiny


Why should you swear I am forsworn,

Since thine I vowed to be?

Lady, it is already morn,

And 'twas last night I swore to thee

That fond impossibility.


Have I not loved thee much and long,

A tedious twelve hours' space?

I must all other beauties wrong,

And rob thee of a new embrace,

Could I still dote upon thy face.


Not but all joy in thy brown hair

By others may be found; -

But I must search the black and fair,

Like skilful mineralists that sound

For treasure in unploughed-up ground.


Then if, when I have loved my round,

Thou prov'st the pleasant she,

With spoils of meaner beauties crowned

I laden will return to thee,

Ev'n sated with variety.