Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO LUCASTA, FROM PRISON, by RICHARD LOVELACE



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TO LUCASTA, FROM PRISON, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Long in thy shackles, liberty
Last Line: How to serve you, and you trust me!
Subject(s): Freedom; Liberty


Long, in thy shackles, Liberty
I ask not from these walls, but thee;
Left for awhile another's bride,
To fancy all the world beside.

Yet ere I do begin to love,
See, how I all my objects prove;
Then my free soul to that confine,
'Twere possible I might call mine.

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?

Fain would I be in love with War,
As my dear just avenging star;
But War is loved everywhere,
Even he disdains a lodging here.

Thee and thy wounds I would bemoan,
Fair thorough-shot Religion;
But he lives only that kills thee,
And who so binds thy hands, is free.

I would love a Parliament
As a main-prop from Heaven sent;
But ah! who's he, that would be wedded
To the fairest body that's beheaded?

Next would I court my Liberty,
And then my birth-right Property;
But can that be, when it is known,
There's nothing you can call your own?

A Reformation I would have,
As for our griefs a Sovereign salve;
That is, a cleansing of each wheel
Of state, that yet some rust doth feel.

But not a Reformation so,
As to reform were to overthrow;
Like watches by unskilful men
Disjointed, and set ill again.

The Public Faith I would adore,
But she is bankrupt of her store;
Nor how to trust her can I see,
For she that cozens all, must me.

Since then none of these can be
Fit objects for my Love and me;
What then remains, but the only spring
Of all our loves and joys? The KING.

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

And now an universal mist
Of error is spread o'er each breast,
With such a fury edged, as is
Not found in the inwards of the abyss.

Oh, from thy glorious starry wain
Dispense on me one sacred beam
To light me where I soon may see
How to serve you, and you trust me!




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