Richard Lovelace.

TO LUCASTA. From Prison.

An Epode.

LONG in thy Shackels, liberty,
    I ask not from these walls, but thee ;
Left for a while anothers Bride,
    To fancy all the world beside.

Yet e're I do begin to love,
    See !  How I all my objects prove ;
Then my free Soule 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 ?

Faine would I be in love with War,
    As my deare Just avenging star ;
But War is loved so ev'ry where,
    Ev'n He disdaines a Lodging here.

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.

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 ?

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 ?

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 :

But not a Reformation so,
    As to reforme were to ore'throw ;
Like Watches by unskilfull men
    Disjoynted, and set ill againe.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Lovelace, Richard.    The Poems of Richard Lovelace.
London: Unit Library, Ltd., 1904.    44-46.

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