Analysis of Poetry of Richard Lovelace
Analysis of Poetry of Richard Lovelace

Analysis of Poetry of Richard Lovelace

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  • Published: November 10, 2021
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Using Richard Lovelace?s poetry, analyze his exploration of the conflicts between desire and seventeenth-century sexual morality.
Richard Lovelace was among the Cavalier poets who lived in the 17th century. The poetry of Richard was different from the metaphysical poetry that was popular during this time. He wrote straightforward yet refined poems that centered on sensuality and romantic love. He also expressed the idea of carpe diem, meaning, and seize the day. He expressed the importance of enjoying life rather than following moral codes in most of his works. He expressed the attitude of arrogance, dismissive, and carefree living in his poetry (Benet p. 110). For instance, the poem, To Althea from Prison, Richard expresses his carefree spirit while he had been imprisoned during the war. Most of his artistic work revolves around the conflict between desire and sexual morality during his time.

In the poem, To Althea from Prison, the poem seem a little sweet, his wordings express the feeling of the moment, and an indication of the sensational feeling is also widely expressed in the poem. This clearly shows that he has some conflicting ideas between his desire to live for the moment and issues of sexual morality together with the fact that he has been confined to prison. When his lover visits him in prison, he lies tangled in her hair. He feels free and comfortable in spite t

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he fact that he has been imprisoned (Galens & David p. 75). He plays with the paradox of submission and freedom in captivity because he believes he can still celebrate the king that he serves even when he has been imprisoned. He uncompromisingly refuse to submit to new situation that he encounters in prison, lack of physical freedom. In the poem, to Lucasta, going to the Wars, he says, “I could not love thee dear, so much, loved I not honored much.” This is a clear situation of internal conflict that he is going through. He is totally devoted to his master, the king, a situation which can be considered as an emotional affair. It can be compared to a man devoting himself to serve his mistress. In the royalties’ point of view, it took precedence. On the same note, the use of imagery in warfare such as images of shields and swords, are considered romantic and archaic.

In Richard Lovelace’s poetry, about seize the day written together with other cavalier poets, it is a representation of just more than a cape diem poem. It is about Lovelace relating to the ideologies of freedom, sex roles, and morality. The roles of freedom, morality, and sex were viewed as very important during the time when they wrote this poem. These roles that were influenced by the civil activities were experienced during that time. As a result, people were afraid to fail in their mission despite the fact that they had to face the realities of their failures (Galens & David p. 50). There were several questions asked by individuals who took part in the war. Richard in his poem wonders how much time is left

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for them before the end of the war so that they could go back home to their loved one, Lucasta. In my opinion, I feel that, he was being influenced by the events that must have been to him exposed before his death. He wrote his poem, from Althea to Prison while under pressure and some impression unknown to the reader. In several circumstances, poetry writers are influenced by the world and environment they are exposed to. Richard, in this case, I would assume, he was reflecting on his thoughts as he wrote most his poems.
In the poem, To Althea from Prison, Richard Lovelace expresses his struggles and pain when his fiancée left him to be married to someone else. He dedicated the poem to Lucasta, when he came from prison and found that his wife had been misled by wrong information about his death and his fortune taken. Simple elegance expressed in the poem suggest sensuality rather than any form of metaphysical influence (Wadsworth p. 758). The imaginary prison visit by Althea, results into rise of images of captivity, confining the writer into deeper physical imprisonment. However, he says that Althea’s hair entangled him as he lies “fettered to her eye.” This is a paradoxical situation that expresses the idea that love offers liberty to an imprisoned lover. However, that love can itself be a prison when it is not reciprocated. In some way, the poem is used to celebrate and appreciate the freedom of conscience. He feels free while with his fiancée because he has not been denied the freedom of love.

In the poems, “love, wine and song,’ Richard Lovelace is keeping memories of the lavish royalist symposium held by the king. The poem moves with delightful ease as its pledges are made to the king taking undiluted wine. Though there are no dispelling themes of such scenarios. However, this practice does not move along with the classical spirit of moderation. According to the Greeks, it is considered vulgar to drink wine that is not diluted with water. On the same note, this practice envisions a state of pricelessness that the royalties pay for supporting the king, Charles I. The use of imagery of the refrain lines has a rhetorical predictability, and invariably reflects to his previous actions (Benet p. 205). Lovelace goes ahead to list the virtues of the king such as sweetness, majesties, mercies, and glories in a way that is very conventional. The kings evolving greatness is expressed in the poem when he talks about “the enlarged winds, that curle the flood.” This is an incidental expression of the king’s impression though it is opposed by his followers and it raises several questions about the conflict between desire and sexual morality.

The poet also expresses some broad ethical sense, self-denial, emphasis of inner light of personal conscience, and puritan ideal when he says that ‘the walls does not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage”. He further uses the imagery of angels and hermitage to confirm his meditative and intensely Christian change of mind. Lovelace’s poem displays considerable art of rhetoric that does not

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