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Collected Poems (Shearsman Classics)

Collected Poems (Shearsman Classics)

ISBN: 9781848616172
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Richard Lovelace (1617-1657) joined the Court after his university days and served in King Charles I's brief and inglorious military campaign in Scotland. He was given the position of a "Gentlemen Wayter Extra-ordinary" to the King, and wrote an elegy to the Princess Katherine, who died the day she was born. After the failure of the Scottish campaign, he returned to his home in Kent, where he took up public posts befitting his standing. Alas, in 1642 he was imprisoned in Westminster for his temerity in presenting a petition to Parliament in support of the King - he was accompanied by 500 armed Kentish men, which probably did not help his case - and during his time in jail he wrote the poem 'To Althea. From Prison', with its immortal lines, "Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage." Following his release some weeks later he joined General Goring to fight in the Netherlands, as his father had done. He remained in Holland and France until 1646, and then returned to London. Upon his return he was imprisoned again. Released in 1649, he then published the volume Lucasta. He died in some poverty in 1658, and his brother and friends gathered up his remaining manuscripts and published a further posthumous volume of his work.

A good poet from the group that regarded Ben Jonson as friend and exemplar, his work deserves more attention than it usually receives. As with his friend Sir John Suckling, he has tended to be overshadowed by the great names of the era -- and there were so many of those, but his work deserves its place in the sun.

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