Lovelace, Richard

Richard Lovelace (pronounced /lʌvlɪs/, homophone of “loveless”) (9 December 1617 – 1657) was an English poet in the seventeenth century. He was a cavalier poet who fought on behalf of the king during the Civil War. His best known works are “To Althea, from Prison”, and “To Lucasta, Going to the Warres”.

From the time Richard Lovelace started writing while he was a student at Oxford he wrote almost 200 poems. His first work was a drama, The Scholars, never published but performed at college and then in London. In 1640, he wrote a tragedy, The Soldier based on his military experience. When serving in the Bishops’ Wars, he wrote the sonnet “To Generall Goring”, a poem of Bacchanalian celebration rather than a glorification of military action. “To Lucasta, Going to the Warres”, written in 1640, concerned his first political action. “To Althea, From Prison” was written during his first imprisonment in 1642. Later that year, during his travels to Holland with General Goring, he wrote The Rose, followed by The Scrutiny. On 14 May 1649, Lucasta was published. He also wrote poems on animal life: The Ant, The Grasse-hopper, The Snayl, The Falcon, The Toad and Spyder. In 1660, after Lovelace died, Lucasta: Postume Poems was published; it contains A Mock-Song, which has a darker tone than his previous works.[3]