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To Althea, from Prison

Richard Lovelace
When Love with unconfinéd wings
Hovers within my gates,
And my divine Althea brings
To whisper at the grates;
When I lie tangled in her hair
And fettered to her eye,
The birds that wanton in the air
Know no such liberty.

When flowing cups run swiftly round,
With no allaying Thames,
Our careless heads with roses bound,
Our hearts with loyal flames;
When thirsty grief in wine we steep,
When healths and draughts go free,
Fishes, that tipple in the deep,
Know no such liberty.

When, like committed linnets, I
With shriller throat shall sing
The sweetness, mercy, majesty,
And glories of my King;
When I shall voice aloud how good
He is, how great should be,
Enlargéd winds, that curl the flood,
Know no such liberty.

Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for a hermitage.
If I have freedom in my love,
And in my soul am free,
Angels alone, that soar above,
Enjoy such liberty.

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Richard Lovelace

by this poet

poem
Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,   
  That from the nunnery   
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind   
  To war and arms I fly.   
  
True, a new mistress now I chase,
  The first foe in the field;   
And with a stronger faith embrace   
  A sword, a horse, a shield.   
  
Yet this inconstancy is such   
  As