A Poem by Richard Lovelace
A Study Guide
Study Guide Prepared by Michael J. Cummings...© 2010
......."To Lucasta, going to the Wars" is a lyric poem in which a young man explains to his beloved why he must leave her to go to war. It was first published in 1649 in To Lucasta, a collection of Lovelace's poems.
.......Richard Lovelace (1618-1657) was a dashing, handsome, well-educated English gentleman who, as a soldier and poet, strongly defended Britain's King Charles I during the Bishops' Wars in Scotland (1639-1640) and the English Civil Wars (1642-1651). Lovelace held inherited estates in Kent and freely used his personal resources to support the king's causes. He became famous as one of the cavalier poets, who were refined, cultured, fashionably dressed gentlementhe very definition of cavalier..
.......The identity of the woman to whom Lovelace addresses the poem is uncertain; she may even have been a product of Lovelace's imagination. However, evidence suggests she was Lucy Sacheverell, whom he sometimes called by the Latin name Lux Casta. Lux, a noun, means light; casta, an adjective, means chaste, moral, virtuous, pure, sacred. Thus, Lux Casta may be translated as Pure Light or Sacred Light.
.......The theme of the poem is the importance of honor and duty. The speaker asks his beloved not to think harshly of him for leaving her side to go to war. He could not love her as much as he does, he says, if he dishonored himself by failing to answer the call to duty.
.......The speakerlike many other young men of his age or any ageis eager for a little derring-do to prove his mettle. But he is worried that his love will think less of him if he leaves her side. The theme, then, is that a man sometimes must sweet-talk his beloved in order to get his way.3...............12px;">2px;">4
Of THY..|..chaste BREAST..|..and QUI..|..et MIND
.......In each stanza the first line rhymes with the third and the second with the fourth.
Examples of rhyming sounds within are the following:Line 1:...Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
Line 2:...from the nunnery
Line 5:...True, a new
Line 7:...faith embrace font>
Line 8:...A sword, a horse, a shield.
Line 10: thou too shalt adoreTone
By Richard Lovelace
Text and Notes
Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
True, a new mistress2now I chase,
Yet this inconstancy3is such
1...nunnery: Convent or cloister for nuns.
Figures of Speech
.......Following are examples of figures of speech in the poem.
AlliterationLine 5:..a new mistress now I chase
Line 6:..The first foe in the field
Line 9:..this inconstancy is suchAnaphoraLine 8: A sword, a horse, a shieldMetaphorLines 2-3: That from the nunnery
...............Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
Comparison of the young woman's body (breast) and mind to the peace and serenity of a nunnery
Line 5-6: True, a new mistress now I chase,
Line 11-12: I could not love thee, Dear, so much,
1. Write a short poem centering on honor or duty.
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