Richard Lovelace

(1618-1657 / London / England)

The Lady A. L. My Asylum In A Great Exteremity. - Poem by Richard Lovelace

With that delight the Royal captiv's brought
Before the throne, to breath his farewell thought,
To tel his last tale, and so end with it,
Which gladly he esteemes a benefit;
When the brave victor, at his great soule dumbe,
Findes something there fate cannot overcome,
Cals the chain'd prince, and by his glory led,
First reaches him his crowne, and then his head;
Who ne're 'til now thinks himself slave and poor;
For though nought else, he had himselfe before.
He weepes at this faire chance, nor wil allow,
But that the diadem doth brand his brow,
And under-rates himselfe below mankinde,
Who first had lost his body, now his minde,

With such a joy came I to heare my dombe,
And haste the preparation of my tombe,
When, like good angels who have heav'nly charge
To steere and guide mans sudden giddy barge,
She snatcht me from the rock I was upon,
And landed me at life's pavillion:
Where I, thus wound out of th' immense abysse,
Was straight set on a pinacle of blisse.

Let me leape in againe! and by that fall
Bring me to my first woe, so cancel all:
Ah! 's this a quitting of the debt you owe,
To crush her and her goodnesse at one blowe?
Defend me from so foule impiety,
Would make friends grieve, and furies weep to see.

Now, ye sage spirits, which infuse in men
That are oblidg'd twice to oblige agen,
Informe my tongue in labour what to say,
And in what coyne or language to repay.
But you are silent as the ev'nings ayre,
When windes unto their hollow grots repaire.
Oh, then accept the all that left me is,
Devout oblations of a sacred wish!

When she walks forth, ye perfum'd wings oth' East,
Fan her, 'til with the Sun she hastes to th' West,
And when her heav'nly course calles up the day,
And breakes as bright, descend, some glistering ray,
To circle her, and her as glistering haire,
That all may say a living saint shines there.
Slow Time, with woollen feet make thy soft pace,
And leave no tracks ith' snow of her pure face;
But when this vertue must needs fall, to rise
The brightest constellation in the skies;
When we in characters of fire shall reade,
How cleere she was alive, how spotless, dead.
All you that are a kinne to piety:
For onely you can her close mourners be,
Draw neer, and make of hallowed teares a dearth:
Goodnes and justice both are fled the earth.

If this be to be thankful, I'v a heart
Broaken with vowes, eaten with grateful smart,
And beside this, the vild world nothing hath
Worth anything but her provoked wrath;
So then, who thinkes to satisfie in time,
Must give a satisfaction for that crime:
Since she alone knowes the gifts value, she
Can onely to her selfe requitall be,
And worthyly to th' life paynt her owne story
In its true colours and full native glory;
Which when perhaps she shal be heard to tell,
Buffoones and theeves, ceasing to do ill,
Shal blush into a virgin-innocence,
And then woo others from the same offence;
The robber and the murderer, in 'spite
Of his red spots, shal startle into white:
All good (rewards layd by) shal stil increase
For love of her, and villany decease;
Naught be ignote, not so much out of feare
Of being punisht, as offending her.

So that, when as my future daring bayes
Shall bow it selfe in lawrels to her praise,
To crown her conqu'ring goodnes, and proclaime
The due renowne and glories of her name:
My wit shal be so wretched and so poore
That, 'stead of praysing, I shal scandal her,
And leave, when with my purest art I'v done,
Scarce the designe of what she is begunne:
Yet men shal send me home, admir'd, exact;
Proud, that I could from her so wel detract.

Where, then, thou bold instinct, shal I begin
My endlesse taske? To thanke her were a sin
Great as not speake, and not to speake, a blame
Beyond what's worst, such as doth want a name;
So thou my all, poore gratitude, ev'n thou
In this wilt an unthankful office do:
Or wilt I fling all at her feet I have:
My life, my love, my very soule, a slave?
Tye my free spirit onely unto her,
And yeeld up my affection prisoner?
Fond thought, in this thou teachest me to give
What first was hers, since by her breath I live;
And hast but show'd me, how I may resigne
Possession of those thing are none of mine.


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Read poems about / on: smart, innocence, justice, farewell, future, fate, snow, red, joy, fire, lost, home, alone, sun, rose, sky, angel, friend, wind



Poem Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002



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