• Letter to Editor
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  • To His Fairest Valentine, Mrs. A.L.

  • “Come, pretty birds, present your lays, 
  • And learn to chaunt a goddess praise; 
  • Ye wood-nymphs, let your voices be 
  • Employ’d to serve her deity: 
  • And warble forth, ye virgins nine, 
  • Some music to my Valentine.
  • “Her bosom is love’s paradise, 
  • There is no heav’n but in her eyes; 
  • She’s chaster than the turtle-dove, 
  • And fairer than the queen of love: 
  • Yet all perfections do combine 
  • To beautifie my Valentine.
  • “She’s Nature’s choicest cabinet, 
  • Where honour, beauty, worth and wit 
  • Are all united in her breast. 
  • The graces claim an interest: 
  • All virtues that are most divine 
  • Shine clearest in my Valentine.”
  • Song

  • I
  • Strive not, vain lover, to be fine;
  • Thy silk’s the silk-worm’s, and not thine:
  • You lessen to a fly your mistriss’ thought,
  • To think it may be in a cobweb caught.
  • What, though her thin transparent lawn
  • Thy heart in a strong net hath drawn:
  • Not all the arms the god of fire ere made
  • Can the soft bulwarks of nak’d love invade.
  • II
  • Be truly fine, then, and yourself dress
  • In her fair soul’s immac’late glass.
  • Then by reflection you may have the bliss
  • Perhaps to see what a true fineness is;
  • When all your gawderies will fit
  • Those only that are poor in wit.
  • She that a clinquant outside doth adore,
  • Dotes on a gilded statue and no more. 

Richard Lovelace

Richard Lovelace

Richard Lovelace (1617-1657) was an English poet and one of the most prominent of the 17th century “Cavalier Poets,” so named for taking up arms on behalf of King Charles during the English Civil War (1642-1651) – although their lively and romantic style has given a secondary sense to “cavalier,” which originally denoted a mounted soldier. Like the other Cavalier Poets, Lovelace (pronounced “loveless”) relied on his knowledge of the ancient Roman poets, especially the lyric poets Catullus (84-54 BC) and Horace (65-27 BC), to produce songs in praise of love and lyrics that esteemed the harmony of indulging in worldly pleasures while also pursuing the timeless virtues of courage, honor, and loyalty to a cause.

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