To Lucasta, Going to the Wars
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 you too shall adore;
I could not love thee (Dear) so much,
Lov’d I not Honour more.
Richard Lovelace (1617 – 1657)
This is a well-known poem by Richard Lovelace who is known as a cavalier poet. He strongly supported the royalty at the time of the Civil War. It was a very turbulent time in England. He did get injured in battle and eventually died of his wounds.
S1 … RL is trying to placate Lucinda. A religious person perhaps and peace loving
S2 … RL being a soldier gives focus to a new mistress. This implies that a different kind of love is involved.
S3 … RL states that he would not be loved or respected if such Honour were not obeyed. He would not be true to himself. Again, a placating voice.
What exactly is honour and does honour always have precedence? Honour – the quality of knowing and doing what is morally right. Well, we all must make tough decisions according to our conscience.