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Passions in PoetryRichard Lovelace
1618 - 1657

Richard Lovelace was born in the Netherlands, where his father was posted in military service. Educated at Charterhouse and Oxford, Lovelace showed an early interest in writing, producing a comedy "The Scholar" at the age of 16.

A key figure at court and close to the king, Lovelace accompanied Charles I on his ill-fated expedition to quell the Scots' rebellion of 1639-40. After the failure of this campaign he withdrew to his estates in Kent where he remained until 1642. Lovelace was, however, called out of this position of retirement to present a Royalist petition to the House of Commons. This met with such a hostile reception that Lovelace was promptly imprisoned in the Gatehouse prison, London. It was while he was in prison in 1642 that Lovelace wrote the words for which he is best remembered "Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage" in his poem "To Althea".

On release, Lovelace went into military service overseas. In 1645 he joined Charles I and in 1646 served with the French King. Lovelace had to sell many of his estates to maintain himself during this period and is reputed to have died in poverty overseas.

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Richard Lovelace
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