Richard Lovelace - Biography and Works

Richard Lovelace was an English Cavalier poet of the 17th century. He was a devotional supporter of the King Charles I in the Civil War. He was born in the well to do family of Sir William Lovelace and Anne Barne Lovelace as the eldest son. Though his birthplace is unknown, it is assumed that he was born in the Netherlands in the Kentish family. Kentish are well known for the expert soldiers.

Richard Lovelace (1617-1657)

He was born in the rich family, but it is said that he died of misery, poverty and starvation at the age of 40.   

He got a formal education from the Charterhouse and at the age of 16 he wrote a drama The Scholar. The Scholar is a comedy made up on the Whitefriars. Only the prologue and epilogue of The Scholar is found today. He attended the University of Oxford, where he carved himself not as the scholar, but more as the social expert. His contemporary Anthony Wood praised him asthe most amiable and beautiful person that ever eye beheld; a person also of innate modesty, virtue and courtly deportment, which made him then, but especially after, when he retired to the great city, much admired and adored by the female sex.’

In 1641 Lovelace commanded a group to destroy a petition for the abolition of Episcopal rule, which had been signed by 15000 people. The next year he presented the House of Commons with Dering's pro-Royalist appeal which was thought to have been burned. Because of these actions Lovelace was put into the prison. He was released on bail. 

His writing career starts from the Oxford when he wrote The Scholar. Since then, he had written nearly 200 poems. He wrote The Soldier in 1640 which is a tragedy. Though his tragedy, The Soldier, has not survived, his superbly well-organized poem ‘To Lucasta, Going to the Wars’ gave him eternal fame.  His famous works are To Althea, From the Prison and To Lucasta, Going to the Warres written in 1640 and 1642 respectively. He wrote The Rose, The Scrutin, Lucasta, The Ant, The Grasse-hopper, The Snayl, The Falcon, and The Toad and Spyder. Lucasta: Postume Poems was published posthumously in 1660.

Related Topic

To Althea, From Prison: Summary and Analysis