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To Lucasta Written by Richard Lovelace

Essay by   •  November 30, 2016  •  Article Review  •  626 Words (3 Pages)  •  495 Views

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Kyle Fulmer


English 102

Prof. Eriksson

Essay #2: Poetry Analysis

“To Lucasta” written by Richard Lovelace is a short and powerful poem in which Lovelace writes a letter to his mistress during the wars. “To Lucasta" can be deemed a goodbye letter that you would write to your wife or girlfriend, so the poem contained the typical affectionate wording. Although this isn’t the typical love poem as Lovelace puts his own twist on the meaning of the letter.

 The odd thing in this story, the affectionate words that normally would be directed to the mistress, are directed to war. In line 1, the reader refers to Lucasta as “sweet” intending that she is his sweetheart. This starts off the poem, leading most leaders to believe that Lovelace is madly in love with his mistress. Line 2: The speaker calls Lucasta's "breast" a nunnery. They're not literally a nunnery, he's using a metaphor to describe the chastity and non-sexual character of Lucasta's body. Line 3 he follows up with this thought by calling Lucasta’s breast “chaste” or pure. Lines 5-6 Lovelace states “A new mistress now I chase, the first foe in the field”. The meaning of this line is that Lovelace will pursue his enemy in war just as much as his mistress, Lucasta. Lines 7-8 say “And with a stronger faith embrace, a sword, a horse, a shield. This line provides proof that with a “stronger faith” or more ambition, Lovelace puts his love of the war above his mistress. The poem sums up in line 12 proposing that Lovelace “Loves honor more”, therefore saying he does still love Lucasta but not with the power and drive he has in regards to the war.

The setting of the poem also plays a role in its meaning. While this may be a poem about heading off to war, it takes place decidedly on the home front. Lovelace is still trying to explain himself to Lucasta, who's not headed into battle, Lovelace is also writing during the English Civil War, where he and many other men had left their mistresses to go to war. Based on that historical setting, the poem may be bigger and more meaningful than just Lovelace and Lucasta. Lovelace’s intended meaning of this poem could be just about any woman who's been left behind at home while her main man heads off to war. This is where the theme of love and sacrifice become more important than the historical setting of being at war, Lovelace’s finally point may be that there will always be wars, and there will always be “Lucastas” left behind.



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