Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VIII. National Spirit
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VIII. National Spirit.  1904.
 
II. Freedom
To Althea from Prison
Richard Lovelace (1618–1658)
 
WHEN Love with unconfinèd wings
  Hovers within my gates,
And by divine Althea brings
  To whisper at my grates;
When I lie tangled in her hair        5
  And fettered with her eye,
The birds that wanton in the air
  Know no such liberty.
 
When flowing cups pass swiftly round
  With no allaying Thames,        10
Our careless heads with roses crowned,
  Our hearts with loyal flames;
When thirsty grief in wine we steep,
  When healths and draughts go free,
Fishes that tipple in the deep        15
  Know no such liberty.
 
When, like committed linnets, I
  With shriller throat shall sing
The mercy, sweetness, majesty
  And glories of my King;        20
When I shall voice aloud, how good
  He is, how great should be,
Enlargèd winds that curl the flood
  Know no such liberty.
 
Stone walls do not a prison make,        25
  Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
  That for an hermitage:
If I have freedom in my love,
  And in my soul am free,        30
Angels alone, that soar above,
  Enjoy such liberty.
 
 
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