To Lucasta Going to The Wars

To Lucasta Going to The Wars

By Richard Lovelace

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.

Summary of To Lucasta Going to The Wars

  • Popularity of “To Lucasta Going to The Wars”: Written by Richard Lovelace, a cavalier English poet, this short but effective poetic piece first appeared during 1649-1651. The collection was titled Lucasta by Lovelace. The lady in question is the beloved of Lovelace, to whom he showers with love in every other poem. However, the tone and idea of this poem are unique in that he prefers war to love or chivalry to flattery and love. This idea has popularized the poem in poetic circles.
  • “To Lucasta Going to The Wars” As a Representative of Love and War: The speaker of the poem, who happens to be the poet himself, informs his beloved that she should not declare him unkind that he is leaving her love, her chaste breast and pure mind for war. He goes on to say that it is true that this is his new beloved and that he is after it. He also has strong faith in this new love lady. That is why he has taken up his war paraphernalia and has gone into its embrace. In the third stanza, he admits that this is an inconstancy in his character that she would also love that he loves his honor and principles more than her love. That is why he is leaving her in the midst.
  • Major Themes in “To Lucasta Going to The Wars”: Chivalry, honor and principles, and love are major themes of this short poetic piece “To Lucasta Going to the Wars.” The poet spells out in the very beginning telling Lucasta that she should not consider him cruel or unkind. The reason is that he has given preference to his honor and principles that demands war against the enemies. Therefore, he is leaving her. There is only this inconsistency in his character. Otherwise, he loves her intensely and does not want to leave her, but as he has embraced this new lady (war), he has left with all his tools to meet his new lady of war. This is the ancient theme of chivalry that the young men used to go to war with fanfare, leaving their ladies behind and preferring their honor and chivalry.

Analysis of Literary Devices Used in To Lucasta Going to The Wars

Richard Lovelace’s skill of using literary devices at suitable places is matchless. He has demonstrated this skill as given below.

  1. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line, such as the sound of /e/ in “Tell me not (Sweet) I am unkind” and the sound of /o/ in “A sword, a horse, a shield.”
  2. Alliteration: It means to use initial consonant sounds in two or more consecutive words. The poem shows the use of alliteration, such as the sound of /f/ in “first foe.”
  3. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line, such as the sound of /r / in “To war and arms I fly” and the sound of /t/ in “True, a new mistress now I chase.”
  4. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. Richard Lovelace used imagery in this poem, such as “That from the nunnery”, “Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind” and “True, a new mistress now I chase.”
  5. Metaphor: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between objects that are different in nature. The poet used the metaphor of love with that of war and chivalry, poising war as a lady.
  6. Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from the literal meanings. The poem shows symbols, such as a nunnery, breast, mind, arms, a sword, a horse, and a shield to show the battlefield of love and its requirements.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in To Lucasta Going to The Wars

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is an analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. Diction: It means the type of language. The poem shows good use of formal, poetic, and loving diction.
  2. End Rhyme: It means to use verses having matching end words. Richard Lovelace shows the use of end rhyme such as unkind/mind and field/shield.
  3. Quatrain: It is a Persian stanza having four verses. This poem has three quatrains.
  4. Rhyme Scheme: The poem shows the rhyme scheme of ABAB in every stanza.
  5. Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. There are three stanzas, with each comprising four verses.
  6. Tone: It means the voice of the text. The poem shows a loving, intense, and comparative tone.

Quotes to be Used

The following lines are useful to quote when a person prefers honor for love and leaves his love for honor and principles.

Yet this inconstancy is such
As you too shall adore;
I could not love thee (Dear) so much,
Lov’d I not Honour more