Th'inwards of th'abysse: questions of the subject in Lovelace's poetry

Bronwen Price

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Appearing for the first time in 1649, at the end of the Civil War, Lovelace's collection of poetry, Lucasta, represents the work of a committed royalist and faithful subject to the king. References to battle, prison, shattered loyalties and lost ideals resonate throughout the volume. The historical and political specificity of Lovelace's poetry has received much critical consideration.1 In an illuminating study of Lovelace's and Marvell's poetry, Leah Marcus draws attention to Lucasta's continual recalling of Caroline iconography, particularly through its allusion to rural ritual and hermeticism, which were idealised by and incorporated within royalist doctrine by the Book of Sports and Stuart entertainments. Marcus sees Lucasta as 'a Cavalier paradigm, a treasury of political motifs' which 'repeatedly imbeds rituals and symbols of the vanished court in protected rural enclosures as a way of perpetuating vestiges of the culture that was lost' .2 In Lucasta the grove provides the emblem of both the palace and the Anglican church in prewar terms, whose values and rituals are recovered in private, sacred realms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-138
Number of pages22
Issue number176
Publication statusPublished - 1994


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