What do you think? Does anyone have a certain interpretation of the following lines?I have a great impression on "To Lucasta, going to the Wars" by Richard Lovelace, however, there seem to be two...

What do you think? Does anyone have a certain interpretation of the following lines?

I have a great impression on "To Lucasta, going to the Wars" by Richard Lovelace, however, there seem to be two very different interpretations of the last two lines. "I could not love thee(Dear) so much, Lov'd I not Honour more."

One is that the narrator chooses honour and feels the excitement of going to war. Another is that the narrator loves his mistress still, but just not as much as he loves honour.

My personal opinion, based both on the fact that Lovelace was a Cavalier* and my own modern perception: In order to love his mistress fully, he must first gain the honour he mentioned about and the honour is also for his mistress too.

*mostly the theme of cavalier poets revolves around "Honour", especially the one gained from war.

 

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ask996's profile pic

ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

So when the speaker says, "I could not love thee(Dear) so much, Lov'd I not Honour more," perhaps he is saying that he has arrived at a stage in life where he has learned what it is important to value. Not the things that youth might perhaps value such as material items, but real values. Is it possibly his recognition of this and understanding and loving honour and what is important that allows him to recognize her value and love her because of that?

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I would tend to agree with your second interpretation of these lines.

I also agree that this may be because we are modern people and less likely to think that war is glorious for its own sake.

But when I read these lines, I think of the current idea that you have to love yourself in order for you to be able to love someone else.  I guess to put it another way, you have to respect yourself in order to love someone else.

So I would agree with you.

As far as the text of the poem goes, the only thing I can point to support this interpretation is that he tells her she will adore his inconstancy.  This might imply that she will like the end result of his leaving, which would presumably be that he is better able to love her.

 

neneta's profile pic

neneta | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

I agree with Bluefirefly. However I add some comments.

In the first stanza, the speaker implies that his lover provides him a safe and comfortable life, but he still chooses to carry out his duty as a soldier. Remark the words “chaste breast” and “nunnery” as metaphors for safety and cosiness. Here, the chaste breast may also refer to a mother’s breast and nunnery to a happy childhood. “A new mistress now I chase” is a paradox since it refers to the enemy he will have to battle. In the last sentence, the speaker confesses that he prioritizes to achieve his duty in the battlefield than to stay with his mistress. Thus, the meaning of this poem is the sense of honour the speaker has for his country.

bluefirefly's profile pic

bluefirefly | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

So when the speaker says, "I could not love thee(Dear) so much, Lov'd I not Honour more," perhaps he is saying that he has arrived at a stage in life where he has learned what it is important to value. Not the things that youth might perhaps value such as material items, but real values. Is it possibly his recognition of this and understanding and loving honour and what is important that allows him to recognize her value and love her because of that?

Thank you so much for replying to my post, ask996. :D I think you have a very good point here but one question arises as at the time Lovelace wrote this poem, he was so young and so headstrong....but of course, it's just what people at the time recorded and I am merely a reader.

Perhaps, age is not the most important factor that influences maturity.

Thanks again for your valuable answer. :)

bluefirefly's profile pic

bluefirefly | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

I would tend to agree with your second interpretation of these lines.

I also agree that this may be because we are modern people and less likely to think that war is glorious for its own sake.

But when I read these lines, I think of the current idea that you have to love yourself in order for you to be able to love someone else.  I guess to put it another way, you have to respect yourself in order to love someone else.

So I would agree with you.

As far as the text of the poem goes, the only thing I can point to support this interpretation is that he tells her she will adore his inconstancy.  This might imply that she will like the end result of his leaving, which would presumably be that he is better able to love her.

 

Thank you very much, pohnpei397. I really appreciate your answer. :)

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