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Poetry in Translation (XCIX): Richard Lovelace (1618 – 1658): “Tell Me Not, Sweet, I Am Unkind?” – “Lucastei – Adio, înainte de Luptă”

December 14th, 2011 · No Comments · Poetry, quotations, Translations

Bayeux Tapestry

Richard Lovelace (1618 – 1658)

Tell Me Not, Sweet, I Am Unkind?

“Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind
For, 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;
For, I could not love thee, Dear, so much,
Loved I not honour more.”

Norman Shield, Bayeux Tapestry

Richard LOVELACE (1618 – 1658)

Lucastei – Adio, înainte de Luptă

Iubito, să nu-mi ţii de rău
Că din ispita fragedului piept
Mă-ndepărtez de chipul tău
La luptă, aprig să mă-ndrept.

Mireasă nouă voi fi luat
în bătălie, ţanţoș,
Căci Sfântul Duh, m-a înarmat
C-un cal, c-un scut si-un paloș.

Dar pururea eu voi păstra
în sufletu-mi aprinsă
Că-n vecii vecilor vei sta
Iubirea mea nestinsă.

Rendered in Romanian by Constantin ROMAN
London, December 2011
© All rights reserved, Constantin ROMAN, 2011

Richard Lovelace, (1618-1657), Poet and Royalist Supporter of Charles II

Richard Lovelace (1618-c.1658), described by a contemporary as ‘the most amiable and beautiful person that ever eye beheld’, fell from privilege into desperate poverty during his short life.

The reason was the English Civil War. Lovelace remained loyal to the King, having served him as ‘gentlemen wayter extraordinary’ from the age of 13. He was imprisoned briefly in 1642 after presenting a Royalist manifesto to Parliament, and imprisoned again five years later for his part in Royalist disturbances. While in prison, he prepared the Lucasta poems for publication. But he was broken and ruined by his experiences, and spent his final years as ‘the object of charity’, lodging in ‘obscure and dirty places’. His exact date of death is unknown, but he was reported by John Aubrey to have died in a cellar in Long Acre.


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