Born: Circa 1618, in Woolwich, England or the Netherlands
Died: Circa 1657, in London, England
Richard Lovelace was an English poet and soldier. As a poet, the quality of his work ranges from brilliant to pleasant, and is considered one of the greater Cavalier poets. As a Royalist soldier, he donated all of his available funds to the cause.
He may have been born in the Netherlands where his father was serving in the military. His education took place at the University of Oxford. Lovelace was heir to a great estate at Kent.
At about the age of sixteen, he wrote a comedy, which was entitled The Scholar. Unfortunately, only the prologue and epilogue are in existence today. He took part in expeditions to Scotland during the rebellions against Charles I between 1639 and 1640.
In 1642, Lovelace was imprisoned in the Gatehouse in London. While in the Gatehouse, he wrote To Althea from Prison which contains the famous lines, "Stone walls do not a prison make/Nor iron bars a cage." He also wrote To Lucasta, Going to the Wars while detained.
Lovelace returned to war with the French army. About the time he was wounded at Dunkerque, he also received a blow to the heart when his fiancée, Lucy Sacheverell, married another man, thinking that Lovelace was dead. He was imprisoned again for his allegiances for a year in 1648. During his imprisonment, he wrote the only volume of poetry published during his life Lucasta, Epodes, Odes, Sonnets, Songs, Etc.
Although he inherited a fortune, he spent most of it on Royalist causes. After his death, his brother edited and published: Lucasta: Posthume Poems of Richard Lovelace, Esq.