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To Althea, from prison

Language: English

When Love with unconfined wings
  Hovers within my Gates;
And my divine Althea brings
  To whisper at the Grates:
When I lye tangled in her haire,
  [And]1 fetterd to her eye;
The Gods, that wanton in the Aire,
  Know no such Liberty.

When flowing Cups run swiftly round
  With no allaying Thames,
Our carelesse heads with Roses [bound]2,
  Our hearts with Loyall Flames;
When thirsty griefe in Wine we steepe,
  When Healths and draughts go free,
Fishes that tipple in the Deepe,
  Know no such Libertie.

When (like committed Linnets) I
  With shriller throat shall sing
The sweetnes, Mercy, Majesty,
  And glories of my KING;
When I shall voyce aloud, how Good
  He is, how Great should be;
[Inlarged]3 Winds that curle the Flood,
  Know no such Liberty.

Stone Walls doe not a Prison make,
  Nor I'ron bars a Cage;
Mindes innocent and quiet take
  That for an Hermitage;
If I have freedome in my Love,
  And in my soule am free;
Angels alone that sore above,
  Injoy such Liberty.

C. Parry sets stanzas 1-2, 4

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Parry: "Or"
2 Parry: "crowned"
3 Quilter: "enlargèd"

Submitted by Ted Perry


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:39
Line count: 32
Word count: 170

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