To Althea, from Prison
When Love with unconfinéd wings Hovers within my gates, And my divine Althea brings To whisper at the grates; When I lie tangled in her hair And fettered to her eye, The birds that wanton in the air Know no such liberty. When flowing cups run swiftly round, With no allaying Thames, Our careless heads with roses bound, Our hearts with loyal flames; When thirsty grief in wine we steep, When healths and draughts go free, Fishes, that tipple in the deep, Know no such liberty. When, like committed linnets, I With shriller throat shall sing The sweetness, mercy, majesty, And glories of my King; When I shall voice aloud how good He is, how great should be, Enlargéd winds, that curl the flood, Know no such liberty. Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars a cage; Minds innocent and quiet take That for a hermitage. If I have freedom in my love, And in my soul am free, Angels alone, that soar above, Enjoy such liberty.
This poem is in the public domain.
Date Published: 1649-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/althea-prison