The Falcon

Fair Princesse of the spacious air,
That hast vouchsaf'd acquaintance here,
With us are quarter'd below stairs,
That can reach heav'n with nought but pray'rs;
Who, when our activ'st wings we try,
Advance a foot into the sky.

  Bright heir t' th' bird imperial,
From whose avenging penons fall
Thunder and lightning twisted spun!
Brave cousin-german to the Sun!
That didst forsake thy throne and sphere,
To be an humble pris'ner here;
And for a pirch of her soft hand,
Resign the royal woods' command.

  How often would'st thou shoot heav'ns ark,
Then mount thy self into a lark;
And after our short faint eyes call,
When now a fly, now nought at all!
Then stoop so swift unto our sence,
As thou wert sent intelligence!

  Free beauteous slave, thy happy feet
In silver fetters vervails meet,
And trample on that noble wrist,
The gods have kneel'd in vain t' have kist.
But gaze not, bold deceived spye,
Too much oth' lustre of her eye;
The Sun thou dost out stare, alas!
Winks at the glory of her face.

  Be safe then in thy velvet helm,
Her looks are calms that do orewhelm,
Then the Arabian bird more blest,
Chafe in the spicery of her breast,
And loose you in her breath a wind
Sow'rs the delicious gales of Inde.

  But now a quill from thine own wing
I pluck, thy lofty fate to sing;
Whilst we behold the varions fight
With mingled pleasure and affright;
The humbler hinds do fall to pray'r,
As when an army's seen i' th' air,
And the prophetick spannels run,
And howle thy epicedium.

  The heron mounted doth appear
On his own Peg'sus a lanceer,
And seems, on earth when he doth hut,
A proper halberdier on foot;
Secure i' th' moore, about to sup,
The dogs have beat his quarters up.

  And now he takes the open air,
Drawes up his wings with tactick care;
Whilst th' expert falcon swift doth climbe
In subtle mazes serpentine;
And to advantage closely twin'd
She gets the upper sky and wind,
Where she dissembles to invade,
And lies a pol'tick ambuscade.

  The hedg'd-in heron, whom the foe
Awaits above, and dogs below,
In his fortification lies,
And makes him ready for surprize;
When roused with a shrill alarm,
Was shouted from beneath: they arm.

  The falcon charges at first view
With her brigade of talons, through
Whose shoots, the wary heron beat
With a well counterwheel'd retreat.
But the bold gen'ral, never lost,
Hath won again her airy post;
Who, wild in this affront, now fryes,
Then gives a volley of her eyes.

  The desp'rate heron now contracts
In one design all former facts;
Noble, he is resolv'd to fall,
His and his en'mies funerall,
And (to be rid of her) to dy,
A publick martyr of the sky.

  When now he turns his last to wreak
The palizadoes of his beak,
The raging foe impatient,
Wrack'd with revenge, and fury rent,
Swift as the thunderbolt he strikes
Too sure upon the stand of pikes;
There she his naked breast doth hit,
And on the case of rapiers's split.

  But ev'n in her expiring pangs
The heron's pounc'd within her phangs,
And so above she stoops to rise,
A trophee and a sacrifice;
Whilst her own bells in the sad fall
Ring out the double funerall.

  Ah, victory, unhap'ly wonne!
Weeping and red is set the Sun;
Whilst the whole field floats in one tear,
And all the air doth mourning wear.
Close-hooded all thy kindred come
To pay their vows upon thy tombe;
The hobby and the musket too
Do march to take their last adieu.

  The lanner and the lanneret
Thy colours bear as banneret;
The GOSHAWK and her TERCEL rows'd
With tears attend thee as new bows'd,
All these are in their dark array,
Led by the various herald-jay.

  But thy eternal name shall live
Whilst quills from ashes fame reprieve,
Whilst open stands renown's wide dore,
And wings are left on which to soar;
Doctor robbin, the prelate pye,
And the poetick swan, shall dye,
Only to sing thy elegie.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

3:36 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 3,699
Words 690
Stanzas 16
Stanza Lengths 6, 8, 6, 8, 6, 8, 6, 8, 6, 8, 6, 8, 6, 8, 6, 7

Richard Lovelace

Richard Lovelace was an English poet more…

All Richard Lovelace poems | Richard Lovelace Books

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