Cavaliers - General
The Cavalier
de Sandras
The Three
Other Players
The Iron Mask
Cavaliers in England
English Civil War
Cavaliers in Battle
ECW: A Timeline
The 'Poets'
Charles II

Other 'Cavaliers'

Other 17th
Century Interests
Royal Navy
Architecture - Eng.
Architecture - Fr.
About the Site



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The Cavalier Poets

His Cavalier 
Give me that man, that dares bestride
The active sea-horse & with pride,
Through that huge field of waters ride:
Who, with his looks too, can appease
The ruffling winds and raging seas,
In the midst of all their outrages.
This a virtuous man can do,
Sail against rocks, and split them too:
Ay! and a world of pikes pass through.
--Sir Robert Herrick--

Portrait Young Cavalier
Portrait Young Cavalier
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A most appropriate way to begin a poetry page for a Cavalier site, don't you think?

The Cavalier Poets were named because they were members of the court of King Charles I. It's no wonder why the word Cavalier renders up pictures of a dashing romantic young man serenading his beautiful lady. I have chosen a small sample of my favorite cavalier poets and their works to grace my page and to bring the romance to it that I love! I've also decided to spice the poetry up with some favorite 17th century art works. You can click on the art if you decide you'd like to add a print to your collection! I am currently linking to because they do the best job with their period collections and selection :)

For a wonderful site dedicated to the cavalier poets, click here:

Luminarium: 17th Century Literature - Cavalier Poetry  

Sir Robert Herrick (1591-1674)
Sir Robert Herrick was one of the last poets to preserve some of the elements of Renaissance poetry. His poetry struck me as quite flirty and fun... some of the best things about faire!

Delight in Disorder 
A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness.
A lawn about the shoulders thrown
Into a fine distraction;
An erring lace, which here and there
Enthralls the crimson stomacher;
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribbands to flow confusedly;
A winning wave (deserving note)
In the tempestuous petticoat;
A careless shoestring, in whose tie
I see a wild civility --
Do more than bewitch me than when art
Is too precise in every part


The Vine A little more racy... 

Was metamorphos'd to a vine; 

Which crawling one and every way, 

Enthrall'd my dainty Lucia. 

Me thought, her long small legs & thighs 

I with my tendrils did surprise; Her belly, buttocks, and her waist, 

But my soft nerv'lets were embrac'd: 

About her head I writhing hung, 

And with rich clusters (hid among The leaves) her temples I behung: 

So that my Lucia seem'd to me 

Young Bacchus ravish'd by his tree. 

My curls about her neck did crawl, 

And arms and hands they did enthrall: 

So that she could not freel stir, 

(All parts there made one prisoner). 

But when I crept with leaves to hide 

Those parts, which maids keep unespied, 

Such fleeting pleasures there I took, 

That with the fancy I awook; 

And found (Ah me!) this flesh of mine 

More like a stock, than like a vine.


Gaspar Netscher - Musical Evening
Musical Evening
Gaspar Netscher
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Upon a Black Twist Rounding the Arm of the Countess of Carlile  
(A personal favorite)

I saw about her spotless wrist, 
Of blackest silk a curious twist;
Which, circumvolving gently, there
Enthrall'd her arm as prisoner.
Dark was the jail, but as if light
Had met t'engender with the night;
Or so as darkness made a stay
To show at once both night and day.
I fancy more! but if there be
Such freedom in captivity;
I beg of Love, that ever I
May in like chains of darkness lie.  


Julia Disdainful: or The Frozen Zone Ah the power of a (cruel) woman...  
Whither? Say, whither shall I fly, 

To slack these flames wherein I fry? 

To the treasures, shall I go, 

Of the rain, frost, hail, and snow? Shall I search the underground, 

Where are the damps, and mists are found? 

Shall I seek, for speedy ease, 

All the floods and frozen seas? 

Or descend into the deep, 

Where eternal cold does keep? 

These may cool; but there's a zone 

Colder yet than any one: 

That's my Julia's breast; 

where dwells Such destructive icicles. 

As that the congealation will 

Me sooner starve, than those can kill 


Herrick was intensely loyal to Charles I and continued to write poetry about the ill-fated King even through the end of the bloody civil wars. The following is an example of one of these poems:  


To the King 

Welcome, most welcome to our vows and us,
Most great, and universal Genius!
The drooping West, which hithero has stood
As one, in long-lamented-widowhood;
Looks like a bride now, or a bed of flowers,
Newly refresh'd by the sun, and showers.
War, which was before horrid, now appears
Lovely in you, brave Prince of Cavaliers!
A deal of courage in each bosom springs
By your access; (O you the best of Kings!)
Ride on with all white omens; so, that where
Your standard's up, we fix a conquest there.

Thomas Carew (1595?-?1639)
Thomas Carew was a notorious michief maker. He spent some time as an ambassador for England but not always with success, at least once berated for making insulting remarks to another ambassador. Nevetheless he retained a good reputation as a statesman, soldier and poet.  

Woman with a Pearl Necklace
Woman with a Pearl Necklace
Vermeer, Jan
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A Cruel Mistress
We read of kings and gods that kindly took
A pitcher fill'd with water from the brook;
But I have daily tend'red without thanks
Rivers of tears that overflow their banks.
A slaughter'd bull will appease angry Jove,
A horse the sun, a lamb the God of Love;
But she disdains the spotless sacrifice
Of a pure heart, that at her altar lies.
Vesta is not displeas'd if her chaste urn
Do with repaired fuel ever burn;
But my saint frowns, though to her honour'd name
I consecrate a never-dying flame.
Th' Assyrian king did none ' th' furnance throw
With bended knees I daily worship her,
Yet she consumes her own idolater.
Of such a goddess no times leave record,
That burnt the temple where she was ador'd.  

A Divine Mistress
In Nature's pieces still I see
Some error that might mended be;
Something my wish could still remove,
Alter or add; but my fair love
Was fram'd by hands far more divine,
For hath she every beauteous line;
Yet I had been far happier,
Had Nature, that made me, made her.
Then likeness might (that love creates)
Have made her love what now she hates;
Yet I confess I cannot spare
From her just shape the smallest hair;
Nor need I beg from all the store
Of heaven for her one beauty more.
She hath too much divinity for me:
You gods, teach her some more humanity.

Richard Lovelace (1618-1658)
Richard Lovelace was a Royalist who would twice go to prison for his beliefs. He also served in the military... Not only for England but for France during the wars with Spain. He produced a very small body of work but is perhaps one of the best known poets in England's history.  

Song (To Lucasta, Going Beyond the Seas) 
If to be absent were to be
  Away from thee;
Or when I am gone
You or I were alone,
Then, my Lucasta, might I crave
Pity from blust'ring wind, or swallowing wave.

But I'll not sigh one blast or gale
  To swell my sail,
Or pay a tear to swage
The foaming blue god's rage;
For whether he will let me pass
Or no, I'm still as happy as I was.

Though seas and land betwixt us both,
  Our faith and troth,
Like separated souls,
All time and space controls:
Above the highest sphere we meet
Unseen, unknown, and greet as angels greet.

So then we do anticipate
  Our after-fate,
And are alive i' th' skies,
If thus our lips and eyes
Can speak like spirits in confin'd
In heav'n, their earthly bodies left behind.

A la Bourbon
Done moy plus de pitie ou plus cruaulte, car sans ce Je ne puis pas vivre, ne moirir*

Divine destroyer, pity no more;
Or else more pity me;
Give me more love, ah quickly give me more,
Or else more cruelty!
For left thus as I am,
My heart is ice and flame;
And languishing thus I
Can neither live nor die!

Your glories are eclips'd, and hidden in the grave
Of this indifferency;
And, Celia, you can neither altars have,
Nor I a deity:
These are aspects divine
That still or smile or shine,
   Or, like th' offended sky,
   From death immediately.  

Sir John Suckling (1609-1642)
Sir John Suckling was a wealthy and prominent man. He appeared at court before the age of 20 and participated heartily in the vices of the day - amongst them he was an avid gambler and drinker. Most of his poetry focused on military imagery - and he took his military service with a poetic flair. While serving in the first Bishop's war in 1630, he was infamous for clothing his contingent in opulent coats and plumes. Nevertheless, he was an excellent soldier and gained recognition for that service. He was a Cavalier in every sense of the word...   

Hendrick Terbrugghen - Duet 1628
Duet 1628
Hendrick Terbrugghen
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No, no, fair heretic, it needs must be
But an ill love in me,
And worse for thee:
For were it in my power
To love thee now this hour
More than I did the last,
'Twould then so fall
I might not love at all:
Love that can flow, and admit increase,
Admits as well as ebb, and may grow less.

True love is still the same: the torrid zones,
And those more frigid ones,
It must not know;
For love grown cold or hot
Is lust or friendship, not,
The thing we have,
For that's a flame would die,
Held down or up too high.
Then think I love more than I can express,
And would love more, could I but love thee less.

*"Give me more pity, or else more cruelty, for without this I can neither live nor die." Archaic French Spelling.