TO ALTHEA, FROM PRISON - Thomas Bateson Poems


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When Love with unconfined wings
      Hovers within my gates,
And my divine Althea brings
      To whisper at the grates;
When I lie tangled in her hair,
      And fetter'd to her eye,
The gods, 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,
Enlarged 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 an hermitage;
If I have freedom in my love,
      And in my soul am free,
Angels alone that soar above,
      Enjoy such liberty.