THOMAS HOWARD CROFTS III
The poet Richard Lovelace was a scion of an old Kentish family that distinguished itself in the court of Elizabeth I. His great-grandfather, Sir William, Sergeant-at-Law, represented Canterbury in Parliament in 1562 and 1572. The following Sir William, the poet's grandfather, was knighted either by Queen Elizabeth or the Earl of Essex in Dublin in 1599. The poet's father, called Sir William of Woolwich (knighted by James I in 1609), was an outstanding soldier in the Low Countries. At the age of forty-four, Sir William was killed at the siege of Groll in Holland (1627), leaving his widow Anne (née Barne) in charge of their eight children: Richard, Thomas, Francis, William, Dudley Posthumus, Anne, Elizabeth, and Johanna. To Richard fell a great portion of his father's and grandfather's estates.
Lovelace matriculated at Gloucester Hall, Oxford, in 1634. While there he wrote and had produced a comedy entitled The Scholar (or The Scholars) of which only the prologue and epilogue survive. After only two years, Lovelace—apparently by means of the intervention of one of Queen Henrietta's ladies—was created Master of Arts. The next year Lovelace was in residence at Cambridge where he made the acquaintance of Andrew Marvell. About 1639, Lovelace “retired in great splendour” (Wilkinson xx) to Charles's court, where he soon found soldierly occupation, following George, Lord Goring, on both Scottish campaigns (i.e., in the Bishops' Wars of 1639 and 1640). During the second expedition, he wrote a play, The Soldier, which was apparently suppressed and, at any rate, is not extant; at this time he also wrote the lines “To Generall Goring, after the pacification of Berwicke.”
Returning from the North, Lovelace repaired to his ancestral properties in Kent and was active in the not-inconsequential politics of that region. In 1642 he presented the Royalist Kentish to Parliament, thereby aligning himself with such notorious Royalist upstarts as Sir Edmund Dering (whose own such petition had already landed him in jail). For this offense, Lovelace was imprisoned in Westminster Gatehouse from April