Study Guide

To Althea, from Prison Tough-o-Meter

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(2) Sea Level

Some of the seventeenth-century poets you will read can be a real pain. Lovelace, however, is usually pretty kind when it comes to difficulty. The biggest challenge with this poem is the second stanza, which is kind of confusing. It sort of comes out of nowhere, and it's hard to make sense of it (check out our detailed summary to see some possible ways of reading it). Lovelace also uses a few strange words (like "linnets" and "tipple") and organizes his sentences with some unfamiliar syntax (verbs at the end, that sort of thing). All in all, though, Lovelace is a pretty painless read. The difficulties are not something that will keep its meaning locked up from you.

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