It’s a poem by fifteenth-century poet Richard Lovelace that I met first in the movie Gods and Generals and later in a little old poetry collection on my own shelf:
“To Lucasta, on going to the Wars”
Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly.
True, a new mistress now I chase,
The first foe in the field;
And with a stronger faith embrace
A sword, a horse, a shield.
Yet this inconstancy is such
As thou too shalt adore;
I could not love thee, Dear, so much,
Loved I not Honour more.
And I love this poem because it reminds me of how we’re part of a story larger than ourselves, of a glory that does not belong to us — the story of the King’s kingdom with the needle’s-eye door. And the honor of the King must have primacy in our affections — and actions — else all our affections — and actions — are in disarray.
The last two lines might seem illogical, if we lived in a different kingdom, but here “we love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19), and we love because He makes us able to love, and we love one another better when we’re loving Him best. (As all things do work best when they’re in their proper order.)
And tonight I feel small and glad to be engaged to a man who loves the honor of the King of kingdom more than he loves me. Because that is as it ought to be.
©2015 by Stacy Nott