L.b.533: Letter from John Donne to Sir Thomas Egerton, 1601/1602 March 1: autograph manuscript signed

Catalog record:http://hamnet.folger.edu/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?BBID=244741
Collection:Papers of the More family of Loseley Park, Surrey
Preferred Citation:Letter from John Donne to Sir Thomas Egerton, 1601/1602 March 1: autograph manuscript signed, Papers of the More family of Loseley Park, Surrey. Transcription by Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO). MS L.b.533, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC.
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leaf 1 recto

That offence which was to god in this Matter, his Mercy hath assurd
my Conscience, ys pardoned. The Commissioners who minister his An=
ger and Mercy encline also to remitt yt. Sir George More, of
whose learning and wisdome, I haue good knowledge, and therfore
good hope of his Moderacion, hath sayd, before his last goinge, that
he was so far from being any Cause or Mouer of my punishment
or disgrace that if yt fitted his reputacion, he would be a sutor
to your lordship for my restoringe. All these Irons are knoed of; yett
I perish in as heavy fetters, as euer, whilst I languish vnder your
lordships Anger. How soone my History is dispatchd! I was care=
fully and honestly bred; enioyd an indifferent fortune; I had,
(and I had vnderstandinge inough to valew yt) the sweetnes
and security of a freedome and independency; withowt markinge
owt to my hopes, any place of profitt, I had a desire to be your
lordships seruant; by the fauor which your good Sonns loue to me, ob=
teind, I was 4 years your lordships Secretary, not dishonest, nor gredy.
The sicknes of which I dyed, ys, that I begonne in your lordships house, this
loue. Wher I shalbe buried, I know not. It ys late now, for me
(but that Necessity, as yt hath continually an Autumne and a wytheringe,
so yt hath euer a springe, and must put forthe) to beginne that
Course, which some years past, I purposd, to trauaile; though I could
now do yt, not much disaduantadgeably. But I haue some bri=
dle vpon me now, more then then, by my Marriadge of this
gentlewoman: in prouiding for whom, I can and wyll show mymy
self very honest, though not so fortunate. To seek preferment
here, with any but your lordship were a Madnes. Euery great Man, to
whom I shall address any such suite, wyll silently dispute the
Case, and say, would my Lordship keeper so disgraciously haue impri-
sond him, and flung him away, if he had not donne some other
great fault, of which wee hear not? So that to the burden of
my true weaknesses, I shall haue this Addicion, of a very preiudi-
ciall suspicion, that I ame worse, then, I hope, your lordship dothe
think me, or would that the world should thinke. I haue

leaf 1 verso

therfore no way before me; but must turn back to your lordship, who
knowes, that Redemtion was no less worke then Creation. I know
my fault so well, and so well acknowledge yt, that I protest
I haue not so much as inwardly grudgd, nor startled at the
punishment. I know your lordships disposicion so well, as though in course
of Iustice, yt be of proofe against clamors of Offendors, yet yt
ys not strong inough to resist yt selfe, and I know yt selfe
naturally enclines yt to pitty. I know myne own necessity
owt of which I humbly beg, that your lordship wyll so much entender your
hart towards me, as to giue me leaue to come into your presence.
Affliction, Misery, and destruction are not there; and euery
where els, wher I ame, they are.
1o Martii 160i.
Your lordships
most poore and
most penitent
serunt
Iohn Donne.


leaf 2 recto

leaf 2 verso

To the right honorable
my very good Lord and
Master, Sir Thomas Eger=
ton knight, Lord keeper of
the great Seal of En=
gland.