The Folger Shakespeare Library

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

Catalog record:
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 wch 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. Sr George More, of
whose learning and wisdome, I haue good knowledge, and therfore
good hope of his Moderacon, hath sayd, before his last goinge, yt
he was so far from being any Cause or Mouer of my punishment
or disgrace that if yt fitted his reputacon, he would be a sutor
to yr lp for my restoringe. All these Irons are knoed of; yett
I perish in as heavy fetters, as euer, whilst I languish vnder yr
lps 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 indeency; wthowt markinge
owt to my hopes, any place of profitt, I had a desire to be yr
lps seruant; by the fauor which yr good Sonns loue to me, ob=
teind, I was 4 years yor lps Secretary, not dishonest, nor gredy.
The sicknes of wch I dyed, ys, that I begonne in yor lps house, yis
loue. Wher I shalbe buried, I know not. It ys late now, for me
(but yt Necessity, as yt hath continually an Autumne and a wytheringe,
so yt hath euer a springe, and must put forthe) to beginne that
Course, wch 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 prfermt
here, wth any but yor lp were a Madnes. Euery great Man, to
whom I shall address any such suite, wyll silently dispute the
Case, and say, would my L: keeper so disgraciously haue impri-
sond him, and flung him away, if he had not donne some other
great fault, of wch wee hear not? So that to the burden of
my true weaknesses, I shall haue this Addicon, of a very priudi-
ciall suspicion, that I ame worse, then, I hope, yor lp 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 yor lp, 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
punishmt. I know yor lps disposicon 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 wch I humbly beg, that yor lp wyll so much entender yor
hart towards me, as to giue me leaue to come into yor prsence.
Affliction, Misery, and destruction are not there; and euery
where els, wher I ame, they are.
1o Martii 160i.
Yor lps
most poore and
most penitent
I: Donne.

leaf 2 recto

leaf 2 verso

To the right honorable
my very good L: and
Master, Sr Thomas Eger=
ton knight, L keeper of
the great Seal of En=