« PreviousContinue »
jesty's gracious disposition and royal word, that your Majesty will include me in any extraordinary course of your sovereign pleasure, which your Majesty shall like to take in this cause. The other man, I spoke to your Majesty of, may, within these two terms, be in the same straits, between your Majesty's justice and mercy, that this man now is, if your Majesty be so pleased. So most humbly craving pardon for my presuming to seek access for these few lines, I recommend your Majesty to the most precious custody and best preservation of the Divine Majesty.
Your Majesty's most humble,
and entirely obedient servant and subject.
V. To the QUEEN.
It may please your excellent Majesty,
I PRESUME according to the ceremony and good manner of the time and my accustomed duty, in all humbleness to present your Majesty with a simple gift; almost as far from answering my mind, as sorting with your greatness; and therewith wish, that we may continue to reckon on, and ever, your Majesty's happy years of reign and they that reckon upon any other hopes, I would they might reckon short and to their cost. And so craving pardon most humbly, I commend your Majesty to the preservation of the divine goodness.
VI. To the QUEEN.
It may please your excellent Majesty,
I MOST humbly intreat your Majesty, not to impute my absence to any weakness of mind or unworthiness. But, I assure your Majesty, I do find envy beating so strongly upon me, standing as I do, if this be to stand, as it were not strength of mind, but stupidity, if I should not decline the occasions; except I could do your Majesty more service than I can any ways discern that I am able to do. My course towards your Majesty, God is my witness, hath been pure and unleavened and never poor gentleman, as I am per
suaded, had a deeper and truer desire and care of your glory, your safety, your repose of mind, your service: wherein, if I have exceeded my outward vocation, I most humbly crave your Majesty's pardon for my presumption. On the other side, if I have come short of my inward vocation, I most humbly crave God's pardon for quenching the Spirit. But in this mind I find such solitude, and want of comfort, which I judge to be, because I take duty too exactly, and not according to the dregs of this age, wherein the old anthem might never be more truly sung, Totus mundus in maligno positus est. My life hath been threatened, and my name libelled, which I count an honour. But these are the practices of those whose despairs are dangerous, but yet not so dangerous as their hopes; or else the devices of some, that would put out all your Majesty's lights, and fall on reckoning how many years you have reigned; which I beseech our blessed Saviour may be doubled, and that I may never live to see any eclipse of your glory, interruption of safety, or indisposition of your person, which I commend to the Divine Majesty, who keep you and fortify you.
This seems to refer to the Earl of Essex, 1600.
VII. To my Lord Treasurer BURGHLEY, 1591.
WITH as much confidence as mine own honest and faithful devotion unto your service, and your honourable correspondence unto me and my poor estate can breed in a man, do I commend myself unto your lordship. I wax now somewhat ancient; one and thirty years is a great deal of sand in the hour-glass. My health, I thank God, I find confirmed; and I do not fear that action shall impair it; because I account my ordinary course of study and meditation to be more painful than most parts of action are. I ever bare a mind, in some middle place that I could discharge, to serve her majesty; not as a man born under Sol, that loveth honour; nor under Jupiter, that loveth business, for the contemplative planet carrieth me away wholly: but
as a man born under an excellent sovereign, that deserveth the dedication of all mens abilities. Besides I do not find in myself so much self-love, but that the greater part of my thoughts are to deserve well, if I were able, of my friends, and namely of your lordship; who being the Atlas of this commonwealth, the honour of my house, and the second founder of my poor estate, I am tied by all duties, both of a good patriot, and of an unworthy kinsman, and of an obliged servant, to employ whatsoever I am, to do you service. Again, the meanness of my estate doth somewhat move me : for though I cannot accuse myself, that I am either prodigal or slothful, yet my health is not to spend, nor my course to get. Lastly, I confess that I have as vast contemplative ends, as I have moderate civil ends: for I have taken all knowledge to be my province; and if I could purge it of two sorts of rovers, whereof the one with frivolous disputations, confutations, and verbosities; the other with blind experiments and auricular traditions and impostures, hath committed so many spoils; I hope I should bring in industrious observations, grounded conclusions, and profitable inventions and discoveries; the best state of that province. This, whether it be curiosity, or vain glory, or nature, or, if one take it favourably, philanthropia, is so fixed in my mind, as it cannot be removed. And I do easily see that place of any reasonable countenance doth bring commandment of more wits than of a man's own; which is the thing I greatly affect. And for your lordship, perhaps you shall not find more strength and less encounter in any other. And if your lordship shall find now or at any time, that I do seek or affect any place, whereunto any that is nearer unto your lordship shall be concurrent, say then that I am a most dishonest man. And if your lordship will not carry me on, I will not do as Anaxagoras did, who reduced himself with contemplation unto voluntary poverty but this I will do, I will sell the inheritance that I have, and purchase some lease of quick revenue, or some office of gain, that shall be executed by deputy, and so give over all care of service, and become
some sorry book-maker, or a true pioneer in that mine of truth, which, he said, lay so deep. This which I have writ unto your lordship, is rather thoughts than words, being set down without all art, disguising, or reservation: wherein I have done honour both to your lordship's wisdom, in judging that that will be best believed of your lordship which is truest; and to your lordship's good nature, in retaining nothing from you. And even so, I wish your lordship all happiness, and to myself means and occasion to be added to my faithful desire to do you service.
From my lodging at Gray's Inn.
VIII. To the Lord Treasurer BURGнley.
My singular good Lord,
YOUR lordship's comfortable relation of her majesty's gracious opinion and meaning towards me, though at that time your leisure gave me not leave to shew how I was affected therewith; yet upon every representation thereof it entereth and striketh more deeply into me, as both my nature and duty presseth me to return some speech of thankfulness. It must be an exceeding comfort and encouragement to me, setting forth and putting myself in way towards her majesty's service, to encounter with an example so private and domestical, of her majesty's gracious goodness and benignity; being made good and verified in my father, so far forth, as it extendeth to his posterity: accepting them as commended by his service, during the non-age, as I may term it, of their own deserts. I, for my part, am very well content, that I take least part, either of his abilities of mind, or of his worldly advancement; both which he held and received, the one of the gift of God immediately, the other of her majesty's gift: yet, in the loyal and earnest affection which he bare to her majesty's service, I trust my portion shall not be with the least: nor in proportion with the youngest birth. For methinks his precedent should be a silent charge, upon his blessing, unto us all, in our degrees, to follow him afar off,
and to dedicate unto her majesty's service both the use and spending of our lives. True it is, that I must needs acknowledge myself prepared and furnished thereunto with nothing but with a multitude of lacks and imperfections; but calling to mind how diversly, and in what particular providence God hath declared himself to tender the state of her majesty's affairs, I conceive and gather hope, that those whom he hath in a manner press'd for her majesty's service, by working and imprinting in them a single and zealous mind to bestow their duties therein; he will see them accordingly appointed of sufficiency convenient for the rank and standing where they shall be employed: so as, under this her majesty's blessing, I trust to receive a larger allowance of God's graces. And as I may hope for this, so I can assure and promise for my endeavour, that it shall not be in fault; but what diligence can intitle me unto, that I doubt not to recover. And now seeing it hath pleased her majesty to take knowledge of this my mind, and to vouchsafe to appropriate me unto her service, preventing any desert of mine with her princely liberality; first, I humbly do beseech your lordship, to present to her majesty my more than humble thanks for the same: and withal, having regard to my own unworthiness to receive such favour, and to the small possibility in me to satisfy and answer what her majesty conceiveth, I am moved to become a most humble suitor to her majesty, that this benefit also may be affixed unto the other; which is, that if there appear in me no such towardness of service, as it may be her majesty doth benignly value and assess me at, by reason of my sundry wants, and the disadvan tage of my nature, being unapt to lay forth the simple store of those inferior gifts which God hath allotted unto me, most to view; yet that it would please her excellent majesty, not to account my thankfulness the less, for that my disability is great to shew it; but to sustain me in her majesty's gracious opinion, whereupon I only rest, and not upon any expectation of desert to proceed from myself towards the contentment thereof. But if it shall please God to send forth an occasion