|Sir Walter Raleigh|
Sir Walter Raleighs dying letter to his wife:
You shall now receive (my deare wife)
my last words in these last lines. My love
I send you that you may keep it when I am
dead, and my councell that you may remember
it when I am no more. I would not by my will
present you with sorrowes (dear Besse) let
them go to the grave with me and be buried in
the dust. And seeing that it is not Gods will that
I should see you any more in this life, beareit
patiently, and with a heart like thy selfe.
First, I send you all the thankes which my
heart can conceive, or my words can rehearse
for your many travailes, and care taken for me,
which though they have not taken effect as
you wished, yet my debt to you is not the lesse:
but I pay it I never shall in this world.
Secondly, I beseech you for the love you beare
me living, do not hide your selfe many dayes,
but by your travailes seeke to helpe your
miserable fortunes and the right of your poor
childe. Thy mourning cannot availe me, I am
Thirdly, you shall understand, that my land
was conveyed bona fide to my childe; the
writings were drawne at midsumer was twelve
months, my honest cosen Brett can testify
so much, and Dolberry too, can remember
somewhat therein. And I trust my blood will
quench their malice that have cruelly
murthered me: and that they will not seek
also to kill thee and thine with extreme poverty.
To what friend to direct thee I know not,
for all mine have left me in the true time
of tryall. And I perceive that my death was
determined from the first day. Most sorry I
am God knowes that being thus surprised
with death I can leave you in no better estate.
God is my witnesse I meant you all my office
of wines or all that I could have purchased
by selling it, halfe of mystuffe, and all my
jewels, but some one for the boy, but God
hath prevented all my resolutions. That great
God that ruleth all in all, but if you live
free from want, care for no more, for the
rest is but vanity. Love God, and begin
betimes to repose your selfe upon him, have
travailed and wearied your thoughts over
all sorts of worldly cogitations, you shall
but sit downe by sorrowe in the end.
Teach your son also to love and feare God
while he is yet young, that the feare of God
may grow with him, and then God will be
a husband to you, and a father to him;
a husband and a father which cannot be
taken from you.
Baily oweth me 200 pounds, and Adrian
Gilbert 600. In Jersey I also have much
owing me besides. The arrearanges of the
wines will pay my debts. And howsoever
you do, solues sake, pay all poore men.
When I am gone, no doubt you shall be
sought for my many, for the world thinkes
that I was very rich. But take heed of the
pretences of men, and their affections,
for they last not but in honest and worthy
men, and no greater misery can befall you
in this life, than to become a prey, and
afterwards to be despised. I spoke not this (
God knowes) to dissuade you from
marriage, for it will be best for you, both
in respect of the world and of God.
As for me, I am no more yours, nor you
mine, death hath cut us asunder:
and God hath divided me from the world,
and your from me.
Remember your poor childe for his father's
sake, who chose you, and loved you in his
happiest times. Get those letters (if it be
possible) which I write to the Lords, wherein
I sued for my life: God is my witnesse it
was for you and yours that I desired life,
but it is true that I disdained my self for
begging of it: for know it (my deare wife)
that your son is the son of a true man,
and one who in his owne respect despiseth
death and all his misshapen & ugly formes.
I cannot write much, God he knows how
hardly I steale time while others sleep,
and it is also time that I should separate
my thoughts from the world. Begg my
dead body which living was denied thee;
and either lay it at Sherburne (and if the
land continue) or in Exeter-Church,
by my Father and Mother; I can say no
more, time and death call me away.
The everlasting God, powerfull, infinite,
and omnipotent God, That Almighty God,
who is goodnesse it selfe, the true life
and true light keep thee and thine:
have mercy on me, and teach me to
forgive my persecutors and false accusers,
and send us to meet in his glorious
Kingdome. My deare wife farewell.
Blesse my poore boy. Pray for me, and let
my good God hold you both in his arms.
Written with the dying hand of s
ometimes thy Husband, but now alasse overthrowne.
that was, but now not my own.