John Donne

Evelyn Simpson, Helen Gardner, and T. S. Healy (eds), Selected Prose

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7. To Sir George More

(13 February 1602)


From yow, to whom next to God I shall owe my health, by enjoyeng by your mediacion this mild change of imprisonment, I desire to derive all my good fortune and content in this world; and therefore with my most unfeyned thanks, present to yow my humble peticion, that yow would be pleasd to hope, that as that fault which was layd to me of having deceivd some gentlewomen before, and that of loving a corrupt religion, are vanishd and smoakd away (as I assure myself owt of theyr weaknes they are), and that as thedevyll in the article of our death takes the advantage of our weaknes and fear, to aggravate oursinns to our conscience, so some uncharitable malice hath presented my debts doble at least. How many of the imputacions layd upon me would fall off, if I pg 117might shake and purge myself in your presence. But if that were donne, of this offence committed to yow I cannot acquit myself, of which yet I hope that God (to whom for that I hartily direct many prayers) wyll informe yow to make that use, that as of evyll manners good lawes growe, so owt of disobedience and boldnes yow wyll take occasion to show mercy and tendernes. And when yt shall please God to soften your hart so much towards us, as to pardon us, I beseech yow aliso to undertake that charitable office of being my mediator to my Lord, whom as upon your just complaint yow found full of justice, I doubt not but yow shall also find full of mercy, for so ys the Almighty pattern of Justice and Mercy equally full of bothe. My conscience and such affection as in my conscience becomes an honest man, emboldneth me to make one request more, which ys, that by some kind and comfortable message yow would be pleas'd to give some ease of the afflictions which I know your daughter in her mind suffers, and that (if yt be not against your other purposes) I may with your leave wright to her, for without your leave I wyll never attempt anything concerning her. God so have mercy upon me, as I am unchangeably resolved to bend all my courses to make me fitt for her, which if God and my Lord and yow be pleased to strengthen, I hope neyther my debts which I can easily order nor any thing els shall interrupt. Allmighty God keepe yow in his favor, and restore me to his and yours. From my chamber, whither by your favor I ame come, 13° Feb. 1601.

J. Donne

To the right worshipfull

Sir George More, knight.

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