John Donne

Nadine Akkerman (ed.), The Correspondence of Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia, Vol. 1: 1603–1631

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366. JOHN DONNE to ELIZABETH [in The Hague?]                  [c. May 16251]

Original not traced. Printed sources: Toby Matthew Collection 304–5 (from which the text is taken), and Gosse, Life and Letters of John Donne, ii. 161–2 (dates c. Oct. 1622). Headed: 'A letter from J.D. to the Queen of Bohemia, with the presenting of the same Sermon to her'.

May it please your Majesty,

That Hand, which Almighty God sees, at many midnights, lifted up to him in your Majestie's behalf, your Majesty hath, before this time, vouchsafed to see, in this manner, offered to your own eyes. I never come to this boldnesse, but when I have tried before, how your Royall Father, and Royall Brother, have accepted these things, which I adventure to present to your Majestie's hand. In this Sermon, I have more than the acceptation of my service in Printing it, for I have a commandment from his Majestie to make it publick.2 And, in all things, that have any influence upon the Publique, the second thoughts of every man belongs to your Majestie; much more in me, who have tasted of your easinesse, to pardon the rashness and boldnesse, of your Majestie's most humble and devoted, &c.

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Editor’s Note
1 The date is taken from Shapiro's papers (CRL Shapiro Papers, US79/S148).
Editor’s Note
2 Donne's subsequent letter to Elizabeth of c. Mar. 1626, Letter 403, makes it apparent that he is here referring to The First Sermon Preached to King Charles, given on 3 Apr. 1625 (Old Style), on Psalm 11:3 ('If the Foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous doe?'), and published in 1625 (London: A. M. for Thomas Jones, 1625; the sermon has been freshly edited by David Colclough, Psalm 11: 3, OESJD, iii. 3–20).
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