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, beare it 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 but dust.
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
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 sometimes
thy Husband, but now alasse overthrowne.