Skip to main content

Full text of "Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn : the love letters"

See other formats

**X- , 

calro and quiet a delight ts it. 
To read .and roeditateand write, 

(CHARLES COTTON ifc3o-er) 


henrg triif to annt bolep 




With Portraits by 
J. Rudolph 

mount Demon : the peter pauper press 

original introduction 


or Qccrrrr 

A THESE letters, with a few reflections on 
them, may give those that have not lei- 
sure to turn over large volumes, just no- 
tions of the grounds of King Henry the Eighth's 
divorce, and arm them against the calumnies of 
the papists on that subject, I shall give you a 
faithful copy of them from the originals, now 
preserved in the Vatican library where they are 
usually shewn to all strangers, and a true trans- 
lation of those that were written in French, in- 

troducing them with a short view of the most 
remarkable transactions which preceded, and 
gave occasion to them. To which end, it may 
first be observed that, in King Henry the Sev- 
enth's time, his eldest son, Prince Arthur, being 
past fifteen years of age, was married to the 
Princess Catherine of Spain, who was elder than 
himself; that they lived together as man and 
wife for several months, and then, Prince Ar- 
thur dying, it was resolved, for reasons of state, 
that Prince Henry should marry his brother's 
widow. This was opposed by Warham, arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, as absolutely unlawful, 
but advised by Fox, bishop of Winchester, who 
thought all difficulties would be removed by a 
dispensation, from Rome; accordingly a bull 
was obtained to that effect, and they were mar- 
ried, the prince being yet under age. But War- 
ham had so possessed the king with scruples 
against this marriage, that, the day on which 
the prince was of age, he, by his father's order, 
protested against it, as null and void; and Henry 
the Seventh, with his dying breath, persisted in 
charging his son to break it off intirely. How- 
ever, when Henry the Eighth came to the 
crown, it was resolved in council, that he should 
renew his marriage; which was done publickly, 
and he had several children by the queen, who 
all died young, except the Lady Mary. 
After this there appeared no farther disquiet 

in the king's mind, nor any sign of an intended 
divorce, till the year 1524, when Cardinal Wol- 
sey, by his legantine mandate, published a bull 
of the pope's against those that contracted mar- 
riage within the forbidden degrees. This man- 
date is yet extant in the register of Fisher, bishop 
of Rochester. What followed makes this justly 
suspected to have been done, on the king's ac- 
count. To confirm which suspicion, there is a 
concurring circumstance, in a letter from Sim- 
on Grineus to Bracer, dated September 10, 
1531, where he says, the king had declared to 
him, that he had abstained from Queen Cather- 
ine, for seven years, upon scruples of con- 

However, though the king had scruples at 
that time, yet he concealed them carefully from 
the world for some years; and the immediate 
occasion of their breaking out seems to have 
been given by the French ambassadors, who 
came to England to treat of several matters, and 
particularly of a marriage between the Princess 
Mary and the French king, or the duke of Or- 
leans, his second son. This alternative was at 
last agreed, though it remained sometime in sus- 
pense, because the president of the parliament 
of Paris doubted, whether the marriage be- 
tween the king and her mother, being his broth- 
er's wife, were good or no. The bishop of Tarbe 
made the same objection, and renewed it to the 

king's ambassadors in France, as appears by 
King Henry's speech to the mayor and citizens 
of London, concerning his scruples, where he 
says, When our ambassadors were last in 
France and motion was made that the duke of 
Orleans should marry our said daughter, one 
of the chief counsellors to the French king said, 
It were well done to know whether she be the 
king of England's lawful daughter, or not; for 
well known it is, that he begat her on his broth- 
er's wife, which is directly contrary to God's 
law, and his precept. That this counsellor was 
the Bishop of Tarbe, is affirmed by the bishop 
of Bayonne, in the account he gives of this 
speech to the court of France, in a letter dated 
the 2 yth of November, 1528; yet this very bish- 
op of Tarbe was afterwards advanced to be a 
cardinal, and was so far from retracting his 
opinion, that, when he was cardinal of Grande- 
mont, in a letter dated the 2 yth of March, 1 530, 
he writes to the French court, That he had 
served the Lord Rochford (Anne Boleyn's fa- 
ther) all he could, and that the pope had three 
several times said to him in secret, that he 
wished the marriage had been already made in 
England, either by the legate's dispensation, or 
otherwise; provided it was not done by him, 
nor in diminution of his authority, under pre- 
tence of the laws of God. The conduct shews, 
that it was not religion, but political views, that 

turned the court of Rome against the king's 
cause, which they at first plainly favoured. And, 

Now as to the arguments by which the king 
fortified himself in these scruples. These, as he 
himself owned, were, that he found by the law 
of Moses, If a man took his brother's wife, they 
should die childless; this made him reflect on the 
death of his children, which he now looked on 
as a curse from God, for that unlawful mar- 
riage. He found Thomas Aquinas (whom he 
chiefly valued of all the casuists) of opinion, 
That the laws of Leviticus, about the forbidden 
degrees of marriage, were moral and eternal, 
such as obliged all Christians; and that the pope 
could only dispense with the laws of the church, 
but not with the laws of God; and when the 
validity of the marriage came afterwards to be 
thoroughly canvassed, it appeared that the 
whole tradition of the church and the opinions 
of its doctors were against the marriage. 

In the year 1527, before Cardinal Wolsey's 
journey to France, which he began on the 3rd 
of July, to promote the King's marriage with 
the duchess of Alenson, the king's scruples were 
become publick, as two writers testify almost in 
the same words: This season, says Hall, began 
a fame in London, that the king's confessor, the 
bishop of Lincoln, called Dr. Langland, and 
divers other great clerks, had told the king, that 
the marriage between him and the Lady Cath- 

erine, late wife to his brother, Prince Arthur, 
was not good, but damnable. 

And this suspicion, of the cardinal's going to 
promote a second match in France, is confirmed 
by a letter of his, dated Feversham, July the 5th, 
1527, where he says, Archbishop Warham had 
warned him of the great jealousies which Queen 
Catherine had of his journey. And by another 
letter, dated August the ist, 1527, where he 
labours to satisfy the king, that the pope's dis- 
pensation was in itself null and void. All these 
particulars will be the stronger proofs of the 
cardinal's intention, when it shall be proved 
that the cardinal could then have no thoughts 
of Anne Boleyn, whose father, the Lord Roch- 
f ord, came over to England from France with 
the duchess of Alenson's picture to shew it to 
King Henry; and it was then, in all probability, 
that Anne Boleyn came over with him; for, 
though she had been in England in 1522, yet 
she did not stay long but returned into the ser- 
vice of Claude, queen of France, where she con- 
tinued till that queen died, which was in 1524, 
and then went into the duchess of Alenson's 
service, which she left probably at this time. 
Soon after her coming into England, she was 
taken into Queen Catherine's court, where the 
Lord Piercy courted her, and was upon the 
point of marrying her had not Cardinal Wol- 
sey, by the king's order, prevented it; and, as 


the same author assures us, it was not till after 
the cardinal's return from France, which was 
on the last day of September, 1527, that the 
king opened his affection for Anne Boleyn to 

Why then do the papists pretend to say, that 
the king would never have had thoughts of a 
divorce, or scruples against his first marriage, 
had not his unlawful passion for Mrs. Boleyn 
prompted him to them? Whereas it is plainly 
proved that the king's scruples were infused in 
him from his infancy, on the justest grounds; 
that they were revived in him three years be- 
fore they were made public, and that they were 
commonly talked of, and a new match con- 
trived for him to the duchess of Alenson, before 
Anne Boleyn appeared at court. All which will 
still appear more clearly in the ensuing letters. 
But, before I make any remarks on these, I must 
first give a short account of the king's negotia- 
tions at Rome, without which some of them 
cannot be understood. In the end of 1527, the 
king solicited the pope for a commission to 
judge the validity of his marriage with Queen 
Catherine, which after some time was obtained 
in a bull, dated the i3th of April, 1528, im- 
powering Cardinal Wolsey, with the archbish- 
op, or any other English bishop to judge the 
marriage. But this was not made use of; perhaps 
because it was thought that a stranger ought to 

be employed, that the proceeding might be 
more impartial. So a new commission was de- 
sired, and obtained, bearing date the 6th of 
June, in which the cardinals Wolsey and Cam- 
pegio (an Italian) were appointed joint legates 
to judge the marriage. 

And, to make this the surer, there was a polli- 
citation (or promise) procured on the 2 3rd of 
July, 1528, That the pope would never inhibit 
or revoke this commission to judge the mar- 
riage; and a decretal bull, which contained an 
absolute decision of the cause, which was only 
shewn to the king, and cardinal Wolsey, by 
Campegio; but all these precautions which were 
admitted of, when the pope was in a distressed 
condition, did not restrain his holiness from 
sending one Campana before the end of the 
year, to see the decretal bull secretly burnt; and 
from recalling the legate's commission, and 
avocating the cause to Rome the next year, 
when his affairs were more flourishing, and the 
emperor (who was Queen Catherine's nephew) 
had granted all his demands. 

Now as to the letters themselves. It may be 
presumed reasonably, that, if there had been 
anything in them that had reflected on the 
king's honour, or on Anne Boleyn's, they 
would certainly have been published by the 
papists at that very time; for they were in their 
hands soon after they were written, as appears 

from this passage in Lord Herbert's History. 

"When Cardinal Campegio came to take 
ship, the searchers, upon pretence he carried 
either money or letters from England to Rome, 
ransacked all his coffers, bags, and papers, not 
without hope, certainly to recover that de- 
cretal bull our king so much longed for. I find 
also (some relation) that divers love-letters be- 
tween our king and Mistress Boleyn, being con- 
veyed out of the king's cabinet, were sought 
for, though in vain; they having been formerly 
sent to Rome." 

To explain this account, it must be supposed, 
that they were taken, not out of the king's, but 
out of Anne Boleyn's cabinet; this is the more 
probable, because, in fact, they are all letters 
from the king to her; whereas, if his cabinet 
had been rifled, her answers to him would have 
been more likely to be found there. 

As to the time in which the king's letters to 
Anne Boleyn were written, in all probability, it 
was immediately after her dismission from the 
court, which was done to silence the clamours 
of the people on her account; but she was sent 
away in so abrupt a manner, that she deter- 
mined to absent herself altogether; which made 
the king soon repent of his severity, and press 
her to come back; but this was not obtained for 
a long time, nor without great difficulty; as ap- 
pears by some of the following letters. The time 

of her dismission was not till May, 1528, for 
there is a letter extant from Fox to Gardiner, 
at Rome, dated London, May the 4th, 1528, 
where he writes, Of his landing at Sandwich, 
May the 2nd, His coming that night to 
Greenwich, where the king lay, His being 
commanded to go to Mistress Anne's chamber 
in the Tilt-yard And declaring to her their 
expedition in the king's cause, and their hasten- 
ing the coming of the legate To her great re- 
joicing and comfort Then came the king, to 
whom he delivered his letters, and opened 
his negotiations Then he went to the cardin- 
al, etc. 

Soon after the date of this letter she was dis- 
missed; for, in the first of the letters that follow, 
the king makes excuses for the necessity of their 
being asunder; and, in the second complains of 
her unwillingness to return to court. In neither 
of these is a word of the sweating sickness, 
which raged violently in June; and of which he 
speaks in his third letter, as of a thing that had 
lasted some time, and, of which, he had formed 
many observations from experience. Between 
this letter, which seems to have been writ in 
July, and the sixth, which, mentioning the le- 
gates arrival at Paris must have been written in 
the end of September, there are two letters, 
which by the earnestness of the business, were 
plainly written within a few days of one an- 

other. Probably, soon after the latter of these 
were sent by the king, where he expressed how 
much he was pleased with her answer to his 
earnest desire in the former, in the heat of his 
gratitude, he paid a visit to his mistress, in which 
time they wrote a joint letter to Cardinal Wol- 
sey, which is added in the appendix, where the 
king expresses his wonder, that he has not yet 
heard of the legate Campegio's arrival at Paris; 
which makes it probable this happened in Sep- 
tember. The king stayed not long with her 
after this; for, when she had received the car- 
dinal's answer, she writes a second letter, with- 
out mentioning the king's being there; and, 
again shews impatience to hear of the legate's 
coming, of which, the king gave her the first 
news soon after. But, 

To return to the fourth letter, which from 
all these particulars may be supposed to have 
been written in August; it is the most important 
in all the collection, for it fixes the time when 
his affection to Anne Boleyn began. He com- 
plains in it, That he had been above a whole 
year struck with the dart of love, and not yet 
sure whether he shall fail, or find a place in her 
heart or affection. Now, by the nature of his 
complaint, it is visible, that he pleads all the 
merits that a long attendance could give him, 
and, therefore, if, instead of a year, he should 
have called it a year and a half, or two years, he 

would certainly have done it to make his argu- 
ment the stronger. It may likewise be probably 
concluded from the same words, that he had 
not then known her much above half a year; 
for it would have been an ill compliment in him, 
to let her understand that he had seen her some 
time, before he was at all in love with her. 

These remarks confirm the account already 
given, of her coming from France with her fa- 
ther, and, by that means, serve to establish the 
king's vindication from the scandal thrown on 
him by the papists, that he had no scruples 
about his marriage, till he saw Anne Boleyn. 

Though it may be here questioned, how the 
time of any particular letter can be known, 
since they have no date, and therefore may 
have been put out of their order. But those, that 
will read them with any attention, will find a 
chain of circumstances referred to that plainly 
show they were laid together by one that knew 
the order in which they were written, very 
likely by Anne Boleyn herself; and whoever 
stole them, as he took them all together, so 
would be careful no doubt, to keep them in the 
order he found them in, that the discoveries to 
be made from them might be the more com- 

It will not be doubted by any that read these 
letters, that the king's affection to Anne Boleyn 
was altogether upon honourable terms. There 

appears no pretension to any favours, but when 
the legates shall have paved the way. There is 
but one offence that can be taken at these let- 
ters, which is, that there are indecent expres- 
sions in them. But this is to be imputed to the 
simplicity and unpoliteness of that age which 
allowed too great liberties of that sort; and it 
must be owned by his enemies, that there are 
but three or four of these sallies in all the collec- 
tion, and that there are letters that make much 
more for the king's piety and virtue, than those 
irregularities can sully his character. 

In the fifth letter he tells her, God can do it, if 
he pleases; to whom I pray once a day for that 
end, and hope, that, at length, my prayers will 
be heard. 

In the sixth, I trust shortly to enjoy, what I 
have so longed for, to God's pleasure, and our 
both comforts. 

In the ninth, praying God, that (and it be 
His pleasure), to send us shortly togydder. 
Surely these religious expressions would have 
been very improper, to make an unlawful pas- 
sion succeed. 

In the thirteenth, speaking of the ill charac- 
ter of one that was proposed to be made abbess 
of Wilton, he writes, I would not, for all the 
gold in the world, clog your conscience nor 
mine, to make her ruler of a house which is of 
so ungodly demeanour; nor I trust you would 

not, that, neither for brother nor sister, I should 
so destrain mine honour or conscience. The 
whole letter is of an excellent strain, and would 
have been a very improper exhortation to one 
against whose virtue he had a design. 

The last of the letters mentions the legate's 
illness as a reason why he had not yet entered 
upon his office; which shews that the corres- 
pondence ended at least in May 1529 when the 
process began. 

There is but one thing after the letters, that 
it seems very material to add here in the king's 
defence and that is, the approbation of his cause 
by the learned men of Europe. 

During the trial, Warham and Fisher, who 
were the advocates for the queen, declared, 
That they having been lately consulted by the 
king, etc., had answered, that the king's con- 
science was disturbed and shaken, not without 
the weightiest and strongest reasons. 

After the legates had trifled some months, 
and at last, Campegio, under a pretence of the 
rules of the court of Rome, had adjourned the 
court for three months; during which time he 
obtained an avocation from the pope; the king 
was advised by Cranmer, not to depend longer 
on the decisions of the see of Rome, but to con- 
sult the several universities of Europe, as well as 
his own, about the validity of his marriage. 

One Crook was employed in this negotiation, 

and he obtained the opinion of almost all the 
universities whither he went, for the nullity of 
the marriage; yet he complains in his letters that 
he was in great straits from the small allowance 
he had. And, in an original bill of his accounts it 
appears that he never gave above a few crowns 
to any that writ on the king's side; whereas the 
emperor gave a benefice of five hundred du- 
cates to one, and of six hundred crowns to an- 
other, that writ for the queen. Yet, though on 
the one side men were poorly paid for their 
trouble, and on the other richly rewarded, yet 
the most eminent men were universally for the 

It may here be added that Erasmus, whose 
name was in the greatest esteem at that time, 
though he could not be prevailed with to write 
for the king, for fear of the pope and the em- 
peror, in whose dominions he lived; yet he went 
so far as to give great encomiums of the worth 
and virtues of Sir Thomas Boleyn, then earl of 
Wiltshire in his book, De Preparatione ad Mor- 
tem, which he dedicates to him; and this was all 
the approbation that his circumstances made it 
convenient for him to shew of the king's cause. 

On this general consent of the learned in his 
favour, the king was told he might proceed to 
a second marriage, the first being of itself null 
and void; and, accordingly, he married Anne 
Boleyn, the twenty-fifth of January, 1533. 

the letters of 


letter i 

MY mistress and friend, I and my 
heart put ourselves in your hands, 
begging you to recommend us to your 
favour, and not to let absence lessen your 
affection to us. For it were a great pity to 
increase our pain, which absence alone 
does sufficiently, and more than I could 

ever have thought; bringing to my mind 
a point of astronomy, which is, That the 
farther the Moors are from us, the farther 
too is the sun, and yet his heat is the more 
scorching; so it is with our love, we are at 
a distance from one another, and yet it 
keeps its fervency, at least on my side. I 
hope the like on your part, assuring you 
that the uneasiness of absence is already 
too severe for me ; and when I think of the 
continuance of that which I must of ne- 
cessity suffer, it would seem intolerable 
to me, were it not for the firm hope I have 
of your unchangeable affection for me; 
and now, to put you sometimes in mind 
of it, and seeing 1 cannot be present in per- 
son with you, I send you the nearest thing 
to that possible, that is, my picture set in 
bracelets, with the whole device, which 
you know already, wishing myself in 
their place, when it shall please you. This 
from the hand of 

Your servant and friend H. Rex 

letter ii 

BEcause the time seems to me very 
long, since I have heard from you, 
or concerning your health; the great af- 
fection I have for you has obliged me to 
send this bearer to be better informed, 
both of your health and pleasure, partic- 
ularly because, since my last parting with 
you, I have been told, that you have in- 
tirely changed the opinion in which I left 
you, and that you would neither come to 
court with your mother, nor any other 
way; which report, if true, I cannot e- 
nough wonder at, being persuaded in my 
own mind, that I have never committed 
any offence against you; and it seems a 
very small return for the great love I bear 
you, to be kept at a distance from the per- 
son and presence of a woman in the world 
that I value the most; and, if you love me 
with as much affection as I hope you do, 

I am sure, the distance of our two persons 
would be a little uneasy to you. Though 
this does not belong so much to the 
mistress as the servant. Consider well, 
my mistress, how greatly your absence 
grieves me; I hope it is not your will that 
it should be so; but, if I heard for certain, 
that you yourself desired it, I could do no 
other than complain of my ill fortune, 
and by degrees abate my great folly; and 
so, for want of time, I make an end of my 
rude letter, desiring you to give credit to 
this bearer in all he will tell you from me. 
Written by the hand of your intire ser- 

letter in 

THe uneasiness, my doubts about 
your health gave me,disturbed and 
frightened me extremely, and I should 
not have had any quiet without hearing a 
certain account. But now since you have 
yet felt nothing, 1 hope it is with you as 

with us; for when we were at Walton, two 
ushers, two valets de chambre,and your 
brother, master-treasurer, fell ill, and are 
now quite well; and since we have return- 
ed to your house at Hondson, we have 
been perfectly well, God be praised, and 
have not, at present, one sick person in 
the family; and, I think, if you would re- 
tire from the Surrey side, as we did, you 
would escape all danger. There is anoth- 
er thing that may comfort you, which is, 
that in truth in this distemper few or no 
women have been taken ill, and besides, 
no person of our court, and few else- 
where have died of it. For which reasons 
I beg of you, my intirely beloved, not to 
frighten yourself, nor to be too uneasy at 
our absence. For, wherever I am, I am 
yours, and yet we must sometimes sub- 
mit to our misfortunes, for, whoever will 
struggle against fate, is generally but so 
much the farther from gaining his end; 
wherefore, comfort yourself, and take 

courage, and make this misfortune as easy 
to you as you can, and I hope shortly to 
make you sing for j oy o f y our recall. No 
more at present for lack of time, but that 
I wish you in my arms, that I might a little 
dispel your unreasonable thoughts. Writ- 
ten by the hand of him, who is, and al- 
ways will be yours. 

My, H. Rex, Lovely 

; letter it) 

BY turning over in my thoughts the 
contents of your last letters, I have 
put myself into a great agony, not know- 
ing how to understand them, whether to 
my disadvantage as I understand them, 
whether to my disadvantage as I under- 
stood some others, or not; I beseech you 
now, with the greatest earnestness, to let 
me know your whole intention, as to the 
love between us two. For I must of ne- 
cessity obtain this answer of you, having 

been above a whole year struck with the 
dart of love, and not yet sure whether I 
shall fail, or find a place in your heart and 
affection. This uncertainty has hindered 
me of late from naming you my mistress, 
since you only love me with an ordinary 
affection ; but if you please to do the duty 
of a true and loyal mistress, and to give 
up yourself, body and heart, to me, who 
will be, as I have been your most loyal 
servant (if your rigour does not forbid 
me) I promise you that not only the name 
shall be given you, but also that I will take 
you for my mistress, casting off all others 
that are in competition with you, out of 
my thoughts and affection, and serving 
you only. I beg you to give an intire an- 
swer to this my rude letter, that I may 
know on what and how far I may depend. 
But, if it does not please you to answer 
me in writing, let me know some place, 
where I may have it by word of mouth, 
and I will go thither with all my heart. No 

more for fear of tiring you. Written by 
the hand of him, who would willingly 
remain yours. H. Rex 

letter to 

TTXDr a present so valuable that noth- 
JL ing could be more (considering the 
whole of it) I return you my most hearty 
thanks, not only on account of the costly 
diamond, and the ship in which the soli- 
tary damsel is tossed about; but chiefly 
for the fine interpretation and too hum- 
ble submission which your goodness 
hath made to me. For I think it would be 
very difficult for me to find an occasion 
to deserve it, if I was not afflicted by your 
great humanity and favour, which I have 
sought, do seek, and will always seek to 
preserve by all the services in my power; 
and this is my firm intention and hope, ac- 
cording to the motto, Aut illic aut nullibi 
(either here or nowhere). The demon- 

strations of your affection are such, the 
fine thoughts of your letter so cordially 
expressed that they oblige me for ever to 
honour, love and serve you sincerely, be- 
seeching you to continue in the same firm 
and constant purpose; and assuring you, 
that, on my part, I will not only make you 
a suitable return, but out-do you in loyal- 
ty of heart if it be possible. I desire you 
also, that, if at any time before this I have 
in any sort offended you, you would give 
me the same absolution which you ask, as- 
suring you, that hereafter my heart shall 
be dedicated to you alone. I wish my body 
was so too; God can do it, if he pleases; 
to whom I pray once a day for that end; 
hoping that at length my prayers will be 
heard. I wish the time may be short, but 
I shall think it long, till we shall see one 
another. Written by the hand of the sec- 
retary, who in heart, body, and will, is 
Your loyal and most assured servant 
H. no other ( AB) seeks Rex 

letter to 

THe reasonable request of your last 
letter, with the pleasure I also take 
to know them, causes me to send you now 
this news. The legat, which we most de- 
sire, arrived at Paris on Sunday or Mon- 
day last past; so that I trust, by the next 
Monday, to hear of his arrival at Calais: 
and then, I trust, within a while after, to 
enjoy that which I have so longed for, to 
God's pleasure, and our both comforts. 
No more to you, at this present, mine 
awne darling, for lake of time; but that I 
would you were in myne arms, or I in 
yours ; for I think it long since I kyset you. 
Written after the killing of an hart, at XI 
of the clock; minding with God's grace 
tomorrow, mightily tymely to kill an- 
other, by the hand of him, which I trust 
shortly shall be yours. 

Henry R. 

letter trii 

DArling, though I have scant leisure, 
yet, remembering my promise, I 
thought it convenient to certify you 
breevly, in what case our affairs stand. As 
touching a lodging for you, we have got- 
ten wone, by my lord cardinal's means, 
the like whereof could not have been 
found hereabouts for all causes, as this 
bearer shall more shew you. At touch- 
ing our other affairs, I ensure you there 
can be no more done, or more diligence 
used, nor all manner of dangers better 
both foreseen and provided for, so that I 
trust it shall be hereafter to both our 
comforts, the specialities whereof were 
both too long to be writtne, and hardly 
by messenger to be declared. Wherefore 
till you repair hydder, I keep something 
in store, trusting it shall not be long to. 
For I have caused my lord, your father 


to make his provisions with speed. And 
thus, for lake of tyme, darling, I make an 
end of my letter, writeing with the hand 
of him, which I would were yours. 


; .,:,. 1, ; letter tiff 

T Hough it does not belong to a gen- 
tleman to take his lady in the place 
of servant, however, in following your 
desires, I willingly grant it, so that you 
may be more agreeably in the place that 
you yourself have chosen, than you have 
been in that which I gave you. I shall be 
heartily obliged to you, if you please to 
have some remembrance of me. 6. N. R. 
i. de R. O. M. V. E. Z. Henry Rex 

J|| letter ix 

THe cause of my writeing at this 
time (good sweetheart) is wonly 
to understand off your good health and 

prosperity, whereof to know I would be 
as glad in manner myne awne, praying 
God, that and it be his pleasure, to send 
us shortly togydder, for I promise you I 
long for it,howbeit, trust it shall not be 
long too ; and seeing my darling is absent, 
I can no less do, than to send her some 
flesh representing my name, which is 
hart's fleshe for Henry, prognosticating, 
that hereafter, God willing, you must en- 
joy some of mine, which if he pleased I 
wolde were now. As touching your sis- 
ter's matter, I have caused Walter 
Welche to write to my lord mine mind 
therein, whereby I trust that Eve shall 
not have power to deceave Adam. For 
surely, whatsoever is said, it cannot so 
stand with his honour, but that he must 
needs take her his natural daughter now 
in his extream necessity. No more to you 
at this time, mine own darling, but that 
with a wishe I would we were togydder 
one evening with the hand your H. R. 


ALthough, my mistress, you have 
not been pleased to remember the 
promise which you made me when I was 
last with you which was, that I should 
hear news of you, and have an answer to 
my last letter; yet I think it belongs to a 
true servant (since otherwise he can 
know nothing) to send to enquire of his 
mistress's health; and, for to acquit my- 
self of the office of a true servant, I send 
you this letter begging you to give me an 
account of the state you are in, which I 
pray God may continue as long in pros- 
perity, as I with my own; and, that you 
may the oftener remember me, I send you 
by this bearer, a buck killed late last night 
by my hand, hoping, when you eat of it, 
you will think on the hunter; and thus 
for want of more room I will make an end 

of my letter. Written by the hand of 
your servant, who often wishes you in 
your brother's room. 


letter xi 

THe approach of the time, which I 
have so long expected, rejoices me 
so much, that it seems almost ready come. 
However, the entire accomplishment 
cannot be till the two persons meet, 
which meeting is more desired by me 
than any thing in this world; for what 
joy can be greater upon earth, than to 
have the company of her who is my dear- 
est friend? Knowing likewise that she 
does the same on her part, the thinking 
on which gives great pleasure. You may 
judge what an effect the presence of that 
person must have on me, whose absence 
has made a greater wound in my heart 
than either words or writing can express, 

and which nothing can cure, but her re- 
turn; I beg you, dear mistress, to tell your 
father from me, that I desire him to has- 
ten the appointment by two days, that he 
may be in court before the old term, or at 
farthest on the day prefixed; for other- 
wise I shall think, he will not do the lov- 
er's turn, as he said he would, nor answer 
my expectation. No more at present, for 
want of time; hoping shortly by word of 
mouth I shall tell you the rest of my suf- 
ferings from your absence. Written by 
the hand of the secretary, who wishes 
himself at present privately with you, 
and who is, and always will be, 

Your royal and most assured servant 
H. no other (AB) seeks Rex 

, letter xii 

THere came to me in the night the 
most afflicting news possible. For 
I have reason to grieve upon three ac- 

counts. First, because I heard of the sick- 
ness of my mistress, whom I esteem more 
than all the world, whose health I desire 
as much as my own, and the half of 
whose sickness I would willingly bear to 
have her cured. Secondly, because I fear 
I shall suffer yet longer that tedious ab- 
sence which has hitherto given me all 
possible uneasiness, and, as far as I can 
judge,is like to give me more. I pray God 
he would deliver me from so trouble- 
some a tormentor. The third reason is, 
because the physician, in whom I trust 
most, is absent at present, when he could 
do me the greatest pleasure. For I should 
hope by him, and his means to obtain one 
of my principal joys in this world, that is, 
my mistress cured; however, in default 
of him, I send you the second, and the 
only one left, praying God that he may 
soon make you well, and then I shall love 
him more than ever. I beseech you to be 
governed by his advices with relation to 

your illness; by your doing which I hope 
shortly to see you again, which will be to 
me a greater cordial than all the precious 
stones in the world. Written by the sec- 
retary who is, and always will be 

Your loyal and most assured servant 
H.(AB) R. 

letter xiii 

Since your last letters, myne awne dar- 
ling, Walter Welche, Master Brown, 
John Carre, Yrion of Brearton, John 
Cocke, the pothecary, be fallen of the 
swett in this house, and thenkyed be 
God all well recovered, so that as yet the 
plague is not fully ceased here; but I trust 
shortly it shall by the mercy of God ; the 
rest of us yet be well, and 1 trust shall pass 
it, either not to have it, or at least as easily 
as the rest have don. As touching the 
matter of Wylton, my lord cardinal hath 
had the nunys before him, and examined 

them, Master Bell being present, which 
hath certified me that for a truth, that she 
hath confessed herself (which we would 
have had abbesse) to have had two chil- 
dren by two sundry priests: and, furder 
since hath been keeped by a servant of 
the Lord Broke, that was, and that not 
long ago. Wherefore I would not for all 
the world clog your conscience nor mine 
to make her ruler of a house which is of 
so ungodly demeanour; nor I trust you 
would not, that neither for brother nor 
sister I should so destain my honour or 
conscience; and as touching the pryoress, 
or Dame Ellenor's eldest sister, though 
there is not any evident case proved a- 
gainst them, and that the pryoresse is so 
old, that of many years she could not be 
as she was named; yet notwithstanding, 
to do you pleasure, I have done that nei- 
ther of them shall have it, but that some 
other and good and well disposed woman 
shall have it; whereby the house shall be 

the better reformed (whereof, I ensure 
you, it had much need) and God much 
the better served; as touching abode at 
Hever,do therein as best shall you like; 
for you know best what aire doth best 
for you ; but I would it were come there- 
to (if it pleased God) that neither of us 
need care for that, for I ensure you I think 
it long. Suche is fallen sick of the swett, 
and ther for I send you this bearer, because 
I think you long to hear ty dings from us, 
as we do in likewise from you. Writeing 
with the hand 

Devotreseul H.R. 

letter xto 

DArling, these shall be only to ad- 
vertise you, that this bearer and 
his fellow, be dispatched with as many 
things to compass our matter, and to 

bring it to pass as our wits could imagine 
or devise, which brought to pass, as I trust 
by their diligence, it shall be, shortly you 
and I shall have our desired end, which 
should be more to my heart's ease, and 
more quietness to my minde, than any 
other thing in this world, as with God's 
Grace shortly I trust shall be proved, but 
not so soon as I would it were, yet I will 
assure you there shall be no tyme lost 
that may be won, and further cannot be 
done, for ultra posse non est esse : keep him 
not too long with you, but desire him for 
your sake to make the more speed, for, 
the sooner we shall have word from him, 
the sooner shall our matter come to pass; 
and thus, upon trust of your short repair 
to London, I make an end of my letter, 
mine awne sweetheart. Writne with the 
hand of him which desireth as much to 
be yours, as you do to have him. H. R. 

letter xti 

DArling, I heartily recommend me 
to you, assertaining you, that I am 
not a little perplexed with such things as 
your brother shall on my part declare un- 
to you, to whom I pray you give full cre- 
dence, for it were too long to write. In my 
last letters 1 writ to you that I trusted 
shortly to see you, which is better known 
at London than with any that is about 
me, whereof I not a little mervelle but 
lake of discreet handling must needs be 
the cause thereof. No more to you at this 
time, but that I trust shortly, our meeting 
shall not depend upon other men's light 
handlings but upon your awne. Writne 
with the hand of him that longeth to be 
yours. H. R. 

letter xtri 

MYne awne sweetheart, this shall 
be to advertise you of the great 
ellingness that I find here since your de- 
parting, for I as sure you, methinketh the 
tyme longer since your departing now 
last then I was wont to do a whole fort- 
night; I think your kindness and my fer- 
vence of love causeth it, for otherwise I 
would not thought it possible, that for so 
little a while it should have grieved me, 
but now that I am coming towards you, 
methinketh my pains been half released, 
and also I am right well comforted, inso- 
much that my book maketh substantially 
for my matter, in writing whereof I have 
spent above mi hours this day, which 
caused me now to write the shorter let- 
ter to you at this tyme, because of some 
payne in my head, wishing myself (espe- 
cially an evening) in my sweetheart's 

arms whose pretty duckys I trust shortly 
to kysse. Writtne with the hand of him 
that was, is, and shall be yours by his will. 


* letter xtrii 

^ I ^O informeyou what joye it is to me 
JL to understand of your conforma- 
bleness with reasone,and of the suppress- 
ing of your inutile and vain thoughts and 
with the bridle of reasone,! assure you all 
the good of this world could not coun- 
terpoise for my satisfaction the know- 
ledge and certainty thereof; wherefor, 
good sweetheart, continue the same not 
only in this, but in all your doings here- 
after, for thereby shall come both to you 
and me the greatest quietnesse that may 
be in this world. The cause why this 
bearer stayeth so long, is the business 
that I have had dresse up geer for you, 
which I trust ere long to see you occupy, 

and then 1 trust to occupy yours, which 
shall be recompence enough to me for all 
my pains and labours.The unfayned sick- 
nessof this well- willing legate doth some- 
what retard his accesse to your person, 
but I trust veryly, when God shall send 
him health, he will with diligence recom- 
pense his demure, for I know well where 
he hath said (lamenting the sayinge, and 
brute (Noyse) that he shall be thought 
imperial) that it shall be well known in 
this matter, that he is not imperial. And 
this for lake of tyme, farewell. Writtne 
with the hand which faine would be 
yours, and so is the heart. H. R. 

other letters 


anne boleun to cardinal toolseg 

MY lord, in my most humble wise that my 
heart can think, I desire you to pardon 
me that I am so bold, to trouble you with my 
simple and rude writing, esteeming it to proceed 
from her, that is much desirous to know that 
your grace does well, as I perceive by this bear- 
er that you do. The which I pray God long to 
continue, as I am most bound to pray; for I do 
know the great pains and troubles that you have 
taken for me, both day and night, is never like to 
be recompenced on my part, but alonely in lov- 
ing you, next unto the king's grace, above all 
creatures living. And I do not doubt, but the 
daily proof of my deeds shall manifestly declare 
and affirm my writing to be true, and I do trust 
you do think the same. My lord, I do assure you, 
I do long to hear from you news of the legate; 
for I do hope, and they come from you, they 
shall be very good, and I am sure you desire it 
as much as I, and more, and it were possible, as 
I know it is not; and thus, remaining in a stead- 
fast hope, I make an end of my letter, written 
with the hand of her that is most bound to be. 

Your humble servant 


3[Postcript by King Henry ]* 

The writer of this letter would not cease till 
she had caused me likewise to set to my hand; 
desiring you, though it be short, to take it in 
good part. I ensure you, there is neither of us, 
but that greatly desireth to see you, and much 
more joyous to hear that you have escaped this 
plague so well, and trusting the fury thereof 
to be passed, especially with them that keepeth 
good diet, as I trust you do. The not hearing of 
the legate's arrival in France, causeth us some- 
what to muse; notwithstanding, we trust by 
your diligence and vigilancy (with the assist- 
ance of Almighty God) shortly to be eased out 
of that trouble. No more to you at this time; 
but that I pray God send you as good health 
prosperity, as the writer would. 

By your loving sovereign and friend 


annc bolcun to cardinal toolscg 

MY lord, in my most humble wise that my 
poor heart can think, I do thank your 
grace for your kind letter, and for your rich and 
goodly present, the which I shall never be able 

to deserve without your help, of the which I 
have hitherto had so great plenty that, all the 
days of my life, I am most bound, of all crea- 
tures, next the king's grace, to love and serve 
your grace; of the which, I beseech you, nev- 
er to doubt, that ever I shall vary from this 
thought as long as any breath is in my body. 
And, as touching your grace's trouble with the 
sweat, I thank our lord, that them I desired and 
prayed for are escaped, and that is the king and 
you; not doubting but that God has preserved 
you both for great causes known only to his 
high wisdom. And as for the coming of the 
legate, I desire that much; and, if it be God's 
pleasure, I pray him to send this matter shortly 
to a good end, and then I trust, my lord, to 
recompence part of your great pains. In the 
which, I must require you, in the mean time, to 
accept my good will in the stead of the power, 
the which must proceed partly from you, as our 
lord knoweth; to whom I beseech to send you 
long life, with continuance in honour. Written 
with the hand of her that is most bound to be 

Your humble and obedient servant 


annc bolcun to king hcnru : 

last letter]*** 

Sir, Your grace's displeasure, and my impris- 
onment, are things so strange unto me, as 
what to write, or what to excuse, I am alto- 
gether ignorant. Whereas you send unto me 
(willing me to confess a truth, and so obtain 
your favour) by such an one whom you know 
to be mine antient professed enemy; I no sooner 
received this message by him, than I rightly 
conceived your meaning; and if, as you say, 
Confessing a truth indeed may procure my 
safety, I shall with all willingness and duty per- 
form your command. 

But let not your grace ever imagine that your 
poor wife will ever be brought to acknowledge 
a fault, where not so much as a thought thereof 
preceded. And to speak a truth, never prince 
had wife more loyal in all duty, and in all true 
affection, than you have ever found in Anne 
Boleyn, with which name and place I could 
willingly have contented myself, if God and 
your grace's pleasure had been so pleased. Nei- 
ther did I at any time so far forget myself in 
my exaltation, or received queenship, but that 
I always looked for such an alteration as now I 
find; for the ground of my preferment being on 
no surer foundation than your grace's fancy, 

the least alteration, I knew, was fit and sufficient 
to draw that fancy to some other subject. You 
have chosen me from a low estate to be your 
queen and companion, far beyond my desert or 
desire. If then, you found me worthy of such 
honour, good your grace let not any light fancy, 
or bad counsel of mine enemies, withdraw your 
princely favour from me; neither let that stain, 
that unworthy stain of a disloyal heart, towards 
your good grace, ever cast so foul a blot on your 
most dutiful wife, and the infant princess, your 
daughter; try me, good king, but let me have a 
lawful trial, and let not my sworn enemies sit as 
my accusers and judges; yea, let me receive an 
open trial, for my truth shall fear no open 
shame; then shall you see, either mine inno- 
cency cleared, your suspicion and conscience 
satisfied, the ignominy and slander of the world 
stopped, or my guilt openly declared. So that, 
whatsoever God or you may determine of me, 
your grace may be freed from an open censure; 
and mine offence being so lawfully proved, 
your grace is at liberty, both before God and 
man, not only to execute worthy punishment 
on me as an unlawful wife, but to follow your 
affection already settled on that party, for 
whose sake I am now as I am, whose name I 
could some good while since have pointed unto; 
your grace being not ignorant of my suspicion 

But, if you have already determined of me, 
and that not only my death, but an infamous 
slander must bring you the enjoying of your de- 
sired happiness; then I desire of God, that he 
will pardon your great sin therein, and likewise 
mine enemies, the instruments thereof; and that 
he will not call you to a strict account for your 
unprincely and cruel usage of me, at his general 
judgment-seat, where both you and myself 
must shortly appear, and in whose judgment, I 
doubt not (whatsoever the world may think of 
me), mine innocence shall be openly known, 
and sufficiently cleared. 

My last and only request shall be, that myself 
may only bear the burthen of your grace's dis- 
pleasure, and that it may not touch the innocent 
souls of those poor gentlemen, who, as I under- 
stand, are likewise in strait imprisonment for 
my sake. If ever I have found favour in your 
sight; if ever the name of Anne Boleyn hath 
been pleasing in your ears, then let me obtain 
this request, and I will so leave to trouble your 
grace any further, with mine earnest prayers 
to the Trinity to have your grace in his good 
keeping, and to direct you in all your actions. 
From my doleful prison in the Tower, this sixth 
of May. 

Your most loyal and ever faithful wife 


king hcnru to jane scpiour 

^[ivhile Anne Boleyn 'was still his r wife]-(s^ 

MY dear Friend and Mistress, The bearer 
of these few lines from thy entirely de- 
voted servant will deliver into thy fair hands a 
token of my true affection for thee, hoping you 
will keep it for ever in your sincere love for me. 
Advertising you that there is a ballad made 
lately of great derision against us, which if it go 
much abroad and is seen by you, I pray you to 
pay no manner of regard to it. I am not at pres- 
ent informed who is the setter forth of this ma- 
lignant writing but if he is found he shall be 
straitly punished for it. For the things ye lacked 
I have minded my lord to supply them to you as 
soon as he can buy them. This hoping shortly 
to receive you in these arms, I end for the 

Your own loving servant and sovereign 

H. R. 

This edition, set in Janson types and 

printed on Worthy Coronet paper, 

is limited to 1,450 copies made at 

the Walpole Printing Office, 

Mt. Vernon 

University of California 


405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1388 

Return this material to the library 

from which it was borrowed. 

000 025 593 5