BL MSS Harleian 4712

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BL MSS Harleian 4712

Wright Vol 1, 21 Page 48

Transcribed and notes by Thomas Wright, ‘Queen Elizabeth and her times,’ London, 1838

Amy Dudley to Mr. Flowerden (1) Aug, 7 1560

Mr. Flowarden, I understand by Gryse that you put hym in remembrance of that you spake to me of concernyng the goyng of sertayne shepe at Syscome, and althowe I forgot to mouve my Lorde therof before his departing, he being sore trubeled with wayty affares, and I not beyng alltogether in quyet for his soden departyng, yet notwithstanding, knowing your accustomed freyndshipe towardes my Lorde and me, I nether may nor can deney you that request in my Lorde's absence of myne owne awtoritye, yea and yt wer a greater matter, as yf any good occasion may serve you, so tryc me; desyring you furder that you will make sale of the wolle so sone as is possible, although you sell it for sixe shillings the stone, or as you wolde sell for yourself ; for my Lorde so ernystly required me at his departyng to se thosse pore men satisfied as thowghe it had bene a matter depending upon lyff; wherfore I force not to sustayne a lyttel losse therby, to satisfye my Lorde's desyr ; and so to send that mony to Grysse's howse to London, by Brydwell, to whom my Lorde hathe geven order for the payment therof. And thus I ende allwaye trobelyng you, wyshyng that occasyon serve me to requite you ; untyll that tyme I most pay you with thankes. And so to God I leve you, from in Heydes, (2) this 7 of Auguste.

Your assured duringe lyff,

AMYE DUDLEY.

(1) This letter, in the handwriting of the unfortunate Amy Robsart, is preserved along with another by her husband also addressed to Mr. Flowerden, (perhaps Flowerdeu,) in a volume of letters collected by Le Neve, in the Harleian MSS It is without date, and is only inserted here on account of its connexion with her name. Lodge, following Dugdale, has incorrectly called this lady Anne, an error which no doubt originated from misreading a MS., where it was written Amie. The Amy Robsart here, busy about the affairs of her husband's household, is another character from the Amy Robsart of Sir Walter Scott. Indeed, the concealed marriage of Leicester with Amy Robsart is but a romantic fiction. This marriage took place in 1550, and was celebrated at the palace of Sheen with great splendor. Kenilworth, however, is not one of the most excellent of Scott's romances, if we look upon it in an historical light. It owes to history only the names of its heroes, and in some measure their characters. Amy Robsart died in 1560, when Sir Walter Raleigh, one of the personages of the romance, born about 1552, was only eight years old, and about which time Dudley, not yet Earl of Leicester, aspired to the hand of the queen. The plot of the romance is laid in the year of the grand visit to Kenilworth, in 1575, after he had given up all prospects of marriage with the queen, and when he had another wife, whom the next year he repudiated in order to marry the widow of the unfortunate Earl of Essex. The great " variance" between the Earls of Sussex and Leicester, when they were reconciled in the Queen's presence, occurred in 1565. Wayland is introduced quoting a passage from Shakspeare's Tempest, which is believed not to have been written before 1612, or even 1613. The poet was not born till 1564, so that at the visit to Kenilworth he would be but eleven years old. Thus circumstances, and allusions to circumstances, which happened at different periods from 1560 to 1612, are reduced within the space of the year 1575. presenting a succession of anachronisms such as is scarcely allowable even in a romance.

(2) Lord Dudley dates his letter to Mr. Flowerderi " from Hays."