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was niece to the Lady Elsemore, and daughter to Sir George More, then Chancellor of the Garter and Lieutenant of the Tower.
Sir George had some intimation of it, and knowing prevention to be a great part of wisdom, did therefore remove her with much haste from that to his own house at Lothesley, in the county of Surry; but too late, by reason of some faithful promises, which were so interchangeably passed as never to be violated by either party.
These promises were only known to themselves; and the friends of both parties used much diligence and many arguments to kill or cool their affections to each other ; but in vain ; for love is a flattering mischief, that hath denied aged and wise men a foresight of those evils that too often prove to be the children of that blind father, a passion that carries us to commit errors with as much ease as whirlwinds remove feathers, and begets in us an unwearied industry to the attainment of what we desire. And such an industry did, notwithstanding much watchfulness against it, bring them secretly together (I forbear to tell the manner how), and at last to a marriage too, without the allowance of those friends, whose
approbation always was and ever will be necessary to make even a virtuous love become lawful.
And that the knowledge of their marriage might not fall, like an unexpected tempest, on
those that were unwilling to have it so, and that preäpprehensions might make it the less enormous when it was known, it was purposely whispered into the ears of many that it was so, yet by none that could affirm it. But to put a period to the jealousies of Sir George (doubt often begetting more restless thoughts than the certain knowledge of what we fear), the news was, in favor to Mr. Donne and with his allowance, made known to Sir George, by his honorable friend and neighbour, Henry Earl of Northumberland. But it was to Sir George so immeasurably unwelcome, and so transported him, that, as though his passion of anger and inconsideration might exceed theirs of love and error, he presently engaged his sister, the Lady Elsemore, to join with him to procure her Lord to discharge Mr. Donne of the place he held under his Lordship. This request was followed with violence; and though Sir George were remembered that errors might be overpunished, and desired therefore to forbear till second considerations might clear some so
scruples, yet he became restless until his suit was granted, and the punishment executed. And though the Lord Chancellor did not, at Mr. Donne's dismission, give him such a commendation as the great Emperor, Charles the Fifth, did of his secretary, Eraso, when he presented him to his son and successor, Philip the Second, saying, “that in
his Eraso, he gave to him a greater gift than all his estate and all the kingdoms which he then resigned to him;" yet the Lord Chancellor said,
he parted with a friend, and such a secretary as was fitter to serve a king than a subject.”
Immediately after his dismission from his service, he sent a sad letter to his wife to acquaint her with it; and, after the subscription of his name, writ,
“ John DONNE, ANNE DONNE, UN-DONE." And God knows it proved too true: for this bitter physic of Mr. Donne's dismission was not strong enough to purge out all Sir George's choler; for he was not satisfied till Mr. Donne and his sometime compupil in Cambridge that married him, namely, Samuel Brook (who was after Doctor in Divinity and Master of Trinity College), and his brother, Mr. Christopher Brook, sometime Mr. Donne's chamber-fellow in Lincoln'sInn, who gave Mr. Donne his wife and witnessed the marriage, were all committed to three several prisons.
Mr. Donne was first enlarged, who neither gave rest to his body or brain, nor to any friend in whom he might hope to have an interest, until he had procured an enlargement for his two imprisoned friends.
He was now at liberty, but his days were still cloudy; and being past these troubles, others did
still multiply upon him, for his wife was (to her extreme sorrow) detained from him ; and though with Jacob he endured not a hard service for her, yet he lost a good one, and was forced to make good his title, and to get possession of her by a long and restless suit in law, which proved troublesome and sadly chargeable to him, whose youth, travel, and needless bounty had brought his estate into a narrow compass.
It is observed, and most truly, that silence and submission are charming qualities, and work most upon passionate men; and it proved so with Sir George ; for these and a general report of Mr. Donne's merits, together with his winning behaviour (which, when it would entice, had a strange kind of elegant, irresistible art), these and time had so dispassionated Sir George, that 'as the world had approved his daughter's choice, so he also could not but see a more than ordinary merit in his new son; and this at last melted him into so much remorse (for love and anger are so like agues as to have hot and cold fits; and love in parents, though it may be quenched, yet is easily rekindled, and expires not till death denies mankind a natural heat), that he labored his son's restoration to his place, using to that end both his own and his sister's power to her Lord, but with no success; for his answer was, “ that though he was unfeignedly sorry for what he had done,
yet it was inconsistent with his place and credit to discharge and reädmit servants at the request of passionate petitioners.”
Sir George's endeavour for Mr. Donne's readmission was by all means to be kept secret ; (for men do more naturally reluct for errors, than submit to put on those blemishes that attend their visible acknowledgment.) But, however, it was not long before Sir George appeared to be so far reconciled as to wish their happiness, and not to deny them his paternal blessing, but yet refused to contribute any means that might conduce to their livelihood.
Mr. Donne's estate was the greatest part spent in many chargeable travels, books, and dearbought experience; he out of all employment that might yield a support for himself and wife, who had been curiously and plentifully educated ; both their natures generous, and accustomed to confer and not to receive courtesies. These and other considerations, but chiefly that his wife was to bear a part in his sufferings, surrounded him with many sad thoughts and some apparent apprehensions of want.
But his sorrows were lessened and his wants prevented by the seasonable courtesy of their noble kinsman, Sir Francis Wolly, of Pirford in Surry, who entreated them to a cohabitation with him, where they remained, with much freedom to