The Devonshire Manuscript/now that ye be assemblled heer

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The Devonshire Manuscript
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My mothers maides . when they dyd sow or spin Womans harte vnto no creweltye
The Devonshire Manuscript facsimile 88r

f. [88r] 

1    now that ye be assemblled heer
2    all ye my ffrynds at my request
3    specyally you my ffather Dere
4    that off my blud ar the nerest
5    thys vnto you ys my request
6    that ye woll pacyenlly hyre
7    by thys my last words exprest
8    my testement Intyer

9    and thynk nat to Interrupte me
10    ffor syche wyse provyded hawe I
11    that thoght ye welldyt woll nat be
12    thys touer ys hy ye se ys strong and hye
13    [] and the dooris fast barred hawe I
14    that no wyhght my purpose [ne] let shold
15    for to be quen off all Italy
16    nat on day lengere leve I wold

17    wherffor swet father I I you pray Pray
18    ber thys my deth with{w+t+} pacyence
19    and tourment nat your herys gray
20    but frely pardonn myn offence
21    sythe yt presedeth off lowers ffervence
22    and off my harts constancy
23    let me nat ffrom the sweat presence
24    off hym that I haw case yt to dy

Commentary[edit]

Written in Margaret Douglas's hand and possibly her own composition, this poem is a direct address -- and plea -- by Douglas to her uncle and ward, Henry VIII whom she addresses as “ffather Dere / that off my blud ar the nerest” (3-4). She most likely asks pardon for her relationship with Thomas Howard, which she considers a grievous "offence." Henry Howard, The Earl of Surrey, expressed a similar sentiment when he renounced all his affection for the Fair Geraldine: specifically, Surrey refers to Thomas Howard's fate as: "Sith that for love one of the race did end his life in woe, / In tow'r both strong and high, for his assured truth, / Wheras in tears he spent his breath, alas! the more the ruth. / This gentle beast so died, whom nothing could remove, / But willingly to seek his death, for loss of his true love." (ll.36-40).[1]

Similar to other transcriptions entered by Margaret Douglas in the manuscript, this page appears stained with quite a few inkblots. Margaret Douglas also emphasizes her entry through her lettering and crossouts.

Works Cited[edit]