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To Day a Man, To Morrow None.

Sir Walter Raleigh.

Note on the e-text: this Renascence Edition was transcribed in June 2003 by Risa S. Bear, University of Oregon Libraries, from the Ashbee facsimile reprint. Content unique to this presentation is copyright © 2003 The University of Oregon. For nonprofit and educational uses only. Send comments and corrections to the Publisher.

To day a man, To morrow none:


Walter Ravvleighs
Farewell to his  L A D Y,

The night before hee was beheaded:

Together with his advice concerning
HER, and her SONNE.

 LONDON, Printed for R.H. 1644

Sir Walter Rawleighs farewell to his LADY
the night before he was beheaded.

Together with his advice concerning her, and
her Sonne.


   Dear WIFE,

YOu shall receive my last words in these my last lines; my love I send you that you may keepe it when I am dead, and my counsel that you may remember it when I am no more. I would not with my will present you sorrows (dear Besse) let them go to the grave with me, and be buried in the dust. And seeing it is not the will of God that ever I shall see you any more in this life, beare my destruction gently, and with a heart like your selfe.
    First, I send you all the thanks which my heart can conceive, or my words expresse, for your many troubles and cares taken for me, which though they have not taken effect as you wished, yet my debt to you is not lesse, but I shall never recompence it in this world.
    Secondly, I beseech you even for the love you bare me living, that you do not hide your selfe many dayes, but by your travell seek to helpe your miserable fortune, and the right of your poore childe: Your mourning cannot availe me that I am but dust.
    Thirdly, you shall understand that my Lands were conveied (bona fide) to my childe, the writings were drawne at Mid summer twelve-month, as divers can witnesse, and I trust that my blood will quench their malice that desire my slaughter, and that they will not seek also to kill you and yours with extream poverty.
    To what friend to direct you I know not, for all mine have left me in the true time of tyall; most sorry I am (as God knoweth) that being thus surprised with death I can leave you no better estate; I meant you all my Office of wines or that I should purchase by selling it, halfe my stuffe and my jewels, (but some for the boy) but God hath prevented all my determinations; The great God that worketh in all.
    But if you can live free from want, care for no more, for the rest is but vanity.
    Love God, and begin betime to repose your selfe on him, therein shall you finde true and everlasting riches and endlesse comfort: for the rest when you have travelled and wearied your thoughts over all sorts of worldly cogitations, you shall sit downe by sorrow in the end.
    Teach your son also to serve and fear God whilst he is young, that the feare of God may grow up with him, then will God be a husband unto you, and a father unto him, a husband and a father that can never be taken from you.
    Bayly oweth me 1000 l. Arion 600 l. In Iersie also I have much owing me; the arrerages of the wines will pay your debts.
    And howsoever (I beseech you for my soules sake) pay all poore men when I am gone: no doubt you shall bee sought unto, for the world thinks I was very rich.
    But take heed of the pretence of men and of their affections, for they last but in honest and worthy men: and no greater misery can befall you in this life, then to become a prey, and after to bee despised: I speake it (God knoweth) not to disswade you from marriage, for that will be best for you, both in respect of God and the world.
    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 you from me: Remember your poore childe for his fathers sake that comforted you, and loved you in his happiest times,
    I sued for my life (But God knowes) it was for you and yours that I desired it: for know it (deare wife) that your sonne is the childe of a true man, and who in his owne heart despiseth death, and his mishapen and ugly forms.
    I cannot write much: God knoweth how hardly I stole this time when all were asleep, and it is now time to separate my thoughts from the world. Beg my dead body which living was denyed you, and either lay it in Sherborne or in Exeter Church by my father and mother. I can say no more, time and death call me away. The everlasting God, infinite, powerfull, and inscrutable God, That Almighty God which is goodnesse it selfe, mercy it selfe, the true light and life, keep you and yours, and have mercy upon me.
    Teach me to forgive my persecuters and false accusers, and send me to meet him in his glorious Kingdome.
    My true wife farewell, God blesse my poore boy, pray for me, my true God hold you both in His Armes.

EVen such is time, which takes in trust
Our youth, our age, and all we have,
And payes us but with age and dust,
Who in the darke and silent grave,
When we have wandred all our wayes
Shuts up the story of our dayes.
    And from the earth, the grave, and dust,
    The Lord shall raise me vp, I trust.

                             WALTER RAVVLEIGH. 

LIke Hermite poore in pensive place obscure
I mean to end my dayes with endlesse doubt,
To waile such woes as time cannot recure,
Where none but love shall ever finde me out.
    And at my gates despair shall linger still
    To let in death when love and fortune will. 

A Gowne of gray my body shall attire,
My staffe of broken hope whereon I stay
Of late repentance linkt with long desire,
The couch is fram'd whereon my limbs I lay.
    And at my gates, &c.

My food shall be of care and sorrow made,
My drink nought else but tears falne from mine eies,
And for my light in this obscured shade
The flames may serve which from my heart arise.
    And at my gates, &c.

                               VVALTER RAVVLEIGH. 

F I N I S.

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