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Amores Britannici

Epistles Historical and Gallant, In English Heroic Verse: From several of The Most Illustrious Personages of their Times. In Imitation of the Heroidum Epistolae of Ovid. With Notes explaining the Most Material Passages in every History [by John Oldmixon]

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The Lady Jane Gray, being left by King Edward the VI's will his Successor, She was on his Death Proclaim'd Queen, but her Reign lasted only Ten Days. She was in that short time put out of her Pretensions, by the Power of King Edward's Sisters, Mary and Elizabeth. Queen Mary confin'd both the Lady Jane, and the Lord Guilford Dudley, her Husband, to separate Apartments in the Tower. Where these Two Epistles are suppos'd to be written from one to the other, a Day or Two before they were beheaded. The Lady Jane Gray was Daughter to the Duke of Suffolk, and the Lord Guilford Dudley, Son to the Duke of Northumberland.

The Lady Jane Gray, to the Lord Guilford Dudley.

Since from my Lord, I am by Bolts confin'd,
This only way is lest to ease my Mind.


This, in the Loss of mighty Blessings past,
Is our sole Refuge, and, Alass! the last,
Of such as keep me, I demand of Thee,
As Thou, I hear by them, dost ask for me.
To these, I make it oft my earnest Pray'r,
Go to my Lord, my dearest Witnes bear.
Tell him— but then, I speak the rest in Sighs,
And they, the Message, and my Griefs despise.
They shut the massy Doors with savage Care,
And what I fain wou'd speak, refuse to hear.
Deaf to my Cryes, they leave me to my Woe
Nor stay to learn, what thou wou'dst gladly know.
No friendly Voice to sooth me in my Pains,
No Sound, but jarring Doors, and ratling Chains.
At once for Thee, and for my self, I fear,
I view the dismal Hour approaching near.
In Thee, our Foes will soonest reach my Heart,
'Tis terrible to die, but worse to part.


I now the utmost of their Malice feel,
Nor dread the sharpen'd Axe, nor pointed Steel.
My Innocence wou'd teach me to endure,
My doom with Patience, were my Love secure.
For Thee my Anxious Soul, is still in Pain,
For Thee, the Partner of my Bonds and Reign.
This forces from my Eyes a briny Flood,
To weep for Thee, who soon must weep in Blood.
Now let thy Virtue in thy Looks appear,
Our Foes are pleas'd the more, the more we fear.
Whate'er to suffer, we're by them compell'd,
Yet let us never to our Sufferings yield.
The Guilt was only theirs, to whom we owe,

The Dukes of Suffolk and Northumberland's Ambition, the Occasion of their Children's Ruin.

Our Life, our Nuptials, and our present Woe.
Instructed by our Parents to rebel,
We rose with them, and in their Fall, we fell.
Not our Ambition rais'd us to a Crown,
Their Pride advanc'd us, as it pull'd us down.


Not born to Empire, they usurp'd the Pow'r,
And when they aim'd to mount, they brought us low'r.
Thus Fortune our aspiring Hopes deceives,
And those she flatter'd, in their Ruin leaves.
To act the things, they had design'd, afraid,
Their Councils tempted, and their Hearts betray'd.
Anothers Right, we never, had desir'd,
Nor by wrong Steps to Mary's Throne aspir'd;
If those who better shou'd have taught our Youth,
Had led us safely in the Paths of Truth.
Our Error's fatal, and our Foe severe,
But great our Courage, and our Conscience clear.
Her Share of Fate, thy Wife alike sustains,
Our Pleasures once the same, and now the same our Pains.
The Smiles and Frowns of Fortune we have known,
And been as happy, as we're now undone.


Another's Int'rest made me first thy Bride
My Heart rejoyc'd, and blest our Father's Pride
With Hymeneal Song our Pallace rung,
The Priests, the Nobles, and the People sung.
The House of Suffolk was to Dudley's joyn'd,
And glorious Projects by the Match design'd.
Love was our end, and we our end enjoy'd,
They with their Projects are themselves destroy'd.
Soon broke the Knot, they hop'd wou'd never break,
Their Thoughts prodigious, but their Forces weak.
They put a Royal Scepter in my Hand,
An useless Present this, without Command,
The Crown, the Globe, nor all the Forms of Sway,
Nor gave us Right, nor made the Realms obey.
No vain Dominion, like Content, is sweet,
And he who rules himself, is truly great.
Happy had I, and Guilford, ever been,

Descended from Frances, the Daughter of Charles Brandon Duke of Suffolk, by Mary Queen Dowager of France, and K. Henry VIII's Sister.

Had they ne'er forc'd me to be call'd a Queen


Happy our Fathers, had they deign'd to hear,
Our just Excuses, and allow'd our Fear.
Happy our Houses, had their Lords in Peace,
Consulted to preserve, and not increase.
Contented with the Honours of our Name,
Ne'er push'd their Fortune on a lawless Claim.
Had they perceiv'd the Precipice was nigh,
Nor ventur'd with their waxen Wings too high.
I boast no Merit from the Royal Line,
Tho' noble Brandon mixt his Blood with mine.
The beauteous Princess he in Triumph lead,
And crown'd, with better Joys, her widow'd Bed.
In her the long contending Roses joyn'd,
And on one Stalk their friendly Branches twin'd.
In her the pure Vermilion, and the white,
Their Names united and disputed right.
From her my Blood, in generous Channels, flows,
End thence our Honour, and our Folly rose.
Forgive me—'tis untimely to be vain,
In Death, we little from our Birth shall gain.


To learn to die will now avail us most,

King Henry always fear'd his Daughter Mary wou'd restore the papal Power and Worship.

For all Distinction in the Grave is lost.
Who, when an Empire is in view wou'd spare,
His nearest Blood, and think the Purchase dear.
Who dares to plead Relation to a Throne,

The Divorce between Queen Katherine, the Lady Mary's Mother, and King Henry.

A Kindom never shou'd be claim'd, till won.
Kings, like the Sun, their distant Objects chear,
But burn, whoever dares approach too near.
No tyes of Friendship can oblige a Crown,
The Prince, will all the Man profest, disown.
What most, great Henry study'd to avoid,
Is now befaln, and what he built destroy'd.
Edward, too early for the Faith is gone,
And Mary next, by right, demands the Throne.
What Heaven has joyn'd can earthly Courts divorce,
Or Man his Will oppose by Wit or Force.
The Creature may resolve, the God fulfills,
Who oft opposes what the Mortal Wills.


When Heav'n appears to plead the righteous Cause.
How impotent is Power, or humane Laws.
The Proud he disappoints, upholds the Meek,
Disarms the Mighty, and supports the weak.
Men fondly raise Foundations on the Sands,
While Virtue, on a Rock, securely stands.
In Death, my Lord, let this be thy Support,
The Path is gloomy, but the Passage short.
A shining Host will meet us on the way,
And guide us to the source of endless Day.
Look up, my Guilford, to our Heavenly Crown,
That still is ours, tho this on Earth is gone.
We thither, when our Hour is come, shall soar,
Meet in the starry Way, and part no more:
Behold the Regions of Emperial Light,
We there shall Reign, and none dispute our Right.
But how can Nature with these Hopes comply;
Or fond of living, we consent to dye.


How pass the Vale of Death, a horrid Gloom,
And leave this Crown with Joy, for one to come.
Yet if, by Faith, these Terrors we remove,
There still remains, a greater Terror, Love.
Love oft presents Thee, murder'd to my Eyes,
I hear thy dying Groans, and latest Sighs.
'Tis Torture to my Soul, to this I yield,
And Faith, till then Victorious, quits the Field.
I feel thy Wounds, thy deadly Sorrows bear,
And careless of my self, for Thee I fear.
To whom, in our Distress, shall we repair,
Implore the listning God, by earnest Pray'r?
Him let us move, to smooth the rugged Way,
And light us with a Beam of future Day.
In all our wants, if we on him rely,
In Life, or Death, he will our wants supply.
By Grace he'll lead us to the darksome Grave,
And then, reward us, for the Grace he gave.
On Him, for Succour, in our Hour depend,
Against the Tempter, he'll our Hearts defend.


But jealous of his Glory, will be woo'd,
Just to himself, as he to us is good.
View thy past Life, and all thy Actions scan,
See then what Merit thou canst find in Man.
To Him with me, thy humble Vows address,
Repentant praise him, and thy Faults confess.
The God benificent, our Vows will hear,
And will Illustrious in our Cause appear.
Nor Earth, nor Hell, shall then our Souls dismay,
Nor we be to our Foes, or Death, a Prey.
Superior to their Malice, we shall rise,
And Death conduct us to immortal Bliss.
Unutterable Joys reserv'd on high,
For such as live by Faith, and in its Author die.
Then, grateful Thanks to our Creator pay,
Who calls us hence, before the dreadful Day.
When Sin and Idols shall these Realms defile,
And Flames of cruel Zeal destroy this Isle,


Through Racks and Fires the Sons of God must go,
Through Agonies of Blood, and bitter Woe.
Happy that we the Martyrs Crown shall gain,
Nor live to see the Foe, his House profane.
May Mary's Womb be found a barren Soil,
Nor leave to foreign Heirs, this Realm, a Spoil.
May her wrong'd Sister, in her Throne succeed,
And cleanse the Church of ev'ry noxious Weed.
May fair Eliza, all her Fears survive,
And Peace to Sion, in Affliction give.
Sion, tho desolate and wast before,
Again shall flourish, and despair no more.
Again Eliza, shall the Faith maintain,
Shake of the Yoke of Rome, and humble Spain.
A fragrant Name, the martyr'd Saints shall leave,
Those joy with Sion, who with Sion grieve.
Farewel my dearest Lord, our end is near,
Heav'n is our home, we are but Strangers here.


There, from our worldly Labours we shall rest,
With Visions of Eternal Splendor blest.
Farewel—and do not of thy Lot complain,
We part a while, but soon shall meet again.


Lord Guilford Dudley to Lady Jane Gray.

Attend, my Love, and hear thy Lord complain,
I sing my Elegy, a mournful Strain;
Like Swans, who by a Stream their Fate bewail,
And, the Song ended, in the current Fall.
Attend, my Love, and in the Consort joyn,
Try thy last Notes, and tune thy Voice by mine.
Together let us sigh, together weep,
And equal Measure in our Sorrow, keep.
By Grief consummate, we our Foes will move,
At least to pity, whom they cannot love.
Such Words from me, methinks; thou shoudst not hear,
Nor I discourage, whom I ought to chear.
Tho in thy writing, I such Virtue see,
As shews no Sign of want of Help from me.
Believe not in my Tryal, I shall faint,
Thou my Example, and protecting Saint.


I court not Life, nor will I fear to die,
But tremble, when I think thy Fate is nigh.
More than my Love can for her self, I fear,
Nor was she ever to her self so dear.
A Thousand Lives with her, wou'd soon be gone,
What Portion then have I to spare of one?
Teach me ye Powers! to be resign'd like her,
That I may Martyrdom, to Life prefer.
Teach me with Joy, to meet the dreadful Blow,
Nor suffer me to sink beneath my Woe.
When for approaching Death, I shou'd prepare,
I try my Heart, and find Thee always there.
Thou my best Blessing, art my greatest Ill,
The Cause, tho Guiltless of the Pains, I feel.
So much I meditate in my Distress,
Of Love and Thee, I think of Heav'n the less.
No Star with baleful Aspect did portend,
Thy Birth unhappy, or thy Life, this end.
To my own Danger, and thy Safety, blind,
I, fond of Empire, with our Fathers join'd.


Approv'd their Councils, and to Act resolv'd,
And in our Ruin thou wer't thus involv'd.
As Indian Widows in their Brides attire,
Wait on their Husbands to the funeral Fire,
Ascend the Pile, and in the Flames expire.
I boast not now of Dudley's Name or Blood,

The Duke of Northumberland (then Earl of Warwick) overthrew Ket the Rebel at Mount Surry in Norfolk.

Of Peace by him restor'd, or Ket subdu'd.
The Laurels which my Victor Father won,
Are now of little value to his Son.
His Glories are in this attempt forgot,
So much his latter Deeds, his former blot.
I boast not of the Heroes of my Race,
With ev'ry Virtue blest, and ev'ry Grace.
Nor of our Infants, in our Loss undone,

descended from Mary the French Queen, Daughter to Henry VII.

Tho sprung of Kings, and Kindred to the Throne.
Thou only art my Pride, of Thee I boast,
And in thy bright Perfections, Glory most.
I ne'er by Courting Thee, to Reign aspir'd,
I lov'd, and nothing but thy Love desir'd.


Till more acquainted with thy Merit grown,
I found that none so well deserv'd the Crown.
A perfect Queen by Nature thou wer't made,
Thy Eyes command us, and thy Lips perswade.
And when, if e'er, thy matchless Beauty fails,
Thy Wisdom with resistless Force prevails.
Thy self more worthy, more esteem'd by me,
Than all that else, I might expect by Thee.
So chast thy Love, so innocent thy Life,
The Virgin was not purer than the Wife.
And Heav'n in Thee so great a Gift bestow'd,
Itself cou'd only be a greater Good,
Such was the Joy, the Treasure I possest,
Rich in thy Charms, and in thy Virtue blest.
Our selves in Peace, our Fame we then enjoy'd,
Whom, false Ambition, and the War destroy'd.
Who to Ambition hearkens, is undone,
All Arms are ready to defend the Throne.
Happy the Man, whose Fortune and Desire,
Nor tempts him to encrease it, or aspire.


When Dudley led the Royal Armies forth,

Made General by the Council to go against Queen Mary.

Who doubted then his Forces, or his Worth.
Our sagest Councils then advis'd the War,
They councell'd boldly, till the Foe was near.
The Churches Danger justify'd the Cause,
Own'd by the Judges, and confirm'd by Laws.
Our Foes prepar'd their Arms, our Friends their Prayers,
Our Cause was righteous, but successful theirs.
What Prince's Act, when He's no more, will bind?

K. Edw. VI. by his Will, left the Crown to this Lady Jane.

Who has most Right, will most Assistance find.
This Mary knew, and this her Friends inspir'd,
Who flockt to hers, and from our Camp retir'd.
The Suffolk People, Suffolk's Hopes oppose,
And who were most our Friends, are most our Foes.
We wish'd to know, before to Reign we knew,
Fond of a Crown, while only 'twas in view.
But when possest, and giddy with the height,
We saw our Ruin, but 'twas then too late.


For us, who feels soft Pity in his Breast,
There, if he loves his Safety, let it rest.
So wretched we're become of what we were,
'Tis Death to think our Usage is severe,
For us, the Foe, no Pardon has in Store,
And but to ask it, they wou'd rage the more.
The Rancour of their Souls, enough they shew,
Enough the Goodness of their Hearts we know.
Whate'er wou'd please us, they in spite deny,
Nor suffer whom we love, to see us dye,
Our Children, and our Friends, Content must bear
Our Loss, nor venture once to shed a Tear.
Not the least Sigh, nor one reluctant Word,
Must our old Servants on our Death afford.
And those, who lately were ador'd by all,
Unpitty'd now, and unlamented fall.
Here for Protection and Defence we came,
Our Place of Honour once, as now of Shame.


What we have been, and what we are, we see,
These Chains but ill, with what we were, agree.
Let us look back on worldly Pomp no more,
Our Day on Earth is done, our Business o'er.
For Death, 'tis now our Duty to prepare,
Heav'n is our home, and we shall soon be there.
Farewel—My Soul is on the Wing to fly,
Disdains the nether World, and mounts on high.