Archive for March 30th, 2016

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

The Memorandum of Martha Moulsworth, Widdowe by Martha Dorsett Moulsworth

November the 10th 1632

The tenth day of the winter month November
A day which I must duely still remember
did open first theis eis, and shewed this light
Now on thatt day uppon thatt daie I write
This season fitly willinglie combines
the birth day of my selfe, & of theis lynes
The tyme the clocke, the yearly stroke is one
thatt clocke by ffiftie five retourns hath gonn
How ffew, how many warnings itt will give
he only knowes in whome we are, & live
In carnall state of sin originall
I did nott stay one whole day naturall
The seale of grace in Sacramentall water
so soone had I, so soone become the daughter
of earthly parents, & of heavenlie ffather
some christen late for state, the wiser rather.
My Name was Martha, Martha tooke much payne
our Saviour christ hir guesse to entertayne
God gyve me grace my Inward house to dight
that he with me may supp, & stay all night.
My ffather was a Man of spottles ffame
of gentle Birth, & Dorsett was his name
He had, & left lands of his owne possession
he was of Levies tribe by his proffession
his Mother oxford knowenge well his worth
arayd in scarlett Robe did send him fforth.
By him I was brought upp in godlie pietie
In modest chearefullnes, & sad sobrietie
Nor onlie so, Beyond my sex & kind
he did wth learninge Lattin decke mind
And whie nott so? the muses ffemalls are
and therfore of Us ffemales take some care
Two Universities we have of men
o thatt we had but one of women then
O then thatt would in witt, and tongs surpasse
All art of men thatt is, or ever was
Butt I of Lattin have no cause to boast
ffor want of use, I longe agoe itt lost.
Had I no other portion to my dowre
I might have stood a virgin to this houre
Butt though the virgin Muses I love well
I have longe since Bid virgin life ffarewell
Thrice this Right hand did holly wedlocke plight
And thrice this Left with pledged ringe was dight
three husbands me, & I have them enioyde
Nor I by them, nor they by me annoyde
all lovely, lovinge all, some more, some lesse
though gonn their love, & memorie I blesse.
Untill my one & twentieth yeare of Age
I did nott bind my selfe in Mariadge
My springe was late, some thinke thatt sooner love
butt backward springs doe oft the kindest prove
My first knott held five yeares, & eight months more
then was a yeare sett on my mouninge score
My second bond tenn years nine months did last
three years eight Months I kept a widowes ffast
The third I tooke a lovely man, & kind
such comlines in age we seldome ffind
ffrom Mortimers he drewe his pedigre
their Arms he bought bore, nott bought wth Heraulds fee
third wife I was to him, as he to me
third husband was, in nomber we agree
eleven years, & eight months his autume lasted
a second spring to soone awaie it hasted
was never man so Buxome to his wife
wth him I led an easie darlings life.
I had my will in house, in purse in Store
whatt would a women old or yong have more?
Two years Almost outwearinge since he died
And yett, & yett my tears ffor him nott dried
I by the ffirst, & last some Issue had
butt roote, & ffruite is dead, which makes me sad.
My husbands all on holly dayes did die
Such day, such waie, they to the Saints did hye
This life is worke-day even att the Best
butt christian death, an holly day of Rest
the ffirst, the ffirst of Martirs did befall
St Stevens ffeast to him was ffunerall
the morrowe after christ our fflesh did take
this husband did his mortall fflesh fforsake
the second on a double sainted day
to Jude, & Symon tooke his happy way
This Symon as an auncient Story Sayth
did ffirst in England plant the Christian ffayth
Most sure itt is thatt Jude in holy writ
doth warne us to Mayntayne, & ffight ffor itt +
In Which all those thatt live, & die, may well
hope with the Saints eternally to dwell
The last on St Mathias day did wend
unto his home, & pilgrimages ende
this feast comes in that season which doth bringe
uppon dead Winters cold, a lyvelie Springe
His Bodie winteringe in the lodge of death
Shall ffeele A springe, with budd of life, & Breath
And Rise in incorruption, glorie, power
Like to the Bodie of our Saviour
In vayne itt were, prophane itt were ffor me
Wth Sadnes to aske which of theis three
I shall call husband in the Resurrection
ffor then shall all in glorious perfection
Like to th’immortall heavenlie Angells live
who wedlocks bonds doe neither take nor give
Butt in the Meane tyme this must be my care
of knittinge here a fourth knott to beware
A threefold cord though hardlie yett is broken
Another Auncient storie doth betoken
hatt seldome comes A Better; whie should I
then putt my Widowehood in Jeopardy?
the Virgins life is gold, as Clarks us tell
the Widowes silvar, I love silvar well.


Date: 1632

By: Martha Dorsett Moulsworth (1577-1646)